It’s funny how things work. Sometimes you see something and think “I totally want this!” and the person who actually controls the thing you want is like, “No, but you can have this!” And sometimes you rejoice in what you got instead, other times though, you don’t. The latter is the case for the latest episode of Legend of Korra.
“The Calling” was very much a comedy episode mixed with a little bit of Korra/Toph story. To be clear, it wasn’t terrible, but it really could’ve been a lot better. And by better I mean an episode TOTALLY dedicated to Toph and Korra. But alas, that’ll probably never be…
Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo were tasked by Tenzin to find Korra and bring her back to the world to settle the matter with Kuvira. Problem? They didn’t know where she was. Thus the trek begins! One of the more touching moments was the first scene where Pema had to say goodbye to her children and watch them leave with Tenzin at her side. This for me is significant cause though we’ve had tearful family partings (see: Korra), this felt different. Mainly because as Ikki said they were the same age as Aang, Sokka, and Katara when they left for their journey. There was no family really to say goodbye to (save for the grandmother), so the parting felt less. It’s the little things for me that make episodes.
Sadly, that was truly the highlight of the kids story. For as they trekked the Earth Kingdom looking for Korra they clashed, taunted, teased, and made each other miserable. I don’t remember Aang, Katara, and Sokka ever being this annoying. Espeically Meelo. True, he has some great one-liners. But…he’s better in moderation. And his sisters are no better.
It’s weird that Jinora, who had the major storyline in Book Two, and smaller storyline in Book Three, came off as rather snooty. True, Ikki and Meelo were annoying her. But during the swamp scenes she refused to believe Ikki when she said that Korra was there. Even Ikki called her out when she said that “she hadn’t sensed Korra the whole time”. Why not search the one place no one was looking? Thankfully the swamp intervened. Go swamp!
I do want to stop and give props to Ikki, who beautifully manipulated the Earth Empire soldiers into spilling their guts. It also brought up the point that Kuvira is amassing her forces near Zao Fu. The first of many battles perhaps? Then, there was the explanation as to why Korra wasn’t found by the Earth Empire first (looks being changed aside). Again, it’s the little things that make exceptional episodes.
Which of course leads us to Toph and Korra. Though short (WHY?!?!?!), their story was true. Even if a little rehashed. The journey to find mushrooms (“make sure to get the slimy ones!”) gave Korra another journey into her as she witnessed the fights against Amon, Unalaq, and Zaheer. And though many have already determined this, it was nice to hear Toph say that on the surface those three weren’t evil. It was their desires to push things to the extreme to get what they desired that made them evil. And finding out that Korra was still hurt because she still held onto her past her was a very nice touch.
The reunion at the banyan-grove tree was also cool. Especially when the tree itself made contact with Jinora to let her know where Korra was. It was nice seeing the four of them together, and Meelo dropped another great one-liner as he figured out who Toph was. “I like this one.”
Finally though, Korra pulling out the poison was great. Especially with Toph there pouring on the wisdom and encouragement to allow her to finish the process.
However, it does raise the question of what she saw in “Korra Alone”. Many thought it was the spirit of Raava trying to reconnect with Korra, but if that’s the case, I really would’ve liked to see the being return and merge with Korra to return the Avatar State. Maybe we’ll find out later, cause I would hate it to be a “it’s whatever you thought it was” kind of thing.
In the end, “The Calling” wrapped up the Korra disability storyline in an interesting way. However, the focus on the kids really brought the episode down. I truly believe if this was reversed, with only small scenes of the kids trying to find Korra, and the Toph/Korra storyline given more time it would’ve been fantastic. Alas, it wasn’t, and thus my score is low. But the info we got about Kuvira and Zao Fu, it clearly (hopefully) won’t take long for the show to bounce back.