The Legend of Korra: The Revelation   Rewatch 
January 2, 2016 12:47 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Korra attempts to infiltrate the Equalist movement and learn more about its mysterious leader.

This episode brings in the following:
  • Korra is not a morning person. "The evil."
  • Mako and Bolin have been orphans since Mako was 8, when their parents were killed by a firebender.
  • Mako used to work for the Triple Threats. He ran numbers for them.
  • This appears to be common for the street kids. There also appears to be a number of street kids in Republic City.
  • The Republic City currency is yuans.
  • To continue the tradition of giant statues, there's a statue of Zuko outside the Republic City Train Station.
  • Lightning benders can get jobs at the power plant, possibly by bending the lightning into a storage device? Something vaguely sciencey.
  • Some of the triads in Republic City are: Triple Threats, Agni Kais, and Red Monsoons.
  • Chi blocking has moved on considerably from the days of Ty Lee, and the Equalists definitely know how to use it.
  • The Equalists also use a lot of electrical weapons.
  • Korra may not be able to airbend, but she can steambend.
  • Amon has a great revelation for his Equalists. He can remove bending.
And in "I've heard that voice before":
  • Shady Shin is voiced by Fisher Stevens, who will always be The Plague in Hackers
  • Zach Callison voices the little street urchin Skoochy, but he might be better known as Steven
posted by Katemonkey (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There's a lot of little delightful things in this episode that delight me. Bolin's circus act and that moustache. Everything involving Naga and Pabu, from that meet-cute with the noses to the growl/squeak to the drinking water and oh my god, too cute! Korra earthbending Jinora and Ikki out of the way because they're asking Korra about Mako. How Korra disguises herself just by putting on a snazzy cloche.

(That's actually how I sold this show to a friend of mine. She had already seen AtLA, so I said "It's Avatar! With cloches!")

Amon says his ability to remove bending brings balance, he says the spirits have given him this power... I know Bryan and Mike didn't think they'd have more seasons when they wrote this, so I'm really delighted that they tied everything in really nicely in the later books. Balance is the major theme throughout this show, and it's lovely to see where it starts.

But God, how terrifying must that be? Not just to the individual who's lost everything, but to the entire world. I mean, if lightning benders work in the power plant (and I'm still not entirely certain what the hell they're doing there), does that mean that lightning benders are responsible for some of the energy supplied to the city? Does that mean that if lightning benders were to lose their abilities, then there'd be a power shortage? Are earthbenders responsible for most construction projects? Do waterbenders manage the water supplies? (Or are they the healers in the hospitals?) We already know that a hefty chunk of the police force are metalbenders.

Does this really bring balance to the world if you destroy the entire economy? And why do benders have such a major role to play in the economy anyway? There can't be that many of them compared to non-benders.

But the economy's already a bit fucked, isn't it? I mean, you have those giant skyscrapers and trams and satomobiles, but you also have a major homeless issue - especially the street kids. Are there social programs in place? Is there a Hull House equivalent? Kyoshi House, maybe?

I both love and hate that I have these questions. I love that the world is developed so much that I can even have these questions (c'mon, how often do you start thinking about the wider world economy in a kids' show?), but I hate that I'll never have all the answers I want. No one is going to write me "The History of the United Republic: A Textbook".
posted by Katemonkey at 12:48 PM on January 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

Aww, fire ferret. Pabu is part red panda. If you’ve ever seen a real one at the zoo, well, they look pretty much exactly as cute as Pabu.

Bolin, you really should know better than to go with a guy named Shady Shin.

Amon’s mask is like Guy Fawkes with a hint of The Blue Spirit. I like that technology (cars, motorcycles, cattleprods) levels the field between benders and the equalist rebels; that feels like a realistic social change for the Avatar world.

Korra really gets to show off her Avatar training here. She does some pretty good one-handed bending after being partially chi-blocked, and takes down one of Amon’s henchman without using any bending at all.

Lots of great animation, especially the city at night. I also continue to appreciate that while they almost all look East Asian, people in Republic City have visibly different ethnicities—shown not just through costume and hairstyle but also different skin tones (visible for example when Korra and Mako shake hands).
posted by mbrubeck at 7:19 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Anyone who was reading my comments during the ATLA rewatch knows I had feelings about the Zuko statue and its guiding light. MOVING ON. (Actually, now that I think about it Bolin's usual hangout being at the foot of that statue makes a certain s3 scene even more adorable.)

The lightning-bending factory thing is really interesting on both an economic and a cultural level. In ATLA there were only three people capable of bending lightning and three who could redirect it, due to the enormous mental and emotional discipline involved. Now it's common enough for lightning-bending jobs to be part of the city infrastructure. A few interesting possible implications:
1. In a world at peace, it's easier for people to obtain the mental balance needed for this skill.
2. Despite the problems in Republic City, there is much greater access to education (at least for bending, although Mako and Bolin never seem to have any problems generally).
3. Sometime between the two series someone (one of Zuko's students? a reformed Azula? ??? who passed this stuff on?) figured out a "hack" that makes lightning-bending easier.
I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. But I am lucky in that unlike economic issues there is an outside possibility the comics will touch on this eventually.

I'd forgotten how scary Amon was, not just visually but in performance. Poor Korra, going straight from the White Lotus compound to this.

I watched this episode and the next with my mum. Her only questions were to clarify what bending was and to ask whether this was supposed to be set in China, which, 1920s fantasy Shanghai, fair cop mum. (I don't think she was especially impressed, alas.)
posted by bettafish at 3:33 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'd go with a combination 2/3. It's parallel to the development of metal bending, which was completely novel in ATLA, but in Korra is commonplace enough to have an entire police force skilled in it. Peacetime has been good for the development and sharing of bending skills.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:05 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Bolin's circus act and that moustache.

My first thought: that's so Sokka! I loved it! (And it made me sad that Sokka is gone.)

Alternative pitch/summary for the show: Avatar + Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (well, not quite murder mysteries, but that period + intrigue from criminal sorts)

Nitpick in the below-the-break details: yuans are introduced in the first episode, where Naga wants to eat All The Meat from the street vendor (see the transcript). But I totally missed the Zuko statue, thanks for pointing it out.

Picking on details - the name Naga makes me think of the Sanskrit and Pali word for a deity or class of entity or being, taking the form of a very great snake—specifically the king cobra, found in Indian religions, namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism (Wikipedia).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:15 AM on January 15, 2016

Mako and Bolin's parents dying in a mugging... I thought Korra was Batman, but is it really Mako?

If I didn't think Ozai is waayyyyyy too old to be Amon (although King Bumi did live to be at least 110-ish), I'd be convinced Amon is Ozai. The only person other than Aang that knows you can take bending away. (But Tenzin looked a bit suspicious so maybe he knows about it, too.)

Ty Lee has not been forgotten! Maybe chi bending is a thing.

The atmosphere of this episode was gorgeous. The grime and smog and cloches. And when Korra appears at the end, with the bright yellow light to her side... Oof, the art is fantastic.

Fire ferret? More like red panda squirrel, amirite? Adorbs.

Are you sure this episode was only 23 minutes long? So much HAPPENED in those 23 minutes.
posted by jillithd at 1:32 PM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

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