The Legend of Korra’s third season has already gotten off to a fantastic start, so I was happy to see that the fourth and fifth episodes kept the momentum going. Both “In Harm’s Way” and “The Metal Clan” furthered the plot, continued the tour of the world post-The Last Airbender, and introduced some new characters with an intimate connection to one of the original Team Avatar. It really feels like Korra has finally hit it’s stride.
“In Harm’s Way” wraps up Team Avatar’s journey into Ba Sing Se. Upon finding out from their extensive extended family that the airbenders of the city have been forcibly drafted, Mako and Bolin rush to tell Korra and Asami, who proceeds to get the gang together for a rescue mission. Jinora plays a big part in the rescue, as she uses her astral projection to locate Kai and figure out where he and the airbenders are being held. It isn’t quite clear why Jinora can still do that little trick post-harmonic convergence, but it blessedly spares the team a lot of searching. We definitely don’t want a repeat of the last time the Avatar was looking for someone in Ba Sing Se.
While the Avatar and her friends plan the breakout, Kai develops an intense warden/prisoner relationship with a member of the Dai Li. The sequences mostly serve to play up Kai’s good points, as he gets in trouble for helping the other prisoners. He’s a wily little thief, but he has a compassionate heart.
The fight scenes between Team Avatar and the Dai Li are beautifully animated and thrilling. It was good to see Korra stick to her guns, even when faced with the threat of war. Her character has really begun to shine through, and it’s easier to see what her principles are.
Worth mentioning are the group of villains who, as we learn from Lin, are after Korra. Not only are they a force to be reckoned with, they have an oddly friendly, or in P’Li and Zaheer’s case, romantic, rapport with each other. I like them, especially Ming Hua, on account of the fact that she waterbends despite having no arms. That’s so metal.
“The Metal Clan” saw Team Avatar split up with Tenzin, Jinora, Kai, and the airbenders. Lin, dedicated to protecting the Avatar from the gang of convicts currently after her, reluctantly goes with the gang to the metal city of Zaofu. Korra enters the city in order to speak with a newly minted airbender, but quickly finds that Lin’s lack of enthusiasm about Zaofu stems from the fact that her half-sister, Suyin, lives there.
Suyin is the successful founder of Zaofu, and she lives there happily with her husband and five children. Lin immediately starts acting out in the presence of her sister, displaying a lot of complex feelings about where she is in life versus where her sister is. It’s clear from the various conversations had about Toph (who could still be alive?!), that while she was a loving mother, she unintentionally cultivated insecurities in her daughters that they still struggle with. Toph’s desire for freedom in both herself and her children led to some questionable parenting. Like Aang, it was refreshing to hear that Toph wasn’t the perfect parent, and the fact that she has two children by two different fathers was an excellent reflection of real life family dynamics.
Su’s daughter Opal is the new airbender, and she quickly develops a relationship with both Korra and Bolin. Opal is a sweet, earnest girl. She’s shy and sheltered, but her stern reaction to Bolin’s boorish flirting hints at some buried confidence. While she seems a little bit bland at this point, I think her personality will become a lot sharper in the future.
Back at Air Temple Island, Zaheer successfully infiltrates the Air Acolytes for a time, interacting with Tenzin’s children while attempting to subtly gather intel on Korra’s whereabouts. Kya pretty quickly sees through the act and manages to hold her own against Zaheer in a beautifully animated battle. Still, Zaheer manages to escape, and presumably heads out to find the Avatar. It’s pretty clear that a confrontation is not far away, but Korra has more pressing matters in dealing with Lin and Su’s animosity.
The last two seasons of Korra have dragged in some places and felt rushed in others. So far, that isn’t the case with Season 3, and I hope they can keep it that way. I find it odd that Nickelodeon is airing the episodes back to back for the entire season, but I guess I shouldn’t turn down an hour of Korra every week.
All images and properties are copyright of Nickelodeon.