K303 – The Earth Queen Episode Review

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Last premiere episode review 🙂

K303 The Earth Queen

 k303screen4

Written By: Tim Hedrick
Directed By: Ian Graham
Animated By: Studio Mir

It was definitely an interesting choice to air this episode as part of the premiere along with Episode 1 and 2. I say that because having seen the mexican leaks of episode 3, 4, 5 and 6, this is very much the opening part of a two parter which episode 4 is the second part. I assume it is because the show in on a break for this week, but with them airing episode 4 and 5 next week it just becomes more and more odd as 3 and 4 would be better to air together and 5 and 6 also feel like a two parter. Airing out of the way this was a pretty good episode, it is clearly more set-up and we will be the big moments in episode 4, but it still maintains the quality of writing that episode 1 and 2 have given us. The combination of another Ba Sing Se conspiracy and a tender family story with Mako and Bolin works very well in addition to the other plots like Zuko going to the northern water tribe.

I will actually open with a question that needs to be asked, “Who let the Dai Li back into the Earth Kingdom?” are they not traitors to the Earth Kingdom after siding with Azula in Book 2 Earth, even if they explain it away that they restarted the Dai Li with new members it seems odd that they would be restarted near identically. I am assuming we will get some more details on why the Dai Li are still so present and why they are up to their old kidnapping ways, but it was nice to get another mystery in Korra. The whole idea of The Earth Queen wanting an Airbender part of her army is really interesting, but I wonder how big of a plot point that will be, or will the focus be more on just rescuing Kai from the Dai Li.

Kai himself was interesting in this episode, his speech about changing to Korra apparently was just another lie. This episode really had to show Kai that he is better off having people around him who care about him than trying to be a solo thief, this situation he got himself into has to be an event that changes him, especially if Team Avatar save him. If he is saved, he will definitely need to prove himself to the group and become a team player and he will need to make it up to Mako and Bolin for stealing their money and being such  a pain. I find myself super interested in Kai’s character arc,  constantly betraying the trust and faith his friends have placed in him, the moment where he changes will be huge for him. Also he and Jinora’s interactions are so cute!!!

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Zuko picked up Tonraq before heading to the Northern Water Tribe, and then when they arrive and meet Eska and Desna I did find myself saying to myself “What an odd selection of characters, but it works!”, I never thought that when Zuko was introduced into Korra that he would fist of all have scenes with Tonraq, Eska and Desna let alone have an amazing moment with Eska finding common ground over their past attempts to kill an Avatar because you know “It happens!”. This was the scene where I really began to have the reaction of “This is Zuko” the little jokes and references really showed that while he is 86 he is still the Zuko we all know.

The plot of this scene was mainly to get over how integral it is that P’li stays in her prison, we find out she has the same powers as Combustion Man and is kept in an Ice Prison to keep her from firebending, nice reference to the cooler from The Boiling Rock episodes. I also thought that is was a nice reference that Unalaq was involved in the prison being built. We do get to meet P’li in this episode and she knows what is coming just because important people have come to see her for the first time in 13 years, very much suggesting that the last time she saw someone interesting was when she was put in prison 13 years ago. The only thing of note about 13 years is that it is during Korra’s lifetime, she would have been 4 at that point and that is of note because Korra was discovered as the Avatar at 4 years old, is there a connection? Perhaps. One final point, I like that she was not broken out in this episode, I like that after 3 break-outs in 2 episodes that they set up a big conflict over the final break-out attempt, we may get to see our villains tested in the next episode against benders like Zuko, Tonraq, Eska and Desna + the OWL guards.

