The Legend of Korra "The Stakeout" Review: Red Lotus Petals of Truth

The Legend of Korra S03E09: "The Stakeout"


As I sat down to write this, I realized I may've done some hyping up "The Stakeout" in my review of last week's "The Terror Within," and that may've led you to expect a knockdown drag-out brawl between Korra and Zaheer instead of Zaheer sitting under a spirit tree while espousing ideology to a slightly bewildered Korra. In my defense, I tend to get more excited about the latter sort of thing than I do about watching people beat each other up with rocks and gusts of wind.

But I was also excited about "The Stakeout" because it finally provided an answer to the question of what Zaheer and his gang—hereafter the Red Lotus—wanted with Korra all those years ago: to instruct her in a different way of restoring order and balance to the world, before the White Lotus and the rest could fill her head with status quo jargon about queens and presidents and their ideas of what constitutes order and balance. I imagine that they would now like to either convert Korra or kill her so that the Avatar can be reincarnated into a new child... assuming that cycle wasn't broken when Korra lost the connection to her past selves.

Zaheer's thinking was fairly boilerplate TV anarchist stuff—"true freedom can only be achieved when oppressive governments are torn down"—mixed with philosophical kōans like "the natural order is disorder." It's the type of thing that can get a bit annoying, as many media representations of anarchism tend toward a "chaos is good" idea, but there are many different types of the philosophy, and sometimes they get jumbled up, as was the case here. Zaheer wasn't exactly clear, or even consistent, about the ideas of freedom that he and the Red Lotus are all about. He's opposed to corrupt governments, so would he be okay with a non-corrupted government? Or would any centralized system be inherently corrupt and limiting? The bottom line is that anarchists on TV can be a little squishy.

But while a fully fleshed-out line of thinking would be nice, it's not completely necessary. What is necessary—and exciting—is that Zaheer, and by extension the Red Lotus, are in fact continuing Korra's tradition of villains with philosophical and political aims, something I alluded to back in my review of the season premiereKorra's antagonists haven't merely been despots with a focus on achieving world domination (admittedly a political aim, but such a tired one in fiction) like Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Rather, they've had ideas about how the world ought to be, whether that means freedom from the inequality of bending or the reconstitution of the spirits' place in the physical world. It's a more interesting approach to antagonists, and I'm always in favor of interesting antagonists... often more so than interesting protagonists, even.

Another exciting aspect of all this is that Zaheer's philosophy snaps some of Book 3 into much-needed focus. Book 3 hasn't been bad, but it has been looser and less urgent than its predecessors, perhaps in keeping with Korra's shift away from the hustle of Republic City. The aims of the Red Lotus—like the aims of the Equalists and Unalaq before it—provide a framework for thinking about what's become the central concerns of the show as a whole: How should this world be after 100 years of war? Wh should people keep relying on old hierarchies and systems of government? And where does the Avatar fit into it, if at all? 


Korra hasn't presented any easy answers, and that's generally reflective of our title character's own struggles to figure out who she as the Avatar, and what kind of Avatar she can be in this world with anti-benders and world leaders who aren't interested in deferring to someone who can control all the elements and do some glowy-eyed spiritualism. For the purposes of Book 3, it also at least gestures toward what Tenzin and the newly minted Air Nomads need to do in order to begin the culture anew (here, @RaizenYusuke's comment on the season premiere finally comes home to roost a bit). Things have been completely destroyed, and Tenzin is clinging to the old ways when maybe it would be better if he followed the mentality of the guru Laghima and embraced a chance to build something new instead.

It'd be nice if this aspect of Book 3 had come to the forefront a bit sooner instead of when there are only four episodes left, but I'll admit that's my personal predilection these sort of elements. More than anything else, I prefer them to have the chance to breathe. I am a touch concerned, however, that the season won't have time to wrap everything up in a satisfactory manner. There are quite a few plot threads dangling—including what the Red Lotus has in store for both Korra and Ba Sing Se, and Tenzin and the airbenders at the temple (and how Lin will manage to rescue everyone). But, given that the show is only now shifting gears, I have hope that it will do so.



