K109 Out Of The Past

K109 Pic

“Out Of The Past”, probably the most anticipated episode of Korra (minus the premiere for obvious reasons), for a few reasons: 1/ Past in the title instantly suggested we would be getting more focus on the flashbacks, 2/ the sheer drama of the end of K108, with Tarrlok, Bloodbending and sending Korra away. Did it live up to the hype ?

Yes it did and in more ways than I expected. We had the flashbacks and they were great, seeing those ATLA characters speak as adults and interact was such a nostalgia kick and the characters were done well, but even more than those there were so many small subtle character development moments in this episode, we all have out theories going into every new episode and what happened at the end with Tarrlok was very unexpected, but so well done. So to cover this episode in detail I will cover these main points and then a few little ones: The Flashbacks, Korra as a character, The Search for Korra, Shipping, Tarrlok and Amon and finally some of those subtle character moments.

The flashbacks are where I will start. The scenes everyone has been waiting to see since we first saw the visions in K104, what I liked about them in the episode is that they did not eclipse the other stories going on, the search for Korra was just as interesting. More specifically on the visions, the resolution as to why she was getting them was also interesting in that it was not Aang trying to help her learn Airbending or the Avatar state, but just warn her about Tarrlok and his bloodbending, interesting in that in the end, Korra found out this before she found out the meaning of the visions, but more on Korra later. The voice actors for Aang (D.B Sweeny), Sokka (Chris Hardwick), Toph (Kate Higgins) and Yakone (Clancy Brown) were all great, especially the 3 ATLA characters, they got the voices perfect, they felt older yet still had them sound like they did 28 years ago. The scenes themselves were very intense, you could sense everyone on edge because Yakone is a bloodbender and just Yakone’s confidence, not once does he believe he is actually going to Jail he wants to make a statement. The humour of “Twinkletoes” from Toph and Aang’s reaction once again to it was great to show that the 2 are old friends. The trial scene mixed some of the best ATLA references of the series with one of the most frightening moments of the series so far, Sokka now a council man for the SWT talks about many unique benders he has encountered, he mentions Combustion Man and how he defeated him with his boomerang and even Toph as the one who discovered Metalbending, which brings up the concept of there possibly being “Special” or unique benders within the already special thing of being a bender, this could explain so much about the series, but I am excited to see if we get a further explanation on this. Then when Yakone is sentenced to life in prison, he shows that he himself is one of these special benders in that he can bloodbend the whole room of people without even using his hands, people including Toph, Sokka and even Aang is struggling, the sheer power of the ability was shocking to see and even what his lawyer says about the only time Yakone has not been seen using the ability is during a full moon, opposite to what we know about the ability. As Yakone flees we see Aang enter the Avatar State controlled and pursue, he has Yakone until he surprises Aang by quickly bloodbending him, this was the scene that just blew me away, this was shown on Nick at 10/11 in the morning depending on the location, Aang is nearly killed by Yakone, we see his legs, arms and neck twist to a near breaking point (at first I thought he had broken his leg O.O) until the defence mechanism Avatar state activates and breaks  through the bloodbending and Aang is able to energybend Yakone and take his bending away ending the threat to the city. We got to see the Avatar State, both types of it with in a few minutes, such a dramatic part of the episode and a nice contained story. Almost more interesting than the flashbacks themselves are what Korra has learned from having seen them.