In a way Mako and Bolin’s story is the main one of the episode in that it is the emotional core of the episode and it ties into the big Dai Li taking Airbenders plot. I was surprised to see them meet their family so early in the season, mainly because I now wonder what their story will be for the rest of the Book, I assume they will have more of a connection with Kai in terms of continuing a family story. That said this was an excellent part of the episode, it was such a simple idea, but so well executed. When they end up in the lower ring thanks to Kai, they look for food and inadvertently end up at their cousin’s fruit stand and are recognised by their uncle, who knows them from pro bending and Bolin’s movers. He brings them home where they meet their whole family, they go from thinking they have no one to suddenly having the biggest family we have seen in Avatar, especially when they meet their Grandmother, Yin, it is a very powerful moment as the brothers have not always had the most emotional stories and now the orphans meet their full family. It also has some very sad moments when the brother have to reveal to their family that their parents were killed, the whole family never found out having only known of the brothers because of a single letter San (the brother’s father) sent. Their grandmother shows them the picture they were sent and we get to see the boy’s mother and father in a classic Korra family portrait like we saw with the Kataang family last book.

Mako has a very big moment for his character when, he decides to give his father’s scarf to his grandmother. Asami and Korra talked in episode 1 about how Mako is not the most in touch with his feeling type of guy, but here he knows that it is important that Yin keeps the only thing left belonging to her son. Very strong moments for the brothers, and there was a plot relevance when they find out from their family that the reason they cannot find any Airbenders is because the Dai Li have been capturing an Airbenders. Now Mako and Bolin just need to get back to the upper ring and tell Korra.

Korra, who has a really tough episode trying to deal with the Earth Queen, Hou-Ting, without punching her in the face. She leaves one world leader who treats her badly in Republic City only to have to deal with another in Ba Sing Se. Hou-Ting is confirmed to be Kuei’s daughter and he could not be any more opposite of her father, she hates animals and is alergic to them when her father had a pet bear, Kuei learned to care about his citizens while she only cares about her possessions, Kuei supported United Republic while she sees it as stealing land from her kingdom. All in all a very dislikeable character, very demanding and unhelpful to Korra. Surprisingly she is not really that important of a character in this episode despite it being named after her, because most of her scenes are played to get over how annoying she is and how unhelpful she is to Korra, I feel the episode kind of fails to get over that she is actually villainous. It is only the inclusion of the Dai Li under her command that really shows her as a threat and a real bad character, I hope that the next episode plays this up more than this one. I want to know why she wants airbenders other than just because she is a person who wants everything.

I did find it interesting that Ba Sing Se is just as bad as it was in ATLA in terms of the social and political situation. There are still huge class divides with the rings and it does not seem to be too technologically advanced considering what Republic City is like, which is to be expected given that the Dai Li’s job title is to preserve culture.

Korra and Asami continue to have scenes together which I like as a continuing thing, I just hope they do not focus on this too much at the expense of interactions with other characters. They go together to collect the tax money from a nearby village, the twist is that while bandits attack they were just trying to steal the money back after the Earth Queen had extorted it from the citizens, clearly to fun her possession based lifestyle. It was a very cool fight scene that made Korra look amazing, she is so powerful compared to these bandits and Asami got some great moments as well, some awesome flipping moves and the shock glove coming back is great.

Episode 3 continues a great start for Book 3 Change, while the search for airbenders continues we get introduced to a more complex issue in that the earth queen also wants the airbenders and is keeping them from Team Avatar, a great way of adding layers to an overarching story. July 11th will see the return of Book 3 with K304 In Harms Way and K305 The Metal Clan.

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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 - 3 Posts

  1. F.L.Z Said: Comment by F.L.Z on July 5, 2014 at 3:07 am | Permalink
     

    Nice review but you didn’t mention that despite some citizens some actually are on queen’s side(like brothers grandmother) even with all this taxes and it doesn’t seem that she is controlling them through fear.It more looks like that some citizens actually love her.

    Reply

    Troy Reply:

    I think the old people in Ba Sing Se like the Queen because they are old and remember the old state and learnt more about Earth Kingdom history and are not as angry with thing like the past hundred or so years.

    Reply

    F.L.Z Reply:

    Maybe but after all she’s forcing people to go under so many taxes because of her palace or other things.Even if the last era was worse than this,this era is not anything better.Stealing people without their satisfaction in order to increase military strength…I wonder what was Earth king doing?

    Reply

 

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