The Legend of Korra: The Metal Clan
July 12, 2014 11:14 AM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Team Avatar loses Tenzin as he takes the Earth Kingdom air benders to the Northern Air Temple to learn the ways of the air nomads and everyone else heads for the futuristic Zhao Fu, the home and city of the Metal Clan to find a new air bender. Once there they meet Suyin Beifong, Lin Beifong's half-sister and a whole lot of emotional baggage which also belongs to Lin. Bolin may have a new love interest in Opal, Lin's neice and the Metal Clan air bender, while back at Avatar Island in Republic City, Zaheer infiltrates the ranks of the new air benders in hopes of finding out the whereabouts of Korra. Also, we learn the universe didn't want Varrick to go to answer for his crimes. Nifty spoiler inside!

Toph is still alive and wandering the world in search of spiritual enlightenment.
posted by Atreides (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I approve of Suyin's anti-monarchical views, but if Korra's going to be running around pissing off various world leaders she's going to have to start paying attention to politics.

Zhao Fu looks nice, but a walled city where you can't get away with telling lies or concealing anything from anyone is also a bit creepy. It looks better at first glance than Ba Sing Se, the "City of Walls and Secrets", because we don't know of any secret police and don't see any poor people, but seeing as it's inhabited by human beings there's probably more to it than pretty metal flowers.

also lol "Next week: a new episode you can't see online or anywhere else!"
posted by Small Dollar at 1:40 PM on July 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


So what was it about the metal city that made Lin act like a twelve year old?
posted by catwash at 10:19 PM on July 12, 2014


Zhao Fu, wow! It struck me in several ways. First, it reminded me of the type of futuristic cities you would see in the old serials from the 30's and 40's. Second, it was replete with art deco-like designs, very cool! Third, it also made me think of, and I hate to say it, John Galt's secret community from Atlas Shrugged, a place where genius is unrestrained (granted not for the same grounds). It was beautiful and inspired. I think you're right, Small Dollar, there is definitely something less than wonderful going on in Zhao Fu.

This episode focused a lot on the Beifong Clan. Lin obviously has very strong feelings about her sister, strong enough to make it so she hasn't spoken to her in roughly thirty years. I doubt it has to do with "she stole X from me, and it broke my heart" as we know Pema did that. I'm very curious to understand what happened? Did Toph express a preference for her newly introduced sister, Suyin, despite Lin having followed her mother into her footsteps completely (whereas, Suyin did the exact opposite). Oh, Toph! Who can't wait to see an old woman Toph? She's got to be grizzled and a little crazy. Seeking spiritual enlightenment, though, that is definitely evidence that Toph has matured from the young woman we knew from ATLA. I could never see that earth bender caring as much about spirituality.

The Metal Dancing was beautiful and so much of Zhao Fu was elegant, down to the giant metal petals closing up over the cities and the star-like lights set into them above.

Of course, we have Varrick! I was hoping we'd see more of him and his entry definitely opens the door to speculation about Suyin's gullibility or less than honest intentions with what she has helped create in the Metal bending society. Magnets, people, that's going to be important later. The fact that Suyin questioned the purpose of having a monarch throws more weight that the Earth Queen may be deposed later down the road, and now I wonder if the Metal Clan might attempt some kind of coup, built in part, on Varrick's devious inventions.

Opal. I'm not really sold on her yet, as at first, she seemed kind of bland. The more time we spend with her, the more I'm convinced she's much more than a pleasant face. Regardless, she's probably much better suited for Bolin than his last lady love.

Then wham, back at Avatar Island, we have Zaheer infiltrating the new recruits. The son of Tenzin isn't quite the best instructor and I have utter sympathy for the new air benders. I would have loved to have seen a more drawn out fight between Kya and Zaheer, as we really haven't had the opportunity to see the water bending daughter of Katara show her stuff. One has to hope she is pretty dang skilled. More fascination, by the way, on that air nomad philosopher/guru.

Can't wait for Friday's continuation!

posted by Atreides at 8:39 AM on July 13, 2014


A couple thoughts hit me on the way home from the gym about the Red Lotus (doesn't everyone think about Korra on the way home from the gym?).

First, if they are indeed (it's supposed to be confirmed) the Red Lotus, we now have the Red Lotus vs the White Lotus. I wonder if this is a nod to the War of the Roses, between the Lancasters and Yorks, whose symbols were the Red Rose and White Rose respectively. Likewise, does this indicate some kind of split within the Lotus society? Perhaps our bad guys are former members of the White Lotus Society? It would definitely explain their incredible bending abilities, as well Zaheer's scholarly interests.

Second, so if we do have what amounts to a rival Lotus Society, perhaps their intent isn't to harm Korra, as the Avatar, but instead, they believed the Avatar has a different destiny or purpose than the one believed by the White Lotus Society? Incidentally, it wasn't until Aang requested the White Lotus Society to do so, did they really become involve with the Avatar in finding, training and so on.
posted by Atreides at 11:35 AM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here is the link to the new Republic City Dispatch on the last two episodes. You can also find it on iTunes, etc.
posted by Atreides at 11:36 AM on July 13, 2014


I love the philosopher-antagonist thing Zaheer has going, and I sure hope that unfolds into a motive that's more complex than "hurt the protagonist for backstory reasons."
posted by weston at 12:09 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Momentary brain thought: Zhao Fu as Gondolin, it's going down soon?
posted by Atreides at 1:57 PM on July 13, 2014


How much do I love Zhao Fu? SO MUCH.

