Episode Two: “Rebirth”
Team Avatar (minus Mako the Brooding Teenager) is ready to set off for Operation Air Nation. Pema, Kya, Ikki, and Meelo are staying on Air Temple Island in order to receive any potential pilgrims. But first, two words: HOLY AIRSHIP.
With Asami being the head of Future Industries, Team Avatar will travel the world in style. First sweep: the Earth Kingdom, visiting every town that has reported a new airbender, then stopping by the capital city of Ba Sing Se. Officer Mako drops by to hand the Avatar a map.
She asks him to come, but he demurs. As he walks away, Bolin flags him down, telling him that maybe they can find relatives in Ba Sing Se, since that’s where their father, an earthbender, grew up.
Aw hell, twist his arm, Mako’s coming too.
Meanwhile, on a remote island compound made entirely of wood, soldiers from the Order of the White Lotus are getting ready to change shifts. Their replacement? Zaheer! He airbends his way through the guards and tosses three rocks into the wooden cell. His friend is a powerful
firebender earthbender, who quickly turns those rocks into a… FIRE SHURIKEN! Zaheer greets his fire-bending friend, whose name is Ghazan. He then goes on to say he knows his newly-minted airbending powers were a result of the Harmonic Convergence, and that it must be a sign that their “path is a righteous one.”
Team Avatar has arrived at the first village, and sit down to eat with the new airbender, Kuon, and his family. Kuon is a farmer, who at first was excited about his new skills, until Tenzin thoroughly freaks him out with talk of abandoning his wife and children in order to become an Air Nomad. Tenzin, blinded by his air-elitism, doesn’t understand why Kuon is resisting, so presses in for the hard sell. He gets so creepy and intense, the entire team gets kicked out of the village before dessert.
Rejected but not dejected, Team Avatar re-strategize in the airship. However, Tenzin insists the airbenders cannot be coerced or forced, that they must choose to join them, so they stick with Plan A.
The following scenes, my friends, is where the writers of The Legend of Korra win their Emmy. They splice in this adorable chibi-style map traversal with the funniest scenes since, well… Avatar: The Last Airbender!
Tenzin: “When your son becomes a master, he’ll get tattoos all over his body. Just like me!”
Tenzin tries to sell his vegetarian diet to carnivores, baggy robes to fashionistas, asceticism to rich people. Needless to say, he has some trouble with his sales pitch, and they haven’t gotten a single recruit to come with them, and now chibi Team Avatar looks like this:
Korra decides to employ some tough love, Avatar-style, with the next potential recruit. Things look promising at first when the airbender’s mother opens the door. She is very enthusiastic, hoping this will open up new opportunities for her son… and get that 22-year-old out of her basement. “RIYU!!!” she yells, and out comes… the snarkiest, slacker-iest, neckbeard-iest neckbeard ever animated.
Cut to another prison escape, this time inside a volcano starring the awesomest waterbender I have ever seen (sorry, Katara, but it is true). Her name is Ming-Hua, she is part of Zaheer’s gang, and she does not have arms. That is… until she gets ahold of some water. With her water arms, she can climb, swing like Spider-Man through any terrain, and attack with water whips and ice. This band of villains is frighteningly talented!
Team Avatar’s strategy now depends on Uncle Bumi and Bolin. They both want to go the “razzle dazzle” route, performing a street show so spectacular, airbenders will line up to join them. “At this point, I’m willing to try anything,” Tenzin declares. FAMOUS LAST WORDS, TENZIN!
And with this performance, they find a new recruit!
Well, this kid seems harmless enough, with his sob story about how his parents were killed protecting their village from outlaws, who are now after him. Bolin especially is smitten with this little guy, since he and Mako are orphans themselves… except it turns out that Kai lied about the whole thing. Specifically, he is the outlaw running from the cops, but Team Avatar adopts him anyway. And to make things worse… Jinora has a crush on him! Only Mako, a former pickpocket himself, can see through his ruse.
AND THAT’S NOT ALL, FOLKS! We get our first glimpse of Lord Zuko!!!!!!!
He is PISSED at his guards. “Do you have any idea the power these criminals possess? Individually, they can take down any bender. Put them all together, they can take down the entire world! And now you’re telling me their leader is an airbender?” He tells his guards to send word to the Northern Water Tribe, the site of the last prisoner, and to Lin Bei Fong in Republic City to protect the Avatar at all costs.
Then, you guys…
He flies off on a dragon. A M-FING DRAGON!!!!!
- Aww, poor Aunt Kya. Good thing vomit can be water-bended away.
- Naga and Oogi doing the equivalent of sticking their heads out the window:
- During the dinner with Kuon, his brother tries to break the tension by yelling, “Hey! Who’s up for dessert?” and holding up a pie. Could it possibly be a reference to this line from Game of Thrones’ infamous Purple Wedding?
- I still can’t get over my excitement over a disabled waterbender. The possibilities for epicness are great, people!!!
- The entire Family von Airbender’s Spectacle of Recruiting Clown Show was amazing and needs to be turned into an Avatar: On Ice! tour.
Sadly, Fire Lord Zuko is not voiced by Dante Basco anymore, but he now has facial hair just like Uncle Iroh’s, so… FORGIVEN!