The Legend Of Korra season 3 episode 10 review: Long Live The Queen

Review Kaci Ferrell 10 Aug 2014 - 18:02

The recent run of Korra episodes has felt like the original series in the best possible way, says Kaci...

This review contains spoilers.

3.10 Long Live The Queen

This week's episode of Legend Of Korra once again shows how great this show can be when it decides to keep things simple and focus on only one or two stories each week. It makes me wish they'd figured this out much sooner; the show has hit a stride with these last few episodes and it's restored my faith in the writers. I do my best not to compare the show to its predecessor, but this last run of episodes has felt like the original series in the best possible way: our heroes, dealing with their enemies on a backdrop of the serialized plot taking things one step at a time.

With Team Avatar split into two groups, this week has a great chance to focus on the dynamic between Korra and Asami: their friendship seemed so unlikely by traditional television standards when this show first began. If two women have romantic feelings for the same man, television's unspoken rules indicate that they must spend the rest of the series hating each other, right? Legend Of Korra has risen above that in such a beautiful way and I honestly think their friendships is one of my favorite things about the show. They work so well together here, each playing to her own strengths and blending them together seamlessly. Although their plot doesn't ultimately add much to the overarching narrative, I forgive that. This show doesn't do "filler" episodes the way its predecessor did, like Tales Of Ba Sing Se. Instead, this show uses standard episodes to take time for character and friendship development, and this episode did it very well in my opinion.

Meanwhile, Bolin and Mako spend most of the episode imprisoned by the Earth Queen, where Bolin continues to fail at metalbending. I really like that they're building this up that he can't do it, because it feels like it's heading to some big moment where he'll finally be able to. I like it when he gets moments to be heroic, so I'm looking forward to it. I do wonder if the reason he's having trouble is that he's not taking the time to feel the earth in the metal. When Toph discovered metalbending, it began with her touching the metal and feeling it out. Of course, she was particularly gifted at sensing things like that, due to being blind, so it makes sense that Bolin wouldn't be as sensitive to that as she was, but I wonder if trying that might help him out. He can be surprisingly reverent when the situation calls for it, I think, so maybe spending some time with a piece of metal and feeling it out might help.

Finally, there's the Red Lotus, who have officially decided to stop playing by the Nickelodeon villain rules. I thought back to the original series, when Jet's death was so unclear that the show self-parodied the confusion in The Ember Island Players, and when Aang was so anti-violence that he sought a way to remove the Fire Lord as a threat without killing him. There were occasional deaths, sure, but never graphic. Compare that to this episode, where Zaheer bends the air out of the Earth Queen's lungs as the camera focuses in on her dying, bloodshot eyes, and murders her. Times certainly have changed.

Once again Zaheer makes things complicated in the ethics department: assassinating someone is hardly something most people would condone, but his first act afterwards is to break down the literal wall between the rich upper class of Ba Sing Se and the poor lower class. That's something I, at least, personally could get behind. We saw how awful conditions for the lower class were, and a kyriarchal system is unjust and should be brought down. But is murder the right way to do it? And what happens once you tear down the wall? In what way have you actually made their lives better? You've just unleashed anarchy. With no rule, you've all but instituted martial law. That's hardly helpful. But I like that the show is enabling us to have this conversation; they did so well dealing with socio-political issues back in season one and I have honestly missed being able to talk about them. I love that they're back, and I love that this show doesn't hold itself back or talk down to its viewers. I know this show has a large adult audience, but there are plenty of children who watch it, too, and I like that the show trusts those young viewers. I'm a big believer in not talking down to children; they're frequently capable of handling more than we give them credit for.

All in all, this was a wonderful episode that I really enjoyed. I feel like the show is hitting a stride lately and I have high hopes for the rest of the season.

Read Kaci's review of the previous episode, The Stakeout, here.

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