The Legend of Korra returned from its Memorial Weekend vacation and brought with it a whole load of political shenanigans and crazed villains…. all that without Amon. Yes, this week, Tarrlok, Republic City’s poster boy for going mad with power, revealed his true nature, much to the disgust and ultimately, dismay of young Avatar Korra.
The episode started calmly, with Asami, Mako, and Bolin arriving at the Air Temple. Needing somewhere to stay, Korra and Tenzin are putting them up. They are greeted at the dock by Korra, Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo; the three Airbender children. Meelo is curious about Pabu and Jinora explains what Fire Ferrets are. Ikki just thinks it’s cute and chases it, as Meelo tries to ride Naga like a Flying Bison. Asami has brought way too much stuff with he, but according to Mako it could have been worse. Korra says not to worry, as everyone there wants them to feel welcome.
Walking to the Air Temple, Meelo calls Asami pretty, and asks for some of her hair and Mako remarks that he’s got competition. Ikki gives the three new-comers the ‘Grand Tour’, which consists of telling them all the points on the island without showing them. Bolin excitedly fires five questions at little Ikki, who answers them just as quickly. Mako wonders where they’ll be staying and Meelo tells them that boys all stay together on one side of the island. Jinora offers to show them to the men’s dormitory and Bolin joins them. Korra sends Meelo with the boys and he leaves, not before laying on the charm towards the stunning Asami. Korra and Ikki lead Asami to her room.
As they’re walking down the corridor, Ikki, rather unsubtly, asks Asami if she knows that Korra likes Mako. Korra suffers a colourful momentary meltdown as Asami handles the situation well, if not a little surprised. Korra ushers Asami into her new room, locking out and dismissing Ikki. Ikki suffers a cat-like anger episode before sulking. Korra says her new room is probably a little more rustic than she’s used to, but Asami says it’s charming and is glad nothing there reminds her of her dad. A knock is heard on the door and Korra starts threatening Ikki but it’s Tenzin who opens up the door. Tenzin welcomes Asami to the island and then remarks to Korra that the new Chief of Police, Saikon, is being publicly announced and that they should both be there.
At the ceremony Saikon wishes Beifong a speedy recovery but then starts sucking up to Tarrlok.. He says Tarrlok is the only one who has been effective against the Equalist menace, and then basically says Tarrlok is in charge. Korra remarks to Tenzin that she thinks the weasel-snake Tarrlok is up to something. After the press conference, Tenzin and Korra approach Tarrlok. Tenzin suspects foul play from Tarrlok in getting Saikon in his pocket, but Tarrlok calls him a conspiracy theorist. Tarrlok is full of himself, as deplorable as ever.
He spots Korra and says that now Pro Bending has finished (oh how I miss it) he is looking forward to Korra rejoining his task force. She has no intention of rejoining it, calling it his ‘vanity project’. He says Tenzin was right about Tarrlok, and adds that he needs her because she’s the Avatar. He says she’s not, just merely a half-baked Avatar in training. He then mocks her inability to grasp Airbending. He leaves, his insults having stung, and says she should stay out of his way.
On the Flying Bison home, Korra expresses her frustrations at not being able to bend even the littlest puff of air. She says she’s a failure, which Tenzin is quick to dispute. He points out that when Avatar Aang needed help, he consulted earlier Avatars. He asks if she’s ever done this but she dismiss’her chances, saying she’s also known for being a spiritual failure. Tenzin says she might have communicated with them already and just not known it, maybe it came to her as a dream. Korra tells him about her hallucinations (which I love each time they are shown) and says that she she’s Aang in them, and he seems to be in trouble. Tenzin tells her to meditate on these hallucinations; he thinks Aang is trying to tell her something. I know it’s meant as respect but Tenzin referring to Avatar Aang by his name seems weird, since it’s his dad. Maybe that’s just me.
At the temple, Korra is looking to the Aang statue and crying. Bolin is shouting her name and Pabu, Bolin, Mako, and Asami show up. They get her to open up and she wonders how she can save the city if she can’t Airbend. She calls herself the worst Avatar ever, stating that she feels so alone. Man-stealer Asami quickly points out the obvious; Korra’s awesome. Mako adds that Aang hadn’t mastered all the elements when he was fighting the Fire Nation and Bolin chimes in, saying Aang had friends (Toph and Sokka were amazing). He then proclaims themselves the new Team Avatar. I can’t believe it’s taken the characters until episode eight to figure out what we’ve known all along, but I’ll forgive them, because they’re Team Avatar now. They all says they can save the city together, and then Meelo appears for a cheap laugh all round.
