The Legend Of Korra season 2 episode 9 review: The Guide

Review Kaci Ferrell
2 Nov 2013 - 10:15

Kaci celebrates the messages Korra sends out to its young audience in this week's episode...

This review contains spoilers.

2.9 The Guide

If any of you have kids, you've probably had this experience: there's a task that for an adult is pretty easy, but for a kid just starting to strengthen its motor functions, it's a monumental feat. Pouring the milk from the jug into a glass, for instance. It's not the kid's fault; they're just not yet equipped to deal with that. Yet they insist on being allowed to try, and you let them because they're your kid and you love them and sometimes that means cleaning up their messes.

In this week's episode of The Legend of Korra, Tenzin is that kid and helping Korra enter the spirit world is that jug of milk.

It starts when Korra finds Tenzin with his family on their vacation and quickly catches him up on the shenanigans happening in the Water Tribe. She apologizes for turning him away and he quickly agrees to help her enter the spirit world to rectify the wrong she unknowingly committed when she opened the South portal for Unalaq. But after several unsuccessful attempts in which it becomes increasingly clear that Tenzin is all coach and no play (great with strategy and information; not so great at putting that information into action), Kya suggests an alternative guide: Jinora. Tenzin is stubborn and at first refuses to allow this, even going so far as to inadvertently release a whole horde of dark spirits while trying to "help," but after realizing that his daughter really is uniquely qualified for the job, he relents.

Don't get me wrong, I would've been totally fine with Tenzin being the one to guide Korra had it not turned out that he was unable, but there's something really appealing to me to have a scene where an older woman (Kya) recognizes the talents of a young girl (Jinora) that no one else in her family has, and then for that young girl to be able to combine her talents with another woman's gifts in order to accomplish some serious heroics. What a cool message for any little girls who might be watching.

Meanwhile, Mako tells Bolin and Asami about Varrick, and neither believe him. I heaved the heaviest of sighs at this revelation; it's such an overdone plot device that rarely is it accomplished well. It's not accomplished particularly well here, either, to be honest. I could understand Bolin not believing him, given that Bolin has been written to have become a bit of a diva thanks to his newfound fame, all thanks to Varrick. I guess Asami has reason to favor Varrick, too, but after what happened with her father, I've imagined her as more wary and suspicious.

I'm also not happy about the fact that Mako and Asami seem to have fallen back together after their kiss. I suppose it's natural to give a relationship a second shot at their age, but I'd at least like to see them discuss their issues first. At a bare minimum, they need to talk about the fact that Mako kissed Korra while still in a relationship with Asami and the trust issues that might arise from that.

Varrick does some villainous moustache twirling and manages to frame Mako for stealing from Asami's company, and it's all so predictable that I just don't care because I've seen the same plot play out dozens of times in other shows.

I'd much rather focus on Korra and Jinora's journey through the spirit world, which they arrive in at the end of the episode. Here's hoping next week focuses mostly on that story.

Read Kaci's review of the previous episode, Beginnings Parts I and II, here.

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