LEAVES ON THE WIND

– Odds on Su being a member of the Red Lotus? We already know she finds monarchy to be an outdated concept, and she did send Team Avatar after Aiwei, which could now be seen as a backup plan in case Zaheer's abduction plot didn't work. The apparent decentralization and emphasis on personal freedoms and pursuits in Zaofu also falls nicely in line with the Red Lotus's ideology.

– Unalaq's connection to the Red Lotus does nothing to repair that character, and, honestly, it felt a bit like the writers were saying, "No, no, we had this plan all along, and we're just getting around to justifying Unalaq's motivations now." Sloppy and unnecessary.

– "I said I had the best drinks in the Earth Kingdom, and he called me a liar." "That's him! Any idea where he went?" "Afraid not. And he was right... my drinks are terrible." AWWWWWWW.

– That Nuk-Tuk doll was horrifying, especially when it squeaked.

– We're not yet sure whether we'll continue reviewing Korra week-to-week, or if we'll just circle back when the final episode is posted online and do a finale review/Book 3 wrap-up. The decision basically hinges on how well this review does.


What did you think of "The Stakeout"?


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Aug 09, 2014
* The world is actually a mess. It has a President, but his authority seems mostly limited to Republic City. The rest of the world is still ruled by monarchs. And those monarchs are all likely terrible. The Earth Queen has been using her kingdom as a personal piggy bank. The Northern Water tribe is ruled by two emo sociopaths. Korra's father seems has no leadership experience and the Southern Water tribe's wealth seems to mostly come from the Northern Water tribe modernizing it. And it's unlikely the Fire Nation is run well. Zuko is incompetent and his daughter isn't likely to be much better.

Taking down the 'world order' would be a good thing for most people. Now, the world is largely run by the whims of The President and the monarchs -- this is probably Zaheer's point.

* Zaofu seems to be Su's personal kingdom. She seems to mostly not like the Earth Queen because Su doesn't like the idea of anyone having authority over her.

* I continue to find Korra like the least likable character in this series. She's clearly the least intelligent of Team Avatar and her pigheadedness continues to cause problems for the world. Aang got a pass because he was only 12 (mentally).

* Finally, I still hope Azula is alive and doing well.
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Aug 07, 2014
First, please continue reviewing each episode through the finale. I think it is as entertaining and thought-provoking to see a person's thoughts each episode, and as a result, the progression of their view of the show as a whole, from the first week through the end of the season. And, of course, everyone else who comments on those reviews each week. I truly enjoy reading everyone's reactions and theories. They add to my enjoyment and appreciation of The Legend of Korra, and give me hope that shows of this quality will continue to be produced and find an audience.

I enjoyed this episode a lot, for reasons that many of you have already said, so just let me add a couple of observations. I think this season stands out because every episode contributes to the overall story in very well thought-out and measured ways - the development of characters and the actions they take as a result, the expanding of the Avatar Universe while keeping and showing the connections to people and places that we know from the previous 5 seasons/books, and the pacing of the the entire season as if it were one long movie or novel. Episodes like "Original Airbenders" and "Stakeout" work as individual episodes with great character development and plot advancement, but also serve as breathers after periods of intense action and conflict. It really feels like we are experiencing Season 3 exactly as the creators intend us to, and it is exhilarating!

The other thing is a theory that I haven't seen anyone put out there yet. Given what I've said about the creators giving us the story exactly as they want to, and making so many connections between events and characters, I think that Zaheer could be Mako and Bolin's father. Why introduce their family in Ba Sing Se in such a way that sets up that their father was a man who hated what the Earth Kingdom had become and left for Republic City, never to return? The timing of the events - The Red Lotus being imprisoned for 13 years and Mako and Bolin losing their parents - would fit, if this is what the creators were setting up, and Mako's convenient giving up of his signature scarf, which his father would recognize immediately, also makes sense. P'Li may or may not be their mother, who was, after all from the Fire Nation, but this connection would fit in perfectly with what we have been shown throughout the season.

...or, I could be reading waaaay too much into things. Again, just a theory, but an exciting possibility and a chance for some more really great storylines!

Thanks for reading this far -
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Aug 07, 2014
.... I don't know why but I really love this show. I always have fun watching it. Bolin befriending the Red Lotus.
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Aug 04, 2014
I also vote for weekly reviews, please. Nicely done, btw.
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Aug 04, 2014
If it matters, I would like the reviews to continue!