At the Temple, Bolin is full of bravado as Mako points out Asami’s taste in accessories. She’s wearing one of the Equalist gauntlets, summarizing that one way to catch Equalists is with their own weapon. Korra says lets ride but Naga can’t take the strain of all four of them. They should ditch Asami. Korra asks for alternative ideas and Asami, showing off, has one, and appears with a car. I can’t figure out if it’s her own of the one Tarrlok tried to bribe Korra with but either way, they all get in and head off; Bolin stating he likes the new Avatar Team’s style.
On the road, the radio picks up the police scanners. Asami sadly points out that her dad had all his cars fitted with police scanners. (Still no clearer on whose car it is) They hear the police talking about an Equalist prison break. They see a truck and a few bikes scream past and head after the Equalists. Asami showcases her driving skills and Korra and Bolin Earthbend a ramp, taking them over a lorry that nearly stopped them following the Equalists. Mako uses lightning (haven’t seen that in a while) to take one bike out, Bolin rapidly shoots bits of road at another and takes it down. The remaining bikes use smoke to blind the team and Korra has to Earthbend the road to help the car take a sharp right after the jail breakers. Asami rams the two bikes but the Equalists land on the car. Mako tries to shoot fire at one but he gets his hands tied. The other uses his Chi-Blocker skills on Bolin but is then electrocuted by Asami. Korra pulls Mako back which knocks the remaining Equalist off-balance and he too gets the shock treatment from Asami. Mako, know free, shots lightning into the passenger cab of the truck and it flips, rolling to a stop. Dangerous Firebender!
When the police catch up, Team Avatar has eight of Amon’s finest tied up, with photographer’s bulbs flashing. Tarrlok is not happy as Korra patronizes him about his lack of showing during the chase. He gives her one last warning about staying out of his way. The next day at the council building, Tarrlok is trying to get a law passed saying any one involved with or in some way connected to the Equalists should be arrested. He also wants a non-bender curfew installed. Tenzin tries to argue but Tarrlok receives the backing of the other council members. Tarrlok seems smug, despite the fact he’s playing right into Amon’s hands; or maybe that’s the snakes plan?
Later, Team Avatar is hanging by the car and they hear a police report over the scanner about Equalists. Bolin jumps in the front passenger seat. Korra remarks on Mako being a gentleman as he lets her get in first. Asami slides her mirror to see the two of them in the backseat. Ikki’s words clearly stuck with her, ha! When they arrive at their destination they notice there’s no power. The people in the street are no Equalists, merely non-bender who’ve had their power cut and are not happy about it. They notice Korra and one woman points out that she should do something because she’s their Avatar too. That woman is absolutely right, Korra.
Korra seems to agree and pushes two Metalbending cops out of the way, saying she’s going to go sort everything out. She sees Tarrlok and confronts him, saying they should be let go. He dismisses her, saying it’s an Equalist rally and that they’re the enemy. He orders them all to be rounded up. The police Metalbend the barriers round groups of the non-benders and elevate the ground under them. Those that were not rounded up flee. Korra frees the non-benders before they are put into trucks, which annoys Tarrlok. He Waterbends, apprehending Asami, for being a non bender out after curfew and for her dad being a known Equalist. When Mako argues, he and Bolin are ordered under arrest as well. Korra sees it and Earthbends two big boulders and shouts Tarrlok but he calmly threatens her with arrest. I wanted her to smash his smug little head in, but Mako talks her out of it. She promises to get Tenzin and sort everything out. Tarrlok sneers more abuse at Korra. That guy is asking for a beating.
At the police station, Tenzin arrives to find a frustrated Korra. He coolly states that he’ll sort it and spots Saikon, the new chief, skulking away. He calls him over and says that Korra’s friends should be released but Saikon says no. Korra stands up for everyone, saying they should all be released by Saikon calls them Equalist suspects, and says they’ll only be released if and when the task force deems them no longer a threat. Tenzin says that the law guarantees them due process but Saikon just says Tenzin should take it up with Tarrlok. Tenzin says he intends to in the council meeting, first thing in the morning. Korra tells Saikon that he’s the worst chief of police ever. Tenzin tells her to calm herself, and that they’ll sort it in the morning, but in a childish, funny moment echoes her sentiments about the chief, straight to his face. Leading by example is not always his strong-point.
