Title: Legend of Korra
Episode: 11 (The Ultimatum)
Watched: Friday August 15th, 2014
August 18th, 2014
The day you receive this, I’ll be preparing for the anime convention here in Montreal called Otakuthon. I wonder if I’ll see any of you (I know that I don’t have a lot of readers, but what would be the odds, right?!).
So I’m doing well, and what about you? 🙂 I trust that the end of the month of August agrees with you! I just hope that you don’t fall sick as often as I do…
Without further ado, let us be warned that there will be spoilers in this episode, so we can start talking about it.
Oh my goodness, peeps! Here are some links. Just… just… Ok?
I can’t even formulate coherent thoughts, and I was able to watch this episode three times (first time was full of tears to be perfectly honest with you).
I just can’t believe just HOW DARK the episodes are becoming. From the death of the Earth Queen to THIS. It was… it just… really took me by surprise.
Didn’t the beginning, with the citizens crowding into the palace and attempting to salvage anything they can from the Earth Queen’s riches, remind you of Anastasia [that movie anyway]?
For me anyways, it did, just because in Anastasia, people were selling the prints, pictures and other knickknacks they’d salvaged of the Tsar’s, and in here, everyone was really trying to get everything valuable they could.
The whole chaos of it didn’t surprise me (somehow, maybe I’ve read too many dystopian stories). It was also foretold by many people in the series. I still cannot believe that the Earth Queen really perished at the hands of Zaheer.
Mako’s failure at taking the people off the airship could be interpreted two ways, come to think of it: People don’t care about the Avatar needing help from her friends [her record-low 8% approval probably shows even here, huh?] or people really just want to get the most out of their Queen’s death as much as possible…
Speaking of the airship, how is it that they managed to somehow make it function and fly up when people had dismantled it so much? Or did Mako only mean that they took the radio transmitter, and that’s all? Because then, that would make much more sense…
The tragedy of the Queen’s death (even if she was undeserving of her title and basically just a spoiled child) was well balanced with Mako and Bolin‘s interactions, as much together as with their family (especially with Grandma Yin [who didn’t even recognize Zuko? Or… well they’re both old, so they might not remember each other very well, I’ll give them that]). I’m glad that the family was able to stay together – I wonder where they will be staying and if any of them are earthbenders, actually…
Grandmother Yin really has the feel of grandmothers, doesn’t she? My own grandmother is always in her own world, her sense of urgency is definitely not the same as the younger people’s.
She was definitely used for humorous reasons, poking fun at Makorra and Masami, but I wonder if there’s not a little something more… like her reaction to Bolin and Pabu‘s friendship. It resembles my grandmother’s reaction to whenever me and the Eeveelutions get too close to our pets.
…especially with her strange obsession with the Queen, when no one else is shown to be extremely loyal to her. What has the Queen done for Yin to be so dead set on keeping her portrait with her?
When they arrived in the village/place where Lord Zuko, Lin, Korra, Asami and Tonraq were, one of the members of the family said: “Oh look Spirits!” And it made me think about that. It’s true that we haven’t seen much spirits in Ba Sing Se. How is it that they haven’t gone there? Or in Zao Fu? Problem of coherence? …or is there another reason?
I DO get it though; the last time they’d seen Korra, they thought she was in danger and they didn’t know for certain that they would be able to find Korra (and Asami), so yes, that reunion was touching! [There were even people (me included actually, but only for the briefest of moments) who had Makorra feels! It wasn’t just me!!]
Meeting with Lord Zuko!! It was one of my highlights, because, let’s all admit it, just like this Tumblr user said, in that moment, we’d all be just like Bolin, who has his celebrity crushes, imagine how he would react if he were in the presence of the Almighty Toph! And look at Zuko?! He’s so used to it!
I’m glad we got to see Uncle Iroh in this episode, and I’m glad that he could dispense a little bit of wisdom as well as some Avatar: The Last Airbender feelings of nostalgia, especially about Zuko and Aang’s friendship, I just found it beautiful [did you also get the feeling that Iroh was making a parallel to someone else’s budding friendship?].
I missed Iroh as much as I miss the Gaang, and I bet Zuko does too. I’m surprised that Zuko didn’t reach that level where he can go to the spirit world by meditating. Maybe that’s the life-changing journey that Zuko and Toph will embark in; to find enlightenment so they can speak to Iroh whenever they want to [this Tumblr user also has the same ideas I did].
