By: Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko (story)

The Story: Even in the Avatar world, you can’t trust big corporations.

The Review: It gets increasingly difficult to talk about this series, not only because its strengths and problems are consistent across every episode, but also because there really isn’t all that much to talk about.  I mentioned last week how thin the plot seems to be, and for the sake of contrast, you should look to this week’s episode of Young Justice for an example of a packed episode.  I think it’s pretty clear that this show hasn’t delivered nearly that kind of substance so far.

To be fair, Legend of Korra has a much smaller cast than Young Justice’s bursting population of characters.  But it certainly doesn’t help that the show focuses so intensely on Korra, maligning her supporting cast to strictly that: support.  When you look at Mako, Bolin, Tenzin, or Lin, none of them have major plotlines of their own to help break up the episode; their stories invariably tie into Korra’s in some way, and that makes for rather stagnant storytelling.  Compare to The Last Airbender, where you can go a whole episode without seeing Aang.

Another problem is the show doesn’t offer that many plotlines, period.  Whereas Aang and friends divided their time equally between searching for bending masters, seeking out certain locales, aiding in the war effort, and engaging in various side-quests, Korra and Co. have spent nearly all their time facing off with the Equalists whenever they’re not pro-bending.  And now that pro-bending has become less important, we’re stuck with just this Equalist storyline.

Frankly, this storyline doesn’t have much going for it.  Though the Equalists are ostensibly about uplifting the lives of non-benders, their tactics seem more vengeful and mean-spirited than anything else.  Even members of the movement sense not all is right in this “revolution,” as one Equalist informant declares, “I didn’t sign up for this—this war.”  Even if Amon reveals his whole game is entirely personal (probably related to those flashbacks of grown-up Aang that Korra keeps having), that would hardly be a twist.

Neither is it much of a twist that Hiroshi Sato—spoiler alert—is a high-ranking member of the Equalists, their primary source of funding and technology.  Considering the incredibly advanced weapons they possess, and that Sato is the only known individual capable of producing them—well, let’s just say I doubt anyone gasped in shock when the truth came out.  I know I didn’t, since I basically called this plot development three episodes ago.

At least his treachery increases the chances that his daughter won’t turn out to be a traitor.  The possibility always remains that Asami turning against her father is a mutual ruse to ingratiate herself to Korra and Co., but I hope DiMartino-Konietzko steer clear of this tactic.  The show desperately needs a non-bender voice of reason and another strong female character, and Asami can fill both roles in addition to being Korra’s first gal-pal.  Their bonding over drag-racing is a nice, warm scene (albeit also predictable), and it’d be a shame to ruin it with some eye-rolling betrayal somewhere down the line.

Conclusion: I think it’s safe to say now that this show has little potential to recapture the spirit and strength of its predecessor.  It suffers from being too tightly plotted, never allowing a breath of spontaneous originality to escape.

Grade: B-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I do enjoy the horror musical sting during Korra’s underwhelming attempt to use a powdering puff.

– Let’s hope Bolin never actually makes it into the lap of luxury, for the sake of his hypothetical long-suffering servants.