Sunday, May 13, 2012
Cartoon Reviews: The Legend of Korra Episode 04 - The Voice in the Night
While Korra has nightmares about being attacked by chi blockers, Tarrloh of the Republic City Council proposes a task force to take out Amon. Tarrlok later visits Tenzin's home, to try and recruit Korra into his task force. To the surprise of all she refuses, and while she does not explain herself, it is very clear that she is afraid of Amon.
In the meanwhile, Mako gets run over by Asami Sato, daughter of Hiroshi Sato, inventor of the Satomobile. She takes him out to dinner, to apologize for running into him, and reveals that she is a big fan of Pro-Bending. She takes Mako to meet her father, who decides to sponsor the Fire Ferrets for the championship.
Tarrlok tries to sway Korra over by sending her a series of gifts. Finally he invites her to a gala he organized in her honor. While there she is confronted by reporters about her refusal to join the task force. Finally caving under pressure Korra declares that she will join Tarrlok's task force.
The task force are able to take out a secret chi blocker training facility, and after several more raids, Korra challenges Amon to face her one on one. Despite Tenzin's attempts to get her to reconsider, Korra goes to the meeting place. But Amon does not show up. Deciding that Amon won't show, Korra starts to leave, but is ambushed by chi blockers. They completely incapacitate her, and she is left helpless as Amon makes his appearance. He tells her that he could take her bending away right then and there, but he does not want to make her a martyr. Instead he is saving her for last, and he assures her that he has a plan, and once the time comes he will come for her.
After Korra is knocked out by Amon, she sees a flashback to an event reference earlier in the episode, and grown up versions of Sokka, Toph, and Aang are present. Tenzin finds her just as she wakes up, and Korra breaks down into tears, admitting how frightened she was.
If there was any doubt that Amon was an intimidating villain, and I highly doubt there was any doubt left after last episode, this episode blew it completely out of the water. Firstly, Korra's growing fear, her nightmares, and the way she lost focus when Amon was mentioned, these were all incredibly effective at showing how scared she was of Amon. And by showing her act unlike herself, we see how this fear is affecting her, a comment by Bolin that she hadn't been at practice recently, shows that her personal life is being disrupted. All these things together help us believe that Amon is a threat, because Korra believes he is a threat.
When Korra joins the task force she confronts her fear, by clearly over compensating. Her challenge to Amon is foolish and made as a way to show the world, and herself, that she will not be ruled by her fear of him.
Amon is a great villain. I was concerned when I first heard that the enemies in this series would be non-benders. But not only have they proven themselves to be legitimate threats, Amon himself has taken the classic masked villain archetype and made it work for him. His mask reminds me of the Jiggsaw Killer from Saw, and his voice is just the right amount of gravelly to give him that extra flair. And he is mysterious enough that there are plenty of questions to be asked about who he really is, what his goals really are, etc.
A good episode, with a great conclusion, Korra is clearly going places and while quite different from The Last Airbender, I am enjoying the ride immensely. Also, this time around I'm going to sit back and watch the shipping wars unfold. I barely participated in the last ones, but I think I'll enjoy my veteran status and watch all the kids complain about how, "Korra and Mako are meant to be! Get rid of Asami!"
Frankly, I really don't care, but if we're going by looks, I'm siding with Asami rather than Korra. Sorry 'bout that.