Just think about it: Zuko passed the position of Fire Lord along to his daughter, and is now traveling the world as an ambassador for peace... Zuko's been covering for Aang while Katara was training the new Avatar!
Makes perfect sense as he knows better than anyone how the century-long war originally began as soon as Roku was out of the way.
He ironically takes after his father; he has more important things to worry about than the Fire Nation. It could also be a deliberate callback and contrast with his father. He gives up his title as Fire Lord and passes it onto his daughter, but unlike Ozai, he does it the right way, for the right reasons. (As someone listed somewhere else, he similarly succeeds in sharing Fire Nation technology and prosperity with the world, just as Sozin claimed to have wanted to do, but again does it the right way and for the right reasons).
While Korra's Establishing Character Moment set her up as born to be Badass, it's possible that her isolated years of learning have contributed to her very confrontational personality. Her forte is in fighting because all her life she has only been taught to fight and fight, unlike Aang who was trained to be peaceful and diplomatic. She grew up believing fighting to be the most effective way to face any threat. That's why she instinctively tries to use brute force to tackle just about any problem. It also explains part of her difficulties with air - her way of thinking is actually suited for Earthbending. Water and Fire also are not problems for her - water is her native element and she has a fiery personality. But it's also because Water and Fire take a combat oriented approach, allowing for some furious and destructive fighting. It's only air that goes against fighting and violence, and that's where her difficulty lies. Bending is as much a mind game as it is physical.
It's also clear why Tenzin wasn't a pro bending fan and it makes sense why he tells her "Being the Avatar isn't all about fighting."
Even though Korra and her friends have been in EXTREME danger several times, she has never entered the Avatar state. Why? She has been described several times as having difficulty with the spiritual side of being the Avatar, and therefore has far more difficulty contacting or using knowledge from "past lives".
A few things: Aang went into the Avatar State a ton of times in the original series. Well he was from the spiritual nation. As his opposite, it makes sense that Korra has trouble with spirituality; it also fits into the magic vs. science theme of the show. Also, Korra's lack of spirituality may be a cause of her airbending difficulties.
That, or Amon's chi blocking and electric tasers are good enough to block the Avatar state from kicking in. As if Amon needed to be even more terrifying.
The past avatars probably have a plan of their own. Isn't it very interesting that Korra experiences her visions precisely at the point where you'd expect the Avatar state to kick in, when her defenses are gone.
Another reason may also be in her personality. Korra's a very tough fighter and so her Unstoppable Rage threshold would be much higher than Aang's.
And this. The Avatar state also kicked in very often for Aang in Season 1 because for most of the series Air was the only element he could handle and very often he was thrown in places where it wouldn't work. After he began to learn the other elements, the only instances where it reflexively kicked in was when he suffered a Heroic BSOD, and when his chi block was broken at a point where he was helpless against Ozai. As the Avatar masters the elements and becomes more powerful, their dependency on the Avatar state progressively reduces. Which would explain the avatar state doesn't trigger readily for Korra.
Maybe she is such a badass that during all those dangerous situations, she herself never thought she was in actual danger.
Someone mentioned the Chakras playing a role in this series. If that is the case, then the moment Korra opened the first Chakra, she would have been locked out of the Avatar state until she was done opening ALL of them.
Which makes a lot of sense when you consider the circumstances under which Korra finally tapped into the Avatar state; it's been strongly implied that she was considering suicide while standing on that cliff after being de-bended. In TLA, the guru tells Aang that the last chakra is opened by letting go of all worldly attachments, and this seems to happen for Korra on the cliff, marked by Aang's appearance. She has finally realized that being the Avatar is NOT the only thing that defines her, and the realization opens her up to the cosmic energy of the universe.
Autumn, in the context of the Avatarverse, is the season of air. When does TLOK and thus Korra's airbending training begins? Look at the brown leaves in Republic City's park...
It also follows TLA: Book 1 took place in the winter, Book 2 in spring and Book 3 in summer, so starting TLOK in autumn kind of picks up where the previous series left off.
Thus making it Fridge Brilliance both element-wise andcontinuity-wise. Autumn was the only season we didn't really see in TLA, and Aang learned the elements that matched well with the order of the seasons (Winter = water, etc).
Many fans asked themselves how technology could have progressed so substantially between A:TLA and Korra. Well, considering that with the formation of the Republic and founding of Republic City benders of all stripes now live and work together, it'd stand to reason that they'd be able to manage together things that they would have never managed to when separate. Not only that, but with the discovery of a whole new Bending discipline (Metalbending), the widespread learning of an obscure one (Lightningbending), and the rediscovery of a lost one (Airbending), there were many new ways in which Bending could now benefit mankind that were not available before. And this is without even pointing out that if we parallel it with Real Life, the 1920's could not be more different to the 1850's, with a similarly immense leap in technology.
Also note that the fire nation was already fairly advanced compared to other nations (tanks, drills battleships...) During an era of peace the funding for military research would go towards more practical areas benefiting all the nations. I'd say going from advanced military battleships and enormous mechanized drills to cars and motorcycles isn't that big of a jump.
Note that some of the technology are directly based on ones seen in the previous series; the cars use an obviously scaled down, refined engine and frame of the Fire Nation Tanks, and the electric plant that Mako briefly worked at is shown to be using Benders with Lightning in a similar way as the Fire Nation's boiler engines used firebenders. And the police's Airships are a direct descendant of the Fire Nation Warships. Even the Cannons on the United Republic Warships are based on the fire catapults of the old Fire Nation navy while propulsion seems to be based around the Water Tribe's various methods. Much of this wouldn't even need research funding if you remember the amount of stuff Sokka and the Mechanist were able to come up (and refine) alone, let alone with the backing of the entire Fire Nation's best and brightest helping with the engineering.
While it's immediately evident that they're trying to tell a story about Korra that's very different from Aang's, it seems almost as if the idea of the Avatar's job of "restoring balance" is getting lost. The elements are balanced, that isn't the real problem. But then you realize, the Avatar's job is to "maintain balance" in general, not "maintain balance between the elements." Korra's job isn't to restore balance between the four elements, its to restore balance between innovation and tradition as the old comes into conflict with the new, and beyond that to restore balance between bender and non-benders.
Korra's status as a Shadow Archetype of Aang becomes even clearer when one ponders the nature of the show's conflict. Everything that is awry in Republic City—all the political, social, and cultural problems—are things that cannot be fixed via her usual modus operandi of kicking people's teeth in. Just as Aang had to reconcile his pacifist views with the reality of facing Ozai, Korra's confrontational nature is something she's going to have to deal with in order to bring balance to the city.
This is even lampshaded by Lin. Korra basically lived as the old Gaang did when she first entered Republic City and tried to solve a problem by kicking people's teeth in. Which resulted in her getting a very stern lecture.
The advertising campaign is called "Korra Nation." As in Coronation.
Why is the Order of the White Lotus going to such extremes to protect and keep an eye on Korra? Because Aang remembered what happened last time—it's mentioned repeatedly that keeping Korra in the compound is based on Aang's orders to keep his reincarnation safe.
Or they completely misunderstood it. Note that they were living in an era of peace. Aang wanted them to take care of Korra and keep her safe, but it looks more like they've been holding a fugitive for years under house arrest, with the result she doesn't even know how to buy food. That was not how the previous Avatars were trained. The White Lotus has shown quite some Badass Decay since ATLA and an inability to understand what Korra really needs (those are some Ditzy guards), something that Katara understands very well.
The Uniqueness Decay seen with lightning bending is fully justified if you think about it. In the original series, the three users of it weren't just any random Firebenders. No, they were all members of the Fire Nation royal family. Sure, the rarity of the technique may have been partially because of it being difficult, but it also makes sense that the Fire Lord, having a cult of personality based on what a badass fire bender he is, would want the best powers kept to himself.
The same can be said of Metalbending. If you'll notice, metalbending isn't nearly as common in Korra as lightning bending. The latter can be used by menial laborers, and indeed, Mako probably didn't have much of an education in firebending considering his background. Yet the only metalbenders are the police. Why? Simple. Metalbending was thought impossible for thousands of years until Toph invented it during the Season 2 finale, and I think it's safe to say that at least some earthbender tried during that time. Toph had a very unique style of Earthbending, on top of being extraordinarily powerful. To learn metalbending, in other words, your average earthbender would need to relearn bending entirely. Since only Toph knew it at first, it wouldn't be terribly difficult for her to make sure that the knowledge remains the domain of the police force.
Why does Korra always seem to default to firebending out of the three elements she learned so far? Because she just wrapped up her training in that art, so it'd naturally be on her brain after the run-up to her final examination for certification as a master firebender.
In Book 2 of the original series, we see Aang Earthbending more often as he was learning it as opposed to the latter two elements he'd mastered, so Korra parallels this with Firebending.
