Tonight marked the first episode of Legend of Korra that aired exclusively on Nick.com. If you haven’t watched it yet, the link is above, check it out and come back here.
Back? Good! “The Stakeout” answered a LOT of questions that we’ve had since the beginning of the season, and delivered some interesting twists that will lead us to the end of the season.
Let’s get the bad part out of the way first, 14 minutes of build-up (I timed it) to the Zaheer/Korra faceoff was really pushing it. This is an episode where the name truly lives up to what happens in the episode. Much of it was about staking out Aiwei’s position until he met Zaheer. A sound strategy, but not the most entertaining. Thankfully, Bolin and Asami broke the tension and brought both hilarity and culture building into the episode. Pai Sho isn’t unlike other games we’ve made and manipulated over time.
But let’s get to the good stuff shall we? The first big twist was that the meeting between Aiwei and Zaheer wasn’t in our world, but the Spirit World! This is significant for two reasons. One: it really ties into Zaheer’s character, i.e. deeply influenced by the Airbending culture. And two: this explains how Zaheer knew about Korra being with the Metal Clan, Aiwei told him in the Spirit World! Mind…blown!!!
Speaking of Aiwei, what a way to go. Tossed by Zaheer into the Pit of Lost Souls, which we know about via last seasons finale. It was simple, brutal, and elegant all at once.
Truly though, the highlight of the episode was the Q&A between Korra and Zaheer. It answered almost every single question we’ve had since the group appeared, including their true name: The Red Lotus (I still prefer Team Anti-Avatar).
Throughout the season, Zaheer has showed himself as both vicious yet spiritual. Rageful yet calm. This was shown to full effect as he “killed” Aiwei then sat down to answer everything Korra asked. Right there is the kind of character building that some shows lack, even going back to Unalaq who was so obviously the villain it hurt when we learned his motives, cause they didn’t matter.
Zaheer’s motives were very interesting. His line, “The natural order is disorder”, is sure to stir up some debates. It also shows the writers use of current (and certainly past) events to drive a good story. Questioning the government and its leaders is common no matter where you live in the world. His points as to how “foolish” they were, and how they need to be eliminated were both horrifying and thought-provoking. Even more so when Ozai and The Earth Queen were brought into the conversation. Two leaders we know to be evil.
Yet as Korra said, just because we don’t believe in what they do, doesn’t mean they need to be killed. The power of the people is not to be underestimated, as we’ve shown in our culture. And even in the Avatar world, for every Ozai, there’s Tonraq, or an Aang/Tenzin. There’s balance in the world, even if we can’t see it.
Another fascinating point was the reveal of how and why Korra was to be kidnapped. Having the Avatar on their side would’ve been something to see. I loved how Korra called out Zaheer for basically admitting they would brainwash her to see their views. A shocker was that Unalaq was not only part of the group, but offered the idea of kidnapping Korra!
Of course, when things went south, he covered his tracks to not be accused of being involved with them. Also, the “Dark Avatar” scheme was apparently not the Red Lotus’ plan. Details matter in stuff like this, which is why I’m glad it was mentioned.
So now, we must question. Who else is in the Red Lotus? Rumors have been spreading that Suyin might be involved, could she be? And most importantly, where will this all lead? Especially since…
Korra’s been kidnapped!…..again! This time though by the Earth Queen, who has made it all too clear that Korra and crew are enemies of the state. Wanted posters for everyone!
I would be remiss if not to mention Zaheer’s epic double cross, allowing Ghuzan and Ming Hua to find the others and have to fight Bolin and Mako, who in turn got captured! Not a good day for Team Avatar.
In the end, while “The Stakeout” had WAY too much buildup, the reveals at the end where most welcome. Especially with only four episodes left. With everyone now heading back to Ba Sing Se, it’s sure to be an epic collision when everything hits the fan.