The Legend of Korra "The Terror Within" Review: Zaheer's Big Move

The Legend of Korra S03E08: "The Terror Within"


I swear, this show.

That comment is not about "The Terror Within"—which we'll discuss momentarily—but rather the behind-the-scenes drama that's befallen the show since we last convened. In case you missed the news, Nickelodeon has pulled Episodes 9 through 13 off the TV schedule, and will instead roll them out weekly via various digital platforms (including Nick.com) starting on August 1. For those of you who watch the series online, no big deal, whatever. For those of you who watch it on TV, well, Nickelodeon doesn't care about you right now.

What a massive mess. As you may recall, the first several episodes of Book 3 were leaked online in June, which is likely why Nick announced the season's premiere date only a week before the actual premiere date. There would be no fanfare, no marketing, and no Comic-Con goodness like there was last year; just, "Here's the show, folks." And then the network scheduled two episodes a week, an apparent boon to fans that, frankly, felt like an attempt to get the show on and off the air as quickly as possible. Add in the fact that it was nearly impossible to watch the show online legally—not only were episodes not made available on Nick.com (even though Book 2's episodes were posted one day after airing last year), they were delayed on purchasing platforms, as if Nick was saying, "Oh, no, we'd rather not have your money right now. Wait a week." Is it any wonder that the show's ratings are down?

AND NOW YOU'RE JUST GOING TO PUNT IT ONLINE WHERE YOU CLEARLY WEREN'T INTERESTED SHOWING IT IN BEFORE, GOING SO FAR AS TO ADVERTISE THAT PEOPLE COULDN'T WATCH EPISODES ONLINE IN THE NEW EPISODE PROMOS THAT AIR ON THE TV?! I DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOUR PRIORITIES AT ALL, CABLE CHANNEL OWNED BY A MAJOR MEDIA CONGLOMERATE THAT I'M TALKING TO LIKE IT'S A PERSON.


I'm trying, Meelo, I'm trying, but I'm just so very tired. This scheduling nonsense comes just as Korra has started to dig into its bigger storyline. Had this happened even last week, maybe I'd be slightly less frustrated. But with "The Terror Within" and Episode 9, "The Stakeout" (which I've already seen and liked a great deal), Book 3 was picking up some real steam, steam that it needed to keep going because it was going to hit a ceiling with the airbender search. 

Anyway, let's tackle "The Terror Within." Zaheer and his gang finally made their move against Korra, and it was pretty great. Despite their screw-up in getting out of Republic City, it was immediately clear that they're a well-organized squad, even after decades of being out of action and isolated from one another. Notice, for example, how Ming Hau and Ghazan moved to defend P'Li once they realized Bolin was targeting P'Li's combustion eye. That was just good teamwork right there, with an understanding of each person's strengths and weaknesses in the context of the group. There was also no apparent bickering or showboating—these guys just do their job, and if the job can't be done, they don't make big gambles and try to force a victory. They're professional and they're powerful. That makes them very dangerous. 

The bits of wire-fu at the end of the sequence, with Lin and Su rescuing the drugged-up Korra, weren't as exciting as the wire-fu sequences we saw way back in Book 1, and that brings me back to an episode note that I made two weeks back: I miss Joaquim Dos Santos's direction. The action hasn't been terrible by any stretch—it's not Book 2 awful—but it's not popping, either. The bit with the wires, for instance, would've been a great time to call back to the Book 1 sequence, or to somehow make it look more like the wire-dancing that Su choreographed in Zaofu. Instead, it was limited to just swinging and ascending in space. While it made good use of space in other instances, including Zaofu's metalbenders employing all the metal panels, there wasn't even a cheeky repurposing of the metal police barriers in Republic City that were used to contain the citizens in more ways than one.

Action aside, with Zaheer's attempt to kidnap Korra, the focus shifted to determining how the gang got into the most protected city in the first place. While Korra made it clear that it was Aiwei double-fast—he was too quick to pin everything on that poor guard—the show did a nice job of allowing the characters to realize that it didn't make sense, from the convenient evidence to the likelihood that the young guard would've been willing to help four people who'd been in prison for over a decade. Toss in the fact that there's only one person who can tell whether people are lying in the whole city, and it was easy to see where the story would come apart with one or two tugs on those dangling threads. This also meant that Mako got to be a cop—and a smart one at that—and I always appreciate it when a show allows characters to demonstrate that they're good at what they're supposedly good at.

