Book 2’s Episode 9 ‘The Guide’ Succeeds Due to the Inclusion of the Spirit World

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.

  • Eric

    The A-plot was fantastic but the B-plot is retreading old waters. In other words, it’s becoming a complete waste of time!

    The episode was a mixed bag for me, I loved Tenzin and Korra’s reunion but absolutely despised Mako and Asami’s regression as characters. Once again, this could all change if the final 5 episodes tie everything together – it has the potential to become my favourite ‘Book’ in the Avatar franchise but we’ll see….

  • furryfoot

    One thing I liked about Pierrot was that it could animate PHENOMENAL background scenes. Anything that moved, however, it sucked MAJOR balls at.

    • tjsmit

      Pierrot doesn’t animate the background art. They only animate the moving characters (which they suck at doing). The background is painted by Fred Stewart and Emily Tetri. Bryan hired them fresh out of college.

  • Felicia C

    Since the last 5 episode descriptions has been released. I thought I’d share my thoughts on them as well as last nights episode.

    For starters I think Vaatu will enter Unalaq and we’ll have a major battle coming about not to mention Korra trying to resort to Energybending to save the day.

    Mako is really nothing but a Jerkbender in puberty considering all the hate he’s gotten from the fans and me as well. I mean is he supposed to be a stereotypical jerk? You know the Badboy who can pass at ladies whenever he wants?

    I was expecting them to solve the Varrick issue by now, but I assume it’ll just be shoved into the B-plot…

    Will Mako make his amends for breaking up with the Avatar? That is a trick question I must say because they could introduce a new character in Book 3+ for all we know. I still think he doesn’t deserve Korra for what he’s been doing this past week in Avatar-world. I hope Bolin will shed some light into this.

    Now either Asami breaks up with Mako AGAIN because of the theft or she tries to find out more about Varrick.

  • Nico

    I guess I’m alone in the whole Verrick subplot thing. I love it. I think having Verrick who is a non-bender cause so much trouble for regular benders is fantastic. This is what Amon had going for him before revealing that he was in fact another bender. But I don’t know how it would tie back into Korra’s story. Probably with Bolin saving the President in a future episode, somehow Verrick will tie into that.

    • Sergio

      Bro! I love it too! I guess some people are forgetting that somehow, if a war involving the United Republic starts, Vaatu will use that as a great source of power!!!!! And I guess that’s where Varrick and all this subplot fit perfectly. If Mako, Asami and Bolin don’t stop this, something really really bad will happen.

      • Eliminator

        great point. havent thought about this! But cmon, we should all trust the creators, and we’ll get an epic finals for sure

    • Kakashi

      I thought the Varrick subplot was not that bad. The only thing I disliked was the Mako and Asami getting back together. I thought that was over.

  • Kailee

    I actually didn’t mind the animation this episode(IMO). But anyways… Korra was amazing in this episode. You can tell that she was more calm and that she is starting to mature more….. unlike Mako and Asami. Can’t wait for “A new spiritual age” next week! Hopefully we get some bad ass fights!!! :D

    • Kakashi

      I did notice a change in Korra she was somewhat open mined and calm

  • tjsmit

    With book 2 of korra I haven’t really cared to re-watch any of the episodes like i could with book 1. I think its mainly due to the quality of studio pierrot’s animation. Maybe its just me, but what I love about avatar are the bending battles. Excluding the beginnings 1 and 2, we haven’t really been getting any quality fight scenes that are worth re-watching.

    • Kakashi

      This is studio pierrots final episode that they animating.

      • tjsmit

        Yeah i know! and I’m so happy!

  • MrMagic24

    I agree with the possibility of a Dark Avatar, and want to point out something. If the worlds become reconnected and spirits interact more with humans, fusion is possible again. The obvious example is Vahtu+Unalaq, but consider this: what prevents other pairs, like Jinora and dragonfly bunny, from fusing as well? I doubt that’s where the show is going, but I feel it’s an interesting detail that should be considered.
    Anyway- great episode this week, can’t wait for more!

  • Katherine M.

    I loved the Air Temple plot. It kinda sucks for Tenzin that he wants that special spiritual connection very few people are born with and just can’t enter the spirit world. Jinora finally gets her own subplot that could enhance her character development, so that’s going to be interesting to watch. I was kinda hoping to see more of Kya and Bumi here but I’m not really disappointed. Tenzin says in one of the Civil Wars episodes that Kya has travelled around the world trying to find herself to no avail, which sounded interesting. Like I said before, I’m not really disappointed about that.

    The Mako-Varrick subplot is still kind of interesting. Varrick isn’t painfully obvious that he is the bad guy, which makes me happy because there are two other extremely blunt villians (Vaatu/Unalaq), so we don’t need a third one. He has Asami and Bolin in his sleeves too because Asami thinks he saved Future Industries and Bolin likes that he’s found something he is good at, courtesy of Varrick. Mako’s unprofessional intrusions in Lin’s business doesn’t do him any favors, nor does the “Mustachio Duo”, whom hate his guts for whatever reason. I think they are just plain assholes who see Mako as a threat since he’s made some “big triad busts for a rookie.” Nothing here seems to be working in his favor. It was an excellent move on Varrick’s part to frame Mako and get him out of the way or else risk getting caught. Varrick’s threat to hurt Asami and Bolin was rather hollow because those two work to his advantage so long as they think he’s the good guy. Mako recognized this and didn’t give into it, which was smart. I wonder how he’s gonna prove his innocence and get out of jail.

