K206 The Sting Episode Review

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K206 The Sting

The Sting5

I didn’t want it to be true, but it was.

Written By – Joshua Hamilton
Directed By – Ian Graham
Animated By – Studio Pierrot

A very interesting episode, interesting because it was the first episode of Korra where Korra herself was not a main focus at all in the episode. The closest we have come to that before now was K110 Turning The Tides where Tenzin and Lin were the main characters, though Korra was still in the episode a lot. In this episode she is only on screen for about half a minute, this meant that we got Mako and Asami as our main characters of an episode for the first time. This was what was so interesting to me, they don’t have anywhere near the development that Korra has gotten in the series so far, yet they really held my attention and worked as the focus characters for this episode. Varrick and Bolin make up the secondary plot, but then the two plots link together at the end leaving us shocked.

I think the only downside to this episode is that while this Mako investigation plot is very interesting, it became the focus while we got only one scene with Korra, one scene with Unalaq and nothing at the Southern Air Temple. It is no insult to this episode, but I am more invested in those plots. It is a double edged sword, it is great that Mako and Asami are getting some much needed focus, but for that to happen we have to get less of everything else. In the end, I think this episode works out well as it made sense to only have one scene at the end with Korra to set up Beginnings next week. It also worked well to set up what will happen with the other characters while Korra goes on a big spiritual journey. A necessary episode that is important, it just does not have the impact of other episodes, and that is fine, this one did what it needed to do.

I will begin with the one Unalaq scene. While I do wish we got more, the fact that we did only get this one scene and for it to be so mysterious and short worked well to continue to mystery of Unalaq’s goals. We know that he is now a villain, but we still do not know the full extent of his plans. What this scene does show is that he is not telling Eska and Desna everything and especially Desna is shocked at what he is learning. He is very interesting in that he is shocked and seems a little but betrayed to not be told everything, while his sister is fine with all these reveals, it is subtle, but good development for the twins. Then the question of what was Unalaq doing, we know from what he has said previously that he was not returning from the north as the Northern portal is still closed, so like Desna suggested he had to be in the Spirit world, but what was he doing? I think it very much hints at him working for or leading the Dark Spirits in some way. A final point would be that none of the 3 seem concerned in any way that Korra is possibly dead; I think Unalaq knows that she is not dead, but it also suggests that he does not have control over the Dark Spirits. I was a bit disappointed to see nothing of the war in the south, I feel it is taking away some of the drama and emotion that it should have. Korra has a deadline, she has to get back before her people are killed, the fact that we have not seen any conflict has drained some of this drama away, all they needed was a few seconds showing some conflict and that the south are in danger.

Korra, as I mentioned above, also only had one scene. In short it was there to have a cliffhanger to set up Beginnings; it took me by surprise as I expected Korra to meet Wan in the Spirit world to set up Beginnings. So when they went down the route of having Korra lose her memory due to the spirit attack, it really grabbed me as it left me wondering how they would then get her into contact with  Wan, the first Avatar. I wish they had made it clear what island they were on, I would guess that it is Crescent Island as the Fire Sages were there, but Crescent Island was ruined by Roku in 108, it could still be as it is 70 years on. Either way it is an Island in the Fire Nation and she is in good company with the Fire Sages who are loyal to the Avatar. I definitely took Korra’s amnesia as being more than just hitting her head and being something more spiritual. Like the Dark Spirit injured her spiritually. A very effective ending and use of a character sparingly in an episode. Going back to my previous point, while I wish we had got more of these scenes, they were effective here because they were short.

Bolin’s story was really pulled along too. I feel we have finally gotten into his arc now; he no longer has Eska to worry about and is completely into his role as a movers star. He has at last found something that he is good at, he is proving to his brother that he can do something. He has made huge progress, but it has adversely affected him as a person. He is letting his fame go to his head and is beginning to lose himself a bit. Before Bolin would never have done something like kiss Ginger against the script or ignore and be unhelpful to his brother, to some extent I understand him wanting to shove his success in Mako’s face as he has been very dismissive of Bolin, Mako does have to admit that Bolin has found success. His character turn is definitely in part due to the influence of Varrick, he is trying to turn Bolin into something he can use, a mouthpiece, the star that people will follow and Bolin is believing it. It is not all serious as Bolin still has his trademark humourous style and is still used for comedy, but some more serious stuff is beginning to come into his side of the story. I absolutely adored everything to do with “Nuk-Tuk Hero Of The South”, it was all perfectly done to reference old shows with the cheesy lines and announcer and the insane events happening. Ginger about to be killed by a giant drill attached to a table, waterbending doomsday device, Pabu and Naga talking and of course Unalaq done up like a pantomime villain. Also DAT SONG IS UTTERLY BRILLIANT IN EVERY WAY. It better be on the Book 2 soundtrack.

