By: Dan Tomasik
Korra is captured by the Earth Queen’s forces, while Mako & Bolin are captured by Zaheer to be used for ransom.
For the longest time, Book 3 has felt like the “where are we going with this” season. Lacking a clear goal or theme the way other seasons have, “Change” has been a dark horse from the start. But now things are starting to heat up. Now things are coming together. Now everything is changing. Not just within the Avatar world, but the fundamental principals of the series itself.
In a word, this episode was dark. Shockingly so. Darkest episode Avatar has ever had. It comes very much unexpectedly though. The majority of the episode feels fairly standard, which is not to say it was predictable or boring. Even at its worst, Legend of Korra is awesome and hands-down the best animated series around right now.
The arc with Korra, Asami, and the airship crew in the desert was wonderful (especially with the beautifully-designed giant land shark). Bolin and Mako’s interactions with Zaheer’s crew were engaging and interesting. The ominous atmosphere that hangs while Zaheer negotiates with the Earth Queen definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat, as does the reunion of Korra with Tonraq, Zuko (plus his giant dragon), and Lin. Then there’s the comedy….
Part of it may be writing, but P.J. Byrne continues to make Bolin such an interesting character with such a unique style of humor. He doesn’t handle the setups and punchlines like most people would. The timing, delivery, and inflections for each joke are unorthodox but consistent. Putting it into words is difficult, but on a basic level Bolin simply has his own interesting way of making jokes funny. Every joke manages to be both funny and believably character-driven.
Bolin: Ooh, okay, that sounds like fun! Let me try that on you guys. Okay, uh… You were raised by an older sister, your mustache grew in when you were 10, and I’m sensing – just sensing – an unspoken attraction between the two of you.
Ghazan: (impressed) Two out of three. Not bad.
But nothing in the episode hinted at such a shocking game-changer.