With the wait until this season and getting three entire episodes packed full of stuff all at once, I have no idea where to even begin. First of all, I'm insanely excited to be reviewing Korra again, and I'm even more excited that there's more Korra to review. Three episodes is a lot, so I'm going to break this up episode by episode.
Episode 1: "A Breath of Fresh Air"
I quite honestly hadn't thought about the inconveniences of there being vines all over Republic City. I'm also a bit confused as to why this seems to be a problem only in Republic City. Airbenders are popping up everywhere (at least in the Earth Kingdom, it was a bit unclear if they were elsewhere), so why do the vines seem to only be in Republic City.
The problem of the vines also seems to be dismissed as soon as they leave Republic City for Ba Sing Se. That can't be the last of that. It was opened as a storyline, so they have to come back to it. I just wonder when.
Bumi was great as always, and I love how excited he got about being an airbender. They also made a lot of comments throughout these episodes about how happy Aang would be to see more airbenders, and that got me emotional. Tenzin looking out at Aang's statue and talking to Jinora only contributed to that.
Mako. Where do I even begin with Mako? First of all, I absolutely loved the scene with Asami and Korra driving around because it showed that they're close no matter what happened between either of them and Mako. That was incredibly nice to see, and I really love their friendship.
Back to Mako specifically though, I'm actually getting a lot of enjoyment out of how awkward he is around Korra. I wasn't as upset about the break up as I thought I would be. (Mostly because I still feel like they'll end up together I think.) All of these awkward moments might completely make the break up enjoyable to me though. I almost feel bad for saying it, but a lot of Korra and Mako's interaction was hilarious. I look forward to seeing what happens between them for the rest of the season.
Tenzin and Korra's conversation about how she's no longer able to access her past lives was interesting and a bit sad. I'm not going to lie. I really wish she could talk to Aang. Korra also has a line that's something about how there's no Avatar wisdom moments since she doesn't have her past lives anymore. I look forward to seeing that help Korra come into her own and develop her own wisdom, which is what I'm sure will happen.
We also get our first look at one of the main villains now at the end of this episode. I'm really excited to have a main villain who's an airbender after the Air Nomads being nothing but pacifists in the story before. This is going to be incredibly interesting. Also, I don't think we've really even had a firebender villain yet. Season one was a nonbender. Season two was a waterbender. Now we have multiple benders (one of whom is a firebender), but the one who seems to be the leader is an airbender. That's a nice mix that I really like. Also, it's interesting to me that Zahir seems to be the leader when, until extremely recently, he was a nonbender and all of the others were benders.
We also learn here that Zahir wants to take out the White Lotus, but we're not given any reasoning as to why he wants the White Lotus gone. I look o hearing more about the group's motivations. I also don't think we've had a name for the group yet. Unless I'm forgetting something. Every good evil group needs a name, so I'm wondering when we'll get one of those.
Episode 2: Rebirth
The group is traveling around the Earth Kingdom now, and I'm wondering how long it'll be before we'll see Republic City. (That vine storyline has to mean it'll come back into play at some point.) I'm really excited to see more of the Avatar world though, so I'm not complaining for the break from Republic City, especially to see places such as Ba Sing Se.
I really like what they're doing with the airbenders not wanting to go with the group. I think it'd be easy for a cartoon to get away with having characters just blindly go along with the heroes, but it definitely makes sense that almost no one would just want to leave their lives behind. I really like that they did that. I also enjoyed Bolin's idea to stage a show in order to get people's attention.
Kai's an interesting character, and Jinora has a crush on him, which is adorable. It's looking like he's going to stick around at least for a bit, so I look forward to learning more about him. I do find him a tad bit annoying at the moment, but I can see him growing on me depending on how his character is developed. We'll see how I feel after a few more episodes.
Gazan and Ming-hua are both broken out of prison in this episode. I don't have much more to say about that group other than the fact that I am incredibly excited about having an armless bender.
ZUKO! Guys, Zuko finally appears in this episode. I've made it no secret that I've been waiting ages for him to appear, and if you follow me on Twitter, you got to see part of my insane freakout as soon as he appeared and every time he was on screen and even for a while after the show went off. We knew he'd be in this season, but I didn't want to get my hopes up that it would be as soon as these first three episodes. I'm insanely happy, but oh my God, guys. Is Zuko not the absolutely coolest!? My love for him has been cemented. Was there a time I hated him? I almost feel like a dreamt that. There can't possibly be a time where I didn't see him as incredibly amazing.
