First off, we have the propaganda films, which were funny as hell, and it’s always geat seeing Varrick and Bolin together as a comedy team. However, Bolin’s creepy pursuit of Ginger (including that rapey kiss) when she had made her lack of interest perfectly clear does not help endear his character to anyone. I don’t care how clueless Bolin is. I don’t care how hard women can be for some guys to read. Ginger did everything short of making an L on her forehead. Sure, she was rude and obnoxious about it, but she sure as hell wasn’t unclear. I am so disappointed in the writers for going this way. If they try to justify Bolin’s behavior with some kind of “boys will be dumb boys” shit, I’m going to cut a bitch for propagating that kind of rape culture nonsense and for ruining Bolin’s character for me. It probably wouldn’t bother me so much if there were someone to call him out on it. Hell, Zhu Li is right there. But no. What does Bolin get? A pat on the back and further encouragement from Varrick, who, in fairness, would encourage that kind of behavior, but still…
Meanwhile, after an attack on Varrick’s cargo ship that was transporting her merchandise for a business deal crucial to the survival of Future Industries, Asami’s situation is getting pretty dire. The explosives used in the attack, namely their notable lack of fuses, remind Mako of the attack on the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center from the previous episode. Of course, Chief Beifong and her dopey cops shut him down, so… okay, hold on. Let’s just a take second and look at how Beifong’s character has been tampered with this season.
Last season, we met a focused, intelligent detective with keen instincts and a strong sense of justice. Sure, she could be stubborn. She held grudges and didn’t cut anyone any slack, but she never let her personal feelings interfere with her job. She would listen to an unlikely source if the information was useful. She would look at all the facts. And after her experiences with Team Avatar, you’d think she would give Mako the benefit of the doubt. Nope. That wouldn’t be very convenient for the plot so… fuck it! Now Lin’s just an obstinate bureaucrat who won’t listen to a beat cop going above and beyond the call of duty but will suffer her childish, lazy desk sergeants. I can’t even.
So, Mako and Asami conspire to set up a sting with the help of the Triple-Threat Triads, who end up double-crossing them. They barely escape, only to find out that it was all a distraction so Asami’s warehouse could be raided. She has nothing. At the end of his rope, Mako stops by the set of Bolin’s latest “mover” to ask Varrick some questions, only to notice that the special effects explosions are detonated by remote control, leading to the only really good thing about this episode, which was still great even though I saw it coming two minutes in:
Varrick was behind the attack on the cultural center and the raiding of his own ship. Like any greedy businessman, he saw a legitimate social struggle, the conflict between the Water Tribes, and used it to his advantage. No wonder he was so quick to point the finger at the northerners at every opportunity! No wonder he was so gung-ho about those propaganda films! He did all this so that when he raided his own ship and Asami’s warehouse, backing her up against a wall, he could swoop in and save the day by buying controlling interest in Future Industries with all suspicion deflected to the most convenient scapegoat available.
This was a marvelous plot turn, and I can see it really setting up the religious fanaticism of Unalaq pitted against the unchecked capitalism and earthly greed of Varrick as two extremes that, in a rather thematically consistent way, threaten the balance our heroes represent in the middle. And it was great how all the storylines tied into this one twist. That being said…
It took forever. When I looked up and realized the episode was nearly over, I was shocked, because really… I could see why all this stuff was important, but we had no Korra, no Tenzin, everything that really started cooking last week grinded to a halt to give us an episode of RCPD Blue. What the point of keeping Korra offscreen until the last scene? Was anyone really going to buy that she was dead? The central character of a Nickelodeon show? And, of course, the worst part of all… after finding out that Mako and Korra had broken up, in a moment of distress…
Asami kisses Mako.
No. No. No no no no no, with a side of no, a fresh no salad, and some hot apple no for dessert. I cannot believe this. Are we really going back to the well on this bullshit? Seriously? For the love of Aang! Just stop, Bryke. JUST. STOP. And figure out what the hell you want this show to be. Pick a direction and fly with it. For all our sakes.
Just… fuck this shit. Two out of five stars for the Varrick twist and a solid action sequence in Yue Bay. Next week’s episode better dazzle the shit out of me.