The Legend of Korra: In Harms Way
July 12, 2014 11:14 AM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Informed by Mako and Bolin of the imprisoned air benders, Korra and Team Avatar plan to break them out. The budding romance between Jinora and Kai takes another step forward, while Team Zuko is defeated handily by Team Anti-Avatar who break out Sparky Sparky Boom Lady from her frozen prison. Lin Beifong appears in Ba Sing Se to warn Korra of the escape and we learn that Zaheer, leader of Team Anti-Avatar, and his compatriots had attempted to kidnap Korra shortly after she was identified as the Avatar, which resulted in their imprisonment. Also, Bumi needs a badger mole who knows morse code.
posted by Atreides (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Clearly I'm going to have to go back and watch the original A:TLA series, because I need to know if the comic relief stuff was better handled than it is in Korra. Bolin is working my last nerve, and the whole Kai storyline makes me want to roll my eyes back into my head. I'm trying to relax and enjoy the gorgeous animation but I feel like any attempt at character-building has really fallen off the wagon in this series.
posted by PussKillian at 3:39 PM on July 12, 2014

Comic relief in the original series was way worse in season one. It got better over time though.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:10 PM on July 12, 2014

The villains are a joke. Who are they? We got Tenzin and Lin's exposition, but if the only thing anyone knows about them is that they tried to kidnap Korra when she was a baby, and they wouldn't tell them why and no one had any guesses, wouldn't the logical assumption be that they're just four crazy weirdos? And if they're so powerful and fearsome, why not execute them, or have the new Avatar take their bending? And why was Zahir locked up so securely in the first place if he couldn't even bend, how dangerous can he be? And how did he know where his friends were locked up? In the words of Mr. Plinkett, are you starting to see how this sounds like an eight year old wrote it?

Apparently, The Four Evil People have also mastered the special bending ability which allows you to defeat any enemy. The fact that they're able to defeat multiple White Lotus guards is just absurd. They also have no motivations and I'm sure whatever motivations are revealed, they won't be very interesting, and Korra will defeat them, tying up everything in a neat bow to whatever stupid villain we'll see in season 4.

And I guess Team Korra knows the same secret bending technique as The Four Evil People, because they sure defeated the Dai Lee easily. And why did Lin go along with this plan to take the airbenders, would she really allow Korra to make herself an enemy of an entire country? And why, other than plot convenience, does Jinora have the ability of astral projection? AND WHY DID THEY BRING HER TO FIGHT THE DAI LEE?

And of course sandwiched between this lazy storytelling is insipid dialogue and misplaced humor. At this point I don't even know why I watch the show.
posted by catwash at 10:09 PM on July 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

posted by DoctorFedora at 11:55 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I do wish they had drawn out the Earth Queen's Secret Airbender Army a bit longer. I hope that they come back to it, because it had so much more potential.

However, how creepy and amazing is Jinora floating around places? The empty secret Dai Lee area, with all the water...

Also, catwash, I think Tenzin has very weird ideas about what's appropriate for kids. After all, his dad was around Jinora's age when he travelled around the world, so why wouldn't she get to go along with them when they're taking on the Dai Lee?
posted by Katemonkey at 2:17 AM on July 13, 2014

I quite enjoyed In Harm's Way, myself, and have been enjoying Book 3 much more than I had Book 2 at the same point in the respective seasons. I was disappointed by the first battle where the Red Lotus (it's the name of the group that was accidentally leaked by someone naming a clip file of the group on the Nick website), got through Team Zuko relatively easily. It was still a fantastic animated sequence, but I was hoping for Zuko to unleash a fire bending that had benefited from decades of practice and use (he was essentially a master of the art by the end of ATLA). Water for Arms continues to be pretty vicious and the apparent ease by which she overcomes articles is something to marvel at.

Jinora's astral projection, so to speak, arose out of the end of last season. It doesn't seem to out of sorts, particularly given her apparent super affinity for the spiritual world. I cackled when Mako suggested the lake, as it was something that I'm sure many fans of ATLA had been considering since the trailer and reintroduction of the Dai Li. It was definitely fun to see Jinora visit those scenes, now submerged or mostly submerged, including the room where Jet was killed. As an aside, it was awesome when Bumi just chirped up during the discussion about rescuing the air benders to admit that it was within the Queen's right to impress her citizens into an army. It helped to shine a light on one more aspect of having a monarch be the leader/ruler of a nation. I don't think it was a mistake that it is the Temple of Heaven from the Forbidden City that was the battleground for the escape (it's incomplete status implies to me that the Queen no longer has the Mandate of Heaven). Also, the music and sound by the Track Team, was perfect for the battle between the Dai Li and the air benders. The power of multiple air benders is impressive.

