The Legend of Korra continues its upward spiral with one of the best episodes yet and, who would have guessed it? Mako stole the show this week. Yes, you would expect Korra to get the majority of the attention after the events of “Civil Wars,” but the plot is actually an even split between her and Mako. Mako’s side of the story is certainly the more interesting half, especially when he’s working the bombing case.
I wasn’t sure how he was going to mesh with Cheif Beifong and the rest of the police, so having him acquire the role of the hot-shot rookie cop is a fun dynamic. There’s a great scene when two police officers fool Mako into interrupting the President and Cheif Beifongs meeting, simply to get a laugh out of it.
In Korra’s instance, things aren’t as admirable. I have mixed opinions about Korra’s attitude. Her rebellious nature gets a bit out of hand, to the point where she becomes unstable and makes stupid decisions, but those decisions lead to some of the best portions of the episode. The most controversial of which is her break-up with Mako.
After witnessing Korra’s rash behavior, Mako’s choice to dump her is more than justified. However, by paralleling the Mako and Korra-centric plots, the writer still enables rationalization for Korra’s argument. The audience can relate to both characters’ struggles, which causes somewhat of an equilibrium. This general understanding is why the (temporary) separation of Makorra is so effective and why the fandom will most likely be split down the middle.
On a lighter note, the team of Bolin and Varrick continues to grow on me. Varrick’s ridiculous innovative ideas paired with Bolin’s willingness to be involved in them has culminated to be “The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South!” I am looking forward to seeing more from the duo, though I wish they felt more essential to the story.
There is also a nice B-plot with Meelo and Tenzin, as Tenzin demonstrates how to be a “Master Trainer,” that is, a master lemur trainer. Compared with the rest of stories, it is easily the least interesting, but it is a minute branch of the overall plot that is decent nonetheless. It’s still rewarding to learn more about Tenzin’s relationship with his kids.
General Iroh makes a cameo-size appearance, only to be shut out by President Raiko. There isn’t much to Raiko’s character thus far, but he plays nicely off of the other characters and brings a sense of maturity to the scenes he’s featured in. In fact, “Peacekeepers” is probably the most mature episode of the season so far.
The dialogue is well written, particularly in moments with authority-heads like the president or the police, and it seamlessly transitions into comedy when such circumstances are required.
I try not to make too big of a deal out of the animation, both because I have to give The Legend of Korra some leeway with Studio Pierrot at the helm and, also, because the story and characters will always trump presentation in importance. But, with the animation being sub-par in the previous two episodes, I couldn’t help but notice what a step-up “Peacekeepers” is in the visual department. With the exception of the first two or so forgivable minutes, this episode is packed with plenty of eye-catching visuals, my personal favorite being the bombing on the Water Tribe council building towards the beginning. An exciting fight scene between Korra and Eska and Desna that is also backed by some great animation.
The climax of “Peacekeepers,” up to the credits is jarring. Pitting Korra against Eska and Desna is cool, but what proceeds it is almost unfathomable in comparison. A humongous dark spirit rises from the water and attacks Korra as the twins watch from a safe distance. The closing seconds of the climax shows Korra sending one final fire blast at the spirit’s head before being plunged into the ocean, dead as Eska and Desna have likely assumed. A subtle drum beat follows and trails off into silence. Of everything in the conclusion, I think it’s the silence that leaves a lasting effect, for what is, ultimately, an incredible cliff-hanger.
“Civil Wars Part 2″ was a sign of improvement for the season, and “Peacekeepers” is the ensuring factor of excellent things to come. The story and characters excel alongside the action, comedy, and animation and, even though Korra’s presence can be a little difficult to digest at times, the rest of the cast more than redeems the episode. It appears Book 2 has truly found its footing and we should expect it to hit a dead sprint in the upcoming weeks. I give “Peacekeepers” a 9/10.
According to the description for the next episode titled “The Sting,” we will be getting more detective-style storytelling with Mako which I am very excited for. In the comments section, let me know what you thought about Mako and his role as a police officer, or just tell me about your favorite part of the episode.