Episode Three: “Civil Wars, Part 1”
If last week’s premiere of Book 2 left you with more questions than answers, you are not alone. Here at NOC headquarters, we’re wondering if the family drama that is being foreshadowed so far would lead to more personal stories to fill the gap between Aang and Korra. Well, “Civil Wars Part 1” gave us a little insight into the history of Aang’s children, the pressure that being the Avatar brings, a double date, Bolin’s love life, and internal fighting over power between two sister tribes.
Before we dive into details from our NOC perspective on this episode, we have to say..
***SPOILER ALERT!*** ***SPOILER ALERT!*** ***SPOILER ALERT!*** ***SPOILER ALERT!*** ***SPOILER ALERT!*** ***SPOILER ALERT!***
(So, yeah, read at your own risk!)
The last episode, “Southern Lights,” left us with Unalaq moving his troops into the Southern Water Tribe territory. In “Civil Wars Part 1,” we see that Unalaq’s street patrol is trying to enforce some sort of martial law, but of course, the Southern Water residents don’t take to being told what to do in their own land without speaking up. In several tense moments throughout the episode we see that Unalaq patrols in a way that baits the residents of the South into conflict. Korra is torn between allegiance to her people but also understands her uncle’s plan may come with a hidden agenda.
As Korra questions the reason why her uncle is summoning his troops and locking down the harbor, she learns that Unalaq has a bigger task for her. He wants her to open the Northern Portal, so “the world would be united again.” (This is where we think there is some sort of hidden agenda). Meanwhile, Tonraq is always suspicious of his brother’s intentions, but as a special meeting is called to discuss the current situation in the Southern Tribe Shores, we learn that tensions between Northern and Southern Tribes has been running high because this feels more like an invasion and actions must be taken against the Northern Tribe. An extremely selfish speech by business man Varrick (someone tell Rick Flair that his arrogance has been stolen), leads to the decision to launch an attack on Unalaq. As Korra pleas for reasoning, her father states “Unalaq started this” (TAN-TAN-TUM!); therefore, setting up a showdown.
At the same time #vacationtenzin is in full effect at the Southern Air Temple with Bumi and Kya all tagging along with Tenzin’s Family. Here is where we get a glimpse into the dynamics of Aang’s children and their experiences growing up. Tenzin remembers spending childhood with his father vacationing in different places like Kioshi Island, but Bumi and Kya are quick to let him know, with some resentment, that they never were part of those memories. In their eyes, Tenzin was the favorite one. Of course Tenzin disputes it, and tries to give other examples of happy vacations but every time, Bumi and Kya tell him that they weren’t part of those. Arguments ensue and we get a glimpse of the family atmosphere that they grew up in. In my opinion, it is nice to see that the Avatar’s family was as dysfunctional as typical families. It makes them human.
In the midst of this sibling quarrel we are exposed to another conflict, this time between Tenzin’s Kids. As Jinora and Meelo come into the scene, we find out that their sister Ikki has gone missing after she was teased by her siblings. Meelo mentions that they ran into some sort of sharksquid, uncle Bumi is shocked that his old nemesis is still around (can’t wait to see this develop!) and — before joining the search party — promises Meelo that they will develop a plan to take down the sharksquid when he returns. As Bumi, Kya, and Tenzin look for Ikki, tension brews between them as they try to make Tenzin understand that they did not have the best childhood because their father put duty (Bumi’s joke on this is on point) before family. Tenzin believes that Aang loved them all equally which leads to more arguments and deters them from looking for Ikki until Kya finds some foot prints that lead them down a path. Bumi suggests they go a different route because it seems faster but also because he believes benders should have no problem with it. This exchange reveals Bumi’s resentment toward his siblings because he does not have bending powers. This is best demonstrated by Bumi slipping and falling while Tenzin and Kya get down the path with ease.
Meanwhile when Korra gets home, she tells Mako about her the strained relationship with her father. Mako is still not sure what his role is in the relationship as he questions if Korra just wants him to listen to her or give her advice. He suggests to go out to dinner to forget about the stress and are suckered into a triple date with Bolin, Desna, and Eska. Earlier in the episode it had become clear that Bolin did not want to date Eska anymore and does not know how to tell her.
Mako, the great Dr. Phil that he is (insert sarcasm here), suggested that he break up with her and compared the process to pulling a leech of your skin. Well his advice did not work because Bolin is intimidated by Eska. Which should bring up some more character development and comic relief as the series continues.
After an awkward dinner, Korra finds Senna, her mother, waiting for her in her house. Korra automatically questions if she is there because her father sent her in which she replies that she is not. Senna wants to know why there is so much friction between the two, and Korra reveals that she knows why her father was banished from the Northern Water Tribe. Senna then reveals that she overheard that they were going to try to kidnap Unalaq, and she rushes out to prevent what for sure would be the start of a civil war.
By the time she arrives at the palace, the kidnapping has already started. She tells the rebels to stop, that this will only escalate into retaliation and civil war. Korra recognizes one of the rebels as her father and becomes concerned about what might happen to him. Korra has no choice but to stop the kidnappers from taking Unalaq. As she takes the rebels down and rescues Unalaq she confronts whom she believes is her father only to find out that it was not him and that he had chosen not to partake in the kidnapping. Unalaq imprisons his kidnappers but at the request of Korra he will let them stand trial.
Korra then runs to her parents’ house to find them both there. She asks if she can come in and what comes next is one of the most heartfelt scenes so far in the series. Father and daughter squash their beef and realize that they need each other more than the other believes.
But Unalaq busts in the door with his guards and states that he is there to arrest both Tonraq and Senna for conspiring to kidnap him.
That was the end of an intense episode, but here are a couple of questions.
- What’s a sharksquid?
- Will they find Ikki and why did she run away?
- What does Unalaq really want?
- Can someone get us the recipe for the cookies Varrick couldn’t stop eating?
- When will Bolin, break the icy relationship with Eska?
- And is there a connection between Tenzin’s new son Rohan and the Riders of Rohan from Lord of The Rings? (I know, its a stretch but an NOC can dream right?)
- NOC-aps: The Legend of Korra, Spirits and Lights (thenerdsofcolor.org)