K205 Peacekeepers Episode Review

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K205 Peacekeepers

Spiritbending

They need to explain this skill at some stage, but my word is it epic when it happens.

Written by – Tim Hedrick
Directed by – Colin Heck
Animated by – Studio Pierrot

This was a weird episode for me in terms of how I came to come to the opinion I have on this episode now. After my initial viewing I was fairly disappointed with the episode as it did not seem to do that much, I calmed down a bit after my second viewing, but I was still reasonably negative on the episode when I recorded my video review for my youtube channel. Then came time to prepare for yesterday’s Korra roundtable for this episode. What I do as the main host is watch the episode while basically writing up a complete episode description scene by scene so we know which scene is which, it usually takes around an hour to do as I have to keep pausing the episode to not certain details. It was when I was doing this that I started to really see some of the finer points about this episode, but it was not until the actual recording of the podcast that my opinion really changed for the positive, if  you listen you will hear that my opening statement about the episode is the most negative among the hosts (though still positive on the whole), but once we got into discussing the episode scene by scene I realised that there was so much more to this episode than appears on the outside. In the end I think my problem was that so much of the detail of this episode is hidden in the analysis of actions and motives and I did not get into that until I was discussing the episode in depth with my fellow hosts, that for me is one of the great things about doing the podcast, I am always surprised at how my opinions change from what I have in my head before recording to what I actually say in the middle of the recording. This episode really showcased this well.

This is a good episode, though I do feel that there was a lot of set-up for next episode, even more than Civil Wars Part 1 for Part 2. My main negative now is just that the episode felt a bit jumbled. When you go through what happened, a lot of stuff happened, but by the end you are left wondering how much of that was really important. I think what happens in The Sting will really change my thoughts on this issue, simply because a lot of the stuff set-up here was left off in such a way that what happens next will really affect how I view this episode. In other words, how important was what was set up here in Peacekeepers. As for what this episode does well, it is much of that set up as well as it being a fantastic episode for looking deep into why each character is thinking and acting as they do. There is a ton of political subtext to much of this episode, from the North vs. South dynamic and how that affects those in Republic City who hail from these tribes, to the issue of “Does the war in the water tribe affect United Republic at all or does it because 1/3 of the population are originally water tribe?” . It is a fascinating episode because no one character is perfectly in the right; they all have their correct points and wrong points. The final thing I will mention before going in depth is that this episode had some very big moments that were great to see, from the cliff-hanger ending to the end of a certain relationship.

I will begin with the odd plot out in this episode, that being Tenzin helping Meelo to train his lemur, Poki(e). We joked on the podcast last week that this week would be some Meelo focus, though we realistically expected Jinora to get the spotlight again. So it was a surprise to see Meelo get the attention here. While it was a nice father-son scene with some cute moments it also had some interesting subtext to it about the difficulties of having to be the leader and teacher. I will admit it does not make it obviously clear what exactly it is hinting at, but it is definitely hinting at something. It could be that Tenzin through helping Meelo comes to realise how difficult it is to train someone, and through seeing how intense and serious Meelo becomes about the training at the end he realises that the way he was training and treating Korra was not the correct way to approach her. When he tells Meelo to stop training and just go off and have fun I think it may be him realising that in a way he was like Meelo was to the lemurs to Korra, ordering her around and treating her like a lemur and not having any fun with Airbending when it is meant to be the fun element that is creative, look at Aang. At the same time it could also be more specifically about Tenzin and him further realising how difficult it is to be the only master airbender left in the world, he is under pressure to make sure his own kids become masters too. It was good, but it definitely could have been a bit clearer as to what they were going for with the whole “It’s lonely being a leader” line. Especially when last episode the stuff with Ikki and Tenzin was really clear and well done, you knew that more than it just being a father-daughter conversation, they were both learning about what it is to be in a family. It was great fun to see Meelo take the training so far and train every lemur at the temple, but it definitely did lead me wondering where exactly are they going with Tenzin and his family, there is no real plot to what is going on at the southern air temple outside of possible Tenzin learning from his children how to better train Korra when they reunite.

Varrick and Bolin had interesting roles in this episode. Varrick as usual was hilarious, but there were definite hints that he may have been behind the bombing to promote more anti north support. We know the Agni Kai’s were responsible, but someone had to have hired them to make it look like it was the north as everyone, but Mako, believed. Varrick seems like most likely suspect as he is in the process of making an anti-north mover and he was the one who brought up the bombing to Raiko in the meeting. It would be interesting to see his exact motives if he is behind it, he clearly wants to keep his money and a war would make him money as he mentions. I loved his crazy way of coming up with ideas and how he instantly in the first movie ever had the idea for advertising despite this one being silly, red hair dye in a black and white movie.

Bolin on the other hand seems to have at last found his calling, he is very good in-front of crowds and they seem to love him. So him becoming a movers star seems perfect, despite Mako saying he should do something important. It is clear that Bolin has been pretty much ignored by the rest of his friends (minus Asami in Rebel Spirit) so if he is a success in the movers I think that would be a great road for him to come down, a main character in this show becoming a celebrity. A big issue could come up if Varrick turns out to be behind the bombing, his role as a movie star could be gone, unless he manages to do it himself. Which would be a great way to prove himself to his brother.