On top of that, in the original series, Aang was reluctant, even afraid, to use firebending after he accidentally hurt Katara. Since Korra is supposed to be his opposite, it makes sense that she would be eager to firebend.
It seems more likely that Korra naturally gravitates toward firebending because of her personality.
Firebending seems the most convenient element to bend- waterbending and earthbending both require said element to be present, hence why Katara always carried water in her pouch and prisoner Earthbenders were held in metal compounds. Firebending just needs oxygen/energy, so Korra can use it in any situation.
Also, look at where all of the episodes of the series have taken place in so far; Republic City. This means that, ironically, firebending is the least collaterally destructive bending art that Korra has available to her. Using earthbending means tearing up streets, destablilisng foundations, causing sinkholes, damaging or collapsing buildings, and otherwise collapsing the city around her ears to provide the raw material for attacks. Using waterbending means ripping it out of pipes, which disrupts the flow of water to places that need it and causes more Collateral Damage. Firebending, in comparison, is precise, minimalistic, requires no external sources of fuel, and even if Korra misses, she can extinguish the flames with her bending as easily as she conjured them in the first place. In the first episode, we see just how much damage Korra can unwittingly cause by using earth- and waterbending in Republic City. It makes sense that after she gets arrested for blithely assuming she's got Hero Insurance, Korra figured it'd be better to switch to the least inadverdently destructive element she can bend.
In addition, Amon represents exactly what Republic City desperately needs - a melding of ancient spirituality and modern technology. The Equalists use motorcycles, Satomobiles, and zeppelins; they practice the art of chiblocking while wearing gas masks and listen to the radio. If it wasn't for his Fantastic Racism against benders, Amon might have been able to bring harmony to the city.
In some respects, Amon is his own version of the Avatar. He has his own vision of what a balanced world should look like (ie a world without benders). How's that for the central theme of the old traditions in conflict with a new era?
We can all tell that the Aang statue is a Shout Out to the Statue of Liberty. But for Bonus points look at the symbol on his staff - the symbol of air. Air is the element of freedom.
At first glance, it can seem as though the father/daughter like bond that’s formed between Korra and Tenzin is happening a little fast. But then you have to consider that all the years that Korra’s been in that training camp, Katara’s been there with her. So every time Tenzin and his family has gone to see his mother, they’ve probably visited with Korra at the same time, watching her grow up, being part of her life and vice versa. Look at the way Tenzin’s children greet Korra at the dock near the end of the first episode, it’s a lot like how kids might welcome their favorite older cousin.
Also Korra is the reincarnation of his father, their grandfather. This comes straight out of the original series. "Some friendships are so strong they transcend lifetimes."
The first avatar series was aimed at kids around twelve, Aang's age, now in legend of Korra the avatar is a teenager thats because all the old avatar fans are teenagers now!
Also, the series is darker and seems to be made for a more mature audience.
The first book of Legend of Korra is Air. Not only is this the element of the last Avatar, it's the next in the cycle after Fire. Furthermore, each previous season was named after the element Aang learns (Water, Earth, Fire). Korra's season deals with her learning Airbending.
Airbending is all about freedom of movement. Korra's been forced to stay at the compound her entire life. No wonder she's terrible at it. She actually said something along those lines in "A leaf in the wind"
The jump in technology from the first series to now actually makes a lot of sense; in Aang's time, both before and after his freezing, things were relatively the same, with only minor changes for the most part. The biggest jumps were from the Mechanist and, by assocation, the Fire Nation (huge navy, Zeppelins, the freezer prison). But remember that they were at war, so they wouldn't be sharing their technology at all. Also, they'd be more geared /for military aspects than more simple enjoyment/ease of living like radios and such. With the war over, it could all spread across the world, and people like the Mechanist and Sokka could create freely, which would lead to why Korra's time is so advanced in comparison.
The jump also makes sense if you consider the technological differences between the real world 1920's and 1850's (or so).
Every single war expands technology due to arm races, while during the subsequent peace times this would result in practical applications of said advancements. The most recent developments were during World War 2, where we were finally given Nuclear Power, Rocket Technology, assembly-line construction and several advancements in the medical field of science, all of which were researched for applications in war (and some by the nazis) that were found to have practical uses afterwards.
Aang was taught his first element by Gyatso, someone who had a close relationship with the previous Avatar, and his last element by Zuko, a direct descendant of the previous Avatar. Korra was taught her first element by Katara, and is being taught her last element by Tenzin.
This pattern would make sense for all Avatars if you think about it. In both cases the “close friend” is someone from the very first element that the former Avatar had to learn outside of their native one, which would be the element the next Avatar is born to, and the relatives come from the former Avatars native element, which would be the very last element the next Avatar has to learn.
Amon. Just everything about him. The more you dig into his name and character, you find bulbs lighting up wherever you look. For starters, read all about the Egyptian god Amun and how he rose to deity status. In particular this - "...As the Egyptians considered themselves oppressed during the period of the Hyksos rule, the victory accomplished by pharaohs who worshipped Amun, brought him to be seen as a champion of the less fortunate. Consequently, Amun was viewed as upholding the rights of justice for the poor..." That's all.
Shout Out: This is rather subtle. Read about this particular character called Thoth-Amon. Not only is there is quite some influence of Lovecraft there, but Thoth-Amon as a villain has some unusual heroic characteristics. No wonder Amon is such a creepy villain...his character probably takes some inspiration from Cosmic Horror Story, the way he just seems to defy the effects of bending on him isn't normal.
Amon is also the name of one of 72 demons listed in ancient manuscripts, and occasionally viewed as a Prince of Hell. Of Wrath.
1- The only place where Amon is listed as a demon is in french grimoires, and he's a demon of friendship (see Ars Goetia) and 2- The conntection of that Amon with this Amon seems nigh idiotic even as a "prince of wrath", since Amon at most has Tranquil Fury.
Amon is also the name of one of the most sadistic Nazi Commandants Amon Goeth .
The place in the back of the neck where Amon briefly touched at least one of his victims is called (well, can be romanized as) Amon.
There's much more on the Avatar Wiki's page on Amon.
Why doesn't pro bending conform to a traditional martial art the way standard bending does (i.e. waterbending = tai chi, earthbending = hung gar, etc.)? Because it's based on boxing.
It also reflects in-universe differences between war and fighting in the area. For example pro-eathbenders can't defend themselves by creating walls from the ground, but also only need to attract individuals, not Fire-nation tanks or formations. Thus it makes sense for them to adopt a style that sacrifices power for speed.
Actually, it looks more like MMA to me. Why? Because it represents three forms of bending coming together to form a new style of combat.
The rules seem to only accommodate the three elements outside of Air. While the practical reasoning is that there isn't enough Airbenders in the world to actually participate (no team member can compete on multiple teams, and only one Airbender in the world is even at the legal age), it becomes fridge brilliance that Airbenders would not compete in Pro-Bending. Air Nomad teachings emphasis non-combat moves, especially avoidance and redirection rather than even defensive moves. No wonder Tenzin disapproves of pro-bending, it goes against his father's teachings.
Actually I think Tenzin's dislike of "Pro-Bending" is an exact parallel of the dislike a real martial artist feels for "Tricking". It's a bastardization of centuries of refined discipline into something that's just acrobatics, and not really useful.
The airbenders had airbending sports. Sokka and Aang play it when they get to the first airbending temple. It was pretty violent.
Airbending may also never make it into Probending, because you cannot see air being bent. Tahno's cheating was very hard to regulate and he was using visible water combined with rock chunks. Imagine how hard it is to prove that an unscrupulous airbender was forcibly suffocating his opponents during a match, let alone what offensive moves would be deemed legal for an airbender to use.
Just food for thought: suppose Tenzin dislikes pro-bending because it discriminates against airbenders. He pretends not to approve because then he won't have to face the awful reality that he's sad because he's excluded. Why does he know the rules so well? Because secretly a huge fan, who's dreamed of playing for years. Why does he get so into it when he watches Korra play? Because he's living vicariously through her. When she uses his airbender dodging technique to win, she's showing him that he'd make a great pro-bender if they'd let him play.
Pro-bending does not discriminate against airbenders. He and his family are literally the only human airbenders in the world. There was a 6-year period where he himself was the only airbender in the world (between the death of his father and the birth of his first child). Making rules for a professional sport would require a lot of field testing, something that someone who is trying to raise a family and rebuild a society is not going to be able to provide. Airbenders are left out due to entirely pragmatic reasons. Maybe in a century, if and hopefully when there are enough airbenders, they'll adapt. But for now, while you can argue he might be jealous that he can't join due to his personal responsibilities, you can't rationally claim it's because the sport discriminated against his kind. Hell, Korra might very well be the first person who could provide the possible dynamics an airbender could add.
