Ever since Book 1, I’ve been critical of the way the writers developed Bolin’s character. I gave them a pass the first time around since Bolin was only in 11 episodes, but I expected something a bit more substantial the second time around. The results were, unfortunately, disappointing. Had it not been for Bolin’s late-season heroics in capturing Varrick, the results would have been much worse. Bolin would have, to some degree, regressed as a character.
That being said, I’d like to give credit where credit is due: I applaud the writers for giving Bolin the spotlight and allowing him to resolve the conflict formed by the Varrick-subplot. Even though it effectively undermined Asami’s chance of development, it showed how dynamic of a character Bolin really is.
As much as his character has dominated the comedy angle of the series, Bolin can also be the hero in the crowd. He has the ability to make a difference and show legitimate intelligence. It’s unfortunate that the writers didn’t take full advantage of Bolin’s screen time in Book 2, but the way they used his character in the final scenes provides a nice segway into Book 3.
Based on what we know about Book 3 so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bolin’s character thrives in the next season.
Book 3 will likely have some sort of connection to the Earth Kingdom due to its inclusion of Lin’s background and the Earth Queen. Even though each Book hasn’t been named after an element, the overall plotline of each Book is still following the cycle of the elements.
Book 1 covered air (just as named), Book 2 covered water and now Book 3 and 4 will likely cover the elements of earth and fire, respectively.
Since Bolin is an earth bender, I expect him to thrive in an Earth Kingdom-dominated season. I expect the writers to demonstrate Bolin’s true value to Team Avatar which would in turn develop his character.
But how should the writers go about doing such an important task?
I’d start by re-connecting Korra and Bolin. During the course of Book 2, the connection between the two characters was effectively cut. There wasn’t much interaction between the two just because Korra was separated from Team Avatar for about half the season. Re-connecting Bolin with Korra will establish his importance to both Team Avatar and the plot of Book 3.
The best way, in my opinion, to appropriately re-establish this connection would be for Bolin to be some sort of master for Korra. Korra may have mastered all the four elements, but I have yet to see her shoot lightening from the tips of her fingers, or – metal bend.
That’s where I think Bolin would come in handy as a master.
Book 3 should have an episode completely devoted to Bolin, sort of like how Avatar: The Last Airbender used ‘Sokka’s Master’ to develop Sokka from a physical perspective. The episode could show Bolin as he attempts to master the art of metal bending.
Later in the season, Bolin could teach his new-found ability to Korra to give her another dynamic to earth bending.
It would develop both characters from a physical perspective, develop Bolin, involve him in the plot and advertise his importance to Team Avatar. This type of scenario would develop Bolin’s character in more ways than one and really set him on track to becoming an important member of Team Avatar.
How do you think the writers should develop Bolin’s character next season?