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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I'm choosing to believe that Varrick (despite his ominous speech) is being framed in the same way as Mako. A captured triple threat told Mako it was Varrick. Then a captured triple threat told the police it was Mako. Who's to say it's not the triple threats trying to frame the biggest threats to them? His ominous rant may have been a sincere offer for protection, and simply came across as threatening due to Varrick's poor choice of words and poor situational awareness, both of which have been well established so far this series. (He's a major player in a civil war and yet he's more worried about kicking off his film business?) Okay, he see's great business opportunities when they pop up, but pretty much nothing else.

Of course, this is all a long shot, and it is such an overdone and obvious trope, that they may have just gone that way, but I like to think that the writers have more imagination than that.
As for Asami trusting Varrick over Mako? Mako cheated on her, she'll never really trust her again. Mako should have known she'd never believe a word from his mouth. and Bolin, I think his trust of Mako would work more subconsciously, he's too absent minded to pick up on it straight away, but I think that if something is up, Both Bolin and Asami are going to have their eyes out for it.

Korra DID change :D This is the first ep where I've found her genuinally likable. Nice scene with her apologizing to Tenzin, and another nice scene with her controlling the bat spirits.

The creepy twins are also showing potentional. Unalaq doesn't seem to care very much about his kid's well-being and Eska did the right thing when she disobeyed him by taking her brother back to be healed.

I'm very pleased with this episode overall.

"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 not sure she does believe that Varrick is innocent. The end of the scene of Mako's arrest makes me think that she is suspicious but we'll see in the next episode; I expect her to be the one to initiate the clearing of his name in the narrative.

Is no one else at all bothered by the direction they have taken Asami, Mako, and Lin Beifoing's character development in this episode. I felt like I was watching completely different people then who they developed up to this season. Where did they think it felt right and natural to suddenly have Asami and Mako together. Last episode was understandable, but there was no buildup at all in this one. She comes over and suddenly they are in each other arms. It felt so unnatural I almost didn't want to watch anymore. If I was Korra or Asami I would dump Mako in a second. They were slightly developing him better this season until the dumb scene in this episode. They just make it look like he likes to ping pong between these two girls. How could they stay friends like this? Ughhhh!!!! Writers. Could you have killed the season any faster than this. How about Lin Beifong barely being in any episodes and when she is she cares more about seniority than actual dedication. Completely different woman than last season as well. I feel like this part should be more discussed.

The embrace did seem forward but it can also attributed to time passing off screen for the last 2 episodes; we also see Korra arriving at the air temple and some time must have passed travelling from the fire temple.

I think Mako's development has been perfectly natural and believable. I always thought he and Asami were better suited; they had a natural attraction so for them to go back feels right to me. He should have told Asami earlier when his feelings for Korra grew in book 1 but he's young and most men are equally clueless when dealing with emotions. He and Korra found they didn't really work after several months so they broke up and so why is there an issue if he and Asami feel drawn together again?

Now if the writers go back with Mako and Korra I'd be annoyed and couldn't justify his actions.

On Lin, her actions are in line with how she has been in book 2 BUT as you and others have said it seems completely different to book 1.

I am simply complaining that they didn't develop it on screen. Last episode he pushed her away, this episode they are embracing. Even if time passed, its too abrupt to feel natural to me. I would accept the development if it showed on screen. But I really wonder how they expect to keep this group of friends together past this. I mean it was tough to see Asami accept Korra and Mako's relationship. Do we expect Korra to accept theirs? Maybe its an excuse for Korra to find a whole new group of friends who are a bit more interesting. Though I myself like Asami too.

And I do believe it was pretty important that they show they have a conversation about their past relationship and Korra because Korra is a friend to them both. The fact that they blew right past this seems like a really dumb thing to do. This conversation is important to reestablish their relationship while obviously addressing the elephant in the room (Korra).

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