I agree with how so far, S3 has been a little unfocused, but I support that decision almost entirely. The individual episodes this season have really changed my opinion about most of the characters. I came into this season frustrated with Bolin and Mako, annoyed with Korra and wondering what the heck Asami would still be doing with this group, but this season has made me care about the core group of characters I held most contempt for in a way that made this ending one of the best cliffhangers the show has done. I am also a little concerned that it won't wrap everything up that it needs to in time, but my confidence in this show has been restored so much that I believe it is completely possible.

Here comes the praise! I love when both the good and bad guys are smart in television shows because I feel it is such a cheat to have one side suddenly gain advantage as a result of the other side's sloppy mistakes, and this episode worked great in that regard. Mako's plan was really smart and I hope his streak of successful strategy continues. When Zaheer sat down at said he would tell the Avatar everything I rolled my eyes because I thought it was just going to be a random exposition dump, but having Zaheer just using his information as a stalling tactic was brilliant! Keep it up show!

Side note: I had such trouble with nick.com at first, with it telling me that the page no longer existed and a confusing layout. The player itself started off slow and distorted which sucked. I still can't believe it isn't airing any more on television.

Side note #2: I totally saw the two fans of Bolin's movers as older versions of Sokka and Suki....just totally drugged out.

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Aug 04, 2014
Of course the avatar will be reborn to the next nation if she dies. That is the way their world works people are reincarnated. I don't really get why they continued the Korra story.

What I want to see is the avatar of the next harmonic convergence. I think it would be great to see how the avatar can find balance when the spirit of darkness and chaos reemerges inside the avatar.
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Aug 04, 2014
Please continue the reviews!

I get what people are saying, I really do. By this point in S3 (although technically if we went by episode count we'd be in the middle of S2) we were already emotionally connected to these characters. But the reason I will never compare LOK to ATLA is because ATLA wasn't designed as an one-season show, didn't have its plot concluded in the one season finale before suddenly getting an order for three seasons. Aang didn't defeat the Fire Lord by the end of S1, and as a result the show never had to deal with the problems LOK does.

I think Nickelodeon should have gone into this with the intention of giving them four seasons from the start. It didn't need to be 20-episode seasons, just... the creators should have been able to prepare a four-season plan instead of an one-season (plus three other seasons) plan. As much as I love love love Korra and its characters, I will never stop dreaming about a world where that happened.
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Aug 03, 2014
Love the reviews, it is nice to see this website give Korra more attention than Nickelodeon.
I hate it being online now, because Nick's website is always so choppy for me.

Anyway, love your opinion on Korra, keep up the great work.
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Aug 02, 2014
best episode so far this season.

and this seasons is sooo much better than season 2. Better story, and villains. human bad guys are way better than monsters or spirits.
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Aug 02, 2014
Don't stop the reviews. I enjoy reading these every week.
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Aug 02, 2014
Well theres one thing thats for certain. The animation this season has been absolutely beautiful...
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Aug 03, 2014
Helps that Studio Mir had the time and the energy to do all of Book 3 this time around.
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Aug 02, 2014
This is the season which should have had 20 episodes.
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Aug 02, 2014
I still think it's great season,but I agree,how much they gotta do in just 13 episodes. Korra is horrible Avatar,but I do hope she is not the last one. Yes she did lost connection to past Avatars,but she's Avatar because of Raava and they are reborn because Raava can't die.
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Aug 04, 2014
I don't think that's the case. I think that people in their world are actually reborn when they die a concept that is believed in some cultures even here in our world. Raava just connects the current avatar to his previous selves and also provides energy/protection so the avatar could channel all four elements.
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Aug 02, 2014
Keep 'em coming!
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Aug 02, 2014
I really like your reviews Noel! Though I am no longer a big fan as I once was with the show, I still like reading your reviews and someone else's opinion.
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Aug 02, 2014
Did anyone else think it was stupid to jump into a pool if water when there a master water bender nearby?

i know it was a last resort but really?
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Aug 04, 2014
Totally dude. It was insane. They were better off trying Makko's suggestion to switch. I mean the denser nature of rocks(earth) would have a greater chance of penetrating water than fire. Though that would probably more be problematic to Makko. But I suppose he should have some protection to heat because he is a firebender,

By the way, is magma bending a variation of earth bending? Seemed that way on how they showed the capture of Korra. Bolin definitely try to learn that. I mean he should be well suited for that being a earth bender and a fire bender brother.