Why is Korra considerably older than Aang at the start of their respective series? Korra was in no rush with her training. Aang had until the eclipse, a predetermined event to master the other three elements. Korra trained in times of peace, and though she began training at a young age she still has plenty of time to complete her training. Amon's movement was developing at an indeterminate pace, and thus there was really no imminent pre-determined danger.
It's mentioned in the original series that normally, Avatars are either told they are avatars or go out into the world at age sixteen. Aang had some unusual circumstances surrounding his Avatarhood. With Korra, the White Lotus probably wanted to at least try to go a little more traditional.
A bit of a fridge brilliance: The avatar is allowed to grow up to 16 to be ignorant of their status so they can have a normal life and develop their social skills before they develop their bending skills. Otherwise they would be alienated and left unable to cope with others. Aang got a dose of this when his fellow airbenders thought his own powers would be innately unfair and he was shunned. Korra learned of her status fairly young as well, and ended up being so bad at dealing with people she doesn't even know how to buy food.
A little something about the character of Shiro Shinobi. It says in his bio that he’s a non-bender who did in depth reporting on the Triads. Considering that background, he is probably extremely familiar with the dark side of bending, having spent years reporting on the worst that could happen. Yet what does he do when he retires from that? He becomes an announcer for a sport that, as Amon said “glorifies bending”. Think of what that says about his character that he would want to have anything to do with benders after some of the things he’s probably seen.
The families of Mako/Bolin, Amon, and Asami/Hiroshi being killed by firebenders. Is it Fantastic Racism, as noted in the Fridge Horror section below? Possibly, but there's another thing to consider here: As the Hundred-Year-War ended 70 years ago, we learned that not everyone in the fire nation supported the war, and they did try to rebuild the world in the time afterward. However, there had to be at least some people who agreed with the war, for whatever reason. And when it ended, they couldn't have been happy. What if those people, or their descendents, tried to subtly change the new status quo, resulting in these deaths?
Look a little more closely at the stories: Mako and Bolin's parents, and Asami's mother, were killed in the course of robberies. More likely, lingering resentment from the whole "take over the world" thing meant that in the new world order, a lot of people weren't willing to give work to people from the Fire Nation, which is what drove them to crime and desperation.
Also, in "The Promise" Zuko complains that he's been the target of several assassination attempts. The end of the war clearly didn't go down well for some Fire Nation citizens accustomed to being told they were superior to other groups in the Avatarverse.
So Korra's Aang opposite right? It's totally justified if you look at the ways they were raised: Aang got a ton of freedom and had already traveled the world by the age of 12, but Korra didn't leave the compound until she was 17. Their radically different childhoods could be a factor in way they're so different.
The lack of freedom have made her spiritual and airbending block much worse. As we see later, it's Character Development related to opening the Chakras that helps Korra connect with her spiritual side, allowing her to meet Aang, who restores her physical connections to the elements, giving her the mastery over the Avatar State.
Why are the Equalist and metalbender mooks so much more effective than the average Fire Nation soldier from the original series? Because they're all volunteers. The Fire Nation was conducting a global war of conquest and had, by mid Season 3, grossly overextended itself to the point where they seriously considered deploying their Home Guard abroad in order to put down continent-wide rebellions. The Fire Nation was basically scrapping the bottom of the manpower barrel. In contrast, both the Equalists and the Republic City police force chose to join and stick with their respective causes even though they could easily hop on the next steamer out of the country, so the average mook quality is higher.
Add to that, Republic City is THE place to be for anybody who has skill. Any skilled bender has pro-bending, the metalbending academy, places that will teach you to lightning bend, everything you need to prosper. Non-benders have the advanced tech to improve their lives and plenty of non-bending related areas such as Sato industries to try to prosper. Both teams have the cream of the crop of the entire world to pick their mooks from.
At first glance, it seems the reason the Equalists primarily use nonfatal forms of attack like chi-blocking and taser-type weaponry is because a Nickelodeon show isn't supposed to show people getting killed onscreen. However, in this case, it also serves Amon's cause; his goons can incapacitate resistance without inviting the level of public outcry that might result if they actually killed, say, police officers and radio announcers.
Pro-bending is a major sport now. But take a look almost 70 years ago, to that day when the 3 students of Toph Beifong metal bent discs to knock out the 3 rival Firebending pupils. That's where it all began...
Wasn't pro-bending already seen in the Avatar The Last Airbender episode where Toph was introduced? The Republic City pro-bending is probably just a more refined form of the sport Toph took part in as the Blind Bandit.
If Amon is energybending, he's doing so in a different way from Aang. That's because they want to achieve different results. Aang uses the Anahata (the chest/air chakra) and the Ajna (the forehead/light chakra), while Amon strikes at pressure points behind the neck (and possibly also the Vishudah, the throat/sound chakra) and the Ajna. The Anahata is the chakra of compassion/love, and the Ajna of intuition/truth; what Aang is doing is not just blocking bending, but infusing the bender withguilt (after all, both his targets were sociopaths).
It turns out Amon was bloodbending them at the chakra points. Somehow he incorporated chi-blocking into bloodbending.
Amon's mask covers his face (obviously), but Ozai's face was also masked in the first two books, though this was just by shadow and camera-angles. Seeing as Amon is much more active than his Big Bad predecessor, it would make sense for the creators to give him a more practical way of hiding his face: the mask. So Bryke seem to like hiding their main antagonists' faces, it's a running-theme!
It turns out Noatak has quite a resemblance to Tarrlok, so he would have to hide his face. Not to mention it would be very obvious he was Water Tribe.
Also, Tarrlok would have probably recognized him, even though it had been years since the two last saw each other. Amon was forced to wear the mask so that Tarrlok wouldn't blow his cover and reveal him to be a bloodbender.
Look at the past few Avatars and their abilities. Roku, a firebender, was best at firebending, and had the most trouble learning to bend water (fire's natural opposite). Aang, an airbender, was best at airbending, and had the most trouble learning to bend earth (air's natural opposite). Korra, a waterbender, is best at firebending, and has the most trouble learning to bend air. Wait, what? But then, remember that the Avatar is all about balance, and with the airbenders all but wiped out, the balance would be off. This could easily manifest in her powers.
Of course, Aang and Roku were raised for most of their younger lives without knowing they were the Avatar. Obviously they grew up with only one element, and grew to embody the philosophy of that form of bending. Korra, however, knew from the age of four that she could bend multiple elements, and was raised among waterbenders, earthbenders, and firebenders, so she never really grew into the waterbending philosophy.
The Order of the White Lotus went fromBadass Grandpas to what they are in Korra's day because of the 100 year war, and what Aang did to stop it. No one wanted a potential repeat of 'the Avatar's gone missing, now bad stuff will ensue', so those who were able-bodied and/or interested joined the White Lotus in droves. However, their youth and inexperience makes them less effective in a fight than, say, Iroh or Jeong Jeong.
Actually, its even simpler than that. In the original series, we followed the Grand Masters of the Order, not the average members. There were lots of White Lotus members even before, but they were mostly offscreen.
Not only is Korra herself the opposite of Aang, but the top-ranked villains of this series are all waterbenders—which is the opposite of all the villains being firebenders in the last series.
Also, the original series ends with Aang taking bending away; the first book of this series ends with Korra giving bending.
The revelation that both Amon and Tarrlok are sons of Yakone echoes the pattern established in ATLA regarding the Avatar Cycle: that the first major challenge of every new Avatar is to deal with the unexpected/unintended consequences of the actions of the previous Avatar.
The apparent focus of the early episodes on the malfeances of firebenders, wherein everyone-and-their-mother's tragic backstories seem to involve evil acts by firebenders, serves as misdirection, when the ultimate villains turn out to be waterbenders.
For a spiritually immature (not fully realized) Avatar, the Avatar state acts as their defense mechanism by offering the spiritual link-up to the power, knowledge and skill of all the past Avatars and the Avatar Spirit. But there's more. If you observe closely, Aang goes into the Avatar State to energybend Ozai, Yakone and then Korra. As Aang energybends Korra you can see him and all the past Avatars go into the Avatar state, following which at the physical level we see Korra go into it, her bending is restored and she too has obtained the ability to energybend in the Avatar State. This means that true energybending is something only the Avatar can do, but more importantly the Avatar state even has defense and offense capabilities on the spiritual side via energybending just in case the Avatar's physical connections to the elements were broken, or if someone's bending had to be removed or restored. This is Batman levels of Crazy-Prepared.
Speaking of which it seems very prudent that Energybending by the Avatar requires the use of the Avatar state. It would be impossible to overcome the spiritual power of a thousand fully realized Avatars and a spiritual force of nature acting through them.
