During training for the final pro bending match, Korra and her teammates hear a broadcast by Amon on the radio. He gives the council an ultimatum, close down the probending arena, or there will be dire, unspecified consequences.
Korra, Mako, and Bolin go to the council meeting to protest the closing of the arena. The council is unanimous in canceling the finals, until Lin Beifong arrives and takes personal responsibility for the security during the match. After the meeting Korra deduces from Tenzin that he and Lin used to be an item.
During the match Korra and her team are subjected to a series of fouls by the Wolfbats. But apparently the refs are paid off as they don’t call any of the fouls. While they manage to make it through the first round, and even win the second round in a tie breaker, ultimately the Fire Ferrets are beaten.
Several members of the audience put on masks, and pull out electrical gloves, which they use to knock out all the metalbender security guards. Amon makes his entrance and makes short work of the Wolfbats. He takes their bending and proceeds to give another one of his speeches. He declares revolution against benders and then leaves, blowing up the probending ring.
Korra and Lin follow after them, as the Equalists make their way up to their airship. They fight off Lieutenant and several of the Chi Blockers, but Amon makes it away. Lin tries to follow him, but lets him go in favor of saving Korra from falling through the arena ceiling. The episode ends with Tenzin declaring that Republic City is at war.
Talk about a complete 180 from the last episode. After that short, romantic (?) interlude (which felt completely out of place considering this was originally just going to be a mini series), we finally get back into the plot. And we get a bombastic episode.
While Tenzin/Lin was obvious, it was still a lot of fun to learn more about her and her prior relationship with Tenzin. Lin is easily one of my favorite characters from this series, and it helps that she’s not only an ass kicking woman, she’s also in her 50s, very unusual for a show airing on a channel mostly dedicated to children’s programming.
While I haven’t been the biggest fan of the amount of probending we’ve seen, I did enjoy learning more about the sport. Seeing the different fouls helped give an idea for what the rules of the sport are. Though one would think this a topic for earlier on in the series. But I’ll take what I can get, especially now that we won’t be revisiting probending.
Amon really loves the sound of his voice, doesn’t he? Not that I can really blame him. If i had a voice like his, I’d want to talk all the time too. His threat level is constantly rising, and I look forward to seeing how he’s finally taken down. Though considering the rumors that he will only be the villain for the first season, so six more episodes, I wonder if his defeat won’t be a little rushed. But it’s too early to start judging quite yet. Give me a few more episodes, then I’ll start judging all I want.
The final fight scene was a lot of fun. We really haven’t been getting enough actually fighting this series, so I appreciate seeing the characters finally let loose. Though I am wondering when Mako and Bolin are finally going to actually fight?
The difference between watching Korra play probending and watching her actually fight is interesting. It makes me wonder if Mako and Bolin will have to relearn how they bend later, since chances they have real life fighting experience could be low. And competitive martial arts are quite different from regular martial arts. Speaking from some personal experience, competitive martial arts follow a series of rules, and full contact is rarely made (depending on the discipline).
Likewise, as we see in this episode, there are rules for how probenders are actually allowed to bend. For the longest time I was wondering why Korra didn’t just flood the field with water, that would win the match no problem. But according to this episode that kind of move would be illegal.
So Mako and Bolin may not actually be good fighters, since in competitive martial arts only a few specific moves are effective, and those are the ones that end up getting practiced. And just as sports karateka have a very limited skill set, so probenders would probably have just as limited a set of moves they use. If nothing else, they aren’t used to being attacked from behind, so the concept of having to be aware of their entire surroundings would be unfamiliar. Just like how sport fencers move only in a straight line, but add in the element of moving in all directions and they have more trouble keeping up.
I look forward to seeing if Korra actually addresses any of these issues, knowing that the production team has good martial arts advisors would suggest this issue might be brought up. We’ll just have to wait and see.