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Aug 04, 2014
I think they are trying to imply that Magma bending is another example of high level earth bending. What I actually like is that they are having Mako have such a hard time trying to learn metal bending, I didn't like how easy Korra picked it up.

i thought the key to metal bending was the "Toph Vision" that she used to see the earth minerals that made up the metal & thus manipulate it. As far as I'm aware Korra has not demonstrated this ability so far so a little extra effort before she metal bent would have been nice.

I would have preferred if they kept the Avatar's high level bending stuff exclusive to their natural element. So in Korra's case water (Bloodbending & Healing) except for the Avatar state of course.
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Aug 20, 2014
I know it was not just to illustrate metal bending. What I am saying is that vision thing they do is just a representation of how earth benders sense through earth. Though you could probably call it vision and I did remember Toph calling it her vision. But it just seem to me more akin to Sonar/Eco-location that other animals used but rather than moving though air of liquid theirs move on earth.

In any case, how about that Magma bending business are they going to explain how that guy can make earth into lava? Because I would really love their explanation on that.
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Aug 20, 2014
I'd imagine they will probably explain it by something throw-away like moving the molecules in the earth thus creating friction & giving it a heated liquified state.

Or some BS version of that.
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Aug 19, 2014
Dude that was a vision that was just how the creators showed how Toph sensed the earth minerals in metal. Magma bending does make sense if they are just moving lava, which is just a liquified state of rocks. But turning earth into lava requires heat manipulation, which to me is more of a fire-bender ability.
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Aug 19, 2014
Toph taught her "Toph Vision" to Aang he used it in the finale to sense how Osai was going to strike him just before he took his bending.

I have also seen Lin use the vision on multiple occasions to locate stuff underground.

I therefore don't think it was merely a device used by the creators to illustrate how metal bending was possible.
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Aug 03, 2014
That fight made me realize that the only way Mako and Bolin can win against those two is if Mako used lightning against Ming-Hua (the water bender) and Bolin to finally learn to metal-bend against Ghazan (the lava-rock bender).
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Aug 04, 2014
Yeah a nice lightening strike to those water bender arms of hers & watch her fry. Probably saving that for the final battle though.
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Aug 02, 2014
I actually like that scene. It was realistic heat of the moment thinking.
Keep in mind Bolin actually had the best plan for the situation: to switch opponents but, as it so often happens in real life (unlike cartoonish Korra S2), ideas aren't guaranteed success, so he thought of how to deal with his guy that turned all the ground around him to lava: water.
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Aug 02, 2014
For a nuanced look on civilization and anarchy.

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Aug 02, 2014
I would really love if you'd continue doing the weekly reviews. That being said, I won't get pissed off if you decide to come back after the finale and do a big wrap up. Your reviews of LoK are great and while I don't actively comment on them, I read every one of them. So... As I'm basically begging you to remain active with Korra, I might as well get a little bit active myself.

I loved this episode. There was one thing about it that I'd like to nitpick. The part where Bolin and Mako go to the Misty Palms oasis and Asami and Korra are left at the truck. Was I the only one that felt like the interaction and the overall scenes with Korra and Asami were a bit clunky. I can't really put my finger on it but it seemed a bit weird at the time. But it wasn't a big deal.

Please continue reviewing this show! Nick abandoned it, so TV.com should be its knight in shining armor! Nick cast it aside so TV.com should shine a spotlight on it! Bring balance to the world, TV.com!
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Aug 02, 2014
I feel like they under utilize Asami a lot. She is just as awesome as Sokka
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Aug 03, 2014
Yeah, I feel the same way. I was kind of hoping from the way they handled the friendship between her and Korra in the beginning of the season that it would evolve to a some sort of a "bro"mance. Now with 4 episodes left there's no time for that. But during the slower episodes... Why not?

I really hope they give her attention in the last season. Sokka took a long while to come a properly great character. He was a buttmonkey for most of the first season. I think it happened in the second season (book?) that I started to genuinely prefer him over Katara and Aang. In book 3, the episode where Sokka points out that everyone can bend and he's useless (then he went on and made a sword from a meteorite and got trained by the best swordsman of the firenation!) really broke my heart even though it wasn't handled in a dramatic way. He just said it, and started training.. Asami is sort of in the same position. She's in a group of benders, while not being able to bend herself. I wish they gave her more agency and developed her as well.

