In this week’s episode, we learned the reasons for Zaheer and company’s quest to capture the Avatar, Bolin learned a thing or two about Pai Sho, and we got a bit of a twist at the ending…
I enjoyed this episode. I thought the backstory of the Red Lotus was quite interesting, their ideals are complex, and altogether their villainry became a bit scarier after hearing it all.
Zaheer and his gang belong to an organization call the “Red Lotus”, an organization they believe will restore balance to the universe. When Zaheer first started explaining their cause and their reasoning, I actually could kind of see his point. It’s been established that the Avatars are not perfect and have made bad decisions, and I could be led to understand why people would have a problem with the White Lotus organization supposedly blindly following the Avatar’s rule after the Hundred Year War.
Their idea of balance, however, is total anarchy. They believe in a world with no leaders, a world where order is chaos, a world with no avatar. They want to restore balance by eliminating all the leaders, like the president of Republic City and the corrupt Queen of Ba Sing Se. While the White Lotus maintain balance by fostering peace (hence the colour white), the Red Lotus aim to throw the world into chaos through bloodshed (aptly, red).
Obviously, Korra can’t let that happen. However, she may have a problem, since the unexpected ending revealed that she was captured not by the Red Lotus, but by the Queen of Ba Sing Se who put out a warrant for her arrest. The Queen wasn’t too happy that Korra “stole” her airbenders.
Okay, let’s talk about characters for a second. Bolin is my favourite character, but the writers are walking a fine line between him being funny and him being silly. Book 1’s Bolin was probably the best written, as he was funny and light-hearted without being often clueless. Book 2’s Bolin was heartbreaking; he was oblivious most of the season, only becoming our beloved Bolin somewhere around the end of the book.
Book 3 is somewhere in between. He’s not as out of it, but the humour surrounding him seems to frequently stem from him being the butt of the joke. The Pai-Sho match is an example. Why establish that there are different cultural rules to Pai Sho if Bolin was just going to be made completely inferior? It would have been a lot more interesting if Bolin’s rules actually made him competitive to Asami.
While I enjoyed this episode a lot, I’m still looking forward to the day when Korra’s head isn’t ruled by her impulses and her impatience. I know, I know, she’s a young teenage girl, it’s part of her nature, she’s growing, etc. etc. It does not make it less irksome.
I understand the plot needs to be driven, and if Korra hadn’t run off, she wouldn’t have known to enter the spirit world to follow them, and Aiwei would have died without them knowing about the Red Lotus. However, when considered objectively, all that was really just a lucky break that followed a bad decision on Korra’s part, and it got them all captured.
On a completely different note, someone on the writing staff is clearly a fan of Hannibal Lecter. I’m partly scared that the Earth Queen is going to serve Korra up with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.