If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Strange... how after only four episodes, the show is already tackling the romance issues between the characters. And although it may (or may not) end in the way you expected, it still makes for an interesting review. I won't delay any further; let's have a look at how this went.
So, from the previous episode, we know of the romance between Mako and Asami, and here it emerges in plain sight during a Fire Ferrets training session for the elimination rounds of the Pro-Bending Tournament. Bolin tries to chat up Korra afterwards, but she isn't interested in him, and clearly has her eyes on Mako. After a talk with Pema, Tenzin's wife on the matter, she is told that telling Mako the truth on her feelings is the only way to go.
After a very successful Tournament match, Korra attempts this, but Mako turns her down, since he is with Asami. Bolin steps in to ask her on a date, and she accepts it. They head out for an evening in the City, something that Mako is not happy with them about. The strifes and arguments begin to interrupt their play in the Pro-Bending, but they just manage to survive the next round and reach the semi-finals. Afterwards, in another altercation between Korra and Mako, she kisses him, but only for Bolin to witness it all. The result of this is what will surely break the bonds of the team, and ruin their chances of progressing to the Final.....
As you can see, this episode relies heavily on the romance arcs, with even the Pro-Bending taking a backseat for long parts. Sadly, there are several problems here that have to be brought up. First, we still had no real couple to root for going into this episode, we've only had a few episodes to know them, and suddenly we are asked to care for which couple succeeds. In "The Legend of Aang" this was an element that matured and progressed over at least an entire series. Here, it feels very rushed.
On top of that, Korra and Mako become rather unlikeable here, their actions don't reflect the time they've spent together, and of course the usual "not speaking to each other" problem resides as well. In fact, the only person I was rooting for was Bolin, because even though he made an error, he appeared the most genuine in asking Korra out on the date. I don't know... it's not "that" bad, but with everyone at each other's necks here, it's hard to decide on who we should be behind. The episode resolves the problem way too cleanly at the end too, as if they'd awoken from some daydream and realised the silliness of what was going on. Once again, the team brought in this angle too early into the show; it had almost no emotional support or meaning.
Aside from that, the date Korra and Bolin had was nice to see, and introduced the "enemy" team for the next episode. The battles did a good job of reflecting the issues going on within the Fire Ferrets as well, with the usual serving of great action and animation. No problems there to discuss of. The setup for the next episode sounds quite exciting, it looks like it can once again focus specifically on one aspect, so it will no doubt be a good 'un.
And there you go, this episode may well have provided the eye-candy for the fans, but without the sentiment behind what was going on, it all felt very flimsy, it rushed into the matter too fast and resolved it too cleanly. There was precious-little development to speak of here, unless it's on a subliminal level. It's hard to call this a bad episode, because it simply wasn't, but I felt slightly bored by it. The romance for Aang was genuine was very sweet in the previous show, but here it felt too random and at some points, just out of spite. Hopefully things in the next episode will heat up more, and for the better reasons too.
Thanks for reading! ^__^