Mark Watches ‘The Legend of Korra’: S01E10 – Turning the Tides

In the tenth episode of the first season of The Legend of Korra, NO. YOU ARE KIDDING ME. HOW IS ALL OF THIS HAPPENING IN ONE EPISODE? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch The Legend of Korra.

Oh, THIS IS JUST TOO MUCH. There is some character growth in this episode. Korra is able to accept Tenzin’s advice instead of rushing into battle. Asami confronts Mako, who is a TOTAL ASSHOLE to her about the fact that he technically cheated on her, and she becomes cold towards him. We see Lin and Pema work together instead of choosing to rehash any potentially awkward grudges over Tenzin. And the kids – the kids!!!! – all band together to save Lin and their family. These are all necessary and crucial moments in the series, and it’s part of the reason this episode feels so dense. But I’m getting the feeling that the writers are moving more towards plot now. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, either! This is a thrilling, suspenseful episode, and it’s setting up Amon’s endgame. There’s certainly room for character growth in the coming two episodes, especially concerning Lin and Korra. I feel like the main focus, though, is on the story. And it’s a very good story! I definitely didn’t expect the Equalist raid to start so soon, so I was caught off guard. I suppose this next thought is going to sound really selfish, but let me say that I’m trying to be an entitled fan. I just wish there was more. Twelve episodes seems like so few to cover this story in.

Now, I don’t know the circumstances that led the creators and writers to only do twelve episodes for this first part of the show. It’s possible that this is all that Nickelodeon would allow them. It’s possible they wanted to keep it short on purpose. My point is that things feel very compact, almost rushed at times. I am still enjoying the show a whole lot, especially this episode! But I couldn’t quite figure out what it was that made me feel this way about the show. I don’t know if the second season will be longer or the same length, but I’m hoping that things won’t be so overloaded like they are in this season.

That being said, this is one upsetting and terrifying story. “Turning the Tides” is all about how Amon manages to gain control of Republic City. He takes out the councilmembers, effectively leaving the city leaderless for the time being; he targets Tenzin’s family after Tenzin escapes his attack; he bombs large parts of Republic City. I’ve noticed that he is just excellent at sowing fear through chaos. No one has been able to predict his next move, and he exploits that element of surprise to his advantage. It’s why I felt so dreadful watching this. The benders fighting against Amon’s Equalists are overwhelmed. They’re caught off-guard, they’re outnumbered, and they’re running scared, frightened of losing the ones they love to Amon.

So what is Amon’s next move? What’s he planning to do here? How is he going to remove all bending from Republic City? Like, say he takes the city over. Isn’t it incredibly time consuming to go to each bender to remove their power? And where the hell did he come from, anyway? I really want to find out who the man behind the mask is and what made him the way he is. GOD, I AM SO NERVOUS ABOUT WHAT AMON IS GOING TO DO.

While I don’t get any answers about Amon’s past, I did enjoy the fact that a great deal of “Turning the Tides” was about sacrifice. How much were each of these characters willing to sacrifice to save others? We get the chance to witness just how much this family cares for one another. I think that’s why Lin has no problem staying behind to watch Pema and the kids. It’s why the kids disobey Lin and attack the Equalists. And it’s why Lin chooses to risk her own life to metalbend both of the Equalists’ airships at the end of the episode. (And what a fucking scene that was! Oh god, the visual reference to what Toph did to the Fire Nation’s airships is so incredible to me. Lin is clearly her daughter.) In the face of absolute terror, many of these character risk their lives and their bending to save others. That sort of heroism is so satisfying to see on this show, too, because it normalizes it. It tells the viewer that love and family can be important enough to die for. It’s why I was so gutted when Lin had her bending taken away by Amon. She gave that up to save Tenzin and his family. She wasn’t concerned with the fact that he had left her for Pema; no, she did what she did because she loved and cared about him.

My heart.

And on the opposite end, we see that Hiroshi Sato is willing to sacrifice his daughter, not himself, for his cause. While he’s sad that she’s not on his side, he doesn’t seem too excited to see her at all. His commitment to the Equalists and to being anti-bender is so fundamental and extreme that he’s willing to betray his own child. So that leads me to wonder: what is Amon willing to sacrifice in order to get what he wants? OH GOD, DON’T ANSWER THAT.

So yes! This is ultimately a very exciting episode, and Meelo and Lin are my new heroes forever. Fartbending, MY GOD. It’s so lovely. I know that these final two episodes are going to destroy me, so let me just buckle in and prepare for the sad fest and the intensity and the –

what. wait. what. who is that on the ship. Why aren’t they showing him? That has to be intentiona–


Today’s video was commissioned by one of my editors, Ryan Lohner!

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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