A lot happened in this episode, but not so much that requires any real indepth analysis. In short, this episode pretty much was the snowball being pushed over the hillside to form the season finale of an avalanche.
>Assassination by asphyxiation
I know weston mentioned the rumor that this would happen yesterday, and I’m also sure someone mentioned it even earlier. It’s not surprising that when an air bender wants to kill someone, they simply take the breath from their lungs. Hard freakin’ core. Dang.
I enjoyed Bolin’s attempt at being friends with Ming-Hua and Ghazan, and including, “Two out of three,” answer to his guesses. (Shippers already on it?) It was also interesting how they decided to offer more characterization to these two members of the Red Lotus. These are supposed to be the bad guys, but Ming-Hua is off admitting she was giving the guards fake lives and problems (One wanted to be a pastry chef), while Ghazan reflected on how he gazed at the stars so much he began renaming the constellations. Of course, Ming-Hua’s comment, “I would have killed for some rain…” also had a far more lethal, darker inflection.
The title, “Long Live the Queen” essentially gave away the fact that the Earth Queen was going to be deposed at the least, if not killed. For the latter, I was very curious how the show would handle animating/revealing her death, and the answer was, “We’re going to show her last gasps then cut away from the obvious.” Not to get ahead of my self, I also want to add that the Dai Li are seriously having a bad month or two, everyone is kicking their butt. Ghazan didn’t even feel the need to turn their stone to lava. The power of Zaheer’s air attack was also made incredibly apparent when the Dai Li agent he threw against one of the columns took a chunk out of it (nice animated touch!). When Zaheer murdered the Queen, there was definitely symbolism to the moment. The Queen is no longer on her throne, instead, Zaheer has leapt up onto it, and in that manner, dethroned her. She’s no longer in the position of power and I admit, I grew a little uncomfortable watching the horrid baby bison eating woman gasp for air. “Without freedom, there is only darkness…”
Did anyone notice in the radio scene that Mako’s and Bolin’s grandmother wasn’t wearing Mako’s scarf? Boo.
I loved the scene with Ghazan bringing down the wall in Ba Sing Se as Zaheer spoke to the masses and the response by the people in the slums of the city rushing into the second ring (and as we learned, into the final ring, too). Truly, the actions of the Red Lotus were not entirely unsympathetic in this episode, here is the side of them that makes everyone think, “These aren’t necessarily bad people….” but it’s the “but” that follows, and I’m curious what type of chaotic anarchy is going to set in in Ba Sing Se with the peoples’ coup, so to speak.
Meanwhile, Bolin and Mako in prison. I loved the old prisoner. “You know Zaheer? He’s my hero!” “Shut up!” I give total creds to the writers. I completely expected that their imprisonment would be the setup for Bolin to finally have his break through with metal bending. The fact they went against this, awesome. I now assume it will be held back to an even more crucial moment, which in a way, will make it more special when it does happen. Or, well, maybe Bolin isn’t gifted with it (which would be a crazy story for the show “Just because you try real hard….doesn’t mean you get what you want.”). I am curious as to what Zaheer’s message will be for Korra.
I thought about Henry Rollins’ casting as Zaheer and I realized it takes a voice like the one he’s using to make Zaheer work. If he had a more grizzled or deeper voice, I don’t think his zealousness would come across as sincere. He would appear much more just a villain mouthing the words than an actual alternative to the status quo.
So in Ba Sing Se, the Red Lotus await the Avatar.
Of which, it was fantastic to see Asami given a chance to show off her bending powers, MIND BENDING, or rather, just being a smart, intelligent and mechanically gifted person. There’s not one point in the episode where Korra contributed anything other than brute force, for good or bad. Everything boiled down to Asami’s skills. And yes, the poor craftsmanship of Cabbage Corp air ships. Apparently the Earth Queen wanted extra money for topiary. “You’re not going to get water, or earth or fire….!” The way the air man immediately responded to a request for water as a request for any of the other elements was amusing. I felt that the show didn’t have to bother with the crew of the airship after they made their escape, but the fact that they did, and generally tried to give them all personalities is a trait of the Avatar universe shows. They care about everything. Even Captain Hook. Heh.
Basically, once Korra causes the airship to crash into the sand (which probably should have killed everyone in the front half at least), our Asami/Korra B-Story (or are they A-story?) turns into the Flight of the Phoenix. Instead of building a new airship/airplane out of the old, they built a sand sailer thingy whatever its called. Again, Asami’s idea.
They make it back to the Misty Palms Oasis to find Lin, Zuko and Tonraq, waiting for them. Any time anyone parks a dragon outside a bar is a win, even more so when the horse/birds or whatever, are pulling at their tethers to be as far away from said dragon as possible. I did find it incredibly wild that Tonraq, Korra’s father, had no clue who the Red Lotus were. Was Korra that removed from her parents that when a group of rebellious White Lotus members attempted to kidnap her, her parents never found out? Allegedly, it’s the reason Korra was secluded in the first place, so one would have thought at the time of the attempt she was much more in the care of her parents. It’s probably the one thing that really stood out to me in the episode.
The Earth Kingdom’s capital in anarchy, the avatar united with Zuko (who had only met her once before? I guess once Aang passed away, he decided that he’d had enough Avatar in his life), her father and Lin, the beginnings of a final show down are congealing in Ba Sing Se. The only thing left open are the air nomads, Tenzin and everyone else, up at the Northern Air Temple. How they will play a role in it, I’m not sure, outside of assisting in the take down of the Red Lotus.
As an aside, we have, to my knowledge, finally exhausted every bit of footage from the original Book 3 trailer. We have no more clips or instances to foreshadow the future of the season. Exciting, no?
Given the subject of the season, change, it’s probably safe to say that once things have been upended somewhere, such as in Ba Sing Se, we are not going to see anything like what had come before returned.