Now that we know that Amon is the greatest bloodbender who ever lived, his ability to dodge and resist powerful bending attacks, even lightning at close range suddenly seems to have an explanation. He's been using some very stealthy bloodbending to assist him in fights. He weakens his opponents' attacks and ensure that their aim is no longer accurate, allowing him to dodge it almost everything they throw at him.
That would require extensive knowledge of bending styles. And it explains why he was Curb Stomped by airbending. He has never seen the sole Airbending master's moves. The Equalists' fighting style also has a Logical Weakness against airbending. Air is invisible and certain Airbending moves are not like blasts of fire or lightning that can be aimed away from target.
Airbending is the most effective bending art against chi-blocking because it's no slouch when it comes to close quarters fighting. They're all about evading and using momentum to repel enemies. If you watch Aang and Zuko's earlier fights in the original series, Aang often tries to circle away from Zuko at a close distance, facing his back to easily avoid oncoming attacks since Zuko has to turn around.
An Avatar in the Avatar State is basically immune to the effects of bloodbending. Amon can walk off those same effects without too much effort. This is further proof of Amon's desire to replace the Avatar as the world's savior, by neutralizing bending in almost the same way the Avatar does (and it lent credence to the then-popular WMG that Amon was Aang). It is also subtle Foreshadowing to the fact that Amon is a bloodbender. The Avatar State simply canceled out the effects of bloodbending; Amon had to work through it for a second. Watch closely in "The Puppetmaster." Katara overcame another bloodbender by using her own bloodbending skill to slowly reclaim her own body, in much the same way Amon had to do when Tarrlok attacked him.
The chakra symbology is everywhere in this show, right from bending techniques, to Character Development, spiritual connections, gambits, politics, reveals and even Love Triangles. Look for it and you'll see there's much more to Korra's story than what meets the eye.
Amon touches the light and sound chakras and bloodbends at those points? What do those chakras deal with? Truth, lies, insight and illusion. Very subtle foreshadowing to who he is. Also which are the chakras used to restore bending - the same.
Which are the chakras that come below them in the body - Air, Fire, Water and Earth chakras - the 4 bending elements. Which chakra is opened by love? The Air Chakra. How did Korra learn to airbend? Whenever Mako was in trouble.
In yoga, the chakras go in the order from the most physical to the most subtle and cosmic. Which means that air would be the most subtle and spiritual of all 4 elements and earth the most physical. Aang is an airbender. Korra's personality is just the opposite, closer to earth.
If the Avatarverse is progressing approximately parallel to our world, unless Korra dies very, very young the next Avatar will most likely live in what would best be described as Modern Day.
Perhaps Korra herself would live to the Modern Day, seeing as most Avatars (and indeed, many powerful benders) live to be centenarians at the least when not killed violently. The next Avatar could possibly be born into a futuristic world.
Amon's mask has a red circle on the forehead, the same place he touches his victims to take away their bending. The color of the circle is a subtle hint to what he's actually doing.
The double-meaning of pro-bending. Not just professional bending, but also for bending.
In his dying days, Sozin regretted what he'd done. Zuko made Sozin's dream and his latter wish come true posthumously by cleansing the sins Sozin had brought onto the royal family.
The consistent title of this show is The Legend of Korra, as a natural follow-up to Avatar: The Legend of Aang, the title that the original series was given in the UK. Why was that the title in the UK? Because "bender", which gets thrown around a lot in this series, is also British slang for homosexual. Suddenly, it looks a whole lot like the title was also a covert allusion to the inherent bigotry of the Equalist movement.
Mako is supposedly going to be on the police force when one would think the better candidate would be Bolin. But Mako is actually the better choice. As we saw in The Revelation, he knows how to get information, he's got experience fighting benders (pro-bending) and nonbenders (the equalists), and he essentially raised his brother on the streets, which makes him an excellent candidate.
It also makes sense that this happened after Amon wiped out the bending of the previous police. Suddenly, a major city is left with no law enforcement, because none of them can do their job without bending. A more diverse police force, with fire-, water-, and non-benders in addition to metalbenders, would most likely become a top priority, to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Not only this, but it also plugs another hole. Amon built the Equalists around the idea of fighting Metalbender cops and we saw very few non-Metalbenders (the only ones that come to mind are Tarrlok's own taskforce, who were probably his own goons anyways). By diversifying the arsenal, it becomes harder to counter the Republic City police forces. There may be some 'caste' evolving out of it due to utility (IE, Metalbenders are more rapid response while a Waterbender might hang in a support role), it would be no different than specialists in a modern military. The only difference is things are inherit traits rather than trained, etc.
Also Mako is resistant to electrical attack as shown against the mechas in Turning the Tides. This gives him a major advantage against glove mooks and the mechas the metalbenders were were being curb-stomped by.
Mako and Korra leaving the Fire Ferrets, which can be traced back to their relationship. Mako likely left first because of his new job which he is presumably paid well for. He never truly cared about pro-bending and only took it so seriously because of the tournament and it's winnings. A second reason being his relationship with Korra. Mid-way through the first book we saw how disastrous it was for the Ferrets when romance came into play, so he left to avoid complicating things with her. Korra, perhaps, simply missed Mako at practices and quickly dropped pro-bending because she couldn't get used to not having him around. Makes more sense with the six month gap and that the newer Ferrets seem completely novice, so they couldn't have joined immediately.
Tenzin broke off his relationship with Lin because the latter did not want children. Jinora, his eldest child, is only 10. Korra, who was born at the time Aang died, is 16. This means that for 6 years Tenzin was the only airbender in the world. If Tenzin broke off from Lin because of disagreements with having a child, it's unlikely that after getting together with Pema would cause him to put it off for more than 6 years. Tenzin did it to avoid his father's title of "Last Airbender", both out of duty and of loneliness.
Due to the fact that the only airbenders left are Tenzin and his children, Aang/The Avatar Spirit will eventually be reincarnated into one of his own descendants.
Even better when you realize that only Aang`s descendants will effectively be able to teach airbending to an Avatar. Talk about keeping it all in the family.
Unless Korra's children have the ability to airbend. I mean how would that work if they're the avatar? Can their kids be any of the four elements as well?
Well, of Aang's children, Kya is a waterbender, Bumi is a non-bender, and Tenzin is an airbender. So, yes it seems open to roulette.
That's removing a few factors from the picture, though.
One: Katara is a waterbender. It's likely that Kya inherited bending from her instead of Aang.
Two: bending children have been born to non-bending parents, like Katara was born to Hakoda. It's probably equally likely for a non-bender to be born to bending parents, even if one of those parents is the Avatar, and especially if there's a strong family history of non-bending, like there is on Katara's side of the family.
Three: we haven't seen if Roku had any bending descendants that bent elements beside fire. It's probably likely that Aang cannot pass on any element to his children besides air because he simply don't have the right genes to do so; the ability to bend the other three elements is a spiritual thing, not something physically inherent in his genetic code. An Avatar with a mixed heritage? There might be a slight possibility for more elements. Aang and Korra, physically, are not of mixed heritage.
Since benders can be born to nonbender parents, the air acolytes might eventually start producing airbenders. They're essentially founding a new Air Nomad society, and embracing the all-important airbender philosophy.
Furthermore, the original airbenders, the sky bison, are still around in greater numbers than we once thought. The air acolytes might get airbending straight from the source, just like the first human airbenders.
While we're on this wild mass guess, who's to say energybending can't turn nonbenders into benders? It is possible for an entire element-race to be wiped out, so the Avatar, restorer of balance, probably should have the ability to bring back the lost bending.
There's a PR reason for why the Equalists, unlike Ty Lee, typically use chi-blocking to take away people's bending rather than deadening their limbs. If they deadened their limbs like Ty Lee did in fights, they wouldn't be "equalizing" their enemies, they'd be dominating them in a symbolic form of oppression. Hardly the message self-styled liberators would want to send to potential recruits and sympathizers.
Actually, the first function of Ty Lee's ability is to take down the target's bending, and the "deadening limbs" part is what happens if there's no bending to turn off or it's already been disabled.
Korra's circumstances make her the perfect Avatar to represent Republic City. Not only because she started out fully able to bend the three most common elements (Earth, Fire, Water), but because of her status as an immigrant. Just like any growing city, Republic City is bound to have a large population of immigrants, in fact alot of the problems in the city are those which are common to other immigrant stories. On a more symbolic level, Korra learning to deal with the issues facing Republic City also represents the Avatar world in general learning to deal with the new reality that the city (and the United Republic) represent.
In The Last Airbender its explained you are supposed to master an element before moving on to the next one, before Aang truly mastered waterbending he had begun practicing firebending, and earthbending could this help to explain why Korra`s personality is so different from what we would expect of a water bender ; if the manner in which you master the elements affects your immediate reincarnation it makes since. Because if the way you mastered the elements truly had no effect I doubt the Avatar would be expected to learn in the specific order they are required to learn the bending arts in.