That was longer than I intended!
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Aug 02, 2014
I hate to be that one person who continuously compares LOK to ATLA .... but by ATLA's season 3 we were so connected and immersed in both characters and the story, which was just epic on a whole new level. Meanwhile season 3 of LOK and the characters are just as flat as in season 1 and the story doesnt have any real tension or love to it at all :/
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Aug 02, 2014
Loved the Hannibal-style mouth piece that Korra sported. So fashionable.
Zaheer being driven by ideological motives was kinda foreseeable and therefore a bit lazy for the show to drag out this revelation. Nonetheless, he's intriguing. I just wish I knew how he mastered airbending so quickly.

A good review as usual. You always look further behind the curtain than just checking plot points off your list.
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Aug 02, 2014
Noel and everyone who reviews The Legend of Korra , please don't abandon it like Nickelodeon did and keep reviewing it because you're impacting the show and the viewers more than you know.
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Aug 02, 2014
Seeing as this review determines future reviews, I had to comment. Hopefully, everyone reading this comments as well. We can't let Legend of Korra reviews go away.

I think I expected more from this episode largely because you sold it so well last week. It is very late in the day to introduce the main arch and I am curious as to how it goes. Very reminiscent of book 3 of ATLA because even that season left things till very very late.
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Aug 02, 2014
The thing ATLA has over LOK is,that it was focused on less characters. Aang,Katara,Sokka,Zuko,Iroh..then Toph and if you add Appa and Momo:D This was it's core and they had time to develop those characters and focus on them. And they had one enemey...fire nation.

LOK has every season new enemey and so many characters and it has less episodes. But I get it,since set up for both shows is different.(still love ATLA way way more)
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Aug 02, 2014
It could be possible that the creators are aiming towards book 4 continuing book 3s plot. I really hope thats the case because these villains have become truly fascinating.
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Aug 02, 2014
I would hope so too but, seeing as the last episode is called The Red Lotus, i'm guessing they'll finish off with these villains but have them make an impact on Korra's philosophy so the plot continues into S4.
Come to think of it, Korra has always learned from her opponents.
Unalaq especially got to her, since, in the end, she pretty much did what he asked of her from the beginning.
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Aug 02, 2014
Keep it coming Noel. I love your reviews!
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Aug 02, 2014
Not a terrible episode, but by no means great. That episode belonged in Season 1 or 2.

I realize now that a lot of people are watching this program hoping to get something quite different than me. I have ZERO interest in philosophical cartoons spouting spiritual and political ideologies. And that's the territory this episode just veered Book 3 back into. I'll again follow the episodes faithfully till the end of the season, but these ridiculous philosophical villains are just... ughh. I'm ready to be done with Korra's tenure as Avatar. I can't wait to meet the next earthbender and firebender avatars in the cycle. Hopefully this show will go back to being fun again.

Or maybe the cycle really is broken (because Korra by far seems like one of the worst avatars to date)...
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Aug 02, 2014
Lol yea, we are definitely not watching it for the same thing. I mean, what would you prefer? Your typical run of the mill villain whose only interest lies in either world dominance or annihilation, a clinically evil genius who speaks with a conniving British accent?

No one is truly evil. Most real-life villains (Hitler, Putin, Chavez) are simply people who have opposing views on the way of life...and art imitates life, so we should be thankful we're at least getting a philosophical cartoon and not a typical cliche. BORING. Lol.
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Aug 02, 2014
I didn't find Ozai a boring or cartoonish villain. Nor was Azula. They were sinister and well done. Zuko too, because he was truly complicated. As was Uncle Iroh. They were all villains. Not all of them stayed villains. Not all of them had the same goal. Not all of them had the same motivation. (Not to mention we had 60 episodes to see all of that unfold; this time, we only have 13 at a time).

And the typical run of the mill villain you described is EXACTLY what Zaheer just turned into with 4 episodes left. He IS trying for annihilation. He IS a clinically evil genius who speaks like a professor. And you're right- that is boring; we got the same type of villain in Unalaq and Amon.

