In the third episode of the third season of The Legend of Korra, Team Avatar makes it to Ba Sing Se to seek out new airbenders, but is blocked immediately by the Earth Queen. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Legend of Korra.
Trigger Warning: For abuse.
LET’S DISCUSS THINGS. SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED.
Bolin and Mako
So, first of all, I definitely forgot about the background for these characters when I said that no one would understand Kai’s life. CLEARLY BOLIN AND MAKO WOULD. (Hey, it had been like 3 years since I saw season one! I genuinely forgot.) So there’s an aspect to this episode that’s a homecoming for them, though it’s a home that they’ve never even known. Their father lived there, but left long before they were born. So it’s a strange thing to witness this trip because the context of it is so unusual. Can you have a reunion with people you’ve never met?
Well, if you’re Bolin, you can. BOLIN CAN DO ANYTHING HE SETS HIS MIND TO. I do think it’s cool that he desperately wanted to find a connection to his past, and in this case, it was in the large extended family in Ba Sing Se. The two parties trade stories and update each other on their lives, but mostly? They treat Bolin and Mako like family, and that’s so important, y’all. These two characters had to learn how to survive without this kind of support network behind them, and now they have one, at least for the moment. They got to meet their grandmother for the first time!!! And hell, even Mako gets emotional for a moment after seeing a photo of their family.
But what now? Will Mako and Bolin get to foster a relationship with these people?
To say Queen Huo-Ting is overwhelming is an understatement, y’all.
I don’t know why Huo-Ting acts as she does, though I suspect she feels she has to be tough after what happened to Ba Sing Se back when Aang visited. Regardless, her behavior is nothing short of abusive. Point blank! When someone cowers in her presence, afraid that the next thing they do will upset her, that’s a sign of her abusive tendencies. And it’s scary. It’s frightening to see how willing she is to insult people, to berate them and belittle them so consistently!
However, it’s clear after this episode that Huo-Ting has a propensity for exploitation. In the beginning of this episode, we see all the signs of it in the Lower Ring. From the smells to the overcrowding, there’s clearly more poor folks in Ba Sing Se than there ever have been. Yet Huo-Ting and her colleagues all live in luxury, unaware and uncaring of the privileges that they hold. That’s why the errand that Korra and Asami go on to prove their worth to Huo-Ting is so disturbing. While most of the kingdom is suffering, Korra retrieves a massive tax payment to deliver to the Queen. For what? Fancy topiary? It’s obvious that Huo-Ting cares less about Ba Sing Se as a whole and way more about her own lifestyle, you know?
So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Huo-Ting would view the new airbenders as yet another group she can exploit. Can they make her money? Can they help her expand the Earth Kingdom? Given that she was quick to express her resentment about Republic City and the theft of Earth Kingdom land, it makes sense that she’d lock up all the airbenders to be used for something in the future. In this case, if I heard that line right, she wants them be part of her army. I imagine an invasion of Republic City is entirely possible at this point, bolstered by the unwilling additions to the Ba Sing Se army. WHICH IS SO MESSED UP, Y’ALL. They’re going to be forced to be soldiers, aren’t they???
The Northern Water Tribe
I was definitely surprised to see Tonraq, Zuko, Desna, and Eska in this episode. But while that was nice, the identity of the fourth criminal – P’Li – was way more interesting to me. I love the tension built through this episode. By methodically bringing us into that ice prison, the show makes it easier for us to imagine some sort of notoriety for P’Li. Well, she can also CAUSE EXPLOSIONS WITH HER MIND, much like Sparky Spark Boom Man. (You didn’t think I’d forget that character, did you?) Perhaps more than any of the quartet of convicts, P’Li scares me. There has to be a reason they’re saving her last. Of course, I still have no idea what it was that these four did to get locked up in maximum security cells, and I’m frightened of that, too. It cannot be a coincidence that they want to end the Avatar. BUT WHY? WHY?
The video for “The Earth Queen” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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