Legend of Korra: Civil War Pt. 1 Review.
Little late on this blog post, but, better late than never. I plan on making weekly reviews for the Legend of Korra episodes.
First off: my reviews WILL contain full blown spoilers for the episodes.
Second: before we start, I gotta say I am a huge Avatar fan. I obsessed over Avatar: Legend of the Last Airbender, and went crazy for Legend of Korra. I love and enjoy Last Airbender; but truthfully, I feel like the world and characters of Legend of Korra are entirely up my alley. I enjoy Korra’s time frame, where it feels like the world has just industrialized, and riding this amazing steampunk vibe.
When Civil Wars: Pt. 1 started, all I could think was: “And then the Northern Water Tribe invaded.” This was harkening to the first Avatar installment, and I couldn’t help but smile at the very subtle fan service- but also, the severity of the issue at hand. Which is interesting in itself- when watching the first series of Avatar I had always found it funny how the northern and southern water tribes were so very different from one another.
The Northern tribe, to say the least, is the capital city for water benders and – or the two cities-large and influential. Standing against Fire Nation invasions for many years, says A LOT about a nation. Then there’s the Southern water tribe, who have the feel of isolated country bumpkins; the lesser of the two tribes- though never stated, it certainly felt like it. In a new era, and new avatar, you can see the tides of change taking place (Pun SO intended)I have a feeling things are changing internally for the Water tribe (nothing official, just my own speculations: The Northern tribe, is not nearly as grandeur as it was. It’s traditional point of view (and power) is being ebbed away with the new age, and slowly the southern water tribe is becoming it’s own nation, with it’s own distinguishable culture. Not so reliant on it’s big brother in the North, and beginning to define itself (the first sign of such is when the South quit the spirit balancing)- the North and South are on the verge of becoming two separate nations.
In this episode you can clearly see the difference between the tribes, and it is not only apparent in a power struggle, but in culture. Unalaq stands under the banner of “unity.” When to the Southerners, it look like a banner of “conquer.”
In this episode, I wasn’t quite sure if I felt bad for Korra or annoyed with her. What is very gratifying about Korra’s character is she is strong willed and very head on. It explains why she has such a hard time air bending, her attitude is quite different from Aang’s and air bending evasive maneuvers is NOT her style. However, there are times where Korra’s brashness makes me want to hit my head on the closest hard surface. Avatar needs to take a chill pill, and think just a little bit.
In this case, Korra is having such a hard time noticing when someone is stroking her ego and playing right into her need of “becoming the greatest avatar EVEEEER.” Her uncle Unalaqdoes not have the greatest of intentions; understandably, this man is family and there is a very delicate situation taking place, and (applaud) Korra, is quite aware of it.
Korra finds herself in the difficult situation of family, culture, and avatar business. As the avatar she is supposed to bring peace and unity to all nations. In her family, she is torn on who to believe, who to respect, and tries to keep everyone safe from each other. Culturally, her allegiances are questioned: who’s tribe are you apart? Trying to remain neutral and say “we’re all the same damn tribe” – is a honorable mention for Avatar Korra. She’s trying to feel out the situation before declaring any sides, because in her opinion there are NO sides.
It’s an complicated fiasco Avatar Korrahas found herself in, and interesting as a viewer to watch. As far as our concerns have been, it has always been a different elemental nation declaring war on one another- not an internal, civil war struggle.
The civil war aspect for the water tribes is interesting, the title can also be used for the happenings between Bumi, Kya, and Tenzin. It seems that Aang’s off springs have their own rivalries and grudges coming to light, and also, we see Aang wasn’t exactly the very best father. A fact that I find very heart breaking, but ultimately, very realistic.
When Legend of Korra first launched, and viewers saw a grown up Avatar Aang, it was like all our dreams came true. The airbender was full of wisdom and discernment, he was powerful yet fair, but there was still just a hint of his boyish comedic self that pleased a loyal fanbase. Let’s call it like it is: grown up Avatar Aang was BOSS.