Crossing with Fridge Horror, there's yet another reason as to why Amon's solar mask symbolism makes sense. It's implied he's creating mild strokes. Thus, sunstroke...
Episodes 1- 6
Welcome to Republic City
Upon a closer look, it seems odd that Katara and Korra would be taken by surprise when Tenzin mentioned he was only staying for the night, considering that he'd brought his whole family. Then one recalls that his children are the only other airbenders in the world, so he would have taken them to join Korra in training.
On a related note, since Aang was the last airbender, and his son the only Airbending Master (after Aang's death), every Airbender in the entire Avatarverse is now related not only to Aang, but also to Katara, Sokka, Tenzin, Jinora, etc. (you get the idea.)
How is it that Korra could already bend three elements as a child when previous Avatars never knew what they were until they were told? After the war of the last series, there has been concerted effort on the part of the nations to draw together. One's nation of origin is no longer the absolute identity marker that it once was. Why shouldn't a bending child think "Hey, what if I'm the new Avatar?" and try their hand at other elements? It was still a stroke of luck that she discovered correct techniques for bending them without formal training, but then Katara also started bending without formal training. And like tiny!Korra, she only evinced very rough ability to start with.
Korra and Aang both started their adventures by running away from home, but where Aang was running away from his destiny as the Avatar, Korra was running towards it, leaving so she could learn the final element. Korra is supposed to be Aang's complete opposite, and this illustrates that wonderfully, especially as it's much more subtle than the obvious personality differences.
Pema mentions that she wishes for her unborn child to be a non-bender like her, so that at least one other member of her family would be a non-bender, subtly and gently foreshadowing the bender/non-bender conflict that will drive the plot to come. It also serves on second viewing as a means of hinting at just how serious and ingrained the problem is likely to be. Even in a loving, harmonious family, all of whose members of solidly among the heroes of the story, there is still an undercurrent of this conflict.
Katara understands very well what Korra really needs, because in personality they are very similar. Having taught Korra for many years, Katara's own character must have had a huge influence on Korra. Both of them also taught themselves quite a bit of bending before they found a teacher as well. Oh yeah, Korra's a chip off the old block all right.
And adding onto that, Korra's 'reaction' in "When Extremes Meet" makes sense because Katara did much the same back in the first series. She clearly learned more than just waterbending from Katara.
Look at just how huge Republic City has become in just 70 years time, with many buildings being skyscrapers. Now that metalbending is commonplace, reinforced concrete and steel would have easily taken over as the choice of building construction. Rebar fabrication would be particularly simple with metalbending. Foundations would be no problem with Earthbending. Lightning bending could be used for welding. The fire nation had enough technical expertise to build a freaking Tunnel Boring machine the size of a small town! In Republic City, technology sharing would allow the combination of elements to do far more than what they could do alone. Road laying would be a piece of cake. We can go on and on as to just how bending centered the industry of the city might be, but it's clear that the bending arts must have given the industry a huge head start.
And the importance of bending in the everyday fabric of Republic City life would have likely increased the prestige and privileges afforded to benders in the city, accentuating the inequality between benders and non-benders, and sowing the seeds of discontent among non-benders that later allows Amon to gather such a large following.
However, if Mako and Bolin are anything to go by, there must be a lot of benders below the poverty line as well. Only while non-benders had to make do with small jobs like selling groceries, or living on the streets, the benders with the help of their abilities could form criminal gangs like the Triads, further widening the bender-non bender divide.
And in other way, this would have definitely helped Sato and the poor Cabbage Merchant. Benders have the "technical skills" for the job, but the guy who can figure out how to harness the skill to get the business rolling and build an empire out of it, that takes something else. As Sato puts it, he had the ideas and the business sense to make them work. So the city might have an extreme wealth divide between non-benders - a few rich guys at the top, and a huge number near rock bottom.
This also makes sense given the 1920s feel of the show. What kind of social unrest did the 1920s see? The rise of communist protests in the face of wealth inequality. Much like the Equalist rallies.
A Leaf in the Wind
Why was Korra so sloppy during her first Pro-Bending match even though Bolin had trained a bit with her? Besides not knowing any of the rules, Bolin taught her Earthbending techniques, not Waterbending (which she had to use).
The scene where Korra reveals to Bolin she is the Avatar seems to be a commentary on people being quick to judge mixed-race people as belonging to one group instead of both. The irony here is that Bolin is himself mixed.
Additional Fridge Brilliance in that it's actually pretty easy to see how Bolin could make that mistake. Despite being mixed-race himself, he and Mako still look exactly like your typical Earthbender and Firebender, respectively, instead of them having a mix of Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom traits. So while we have some oddballs like Tahno, it's still fairly easy to tell what element you bend depending on how you look.
Korra initially has trouble with moving like an airbender, as she tends to charge in headfirst and rely mostly on her strength to force things to dodge her. After she watches the match, and sees modern techniques for the first time, she is highly impressed, and gets help from Bolin. He teaches her how to be light on her feet, to not be so solid, and basically shows her the advantages of being able to react quickly and being able to dodge as opposed to planting herself to the ground and leaving herself open. Like Iroh figured out how to redirect lightning by watching waterbending, Korra figured out how to move like an airbender at least partially based on learning from an earthbender. The fact that both sets of elements are considered opposites probably helps, as it makes the benders look at things from a whole new perspective. Tenzin isn't the only one who "taught (Korra) those moves" when she starts moving like an airbender. As said in the episode, "Bolin's got some moves."
Korra is strong, but lacks restraint. Pro-bending, with its rules and regulations, is all about restraint. Also, now that she's on a team, and it isn't just her training, she has all the more reason to learn and practice her control.
Why does Tenzin change his mind about Korra's pro-bending so quickly? He shows the wisdom of a master airbender, when he encounters strong resistance, he changes his approach.
When Korra is trying to airbend at a photograph of Lin, she is inadvertently demonstrating precisely why she has so much trouble with it. Aggression is exactly the wrong sort of motivation for airbending, and Korra's aggressive personality is exactly why she can't grasp its principles.
At the start of the episode, when explaining how she's never been able to Airbend, Korra is wearing the sleeves of her air nomad clothing rolled up. Now while simply seems to be a bit of rebelliousness on her part, you have to remember that Korra has spent most of her life living in the South Pole. Not only must Republic City's climate (during the day) feel really warm to her, but she most likely enjoys being able to go out without having to wear clothes that cover her up.
Lightningbending is more common now? Well, Iroh seems to have made great leaps in HIS lightning bending by taking inspiration from the other bending disciplines. And since Republic City is a melting pot of the four nations and their cultures, it's likely that this free exchange of information between the bending arts has aided the spread of more specific and unusual forms of bending. It's like an industrial revolution for bending!
Alternatively, if Zuko went on to teach what he learned about the original source of firebending, then perhaps modern firebenders have an easier time using lightning because they are able to get into the proper mindset more readily. In other words, lightningbending was not as quite hard as benders of the old series thought, but rather the perversion of firebending into a rage-fueled art prevented most firebenders from being able to bend while simultaneously freeing themselves of emotion, which lightning bending requires.
If he really is lying for propaganda purposes, why does Amon claim that firebender killed his parents instead of a water- or earthbender? Because not only is the mental image of a fatal firebending attack that much more viscerally horrible than anything the other two can produce, but it plays on any lingering hatred people may still have toward the Fire Nation for the Hundred Years' War.
The Equalists have all been kicking bender ass rather easily. This makes sense as they are all trained specifically to take down benders, while the benders themselves, especially due to modernizing times, aren't all just focused on combat. This even makes sense for pro-Benders, pro-Benders fight at a distance and only focus on pushing back their opponents. Once a chi-blocker gets close...
On a related note, the only bender Ty Lee fought without chi-blocking was Aang, the last airbender. Korra, an airbending student, has to fight chi-blocking mooks.
Lightning Bolt Zolt runs the only pan-elemental Triad gang in the city, with other triads favoring specific elements and fighting turf wars against each other. So when Amon de-bends Zolt, he isn't just decapitating a major crime syndicate. He's depriving the criminal underworld of the only figure who has proven he can unite the various bending factions under one banner, leaving the Equalists to face a fractured underworld opposition.
Not just that. By removing a major organization, he's creating the perfect situation for the other triads to make a grab for the Triple Threats' territory, sparking a turf war between the triads that will weaken them, keep the police occupied and create more reason for non-benders to join the Equalists when there's open bender-on-bender fighting in the streets.
