Episode 9 ‘The Guide’ certainly had its good moments, but it also had its moments that made me question the overall importance of many characters. The episode opens up with a shot of the Eastern Air Temple, which ends up being a major location for the duration of the episode. Right off the bat, it was fairly obvious why Jinora would enter the Spirit World with Korra at the end of the episode: she was able to see Spirits. Soon after, Korra arrives at the scene to find that Tenzin knows nothing about the Civil War.
Korra takes about a minute to summarize what’s happened in the past 7 episodes, which leaves Tenzin shockingly unsurprised. I thought this scene was well done in that a clear cut goal for the season was blatantly outlined: Close the Southern portal before Unalaq frees Vaatu. Korra reaches the conclusion that she’ll need to enter the Spirit World so she can close the portal from the inside.
Tenzin sees this as his time to shine and announces that they would enter the Spirit World on that day together. I thought this overall plot line was a clever way to bring Korra and Tenzin back together. It was obvious from the start that the two would eventually rejoin forces, but the fact that they rejoined to enter the Spirit World makes it all the more exciting.
The next scene depicts Unalaq, Desna and Eska trying to open the Northern Portal through bending. The claim was that they could use bending because they were entering the Spirit World through the portal. This new rules seemed fairly opportune to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike and Bryan just recently created it so they could host action sequences in the Spirit World.
Either way, I’m sure it’ll pay off as the eventual battle between Korra and Unalaq in the Spirit World wouldn’t be as much fun if the two couldn’t bend.
As Unalaq, Desna and Eska bend water at the Northern Portal, Desna gets injured and Eska begins to tend to him. Unalaq tells Eska to leave him and help open the portal. While this scene was a bit cruel, it did nice job of showing how ruthless Unalaq has become. He’s so much different than the character at the beginning of the season who genuinely wanted to see Spirits dance in the skies once again
Next up – Nuktuk: The Most Useless Character ever Invented! The entire subplot involving Bolin, Mako, Asami and Varrick really dragged down what was another fantastic episode. Add in the fact that Mako is once again with Asami and you can only imagine how this will derail Korra’s subplot once she finds out.
Yes, Varrick is stealing from Future Industries – but who cares? It’s not like he’s a primetime antagonist; he’s a business man who’ll try to make money at any given chance. My question is why Mako, Bolin and Asami aren’t helping Korra with her issues, which are far more important.
I hardly view them as a part of Team Avatar because I question what they’ve done to actually help Korra this season. Bolin has basically sat around sucking his thumb, Asami has been irrelevant from the start and Mako has been trying to solve a case that really doesn’t matter. Now that he’s been arrested, we know for a fact that this silly subplot will eat up even more valuable time out of the remaining episodes.
My only hope is that this subplot somehow ties into what Korra is doing, because if it doesn’t, it’ll be considered a major waste of time in my books.
Back to the scene that matters – Korra and Tenzin are shown trying to enter the Spirit World. Tenzin begins to make a multitude of excuses as to why he can’t enter the Spirit World, but ultimately comes to the realization that entering the Spirit World is not his destiny. It is, however, Jinora’s destiny to enter the Spirit World and help guide Korra.
When Tenzin and company realize that Jinora can see Spirits, they follow the Spirits to an Ancient Airbender Meditation Circle. After Korra cleanses the meditation circle, Tenzin takes one more shot at getting into the Spirit World but fails. Jinora steps in place of Tenzin and enters the Spirit World with Korra in seconds.
I’ve always liked Jinora’s character from the beginning, but her lack of screen time in Book 1 was a bit detrimental to her character. Now that she’ll likely be a prime focus for at least one episode, her character will have time to grow and develop which will be fun to watch.
The end of the episode depicts a conversation between Unalaq and Vaatu that hints at a possible showdown between Unalaq and Korra next week.
All in all, I thought ‘The Guide’ was another great episode. Korra has translated into a much more likable character, while Bolin, Mako and Asami have become a bit useless, which is unfortunate.
Next week’s episode has enormous potential thanks to the Spirit World journey between Korra and Jinora. In case you may have forgotten, there will also be a trip to Wan Shi Tong’s library at some point. Studio Mir will also be back for good next week which is a relief because the animation this week was garbage.
Studio Pierrot just can’t seem to animate faces; thankfully, that shouldn’t be a problem for The Legend of Korra from here on out.