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Balanced Reviews: Enemy at the Gates / The Battle of Zaofu

AvatarMako November 13, 2014 User blog:AvatarMako

Upon watching Enemy at the Gate, I knew I had to wait to review it with the next episode, as I really thought that they would feel like a two-parter. I was korrect about that. I wish that they had showed the Battle of Zaofu along with Enemy at the Gate, but better late than never. In any case, that explains the delay in my reviews. Onwards to my thoughts. Let's do them one at a time.

Enemy at the Gate: This episode knew very well how to create tension. It built it nice and slow, gave the political struggles time to shine, which was done exceptionally well for any kind of TV show, let alone an animated show. The threat of the Earth Empire feels very genuine and seeing that their goal of reuniting the former EK is complete, I fear Kuvira may now march upon Republic City, echoing the words of the late Queen that RC is on Earth Kingdom land. If that is the case, we should be in for one hell of a series final.

I think my favorite scenes in the entire episode was the parts with Asami and her dad. It really felt amazingly genuine to me. and while part of me really hopes Asami is strong enough to forgive him, I know that it's over. They had their Pai Sho game, they made up a bit, I'll be surprised if they ever can fully recover. But then again, maybe time and true love really can heal such wounds. And she did go back, after all. There is something there besides resentment. Maybe there is a happy ending to be had there after all. I hope so.

I always knew/ hoped that something would happen with Zhu-li before the end of the show, even back in Book 2. Her betrayal of Varrick really came at the perfect time, and while it seemed to me at first that Zhu-Li was just acting as a mole for Varrick's greater plan, a lot of Varrick's dialogue seems to confirm to me that her betrayal was genuine. If that's the case, I'll be very surprised. We seldom seen genuine betrayal like that come out of the blue and mean something, so let's hope that this develops well. And while I certainly won't disagree with leaving Varrick after almost dying like that, I wouldn't be too happy about working for Kuvira either. I mean, Varrick may be crazy, but he never almost threw someone off a train because they refused to work for them. So I'll be vey interested to see where Zhu-Li's story goes.

And surely as they continue the development of this spirit-vine weapon, I fear what will happen when (not if) they finally finish it. If I had to nitpick anything in these two episodes, the CGI on the mechs seemed off putting to me during the fight scenes. the fight scene itself was good, sure, but it really looked about of place to me.

The Battle of Zaofu: One thing I found a bit distracting is when Suyin and the twins try to attack Kuvira at night, they're wearing all black, like ninjas some would assume. However, real ninjas would never wear jet black, as a black outline can still be seem in even minute light. They would actually ware either very dark blue or grey. A small detail, but interesting to note nonetheless.

And speaking of Kuvira echoing previous characters, did you at all notice what she said about 'equality'? Sounds a bit like Amon too me. I wonder if she'll echo the other villain's too? The fight between Korra and Kuvira was what I expected. I knew she wouldn't win, deep down, because that would eliminate any chance for a badass, epic, climactic series finale. It'd be like if Aang beat Ozai during the Invasion, it would have ruined the finale that was Sozin's Comet. Trust me, Korra's time to time is coming, and it will be epic. I didn't expect her to see her hallucination again, though. I wonder what that's all about? I think also this Book has done for Bolin much what Book 3; Fire did for Sokka. Bolin has gone from pure comic relief to genuine character. I wish he were like this in Book 3. This is the Bolin I always wanted; a little awkward, but able to contribute something useful to the conversation.

Varrick was awesome in these episodes to no end. funny thing about the latest episode is that I watched it a day late and I saw an image of the exploded train on an Avatar fanpage that said 'Varrick blew himself up'. Well that sure got me interested/ worried. I'm very thankful that he didn't die of course, but for a while I was very unsure. This episode really made me wonder for the first time if Varrick is truly crazy, does he always have a plan, or is it all pure dumb luck? I don't really know the answer to that question, but I think that that ambiguity makes Varrick's character extremely interesting and very funny, to say the least. A very well done character, and one of my favorites.

I was sad to see Baatar Jr. turn against his family in such a way. Not sad because it happened, but sad because as far as storytelling goes, they really messed up Baatar. Simply put, I don't care about him. Let me explain. I wish they had spent more time with Jr in Book 3 so we could fully grasp the severity of his transformation under Kuvira, as well as how it happened. Was it pure lust for Kuvira that started it, and that lead to her ideology influencing him, or was it something else? I hope they'll explain, otherwise it's really going to ruin Baatar as a character. It'd be like if Boromir from the Lord of the Rings got no lines in the Fellowship of the Ring, and the only time we see him is when he tries to take the Ring from Frodo. It's impossible to be invested in a character we don't know. Also, another quick thing that I've really enjoyed about these past few episodes: No Wu. Thank Ravaa for that! I couldn't stand any more of the guy.

Well, those are my thoughts. This season is shaping up to be the best yet from Korra, on par with Book 1 and surpassing it in many ways. A shame my favorite villain, Amon, never got the army Kuvira has. Maybe in some alternate universe they wrote it where Amon was still alive. Too bad I'll never get to see that actually happen. Unless there's the extremely unlikely chance that Kuvira is Amon's daughter. Nah. What are the odds of that happening? Thanks for reading, guys Mako out.

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