The brothers were rather easily taken out the Equalists lieutenant. Some have said this shows off their weakness in bending outside the ring, but if you think about it, they were hardly in top form. Mako, in addition to being worried about Bolin for a whole night and day, had been awake and searching for his brother all of the previous night, and had the fight with the chi-blockers, which probably led to a weakened state. Bolin had been kidnapped, presumably after a fight with the Equalists, and had been held captive for at least a night and a day. The conditions in which he was held are unknown, but we can assume that, at the very least, the Equalists kept their captives bound and chi-blocked. Both brothers would have been exausted, emotionally and physically, so it's really no wonder they were taken out so quickly.
The Lieutenant also had the advantage of the fight being in an alley. This makes it much harder for the brothers to dodge and easier for him to administer his finishing move by pinning them against the wall.
It seems rather convenient that Bolin is the last one in the line up, until you realize the first one is a notorious criminal. As he's the first demonstration, the crowd is likely to give immediate support, and likely to get more supportive as the demonstration continues with the other criminals. By the time they get to Bolin, the crowd's probably so riled up that they don't have the sympathy that they would have had earlier for a poor, wide-eyed, and obviously frightened teenaged boy.
This could also explain why they skip the sobbing man in the line-up after Zolt. The guy is obviously terrified, and could garner some sympathy from the audience because he would seem more humanized by his fright, and fighting him would make Amon appear cowardly.
When Korra sees Amon debend Lightning Bolt Zolt, she's terrified at the prospect of having the same done to her, and rightly so. But there's another subtle layer to her fear: Firebending is her natural/default choice of bending, and she'd just watched another firebender lose his ability right in front of her.
Why did Mako and Bolin run numbers and do "stuff" for the Triple Threats out of all the triad outfits in the city? Because they're Republic City's only pan-elemental triad. Each brother bends a different element, meaning none of the other triads would employ both of them, and if they each worked for a different triad then they might find themselves on opposite sides of a turf war.
Other than 'fairness', why did Amon give Lightning Bolt Zolt the chance to defend himself? Because he knew Zolt would demonstrate his bending before it got shut down, proving to the crowd that both Zolt and Amon's de-bending power were the real deal.
Mako and Bolin both get quick jobs in their efforts to make money for the tournament. Bolin's gang security job is one they come to him for likely because he is a bender, while Mako's electric plant job is 'impossible' to do as a non-bender. Clearly, they took the most well-paying jobs they could...What would two non-benders do in their places? Make less money, or not get employed at all (and certainly not be pro-benders to start with). It's a subtle way the show is saying that the Equalists do have a point.
The problem is without lightning-bending there doesn't seem to be any institution to take up the slack if the reserves of power fail. That means all the the tech, including what the Equalists use, will eventually die off without power to run it.
It's probable that the base power grid load is handled by an actual generator, and lightning bending helps with spikes and peak load.
Amon says that every war in every era started because of benders, however this isn't true. Does anyone remember the story of Omashu? Both villages were at war and none of them had benders. In fact, Oma stopped the war by using her earthbending. And Amon is a hypocrite because he, a non-bender, is starting a war against benders because they apparently start all wars.
Yes, the badguy's propaganda isn't true. This really shouldn't be a surprise.
Mako gets a job at a power plant but he's only seen there once. Well, he spent two nights and a day looking for Bolin, so it possible that he got fired for skipping work.
The Voice in the Night
Why is Korra so terrified of Amon and his Mooks being able to circumvent her bending? Well, consider how Korra has been a bending prodigy since a very young age, having already attained mastery of three elements during childhood. This has caused and reinforced a pretty high level of confidence, hence her cocky attitude. Now here comes along a group who can take the source of her confidence away, with a leader who can apparently do it permanently. The very prospect of losing her bending would be absolutely mind-shattering. Remember that Korra was raised in an isolated arena by the White Lotus, with no friend of her age, no social life to talk about, nothing to do or learn other than bending arts, no money, no means to sustain herself. Just like Amon told her in her nightmare at the begining of episode four, if you take Korra's bending away, she has NOTHING left.
And she found out she was the Avatar when she was four years old. Bending has been her whole identity for as long as she can remember. Maybe there was a reason they used to keep the Avatar a secret until s/he was sixteen...
Remember how Tahno, one of Amon's victims, looked after he bumped into Korra in the next episode? It's highly possible that Korra would end up in just as bad or even worse a state if Amon ever took her bending.
If Amon's power really is Energybending, then waging psychological warfare against Korra before having their decisive showdown makes perfect sense. Energybending is a contest of willpower, and a sufficiently spiritually strong target could turn it against Amon (something that nearly happened to Aang against Ozai when he used it). Which is already pretty bad for Korra since she is lacking in the spiritual aspect of being the Avatar. And the reason Amon is able to energybend modern benders' bending away so easily is because modern benders are turning away from the spiritual element of bending.
In this episode Korra deals with fear. In "Spirit of the Competition," Korra deals with Love and Grief. Is she unlocking the chakras with these experiences? So maybe these seemingly filler episodes aren't fillers and all, and Korra is going though a character arc that will allow her to master the spiritual side of bending.
Yuans to noddles, that is probably one reason for the Avatar to travel the world to train, so he or she can feel these feelings and then better work on opening the chakras.
And considering how the moment she dealt with her first chakra and Amon knocked her unconscious, she had visions of her past life flashing before her eyes. This could be a sign that Korra is finally growing a link between herself and the spiritual side of bending.
Why does Korra seem to grab the Idiot Ball when she challenges Amon to a one-on-one duel? Because in the previous episode she witnessed him giving Lightning Bolt Zolt and the other Triple Threats a chance to duel him and save their bending. Prior to his ambushing of her at the episode's climax, Korra has every reason to think of Amon as having a twisted sense of Honor Before Reason. It's only after the ambush that Korra learns, rather than being honorable, Amon gave those gangsters a chance to duel out of a sense of showmanship and PR savvy — the same reasons he doesn't take her bending away that night.
Maybe its something different. As we see Korra take off to meet Amon, we hear Tarlokk tell Tenzin that he has officers ready to run and help Korra if anything goes wrong. Amon, being the Genre SavvyManipulative Bastard he is, he probably knew that the council wouldn't keep their part of the deal. To sum it up, Amon didn't feel obligated to follow the one-on-one part of the challenge because the city didn't follow it either, even though Korra herself did.
Possibly a bit of Fridge Horror: Note how it's possible that Amon had operatives throughout Republic City's communications that allowed him to cut down telephone wires almost instantaneously? He used those same connections to inform him of Tarlokk's dirty trick.
Why doesn't Amon take away Korra's bending? Sure, he says it's so she doesn't become a martyr to benders, but let's face it, Korra's hasn't exactly got everyone on her side. Why not just get rid of her now so she can't cause anymore trouble for them? Think about the only other known energybender; the Avatar. Amon sees himself as a new type of Avatar. And in what cases did the Avatar end a war where a group of people were bullying and opressing others by making their hot-headed leader with an affinity for fire powerless through energybending? Aang vs. Ozai. Leaving Korra for last is rife with symbolism that fits perfectly into Equalist propaganda.
The Voice in the Night throws in another blink-and-you-miss-it hint about Amon that you can only really catch after finishing the finale. Think back to Out of the Past, and how Korra's visions were a not so subtle hint from Aang about Tarrlok's identity as both a bloodbender and Yakone's son. Now look back at the end of The Voice in the Night, where Korra gets an extremely short flashback from Yakone's trial (before we really knew who he was). Seeing as Korra had just been confronted by a certain other son of Yakone/bloodbender, it's entirely possible that this was Aang's way of dropping a hint about who Amon is, and just what Korra's up against.
The Spirit of Competition
Korra is somewhat reconnecting with her Water Tribe roots. The Water tribe cuisine reminds her of home, she continues waterbending at tournaments as always, and even shows that she is a healer. This is in contrast to her usual hot-tempered firebending and illustrate her Character Development as a less heated person.
There is a double meaning behind the episode's title. It not only begins the Tournament Arc for Pro-Bending, but it also centres around the Love Dodecahedron between Korra, Mako, Asami, and Bolin.
A minor, blink-and-you'll-miss-it thing: The Buzzard Wasp's firebender wears a topknot.
Shiro Shinobi's continued narrating. He was on live radio to the whole city. They likely heard him being attacked, after hearing his terror and him summing up the devastation. If Shiro is a non-bender, then that could have been a calculated move, to show that the Equalists will attack non-benders too and that they're not the Well-Intentioned Extremist types, but make them out as an evil organization to the public.
Even better, he used to be a reporter who covered the Triads before becoming an announcer. Intense action is something he's used to, so he wouldn't be phased when Amon attacked.
