The Legend of Korra: Remembrances
November 21, 2014 6:27 AM - Season 4, Episode 8 - Subscribe

In a series of flashbacks, narrated by Mako, Korra and Varrick, moments from the past seasons are resurrected. Mako describes his romantic past to Wu, his grandmother and cousin, while Korra reflects to Asami on whether an Avatar is really needed in the modern world by recounting her past enemies. On a small boat slowly making its way north, Varrick entertains the refugees from Kuvira's reeducation camp with his idea for the best movie ever, based on events in Bolin's and his life, mixed with events from the previous seasons.

This flashback episode is reminiscent of the Last Airbender episode, "The Ember Island Players," in which a theatrical troupe put on a play that recalled the past adventures and events of Avatar Aang and his Team Avatar, prior to the series finale.
posted by Atreides (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Zombie Amon, Vaatu, Zaheer all on the phone while Unalaq listens in and wants to hang with the cool kids?


I thought I'd get annoyed with Mako's retelling of his love life, mostly because I just finished re-watching Book 2, but having Wu and his grandma and cousin interjecting made it delightful. And the chibis!

And Asami and Korra standing there and Asami reminding Korra of all the good things she's done...*sigh* Even if they don't actually end up together in canon, they're totally going to be there for each other for the rest of their lives, and it's going to be beautiful.

Since I had read Bryan's comments on this episode beforehand, I wasn't expecting much, and if I had gone into it blind, I might have been a little annoyed at it being a clips show. But, instead, I got to see it as what it was meant to be.

A pause. A memory. Seeing how far Korra's come from that first heady rush into Republic City. How far all of these kids have grown and changed and became better people.

So now that we've rested and reflected, it's totally time for KICKING ASS.
posted by Katemonkey at 6:41 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Since I had read Bryan's comments on this episode beforehand, I wasn't expecting much, and if I had gone into it blind, I might have been a little annoyed at it being a clips show. But, instead, I got to see it as what it was meant to be.

A'ight, so I didn't see this or know anything about the episode going in, and this is exactly what happened! Thus, it carried over into my thoughts below which I just finished grumble typing. This episode definitely should have come with a request to read Bryan's words first!

Not to set the tone sour, but I found this episode frustrating in its form and execution. I don't think my thoughts on this episode will go into any great length, so I won't be bothering with posting a recap elsewhere.

This is essentially Korra's Ember Island Players episode, an episode designed to reflect on everything that has happened in the past with the series finale impending. "Ember Island Players" did this with an amusing interpretation of the events that happened, performed by actors and actresses who may or may not have had much similarity to the actual characters, Aang, Katara, Zuko, and so on. It was an episode that engaged with the characters as spectators and also drove some emotional responses from them, which lead them to reflect on their own pasts. It was a recap episode that was essentially an original episode and was both poignant and hilarious at times.

"Remembrances," instead of adapting a similar vein, opted for straight up flashbacks with the usage of animation that we had previously seen with a few minor alterations from time to time. The narration was new, but definitely not creative enough to sustain the amount of time that was dedicated to each flashback. This is the equivalent of a clip show, which perhaps was done to save money for use in the series finale (conjecture!).

Our first flashback series is with Mako...Mako going over what may amount to some of the weakest and frustrating aspects of Legend of Korra, the romance that surrounded him. Yes, in the last season of the Legend of Korra, with approximately five episodes left, we were given nearly half of the episode to suffer through the various romances of Mako propped up with chibi-like face designs of Mako, Prince Wu, Mako's grandmother, and Mako's cousin commenting. I literally stopped the episode to see how much time was being dedicated to this segment and that's when my frustration probably peaked.

So what's the point of Mako's share? The point will have to be likely either a setup for Mako and Korra to return to each other by the end of the season or they're going to kill Mako off and wanted to underline the emotional background between Mako and Korra. I can't fathom any other purpose for such a large amount of time in the 8th episode dedicated to this topic. Korrasami shippers might claim it exists to show that Mako is over Korra for good, especially since we cut away to Asami and Korra.

In fact, Asami brings out a hot cup of tea to Korra, concerned that she might be cold. Mako is off with Wu, watching over him (by orders) while Asami is freely with Korra, watching out for her. Take that for what you will and some will definitely take it to magnificent heights. Korra's flashbacks, however, go over her own thoughts on whether she's made a positive or negative impact on the world. She's overcome the poison in her body that physically held her back and now she's finally talking about her underlying psychological fears, based on the events that happened between Book 1 and the present. Incidentally, Korra's admissions to Asami on these fears also line up with her initial admission to Asami via letter that she was unable to enter the Avatar State. Asami has definitely become a trusted confidant with as much equal grounding as Tenzin, who Tenzins his way into the conversation out of nowhere. Seriously, cough or something next time, Tenzin! Asami is unrelentingly supportive and positive about Korra's place in the world and the good that she's done or has happened as a result of it.

Note, Asami's own emotional closeness to Korra could also play up the fact that she might be die in the series finale, in the same way that many feared Tenzin would die in Book 3. Since he didn't, I'm presuming that she won't, but that's out there on the fringe of possibilities.