Aiwei's betrayal, however, shakes things up in a really good way. Previously, Zaheer and his cohorts could've just been a group of disgruntled criminals or folks with some weird, nonsensical grudge against the Avatar. Aiwei being involved, however, means there's something bigger at play—he said as much—and that we're dealing with a conspiracy or an organized effort with goals that appeal beyond Zaheer's group. It's an exciting development, and "The Terror Within" was an exciting episode. 

And now we just have to wait a week to find out what it all means.



LEAVES ON THE WIND

– I'm sort of scratching my head at notion of lavabending, but, all right, whatever. Also: Thank goodness that the heat from Ghazan's lava didn't cause Ming Hau's water arms to evaporate or anything.

– "Every time I eat raw kale, I'm going to think of you." "That's so sweet." It is so sweet. I love Opal and Bolin as a couple. In fact, they're probably the best, most realized pairing the show's done.

– Pabu is the best. Pabu deserves all the treats and snacks.

– "It's Bolin Time."

– "I can smell a conspiracy when I see one."


What did you think of "The Terror Within"?


Comments (40)
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Jul 29, 2014
As a fan who watches exclusively online, I was glad that the show is finally available to see. I didn't nkow anything about the behind the scenes stuff except for the complaints I saw from other fans on Tumblr.

I am looking forward to the next 5 episodes, but I'm wondering how the story can be brought to closure as it is. I've been enjoying it (once I got to see the episodes) but I'm still nto sure what the theme/main storyline for the season actually is. Maybe I need a seat in the dunce corner.
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Jul 29, 2014
I watch it on TV. I don't think to go online and look for the episodes.
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Jul 27, 2014
I knew someone good would turn evil in this episode. I thought it would have been Su though.
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Jul 27, 2014
Despite the giant middle finger Nick gave to the show and its fans, this was a very exciting episode. The fight sequence was beyond awesome, I'm so mad right now that I can't watch episode 9.
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Jul 26, 2014
When you hear Aiwei speaking with Hector Elizondo's voice you just know he has a big part to play, especially with Elizondo's history with the show.

It was an exciting episode. Perhaps the action could have been a little more exciting but the innovative forms of bending made up for it. Bolin was a little stupider than normal, I'm hoping that was just a glitch.
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Staff
Jul 29, 2014
Actually, that's Maurice LaMarche doing a damn good Elizondo impression.
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Jul 29, 2014
I'm stunned.
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Jul 26, 2014
I hate that Nick keeps doing this to all their most popular shows. 1st Victorious, then Sam & Cat, now Avatar. They keep switching around the schedule for new episodes there gonna lose viewers, and get this show cancelled early. Damn Nick get it together or I am done with this network. Eff getting into any new shows.
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Jul 26, 2014
I'm not sure if I remember correctly but wasn't there an Aang episode where he was able to cool down lava by blowing into it? Why didn't Korra just do that? I know Zaheer's gang was technically defeated in this episode, but they are still a bit too overpowered. Or maybe regular benders are just underpowered.

I don't get Nickelodeon's hoopla on Korra? I read the statement they made in Comic Con, how they said that Korra is more watched online than in the channel so they are making it exclusively online. Do they account for people watching it from "questionable" streaming sites? I honestly would pay to watch Korra, but as a non-US resident, I'm resulted to watch by the only means I can, which is going to these cartoon streaming websites.
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Jul 26, 2014
Korra was unconcious
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Jul 26, 2014
Doh. Yeah my bad. And the only benders around was Mako and a bunch of earth/metal benders. No way they could have crossed the lava moat.
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Jul 26, 2014
I love,how even in the beginning they explained Ghazan is lavabender.
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Jul 26, 2014
I guess Ghazan is a fire-earrth bender? It made sense when Avatar Roku did it back on his island, he is, after all, able to bend both fire and earth. It doesn't make too much sense someone who isn't the Avatar is able to do it.

One thing though is starting to become an issue: Korra now learned metal bending -- there isn't much she can't do now. She should be close to unbeatable in a fight (Aang, once he mastered all four elements, was, and he had far less experience) and it's already starting to show that the show realizes this and tries to remove her from bigger fights. Moving forward, it'll become harder and harder to make up believable reasons for this.

Other than that, good episode. Can't wait to find out what Zaheer's deal is.
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Jul 26, 2014
I think it makes sense.
Look at water benders. They can change water between liquid and solid form. Why can't earth benders to the same?

