K111 Skeletons In The Closet


So, two episodes to review this week, Episode 11 obviously is first. The penultimate episode of the season, the episode title we had heard about first so long ago, there was a lot of excitement from myself and the fandom going into this episode. I really enjoyed this episode, the stand out part of the episode is definitely the backstory on Amon and Tarrlok and all the reveals within this story, but the rest of the episode worked well too, the united forces arrive, we see that there is a group of benders and non bender who can live together in peace and that while there are some issues between the groups they are not big enough to drive all non bender against non benders. So this will probably be a shorter review as the flashback is half the episode. I will cover this episode with the topics: The Backstory, Iroh and The United Forces and characters and where they are going to be for the finale.

The backstory left me speechless, I was not expecting to get Amon’s story in such detail and especially for him to link in so much with other characters (Yakone and Tarrlok). In my opinion this was the best done backstory in all of Avatar so far, pretty much 1 10 minute long story in this episode and it hit all the points we needed. Even the shock of Mako and Korra discovering the imprisoned Tarrlok before he tells them the story, I had wondered if he would play a further role, I had thought he may now help them to take down Amon but the reveal that he is Amon’s brother was a jaw dropping scene. The flashback itself was a very moving and tragic tale, and showed how many of these mature themes can be explored on Nick  IN THE MORNING, for a minute you even felt a bit happy for Yakone and starting again and moving away from his past, but then how his kids being benders changed his whole attitude, no longer was it a new life for him, once they could bend it was all about him using them both as his tools of revenge. Amon is revealed to be actually named Noatak (sp), seeing the contrast between the young Noatak and Amon as he is now is shocking, but the seeds of why he hates bending are planted here. His and his brothers happy childhood was pretty much ruined by their fathers intensity of bending training, all he cared about was them becoming powerful benders, basically they were not being treated equally just because they are benders and the contrast between the happiness before they found out and the anguish afterwards is so well portrayed.

The bloodbending scenes are also very dark, Yakone forces them to manipulate these helpless animals and it further shows how wrong the ability is, seeing young Tarrlok who everyone hated after K108 an K109 for Bloodbending being the one to bring up that he does not want to manipulate people like that. Then add to this that Noatak is the better bender of the two, which again means one is treated differently to the other, this adds into Noatak’s thinking of inequality caused by bending. Even the way after years of nothing but training, Noatak as the older brother being pushed harder becomes more and more detached was again very well done, he knows nothing but harshness now. I like the way this flashback does not fully explain everything about why he hates all benders and is so intent on Equality, but it plants all these seeds in his mind, even his quest to become as powerful as the Avatar by finding a way to copy  Aang’s energybending, that was well done.

The reveal that how Amon is taking peoples bending away is by Bloodbending them a certain way, was an interesting reveal and while I like it I feel they did need a bit more explanation about how exactly it worked. In episode 12 Katara says  that Korra’s connection to the other elements is severed, which suggests that the bloodbending actually severs some of the chi paths of the body, blocking some of the Chakras, for Korra namely the Fire, Earth and Water Chakra as she can bend Air, which suggests that Amon who has not taken Airbending from someone does not yet know what chi path to block that with or else he could not do that to Korra as her Air Chakra was blocked already. Especially with how Korra’s bending is restored I feel something more was needed in this explanation.

Now onto the rest of the episode, Iroh and the United forces in general. Iroh, we did not get a whole lot in terms of his characterisation, but we see he is a man of action, not just a general who just commands, he gets right into the action and is completely fearless. As shown here with him fire punching a bomb coming straight at him. I loved the double reference here, Iroh now has a scar just like his grandfather, Zuko and also he has survived a massive explosion with little injury just like what happened with Zuko when Zhao hired the Pirates to blow him up. So well done. His forces are decimated by the Equalists new mines and planes, I liked that as it showed how important Hiroshi is to the Equalists, without him the Equalists would be nowhere near where they are now. Even Iroh planning the raid on the Airbase, showing that he is a military man. The reference to Gommu being a former Telegraph operator was stunning, from his Nick.com bio.

Then the final point I want to talk about is just the set up for the finale with the various groups our characters go off in. Korra realises that now is the time to confront Amon, Mako joins her and effectively right here chooses Korra over Asami. Leaving Iroh, Asami and Bolin to take out the Planes. I really enjoyed the scene of “Goodbyes” the brothers go their separate ways, Bolin and Korra show their great friendship, Korra and Naga part and Asami and Mako have what is an implied break up, I thought it was well done, Asami has seen over the previous few episodes the little moments of Mako showing he REALLY cares for Korra and him going with her has shown Asami that he has picked her. More importantly, they are both honest here, Mako admits he will always care for Asami and Asami returns this, it was very mature from Asami that she could accept this. Gommus gives our heroes a glorious send off “Good fortune and success to you, valiant heroes”

Overall a very nice episode before the final one. I liked that we got the Amon backstory and he was not really in this episode much, it makes his actions in the next episodes even more dramatic seeing how much he has changed since he was 14. Perfect set up for “Endgame” which I will review later on today.