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Probably one of the biggest sources of debate in the Avatar fandom right now, is Mako's character. As I see it, about 85% think he's an asshole, and 15% don't.
Now I am one of those 15%. And if you haven't read my first analysis, you should go do that now. Because I'm kinda building off that.
Lately, everyone is pissed about the way Mako's been acting towards both Asami and Korra. For the former, people are angry he “lied to her” about the kiss, he’s “cheating on her with Korra”, he’s “ignoring her”.
Well, first off, I don’t believe in any way did he lie about the kiss. Did he mention it to her? No. Most likely, the reason he didn’t, is because at the end of episode 5, both Mako and Korra decided to put their feelings behind them and just forget the kiss ever even happened. And forgetting it even happened, implies never bringing it up again. Since he and Korra agreed to forget about the whole thing, Mako probably figured it really wasn’t a big deal, and didn’t feel the need to run it by Asami.
Was that the best thing to do? Maybe not, but you have to remember, this guy has little to no knowledge on how to handle a relationship. Since it wasn’t a huge deal to him, why should it be a huge deal to anyone else? (In his mind, of course.)
Next, is the accusation that he cheated on Asami with Korra. Well according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the definition of cheating is “to be sexually unfaithful”. Now, last time I checked, Mako and Korra didn’t bump uglies right there on the dock. Nor was anything they did beyond that sexual in any nature. The only thing that happened, was Korra impulsively kissed him, and he kissed her back. (I’m not going into details about why he kissed back; go look at the original analysis) It lasted five seconds, and really, didn’t mean a whole lot.
Finally is the claim that Mako is “ignoring his girlfriend”. Think about this for a second. Who would you focus on more, your girlfriend, who’s perfectly safe, and perfectly capable of handling her own, or your best friend, who might I add has been kidnapped by a crazy bloodbender, and is possibly dead; who would be your main concern. And following that, once said best friend, who you might have feelings for, is found near death on the back of her pet, and you finally find them after looking everywhere, wouldn’t you feel a little happy? Wouldn’t you immediately want to know if they’re okay, and make them feel safe and comfortable? I understand Asami was standing right there, but he had a right to be concerned. Sure, he didn’t have to push everyone aside and carry Korra away, but you know what? His mind was probably so clouded with concern and relief, that he didn’t think, he just did, regardless of the way his actions were impacting other. Along with this accusation, is the statement that he only seemed to care when it was Korra who was missing. In the case where Bolin was missing, neither Korra nor Mako realized how much of a threat Amon really was; they didn’t know until they were at the Rally, that he had the power to take away bending. And as Mako said on Air Temple Island, Bolin has a knack for getting into stupid situations. So he’s probably dealt with shit like this before, so he knew how to handle it. Not only that, but he’s made it pretty clear he likes to keep his emotions in check. Once they realized just what Amon could do, yeah, I’d say he looked pretty freaked out. But he knew that if he caused a stir, he would simply make things worse for the three of them. And once they had formulated a plan to save Bolin, he had faith that they could get the job done.
With Korra, however, there was no plan. They had no clue where she was, they didn’t even know where to start looking. And we know that Mako likes to have everything under control. But in this situation, he couldn’t control anything. Not only that, but his best friend had seemingly been taken by the scariest man in Republic City; what do you think a man who hates benders would do with the Avatar?? And once again, his concern simply clouded his vision. It wasn’t a matter of whether he had feelings for her or not, it was a matter of the situation being totally out of his hands.
Another thing about Mako is that he grew up playing the role of the Protector; when a person (or THE person) he loves, most predominantly, Bolin, is hurt or possibly dead, he would do everything in his power to save that person, and if that means killing someone, then so be it.
So when he heard that Korra was missing, possibly dead, it was natural for him to wig out. Why? Because he cares for her and he feels the need to protect her. It’s simply his natural instinct, just as it was natural for Bolin to be optimistic about the whole thing.
After that, is the whole rift with Asami in episode nine. First, Asami confronts him in the kitchen. She confronts him about the kiss, mainly. And he immediately “blames” it on Bolin. First off, he didn’t “blame” Bolin for the kiss happening, he was just acknowledging that he was the one who told her, since he was the only one who knew. Not only that, but he was pissed. He was pissed at Bolin for telling her, he was pissed at Asami for getting so accusatory, but most of all, he was pissed at himself for letting everything get out of hand. You see, this was something he never wanted Asami to know, and like I said above, it was something he had already forgotten. And when she did confront him, and he “lied” about not knowing....he honestly didn’t know what she was getting to! How was he supposed to know that she knew about the kiss? “He didn’t apologize” is another huge source of anger towards Mako. But look at the conversation between the two:
“This kiss; I know.”
“I-Well, I...Bolin told you, didn’t he?”
“Don’t blame your brother for what you did! Do you have feelings for Korra, or not?”
Now look, right there. She really didn’t give Mako time to apologize; she jumped right into another question. I’m not saying Asami’s at fault, I’m saying that Mako didn’t have the time at that moment. Could he have apologized right when she told him she knew? Yeah, he probably could’ve, but he was so shocked about the whole thing, and the first question that came to mind was probably “ How did she know!?” So he was answering his internal question.
“Look, things are crazy right now. Can we talk about our relationship problems later?”
In this moment, he’s saying that he wants to talk it out with her, and he wants to apologize. The tone of his voice sounds very apologetic to me. By “things are crazy right now” he means, a) He’s still not sure of his feelings for Korra and b) Everyone’s still trying to recover from what just happened. He’s basically saying he wants time to think, but he wants to work things out with her.
Yes, I agree he should’ve apologized, but she kinda stormed out on him. And he probably knew girls well enough to know that when a girl is pissed off, that is no time to try and reason with them.
And then, in the car, he was going to sit with Asami, however, she all but demanded he sit in the back. She was still pissed with him for everything, and he was pissed that she was acting this way towards him. Remember, he’s just an ignorant teenager at this moment, he doesn’t know how to handle it. Around that moment, he probably figured his relationship was Asami was all but over. I mean, she pretty much broke up with him back in the kitchen. Then, in the sewer, or wherever they were, he was there to offer support for Korra, while she was watching her current home and family being attacked by Equalists. And Mako became the Protector again. He just wanted to try and help make her feel better, in any way he could. He’s probably done this with Bolin many a time, as well as with Asami. I saw nothing wrong with this scene; he was simply trying to console her. Yeah, he knew Asami was standing right there, but as I said earlier, he probably figured their relationship was over, so it didn’t really matter what he did anymore. One accusation that’s been pointed at me, is that the only reason I don’t think Mako is an ass, is because I support Makorra. Which is a claim I adamantly deny. Not once, in any episode, did I feel his actions were ultimately “dickish”. Not when he ignored Korra in episode 2, not when he started dating Asami in episode 4. Not even when he didn’t believe Korra’s claims that Hiroshi was an Equalist and took Asami’s side in episode 7! Sure, Mako’s had his moments, just like any human being does. But I don’t think he should be classified as an ass. I believe his actions are very realistic of a teenager, as well as someone who was thrust into situations like his at the age of 8. So next time, instead of jumping to the conclusion that he’s just a bottom-feeding ass, try and look at it like this. Thanks for reading ~