The Legend of Korra is clearly one of God’s new favourite shows. The first episode finished and my euphoria started to wane and then bang! God struck and there was episode number two, “A Leaf in the Wind”. I always knew the big man had my back.
The episode starts with Korra excitedly reading about a Pro Bending match. I can understand her excitement. When I read that there was going to be a bending based sport I was giddy as well. Unfortunately, Master Tenzin doesn’t share mine and Korra’s excitement. He even calls it drivel! Korra wants to go see it but that idea is swiftly rebuffed, and Korra points out that she is under watch from the White Lotus, making it no different from her former icy confinement.
Tenzin moves on to training her in Airbending. She even dons the yellow and red of the Air Nomads to go to her lesson. Jinora, Ikki and Meelo seem very happy about her training in Airbending. More-so than Korra does, as she states that she is as opposite to an Airbender as an Avatar can be. Tenzin reassures her that every Avatar has an area they struggle in, something opposite to their very nature. (Aang’s was Earthbending).
Tenzin uses an old spinning panel contraption to try and illustrate the fundamental movements of Airbenders. His kids are very adept at it as Jinora dances through the spinning panels like the titular leaf in the wind (everyone else think of Wash in Firefly? Didn’t think I was alone). Korra takes the challenge on but fails miserably, getting knocked about by the doors like a ping pong ball.
Later in the night, Korra, back in her Water Tribe colours, is trying her hardest to Airbend but it’s just not happening. Naga isn’t impressed to say the least. Korra overhears a few Lotus guards listening to a Pro Bending match and sneaks closer to have a listen to the Fire Ferrets play. Unfortunately, Tenzin comes and crashes her late night listening party. She isn’t amused but he gets flustered by her attitude and remarks that she should be in bed, and she’s not watching any matches. Korra is not happy.
The next day Tenzin and his little ones are meditating but Korra continues to fail at even the basics. Tenzin tries to assure her that it will come to her eventually, it will sink in and then one day just click. When he says Air is about freedom she laughs, pointing out her current lack of freedom in regards to Pro Bending. She leaves early to grab a juice, stubbornly digging her heels in at her lack of progress. Tenzing doesn’t take any of that attitude from Ikki though, shutting her juice request right down.
At night, Korra sneaks off and after swimming from the island, ends up at the Pro Bending stadium. It was at this point that I thought it would have been a great touch if the badass Avatar from the Water Tribe couldn’t swim, that she always just walked on water, but that would probably be asking too much, wouldn’t it? She sneaks into the building and enters a gym. She is looking around in wonderment when she is accosted by the owner. It is at this point that we meet Bolin, who comes along and saves her from her predicament with the security threatening owner. Korra thanks him and they leave.
Instantly, Bolin has so much of an air of Sokka about him that I instantly think he’s going to be my favourite, after Naga of course. He takes her to the best seats in the house, actually the prep area for teams competing in Pro Bending. Bolin is trying it on with her, clearly a self styled ladies man. However, he is put down by his brother Mako, who is clearly not impressed by his brothers latest ‘fangirl’ and tells Bolin to get rid of her but Bolin has a good feeling about her, apparently. Mako ignores a gushing Korra as he heads to the game. Korra stays to cheer them on. On a side note, Mako is named after the voice actor that voiced Iroh in the original series, who sadly passed away during the making of it. Classy move, creators.
I’m just going to say it now, Pro Bending is amazing. I love created sports in my cartoons and Pro Bending is one of the coolest. A Waterbender, a Firebender and an Earthbender are on each team in a three on three game with the object to knock the other teams members off the plinth they are playing on. The game itself seems territorial and fast paced, with stamina being as important as accuracy. Mako and Bolin’s team is called the Fire Ferrets and they are the surprise package of the season. They win their match, with Mako scoring a hat-trick and pretty much single-handedly rescuing and winning the match at the same time; he’s pretty damn good. One more win and their in the championship tournament, I wonder what’s coming next.
Bolin asks Korra what she thought after the match and Korra, pumped up, says they were incredible, as Mako reprimands the other Fire Ferret, who blows him off. Korra tries to tell Mako how good he was but he simply says ‘you’re still here?’ Korra is no-one’s burn victim and responds by calling him a jerk, which Bolin seems to like. Korra talks about how Pro Bending is like a whole new style to her and asks Bolin if he could teach her some moves. Bravado flowing through him, he offers to teach her some moves but isn’t sure how his Earthbending would translate to her Waterbending. Oh how little he knows.