How much evil do I think is about to happen? SO MUCH.

How much do I secretly hope that Suyin and Kya hooked up during their wild free travelling days? SO VERY VERY MUCH.

God, I cannot wait to find out what's happening there. What Suyin is involved in, what will happen with the Earth Queen, what the hell is Lin's problem, what the Red Lotus gang is up to...so much awesome!

Also, god, I want Toph to come back. But everyone wants that, don't they?
posted by Katemonkey at 2:04 PM on July 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping Henry Rollins turns out to be a good guy and the real antagonist is the Earth Queen.
posted by vogon_poet at 5:20 PM on July 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


That would be totally rad and largely in keeping with the themes of this season, what with the whole "nothing is as simple as it seems at first on its surface" motif going on. I'm pulling for that being the case myself, now that you suggest the idea.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:02 PM on July 13, 2014


I hope Henry Rollins really is a bad guy, because I want a Zaheer vs Tenzin match-up. Tenzin has never had to battle another airbender before.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:26 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping the Beifong storyline doesn't go where I think it's gonna go, with everyone totally reconciled and all smiles. Not to say that I think Lin should remain bitter (I'm gonna assume that's why she seemed so OOC this episode) but it rubs me the wrong way that Korra thinks it's her business to interfere, when it's fairly obvious that there is A History there, and it's probably best hashed out among the people who know it best.

I really like Zhao Fu (a city made of metal! with buildings that don't look like skyscrapers!) and I'm not sure I like Suyin. She seems excessively perky and her association with Varrick means she's either gullible or up to something. You can't mention something like magnets once and not expect it to show up again later this season.

Also, god, I want Toph to come back. But everyone wants that, don't they?

Somehow, I'm cool if I don't see all of Team Avatar 1.0 again. Her story is done and hearing that she's traveling the world and seeking enlightenment satisfies me.
posted by supermassive at 10:35 AM on July 14, 2014


I'm hoping the Beifong storyline doesn't go where I think it's gonna go, with everyone totally reconciled and all smiles. Not to say that I think Lin should remain bitter (I'm gonna assume that's why she seemed so OOC this episode) but it rubs me the wrong way that Korra thinks it's her business to interfere, when it's fairly obvious that there is A History there, and it's probably best hashed out among the people who know it best.

But Korra's the Avatar. It's her job! (not really) I think it is a sign that Korra cares about Lin that she tries to "fix" the problem. Korra's reaction, in part reasonable for the vicious take down of Opal by Lin, but also because her plan failed, I think help shows that Korra cares at least some for Lin. In a bending world, is arguably one of the strong women bender role models for Korra, and I don't mean just in bending ability.


Somehow, I'm cool if I don't see all of Team Avatar 1.0 again. Her story is done and hearing that she's traveling the world and seeking enlightenment satisfies me.


I've been very happy with people telling me X is dead. I was also happy with Katara kind of just being this occasionally seen old lady. I wanted to know about Zuko because we were told he was alive, but then learned nothing else about him. I'd love to learn more about Sokka, like a bio or something, but I'm cool with him joining Aang and being deceased. Toph, though, I always feel as if whenever you learn someone has gone away on a journey to find X, which isn't easily attainable, their story isn't over yet. More so because the Toph we knew, albeit barely a teen, was very much into real, physical realities. Arguably, being blind kind of made her demand to have physical evidence to rely upon, be it her bending or hearing other two senses. A Toph who has wandered off to find spiritual enlightnment, that's a Toph I want to meet or at least hear her story.

By the way, I totally understand the position, tho'!
posted by Atreides at 11:22 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


FYI, you can finally purchase the first three episodes on Amazon, and presumably other online locations. You still can't see any of them on Nick.com.

What the hell, Nick?
posted by Atreides at 11:25 AM on July 14, 2014


Toph was the one member of the original Avatar team, IMHO, that was left still looking for their place at the end of the series. So I'm hoping she does make an appearance this season.

And I was please to see Kya smoke out Zaheer so quickly. Fool the kids, sure, but I was expecting the adults back in Republic City to get stuck holding the idiot ball as they lead Zaheer to the North AirBender Temple.
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:04 PM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Fool the kids, sure, but I was expecting the adults back in Republic City to get stuck holding the idiot ball as they lead Zaheer to the North AirBender Temple.

The fact that Lin essentially held on to it for most of Book 2 is one of my chief complaints with that season. I like to to tell myself she just wasn't that informed. Another reason I want Lin in Book 3 to be given her due respect.
posted by Atreides at 1:28 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


But Korra's the Avatar. It's her job! (not really) I think it is a sign that Korra cares about Lin that she tries to "fix" the problem. Korra's reaction, in part reasonable for the vicious take down of Opal by Lin, but also because her plan failed, I think help shows that Korra cares at least some for Lin. In a bending world, is arguably one of the strong women bender role models for Korra, and I don't mean just in bending ability.