Asami got some much needed screentime here. At last her story was brought to the forefront, she is so eager to make Future Industries a success, but nothing is going right for her. As she says in the episode, the company is all she has left of her family and needs to make it work. You feel so bad for her throughout this episode and want so badly for something to go right for her. As ever she is amazing when needed in action, I love that they are using Asami as basically the best driver/pilot in the world, it makes sense given that she runs a company that makes this stuff and is a unique and handy skill for her to have and use. She and Mako were gone, if not for her speedboat driving skills, when Viper was attacking them they were at such a big disadvantage, but her skills got them out of it. Then her getting revenge by sending him flying THROUGH a building off her boat was amazing. We also got to see her emotional side in this episode when the realisation hit that with her last warehouse robbed, she was ruined, she just broke down. The one thing she was trying too hard to do has failed, it was a very emotional scene that got even more emotional when she kisses Mako out of nowhere. Initially I was annoyed as on the podcast last week, I said that the one thing I did not want to happen following the Makorra break up was for them to try and start anything between Mako and Asami again and that very thing happened. That was how I felt until I looked at the scene again and realised that it actually does more to show that Masami is not going to happen than it does to show that there is still a chance. Mako does not kiss back or react in any way other than shocked, afterwards he even keeps Asami from being embarrassed by getting past it immediately. For me it did make sense why she kissed him, at that moment she had nothing and saw Mako being very supportive to her, she had just heard about the break up and tried to see if there was anything there between them and she realised when he did not kiss back that there was not and apologised. It was a scene that I was very happy with in the end, as it showed that Mako still cares for Korra, but also that he is a close friend of Asami, he will not give up on her even though she had given up. When the last scene came around and she had signed the deal with Varrick, I understood why she did it, it was either let her company die or lose some control and keep it running, it was really no choice for her.

Mako is great in this episode and really gets stuff done. I noticed a big parallel between Mako in this episode and Korra in the last episode, both are the main character in each episode trying to do their job, but are getting hindered by nearly everyone around them, leading them to do something rash and drastic to get something done. It makes Mako look like a hypocrite when he scolded and hindered Korra in her plan and immediately afterwards comes up with a plan just as illegal himself. I feel it was so obvious that they will have to use it to show Mako that sometimes you have to go against the authority figures to do your duty and do what you think it right, I hope they use it to make Mako understand Korra’s actions and understand the pressure and situation she was in. Basically Mako was to Korra last episode as Lin was to Mako in this one. Mako hindered Korra from doing her duty and Lin does the same to Mako here. I felt she came across really bad in this episode, I expected more from Lin than just being miss “Ignore the Rookie” especially after she developed past her hatred of Korra last book, I feel this was the return of pre K106 Lin. I hope she comes to realise that Mako was the only one on the ball enough to realise what was actually happening and apologise or promote Mako to detective. She made herself look rather foolish given what Mako solved.

I actually really enjoyed Mako as the lead character in this episode; he worked well in this detective story. He even had some funny/emotional moments when the triads get him to talk about his relationship with Korra and the break up, I found myself really liking Two Toed Ping until the betrayal. I liked that they showed how supportive he can be when he helped Asami, though again why he was so eager to help Asami with her business yet unwilling to help Korra saver her family’s lives is a bit beyond me. I loved the realisation scene, when Mako sees the film pyrotechnics and realises that they are the same as the bombings and then when he finds out that they are only made by Varrick’s company. It was a fantastic scene, especially the music and the shot of Mako’s eyes as he sees the explosions and he makes the connections. I had a big reaction to this, because as much as I suspected Varrick was behind the bombings after last episode, I did not want it to be true as I really have come to like Varrick as a character. This was a big moment, Unalaq’s reveal was obvious and barely even in need of a reveal, but this one had impact as nearly everyone I have talked too about Book 2 loves Varrick. This villainous turn was complete when, in trademark villain fashion, he swivels around in his chair and says in a serious voice for the first time this Book really “Hello Mako” it was a bit creepy to see the usually eccentric Varrick just stare at Mako like that. It led to a very tense scene as Varrick and Mako both knew what each other knows, but Asami is clueless and Mako does not want to announce anything out loud. Mako needs to prove Varrick is behind it all. It is a story we will more than likely not return to until K209 since we basically have it confirmed that Mako and co are not in Beginnings. Which is interesting in itself, it will definitely build hype for this plot to return. I wonder how things will go down, will Mako be believed now? How will Asami be affected by the deal and how will Bolin react to Mako telling him that his mentor is a villain? There is a lot of interesting stuff to come in this story, I can’t wait, but I am eager to get some much needed Spirit World content next week.