[I thought maybe Korra lacked a bit of tact when revealing to Zuko that she’d spoken to his uncle Iroh “a couple of times, actually”, but if you think about it, Iroh’s probably been gone for awhile and Zuko has moved on, becoming his own “style” of Iroh].
On a last note before I begin the next section, I felt partially bummed that Zuko would not be participating in the last fight (of the book, if we can call it a fight), however, someone’s thoughts made the other part of me feel proud of him. Even in his old age, Zuko would still come back to his daughter’s side and make sure that she’s safe, even if he would like to make sure that the Avatar is all right, he still worries so much about his daughter. It makes me want to hug him!!
At the Air Temple, everything seemed to go well – it seemed like Tenzin had finally tapped into his Teaching style and everyone seemed to have organized into groups in order to learn (even Kya helped a group (which consisted of Opal by the way) meditate). In my head, this means that Tenzin has finally learned to delegate, which is, both theoretically and in practice, one of the best ways to use your time as a teacher.
Anyone else than me and Leafeon had goosebumps when Tenzin refused outright to hand Korra over to Zaheer and the Red Lotus? Didn’t it remind you of other instances when people protected the Avatar despite everything?
I really admired Tenzin at that point. Even if both he and his father wanted to rebuild the Air Nation with the opportunity that Korra had given him, he knows that the world would be MAJORLY out of balance without the Avatar there to protect it. Even if it would jeopardize the survival of the Air Nation as well as the survival of his own family, Tenzin would still refuse to help the bad guys out [I feel like this is also what Zuko was trying to tell Korra, that even if the Air Nation’s absence has been missed and thrown the world out of balance, the world without the Avatar (a world that Aang HAS experienced) would be worse]. It really takes guts.
And then we must talk about the fights between the Kataang children and the Red Lotus. Didn’t it give off the sentiment of PRO-Bending style to you? Because both Leafeon and I only had that word to utter when the scene eventually showed the standoff. Everyone in their fighting stances looked really badass (except maybe Bumi, because Bumi).
Bumi vs. Ghazan
I was a bit scared of Tenzin‘s decision to request Bumi’s help in fending off the Red Lotus in order to give more time for the others to escape. Weren’t there others who could have helped him fend off Ghazan? I mean Bumi is severely new at airbending. He couldn’t have done as much! But I do understand that Bumi is much more experienced with fighting (with his time in the army, I guess) and Tenzin would never ask for his children to fight, just because he doesn’t want to risk them.
Also, I want to point out that, in the spirit of their being able to eliminate the threat of the Flying Bison smugglers, if they had united together, would they have been able to take down at least Ghazan? [true, it took MANY skilled benders PLUS the White Lotus in order to defeat the Red Lotus, but… I don’t know… in that time, they didn’t have access to airbending. If they’d worked together, I’m sure they could have sucked the air out of Ghazan’s surroundings and maybe knocked him out (especially since Jinora, Ikki and Meelo would be with them)]. But I do understand why Tenzin wouldn’t have solicited the newer airbenders’ help though.
It also gave me a sense of nostalgia, because Bumi’s fighting style reminded me so much of Aang’s. In the sense where Bumi doesn’t really attack with Air bending. He just attempts to incapacitate his opponent and evades a LOT.
Someone even wrote something like: “You can take the bending out of a bender, but you can’t take the non-bending out of the bender“. Something similar to this anyway [my version
somehow sounds less poetic], I can’t remember where I read the post. It made me laugh because INDEED, more than just the airbending noobness and airbending is avoiding problems, Bumi fights as if he didn’t have airbending and only uses his abilities to avoid being stuck into situations that would give his opponent the advantage.
Kya vs. Ming-Hua
I know that I’m not the only one who was SLIGHTLY disappointed in Kya’s abilities. She really almost kicked Zaheer’s butt when she fought against him in a previous episode, and yet, she was almost defenseless versus Ming-Hua.
It’s true that she had some good moves back there, being able to hold herself on her own against one of the strongest waterbenders there is (I mean, Ming-Hua is able to make water arms just by positioning her body, and using these water arms, she can control water, that’s an impressive feat in itself).
