The Legend of Korra Review: “The Terror Within”

Episode 3.08. Warning: Spoilers follow.

Team Avatar is still in Zaofu, and as Korra continues to pick up metalbending like a pro, Bolin continues to struggle. His toil isn’t contained to bending, however, as his new love interest, Opal, is about to leave for the Northen Air Temple, to train with Tenzin. At the farewell dinner, Bolin gives the quote of the episode, “Whenever I’m eating raw kale, I’ll think of you.”

The episode strolls quickly along, and as night falls, Team Zaheer infiltrates the steel fortress of Zaofu. Through use of some badass waterbending stealth, Zaheer and his cronies get their hands on Korra, and begin to make their escape. But enter Pabu, the Super Fire Ferret of Republic City, who alerts Bolin and Mako to Korra’s abduction. Soon the entire city is awake, and the metalbenders of Zaofu prove themselves much more competent benders than the White Lotus.

Korra is eventually saved by the joint efforts of Suyin, Lin, Mako, and particularly, Bolin, The episode shifts in tone here, going from action thriller to spy intrigue. Iwei, Suyin’s most trusted advisor, is used as a human polygraph to interview all the guards on duty. After Varrick and Mako compare notes, the truth eventually comes out, and Iwei is exposed as the conspirator. Team Avatar confronts him, but the still-rookie metalbender in Korra is unable to give chase.

Immediately, that is. Against Lin’s wishes, but with Suyin’s blessing, Team Avatar pursue the fleeing Zaheer and Iwei, and the credits roll.

Yet, even as I praise the writing of Bolin in this episode, I can’t help but feel that it was a little uneven. Bolin’s character arc is finally receiving some much needed dramatic intensity, but the writers can’t help but anchor him as a Sokka wanna-be. I believe that Bolin can stand out as his own character. He’s lived in the shadow of Sokka for the past two seasons, and I think it’s time for him to step out. Yes, he’s the clown of Team Avatar, but that doesn’t mean proper drama need be forsaken for comedy.

Speaking of comedy, Varrick continues to be a joy to watch. I’d definitely buy his airbender locator. And Mako (surprisingly) manages not to get on my nerves this episode. His background as a cop moves the plot along and gives Team Avatar some much needed intel (even though the conspiracy was all pretty obvious from a viewer standpoint).

And for all the pomp and flash of Studio Mir’s continuously gorgeous bending animation, the subtleties of Episode 8 are what make “The Terror Within” an outstanding episode. The difference of Zaofu during the day and during the darkness is especially nice (blossoms under the sun, bulbs under the moon). And when Iwei learns he has been discovered, there’s this dramatic camera close-up of his hand moving a small vase that Bolin had accidentally moved just a few inches before. It’s attention to detail like this that sets Korra apart from a lot of shows.

Wandering thoughts for The Legend of Korra: “The Terror Within” (Episode 3.04):

  • Why doesn’t Mako bend lightninggg? ALL I WANT IS SOME FREAKING LIGHTNING
  • I wonder if the new airbenders are going to come into play as the season continues deeper into its second half. Right now, as the plot stands, there are only four bad guys. An army of trained airbenders could easily overwhelm them. I guess what I’m saying is–will there be an army of bad guys. I guess what I’m really saying is–will be there a huge epic war? Because that’s what I thrive on, fellas: WAR.
  • Some people might decry Korra’s decision to go after Iwei as a sign that her character has regressed: I disagree. If Korra were to go back to Republic City and hide as Lin wishes, then she would be doing what Aang did upon learning of his identity as the Avatar. In this case, Korra is not being headstrong (okay, maybe a little) but she is also right: if she ran, she would not be doing her duty as the Avatar.

Rating: An action-packed 23 minutes, featuring the first showdown between Team Avatar and Team Zaheer, is muddled slightly by disjointed humor, giving The Legend of Korra: “The Terror Within” (Episode 3.08) an B+

What did you guys think of the latest episode of Korra? Let me know in the comments section!

EXTRA: The State of Korra

I know some people might have heard about Korra’s “cancellation.” In truth, they’re really only canceling it as a “TV show.” Korra, starting this week, will no longer be shown on Nickelodeon TV, but rather Why? Because, as I mentioned in a previous review, the ratings have been dipping. How does this solve the ratings dip? Hell if I know. But, just to be clear, The Legend of Korra is not cancelled. Furthermore, creators  Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko confirmed just last week, at Comic-Con, that Book 4 is happening. So. Yea boi.

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