[Review] Legend of Korra episode 10 – Turning the Tides

This week’s review is dedicated entirely to Lin Beifong, because I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from the horrible shock of seeing Amon take her bending away.

Lin Beifong, as a character, has gradually shown more and more sides of herself as the season went on. When we met her in episode 2 as she interrogated Korra, she was very cold, strict, and unyielding… basically, that mean substitute teacher that you never want to get. In episode 4, Lin was, well, kind of bitchy to Korra as she tells her how Korra hasn’t done anything to deserve a gala, adding on to Korra’s already long list of troubles. In episode 6, we learn that Lin can have a soft spot in her heart for someone (Aang’s son and Toph’s daughter! Oh, if only they had said something about their kids during the flashback!). She shows some stubbornness with her grudge toward Tenzin and a lot of badassery with her badassery. Save Avatar butt, kick Equalist butt. In episode 7 with the raid on the Sato mansion, Lin is authoritative and all-business again, but then goes back to being the badass we love. How many times am I going to say “badass” in this paragraph? All lot, because you can’t spell Lin Beifong without badass. Look closely, it’s in there. In episode 9 when Lin sneaks into the Equalist headquarters to rescue her metalbending officers, she showed a little of the rule-breaking streak that we remember from Toph, and then some more Wolverine-like badassery.

Now this episode. Wow.

Although she’s certainly admirable as a fighter and a warrior, this episode made me love Lin as a person. Firstly, when Tenzin asks her, his ex-girlfriend, to look after his family, she calls him “old friend” reassuringly to let him know that she’s put their past behind her, which is more than we can say about Pema, who definitely sounded jealous when she saw them together. That to me shows a lot of progress in Lin’s character from the woman who treated Korra coldly because just because she was Tenzin’s responsibility. Then when Lin swore to protect Tenzin’s family because they were the last airbenders, it shows that she has a clear idea of what’s important. Good lady, that Lin Beifong.

And everything after that. Telling Tenzin to keep going no matter what happened to her – basically preparing to lose her life to protect her ex-boyfriend’s family. Tearing up that airship like Toph once did. Losing her bending as a martyr. It was a losing battle going in and she knew it, but Lin went ahead anyways.

To make myself feel worse, I made up a little headcanon that as someone who surely learned earthbending and metalbending from Toph, her bending was maybe one of the last things that reminded Lin of her (almost definitely) late mother. Judging by the tone in Lin’s voice back in episode 1 when she answered “What of it?” to Korra’s realization that she is Toph’s daughter, she and Toph possibly had a lot of arguments as Lin grew up, which is pretty plausible when you think about how stubborn both these two women are. Despite that, I think Lin couldn’t help but feel some connection to her mother whenever she bended, and now that she’s lost that part of her, it’s like she’s lost the last lingering bits of her mother.

I think I’ll go cry again now.

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