As this week’s episode had two story focuses that were very different, I’ve decided to split them up into two posts. This review covers the focus on Amon. For my thoughts on the episode’s pairings, refer to this post.
This week, we get to see much more of the vulnerable side of Korra that we saw at the end of the last episode. She’s way scared by the threat of Amon’s de-bending power. She’s feeling the pressure from Tarrlok to join his task force, which is something she knows she should do since she’s the Avatar, but facing Amon isn’t something she’s anywhere near eager to do just yet. And did you see her practicing on the Taoist trigrams when Tenzin went to talk to her? That was airbending practice. She’s getting better, but she’s still no master, and she knows it.
For us viewers, all the stress on Korra really tones her down from being a character with fabulous abilities and celebrity status to someone that every single one of us can relate to. I mean, who hasn’t had high expectations to meet or wanted to run away once in a while? This finally strikes it home that she isn’t just the Avatar, the symbol of the series, the character who will be the next legacy, the bender who’s mastered three types of bending at such a young age… she’s also a regular girl, however different her world is than ours.
And finally, the gala, oh boy the gala, where everything comes together. First Hiroshi Sato tells her that everyone’s expecting great things from her – as if she wasn’t painfully aware of that already. Then Mako arrives with gorgeous Asami on his arm (again, refer to this post for my thoughts on this episode’s pairings!). Finally, Lin Beifong comes at her with an instant-KO to any remaining bits of self-confidence she might still have. Harsh.
Is it any wonder why she felt that she needed to first join the task force, then call out Amon? She was starting to come apart, and even if she wasn’t ready to face Amon, she was darn sick of running away, which is something she had never known herself to do.
Now to the confrontation on Avatar Aang memorial island. I have a friend who compared the chi-blockers bringing down Korra to a likeness of gang rape, and I must say it does have a resemblance. (Aha, now that the thought’s in your head, you can’t un-see it, huh?) Talk about adding dark to dark. Even though I knew the scene was coming, I still felt sick to my stomach watching it. Interesting thing to note: this scene, with Korra’s arms pulled out to the sides, is a parallel to the way Aang was held under Admiral Zhao’s capture before being saved by the Blue Spirit.
Amon’s decision to spare Korra for the moment was, for lack of a more dramatic term, smart. Terrifying, but smart. Azula may have been much more wicked than Amon, and she was definitely no newb at these kinds of grand-scale chess games (Ba Sing Se, anyone?), but Amon, unlike Azula, would clearly never let any ego get in the way of his plans. This is a villain who knows what he’s doing.
I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see what happens. ‘Til next week.