At the Air Temple, Korra can’t sleep, irritated at her friends being locked up. She wakes up Naga and they head into Republic City. Korra makes Naga wait outside the council building and she bursts through a window in Tarrlok’s office, stating they need to talk. Tarrlok is sat behind a desk, a waterfall behind him. I smell a Waterbending fight a-coming. Tarrlok checks with his lackey that the building is empty and then sends him home. When he’s gone, he invites Korra to speak her mind.
Korra bursts; telling him that what he’s doing is the very thing Amon is accusing Benders of doing; oppressing and intimidating weaker individuals. He says that’s what she has come to do, to intimidate him into letting her friends go. He says he admires her willingness to go to extremes to get what she wants and adds it’s a quality they share. She disagrees. He says if she’s ready to fall in line and do as he says, he’ll let her friends go. She is surprised by the depths he is sinking to. I am not; I knew he was a muppet. She says unlike the spineless new chief, she won’t be manipulated into following him. Tarrlok, anger coursing through him, says that she’ll regret that decision. She says he needs to be stopped; that he’s just as bad as Amon!
Turns out, dem’s fighting words. A wide-eyed Tarrlok says he tried to work with her but she made it impossible. Then he attacks. That horrible Waterbender actually had the gall to attack. She dodges and smashes him with the floor. He falls back into his waterfall wall. She attacks with a stream of fire but he protects himself in a water bubble. She relents and he starts firing ice shards at her from within his bubble. At least Amon gets in your face, some villain. Korra dodges and punches the ice shards but a few of them strike her. She manages to shoot up a wall as a shield and then in a tactical attack, Earthbends the wall behind Tarrlok, smashing it into him. Tarrlok loses his water supply and is sent through the office wall, onto the balcony above the council meeting room. He falls over the rail and Korra appears in the gap in the wall. She asks him is she’s still a half-baked Avatar and then sends him to the floor of the council. She jumps down after him, breaking the floor in an attack straight out of video game land.
Korra walks towards Tarrlok, asking him what he’s going to do now he’s out of water. He’s backpedaling and with fire in each hand Korra charges at him. He leaps to his feet and stops her, without touching. At first I thought my suspicions about him being Amon had just been proved but it became quickly apparent that it was something more sinister. With bated breath I waited as Korra pieced it together; Tarrlok, is a Bloodbender! Tarrlok tells her that she’s in his way and needs to be removed. Korra is confused, wondering how, when there’s no full moon he can use the most sickening art but he simply says there’s a lot of things she doesn’t know about him and launches her into the wall on the far side of the room.
As Tarrlok approaches her, the dazed Korra starts having another of my beloved visions of the old cast. Sokka, Toph and Aang are all shown in a courtroom, struggling as (presumably) the defendant laughs. My money is on him being a Bloodbender, and it all tying in nicely with Tarrlok and Amon. Korra wakes up, tied with ropes in the back of a van. She asks Tarrlok where he’s taking her and he says where no-one will ever find her. He tells her to say goodbye to Republic City, because she’ll never see it again. She tries to breathe fire at him but he closes the van door just in time.
In the back of the van, she starts shouting that he can’t do this to her, for him to let her go and then eventually just a pained ‘no’. Tarrlok, hair out of place, looking crazed, is behind the wheel and drives, on his way out of Republic City. We see the crescent moon and the episode ends, leaving us with so many questions that my head nearly exploded. How can he Bloodbend without the full moon? Where was Amon? Is Beifong coming back to the police now that her replacement is just a gopher? Will Naga chase after the truck? How will prissy Asami cope with life on the inside? Does Sokka and Suki’s kids plan on getting involved anytime soon? (I really hope they exist)
Overall, this episode did nothing but continue the great from The Legend of Korra has been on. There was political games, jokes from kids, arrests, a new chief of police a car chase, lightning, and the long-awaited, at least for me, of the gruesome bending practice. I must also add that once again, the music in this episode was perfect from start to finish. Korra certainly has her hands full; Amon and now Tarrlok. Whilst part of me is still believing that Amon and Tarrlok are at least in cahoots or indeed the same guy, a big part of me has given that up for a simple reason. Tarrlok isn’t cool enough to be Amon. And Korra can take Tarrlok, I know it, just you wait till the next episode. I hope, anyway.