Just saw this episode.
So, a bald head is to airbenders what feet are to Toph. Nice!
I like how the guy who was "mislead" into shaving his head (LOL) was advising the other airbenders to get theirs shaved too by the end of the episode, thus proving Pema’s point about patience and the fact that the airbenders will eventually come around.
Did we even ever get a moment like this Penzin scene before in the show? Finally, Pema and Tenzin weren’t just a mom and a dad/mentor, but a husband and a wife to each other, on screen. They look great together, and that kiss between them gave me such feelz!
It was nice to see Tenzin step out of his teacher role and let out his feelings to an equal. The way he cringed and apologized when Pema silently called him out on how he was slipping into his habitual teacher role again was an effective (and hilarious) way of conveying how much respect he has for her and the fact that they are on equal footage. I like how he gets irritable or even a little patronizing with everyone except with her. I didn't really care so much before, but just this scene’s made me into a real Penzin shipper now.
The little parallel Tenzin drew with Korra and how she feels when he talks to her was amusing too and I liked the other parallel with Korra’s “Conflict resolution, it’s what I do” line. It immediately made me think of this moment
. Yes, I'm a sucker for ATLA references ^^. LOK is its own show and I know that, but it still comes from somewhere and I like seeing these roots being acknowledged.
And of course, Tenzin speaking about how Bumi reminds him of Aang was a feelz-giver too. The fact that Tenzin wasn’t beating himself up over the shortcoming he just acknowledged he had compared to Aang in that moment also showed how much he had grown in that area, and for that, I was happy for him.
His awful leadership made me even more curious as to how he managed to grow into someone so serious
while having a goofball as a brother and
father and a sarcastic fun-loving mom and
sister (based on Katara and Aang's teenager selves). But I like a lot that he is very different from Aang. Some people are just born with a certain disposition that upbringing or environment can’t change ("Cool is something you're born with."
). I suspect that the stress of being responsible for a whole culture is partly responsible for him turning into the rather impatient and easily frustrated person that he is, though. And it's interesting that despite his flaws and his ineptitude, he remains such
a likable character because his intentions are good.
Now I’m even more hungry for childhood scenes of the kataang kids, just to see how Katara and Aang dealt with his peculiar temperament. Tenzin was such a draconian disaster he might as well have been Meelo, who, by the way, once more did not miss an opportunity to show us that he really is
the second coming of Hitler. I couldn’t lol at his “Look to your left/right, one of them won’t make it out alive” line because I've heard people say that so much (well, the gist of it
) it has become trite, but all the sadistic evilz written all over his face as he smashed melons in people’s faces had me go “he’s at it again!” and laugh
. I don’t remember the first episodes well, but he was a normal child back then, wasn't he? What made him into this
? And Ikki appeared to be smiling in sadistic pleasure with
As for the only normal child left, Jinora’s, she's growing up! I felt bad for Tenzin when she rebelled against him (and said he would never
be as good as her with spirits. Ouch), but it was a good thing that she spoke her mind. Jinora has been shown to have a little bit of an edge under her appearance of the intelligent, well-behaved child when she bullied her little sister into running away and refused to promise that she wouldn't become a wild teenager (
), so her storming off and doing her own thing was fitting for her character. And it was refreshing, because she'd been getting the most attention for her special powers instead of herself, her personal story, and that needed to change. This episode still didn’t make me fall in love with her character and I frankly don’t think I ever will (she's a little more boring than the other characters and her voice... Oh my, her voice
. ATLA was good at finding colorful voices and so is LOK in general, but Jinora's voice actress just sounds so bland), but it’s better than nothing.
Along with being strikingly Lion King-y (yellow clad brown haired/eyed girl, underestimated by her father, runs away in a landscape of abundant greenery with adventurous brown skinned green eyed boy with a dark past and gets herself into trouble... I just couldn’t stop thinking about it!)
, the Kainora scenes also made me a little more open to this ship. Okay, they look good together, but I still mind a lot that Jinora didn’t address Kai’s bratty attitude (doesn’t she mind
that she’s dating a major serial robber who trapped Mako and Bolin into a train without a way back? Was she even told? If not, why not? If they know, the krew should be keeping a particular eye on him or at least talk it out with him so as to make sure that he won’t do something like that again, but it’s like it just never happened) and the aggression with which he handled the main villain of this episode, the skybison thief, made me even more wary of him. His bond with Jinora doesn't seem strong enough to make him being that aggressive not suspicious, unlike Aang in The Desert or something.
I'm pretty convinced that he genuinely cares for her though. Right now it looks like he's trying to be good, but he has a dark side to him that he just can’t totally control. I hope Bryke & co. don’t expect us to just take him as he is without question and plan on making him and Jinora (or someone else, but preferably her for bonding purposes) have a discussion about his past to make him less of a weird lovable hero/despicable brat hybrid and more of a relatable character instead.
It surprised me that Tenzin never had anything against him and didn’t seem wary of him even a little, even after finding out that him and Jinora were headed towards becoming an item. I thought that he was going to comment on how he appreciated that he expressed so much care for Jinora and tried to protect her after the fight, but he commented on his airbending technique instead… That seems to confirms that the krew doesn't know what Kai did in Ba Sing Se. But even then, the fact that he's stolen from the family that welcomed him
should still make him wary as a dad. I hope he'll have some kind of reaction in the future.
The whole skybison thief plot felt a little contrived, though. I mean, a net
got in the way of them defending themselves with airbending? Kai is a newbie, but even Jinora looked completely powerless, too. She could have airbended from inside the cage. It's a cage. It has holes in it. Aang blew Zhao away from across the room while restrained and she's an advanced bender who Tenzin is seriously considering giving tattoos to. I get that they needed a villain that the air nation could unite and fight against, but I think it would have been more believable if the villains had used realistically efficient tools against them, not tools that were efficient because the plot demanded it.
That's a more minor thing, but I would also have preferred that only one skybison baby started to fly by the end. It just felt a little too convenient (and borderline cheesy, sorry) that ALL OF THEM (minus one) suddenly figured out how to do it right then in that specific moment when Tenzin was talking about growing up. But it was cute anyway.
That skybison pelt the villain was wearing though! I don't know much about how turning pelts into clothes works and all the outrage there is around fur makes me suspect that that's not how it works at all, but I'll just take it that the baby bison was already dead when he took it.
And that Basco getting eaten by the Earth Queen was just a rumor.Random other thoughts that didn’t fit anywhere:
The guy who knew all the answers was (an) OTAKU.
Squeaky spirits are the cutest things! So are baby skybison falling from cages (as long as they're okay, like this one was)!
Why do none of the lemurs resemble Momo? It's been 70 years, Darwinian evolution isn't that fast.
There are wild flying bisons? Hoards of giant, super strong, wild
animals with horns flying around? It's the equivalent of elephants flying about out of control in our world... doesn’t that scare anyone?
This episode is a 7.5/10.