Can it be? An actual (mostly) good episode of The Legend of Korra filled with great character interaction, dialogue and a main conflict that actually makes me think about whose right and who’s wrong? Pinch me I must be dreaming or something. Now if some one could stop writing Korra as if she was a completely oblivious moron and if they fixed the animation this show would, at last, be firing on all cylinders.
Following the pretty awesome cliffhanger from the previous episode, the Northern Water Tribe has occupied the South following the closing of the portal responsible for the Dark Spirit rampage. Now Korra has to deal a far more complicated, and to be perfectly honest, far more interesting problem where her uncle wants to unite the North and South and make them one nation like they were before, but his military occupation way of doing it isn’t going so well with the Southerner and so a civil war is slowly beginning with Korra desperately trying to stay neutral and keep the peace.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first so we can focus on the many things that were genuinely good this episode. Korra finally gets that motherfucking chip of her shoulder and starts acting like a non bitch, hooray! But then she acts like a complete dumb ass by letting her uncle pretty much overthrow the Southern government, proclaim himself emperor of both Tribes and manipulate her into turning against her people while his men are leading the most obvious military occupation of all time!
You would think the fact its a goddamn military occupation of her home and her own people would get Korra to take some action against her uncle, but no she sides with him like the dumb ass that she is because he strokes her ego and tells her she’s an amazing Avatar, despite every episode of this show proving that she is an awful Avatar in every possible way, she’s even worse than Kuruk an Avatar who ignored his duty completely, Korra doesn’t do this she just fucks it up every step of the way.
I swear these piss poor choices of hers better have some real consequences and she better start learning from them because I honestly cant stand Korra just never learning from her mistakes, this isn’t a case of her being a teenager, this is a case of her being a complete fucking idiot and I’m sick of watching it already, at least that chip on her shoulder get taken off very fast so I guess that’s a step in the right direction.
Another noticeable problem I had was the action and the animation, the back grounds look like these incredible water colored painting but the characters doesn’t fit in at all with them, the old show was animated the same way for both the characters and for the backgrounds. It feels like if some one made the most photo realistically amazing looking game ever but every character looks like he/she got made on the NES or something. When the start manipulating the environment it also changes into a similar animation style to the character and that sticks out like a sore thumb too, I couldn’t get over it. The action was also severely lacking and left me with a resounding feeling of “meh” while watching them.
But the weird animation discontent and Korra being a dumb ass couldn’t take away from the fact that the main conflict is really damn interesting and constantly made me question who was right or wrong. Unalaq thinks he needs to unite the Tribes by force, but Korras mother Senna tells her something which made a whole lot of sense, neither she or anyone else can force the Tribes to just be united after being apart for so long, there’s a reason this civilization split up and it’ll take a lot of time and patience to unite them, it isn’t something that can be forced or done in a day.
I thought this was a pretty damn good summary of this whole situation even though the show is clearly making Unalaq the bad guy and the Southern Water Tribe the good guys. You see the Northern troops just march throughout their city and act like they own the place and you see the Southern warriors all planning to rebel against the Northern Tribe. It was great seeing how this whole conflict would escalate and it was done in a pretty realistic and believable way.
But Unalaq is still the major weakness of it, several of his arguments for why he’s doing this can be either clearly villainous or can be picked apart easily. He says if the nations ever went to war the spirits would go berserk and it would cause a catastrophe, news flash Darth Sidiou- I mean Unalaq. The Fire Nation wiped out an entire civilization and took over the world and the spirits didn’t give a rat’s ass then so why should they care now?
Also the world is already united, that’s the whole fucking point of the UnitedRepublic, it’s a joint government where members of each nation are equal and can co-exist, and how is the world not united? Now he could mean not united under his rule but if he’s really that egotistical he’s just the Water Tribe version of Ozai at that point, a guy with a god complex, who clearly doesn’t care about his kids and wants to take over the world, now where have we heard that before?
My favorite parts of this episode had to be the interaction between Tenzin, Kya and Bumi. It’s very clear that this was not a perfect family like many people, including myself, assumed it was. Aang favored Tenzin because he was an Airbender like him and he kind of ignored his other kids and left them to their own business. Bumi has an inferiority complex because he was born without bending and feels like he needs to constantly prove himself to be just as useful as one, Kya never wanted to be tied down so she traveled the world to find herself and Tenzin had the fate of an entire culture resting solely on his shoulders.
They don’t beat you over the head with this either, its delivered through some very well written dialogue and situational humor and its left up to the viewer to really understand the meaning behind it all. Sure the idea of Aang being a neglectful father seems out of character but even then the show tries to justify it and it makes sense. The world was in a piss poor state and Aang had to spend a majority of his time trying to fix it which caused his family life to suffer.
Tenzin is going through something similar where he’s putting his duty to preserve his father’s legacy ahead of his family and it’s starting to cause problems for him. Their conversations and interaction here felt really believable, I felt like I was back in the old show where I was watching fictional people with real life problems and very real personalities, why the fuck cant they write everyone else as well as they do these three?!
The humor this episode didn’t disappoint, from Eskas monotone and creepy as fuck laugh to Bolin beginning Korra to save him from her I kept on laughing over and over. The funniest bits were where the creators were clearly taking fan criticism and making the characters make fun of it, Bolin asks Mako for help and after he’s done giving his “How to break up with a girl advice” Bolin tells him how lucky he is that Mako is an expert at breaking up with girls and Korra should be careful, needless to say I popped a kidney when he said that and almost cried because it was just so bloody hilarious.
“Civil Wars Part 1″ is a significant step in the right direction, sure Korra is still an idiot and there’s a big disconnect between how the characters and backgrounds are animated, but the humor was great, the interaction between the children of Aang kept me engaged and the main conflict was handled in a realistic and believable way. One last nit pick though, where is Asami?!
FINAL VERDICT: B