Episode Eight: “The Terror Within”

Note from Julie: This week, I’m going to keep the recap brief in order to discuss Nickelodeon’s decision to pull The Legend of Korra off the air into online-only distribution, and to showcase some choice cosplay from San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend!

Korra is already metalbending like a champ, but Bolin has yet to bend any metal at all. Combine that with Opal leaving for the Northern Air Temple to train with Tenzin, and he is despondent, uttering lovesick schlock such as “Every time I eat raw kale, I’m gonna think of you.” Opal still is charmed by him, bless her heart.

Once Opal’s airship sets sail, the lotus petal-shaped walls of Zao Fu shut tightly, and Team Avatar hits the hay. However, Zaheer and his gang are already inside the city, and they sneak into Korra’s room, pegging her and Naga with tranquilizer darts. They would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for Pabu screeching Bolin awake.

The battle scene is EPIC. First of all, everyone on Team Avatar is wearing their PJs, from Mako and Bolin’s (and Lin’s!) matching white tanks and shorts to Asami’s flowing lilac nightgown. P’lii, aka Sparky Sparky Boom Ma’am, can send her combustion laser beams around corners! Ghazan makes crazy amounts of lava appear out of nowhere and creates a protective moat around them. The only way to save Korra is for Lin and Su to drop down from the tippy-top of the lotus flower.

This maneuver will henceforth be called the Double Beifong.

Bolin ultimately wins the battle by clocking P’lii’s chin with a rock, knocking her out and enabling the Sisters Beifong to swoop down and collect Korra. Zaheer roars, “We failed!” but they still make their getaway.

Aiwei, Su’s trusted advisor, starts interrogating guards to find Zaheer’s inside man. He finds a guard he claims is lying, and a search through his place shows some damning evidence, but the kid is only 18 and was born and raised in Zao Fu, not the likeliest of conspirators. Finally, Mako figures out the obvious: it was Aiwei himself. They find a secret tunnel in his house that Zaheer must have used to sneak in and out of the city, but Aiwei escapes from them, and a bomb destroys all incriminating evidence.

Korra decides to stop hunting for airbenders and start a manhunt to find Aiwei. Lin forbids her, but Su helps her sneak away.

The Whoo!

  • In the highlight reel, Ghazan was officially referred to as a lava bender. Fire/Earth hybrid, perhaps? Amazing. And P’lii is officially a combustion bender.
  • Opal’s farewell party provides an opportunity for yet another Awkward Family Dinner. This time around, Varrick unveils his hilarious newest invention, the Airbender Finder, which apparently doesn’t work until someone airbends into it. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!
  • Can we all just agree that every time is Bolin Time?
  • This. It just wins.

The Meh!

So I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Nickelodeon has decided to pull The Legend of Korra off the air, with online-only distribution for the last five episodes of this season, as well as all of Season Four. The news totally blows, of course, but it isn’t all that surprising.

I have found Nickelodeon’s treatment of this entire season to be erratic: what television network in their right mind would only begin announcing the season premiere of a wildly-popular show a mere week ahead of time? They also simultaneously barred people from purchasing episodes on Amazon or iTunes by not offering the season through online vendors (which they’ve always done before), then broadcast double- and triple-headers each week as if they couldn’t wait to get rid of them fast enough.

I would almost understand if the caliber of the show had dwindled, but Season Three so far has been excellent, rivaling Avatar: The Last Airbender in story and charm, and absolutely smoking it in terms of action and animation. In spite of Nickelodeon’s silencing campaign, the buzz around this show is still super-hot, and it is still one of the most popular franchises at San Diego Comic-Con. And hell, 1.5 million people still managed to catch the non-publicized, cable-only premiere anyway! Why isn’t that good enough for Nickelodeon?

The show creators seem to think that online-only distribution is overall a healthy move for TLOK, and I hope they’re right. However, it saddens me to no end that a show as female-positive, kid-positive, diversity-positive, and genre-breaking as TLOK is deemed to not deserve airtime. Where can my children find strong, heroic, well-developed characters of color now (they are a little bit too old for Doc McStuffins)? This show has vaulted the reputation of American animation and continues to create amazing work, and it deserves more respect than to be shunted aside for yet more reruns of Spongebob Squarepants.

As a fan, all I want is to be able to throw my money at A:TLA  and TLOK, and to that end, I have purchased all the episodes, the books and graphic novels, and what little merchandise I can get my hands on, but Nickelodeon just doesn’t seem to want my money anymore.

Ideally, I can throw the money platypus-bear-style.

On a Happier Note: The Best A:TLA and TLOK Cosplay from SDCC:

(Images from Korra Nation)

Aang and Appa, Adorable Mode.
Best Varrick cosplay ever, with NukTuk, Hero of the North… and of course, Ginger.
A dead-ringer Mako posing with the voice of Mako, David Faustino.
Faerie-style Aang, with Momo.
One of the best Korras I’ve seen, with casual Aang.
Amazing Yue!!!
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