Have I mentioned this show is gorgeous? Midway through this episode, there is a fight that serves little purpose but to fill out the half hour’s action quota; and I don’t mind one bit. When the action is this awesome to watch, you can’t complain.
So in LoK, episode 1 introduced us to the main character and world itself.
Episode 2 introduced us to what looks to be our supporting cast.
So with episode 3, it’s time to bring out the villain!
Not bad I admit. The idea of a villainous spirit-bender is genius and for the first time I really believe the protagonist could be in danger (even if Korra might not die), something I never really bought when it came to Aang, and not just because I knew I still had 2 seasons to go. Of course the big question and challenge for the writers will be: what makes this guy so villainous? As I pointed out during A:tLA, the idea of benders should lead to a society that’s even worse in division than the class or race divisions in most current societies. Although the ordinary folks aren’t treated like second class citizens, it must be just a nagging little feeling in the back of their minds. To put another way… ok, regardless of your feelings towards them, guns are the best equalizing tool humans have yet to invent. For most of history, your ability to defend your rights of life and property depended on physical factors like size, muscle, practice, etc. Guns on a conceptual level are simple enough that they allow any person with a functioning hand (so pretty much any non-toddler) to kill any other person (good or bad). Although I’m not sure of it, it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of our society’s obsession with equality is partially influenced by the existence of guns. Really take a moment and introspect on this. Even if you don’t have such a weapon in your house, right now, isn’t some part of you reassured that if things were to get bad enough (like society breaking down or whatever) you could give yourself a fighting chance at any moment.
Now imagine a moment that guns only existed/worked in the hands of random people, and you’re not one of them. If things were to get bad enough, like say a bunch of the gun-wielders went power mad what could you do? The only ordinary folks who stand a chance against benders are those with great physical prowess and training. Yes just like our police today there are benders out there willing to help and aid the ordinary, but they aren’t always going to be around you unless you hire bodyguards, are they? So from this frame of mind of an ordinary person in the avatar-verse, even if you didn’t agree with him, could you really find Amon that villainous? It’s an uphill challenge for writers, so I look forward to seeing how they answer it.
The only other thing that bothered me was…
Ok, we the audience, from the first series, know that Aang was taught by the Lion-Turtle who’s words implied that any person could learn spirit bending if they wanted to. But he was alone, and it looks like he never told anyone else. That’s fine, I get that and how some (like Aang’s son) would believe that “only the Avatar can spirit bend”. However in the scene Amon told us (and the audience of his show – whoa meta) that he was taught spirit bending by the spirit world. So why does Korra have to go “how is this possible?” or Tenzin deny everything? Until you guys learn otherwise and whether the villain lied or not, why not operate from the assumption that he’s telling the truth? This binary view of exposition just bugs me to death in a lot of media. It’s why I gave so much credit to John C Wright’s Chronicles of Chaos. I’ve read the book and I still can’t tell you for certain who was lying completely or being honest or how much of both any character’s line is, but it was great to watch the protagonists learn something, then operate based on that information until they learned or figured out differently. I know this is a show for kids but give them some credit. You can even spell it out a little just don’t act like some lines were never spoken!
Still, totally give this episode a Highly Entertaining Must See.
Oh yeah, and here’s those books of John’s, you should totally read them: