The Legend of Korra: The Spirit of Competition   Rewatch 
January 17, 2016 1:32 AM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Korra and her pro-bending teammates struggle to work together after romantic rivalries shake their foundation.

This episode brings in the following:
  • Despite being very near the equator, Republic City gets snow
  • Pabu does not like getting bathed. But sure looks adorable.
  • On Air Temple Island, they have fruit in hanging cages for the lemurs to eat. There are a lot of lemurs.
  • Tenzin was with someone else before he was with Pema. Pema waited while he was with "the wrong woman", then confessed everything to him.
  • Other probending teams - The Red Sands Rabaroos, the Boar-q-pines, the Buzzard Wasps, Mo Ce Mongoose Lizards, and the White Falls Wolf Bats
  • There is an authentic Southern Water Tribe restaurant in Republic City - Narook's Seaweed Noodlery. The noodles are green.
  • Tahno leads the Wolf Bats. He is also pretty skeevy.
  • As part of their "date", Bolin and Korra go to the Harmony Tower, best known now for Turtleduck Date Night.
  • Tiebreakers in probending are on a raised platform, mixing bending and wrestling.
  • Probending is brought to you by Flameo Instant Noodles - the noodliest noodles in the United Republic!
  • Rather than yellow cards, the refs have yellow fans.
  • Korra learned healing from Katara, and is therefore the best teammate to have around, as she can fix up all their injuries.
And in "I've heard this voice before":
  • Tahno is skeevily voiced by Rami Malek, now best known for Mr. Robot, although he has a fond place in my heart as Ahkmenrah in the Night at the Museum films.
posted by Katemonkey (6 comments total)
This is definitely one of the weaker episodes, because the whole love quadrangle is just a bit ridiculous. I know it's bound to happen, they're all stupid teenagers, but uggggggh, just stop! As much as I love Korra as this impetuous crazy teenager, at the same time, I'm too old for this nonsense. All the arguing, all the tears...bored!

However, Korra getting romantic advice from Jinora and Ikki is adorable. "The best way to win a boy's heart is to brew a love potion of rainbows and sunsets that makes true lovers sprout wings and fly into a magical castle in the sky, where they get married and eat clouds with spoons and use stars as ice cubes in their moonlight punch!"

Plus, Pema. Pema! You homewrecker! Oh my God, Pema, how old were you when you started going after Tenzin? Were you even legal? And "the wrong woman"? You so sure about that, madam? Stop with those eyebrows, stop being so adorable!

I love Pema and Tenzin, I love their family, and I love their relationship. But I also seriously love the idea of Tenzin and Lin growing up together, falling into a relationship as stupid adorable teenagers and then it's all about what their lives are supposed to be and what they're supposed to do, and it's heartbreaking. So I have mixed feelings about Pema and Tenzin's relationship origins.

So, overall, this episode has very little going for it. And I end up getting distracted by something that isn't even mentioned in it. If you're watching this for the first time, you have no idea who Tenzin was with. But looking at it again, with all the history behind it, and it's just so much more interesting than that annoying Mako/Bolin/Korra/Asami mess.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:33 AM on January 17, 2016

On one hand, I’m glad they get the relationship stuff out in the open and talk honestly with each other pretty early. That makes it a lot less painful than the typical TV love triangle. On the other hand it’s still tedious to sit through a whole episode with little else going on, especially when we don’t even know the characters well enough to care who likes whom. I’d be happier if it developed more slowly as they get to know each other.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:52 PM on January 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

And in "I've heard this voice before":
  • Tahno is skeevily voiced by Rami Malek, now best known for Mr. Robot, although he has a fond place in my heart as Ahkmenrah in the Night at the Museum films.

Oh man, now I want to see Night at the Museum (and re-watch Mr. Robot).

mrbrubeck, I agree with your assessment of this episode, and worse, it think the show is hopping plots too much at this point. Korra joins the task force, gets jumped by a ton of chi blockers with the Equalists, then she has put her fears behind her and is all about her Probending team! And romance! Don't worry about losing your bending forever (and losing your sense of self), it's time to focus on that championship!

Still, we get to hear Jinora's summary of a historical saga "where the heroine fell in love with the enemy general's son, who's supposed to marry the princess.... She rode a dragon into battle and burned down the entire country. Then she jumped into a volcano. It was so romantic!"

But I appreciate Mako (with his weird Big O Roger Smith eyebrows) being conflicted about his relationships instead of dropping Asami once Korra kissed him (and he kissed her back). Complicated feelings are more realistic than dragon-riding princesses and love potions. Though I would also enjoy seeing those two versions of love come true in this show, in some more realistic* fashion (*as realistic as you get with elemental manipulation and spirit worlds and whatnot :) ).

("The volcano is starting to make more sense to me now.")
posted by filthy light thief at 7:55 AM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I loved the date with Bolin and Korra. Dates where you get to eat your favorite food and have a burping contest are the most fun. (It doesn't hurt, either, when you already know the other person thinks you are awesome.) It is NOT awesome, though, when you like the other person more than they like you. :/ poor Bolin.

When we first met the fire ferrets, Moka won the match single handedly. Then Bolin had a chance in the tie breaker to win the whole thing. Finally Korra had a chance to be the winner. It should be interesting to see what happens in the next match they are in.
posted by jillithd at 4:54 PM on March 25, 2016

The more I watch him, the more I think Tahno is Jimmy from Liquid Sky.
posted by mneekadon at 2:39 PM on July 4, 2016

A coin toss with the winning team deciding which type benders will battle seems a bad way to decide an overtime. The teams surely know who is best and who is weakest on each team, and the team winning the coin toss can pick accordingly, so too much rides on the coin toss. And the regular rounds seem evenly matched, with no sort of "coin toss" advantage, so why create one in overtime? Just continue the 3-on-3 format, with no inherent advantage to either side, possibly with a quicker win condition, e.g., first team to advance one zone wins the overtime.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:16 PM on July 6, 2017

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