That experience makes his line about wetting himself even better. Not only is he telling his audience, bender and nonbender alike, that Amon's forces are the scary, awful bad guys, he's saying that they're worse than the triad criminals he used to cover. Convincing anyone who heard that and is familiar with Shiro's background that the Equalists are heroes is going to be a hard sell.
Look at Amon's first victim during The Revelation, Now look at who he goes after first in this episode. Notice what they have in common? They're both firebenders.
The way Amon is creating A God Am I aura in Magnificent Bastard fashion, he's clearly the Avatar Universe's version of the Antichrist, directly opposing the Avatar. And both characters were inspired from Gods in different cultures. Enough said.
The Satos were briefly shown attending the match in a private box. The next episode casts this in an interesting light. Maybe Hiroshi took that as an opportunity to help supply the attack. More importantly and more likely, he knew Asami would be attending the match and would fight back, especially if the Fire Ferrets had won and her boyfriend was being purified in front of her. An Equalist locking the Satos in was probably one of the first things to happen during the attack.
Tenzin says that Lin and Aang "got along famously". Notice that most of Lin's moves involve being in the air.
While Amon is making his escape, Korra creates a water twister that randomly collapses. Later, in Skeletons in the Closet, she is able to make another one no problem. Why? Because Amon is a waterbender- he messed up Korra's water twister to keep her from following him.
There's another potential explanation; look at the way the scene plays out. First we have a shot of Korra ascending to follow Amon, then she gets a look of doubt on her face, THEN her twister collapses. Why is that? Well, let's think about it: Korra's a headstrong, "look before you leap" kind of gal, we've seen that numerous times. When she jumps out into the water she almost immediately decides to chase after Amon rather than stopping to consider the ramifications: two episodes ago this was the man who had her on her knees, helpless, and told her that he was going to destroy her when the time was right. This encounter terrified and traumatized her so deeply that she breaks down sobbing in Tenzin's arms soon after. Her water twister breaking apart isn't Amon messing with her via waterbending: it's her own doubt eating away at her as she realizes "wait a minute, am I nuts?" Which makes Lin's save a moment later even more awesome when you consider the subtext: She's not just helping Korra reach Amon, she's giving her the backbone to face him. You can almost hear her saying "Quit wussing out and go knock that stupid mask off his stupid face."
Episodes 7- 12
There are a couple of stealth Call Backs in this episode dealing with metal-bending. Remember that Toph invented metal-bending by bending impurities left after refining the metal of her time. She was able to do this by 'seeing' the impurities. Lin finds the tunnel by using the exact same 'sense', because you have to be able to use that sense to metal-bend in the first place! At the same time, the reason Lin couldn't metal-bend the hidden factory gate or the anti-bending tanks is because the metal is pure - there are no impurities to bend (or at least so little even she can't spot it) because technology has made refining so good! Sato says that they can't bend it because it is platinum and platinum is especially pure. This is a neat little metallurgical reference since it is possible to find chunks of absolutely pure platinum in nature. Excellent use of Magic A Is Magic A.
And since the Avatar world is so dependent on bending, rather than science, they probably have no clue about platinum's greatest weakness- it is a metal and a powerful catalyst, making it vulnerable to electricity and intense temperatures (the suit won't melt, but the pilot has no protection against the heat), and it will catalyze the combustion of volatile fuels and nitrogen oxides. You throw gasoline on that thing and it bursts into flames, and firebending can re-direct the flames to do more damage.
To add to the Platinum points, it must be noted that Platinum is a major industrial catalyst for all sorts of processes, and it's mainly used in the Catalytic converters found in engine exhaust systems, as well as catalytic reforming to produce high octane gasoline - cue the Satomobile. It suddenly strikes you that given how abundant Platinum is in the Avatar verse, catalytic converters and industrial catalysts could have already been invented by that time and Sato could have go the idea for using the Platinum to make his mechs. It gives an excuse for him ordering the kind of supplies he would need to make that many mechs. Also fairly strong magnets could be made out of a platinum-cobalt alloy, though to go as far as how they worked in Episode 10 would require some Artistic License.
Asami says that her father had her take martial arts so she could protect herself. Makes sense given what happened to his wife.
Further, depending on how far back his alliances go, he may have been preparing her to become an equalist chi blocker.
The Chakras, my word, the Chakras! This series is playing out the awakening of the chakras as it progresses. Korra has dealt with fear, guilt, shame, grief, lies and probably illusion with each successive episode apart from learning Freedom of spirit since her years at the South pole. Now she's almost ready to master the spiritual side of being the Avatar. Only one more chakra to go.
It makes sense why she couldn't master the spiritual side easily. She was locked up in a cozy, cocooned world and had none of the life changing experiences or the kind of training that Aang received. But now it looks like all that might just be about to change.
Especially since the whole point of the Avatar Cycle is giving the planet's spirit a chance to experience life from a mortal perspective. Locking it up in a compound was detrimental to what the Avatar spirit wanted/needed.
The Lieutenant wiped the floor with Bolin and Mako and is evenly matched with Korra, but Asami manages to take him out in a matter of seconds. Why? Because she's been trained in hand-to-hand combat almost her entire life. Benders usually fight from a distance, which is why the Equalists have quite an advantage over them once they get in their personal space.
Also regular kung fu was very effective against the Chi Blockers' close quarters combat in the previous series itself - observe how Sokka and Suki manged to dodge or block Ty Lee's attacks.
Notice the way that the metalbender cops move into the room when investigating Sato's secret lair? Notice how they sweep the room visually, covering each other's blind spots with their stance ready to metalbend at an instants notice? They're basically using SWAT tactics, except with bending.
Notice how Lin Beifong turns her steel cables into a type of wrist daggers to tear through the cockpit of one of the mecha? That weapon is very similar to an Indian dagger known as the Katara.
In terms of sheer offensive/defensive power, the mechs seem laughably inferior to a coordinated group of benders. It's hard to believe that the mechs could stand up to any of the serious bending seen in ATLA, especially earth and water (tip them, impale them, bury them, or just plain crush them). The thing is, they don't have to. They will be fighting mainly in the city, where opposing benders have to restrain themselves, lest they cause collateral damage. Plus large-scale combat bending probably hasn't seen much use and is probably frowned upon in the aftermath of the 100-year war. The Mechs reflect Amon's penchant for creating win-win situations. As seen in the episode, they are excellent for subduing benders, even masters like Lin and Tenzin. They also look impressive and threatening, which is always good. But they also employ 'clean' weapons that cause little to no collateral damage. Last but not least, if benders go all-out against these machines, they probably will end up damagin the city / hurting civilians, which only fuels Amon's propaganda machine.
Not only does she parallel Zuko in defying her father to follow the Avatar, she also shocks him with lightning before she leaves, just as Zuko did.
The Mecha Tanks being Human shaped is beneficial as a PR move. If it were a regular tank it would just look like more violence and aggression, while a human-shaped tank would more resemble someone defending themself.
More importantly, tanks are not new technology in the Avatar—who was the last one to use them, after all?
Hiroshi has two taser gloves, and offers Asami the right one. He's asking her to be his right hand.
When Extremes Meet
How is Tarrlok able to bloodbend even though it isn't a full moon? He has a very cruel personality and bloodbending is implied to require an aggressive behavior.
This easily applies to Hama and Katara as well: Hama clearly had both traits, whereas Katara only did so twice (one under a full moon, and one when she was extremely angry).
Also, while it is not a full moon, Tarrlok still does have a power boost since it is winter.
Tarrlok's decision to put the non-benders in a curfew at first might be just a case of pure irrational paranoia and What the Hell (supposed to be a) Hero?, since it obviously will further attract Equalists sympathy and possibly more of the Equalists attacks. But Tarrlok was not shown to be an idiot, he obviously knew about what will transpire of his actions, the only explanation is that he wanted those to happen. Why? Because Tarrlok's a bloodbender, if Amon ever decided to face Tarrlok, then it will be a very short fight. Amon may be able to dodge lightning, but he can't dodge that. Tarrlok already have the full force of metalbenders and his own task force, and he calculated (wrongly) the Avatar will too since he has her friends. He might be a corrupt, arrogant, bribing, rude political extremist, but he still wants those Equalists taken out. Tarrlok already has a large influence on the council, if he just wanted more power he'd take Tenzin out.
And the next episode, HE FACES AMON! too bad Amon actually can resist bloodbending, which would make it a good expample of a Batman Gambit gone wrong.
In general, Tarrlok's fighting style seems custom-built to take out Equalists. He starts the fight by covering himself in a sphere of water that would stop chi-blockers and redirect electrical attacks, then shoots a stream of ice shards too closely spaced to dodge and too wide to sidestep. The blood bending is just the cherry on top.
Yakone's neck clasp/button/thingie is a crescent Moon, one the exact same shape as the Moon seen over Republic City in the episode's closing shot. That symbol ties together Yakone and Tarrlok because they are both bloodbenders who can bend at times besides a full Moon in addition to being father and son.