    Ahh, the love triangle is back. I was seriously hoping they would leave the Masami crap in The Sting and call that kiss an accident induced by emotional instability and leftover feelings for a former lover. It turns out the people who believed the love triangle was back were right by chance for not noticing Mako didn’t reciprocate the kiss in The Sting. The creators know well enough that the love triangle was Book 1′s weakest point (don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Book 1), and that people thought Mako is a jerk for it especially. I think the love triangle is gonna get settled once and for all by the end of Book 2. I imagine Korra and Asami maybe confronting Mako about who he wants to be with. This Masami thing isn’t gonna last and I hope that ends better in Book 2 than it did in Book 1

  • crystalline

    I honestly think Mako and Asami might be dating again and as soon as Korra finds out she will probably be okay with it. I feel like she will be hurt at first but then be forced to accept it and say something like she has bigger problems to worry about right now and the relationship they had was just too difficult with them doing two different things all the time. I bet they will get back together but sadly I don’t think it will happen by the end of this book. I think Korra just has more than things to worry about then a relationship with Mako. I think maybe Asami and Mako will just be together or they will just be friends too. This is just a guess of what I think will happen but definitely not what I want to happen.

    • Kakashi

      I think Korra will be furious that Mako is dating Asami because she stll loves him.

    • Katherine M.

      I think Korra might just accept that it happened and there is nothing she can do about it. We all know well enough that Korra and Mako are gonna get back together but how that will play out just boggles me. I can’t accurately guess how that’ll happen and it makes me overly excited for the next episode.

  • MG

    Mako sub-plot is just a gigantic police detective clichéd plot. Just as when the police is about to crack the case, the antagonist pre-empts the movements and set him up. Justice eventually prevails, with the police under custody or as a fugitive.

    I have a feeling that the Harmonic Convergence battle would somewhat resemble the light-sabre duel between Luke and Vader in the second Death Star in Star Wars Episode VI.

  • MG

    Comparing “The Guru” and “The Guide”

    Hey! Who moved the mountain at the platform?

    • Katherine M.

      That looks like a lot more like a bunch of trees.

  • Pokefan9150

    I swear to God, if Mako breaks up with Asami to get back with Korra… I’ll be pissed as hell. Now that he’s in a relationship he should stay in it for good, especially that Makorra was shit from the beginning.

    • Katherine M.

      He will break up with Asami again, or maybe he’ll realize he’s been shoving his feelings down a hole and getting with someone else isn’t the way to solve a problem. Either way, Masami is gonna be over pretty quick. I just hope that when Mako and Korra do get back together, they BOTH realize they were at fault for their relationship ending and apologize.

      • Pokefan9150

        Ugh… Another break up and then Mako getting with Korra again… What kind of stupid repetition is this? If it happens I’ll be very disappointed. But, I don’t think it’ll happen, the creators know it’ll be nothing more than a repetition that will blow the ratings down to a pit.

        • Katherine M.

          It will probably happen. When Bryke thought they only had Book 1, they matched Korra and Mako by the end. That’s the ship they want for Korra.

          • Pokefan9150

            But they didn’t have to break up. There’s a thousand different ways to make Korra leave Republic City without her breaking up with Mako. Yet, the creators decided to chose this path, a critical path. But, so far no one can confirm anything. I guess we’ll have to wait until November 22nd to see. And if Mako doesn’t get back with her in Book 2 but in the following Books I’ll be disappointed nonetheless.

          • Katherine M.

            That’s really your preference. They didn’t make Mako break up with her just so she could leave Republic City. They made her leave Republic City because Iroh told her that the Fire Lord might be able to help the Southern Water Tribe. They broke up because they were on each other’s nerves. They’re gonna develop better and reunite, just you wait.

  • DavidTwo

    In all honesty, I don’t see much of an animation difference between Pierrot and Mir. In fact, I thought Pierrot had better animation than Mir. At least from what I’ve seen thus far.

  • Sam

    What’s really bugging me about the B plot is the fact that Korra’s been gone for over a week, and no one is any bit interested in where she’s gone. They’re so wrapped up in their own little worlds, that they’re not even showing any concern for one of their best friends. Even if they know where she is, you’d think that they would at least miss her a little bit. Instead, Bolin is chasing fame and fortune, and Mako and Asami are having their fun little make out time. Also, Asami was a well developed character with definite morals, so I wasn’t really expecting her to do a complete backtrack and fool around with her friend’s ex boyfriend, especially considering she knows Korra still loves him. Mako was an asshole for confessing his love to Korra without ending things with Asami first, but Asami shouldn’t be playing the rebound. B plot Y U NO STAHPP

  • PRATN

    I like that Varrick, despite being an antagonist, is still quirky. Makes him different from all the other antagonists up to this point where they were all serious busyness or just downright psychotic.

    As for the B-plot, now that Asami has borne witness to Mako’s arrest, hopefully that’ll give her a wakeup call in that Varrick is up to no good, starting to make trouble in the neighborhood. Maybe she’ll take the forefront much like what Mako did in The Sting, alongside the A-plot of Korra & Jinora in the Spirit World.

    Bing, Bang Boom, obligatory “girls at the lead” episode.