And during that first season, it was like Avatar Aang had no faults. He was freaking amazing.
Yet, no one is perfect, even the Avatar (and even one who has reached total enlightenment) and it was painfully obvious in this episode. Avatar Aang had a favorite child, and unquestioningly it was Tenzin for the obvious reasons. Kya and Bumi were aware of the situation because they received the short end of the stick so many times, and addressed the fact “that we didn’t have a happy perfect family” like Tenzin believed; something that was alluded to in the previous episodes when a wind monk had asked “avatar Aang had other children?” Ouch.
Old grudges, and habits were picked up during these small siblings interactions. Bumi, though the oldest, suffered teasing because he is the only non-bender in the family. How did he feel being the black sheep of a bender family? And it provokes the thoughts: how did Aang feel about his first born not being a bender? Did that influence the favoritism?
Kya is called out for being too free of a spirit who liked to wander the globe willy nilly because she was “trying to find herself.” She obviously wasn’t taken very seriously in the family, yet she was the only one to answer the family call to help her mother, Katara, when Aang finally passed away.
And dear Tenzin- because he was Aang’s favorite,and the youngest, it made him the automatic target for the older siblings begrudged feelings in a ruthless amount of teasing. On top of that, he may have had most of his dad’s love, but picked up the heavy mantle of an entire culture at his father’s passing. No pressure son, I just need to you rebuild the entire Air Nomad civilization cause you’re the only one who can.
As a whole, it was eluded to that all the siblings just did not get enough time with Avatar Dad because he was too busy with Republic City- something else Tenzin inherited.
Kya had it right: even the avatar family had its own issues, and Aang was not the perfect parent. Though it hurts to admit that beloved characters have flaws, it is good to see other, more personal sides to them. Going through The Last Airbender saga, you knew Aang had flaws (he wasn’t exactly the bravest or the most mature) and it’s nice to see the writers go back to those roots and touch on them again.
My only complaint about this entire interaction is: Where the fuck is Ikki and why in the hell aren’t they moving more quickly to find her? You have a tween, wandering around (now) NIGHT TIME, who is feeling pretty emotional and irrational. I wouldn’t take the time to let Bumi dry off on a rock and bring up the past- I’d be hustling a little more to find my kid. I mean, very mad spirits are roaming around!
During this episode, I found Mako and Bolin’s story lines very weak and vague. Right now the two brother’s just can’t shine very much- we already know a good portion of their family history, and compared to a rising civil war, their girlfriend situations pales in comparison. I think it will be another episode or two before we get to see any more action for the brothers and see them more involved other than being Korra and Eska arm candy.
Speaking of which; I’m already tired of the Northern Water tribe twins. It’s cute Bolin fell for her, and Eska has a very dominant, relationship behavior- but I’m over it already. Understandably, the twins have a very bland behavior- it’s their character- however, they haven’t done anything else to make me really like them or invest myself emotionally into them. Plus Bolin totally deserves someone better…PULL OFF THE LEECH, BOLIN. PULL IT OFF.
Also- where in the hell is Asami? Last I checked he was still part of the Korra crew, and was in the Southern pole. She can’t get back to running Future Industries if she’s on civilian lock down. I at least expected an apperance at the southern water tribe meeting so she could at least express the fact that she has a business to run. Instead, we got this awkward kale cookie scene with Varrick.
The episode ended in a pretty decent cliff hanger. One, that I did not see coming: After everything Korra has done for Unalaq, protecting him, and trying to keep balance, even opening portals, he goes and launches a political attack (which most likely is personal) against Korra’s parents and places them under arrest for conspiracy. Worst. Uncle. Ever.
All in all, Civil War pt. 1 had a strong overarching story line,but this was set up episode, and I hope it leads into a stronger episode next week for Legend of Korra.
Geektrum rating of 3.5 out of 5.