Unalaq is only in one short scene in this episode and we get no appearance from Tonraq. An interesting decision considering the war has finally kicked off, I would have liked a scene to show some actual fighting as it would have made Korra’s desperate quest to get troops all the more meaningful. This scene simply stating they are hiding and that Unalaq does not see them as a threat that he needs to get rid of really did not help Korra in this episode at all. I did like the reveal that he was lying about not needing Korra to open the Spirit Portal, I loved how Desna was shocked to hear this while Eska was still obsessed with her ruined wedding, it was a nice moment to show that perhaps Desna is not 100% loyal to his father, he has not told them everything. We also see Unalaq a bit on edge, his plans are on the verge of falling apart, Korra is away, war has broken out, and he is not in complete control as he was before.

We meet President Raiko for the first time in this episode. The main thing I got from him was that he was a politician set on not doing anything that could possibly annoy anyone, which in the end resulted in him just not doing anything. You really do understand Korra’s anger at him as the episode progresses, all he seems set on is having publicity photos and making sure no one does anything. It does bring up a key issue, Raiko and later Mako both say that the civil war is solely an internal water tribe matter. I was shocked to hear this from the president of a place established by the 4 nations, a place where everyone who lives there has their origins in one of the nations. We saw earlier on in the episode that there were mass amounts of people from the north and south at the protest in the city, people living in the city that still care about the nation they hail from, people who care enough to go out to a protest. So to see 2 characters brush Korra aside and say that United Republic has no involvement in it is baffling to me. I understand that the president cannot just go to war, my issue is that over the course of the episode Raiko spends more time stopping Korra from doing ANYTHING than he does trying to do SOMETHING to help her, he says he is going to open diplomatic talks with Unalaq, but where is the urgency, why was he not on the phone or a boat immediately to do this? That in short is my issue with Raiko, he seems more set on keeping his job and approval rating than trying to actually do his job and help people. When Korra called him out by saying that if her family is wiped out, it will in part be on him for being presented with the situation and not doing anything, I was so happy, I loved that line. To be fair to him, he does follow up on the bomb investigation, but it is not quite addressing the full situation. I think he can become a very interesting character, right now I kind of dislike him for being really unhelpful, but he could have a great moment if he makes a big decision and takes a risk.

I suppose Korra is up next. On the outset she comes out of this episode looking terrible, super biased, super stubborn and a huge pain. In my opinion there is only 1 scene where I was annoyed at her as a character, the rest I could understand where she was coming from. The scene I am talking about is just after the bombing and Mako comes up to her, she instantly blames the north, the obvious choice, but then Mako says that he saw the people behind it and they were firebenders, he even has the remote. She for some reason COMPLETELY IGNORES HER BOYFRIEND WHO JUST FOUGHT THE GUYS. It made her come across as so unspeakably stubborn and so against the north. I really felt sorry for Mako in this scene. The rest of this episode her feelings and actions are pretty justified and make sense. She is the Avatar and is trying to bring the world back into balance, and to do that she has to take her uncle out of power as he got that role through lying, that is her duty at this point in time. Mako tells her not to take sides, but at this point and this situation she kind of has to, just like Aang took sides in the 100 year war she has to take sides here to restore balance, once that it done she can return to being neutral. Unalaq is the enemy, he happens to be the well liked leader of the north and thus she is against the north until she can prove Unalaq’s betrayal to everyone. She really gets no respect for being the Avatar, no one seems to understand the position she is in and that her role in the world is just as important as the leaders of the nations, she at least tries to respect Raiko’s role until in her mind he does not do his job and hinders her from doing hers. Coming back to Aang, he was so respected in ATLA, nearly every town he visited that was not sided with the Fire Nation gave him respect, even the Earth King after 218 respected his opinions and Zuko going into The Promise respects him too. Iroh is the only guy in this whole episode who seems to give the Avatar that level of respect. I feel so bad for Korra in this episode as she is just trying to get stuff done to try and save her people and her family and bring balance back to the world and no one really aids her except Varrick and Asami. The plan they come up with is crazy illegal, but something needed to be done.

Now on to Mako. I love seeing him as a cop in this episode, I felt bad for him when his co-workers got him in trouble with Lin and then blatantly ignored evidence. Korra doing it was bad, but other police officers ignoring a clear lead just because it is coming from a rookie is shocking. It is clearly setting up that Mako will have to investigate it alone next episode to prove himself. Other than that his main scenes involve his arguments with Korra. I liked that he was calling her out on some stuff and trying to help her, but I was a bit shocked at his lack of understanding of Korra’s position considering he was there in the south and saw everything that went down. Korra was wrong to go crazy bring up taking sides, but you really can get why she is so frustrated, she needs something to happen quickly and even her boyfriend doesn’t seem to get why she is so intense about it. I can’t blame Mako for telling Raiko what happened, he was asked a direct question and had his own duty called out to him. They definitely did a good job at showing how the two’s duties are pulling them apart. Leading to that break up scene.

