The Legend of Korra: Original Airbenders
July 18, 2014 6:29 PM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

The new air benders begin their instruction in the ways of the Air Nomads at the Northern Air Temple as Tenzin struggles to find the best teaching method to re-establish the Air Nation. Bumi is not impressed. Kai and Jinora continue to bond in the air bison heavy episode that also reveals the air nomad secret of the shaved head. More information is revealed about the Earth Queen, including a rumor so horrendous, it seals her fate in the Top 5 worse people ever in the Avatar Universe!
posted by Atreides (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
And surprise Episode Post bonus: Interview by Salon.com with Korra creators.
posted by Atreides at 6:53 PM on July 18, 2014


NOOOOO BOSCO. Also "Otaku."
posted by emjaybee at 7:01 PM on July 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


So the Earth Queen is definitely evil, and Henry Rollins seems like he could do the right thing under the right circumstances. I'm liking the way things are going.

Zaheer was knowledgeable about air nomad culture before being imprisoned, and he seems to take to airbending (flying around, the spinning gates, etc.) more easily than other people. And he was apparently able to hold his own in a gang of people with incredible bending abilities. It seems like maybe his backstory is he got really into meditation and airbender mysticism, and trained himself in airbender martial arts, but without actually having the powers?

I'm also curious what the explanation is for the lava guy. Is he a firebender or an earthbender? I hope there's a villain-focused episode this season.
posted by vogon_poet at 10:00 PM on July 18, 2014


I liked the thing with the baby sky bison finally flying at the end of the episode, for how super-obvious a symbol of "growing up" it was.

Also I saw this on Tumblr:

??AG-??AG
Bosco

Like many an animal, you were awfully cute
But unfortunately made of meat

We will miss you

posted by Small Dollar at 10:53 PM on July 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


Possibly my favorite episode of Korra since the first two -- some really good character arcs, some lovely comic relief.
posted by weston at 8:00 AM on July 19, 2014


QUESTION: can I just start watching this without ever having seen A:TLA (i know, i know, dishonor on my cow) or is there too much previous canon throughout the plot as to make it confusing?
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 AM on July 19, 2014


You might miss some of the cameos from the previous series, elizardbits.. but Korra stands on it's own story. All the reoccurring characters are either children of the original cast born after the series ended or new characters altogether.
posted by royalsong at 10:23 AM on July 19, 2014


QUESTION: can I just start watching this without ever having seen A:TLA (i know, i know, dishonor on my cow) or is there too much previous canon throughout the plot as to make it confusing?

Royalsong is absolutely on the spot. Book 1 (they call the seasons Books) opens up with a very short primer on the Avatar world and it's then entirely based on characters who weren't in the original show. Granted, there are flashbacks, but knowledge of the original characters is completely unnecessary short of being able to go "OOooh, grown up Sokka! He's lookin' good!" In Season 3, they have introduced a cause for war based on the actions of the last Avatar...but those actions happened in a post-tv show comic book, which I haven't even read, and am still following just fine. So in short, the plots of Korra exist outside need to know information from the Last Airbender show. (That must go be watched just for the pure awesomeness).

As for this episode, zowie! I kind of share Tenzin's fear of screwing things up and all the air benders throwing their hands up in the air and going home. The fact that this episode ending the way it did, helping to cement the sense of oneness amongst the air benders, left me feeling so much happier (just like Tenzin!). I can only imagine what Tenzin's kids felt as they underwent their father's training, and perhaps his style, while not any where less tedious, does work better when your students ARE your children. And count me as another one who guffawed when Otaku was called on, heh. I appreciated Bumi's mini-arc from giving up - really, Bumi? - to having Tenzin tell him how he reflected Aang/his father's so much, be it his closeness to the spirit world and what not. I kinda wish there was some kind of mini-series, "The Completely True and Accurate Adventures of Commander Bumi" in which we could go back and see Bumi in his prime in the military, saving the mission one wooden spoon, sack of molasses, and an irritated vulture wasp at a time.

Kai has all the makings of a pretty kick butt air bender, obviously being quite a bit more advanced than many of his fellow air benders. I'm already seeing power air couple in the future for him and Jinora...which is still going down pretty smoothly with me, rather than existing as an irritation. And yet, how can one be irritated by baby air bison?! It's impossible, just like it's impossible to kill one and wear it's hide as a cloak. GOOD LORD THAT IS DARK FOLLOWED BY MORE DARKNESS ABOUT BOSCO!

