Legend of Korra
Episode 5: The Spirit of Competition
Episode 6: And the Winner Is
My first thought on episode 5, “The Spirit of Competition,” was originally that it was the weakest episode of the season. The following episode changed that opinion slightly, but “The Spirit of Competition” still had some weak points.
This is more a personal preference, but as I stated in my prior review, I am not a romance fan by nature. The romance plot takes center stage this episode; long story short, there are some shady dealings between Korra, Mako, and Bolin this episode that were fixed too quickly in my opinion. Bolin in particular, seemed to recover too quickly.
Bolin fills the role of comic relief in Legend of Korra, much like Sokka did in Avatar: the Last Airbender. Thankfully, there aren’t too many similarities between Bolin and Sokka; the writer’s were careful to make sure they weren’t carbon copies of each other. However, one similarity that bugs me as much with Bolin as it did with Sokka is the tendency for the writers to make the comedy at the character’s expense. Bolin gets, to put it bluntly, emotionally backstabbed in this episode, but the scene with him dealing with this was written as over the top and took away from the severity of the situation. The Mako/ Bolin/ Korra triangle self-destructed this episode and the way it was handled left a sour taste in my mouth.
The other part of this episode that did not sit well with me initially was the Pro Bending focus. However, the heavy focus in this episode was the groundwork for the following episode, which was beyond excellent. “And the Winner Is” once again gives us a great view of just how clever Amon really is. Imagine this: you have a rookie Pro Bending team that has made it to the finals; on that team is the Avatar. How many people would go to the stadium or listen to the match on the radio? Answer: a lot… a whole lot. Amon threatens to attack the stadium if the championship match is not canceled.
The Council originally votes to cancel the tournament, but the Chief of Police: Lin Bei Fong, Toph’s daughter, convinces the council to change their minds when she offers to provide security at the match and take responsibility should her defenses not be adequate. Way back in episode 1, the writers set up a conflict between Korra and Chief Bei Fong, and this episode focuses on this conflict and its roots. While, I love that the writer’s are exploring this further, it brought up my only problem with this episode: why are the women- adult and teenager- so damn catty!? Originally I was very impressed with the women in this series, but when it comes to writing the female side of the romance this season, the writers are striking out with everyone but Asami. Thankfully, this mini-arc resolves itself in a far better fashion than that ship wreck that was the Mako/ Bolin/ Korra love triangle.
Back to Chief Bei Fong offering to run security during the championship match. For the most part, the match goes off with out a hitch… Okay, that’s a lie; there is very foul play courtesy of the opposing team and bribed refs. But the good stuff occurs after the match is complete. Once again, Amon plays the situation perfectly to his advantage and all hell breaks loose.