Zaheer was interesting... right up until he started giving a dissortation on changing the balance of the world. THAT to me is boring. I have no problem with philosopy and political debate... in its proper place. I thought Avatar was supposed to be about adventure, imagination, and fun; not questioning whether Hitler was all that "truly evil" or not. My bad.
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Aug 02, 2014
But with a title like Change, you do sort of need people like the red lotus, people willing to force change, consequences be damned (or indeed welcomed in their case.) People, good or evil, must believe in what they're doing, Ozai and Azula included.

And to be honest, given how they set up Zaheer, a man who has studied and is an admirer of air nomad philosophy, you didn't expect his reasons to be anything but philosophical did you?

But Korra has never made it ambiguous who are the bad guys really are. Amon, despite believing in equality, lead the equalists as a terrorist group, Unalaq, despite his desire for spiritual change, planned to plunge the world into chaos. As for the Red Lotus - whatever the reasons, they plan to assassinate world leaders, make no question, they are the bad guys.
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Aug 02, 2014
after how nick ruined the way this season was aired, please do the week to week reviews. I think sometimes the deeper themes of Korra can get lost by the gusts of wind and chunks of rock being thrown (although this weeks fight scene with water arms, lava man vs the brothers was pretty cool) and it's good to have that discussion. I would have to say I want some clarity on Zaheer's position. Amon and the equalist story line was interesting because everything they preached seemed like a good idea until you saw that this guy was a waterbender and a huge hypocrite. I can't really speak into unalaaq because season 2 lost me and I only kinda sorta know what's going on because of the reviews. But with zaheer, eh... It's like a soup of anarchist tropes.

What I do like though is that each nation in turn is being shown to have roots of evil. I mean with Avatar The Last airbender really harping the firenation's corruption, it's really easy to forget that each nation is just as capable. I'm not saying that A:TLA didn't show glimpses of that corruption way back when, but it was a simpler time. War does change a world. Think about our own society. How different is life today compared to the 1940's? and that's not even 100 years yet.
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Aug 02, 2014
I think Zaheer's overall plan for the world is still left in shadow. He told Korra a bit about his idealogy, but his overall goal is being kept for the endgame.
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Aug 02, 2014
I really liked this episode.
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Aug 02, 2014
Same here, maybe even more so since I think this is the first near flawless episode of Korra. Especially in how it was done. Since I see so many other people not liking what was done.
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Aug 02, 2014
Don't stop the reviews. I need some place to discuss the show.

Totally agree with all the things about the philosophical mumbo jumbo. No wonder Zaheer loves airbenders considering their peaceful nomadic society. He would have been the best monk, second to Tenzin. But yeah, this whole anarchy shtick does not entirely make much sense because it seems like Zaheer is the only one with that philosophy. Does he want everyone just living like airbenders?

I don't want Suyin to be a Red Lotus. She is a nice character but the fact that she allowed Korea and the gang to go. Noooo!

To be honest, at this point, I just want to see the big showdown between the superpowered bending of the Red Lotus versus Team Avatar. I really could care less about this whole anarchy plot situation.
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Aug 02, 2014
lol korea
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Aug 02, 2014
LOL
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Aug 01, 2014
Um... did Mako just forget how to lightning bend? That is the perfect weapon against a water bender. SMH
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Aug 02, 2014
Lightning bending is a focused attack, hard to perform when you're constantly having to dodge attacks, at least that's how I see it
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Aug 02, 2014
That might be the very thing that allows him to defeat her the next time they battle....I still think the armless waterbender is a bad@ss MOFO
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Aug 02, 2014
Yup. He was able to produce lightning while he was being bloodbended by Amon. You'd think he could just throw lightning at a waterbender who literally has water attached to her.
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Aug 02, 2014
Yeah, I will go ahead and call that PIS
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Aug 01, 2014
The reviews shouldn't stop because it's about to pop off in the next two episodes!
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Aug 01, 2014
I can understand why you hyped this episode as much as you did, it was an excellent episode all around, and while I feel the action was just as good as episodes past, I think my favorite part was definitely Zaheer's discussion with Korra, damn was that good. I actually like Zaheer and while the way he is going about his beliefs may be wrong, it is much more plausible than Amon or Unalaq that his goal is a Noble one. While I do see Zaheer going down by the finale, I wouldn't be surprised if we see some positive changes in Republic City and around the world that reflect some of Zaheer's beliefs. Overall one of my favorites from the season for sure, and Book 3 has been excellent so far, but like you I worry they will be able to have a satisfactory ending to all these story lines in just four episodes, but we will see soon enough.