An odd episode of Korra, being the first with a main character who is not Korra and her not being in the episode much, it did work, but did not quite have the same level of impact or emotional investment as some of the other plots. It has definitely set up a bunch of interesting things for when we return to this plot. A very solid episode.

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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 - 5 Posts

  1. Sibis Said: Comment by Sibis on October 14, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink
     

    Lin was being professional while Mako was acting out of line. As Lin said, “A beat cop acting like a detective.” She’s not going to give Mako the time of day for the way he’s been acting.

    Mako interrupts Lin’s meeting with her boss the President.

    Mako and Korra make a spectacle break up scene with the destruction of a desk.

    Mako barges in the middle of a police interview questioning the witness.

    Their past history shouldn’t give Mako any favors or advantages. She expects Mako to act like a cop and not like Mako.

    Reply

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    I agree with some of what you say, but Mako wants to become a detective and says as much in episode 1 this Book.
    I don’t think any of that excuses Lin from ignoring the only evidence in a huge bombing case. Regardless of procedure, he was the only one who was thinking about things and was brushed off solely because he was not part of the “Experienced Detective group” which included those 2 idiot detectives.
    Especially with what Mako uncovers, she was made to look very foolish.

    Reply

    momo2009 Reply:

    Well I think a lot of character changed from book 1 to book 2. If mako in book 1 had information about Amon I doubt lin would had ignore it, they made her character in this 2 book really stubborn so that mako can be the good/correct guy but it ruin her image as a tough but fair women. In book 1 she even change her mind about the airbender kid when they saved her from Amon. I doubt lin version book 2 would had. And they changed Bolin from being nice and naive into a guy who need woman attention.

    Reply

  2. Jon Said: Comment by Jon on October 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
     

    Mako has been the only sense-able character so far in this episode and in Keepers of Peace. Korra was out of line to instigate a war by illegally using the UR military. It’s a huge change of character in him because he’s not quick to accuse the obvious like he accused the equalists of capturing Korra in season 1. He’s actually going out of his way to figure out who was behind the bombing. Mako, Bolin, and Asami are the only chacters (not including Tenzin at this point) that have their characterization going forward. Korra is going backwards. She should have been suspicious of Unulaq from the begining because of the experience dealing with Tarrlok. And Lin should recognize evidence when she sees it. She is (or should be) smarter than she’s acting right now!

    Reply

    Airspeed Prime Reply:

    I would disagree, why would she be suspicious of her own uncle, as far as she knows he was just visiting and wanting to help. She needed to become more spiritual and he was the only one trying to help her. We are only suspicious of him because we knew going in based on Bio’s and so on that we should be suspicious, it is just her uncle to Korra.

    Her whole arc this season has been about how other people treat her as the Avatar. While Unalaq was using her, he was the only one to really give her any respect and so she responded to him. While her father, Tenzin and later Mako all hindered her from progressing. Tonraq even apologised for this, I think Tenzin’s experience with his kids has made him realise this about Korra too and Mako in this episode the same.
    As the Avatar her role in the world is primarily a lonely one as shown with Wan in the last episode, Aang only accomplished what he did with help, Korra needs this too and especially in K205 she did not get any, she just got Mako telling on her and then immediately doing something just as illegal. Yes she will develop more, but she has not gone backwards.
    I don’t see how Korra is not going forward, she is learning to become more spiritual and further respect the role of the Avatar, which hearing Wan’s story must have done. It is too easy to say she has been completely out of line this season as that is completely not addressing the situation she is in with the role she has, the pressures she is under and so on.

    Reply

 

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