That segues nicely into Korra in this episode. Placed in a metal box in a cabin in the snowy mountains that surround United Republic, she is trapped with no way out, even early on we see her develop, she is so aggressively trying to smash her way out and then remembers what Tenzin said about meditating on her visions and realises that there is no better time than now to meditate with nowhere else to go. Her meditation works and she has her first controlled contact with Aang showing some spiritual development and even some Airbending development too as it is a part of that too. Something that was not stated in the episode, but instantly popped into my head was what Korra now knows having seen this full vision, she now knows that Amon is using the same or a similar ability to what Aang used to take Yakone’s bending away, she has seen both versions of the Avatar state and most importantly has seen an Avatar deal with a threat in the city and struggle, also she now has also heard of the special or unique benders. Then near the end of the episode she has a few great development moments, when Amon arrives and takes out Tarrlok he orders her metal cage be electrocuted to knock her out, before Korra may have tried to fight through the electricity, but her she is clever and realises she needs to get out of contact with the floor and cleverly uses one of her wrist bands to hold herself up, then she does not just wait ready to strike she pretends to be unconscious something Korra would never have done in an earlier episode. She then rushes outside and she has one attempt at taking Amon out, but again instead of staying to fight she runs off, showing some Airbender philosophy here, avoid and evade. Then she is saved by Naga, showing great development for Naga and how close the two are (Who does not want to see how they met ?). So we now have Korra at a stage where she has developed, she is thinking more about things now and is not so gung-ho. Will she now be able to Airbend, or is there no time for her to develop it with the war coming.

The rest of our Hero characters searching for Korra was also a nice plot of the episode hwhich also had the shipping aspect of the episode. We saw Lin return to the action, minus her police badge and Mako so intent on finding Korra. It was nice to see the benders get a win over the equalists. Great moments here included Lin finding the men that were taken in K106, only to find their bending has already been taken, it showed how much she cares about “her men”. Then moments like Asami finding out from Bolin about the Mako/Korra kiss, him threatening equalists to find out where she is really added to the conflict of interests. The action was nice too especially them escaping from the waiting Lieutenant by going straight up through the roof. The end scene of Mako picking up the injured Korra and carrying her to Oogi showed how much he cares for her, but we know he feels the same way about Asami, so the shipping is building up along with the war.

Tarrlok was the big revelation of the previous episode, he came out as a villain and nearly a bigger threat than Amon. In this episode we see how far he goes to cover up and lie about what happened to Korra, him electrocuting himself showed his desperation. In the end  it was his page who revealed to everyone who he really was, his lies and plan had gotten to big to contain. Moments like everyone being instantly being on guard when they found out he was a bloodbender was nice to see, then another dramatic bloodbending scene as Tarrlok figures out that his plan is over, knocking everyone in the room out (how many times have our hero characters been knocked out now ? 3-4). We assume him panicking here meant he was not as careful about anyone following him to where Korra was which is how Amon found him. Even with Tarrlok desperate we still get some nice character moments like when Korra figures out he is Yakone’s son, he reveals that he started a new life separating himself from the title of Yakone’s son and that his own plan was better because he did not try to rule the city from the criminal underworld, but rather from a proper position of power. He had a great plan, but in the end he was forced to do too much to keep it going and was found out. The big shocking part of this episode was that Tarrlok is effectively removed as a threat in this episode, I thought the final battle would be Tarrlok and his forces against Amon and his with Korra and co trying to stop both sides, but no Amon finds the cabin and takes Tarrloks bending while revealing yet another ability that he can resist bloodbending even Tarrlok’s advanced version, it puts Tarrlok in the same position Korra was in with him last episode asking how his opponent is doing this ability. Amon takes out a big threat so easily, it further shows his power and adds to the mystery of who/what is Amon and how can he do what he does.

Finally some of the subtle character moments, as I mentioned above, Korra being clever to avoid being electrocuted and escaping, Bolin being the one to take down the tunnel to stop the equalist pursuers showing he is a great earthbender outside of the arena and even him now not being afraid of the time when he was captured by the equalists he is past it just like he says he is over the emotions of seeing Mako and Korra kiss. I hope we have many more moments like this in future episodes.

Overall this is another great episode, very fast paced, but it still manages to have the character moments while the plot advances. So much more mystery added and that is a huge credit to Mike and Bryan that we have 3 episodes left and beyond a war and a big Amon Vs Korra battle we have no idea of what is going to happen, will we find out who he is, how he can energybend and resist bloodbending, will Korra airbend soon or go into the Avatar state. Will Air Temple Island come under attack in the war ? So many questions, it just makes me so excited for K110 Turning The Tides next week and the 2 part Book 1 Air Finale the week after.