I do hope you'll continue these reviews, I mean their are only three weeks left, at the very least I would hope to be able to read an analysis of the next two episodes the week before the finale, and then a finale review. You are one of my favorite writers on the site and you always have the best input, so I'd hate to not hear what you think of the end of the book, and hopefully we can also get some sort of reviews for book 4, but who knows how they'll end up airing that.
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Aug 01, 2014
they would now like to either convert Korra or kill her so that the Avatar can be reincarnated into a new child... assuming that cycle wasn't broken when Korra lost the connection to her past selves.

I wonder that too, re: the Avatar reincarnation cycle... all the mythology we got last season didn't make it entirely clear if the powers would be transferred or not this time.
I guess if the Red Lots wanted to kill Korra, though, they could've just killed her instead of trying to kidnap her in last week's episode. They probably want something else from her... (I'm still not sure how converting her would aid their goals though, it's not like most government leaders listen to her, anyway...:P)
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Aug 01, 2014
Even I don't think what I am about to write is even remotely plausible, but I can't stop thinking that Zaheer is (at least partially) lying about the true motives or the origin of the Red Lotus. I mean, how convenient is that a Combustion-Woman (or Sparky-Sparky-Boom-Girl) and a lavabender all gathered around this particular organisation (let me demonstrate: A Combustion-Woman, a lavabender and an armless waterbender walk into a bar...). What I'm trying to point out (and failing) is that (as Tenzin or Zuko already pointed out) these people can rule the world given the right set of resources and opportunities. We know from our real world experiences (and Game of Thrones perhaps?) that the only ones who profit from the chaos are the ones who cause/start it.
Just another thought: Perhaps the goal of Zaheer is to create and uncorrupt government ruling the chaos? If it is a thing?
(Darn, this is too much thinking for a cartoon)

And Noel, please keep 'em reviews coming bro. They are always an eye-opener at the very least.
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Aug 02, 2014
Nothing implausible about that. I'm sure Zaheer wants to be in a position to control how little government everyone's allowed to have.
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Aug 01, 2014
It does seem like there wasn't a long term plan for this show when it first started. Connecting the main villains of the past seasons to the Red Lotus should have been a great revelation, but no seeds were actually planted to make this satisfactory. It also strengthens my opinion that the Dark Avatar plotline was introduced too soon, as the Red Lotus' vision of the world could've culminated in a fight to defend the world's order and Unalaq taking this opportunity to break from the Red Lotus to become the Dark Avatar. Considering how epic this confrontation should have been and the repercussions the Season 2 finale had, this seemed like endgame material anyway.

Having said all that, the ideas of Zaheer might not be very focused, but it again makes this world a little more complex and challenges Korra in a new way that can't just be solved by defeating the main villain in combat. Especially with how the Earth Queen has been positioning herself, it's going to be interesting to see how Korra will deal with all this.
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Aug 02, 2014
I agree. We probably should've met the Red Lotus for Season 2, and Season 3 could've been saved for Unalaq,. That wouldve definitely make it a more satisfying tale, but the shoeing in of Unalaq just feels forced this time.
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Aug 01, 2014
All thou there wasn't much fighting in this episode a lot was make clear. Now we know why Zaheer and the gang was planning to kidnap Korra, we can speculate what they going to do next. Thou I hope the Earth queen will be brought down,

I hope the weekly reviews will keep going till the finale episode. It's nice to read them and sometimes it clear things up.
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Aug 02, 2014
I know it's a typo but thumbs up for using 'thou'. Archaic language is the best.
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Aug 02, 2014
Sorry I'm Dutch and true I need to brush things up ;)
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Aug 01, 2014
It's bad enough the Earth Queen hates Korra but now, our heroine and her friends get caught by both the Earth Queen's forces and Zaheer and his bad bunch!

Why has it all gone downhill from here? Korra's on the losing streak again!

Even if we see the Earth Queen again, it won't change anything! Not a thing!

