The Legend of Korra episode 9 review: Out of the Past

Review Kaci Ferrell 9 Jun 2012 - 17:18

This week's Legend of Korra is a treat for fans of The Last Airbender, and an all-round belter. Read Kaci's review here...

This review contains spoilers.

1.9 Out of the Past

In this week's episode of The Legend of Korra, things get awesome.

While I'm sure there are a handful of people who are watching The Legend of Korra without having seen The Last Airbender, I also think it's safe to say that those people are in the minority. And for those of us who loved the original series, let's also not pretend that part of what drew us to this show had nothing to do with the temptation of getting to see how things turned out for the characters we knew and loved.

This week's episode is almost uniquely catered to us, while also managing to stay fresh and relevant to Korra's story so that it doesn't veer off into feeling like fanservice. This week's episode manages to take the fragments of the past Korra has seen and confirm for us that they are the result of Aang's spirit trying to send her a message to warn her about Tarrlok. As it turns out, special bending abilities run in families, and the revelation that Tarrlok was Yakone's son is dropped squarely onto our shoulders. (We also get a brilliant moment in which Toph refers to Aang as "Twinkle Toes" despite his protests that he's too old for nicknames. In that moment, I could've forgiven this show for every flaw because admit it: that scene was perfect.)

I admit that I'm already tired of the Asami/Mako/Korra love triangle, but what I'm not tired of is the way this show continually defies my expectations. I don't post theories very often in these reviews, but I do read each and every single one of your theories in the comments. A popular one has been that Amon and Tarrlok are actually brothers, and for awhile, I started to believe that myself. But that was torn apart in this episode when Tarrlok spoke to Amon as though they didn't know each other, informing him that he'd never before faced a bender with powers such as Tarrlok's, and then asking, "What are you?" when Amon managed to defy his blood bending.

It makes me wonder, though: why come after Tarrlok now of all times? In a very real way, Amon almost...assisted the Avatar by taking away the bending of the man who held her captive.

The most important question I have for all of you, however, is: what exactly is Amon? How can he defy blood bending? We've seen two Avatars fall prey to that ability, and yet this man can somehow withstand it better than either. Aang was only able to overcome it by going into the Avatar State. Is it possible that Amon uses a similar spiritual meditation technique?

This episode gave us so many answers, but each one only lead to more questions. It was probably one of the most tense episodes so far, and all the fights were gorgeously animated. Hearing the grown up voices of Aang, Toph, and Sokka threw me for a loop, but there was something so exciting and wonderful about seeing and hearing them as adults that it didn't matter.

All in all, this is one of the more standout episodes of the season.

Read our review of last week's episode, When Extremes Meet, here.

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