In the sixth episode of the third season of The Legend of Korra, Lin is compelled into confronting her painful past. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Legend of Korra.
Well, this was heartbreaking to watch.
Seriously, I feel like the Avatar really should learn all of the available types of bending! What about sandbending? That was mentioned on this show. I think that this would make Korra a more well-rounded Avatar, as it would be easier for her to remain flexible and adaptable. With metals as common as they are in the Avatar world, it makes perfect sense to me that Korra spend some time learning this specific kind of bending. My hope, then, is that Lin uses the events of this episode to inspire her to get more involved. While I didn’t feel like “Old Wounds” was dismissive of the pain that Lin went through, it did show her how her own insecurities and fears had prevented her from being a resource for Korra. What if Lin had been teaching Korra metalbending this whole time???
Regardless, I don’t think that was the point of this story anyway; it was just a fascinating ramification of it. The same goes for the growing friendship (or romance???) between Opal and Bolin. I admit that it’s really satisfying to see Bolin grow closer to someone who seems well-matched to him. Opal is such a sweetheart, and it’s clear she’s not exploiting him or using him like his past interests. Healthy, honest relationships are a good thing! I want Bolin to have the best! And right now, Bolin is the best.
His scene with his companions is brief, but goddamn, does it pack a punch. I simply don’t know how they might be stopped. If it was just one person, maybe. But four extremely powerful and viciously motivated fighters? I’m going to remain intimidated, y’all. I’m fine with that.
Lin and Suyin
This is not exactly an unfamiliar theme for me to write about. I feel like it hasn’t even been a month since the last time I wrote of parental disappointment. Like Lin and Suyin, I had to live up to impossible and at times shifting perceptions of me from my parents, and it definitely seemed like I couldn’t ever satisfy them. There was always something missing. There was always some step I hadn’t taken. There was always some detail I had forgotten and they’d set themselves against me all over again. I understand now that my parents wanted the best for me and wanted me to succeed, but that’s a pretty weightless excuse for their behavior. You can’t claim to want the best for someone and then actively work to make their life worse. That’s not how this works.
So I sympathize with both Lin and Suyin, but especially Lin in this situation. When we finally get our first flashback of Lin as a teenager (!!!!! OH MY GOD, HELP ME !!!!), it sheds light on her current state. Through acupuncture, her memories come rushing back to her, and it’s telling that the first one to do so demonstrated Lin’s intense desire for validation. She wanted to be a good cop so she could impress her mother. But no matter how hard she tried, it never seemed to work. You can see that dedication in her interaction with Suyin. It’s understandable that the two of them would clash so much, especially given what a rebel and free spirit that Suyin was. They were utterly opposed to one another thematically, and it exacerbated the issues they had with Toph.
And then that second flashback hits us, and NO. NOPE. I don’t know that I’ve ever really seen a depiction of this specific dynamic in a parental relationship on TV before. While it’s clear that Toph was forced into an incredibly difficult situation because of Suyin’s theft, it’s also obvious that from Lin’s perspective, Suyin was favored over her. Whether that’s actually the case remains to be seen. Without more information, I don’t think I could confirm it. But what’s important is the validation that Lin gets from this. The narrative doesn’t punish her for feeling like she got the short end of the stick. That’s important to me because my parents did not favor me. I can say that without a doubt. My father favored my brother, my mother favored my sister. I felt left out, and like Lin, I resented it. I had a lot of anger and bitterness for years after I left home. I imagine that for Lin, having a physical reminder that your sister gets away with shit more than you only added to the pain that she felt.
It’s interesting to take this and use it to think about how it changes my perspective on “The Metal Clan.” It makes so much sense that Lin would not want to even step foot inside that city. The whole place is an overwhelming success, and it’s a sign that Suyin got rewarded for what Lin went through. In her eyes, it’s a manifestation of that uneven relationship. Why would she want to spend time there? Or with any of Suyin’s children? All of it is a reminder that Lin has had it much harder than her half-sister. So even after the two fight and are separated by Opal, there’s no easy solution for Lin. She still hasn’t gotten closure on her relationship with her mother, but this fight helped her realize that she was misdirecting her anger. Hell, she even offers advice to Opal about doing things to please herself, not her parents. That’s a really wonderful moment! It’s a chance for Lin to do something positive with her anger, which isn’t to say that this is the only outlet for that. Lin has her own journey to go on, and I hope this episode’s events provide her with that first step.
The video for “Old Wounds” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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