Almost since the start of the series, there has been the interesting relationship between Mako, Korra, and Asami. It is the primary relatioinship within the series, and the greatest shipping debate on this and every other Avatar forum. Most fans have chosen their favored couple and root for it unwaveringly, while others prefer to wait the show out to see what happens. While I have a preferred couple (I won't say which) I find more interesting the deeper dynamics which make up this love triangle, and inspire the current attitudes of each of its members as of the latest episode. I find the depth of character shows us once again what geniuses Brian and Michael are, and teaches in no uncertain terms about real life relationships.
First, Korra. As the Avatar, she has grown up under constant supervision and authority as a matter of precaution. We all know that this has made her rebellious and outgoing in an attempt to garner freedom for herself. As such she has an attraction to Mako, who symbolizes for her the very essense of freedom; living on one's own by one's own means and talents. Along with that, as one of Korra's first real friends (omitting Naga) Mako represents a source of comfort and family that Korra has largely missed having sacrificed the majority of her life to mastering the elements. There is a trust unlike anything else she has in her life, despite only knowing him a few months. There is an obvious physical attraction between the two (as teenagers its only expected), but these underlying facets set a subconscious rhythm to Korra's heart when it comes to the Cool-under-fire Firebender. In order to grow in the relationship she must break her hard shell or risk becoming even more closed off.
Mako. The young Firebender has had a tough life. After his parents death (a traumatic experience in its own right) he sacrificed his childhood to care for his younger brother. His sense of duty to family is so strong it is in fact his defining feature. For much of his life it has been him and Bolin, so when Korra came into the picture he was at first standoffish, attempting to maintain his personal duty to keep Bolin safe, honor his parents memory, and remove any factor that threatened his tightly walled off world. Eventually this changed, I believe due to a desire by Mako to add to his family, to reach out into the world that hurt him so much in the past after years of isolation, and helped by Korra's natural charm. Then along came Asami, both beautiful and talented in her own rights, who once again moved in Mako the wish to add to his idea of family, while also administering to the lack of feminimity in his life that Korra doesn't really grasp. On the selfish duty side, once he found out Asami's lineage, the idea of financial security for himself and his brother doubtlessly entered his constantly calculating mind. This I feel has created a block in his and Asami's relationship. While honest and pure in intention Mako has shown a lack of connection that he could reach should he stop thinking and calculating for a moment, which is exactly what happened in the latest episode. He had no motives, no plan, no need to think. There was a member of his percieved family in trouble, and he charged to their rescue like the big brother he never stops being.
Asami. While a strong character and a perfect oposite to mako's rigid style of thinking (which frankly he needs), Asami struggles with relationships due to an inner lack of confidence. Yes she is a strong individual of solid principles and convictions, but she still struggles with the inferiority complex between her true self and the image percieved of her (the "Daddy's little girl" she mentioned in Ep. 7) by the general public. Because of this she tries almost too hard to be opposite; standing up for herself and getting what she wants in life her own way. Yet we still see that when things do not go her way, or when she is uncertain of herself, she can still revert to the helpless and jealous child she can't accept. We see such self-doubt in her relationship with Mako; reacting to percieved threats with silent jealousy. This would not be as big of a problem if the source of these issues (Her father) had not recently tugged her life out from under her. We saw much improvement in her reactions around Mako and Korra (seperately and together) which came crashing down after Hiroshi's betrayal. Now Asami will either fight for what she wants as she has always tried to, or revert to child-like tendencies of helplessness and jealousy. She shows us just how difficult it is to choose ones reactions as a young adult, especially a young adult on their own.
Each character has their strengths, their flaws, and most importantly their insecurities. We have the Rebel who wishes to conform, the Stoic who wishes to find connection, and the Idol who wishes to break conformity. These themes will undoubtedly be expounded upon as the series progresses, and we will see how the coming events will shape our young trio. Personally, I cannot wait!
If I missed anything or you have your own ideas on the triangle's inner workings, please comment