If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Well, I had hoped that the series had moved on from its previous issues, but it looks like the prologue to next week's two-part season finale went there once again. And although the episode didn't pivot about it, it did.... turn it into a rather mixed bag to be honest. This may be a more conflicted review than usual, but let's see if I can make head-and-tail about it.
Korra continues to recover at Air Temple Island after her close encounter with both Tarrlok and Amon. Once Tenzin hears her repeat the events, he immediately sees that the leader of the Equalists is pressing towards his final move in the City war, and rushes off to meet the remaining Council members. Lin Beifong agrees to look after his children and pregnant wife while he is away. Meanwhile, Asami finally confronts Mako about his recent closeness with Korra, and admits to knowing about his kiss with Korra. Mako says he was only worried for the Avatar, and says that it isn't the time for the discussion. But this only fuels Asami's anger at him as she storms out.
Tenzin meanwhile reaches the City only just in time, as the Equalists have attacked and captured the other members, leaving him in charge and the only remaining member. The Equalists engage a full attack upon the City, and as he meets Saikhon at Police Headquarters, he finds out that the forces are no match to repel the offensive. The station is then attacked, but Tenzin manages to leave Siakhon and his officers out of the building, where the Equalists are waiting.
Korra and the team see the airships attacking the City, and immediately leave to help out. They arrive just in time to save Tenzin from capture, and push back the Equalist ground forces. Amon, in an overhead airship, is not wavered by this, and sends airships to attack Air Temple Island. Lin readies herself along with the members of the island to hold them off, just as Tenzin's wife goes into childbirth. All sides are stretched thin by the attack, as things look dire for them all...
The episode works very much to set the pieces for the big finale next week, with Amon finally swinging the hammer down upon the City with brutal force. It really is pretty spectacular to see the scale the animators created with it; it's our first time seeing a true army assault as the City and Korra struggle to fight it. We get some very good action sequences on all sides, and some very atmospheric shots as well that speak as many words as any fighting can. Asmai's father returns to Amon's side to oversee the offensive, and it seems the series has set out the battle lines upon which the final fight will work upon.
Sadly though I must now delve into those negative aspects that I raised in the beginning, as the love triangle is brought back again in a very.... unlikeable way. If you have watched any romantic dramas, you will know of the point where the couple ceases to speak to each other to resolve their issues, simply because they're at opposite ends with each other. That's exactly what happens here with Mako and Asami, and a lesser extent with Mako and Korra. That bond that had been building up between them all is thrown out the window in two minutes, and they stop acting like normal people. It just pissed me off rather than tried to make me care for the emotional strain that was happening, right now I couldn't care less what happens between them. It was poorly orchestrated and an unnecessary emotional weight to add to the current situation. If Mako had been honest, and Asmai had put her suddenly enormous ego aside, then I would have bought it completely. As it is, it was a scene I disliked a lot.
Then there is the "comedic scene" where the kids help out and fight off the Equalists. I don't know... it was like it was intended for very young viewers of the audience of which I expect there aren't that many, and felt way over-the-top in contrast to what was actually going on. And as for fart-bending and poop jokes in the show, really??? And the Equalists simply stood idly around and let the kids fight them into submission. Despite them showing off some pretty good experience with Air-Bending, the sequence felt very forced, and could easily have been left out entirely.
Returning to what is good however; there are a lot of scenes that the episode delivers on. I liked the atmosphere of the planned Equalist attack; it was all very well laid out and illustrated with each member of the team getting a chance to enter the fight. Lin Beifong's sequence near the end however, is the most spectacular and shocking. Fans of The Legend of Aang will recognise the similarity in it, and the result of it is a real kick to the stomach. I was just left picking up my jaw off the floor and trying to absorb what had just happened. Once again she is exceedingly well used in the episode as is Tenzin, who has his own scene of danger that has you doubting what may happen next for a few moments.
The final shot will surely bring a lot of excitement and intrigue to the fans too. I had never considered it, but it does feel like a very good inclusion of the shown-character, and explains the early shots we saw of the season finale. I must say that the team have set it up very well, and is looking like it will be absolutely spectacular. There were those two major moments that just had me shaking my head, one of which something that can be shaken off, but another that could drag on beyond the necessary end-point. I hope the team manage to wrap it up conclusively at some stage, because I don't really feel like it is working so far as a romantic side-story.
That said though, there was a lot here that I liked, and even a few mistakes can't spoil an episode from a show as excellent as this remains. Next weekend should be one damm-good finale, so clear the schedule for it; you won't want to miss it.
Thanks for reading! ^__^