I appreciate that the news on Bosco was offered as a rumor, and as such, I will consider it a rumor. Not to mention, Bosco would have been quite old for a bear and there would be no appeal in eating the meat of such an old animal, and the Earth Queen definitely has SOME standards...which includes eating baby air bison. My goodness, Firelord Ozai wanted to burn the world and start a new, and Amon wanted to remove the bending powers from everyone, and Unalaq wanted to usher in 10,000 years of darkness and chaos, but none of them killed and ate baby air bison! Ugh! Yes, I think the Earth Queen may be at the top of the list of all time Avatar Bad Guys if only for this matter.

Lastly, WE ONLY HAVE SIX EPISODES LEFT - THREE FRIDAYS TO GO - AND THEN WE WAIT AGAIN.

Meh.
posted by Atreides at 3:20 PM on July 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Atreides, might I suggest one post for each two-episode block? A lot of the comments you're making in this episode post actually apply to the previous one...but then we are watching them in groups because of how they are released.
posted by emjaybee at 3:39 PM on July 19, 2014


I actually have discussed the matter of the episode pairing with the Mods and basically, Fanfare isn't quite setup for one post for two episode deals. It would take some kind of modification. (I do think it would be more conducive to discussions if there was just one thread to avoid my major mistake above, for example). It's just an odd situation.

I'll grab everything that's applicable to Old Wounds and re-post it over there, repost here what's appropriate and ask the Mods to delete the original post. Thanks for the heads up, emjaybee!
posted by Atreides at 5:16 PM on July 19, 2014


Lastly, WE ONLY HAVE SIX EPISODES LEFT - THREE FRIDAYS TO GO - AND THEN WE WAIT AGAIN.

Anyone heard if there's any chance they might take the opportunity to draw the plot out across both book 3 and 4? I'm starting to get concerned that our fearsome foursome (among other things) won't get room to breathe.
posted by weston at 6:48 PM on July 19, 2014


Goddamnit, Legend Of Korra, cool it with the nose-picking, Jesus.

I've been trying to articulate the mix of feelings I have about this season: on one hand, it's objectively the most consistent and probably the best season they've done. On the other hand, it's by far my least favorite...which is really saying something since I wasn't exactly crazy about the other two seasons. (Like most A:TLA fans, I appreciated them for what they were trying to do more than I embraced them for what they were.)

This episode made me realize what it is about this season I'm responding to...there's no conflict. There's plot, sorta: gathering up the new airbenders, figuring out what Henry Rollins' deal is, and finally some sort of to-do with the Earth Queen. But there's no conflict among the characters themselves.

Korra's pretty okay with her role as the avatar, there are no inconvenient romantic feelings, nobody has any secrets. Oh, character conflict might pop up for an episode—Tenzin has to be reminded to loosen up for the fiftieth time!—but nothing that isn't resolved by the time the credits role.

The main characters are dramatically inert, and the bigger plot isn't there to make up for it. What's the goal of the season? Gathering a bunch of airbenders isn't a goal, it's an ongoing mission. Running away from the bad benders isn't really a goal, especially when we know so little about what they're after. Or to put it another way: what's at stake this season?

You can see this reflected in the fandom, which has received this season with more of a "great job" than any real passion. You don't see squeeing about potential pairings or particularly interesting character moments; you don't see debates about moments that could be problematic or troubling. There are none...this whole season is as safe as milk and as bland as Soylent.

It's an entire season of filler episodes, in which nothing really happens that gets us any closer to a resolution, just killing time until the Plot Truck dumps a bunch of complications in the penultimate episode. They could be shown out of order and it would be hard to notice.

Wow, this makes it sound like I really hate the show, which isn't really true. I'm just really thrown for a loop by what appears to be a creative collapse on the part of DiMartino & Konietzko. Maybe they could get those guys who did Avatar: The Last Airbender to give them a hand...
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:41 PM on July 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


As much as I'm having all these feelings about Bumi and his relationship with his dad, Jinora growing up, and the rumour about poor poor Bosco, my brain is mostly just doing this:

BABYSKYBISON
BABYSKYBISON
BABYSKYBISON
BABYSKYBISON
BABYSKYBISON
BABYSKYBISON
THEIRLITTLEFEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET
THEIRLITTLEFAAAAAAAAAAACES
IWANTTOHUGYOUFOREVER


Oh my god, their little flailing feet and floating upside down and slightly confused looks on their faces when they first learn to fly. Honestly, I'm barely keeping my shrieks of glee down.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:09 AM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Anyone heard if there's any chance they might take the opportunity to draw the plot out across both book 3 and 4? I'm starting to get concerned that our fearsome foursome (among other things) won't get room to breathe.