I actually totally agree with this, and I think it is awesome that Korra cares about Lin. I guess my issue with it is that it's a situation that requires a light hand and a lot of finesse, and I don't feel like Korra is entirely there yet. I think I would have preferred it if Korra at least tried to find out exactly why Lin has refused to speak to her sister for 30 years, rather than simply bring her niece to her room, as if that would instantly make things better. It felt like Korra was trying to force (this is way too strong a word, but I hope you get what I mean) Lin to interact with Opal, when anything resembling reconciliation is probably going to take a lot longer to come about.
posted by supermassive at 3:10 PM on July 14, 2014


I totally get what you're saying. In truth, Korra acted like Korra.
posted by Atreides at 4:13 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Man, that was a lot of harshness to drop on a totally well-meaning kid who's never done you a lick of harm, Lin.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:52 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Totally.

One thing I've been very intrigued by, now as I finally got to re-watch the first episode of Book 3 again, is the presence of Bagua, not to be confused with the Chinese martial arts form. The Bagua represent balance and have been featured in Korra before, but in the very first episode they had two significant placements. One, on the wall of the store where Mako first encounters one of the new air benders, and two, the floor of Zaheer's cell. Here's the cool thing, the Bagua form is used in I Ching, which is translated as Classic of Changes or Book of Changes. So now I'm curious if it appears in any other places concerning the new air benders. Or if it was just telegraphed in the first episode to imply that things were changing, but also, it's a result of the world seeking balance (which Tenzin states the return of air bending would create).
posted by Atreides at 7:15 AM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love that no matter where you are—regardless of time or culture or geography—there's always going to be a guy making crummy abstract art out of metal junk.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:29 AM on July 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


(FINALLY I have caught up to this)

I was not sure during episodes 1-2 if this was going anywhere good (I always feel so bad for poor Tenzin) but then we got to the Earth Kingdom, met the brothers' family (nice bit of comedy with their lunkhead cousin) and things picked up. Also; AWKWARD MAKEOUT after P'lin's rescue. "Really? Now?"

Those little side-comment moments are what I cherish; in the last season, they were way too few, the only one I really laughed at was the guy comparing the dark spirits to his mother-in-law. There has been plenty of slapstick, but that stuff isn't nearly as funny to me.

Anyway. There is much potential in the Bei Fong drama, Varrick, and the Fearsome Foursome led by Airbender Henry Rollins.

But I still have to wonder; how do you live in a city made of metal without frying in the summer/freezing in the winter?
posted by emjaybee at 7:53 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


But I still have to wonder; how do you live in a city made of metal without frying in the summer/freezing in the winter?

There's been discussions on the practicality of the metal city. I'd figure that being located in the mountains, perhaps the summer heat doesn't rise very much or perhaps it's all designed to radiate the heat in specific ways to mitigate its affect. Likewise, in the winter, the cities can be enclosed and heated by some other form (geothermal, FTW). In reality, we probably have to admit that it all boils down to artist thinking, "Wouldn't this be an awesome design!?"

Ever since they made it back to Amazon, I've been watching one of the new three episodes per night. Tonight will be the Earth Queen. I completely agree that there's a definite increase in the small jokes or lightful elbow nudges than in the previous seasons. In Book One, the one that stood out to me was always the guy walking by Mako after an upsetting conversation (with Korra?) and he raises hand for a high five and shouts, "Hey Maaakoooooooooo...." and the Mako fades away as it becomes apparent that Mako is too pissed off to return the high five and leaves him hanging. I wonder if the increase is due to the addition of more writers.
posted by Atreides at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2014


Teaser clip for next episode. Geez Su Yin.
posted by emjaybee at 5:19 PM on July 17, 2014


It was considered by the White Lotus that Korra had mastered all the elements except for Air when season 1 began, or so I presumed. This meant that to their opinion, Korra's mastery of earth was reached without need of knowing how to metal bend. So...does this mean, at least in the eyes of some, that metal bending is kind of a niche skill of earth bending? It's not something that's essential?

Also, as I re-watched episode two, Tenzin states that when one masters air bending, they receive the tattoos. Which means that Aang should have been considered a master at the time of ATLA (if this was generally known, then I'm out of of the loop!). When I went back to look at the ATLA where it shows Aang with his like-aged friends, they were tattoo-less. And so, Aang being the Avatar obviously did give him a leg up in learning air bending. And I mention this because, I dunno, it struck me. A'ight? IT STRUCK ME.
posted by Atreides at 1:37 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Since there's some discussion of where discussed material should fall with regard to "between the credits" philosophy, rather than mention anything more in the newest post, I did notice in a re-watch of The Metal Clan that Suyin had a small Painted Lady doll on her shelf, along with a photograph of herself in the circus, and a set of sand bender goggles.
posted by Atreides at 6:33 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


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