K106 And The Winner Is…


So we have reached the half way stage of Book 1 Air, mid way through season 1 of Korra. This episode was very much a mid season finale, bringing to a close the Pro Bending tournament story and Amon’s first major strike against the benders. A fantastic episode, that had some of the best action in the series so far, some extremely tense moments and probably best of all brilliant character development, especially for characters like Lin who we have not seen much of. So I guess I will cover this episode with the main topics of: The Pro Bending Finals, Amon’s Attack on the arena and Characterisation (Mainly Lin Bei Fong).

The first half of the episode is about the preparations for the finals, Amon’s threat and the final itself. I was happy to see the team back on friendly terms and working together well after the romantic tension from the last episode. They have all agreed to put that behind them for now and focus on the finals, but I was also glad to see that there were still some references made to the various relationships and who likes who. Just the little moment of Korra cringing when Asami blew Mako a kiss, just to show it is not completely out of mind, and then the two brothers near the end delighted to see Korra was safe, which is more to show the groups friendship as opposed to relationships. When the threat came in over the radio, I was surprised to see that Amon did not just surprise attack the arena, but instead he sees just how much influence he has already by asking they shut it down, a threat. I liked that they brought back the fact that Amon can just take over the radio when he wants and it was not just a one off thing, it showed us again that Korra is scared of Amon with the look on her face, but not as scared as in K104. It showed how big of a threat Amon is when we find out the council had agreed to shut down the arena, he already has huge influence and power, and it is not until Chief Lin Bei Fong arrives that there is a change of heart. I will discuss Lin and Tarrlok more later, but seeing him again manipulate the situation, agreeing, but using Lin as the “fall guy” if it backfires.

The Final itself was the best Pro Bending we have seen so far. From the pre match entertainment of Pabu doing a nice show for the ferrets to the Wolf Bats over the top costumed entrance with Fireworks, which really showed how experienced they are in terms of knowing how to excite the crowd before the match. Into the match itself, we see that the Wolf Bats are a powerful team, not insanely powerful as we had expected after the end of K105, but still good. I think the fact that they have to cheat so much against the Fire Ferrets reallys shows how much a a threat the Bats think the ferrets are and also shows us just how impressive a team our beloved Fire Ferrets are. The way the show has presented the audience with the rules of Pro Bending has been amazing in all episodes it has appeared in, it is not just some character randomly saying the rules, but rather they show something happening and it is referenced in commentary or by the competitors themselves what the rule is, in this case the Wolf Bat’s cheating tells us many of the fouls in Pro Bending: Hosing, Icing, Headshots with Fire, breaking up earth disks, bending disks outside of the zone you are in. Very cleverly done by the writers. Then just seeing that there is corruption in Pro Bending in that the refs have been payed off, which allows the bats to get away with cheating. The way the cheating got worse and more dangerous as the match went on and the ferrets became more a a threat was a nice touch, ending with the really dangerous move of crushing up earth into water and going for headshots, a possibly lethal move. My final thoughts on the final are that once again we see Korra’s progress at Pro Bending, how cleverly she beats Tahno in the tie breaker, her body language beforehand was very aggressive towards him and he was prepared for a counter attack, yet she knows this and does an aggressive opening attack followed quickly by an attack from a completely different direction, very intelligent from Korra. I also loved Bolin getting a hit by bouncing a disk off the ropes, more strategy in the matches is great to see.

We shockingly see the Fire Ferrets beaten in the last round, no stirring comeback as we may have expected, but with what happens next, the ferrets are glad they were not left on the arena. Amon’s plan is put into action many members of the crowd pull masks up over their faces and pull electric gauntlets out of their popcorn and bags etc. The police were sweeping for suspicious objects earlier on, but never suspected that many equalists would attend the match, Amon clearly is a great strategist and knows the way the police work. We see them quickly subdue Lin and Tenzin as well as most of the Metal Bender officers. This is when the music starts to build and things become very tense, Amon arrives in front of the Wolf Bats. He quickly defeats them and takes Tahno’s bending, this is a shocking moment because it seemed like in the last episode that Tahno was going to be a new main character and this build up really makes him being taken down and having his bending taken shocking, he is a character you don’t like because he cheats, but you never wanted this to happen to him, seeing the tough Tahno begging shows us all how much power Amon now has in the city. His speech further shows how great of a public speaker he is, he knows about them cheating and buying the refs and uses this to further vilify benders “You are here to cheer on cheats” in short. I loved the way he brought in that modern technology allows anyone to be on a level plane with benders, it also shows us how much influence Amon has in the city in that a company has to be making all this tech for him, is it Future Industries, is it Cabbage Corp, who knows ?

His whole plan is amazing, shows his power to a packed audience by taking the bending of the champion’s Captain, add to that how he managed to arrive secretly in the arena while there were so many metalbender police around. Then he give a speech and leaves as the arena blows up. The whole city knows his power now, he has taken down the benders beacon of hope, the arena and with little trouble.

The action packed final scenes of the episode are utterly stunning, the music, the Animation, the character moments and the choreography all working perfectly together. It was such a great set piece action scene with most of the action taking place in the air or on the roof of the arena, the added danger of falling from heights and the roof being made of just a thin sheet of glass added so much to the tension. Lin showed us all why she is the chief and that she is very much her mothers daughter, she was amazing with those metal cables showing us why the police force implemented them after she started the use of them. We see Korra has really improved in how she fights the equalists in that she takes on The Lieutenant and manages to get the better of him with some amazing moves. The highlight of this final scene is definitely the moment where Lin has a big choice to make: Go after Amon and possibly arrest him or leave Amon and save Korra who is falling after the glass roof breaks, she chooses Korra in a very emotional moment showing so much of her character in that she respects Korra now. The last line of the city being at war from Tenzin is a great way to both end the first half of this Book and also set up the next half.

Now on to character moments I wanted to talk about. Lin is the main one in that she really is fully introduced to us as a character here. There is so much more to her than being annoyed at Korra for wrecking some shops. She used to go out with Tenzin and has held a grudge for a long time  because of how Tenzin married Pema. The moment of her agreeing with Tenzin later to be nice for a change was a great sincere moment for her character showing she is not all tough. The seeing her start to get some respect for Korra during the final was nice in that after Tenzin points out that they are actually quite similar and would get along she does take this on board later. Her choosing to save Korra showed this and they are now allies, I look forward to their future interactions.

Tarrlok had some nice moments too, he is a master manipulator, agreeing with Lin and getting the decision overturned, but he won’t suffer for the failure it will all go on Lin. The little moments of Tenzin seeing how embarrassed he is about his past romances and just that he does actually like Pro Bending and is struggling not to just become a big fan were nice to see.

My final thoughts before I go on too long, brilliant episode to end the first half of the season while still leaving a lot of mystery as to what is going to happen next, Korra had another vision, they are becoming clearer as she has more. Most of all I wonder what Mako and Bolin will do now that their home (attic above Toza’s gym in the arena) is destroyed, will they go and live on Air Temple Island, will they join Korra in the fight against Amon. Is the Task force going to come back into things and even will Lin be removed as Chief after the failure.

I have no idea what is coming next :)