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TV Review: Legend of Korra (S2E6)

“The Sting”

So who knew that the best episode of this season of Legend of Korra wouldn’t feature Korra in any capacity? Sure we had that cliffhanger (which I’ll address), but for the most part, this episode was 22 minutes of secondary characters and subplots.

And thank God for that.

So far, this season has been pretty Korra-heavy, maybe rightfully so (her name is in the title of the series, of course), but Korra’s also been kind of a dick. Plus, with so much of the action set in the South Pole, Mako, Bolin, and Asami have been kind of left out in the cold. (Get it? I’ll see myself out . . .) However, with the show returning to Republic City, the secondary characters can once again have some agency. In fact, I could even talk about their plots separately, which is an incredibly refreshing feeling.

But actually, their plots dovetail extremely well, and everything is connected to everything else, for once. Mako’s frustration at police protocol leads him to set up a sting for whoever stole Varrick’s/Asami’s goods from Varrick’s fifth favorite ship in his fleet. He and Asami hire the Triple Threat Triads for some reason as extra muscle, and ship out to sea, hoping to lure in the hijackers and hit them with the cold hand of justice. Despite the incredibly fun presence of Two-Toed Ping (a character I really hope we see again), the sting goes south when Mako learns that the Triads double crossed him (duh-doy). This leads to what is probably the best fight we’ve seen all season; who doesn’t want to see a bending battle atop speedboats?

Upon escaping Shady Shin and returning to shore, Mako and Asami discover that while they were at sea, the last of her inventory was boosted by whoever hired the Triads; this effectively puts Future Industries out of business. But lo and behold, in comes Varrick to save the day, buying a controlling share of Asami’s company, accompanied by the slyest, oiliest grin even seen on television. At last Varrick is outed as a villain, adding another antagonist into the mix. While that was a little obvious, it’s nice to have an antagonist that isn’t quite as cut and dry evil as Unalaq. Varrick’s motives and goals are a little murkier, which adds some much needed depth to both his character and the season as a whole. This plotline is only tangentially related to the main A plot, but I have no doubt that Varrick will come to have a huge role to play this season, and it adds such flavor to what’s going on now.

Bolin, of course, has the silliest subplot. He gets wrapped up in his “Nuktuk! Hero of the South!” persona, even forcing Mako to use that name instead of Bolin. We get some classic Bolin buffoonery, and I love that he mistakes Ginger’s (admittedly poor) acting for genuine romantic interest. And why wouldn’t she love him?! He’s Nuktuk! Hero of the South! In this plot we again get some great nods to classic, early Hollywood cinema, which I adore. I totally freaked out when they had the silhouette battle. Even this plot, though, meets up with the main thrust of the episode: when Mako visits Bolin on set, he sees some pyrotechnic work and discovers that Varrick’s company manufactures the detonator used on the explosives that destroyed the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center. So by the end of the episode, Varrick is revealed as both an economic terrorist and a terrorist terrorist. (Unless, of course, Zhu Li is behind everything, which would be really amazing.)

And then we come to the final scene, and Korra has goddamn amnesia. I just can’t handle that trope (or body switching, for that matter). It seems so lazy to me, and it’s been used so often. However, maybe it won’t last long, and maybe it means that Korra won’t be so annoying now. God, that would be great.

Stray(ish) Observations

-I’ve seen enough cop shows to know that a rookie cop can’t just barge in during an interrogation. Come on, Mako. Get yourself together.

-Speaking of the police department, I love those detectives and their facial hair. Particularly that guy who was awkwardly, and sexually, feeling up his hair as he was berating Mako.

-Best Direction of the Episode: This week there were three standout moments for me. 1. That close up of Asami as the boat rises into the air and then falls was amazing. I’m not sure what it really added, but it was super cool. 2. The medium shot of Shady Shin trying to water bend only to be hit in the hand by Mako’s fire. The collision of the fire and water was really cool, as was Shady Shin being forced backwards. And 3. The extreme close up of Mako as he watches the pyrotechnics go off, which are reflected in his eyes. It’s almost like a light was literally going off in his head as he began to understand that Varrick might be involved.

-Varrick named his fifth favorite vessel after his mom. ‘Rest in peace, ‘Rocky Bottom.’”

-Bolin: “Ow! My instrument!”

Written by: Joshua Hamilton Directed by: Ian Graham

Overall Score:9