I don’t think I need to emphasize that this post contains heavy spoilers if you haven’t seen the leaked video of episode 1 (Rebel Spirit). This won’t be the most accurate recap in the world just because it was fairly difficult to hear a lot of the dialogue from the leaked video, but I was able to derive a clean-cut understanding of the overall episode. The episode mainly focuses on the tension between Tonraq and Unalaq, two brothers who are very much polar opposites (yes, I used that joke again).
The episode starts off by showing two men sailing the seas on a steam boat. Out of no where, a spirit monster, looking much like an over-sized octopus, swims underneath the boat and uses its tentacles to throw both men overboard. The spirit then wraps its tentacles around the boat and the scene goes to white.
Next we see Bolin and two unfamiliar faces leading the Fire Ferrets in a Pro-Bending match. The round starts and ends almost instantly. The infamous Pro-Bending announcer calls it the fastest knock out ever.
The scene after shows Mako as a cop, chasing down some enemies in hopes of bringing them to justice. Once Mako takes care of business, we see Asami explaining her business plans to a new character. She says that she wants to put Future Industries back on top and that it can be done with the help of a potential business partner living in the Southern Water Tribe (Varrick).
Finally, we see Korra engaged in an air scooter race with Tenzin’s kids. Korra uses the Avatar State to win the race and eventually gets scolded by Tenzin for doing so. Tenzin tells Korra that she has a long way to go before she masters air bending, but Korra openly disagrees and proves it by bending some air at the near-by bushes. Bumi comes in with some comic-relief and says that Korra’s air bending looks pretty good to him.
Tenzin becomes frustrated, but Bumi tells him to get used to it because they’d be together 24/7 from here on out. Tenzin suggests that they all take a vacation to the air temples to help Korra with her air bending training, but Korra disagrees with the idea and insists that they go to the Southern Water Tribe festival instead. Bumi settles the disagreement when he notifies everyone that Katara had asked them on all to come to the festival.
The next scene shows a steam boat taking everyone over to the Southern Water Tribe. Korra and Mako are shown together on the boat and Mako looks to be telling jokes. Korra then goes off and begins complaining about her air bending training to Mako. Korra eventually leaves with a frustrated look on her face. Again, the dialogue was very difficult to decipher so I couldn’t really tell what triggered the emotion.
Once the boat arrives to the Southern Water Tribe, Korra and company meet up with Katara, Kya and Tonraq. Kya immediately begins teasing Tenzin and it becomes quite clear how different Tenzin is from his siblings. Eventually, Tonraq notices the Northern Water Tribe ship making its way to shore. Tonraq is visibly angry as he watches his brother, Unalaq, exit the ship. Behind Unalaq are Korra’s twin cousins, Desna and Eska.
Bolin makes his interest in the twins quite clear until he is notified that one of them is in fact a boy. Unalaq meets with Korra and tells her that she hasn’t been taught everything she needs to know. Tonraq ensures Tenzin that he’ll help Korra out in that area of her training.
The scene cuts to Asami and Bolin who are on their way to meet Varrick, the man who will supposedly save Future Industries. Asami and Bolin board Varrick’s yacht and meet him for the first time. From my perspective, Varrick reminds me a lot of King Bumi from The Last Airbender. He just has this insane attribute about him that really makes his character quite entertaining. I suppose that’s why he and Bolin hit it off so well.
Asami shows that she’s all about business, but Varrick is more interested in showing off the “moving picture.” Bolin eventually starts talking with his new friend, Varrick, and gets him to strike a deal with Asami in order to help put Future Industries back on top. Asami thanks Bolin and shows her appreciation.
The festival begins and Tonraq & Unalaq are sitting on opposites sides of Korra. The two begin to argue, but their conversation is tough to hear. I’d assume that they’re arguing over Korra’s teachings, but that’s just an inference. Either way, Unalaq makes it quite clear that he wants to teach Korra about the spirits. Tonraq, on the other hand, wants Tenzin to remain Korra’s teacher.
Unalaq eventually stands up and gives some sort of speech regarding the Northern and Southern Water Tribe coming together to celebrate the festival. There’s a performance after the speech and the dinner portion of the festival ends. Next we see Mako feeding Korra cotton candy and Bolin making a move on Eska. Or should I say, Bolin attempting to make a move on Eska because he fails miserably. Bolin get picked up by the ear and taken away.
Korra is torn between siding with Tenzin or Unalaq and seeks Mako for advice. Mako tells her to do what she thinks is right, thus leaving Korra with the same questions to ponder on.
It’s night time. Naga wakes up and runs out of the tent. Korra runs out as well to chase Naga down, but eventually sees the Dark Spirit running towards her. The Dark Spirit grabs Korra by the neck and holds her against a snowy cliff. It looks like Korra is about to get her head bitten off until Mako and Bolin come to the rescue and attack the Dark Spirit.
The Dark Spirit turns to Mako and Bolin and knocks them to the side. Unalaq comes out in the midst of the commotion and runs to make sure Korra is alright. After seeing that Korra is fine, Unalaq attempts to fight off the Dark Spirit but is tossed to the side as well. Tenzin runs out and asks the spirit why it is angry with them. The Dark Spirit ignores Tenzin and also tosses him to the side.
Korra enters the Avatar State and begins to attack the Dark Spirit. She puts up a much longer fight this time around, but is still eventually smashed to the ground by the spirit. The Dark Spirit appears ready to put the finishing blow on Korra until Unalaq comes to the rescue. Unalaq bends water around the Dark Spirit until it turns a shade of gold. The spirit eventually disappears and Korra questions how it was done. Unalaq explains that he’s dedicated most of his life studying the spirits’ ways and offers to teach Korra everything he knows.
Tenzin cuts in and explains that Korra must go to the air temple to master air bending. Unalaq says that doing so will do nothing for Korra – she must learn about the spirits. Tonraq comes in to object, but Korra says she’s tired of listening to Tonraq and Tenzin all the time. She wants to make her own decisions. The recording cuts off prematurely, but from what I’ve heard, Korra decides to learn from Unalaq. Unalaq then says that he has great things planned for Korra and that’s how the episode ends.
I’d assume the next episode will get more into Unalaq teaching Korra his technique of defeating spirits. What are your toughts?