The Legend Of Korra episode 10 review: Turning the Tides

Review Kaci Ferrell 16 Jun 2012 - 17:35

Read Kaci's review of an emotional and eventful episode of The Legend of Korra, here...

This review contains spoilers.

1.10 Turning the Tides.

This week's episode of The Legend of Korra is designed to do one thing: break us. Everything we have come to love over the course of the season is dismantled summarily, leaving us with nothing but heartbreak until the very last scene of the episode. But we'll get there. First we need to talk about Lin Beifong.

We have seen time and time again how far Lin is willing to go to protect Republic City, but this episode demonstrated just how far she is willing to go in order to protect Tenzin. Despite the fact that he has moved on and created a life with someone else, Lin still loves him all these years later. It's arguable whether or not that love is romantic or simply a deep friendship, but the love itself cannot be debated. It's not just in the end, when she gives herself over to Amon and refuses to give him information - it's in the fact that she agrees to protect Air Temple Island and take care of Tenzin's children that in another life, could've been hers. Lin spends this entire episode sacrificing herself both for Tenzin and for the greater good, and that's why its closing scenes are so heartbreaking: Lin Beifong, the daughter of the greatest earthbender who ever lived, is forced to kneel before a tyrant. And when offered a chance to save a crucial part of her being, she rejects it outright, refusing to give up the people she cares about. And then Amon takes her bending away.

I'm going to make a public fool of myself right now by admitting that I cried, and not just a careful one tear rolling down the cheek sort of cry, either. I'm talking about the full-body sobbing kind of crying that leaves you shaking and broken, which is appropriate because I imagine that's about how Lin feels right now, too. She's lost everything she had - the man she loves, the job she was passionate about, and now her ability to bend. But it's not just the bending itself that's been taken - we've seen before that Lin, like Toph, had the ability to "see with her feet" in the way that Toph did. That was a special connection between mother and daughter, and now that's gone, too. Her only link to her mother has been severed and I was a crying mess because Lin Beifong just can't seem to catch a break, no matter how much she deserves one.

Although I suppose she did catch a break in this episode, in the form of Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo. One of the things I loved about the original series that The Legend of Korra has been lacking is that none of the younger characters have made a significant contribution. Sure, AtLA had a cast of mostly teenagers just as Korra does, but it also had pre-teens Aang and Toph proving that age was not a measure of how much someone had to offer the group. Finally, this is remedied as Jinora saves Lin during her solo battle against the Equalists. Together, the three children protect their home and their "father's ex-girlfriend," and again, public fool: I punched the air in victory and pride.

In fact, this episode does a great job of showing the fighting abilities of pretty much the entire main cast - every character save for Pema (who is sidelined for most of the battle due to the birth of Rohan) gets a chance to show their stuff against the Equalists. I'd particularly like to single out Asami, who fought well not just because she had the glove technology, but also because of her martial arts technique. It goes back to a point I've made before, about how we've seen non-benders equal benders in terms of fighting abilities. Examples I used at the time were Sokka, Suki, Ty Lee, and Mei, and now I'd like to add Asami to that list of non-benders who are just as powerful as their bending counterparts.

But now to embarrass myself even further, let's talk about the final moment of the episode in which we meet the reinforcements Tenzin has called in: General Iroh, a man who looks about the right age to be Zuko's son, and who, by the way, is voiced by the amazing Dante Basco. To give you an idea of what it was like at my house when he showed up, let me just paint you a mental picture: there I am, sobbing my eyes out over Lin. I am a broken, miserable mess curled up on my side and whimpering. And then I hear the General's voice. Then they call him Iroh. And then I ran around my room, screaming and punching the air, tears for Lin still running down my face. To borrow one of internet's favorite sayings: I don't know what my emotions are doing.

Picturing that? Having yourself a good laugh? Good, because the preview for the next episode looks like we'll have little to laugh about during the season finale. It's going to be rough watching this battle come to a head, and I have the sinking suspicion that not everyone is going to survive.

What did you think? Did you enjoy this action-packed episode? Did Lin break your heart? How much do you love that Tenzin and Pema's new son is called Rohan? Most importantly: did any of you embarrass yourself as much as I did during the airing of this episode? Share your reactions in the comments and I'll see you for the season finale!

Read our review of last week's episode, Out of the Past, here.

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