Can't believe how long it's been since I updated. I've been distracted by a lot of non-fandom things still going on, and spending a lot of time babbling about Mad Men on TWOP—no, not bashing Megan or JP’s teeth! There were times I was overdosing on her a bit and I don't think JP is that strong of an actress, especially relative to the rest of the cast, but in general, had a lot of fun analyzing Megan the character in many words! I may do a post on my thoughts about Megan--and one more on Pete because as annoying as it is for Megan-fans to read her bashing man I hate reviews that dismiss Pete's story with "I hate Pete and don't care what happens to him so his story made no sense and was dumb."

I've also been watching The Legend of Korra. I didn't have the same obsessed reaction to Korra as I didn’t to ATLA. Having seen the finale now, I just had to get thoughts out on how the storyline fell flat for me. So fair warning for criticism within--if you love the show I don't want to harsh your squee at all so please don't click!

Not too deeply thought out here, but here's the thing. To address the love triangle to start with I didn't hate Mako--probably because I just didn't care enough to get involved emotionally that much--but why didn't he just date Korra to begin with? The way I remember it--and maybe I'm forgetting something--didn't he turn Korra down originally when she liked him? Did he have a reason for that? Because it seems like he turned her down just to create a love triangle later, and that's annoying. Like, it would have made sense if Mako didn't want to date anyone but then couldn't deny he really liked Korra. But why turn down Korra and then happily go out with Asami when he obviously totally likes Korra the whole time? It was like Asami and Bolin were dragged into this bad situation (with Bolin telling Asami he saw Korra and Mako kiss??) because Mako capriciously told Korra he didn't want to date her when he did. So his finally admitting this wasn't a happy ending. He just wasted a lot of Asami’s time.

But then, onto the central story here: Equalists vs. Benders. Which you'll note leaves out Benders vs. Non-benders. It seemed like non-benders either saw nothing much wrong in the bender/non-bender situation and were therefore good, or they were equalists and so bad. Yet the benders are often pretty awful. And Korra is not exception.

As the Amon/Tarlock conflict heated up that seemed to be the most important relationship, not Korra/anyone else. So it wasn't much of a shock when the finale revealed that this actually *was* the story of Amon and Tarlock. Seeing their story through Korra's eyes was maybe a disadvantage. The show was obviously going for pathos with Korra announcing it was “the saddest story she’d ever heard” but it didn’t pack the punch of Zuko/Azula’s last Agni Kai.

Tarlock/Amon was also a story of two previously impossible powers that blew everything else out of the water, weren't really explained, and weren't even really dealt with as such. Characters often became horrified that Tarlock or Amon could bloodbend, then went charging in to get bloodbent again two minutes later. Same with Amon's power to take away bending, actually.

Since the Equalists have brought bending privilege into the open, I would have thought that Amon's power would inspire our heroes to come up with new strategies without relying on their bending--and therefore face how much they rely on it and fail to respect non-benders. The pieces were in place to do that story, but it was usually avoided. The benders didn’t wind up having to hide behind non-benders or negotiate with them. The commercials for the show described Korra as trying to "save her people" which seemed to now be benders. Even though a non-bender points out to her that she's their avatar too.

Korra’s solution to most problems seemed to be to bend violently at it. In the finale she talks about "feeling" that she needed to confront Amon herself, and this was clearly supposed to be an important hero moment that’s even lampshaded as such when General Iroh says he’s trusting her because Zuko would have trusted Aang. But Aang was in touch with spiritual truths and he'd proved his wisdom to Zuko (whose own judgment was way off). Korra's feeling that she needed to confront Amon, otoh, was nothing new. She'd been confronting him all along, hadn't she? Didn't she only still have her bending because Amon let her go or got interrupted one time? She was going off to face him again with the same plan (throw fireballs and rocks at him) with only one possible ending: losing her bending. Faced with a villain who can take over her body and take away her bending, she never wavers much from this instinct. In fact, none of the benders, including Lin and her police force, showed much ability to adapt—and the show didn't seem to be making a point with this to say that benders are inflexible and non-benders have grown to be more clever.

So when Korra yet again confronts Amon and throws things at him it’s no shock she gets her bending taken away--well, some of it. She's still an airbender. She deals with this for five minutes, telling Mako she's not the Avatar anymore so he should leave her alone. And *this* somehow counts as getting in touch with her spiritual side and she's rewarded with the ability to restore everyone else's bending. It seemed to me more like Korra avoided having to learn or change. She hadn't lost that much compared to the benders who could no longer bend at all, and she didn't even have to learn to live as a simple airbender because Aang showed up. She'd lost her bending following her usual "non-spiritual" instincts and then just got gifted the spirituality.

Maybe I wouldn't notice it that much if I wasn't of course always comparing it to the imo more carefully explored learning curves in ATLA. It would be like if Aang woke up out of the iceberg and was rather immediately gifted the ability to bring the airbenders back to life.

So yeah, it just seemed like an odd series to me.


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