This is definitely the worst episode I've ever seen!
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Aug 02, 2014
You're surprised the Earth Queen hates Korra?
It's as Tenzin said in the beginning, whatever Korra does there are going to be some that hate her for it
As for Korra's losing streak, bare in mind she was never actually been in combat with the red lotus, and I've never seen anyone able to talk with their body in the spirit world, so the attack was a complete surprise. And being honest, I think it was already established Ghazan and Ming Hua outmatch Mako and Bolin in the previous fight. As for Korra's capture by the Earth Queen, Asami couldn't do anything about it, the Earth Queen's forces attacked from a distance and Asami's equalist glove is only good at close range, and Korra was in the spirit world. Perhaps you could argue that Korra's lust for answers was their downfall, but that's not beyond Korra's character.

Also bare in mind, Aang had to go through his losing streaks too. He was captured by Zuko, then by Jhao, and by Zuko again, then he lost Appa, was struck down by Azula and failed in the battle of black sun, it just seemed more spaced out because the series had more time to tell it's story, that's not the maker's fault, Nick insisted each book be self-contained.
More +
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Aug 02, 2014
Whaaa....? Weird.
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Aug 01, 2014
Does anybody knows if these episodes will be available outside the US through Nick.com. I know that at this point Nick doesn't give a shit about Korra, but a little (legal) support won't hurt.
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Aug 01, 2014
I loved the fact that Unalaq was connected to the Red Lotus. I think it defintely helped his character out.
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Aug 04, 2014
Really! the guy seems a smug weasel from the start. Why would anyone care about his character. I couldn't care less if they showed him back or not. Now Iroh they should definitely bring him back,
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Aug 01, 2014
Zaheer reminds me of one of those conspiracy theorists. Those who hide out in the woods like the Unabomber, or people who think 9/11 was an inside job. He's spouting weird philosophy stuff. I can see his mentality in todays world.
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Aug 01, 2014
I think you should continue week-to-week reviews because, let's be honest, there's only 3 episodes left(given the finale will premiere as a 2-parter.) Also, I kind of liked Unalaq being a member of the Red Lotus. Although Unalaq was a bad character, it kind of emphasizes just how scary these guys are! I mean, Unalaq was the chief of the water tribes, that is one powerful connection! (Plus, given how both were in favor of keeping the portals open, it makes more sense to connect them rather than have two villains who share the same way of thinking...to an extent.)
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Aug 01, 2014
Zaheer is all kinds of awesome. He is such a patient and terrifying villain. I am not a fan of anarchy, but at the same time it has its uses and the fact is the current Avatar world is not exactly a stellar place. There may not be any big war going on now, but there is plenty of injustice.

The Red Lotus being highly skilled benders explains why the White Lotus is so weak. All the good benders jumped ship lol. And I know people have been amazed by Ming-hua, but Ghazan absolutely dominated Bolin. Bolin was running scared the whole fight and it was equal parts amazing and terrifying.
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Aug 02, 2014
But honestly, does the rest of Zaheer's gang actually believe his philosophy? They havent shown us they were capable of such deep thought, only valuable in their unique use of bending. They're just henchmen at this point really. So it makes me wonder if they're just following the man's orders, or if they were even members of the Red Lotus themselves.
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Aug 01, 2014
Thanks so much for the review... now I understand a little better what Zaheer said... like Korra said too much jumbo-jumbo.
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Staff
Aug 01, 2014
I don't know that it's "jumbo-jumbo" as they are so many different schools of anarchist thought (I did a very cursory scan of a number of them while writing this), and Zaheer's drawing from a few them; it's that, as presented, it doesn't cohere into something that I (and maybe someone else can?) can point to it and say, "This is where he's coming from, this particularly ideology." To me, as I said, it was pretty run-of-the-mill fictional anarchist/revolutionary stuff.
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Aug 01, 2014
Great review. Love how the show is going back to it's roots with real interesting dilemmas being raised and moral ambiguity! I should also add that the Red Lotus being a parallel to the anarchist movement is a very fitting choice seeing how the show is set in the 1920s.
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Aug 02, 2014
Of course Red Lotus has been around for quite a while though.
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Staff
Aug 01, 2014
Or a 1920s-esque sort of vibe, but, yes, I didn't even think about that connection. That's excellent.
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