Uhm... Could water benders bend water vapor? Need to stop. I'm going too deep.
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Jul 26, 2014
Lava isn't really to earth what steam is to water, you can liquefy earth and it just becomes something resembling mud. Creating lava requires a hell of a lot more energy than putting the kettle on. Lava bending should be an exhaustive process and only possible on a small scale. The show's taking some liberties.
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Jul 28, 2014
I wasn't thinking of straight up liquefying, but something more complex that isn't shown to us (huge pressure + rapid collision between the earth particles to generate heat).
Still, we can't expect the show to not take liberties. Water benders can bend temperature, Air benders can ben spirit (?), etc.
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Jul 26, 2014
Yes, Korra did it in book 1 (she created a steam cover, before she was able to air-bend)
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Jul 26, 2014
I never understood why Nick kept picking up the Avatar series seeing as they have no clue how to handle it. Even the original series had the entire last season rushed. This show would have been so popular if the network just aired it once a week in a continuous run.

That being said, I was enjoying the twice a week episodes. I was really looking forward to "The Stakeout". I tried checking online and didn't find it anywhere. Bummer, will have to wait another week.

They better show entire season 4 whichever way they want. I will enjoy it as a series for many years to come but if they don't finish then its time to send rotten tomatoes to nick.
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Jul 26, 2014
I was actually pretty pissed with nick for how they've been dealing with this. I mean seriously, i would have given them money to buy it on itunes but it wasnt available forever.
hopefully what newsreports are saying is right and they arent cancelled, just shifted to digital for the rest of three but back to form for 4.


Now on to what i thought about this ep

1. I really like the fact that the zhaofu guards are actually competent compared to the white lotus.
2. I do like Su's kids. There is enough variety in the boys... makes me think of the weaselys in HP
3. Yeah, I saw the Aiwei thing coming from a mile away but I liked how they peeled away the story. It didn't take too much time but it made sense.
4. That battle scene though. Pabu and Bolin man. MVPs. Bolin time!
5. I really liked what Su did with the group. Very much like how toph ran away when she was a kid.
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Jul 26, 2014
- Pabu is the best. Pabu deserves all the treats and snacks.

You got that right!

Not to mention... I need to get some of these "connections" that allow you to see these Korra episodes ahead of almost everyone else.
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Jul 26, 2014
Become an official tv critic.
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Jul 26, 2014
Who defines "official". I get this job today?
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Jul 27, 2014
I'll vote for you.
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Jul 26, 2014
I figure lava bending is like ice bending, or steam bending. Water benders as we've seen from day one, or pretty darn close to day one, can turn water into ice, steam, and back again at a moment's notice, presumably they vibrate or arrest the molecules to achieve this effect. If water benders can do this I don't see any reason why a earth bender can't do the same, with earth having a more dense molecular structure would mean that a greater skill level would be required for this but as we know, these benders are about as skilled as they come.
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Jul 26, 2014
Ha! Talking about molecular structure for a show that uses 'the four elements' that's funny.
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Jul 26, 2014
also included in this list would be sandbenders, swamp benders and metal benders. I think its all about what Guru Patik said to aang way back when, if you can find the basic element you can overcome it?
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Jul 26, 2014
@Noel: Where did you see episode 9? I can't find it online.
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Staff
Jul 26, 2014
Screeners from Nickeloedon.
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Jul 26, 2014
Do you have a link, please?
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Jul 26, 2014
That's illegal, bud.
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Staff
Jul 26, 2014
Can't give that out.
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Jul 26, 2014
Crap.
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Jul 26, 2014
Lawsuit, that's why.
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Jul 26, 2014
Or PM it to me....please? I swear I won't give it out to anyone else.
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Jul 26, 2014
But why? Would you email it to me?
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Jul 26, 2014
So if your out of the US can you watch the eps online?
This book is starting to get better and it is better than book 2, its a shame that its going to be hard to watch
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Jul 26, 2014
Well, I guess Nick doesn't mind we using other "means" to watch their show.
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Staff
Jul 26, 2014
That's a good question, but I don't think Nickelodeon has said a word about int'l access.
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Jul 26, 2014
P'Li can curve her attacks like the gun experts in Wanted. That was pretty cool since her mind blasts are already hard enough to detect throw in a curve for good measure.
So POed about Nick having a lack of confidence in the show. If you do not push advertising on the customer, your product will not sell. Have shows learned nothing from the disaster that was Fox and Firefly. If you have faith in a show, so will the people.
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