The way I took this whole scene was that it was a heat of the moment break up with the two in a crazy situation. This break up would not have happened if there was no war going on, the war put them in positions where their jobs pulled them in opposite directions and they got angry at each other about it ending in the break up. They were not a perfect couple, but the break up was not really about their relationship at all, it was all about the crazy situation. So I think it is obvious that they are getting back together once things calm down. I just hope that they do not drag it out too much and don’t focus massively on the romance, I want a quick resolution like Tenzin and his siblings had last episode, because there is no need to keep them apart for so long. I will have no issue if the plot keeps them apart for a while, my issue will be if a romance plot keeps them apart whether that be them constantly thinking about how angry they are at each other or something like that. I just want the two to quickly come to realise that they had an argument and that they don’t really hate each other, they are better together. As for the argument itself, it really came down to the two not respecting each other’s jobs. Korra came across as really childish when she said he just gave out tickets and Mako really did just try to hurt Korra when he said she messed up the world which is why she needs to save it so often. Especially when he knows from her asking him for advice that she is under so much pressure and so much is expected of her as the Avatar, it was really bad form from him. He did not have any answers about how Korra should do things so I don’t think he should be questioning her decisions. I feel bad for both of them as the situation they are in made this inevitable.

Finally THAT CLIFF-HANGER! That was a great ending, came out of nowhere. First of all to see Korra go alone straight to the fire nation immediately after the break up was surprising, then Desna and Eska appearing followed by the Dark Spirit. It was just boom, boom, boom with the shocks. The fight scene was great as it really did show how powerful Korra is, not even using the Avatar state she held back Desna and Eska with that water cyclone. Then her attempting Unalaq’s waterbending ability on the spirit was well done, she came much closer than in K202, but something is still missing for her. Last but not least, she got eaten by that spirit. I personally think that she has probably been transported somewhere as I just don’t see the next episode opening with Korra in the belly of a spirit nor do I think they will do a spirit world thing as there is the whole issue of leaving her physical body in the spirit. A key point for me will be Unalaq’s reaction when Eska and Desna tell him what happened, does he know what happens when you are swallowed by a Spirit and will he be happy or annoyed about it, not to mention how will the other characters react if they even find out what happened. As far as they know she has just gone to the Fire Nation, no need to worry unless she does not return in a couple of days.

So overall this is a good episode with a lot of character stuff to be discussed and some great moments. It has set up K206 The Sting very well and now all that is needed is for that episode to deliver. I think it will be a primarily Mako focused episode, with Jinora getting some attention at the Southern Air Temple, I assume filming will continue with Bolin and that we won’t get much if any time with Korra to keep the mystery open. I am excited for next episode which means that this episode succeeded.

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By:

My name is Morgan Bannon, I am a 22 Year old Male from Ireland and I am the Site Super Moderator. I have watched and been a fan of Avatar since it premiered. I am also a news post writer for the site and host the site's podcast, The Avatar Online Podcast. My strength as an Avatar fan would be just a good knowledge of Avatar Canon and characters.

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Comments - 9 Posts

  1. Steve Said: Comment by Steve on October 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
     

    Personally I didn’t like this episode because

    *************SPOILERS***************

    MAKORRA DIED!!!!!!

    Reply

    Avatar Yangchen Reply:

    aww, come on. that was the best part! 😛

    Reply

    Troy Reply:

    I don’t really think Makorra is gone for good.

    Reply

    Avatar Yangchen Reply:

    i dont either. i hink its almost a given at this point that they will get back together. if they dont that would be surprising to me.

    Reply

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    It happened so quickly and in such a mad situation that I think it is a guarantee that they are getting back together at some point.

  2. Meelo Said: Comment by Meelo on October 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink
     

    Right, I totally agree with everything you wrote on your review. I did think that the Meelo/Tenzin moment were TOTALLY random but now after reading your thoughts I too see clearly.

    However, did anyone else or did you Prime seem to notice the DREADFUL animation in the scene were Korra asks General Iroh for help? Irohs face was really badly drawn and so was Korras to the point were I was like :O no…. this cant be…. how did they not see this and re do it?!?!

    Have a watch again, I would be interested to see if anyone else picked it up? Sorry if you already included it in a podcast or this review.

    Reply

    YangChen Reply:

    Yeah, and i thought lin looked off too, but iroh was the worst!

    Reply

  3. Meelo Said: Comment by Meelo on October 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
     

    To add. It is the bit especially most noticeable when Iroh apologies after the president shows up.

    Reply

  4. Droc Plug Said: Comment by Droc Plug on October 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
     

    I lov Lin’s Comeback in this episode. She was such a balancing force for Korra and really brought back an element of “hey wats with all the drama”. I just cant wait to see her fight again. I bet her and mako both fight the Agni Kai’s next episode.

    Reply

 

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