Okay, okay. I'll try to tone down the fangirling and actually focus on what Zuko does in this episode. I really only have two things to say. 1. I love how involved Zuko is. He hears dangerous criminals have escaped, and he may be insanely old, but of course he's going to go deal with the situation himself. Why would he let anyone else do it? He also sends word to Lin which feels me with an insane amount of emotions. He's just sending word to the daughter of one of his now dead friends, no big deal. I'm picturing him being around sometimes when Lin was a kid now, and wow, I cannot even deal with this.
2. He has the most awesome dragon! It brings me back to A:TLA when he met one of only two remaining dragons and learned from them, and now he's flying around on one. Is that not the absolute coolest thing!? The scene of him taking off on the dragon may or may not have made me scream. I couldn't control myself at all, and that was the absolute best way to end that episode.
Episode 3: "The Earth Queen"
Like Zuko, I wasn't sure when exactly to expect the Earth Queen's appearance. I think we had this episode's title, but I'd tried to not pay close attention. As soon as I saw the title card come up though I knew of course.
One thing that's been bothering me since we learned that Bolin and Mako's grandmother was in Ba Sing Se is why they didn't go there when they became orphans. I get it though if their dad was estranged from their family.
Of course Mako and Bolin just happen to make fun of fruit their cousin, of all people, is selling, and of course they just happen upon their entire family. It was nice though. I liked seeing them so happy, especially with their grandmother, and the moment Mako gave her his scarf was perfect. I'm not sure if Mako and Bolin's family will have an important role to play in the outcome of the story or not, but I'm glad we got those scenes.
Kai running off pretty much strengthened my annoyance of them. If anything can make me sympathetic for him though, it would definitely be getting captured by the Dai Lee and thrown into an airbender army. (Which, funnily enough, the airbender kids were joking about earlier.) I'm pretty sure this storyline is going to change Kai, and I'm interested in seeing what happens to him.
The Earth Queen is far more annoying than Kai though, and I'm already insanely frustrated with her. I do have to briefly mention the comment about her hating animals. I'm assuming she's Kuei's daughter because I don't think the years would work out for a granddaughter. Did someone not like the family pet? Is it out of resentment of her father? I don't know, but I can come up with a lot of fun backstory based on that one simple tidbit of information.
Anyway, I feel like she's going to be a huge pain for the rest of the season, and her people don't seem to be too fond of her. I'm sure that'll become an even bigger deal as things play out.
Desna and Eska make an appearance that I wasn't expecting. I did think they'd show up again, but I wasn't really betting on it being so soon. I really liked their scenes though, and I wouldn't mind them sticking around. They've really grown on me since they were first introduced.
Eska and Zuko (who is still being awesome by the way but I'm trying to contain myself!) also give us what is the best exchange in these entire three episodes, and you can't convince me otherwise. I mean, come on, guys.
Zuko: Ironically, I once hired a man with a similar power to kill the Avatar myself once. (pauses) Didn't work.
Eska: Don't feel bad. I tried to kill Korra after she ruined my wedding. It happens.
I was dying of laughter. It was actually embarrassing. The tone of both their voices is what really nailed it for me, especially Zuko's. He says it in such a matter-of-fact way. Like, "Yeah, that was a thing that I did in the past, but it's over. Oh, well." I love it. I have a feeling I'll be repeating that exchange for a long time to come.
Oh, I absolutely have to throw out there how amazing it is to me that Zuko just goes to the Northern Water Tribe and just goes to see Eska and Desna. No more war or anything. The former Fire Lord appearing just means he wants to check on a prisoner that you both want locked up since you're allies. It's all cool and everyone's friends. I love thinking about that in comparison to the first series when Zuko had to sneak in if he wanted to get to the Northern Water Tribe.
Of course, it's not all great. The Earth Queen clearly harbors some resentment of Aang and Zuko for Republic City. What's really interesting to me is that I can completely see that being a popular Earth Kingdom belief, but we also know that the Earth Queen isn't very popular among at least part of her people. It seems like there's a lot going on there, and I'm excited to see how it plays out. I love when politics is brought into the story.
Wow, that was a lot, but I think I got at least most of what I have to say. No doubt I missed some things here or there.
We don't get a new episode next week, but I'm looking forward to the one the week after that. As before, I'll be reviewing some episodes here and some on my Youtube channel. I have no idea where the next review will wind up, but I'm excited for it. This seems like it's going to be a pretty great season so far! We're pretty much guaranteed to get more Zuko, so that's a good sign.