I definitely wouldn't mind this, and I think that Book 1, the entire Amon storyline, would have benefited greatly if the creators had been allowed to stretch out specific elements of the arc for longer periods (like Korra being powerless, for example). Unfortunately, given that Books 1 and 2 have all been self-contained arcs, I'd wager that this one will also wrap up within a season, too. I'd love to be wrong.

The main characters are dramatically inert, and the bigger plot isn't there to make up for it. What's the goal of the season? Gathering a bunch of airbenders isn't a goal, it's an ongoing mission. Running away from the bad benders isn't really a goal, especially when we know so little about what they're after. Or to put it another way: what's at stake this season?

This is interesting as a lot of people probably assigned the decisions of the creators to throw in more drama in previous seasons as things that detracted from the show, such as the romantic elements concerning Korra, Mako, and Asami. The fact that Korra had attitude has been a surprising negative for a lot of people (I don't get this, myself), so the fact that this season has been more focused on problems outside of Team Avatar, has to a degree, I think have to reflect an intentional decision to try and push some of that aside. I definitely don't mind the lack of Korra's next romance if it means building a better friendship with Asami (who apparently has been trapped in a well or something waiting for rescue the last two episodes).

I've been watching Book 1 of ATLA as I've watched this season and while there's been some conflict within the group, it's almost always resolved within the episode, be it the brother and sister spats or Aang having issues with abandonment. Not really until Zuko tries to join the team does an honest to goodness deep conflict stir amongst our main characters and that's in the last season.

I think it'd be hard for Korra's character not to change somewhat in her approach to the world after the events of Book 1 and 2. She's not remaining a static character, albeit with the occasional outburst, and I'm glad that's happening for other characters, too.

Wow, this makes it sound like I really hate the show, which isn't really true. I'm just really thrown for a loop by what appears to be a creative collapse on the part of DiMartino & Konietzko. Maybe they could get those guys who did Avatar: The Last Airbender to give them a hand...

Incidentally, they've brought more people from ATLA into this season than they have any other previous season. More people are writing the episodes, etc.

Oh my god, their little flailing feet and floating upside down and slightly confused looks on their faces when they first learn to fly. Honestly, I'm barely keeping my shrieks of glee down.

I wanted to really groan at the obvious symbolism of the baby air bisons taking flight...but baby air bison.
posted by Atreides at 12:02 PM on July 20, 2014


THANK YOU, INTERNET.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:10 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's hypnotic. And I assume, they'll get the grasp on elevation before they hit thin air and pass out, before falling to the ground?!

Also, as an aside, I just watched the episode Northern Air Temple in ATLA, which had all these people living in the Northern Air Temple (the Mechanist, his wheelchair bound son, Earth Kingdom refugees, etc), having fun gliding around and living in a steam punk temple...and in this episode, there's absolutely no trace of them. All I can find online is a reference that, 'They left." I would also love some screenshots comparing that temple's rooms to the rooms shown in this episode, too. (SOMEONE GET ON IT....ZHU LI?!)
posted by Atreides at 9:09 AM on July 21, 2014


The main characters are dramatically inert, and the bigger plot isn't there to make up for it. What's the goal of the season? Gathering a bunch of airbenders isn't a goal, it's an ongoing mission. Running away from the bad benders isn't really a goal, especially when we know so little about what they're after. Or to put it another way: what's at stake this season? ... I'm just really thrown for a loop by what appears to be a creative collapse on the part of DiMartino & Konietzko. Maybe they could get those guys who did Avatar: The Last Airbender to give them a hand...

For me, book 3 actually feels more like ATLA, and I've realized by contrasting it with a lot of Korra how much the "filler" episodes of ATLA were a part of expressing who the characters were and allowing them to develop incrementally (as well as just letting us spend time with them).