Our final flashback is Varrick's re-imagining of the past events with Bolin swirled up within them. This segment was definitely the most creative and the closest thing to a spiritual descendant of the Ember Island Players. It also tossed up the idea of what would have been a great episode, designed to do the same thing, but presented as a Varrick produced mover which updated the Ember Island Players idea to the modern age. If you didn't have a grasp of the villains from the previous seasons after Korra's flashback, you were given one more chance to catch up, albeit with some Varrick twists. This episode also setup the relationship between Bolin and Opal and signaled the expectation that it will be resolved in the series finale (unsurprising news - but it was accompanied with a quick cut back to the ship and Bolin crying in the corner off by himself over losing Opal - fantastic).

Notably absent from Varrick's narrative of the story, which included many references to Varrick, was his trusty and loyal servant Zhu Li. Was this omission on purpose because Varrick was angry about her betrayal, though that would be against his development and longing for her built up in the last two episodes, or was it simply his own mind's perception of his importance to the world, or at least Bolin's story? I'm guessing it's the latter.

I vent and there were nice touches layered throughout the episode, like Bolin's corner weeping, and the comment about not over thinking movers. Erm. The fact that Mako's grandfather had an eye for ladies might help explain why the family is so large. There will definitely be some fun screen shots of the Varrick episodes, be it Bolin's face on the phoenix spirit or the phone conversation.

Let's just skip ahead a week, shall we?
posted by Atreides at 7:01 AM on November 21, 2014

This is the kind of wacky, timewasting nonsense... TLOK's tight season arcs don't have time for. :/
posted by weston at 7:42 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

But they're on the phone!

I don't know, man. I need wacky time-wasting nonsense.
posted by Katemonkey at 9:30 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

My first reaction was, "Wait, have phones been introduced yet in this world?!" Then I remembered that there was a scene in Book 1 where Tenzin's on the phone and I was able to enjoy that bit. "Glad I caught you at home..." I think if more of the episode had been wacky time-wasting nonsense, it would have been more satisfying for me.

Given that the alternative was firing people early, I can accept this episode.
posted by Atreides at 11:10 AM on November 21, 2014

At least everything else got the budget it deserved. I would have liked if everything was animated in the style of the Varrick "flashback", repurposing footage as a joke instead of straight recaps, but eh.
posted by Small Dollar at 12:51 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Man, Nickelodeon has consistently been a drag on this series ARRRGH.

I mean, ok, chibi characters are cute. I am always ok with Grandma, she's adorable. It was Too Much Mako, though, I would much rather have spent time with his extended wacky Earthbender family, they seem like fun.

Asami reassuring Korra would be ok if the dialogue wasn't so wooden and forced. And if they held hands, that would be nice.

But it was a clip show, and not a good one. So disappointed. It's more like a blu-ray extra feature than an episode. I'd really rather they had just skipped this one and made the season an episode shorter. It was that bad.

The preview for next week looks somewhat promising; return of Sullen Airbender Guy with a bad dye job (!) and his parents, with sinister vine-related doings.

Man. I'm depressed now. Fuck you and your stupid mishandling that has consistently crippled this show, Nickelodeon, seriously.
posted by emjaybee at 10:29 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Having heard about the budget issues, I understand why this episode was made the way that it was, but that sure didn't make it any easier to watch.

There were two major factors working against this episode. The first is that it is inevitably going to be compared to The Ember Island Players, and that is an impossibly high bar if all you have is some voiceovers and animation that your entire audience has already seen. The second is that showing a bunch of clips of previous seasons is only a good idea if those seasons haven't been as weak as LoK's have been.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:13 AM on November 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Given the budget cuts I think it was a really nice move of them to do a clip show to be able to avoid having to lay people off. However, I do wish they hadn't spent half of the episode on Mako's love life. To me they spent the majority of the episode on the least engaging part of the series. In fact, probably the least engaging character.
posted by bjrn at 10:45 AM on November 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I completely agree with this.
posted by Pendragon at 2:40 PM on November 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

And now: Nickleodeon announces Korra going back on Nicktoons. (was it on there before, or regular Nick? I don't have cable).
posted by emjaybee at 11:48 AM on November 24, 2014

Are there any plans for another Avatar series ? Who owns the rights ?
posted by Pendragon at 12:02 PM on November 24, 2014

The writers have said they don't plan any more series, but there will hopefully be comics, at least. And anything can get revived, given enough demand. I assume that even if they wanted to do more Avatar-verse, they would not want to do it with Nickelodeon, and who could blame them.
posted by emjaybee at 3:20 PM on November 24, 2014

I'm fairly sure Nick holds the rights to the series. I think that's a big reason why the creators have made it clear they need a break from all things Avatar once Korra is through.
posted by PearlRose at 10:24 AM on November 25, 2014

It's been so long since I watched an episode on Nick, I don't remember the channel. My thought was that it was on Nick prime, so to speak. ATLA is or was supposed to blowing up NickToons, at least when it eventually was put there and played in order.

I hope there are comic continuations of LoK, but I think that's not an idea that Bryke have explored at length in interviews. They do repeatedly point to the ATLA comics, the final chapter of the most recent storyline coming to an end recently (the awesome hard cover library edition with annotations will be out in January). I expect to see at least more there, as they don't exert nearly as much of their own energies on them, rather overseeing storyline and art, than producing it. But yeah, animation-wise, they are done with the Avatar universe for the foreseeable future.

When the withdrawal hits hard, I have two emergency plans: 1) Start up a re-watch of the ATLA series here on Fanfare and 2) embark on my first ever attempt at fan fiction to live through my own Avatar story, which I will probably write on napkins and store under my bed, away from prying eyes.
posted by Atreides at 1:25 PM on November 25, 2014

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