I think that the creators have done it on purpose, for Kya to be beaten like this, because it shows that even when you are as skilled with waterbending as Kya is, you simply cannot beat the Red Lotus; it just shows that everyone’s warnings to Korra [about how incredibly powerful even alone these guys are] were true and she probably should have listened to them instead of rushing head in. I feel like maybe those warnings were also directed to us as well, to not underestimate the Red Lotus and/or overestimate Korra’s abilities; after all, even alone, Ming-Hua is one extremely deadly bender.
The last moments conscious moments about Kya and Bumi were heart-wrenching, not only because you just had the sense that they could die from such a fall, but because it had such a parallel to Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Another question that I guess we can ask ourselves is… are the Red Lotus going to come and fetch the loose-ends (Kai, Bumi and Kya), or are they just going to presume them to be dead? Because the Kataang children don’t just stop existing like that! In my mind, Bumi and Kya along with kai will be able to do something somehow with Korra during the finale.
Airbenders + Pema + Rohan vs. P’li
Oh this really and truly BROKE my heart, not only because there were several correlations with Avatar: The Last Airbender, with a ship that I was so-so into.
Especially since this scene happened right after we witnessed just how close Kai and Jinora had grown since the last episodes where they appeared. Here are a few instances [1, 2].
At the end of the episode, do you realize that Jinora still believes Kai to have perished after this? You do of course remember that she’s not especially weak, she has the powers of the Spirits with her. What would she do to P’li and Zaheer to avenger Kai? I hope that her friend spirits will come and inform her that he’s survived. I also hope that her affinity with the spirits will help them out during the next episodes!
Tenzin vs. Zaheer
I was so glad that Tenzin was shown to have the advantage against Zaheer. I mean, Aang spent most of his time preferring Tenzing to Kya and Bumi, which means that he must have taught Tenzin EVERYTHING that Zaheer couldn’t only have learned from just reading up about the Air nation’s culture. Also, Tenzin is, as Zaheer mentions, a MASTER.
It freaked me out because Zaheer avoided a lot Tenzin, to parallel with Bumi using airbending to avoid Ghazan [and to show that airbenders have a lot of moves which involve evading].
It was extremely interesting to watch an Airbender vs. an Airbender, especially because, in my mind anyway, Airbenders are mostly such peaceful people that they don’t resort to fighting – especially their own kind – in order to come to an agreement.
It broke me and it paralyzed Leafeon to see what happened to Tenzin at the end of the episode. In my head, he totally would have gotten the better of Zaheer if the latter’s cohort hadn’t shown up. I really hope that Tenzin does not die – but, as someone mentioned – if he dies, then Jinora will have to have her mastery tattoos and she will be the one to shoulder her father’s responsibilities. It would be heart-breaking to watch, though. Oh dear, I cannot watch episode 12… I don’t feel like my heart is ready to learn what’s going to happen next!
We are not ready for the finale.
After watching this episode, the fandom on Tumblr has had many – and I mean “MANY” thoughts. Here are only SOME of the links of the most awesome fan reactions I’ve seen on the website [1. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
There are even quotes which I thought were hilarious enough (or relatable enough) to share with you guys here [1, 2].
Let’s also take a moment to acknowledge how awesome Korra’s voice actress is!!!
And here’s Beroberos‘ image parodying a pretty nice moment between Jin/Yin, Korra, Asami and Mako. And of course, because she’s so nice, she even released a few snapchats for us! She even drew P’li and Zaheer as children [P’li is beautiful].
As usual, I can’t leave you without the response videos, so here’s Sawyer7Mage‘s video and Emergency Awesome‘s video [who has some valid points for you – although he did mistake P’li for Ming-Hua (calling the “Combustionbender” “Ming-Hua” when it’s “P’li”), but otherwise, that’s all].
In order to be more patient towards the finale, let me invite you to check out this cute Mingzan picture! Not only that, but let me give you a parody of what Katara would do in this episode [here’s another Katara moment]. And here’s someone else’s thoughts on what Zuko could have told Korra [remember when he tried, as a teen, to impersonate Iroh and give out advice like his uncle? HILARIOUS]. Here’s also a picture of Zuko as the Firelord.
Here’s also next week‘s sneak preview, feels video.
Here’s a funny moment between Honora and Bumi.
And another funny moment between Tenzin and hipster Zaheer. And then, the writers with another very familiar face.
That’s it for my thoughts and links for now,
I’ve gotta prepare for an anime convention here in Montreal.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch the season finale, but I’ll try to deliver a proper review post by next week, as usual!