The Legend of Korra delivers an executive-mandated clip show this week. While “Remembrances” doesn’t do anything to further the plot, clever commentary and humor elevate the otherwise recycled moments into something that doesn’t detract too terribly from the series.
It’s important to acknowledge co-creator Bryan Konietzko’s Tumblr commentary on “Remembrances” before judging it too harshly. The inclusion of a clip show is entirely Nickelodeon’s doing, and the crew does their best to make it as enjoyable as possible. The result isn’t fantastic, but the added commentary and insight keeps it from being a total waste.
“Remembrances” is split into three parts. Mako’s segment – which takes up the largest chunk of the episode – offers insight into his thought process during his awkward, terrible relationships with Asami and Korra. As Mako tells the story, Prince Wu, Cousin Tu, and Grandma Yin rib him about his stupid decisions, forcing him to acknowledge his mistakes as a boyfriend. Mako’s romantic entanglements have always dragged his character down, and it’s nice to see him recognize that being in a relationship didn’t exactly bring out his best side. Since Mako and Korra have officially called it quits, he’s become significantly more likable. As someone who once thought Mako was the worst, I can appreciate how far he’s come.
Asami and Korra’s segment is the shortest, but their conversation is the one most relevant to the current story. Korra, still trying to reconcile her failures with her role as the Avatar, expresses concerns that she’s become irrelevant. Asami and Tenzin try to comfort her by reminding her that she’s just one person, and that she’s already made her mark on the world. There’s not a lot said we didn’t already know, but I appreciate the reminder about who Korra was before versus who she is now. Korra’s likability was pretty dubious back in the first two Books, but she truly has grown in the last two seasons. It’s hard to imagine that the bratty, arrogant girl from the beginning of the series could turn into this Korra, but that’s character development for you.
Varrick and Bolin’s segment is by far the most entertaining of the three. To entertain the Earth Kingdom refugees, Varrick spins the story of Bolin’s life into a ridiculously over-the-top mover pitch, complete with improbable villainous team-ups and badly superimposed images of Bolin’s face over Korra’s. Unlike the other two segments’ straightforward series of clips, this bit plays around with the visuals a bit, including one memorable moment in which Mover!Unalaq, Amon, Vaatu, and Zaheer are having a four-way telephone conversation like they’re in Mean Girls or something. As far as pure silliness goes, this segment is the most successful.
Unfortunately, “Remembrances” is still a clip show. Unlike Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s masterful “Ember Island Players”, this episode is made up of mostly recycled footage, and no amount of clever jokes can mask that. The inclusion of a clip show episode is made worse by the fact that there are only five episodes left to not only wrap up the season, but wrap up the series in its entirety. Presumably, there won’t be more Korra after this, nor will there be more animated adventures in the world of Avatar (I do hope the world will live on in the form of comics). It’s imperative that every episode from here on out be used as wisely as possible.
But of course, “Remembrances” isn’t the fault of Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, or anyone else working on the series. This is just one more example of how badly Nickelodeon has mishandled Korra from its inception. I commend the Korra crew for making the best of a bad situation and I certainly won’t hold it against them. As far as clip shows go, this one at least had the decency to try and be relevant.
Images are copyright of Nickelodeon.