She tells him it’s fine because she’s an Earthbender. He comments on her clothes and she adds that he was right in summarising that she is a Waterbender, but that she’s also a Firebender. Mako pieces it together and refers to himself as an idiot in the process. Bolin hits Sokka overdrive and like a child whispers she’s the Avatar.
At the gym, Earthbender Bolin is teaching Korra some Pro Bending moves, commenting on how her style needs to be looser, lighter on her toes, to be effective in the sport. Korra seems irritated that the praise doesn’t flow as easily from Firebender Mako as it does from Bolin, but he dismisses it and says he’s going to bed, revealing that he and Bolin live in the attic of the grand Pro Bending stadium. Korra continues to get to grips with her new way of attacking.
The next day however, its back to useless Korra, as the red and yellow may make her look like an Airbender but she sure as hell can’t move like one. The spinning panels continue to frustrate her and she loses her cool, setting them alight.Tenzin is annoyed but Korra doesn’t back down, She’s trying to force it and make it click and is generally not listening but Tenzin tries to tell her she needs to be patient. Korra, typically, just shouts, labelling Tenzin a bad teacher, despite his fully capable Airbending children being right next to him. She storms off annoyed and Meelo rubs salt in Tenzin’s wound.
At dinner, Pema asks where Korra is. Tenzin is at his wits end with her. Jinora had me rolling around on the floor as she crushed her dad’s dream of non problematic teenage daughters. Korra is at the arena and walks into her new pals room. Bolin and Mako are distraught/ angry. Their other team member no-shows. Korra offers to be their Waterbender. Mako isn’t amused by the idea, calling her crazy.
At the start of the match, Korra keeps messing up, violating the rules without realising. Something tells me she’s not as familiar with this game as she made out to be. She ends up blowing her rather thin cover as the Avatar. The rules are fuzzy on over powered competitors so they take a moment. Unfortunately for Korra, at that moment Tenzin hears on the radio that the Lotus men are listening to that Korra is at the stadium. He decides to go get her himself. Korra is allowed to continue competing, providing she only bends water.
Despite being the Avatar, Korra’s lack of Pro Bending expertise gets exploited by the opposition and she soon finds herself in the water, having been knocked off. As she swims up, she finds an unimpressed Tenzin standing there. Tenzin orders her back to the temple, stating that she doesn’t respond to anything but force. Korra defies him, as teenagers who always think they’re right often do and adds that she believes she doesn’t even need to learn Airbending. Tenzin argues that she must learn it, but she says she must learn Pro Bending, modern fighting. Tenzin points out that being the Avatar isn’t all about fighting. I hate to disagree with such fine facial hair but I want to see Korra kick a lot of ass, not talk it out. Might not be the best for a role model but surely there’s middle ground there?
In the second round, Mako and Bolin get pinned down and Korra gets pushed to the edge of the gaming plinth once again. With Tenzin looking on, she finally gets to grips with the Airbending style of movement and easily avoids the oppositions attacks. Her Airbending training paid off, guess Tenzin does know what he’s talking about. The Platypus Bears run out of juice and Mako and Bolin are finally able to attack and with Korra the three of them work to take the win. Tenzin celebrates but then makes sure no-one is watching. I love him already.
Victorious, Mako compliments Korra, who gives Tenzin credit for teaching her how to dodge, without naming him. Back at the temple, the panels are being put back up after Korra ruined them. She apologies to Tenzin who apologizes to her. He then complements her on the game, saying she moved just like an Airbender. He states that Pro Bending turned out to be just what she needed. She says she’ll be at Airbending practice bright and early, but then adds she’s permanently joined the Fire Ferrets and in a couple of weeks, they’ll be in the big leagues. He sighs, knowing she’s gonna be a handful, but he’ll eventually adore her for it, just like me.
Then there is the end. All throughout the episode the are subtle signs that Korra is wanting a bit of distinctly handsome Mako. At the end, both Mako and Korra are staring at each others respective towers of dwelling, Korra with a big smile on her face. Maybe there’s nothing there and I’m just looking for something. Maybe she’s just looking at the stadium and he’s always sat at that window looking longingly at the Air Temple, but I’d put every shiny bit of metal with the Queen’s head I have on the fact that something is going to happen between them. Fire and water, come on, the steam jokes write themselves.
Get ready, boys and girls. Korra and her new friends have started their journey. It hasn’t raced out of the blocks, instead it’s wisely gone for a lot of content and a steady build, and that can only be a good thing. Teasing ever so slowly into the big finish, sounds steamy. Oh no! I promised myself I wouldn’t get carried away with Mako and Korra. MaKorra? KoMako? KoKo? Oh this series is going to be so much fun.