Of course, with ATLA we always knew what the big stakes were from the start: the world was badly out of balance because fire nation ambition had grown into tyranny that had to be scaled back. It may be a fair criticism that we're missing that so far with Book 3. But I'd argue that these big stakes aren't necessarily what makes a show compelling. I think we love ATLA because of the personal stakes for the characters (Aang's isolation and burden, Katara / Sokka's family broken by war, Zuko's search for identity), and because those stakes are revealed, developed, and resolved over a process that's as long, gradual, and decision-driven as it was.

And for me, the earlier books of Korra have taken on plenty big stakes without doing much of that. Don't get me wrong, I *really* enjoyed the equalist angle of Book 1 (even though I think its potential was largely wasted, and it should have at least around 20 episodes, and there's little excuse for letting book 1 be essentially aftermath free). And I guess the world/mythbuilding of book 2 was kindof interesting, but overall I think it was just out of control -- the fire nation took a century or two to work up to threatening to destroy the whole world, we had a single waterbender hook up with atavistic spirit avatar of pure destruction in a few episodes and threaten it with an aeon of hell (NBD, though, because Korra meditated for a minute after a short pep talk from Tenzin and did what Aang the spiritual air monk couldn't under extended guidance from guru Pathik).

Or for another example of stakes, take how people feel about Unalaq vs the Earth Queen. Unalaq presented world-threatening stakes and had a hell of a lot of power for one bender. The Earth Queen thus far eats baby sky bison steaks and thus far hasn't posed much of a powerful threat against team avatar + a bunch of barely trained new airbenders. We already dislike her more, Unalaq is almost hardly worth remembering except as a speedbump for history.

Finally... while the rebuilding of the air nation is indeed more of an ongoing mission than a goal, this is a new beginning, and founding/refounding stories tend to be more compelling.
posted by weston at 1:12 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Major update in the Nickelodeon Saga of How Can I Totally F'Up the Airing of Legend of Korra. A leak/rumor exploded across the Korrasphere yesterday afternoon/evening over news that Nickelodeon planned to only air one new episode this Friday, instead of two, and then had no plans to air the remaining five episodes. The word hiatus and canceled were bantered about. There apparently was enough fan freak out that one of the creators made an announcement that Korra was not disappearing, but all future episodes would be broadcasted online, or in short, "Korra is going digital." He later stated that even Book 4 was safe and it would be released, but more details tomorrow at Comic-con.
posted by Atreides at 6:41 AM on July 24, 2014




Update: According to Korra Nation, because the fan base is still freaking out, the word is that the remaining five episodes will be released on a weekly basis online, only. You will be able to watch them on Nick.com, the Nick app, and then, other online distribution locations, such as "Amazon, Google Play, Xbox and Hulu." (Heh, iTunes left out by mistake? or the weirdo iTunes thing continues?)
posted by Atreides at 9:00 AM on July 24, 2014


This actually works better for me, in terms of ease of watching. Also: fewer Spongebob commercials. At least off of Amazon. They have released some of the early episodes on Amazon but were way behind as of last week. I would much prefer to pay to watch these on time, but I guess we'll see how long a delay between air date and online availability.
posted by emjaybee at 1:04 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


We will know definitively tomorrow, but my impression is that this delayed release nonsense, which only helped prevent people from catching up to the live television airings, will cease. I hope, any hoots, as I'm thinking they mean to release on places outside of just Nick.com when they release the weekly episode.

If not, argh!
posted by Atreides at 2:24 PM on July 24, 2014


Two things from a friend at comic con:

* "As the show's tv ratings have been going down, the online viewings have been shooting through the roof. So now they are going to go streaming only. They weren't explicit but the rest of season 3 will most likely be streamed on nickelodeon's website. Season 4 will happen. They have finished writing the show and are in preparation production. They showed episode 8 from this season that hasn't aired yet. It was awesome. They didn't take live questions."

* perhaps Zaheer and co just want to rock.
posted by weston at 1:16 PM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Many thanks for the update, Weston!

I wonder if there was a reason they opted for no live Q & A. I'm not surprised the online numbers dwarfed the television numbers, as Nickelodeon essentially channeled everyone to the digital format by refusing to air reruns.

It's going to be weird getting used to just one episode at a time. I recall season 1, many a time where it would end and I'd chew up a pillow out of frustration at having to wait til the next weekend to see the next step in the story.

At least we live in a time where a show like this does have the opportunity to continue via a different release mechanism versus simply disappearing.
posted by Atreides at 1:38 PM on July 25, 2014


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