The Legend of Korra episode 7 review: The Aftermath

Review Kaci Ferrell 19 May 2012 - 17:11

This week's episode of The Legend of Korra throws up questions of prejudice and oppression. Read Kaci's review, here...

This review contains spoilers.
1.7 The Aftermath

There is a difference between oppression and prejudice. Oppression is systematic prejudice against those who have little to no power perpetuated by those who do, while prejudice is on an individual level and lacks such a power dynamic. It's important to note the distinction between the two, particularly within the world of Republic City, because they are often confused or used interchangeably in our everyday vocabulary.

The irony of this is that the Equalists claim they are oppressed by benders. Certainly, we've seen evidence to back that up: the Council is made up entirely of benders, as is the police force, and there are certain jobs or sports that benders can hold or compete in that non-benders have no access to. However, as we've learned in the real world, when we find ourselves faced with true oppression, the best way to combat it is to engage in an open dialogue and to get those in the group with power to check their privileges.

The Equalists, on the other hand, have chosen to combat oppression with prejudice. Their war against the benders cannot be called oppression because non-benders are not in a position of power and the institution still supports benders, but it is prejudice all the same. We see a good example of this in this week's episode when Mr. Sato explains to Asami that he joined the Equalists because a firebender killed her mother (in a nice echo of why Amon began the movement), then condemns her for dating Mako. To put this into terms relevant to our world, it's the equivalent of blaming and hating an entire racial group or ethnicity because of the actions of one person.

Another inherent irony in their movement is that though they condemn benders, they seem to be copying their fighting techniques. First there were the lightning rods, similar to firebenders, then came the gloves that allow them to move like benders do, and then in this episode we were introduced to Mr Sato's fighting metal robots, which brought to mind images of how Toph used to fashion herself a battlesuit out of stone or metal before fights. Despite hating benders, the Equalists are using technology to augment themselves in order to be able to do the things benders do.

A lot happened in this episode, and I'm mostly pleased with it. I'm a little disappointed that it turned out Mr Sato was an Equalist since that feels like an obvious route to take, but I'm thrilled to see that Asami rejects his politics and is instead sticking with Korra. Lin's promise to take down Amon outside the law was also exciting and promises many more interesting Lin-centric tales, I hope.

I can't wait to hear your thoughts about the Satos, the revelation that Lin can see with her feet the way Toph did, and everyone moving to Air Temple Island. Share them in the comments and I'll see you next week for episode eight!

Read our review of last week's episode, And the Winner Is..., here.

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