I didn't find the Dai Li represented as less of a threat than before, but their power seemed more based on being a secret police force than out right fighters. Likewise, in the escape with Bolin, Mako and Jinora (she's got to be about the same age as Aang in ATLA or near abouts), didn't surprise me in the manner that the brothers handled the Dai Li. These two have been training all their lives to fight in a constrained space against opponents. Sure, this is a little more constrained than the Pro Bending arena, but a lot of the same skills would probably come into play.

It was great having the true Lin appear for the first time since the first book. The Lin of the last book was kind of just there, without doing much or being more than background scenery. I doubt she cared much at all for whatever Korra chose to do with the Earth Queen, it isn't her job. If it's not her job, she doesn't care.

As for the Red Lotus at this point, I don't think there's been much of a problem with their introduction or existence. Their motivation is to obviously capture the Avatar, the purpose, remains a mystery which I'm sure we'll learn as we understand them. The why is very much intended, this group is supposed to remain mysterious and intriguing. I'm glad we haven't had some kind of exposition from Zaheer in the first episode we met him. As for the defeat of the White Lotus Guard, those guys may be good, but they were taken out by the Chi Blockers in the first season. They aren't the best, is probably the kindest way to say it. At the time they were stopped, there was no one around who could take their bending. Aang was dead (reincarnated into Korra) and executions are generally reserved for the worse people in the Avatar universe, i.e., those who execute not those who get executed. Imprisonment makes sense, and special prisons for powerful or normal benders was established in ATLA.

I think it will definitely be interesting to see what happens down this road in Book 3. The Earth Queen will return in some manner undoubtedly, but how, that will be interesting. Will she launch an attack on Republic City? She can hate on Korra all she wants, but it's one person. Korra doesn't represent, officially, any one place or people. She represents everyone.
posted by Atreides at 8:25 AM on July 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

And if they're so powerful and fearsome, why not execute them, or have the new Avatar take their bending? And why was Zahir locked up so securely in the first place if he couldn't even bend, how dangerous can he be? And how did he know where his friends were locked up?

There have been a number of non-benders in the Avatar world that are essentially as dangerous as benders. Having Zaheer be one of these doesn't seem unreasonable. In fact, that's really the only starting point from which he could reasonably be considered a dangerous airbender in a matter of weeks.

Execution: maybe they didn't do that for the same reason some of us in this world would prefer executions no longer take place. That's a little out of place in a world that seems so much more martial, but maybe the white lotus is more enlightened.

Taking their bending between book 1 and 2 would have been the non-derpy thing to do. One of the things we notice at the beginning of book 2, though, is that Korra is still being "managed" in some ways by her father and Tenzin... and she resents it. It's possible they still hadn't transitioned from the "we protect, nurture, and train Korra" place to the "we go to Korra to get problems solved" place. Or, also, that they considered the problem solved by over a decade of successful imprisonment.

This isn't to say I find the writing flawless. I think the plotbending charge has had merit for a lot of TLOKs writing. And while I'm enjoying Book 3 so far, it seems clear to me that there was something special about the original team for ATLA that the current team can't seem to re-create.
posted by weston at 11:49 AM on July 13, 2014

Hey, can we not mention leaked spoilers in these threads please?
posted by Ned G at 4:09 AM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're referring to the name of Zaheer's group, my apologies. I have purposefully avoided any of the leaked episodes and to my knowledge, information that arises from them. This was just someone running across a file with the name on it associated with the group. Everything other than the name is entirely conjecture, which, if true, just means I rock the analyzing Korra world (highly unlikely).
posted by Atreides at 6:50 AM on July 15, 2014

I just had a thought about Ba Sing Se and the current Earth Queen. You think the President of New Republic City has problems dealing with change and the prospect of Spirit neighbors? I'd really love to see a plot thread addressing the immigration of spirits to Ba Sing Se.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:27 AM on July 15, 2014

This thought just occurred to me while reading someone talking about the likelihood of the Earth Kingdom attacking Republic City. It will happen, but one of the deciding factors in the defense of the city (victory against the Earth Kingdom?) will be the presence of the spirits who will help fight against the Earth Kingdom forces. So I'm going with that idea on how they'll resolve the current antagonism between the residents of Republic City and the spirits. Republic City stands as a unifying place, where all people from all nations can live together. It would definitely make sense if this umbrella was extended to the spirits.
posted by Atreides at 9:02 AM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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