Look, this is the penultimate episode, so that tells me Korra can’t succeed against Unalaq…yet. She needs something to do in the next episode.
Besides, for all this show is about Korra, I am much more interested in what’s going on with Tenzin and his family.
Look, it’s not like Korra and her crew are bad characters. They aren’t. They’re all rather cool, and for this one, we see Korra take on Vaatu while Bolin and Mako try and fail to keep Unalaq from returning to the battle, and then Korra fails to stop Vaatu and Unalaq from merging into a new Dark Avatar, and as much as Korra has experience with all four elements, Unalaq has experience with spirits, allowing he and Vaatu to rip Raava out of Korra and seemingly destroy the spirit, doing…something to Korra. The Korra scenes are well-done and highly creative bending action. Bolin and Mako know they can’t defeat Unalaq so much as just hold him off, and indeed they only really lose when the twins get involved.
Bolin’s pleading to Eska also works while Mako maybe makes some good points to Desna about how crappy a father Unalaq is. The twins let the brothers go, so maybe they aren’t so bad after all.
But that’s the expected stuff. Like I said, Korra can’t win with one episode left. She needs to do more still.
So, what about Tenzin, Kya, and Bumi’s search for Jinora’s spirit? That was a bit more fun for me as the three squabble. Bumi is an expert tracker. That doesn’t work in the spirit world. Kya can sense spirits. That doesn’t work in the spirit world because there are spirits everywhere. Tenzin has knowledge. That almost gets them eaten.
And then they find Iroh, and they recognize the old man and he offers some good advice for finding Jinora. Mostly it involves getting captured and taken to a spirit prison, the Fog of Lost Souls, one of those awful places where the very fog around you makes you doubt yourself and drives you mad with your own worst fears. How bad is it?
Admiral Zhao from the original show is in there.
And it works very well. Bumi’s afraid of some of the stuff he used to face down as a military man. Kya…doesn’t want to get tied down by a family. That’s interesting. Tenzin can keep it together long enough by remembering he has a responsibility to keep his father’s legacy going. But that isn’t working…until Aang appears to his son to tell him he should be his own man, not try to copy his father’s deeds.
That bit of encouragement actually allows Tenzin to blow the fog away long enough to find Jinora and his siblings and lead them to safety. That’s some rather deep psychological stuff there. Sure, there isn’t time to really dwell on that, but both Kya’s fears and Tenzin’s strength were unexpected delights for me the viewer. Bumi’s may have been a bit more predictable, but Bumi is more of a comic relief character than most anyway, and the previous episode showed what his deal is a lot better, so I am fine with that.
Also, Jinora thinks she can help Korra even after Unalaq became a giant monster and teleported away.
Someone really needs to kick that guy’s ass.