Over seventy-years have passed since Aang and his companions brought peace to the nations, and the cabbage business is still in shambles. Only this time, instead of a single vendor’s cart being destroyed, a whole corporation has been taken down. It’s nice to see the writers paying homage to the old series in a comedic way. Hopefully that’s not the last we’ll see of the green vegetable this season. I felt that this episode took the show in a new direction. With the attack on the arena last week, and pro bending shut down for the foreseeable future, the series needed to start focusing on the mystery behind the Equalist’s charismatic leader, Amon.
We weren’t able to see the masked villain in “The Aftermath,” but we did discover that Hiroshi Sato is one of the major contributors to Amon’s cause. The rich industrialist has been building war machines in an underground facility located beneath his mansion. With the character development of Asami during this episode, I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for her, as she chose to part ways with her father by electrocuting him with his own invention. It seems that Korra and Asami have more in common that they’d care to admit. Even with her privileged upbringing, Asami is a formidable opponent when under pressure. Korra is beginning to mature as well. The scene near the end of the episode was touching, as Korra instructed Mako to stay close to Asami as she deals with the harsh truths about her father. The Avatar must learn the importance of sacrifice, so it’s nice seeing Korra strive to be selfless when she’s just a teenage girl.
The exciting battle sequence in Sato’s underground factory was one of the highlights of this episode, and it made me realize that this is one of the best looking animated programs on television. Joaquim Dos Santos (Justice League, Avatar: The Last Airbender) deserves a lot of credit for weaving exhilarating action with well paced storytelling. After directing several episodes from the previous series, I’m pleased that he’s come back to the world of the Avatar as one of the featured directors. My favorite moment in this episode came when Chief Lin Beifong used her mother’s earth bending techniques to see the environment around her. Fancy metal armor is no match for the bare feet of an earth bender.
My final thoughts on this episode have to do with the subtext of nature vs. technology. This is a concept that was hinted at in Avatar: The Last Airbender, but not discussed in great detail. The fire nation had ships and war blimps, but many of the soldiers were still benders. Men like Hiroshi Sato who are without the power to bend elements must rely on their ingenuity. What did you think of Sato’s machines defeating three of the most powerful benders in the world? I want to make it clear that this is entirely my own opinion, but in this era of fast cars and electricity-shooting-handguns, what chance does a bender have against the onslaught of technological achievements in weaponry? I could be completely off base here, so please let me know what you thought about this week’s episode, and the role that technology played in it. Also, below I’ve posted a video of Dennis and I reviewing the first six episodes of The Legend Korra. Check it out!
-David Griffin (Follow @griffinde on Twitter)