Tarrlok choosing attempt to put Korra on a bus instead of just killing her seems silly, and perhaps Executive Meddling due to it being nominally a kid's show. However, it actually makes sense: Kill her, and she'll reincarnate in some random earthbender anywhere in the world. Imprisoning her somewhere isn't perfect, but at least she'll be a known variable in a known location. This also implies Tarrlok is playing the long game (possibly tying in with some of the "Tarrlok is Yakone" WMG's), if the ten to sixteen years it would take for the next Avatar to grow up isn't enough time for his plans to come to fruition.
In fact, the reincarnation issue is exactly why Ozai wanted Aang captured alive in the original series; if he had died he would have been reincarnated as a waterbender and they would have had to start the search all over again.
Did anyone see how Korra was very much like Avatar Kyoshi when it comes to raw power and cracking the whip to extreme levels? No wonder air is her opposite.
If that were be the case, then it gives another Fridge Brilliance to the original series. Kyoshi has fans as her special weapon (instead something more of earthbending), to give a tribute to airbending as her greatest obstacle in training. Another thing is while she said that she did not stand down from Chin the Conqueror, she moved away her home from Chin's army instead of just destroying them. While she did killed Chin in the process, she technically ran away from battle. The airbending, with her fans, while moving the island is a nice visual touch.
They also share the same temperament as Choleric too. All Korra needs to do is mature more in personality and Kyoshi would approve of her as a fitting Avatar.
In the chase of the Equalists, the chi-blockers easily defeat Bolin and almost got Mako. So why didn't they improve much in fighting unlike Korra? Unlike her, they haven't been joining in much of the Equalist investigations and they are more skilled in pro-bending style of bending while Korra has been involved since the attack, even getting some dodging skills thanks to airbending practice (even with no air produced yet). If they weren't imprisoned with Asami, they should seriously do some level-grinding.
Early in the episode, the Krew capture an Equalist truck and escaped fugitives, and she takes the time to crack a remark how Tarrlok's task force was late. If one considers that Asami noted the police channels were installed in Satomobiles, it wasn't that the task force was inefficient, but that the Equalists they are tracking down were hearing in on their commands and evading them every turn.
How many questions did Ikki Motor Mouth to Katara in the first episode? Five. How many questions did Bolin Motor Mouth to Ikki? Five. Clearly Ikki is as quick witted in her answers as her questions.
In his conversation with Korra, Tarrlok speaks of their shared willingness to go to extremes. We see this character trait recur again in the finale: murder-suicide to stop Amon permanently is quite extreme indeed, but he did warn us...
Out Of The Past
Tenzin's exasperated statement, "Being the Avatar isn't all about fighting. When will you ever learn?" way back in Episode 2 is practically foreshadowing to this moment. When Korra realizes she can no longer fight her way out of the box, that's when she starts to look beyond it and connect with Aang and the spiritual side. She thinks everything can be solved with fighting. When it can't, then she shows that she does in fact have considerable spiritual ability, on par with Aang in ATLA season 3. She isn't spiritually weak by any means, it's just that she's too proud and thinks she doesn't need it. It appears Tenzin's spiritual training was hardly a waste of time. It did sink in once life handed her a big Wham.
Also her motive behind meditating was to ask Aang to suggest a way out of the box.
Mako's intense caring about Korra, while sweet, is a bit jarring considering Asami is right there beside him at all of these moments. Why is he this oblivious to her feelings now? Then you think about it: when Hiroshi offered to sponsor the Fire Ferrets, Mako was glad about this, and probably stayed with Asami partially to please her father (or so he thought). In other words, Mako's relationship with Asami might merely be Friends with Benefits in a way, even if it's untentional or unknown on his part.
Doesn't help that this is a matter where Korra could be dead or badly harmed for all they know.
Also remember, Mako is an orphan and only has one family member, his brother. Bolin has probably had many close calls himself. Mako is more emotional about Korra's disappearance because he can't bear to lose anyone close to him. Bolin was likely young when their parents died and probably doesn't remember the event much. Part of it was also guilt. Mako said that they'd support her with helping Republic City, they end up in jail and she's been taken by Tarrlok. He probably felt that if he'd been there Korra would still be safe.
Further food for thought: since Mako had to take care of his brother since they were young, he had to be tough and strong... so in other words, not very good with emotions, and leds to easily being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. And because he's so awkward with normal emotions, the workings of a relationship are even worse for him... and even worse, as part of that, he's unaware of the side-effects of his actions, including in "Turning the Tides".
Also, the fact that he's a Promoted To Parent to Bolin, he may not act like that because he has feelings for her, it may probably because seeing her hurt activates his Bolin-raising Mama Bear instincts.
He is also more cynical and pessimistic than most of the Krew. He might have thought of the worst-case scenario immediately, and then Korra showed up barely conscious on Naga, half-frozen and covered in cuts. Without the experience and maturity of Lin, he couldn't keep his emotions in check.
Tarrlok seems dependent on a Healer for his wounds despite being an expert Waterbender. Perhaps am indication he lacks the sanity and moral clarity to have Healing skills.
Not necessarily. He may have been using the fact he was being healed to play up his injuries and further project his supposed powerlessness in the situation.
Also, as of 70 years ago, it was traditional in the Northern Water Tribe for male waterbenders to learn combat techniques and women to learn healing techniques. Katara broke through that glass ceiling, but it isn't unreasonable to think that there might still be some amount of schism between the two disciplines; at least to the point that most waterbenders would specialize in one over the other.
Maybe he couldn't physically reach the zapped area with the healing water? It must be harder to heal yourself than someone else because of all the parts of you that are hard to reach.
It is rather strange that Lin had almost no trouble breaking the team out of prison, but you have to remember two things: She knows how the system works and knows how to deal with things and it is implied she is adored and respected by her subordinates. They are perfectly fine turning a blind eye for her.
How are Yakone and Tarrlok able to knock people unconscious with bloodbending with a few hand movements? They are shifting the blood at fast enough speeds to raise it and then drop it so the victims are instantly hit unconscious with such a drop in blood pressure. Bending got scientific!
Cutting off blood flow to the brain will cause someone to pass out within thirteen seconds. Conversely, it takes quite a bit of effort to kill someone this way, as you have to keep the brain deprived of oxygen for at least five minutes for brain damage to set in.
Korra manages to access Aang's memories, and promptly uses heretofore undisplayed Guile Hero skills. Tenzin was correct on how easy it gets once it clicks.
Tarrlok is a waterbender with an obsession with furthering his evil father's plans by social manipulation. He's an Evil Counterpart to Zuko, who was, as a teenager, a firebender with daddy issues who was trying to redeem himself via brute force. Zuko was bad and turned good, Tarrlok was ostensibly good and became actually publicly bad. So what does that make Amon? Mysterious, wears dark clothes, closed off, good at public speaking, charismatic, not able to bend—holy crap, he's the anti-Aang.
Tarrlok says that he did not want to be Yakone's son anymore. Keep this in mind through the two times Tarrlok is compared to someone. Firstly, in "The Voice in the Night", Tarrlok mentions Aang's campaign against Yakone, and Tenzin becomes outraged that Tarrlok would compare himself to his father. What Tenzin doesn't know is that Tarrlok is comparing Amon to his own father. Then, when Korra calls out Tarrlok on being like Amon, this angers him. This is because all his life he has been trying to be unlike his father. So he decided to see his father in the villain he was going after. When Korra compares him to Amon, she is comparing him to his father in Tarrlok's eyes. How much Tarrlok is actually like his father comes down on him in "Out of the Past", when he and Amon re-stage Aang's defeat of Yakone, just like Tarrlok wanted, except Amon was Aang, and Tarrlok was Yakone, the father he didn't want to be.
Not sure where you're getting this. Tarrlok never says he didn't want to be his father's son, just that he had to disguise/eliminate that connection. He also states that his father failed due to his methods. He's just as ambitious and cruel as his father, and seems to have the same goal, trying to succeed where his father could not.
It's no wonder Tarrlok would compare himself to Aang- he's trying to outdo his dad, and implicitly the one who had defeated him as well.
The revelations in the finale actually seem to heavily back this up. The realisation of just how much he has become like his abusive father ends up being one of the things that drives him toMurder Suicide.
Yakone's trial scene. Take a look at who're the members of the City Council. Sokka, for the Southern Water Tribe and an Air Acolyte for the Air Nomads, both non-benders. So there was non-bender representation for Republic City in the past which ensured everything was well. Tenzin and Aang of course would care about the normal folk, but leaving them aside, ever since Aang and then Sokka passed away, there have been no non-benders on the board to represent the City and that's probably what gave Tarrlok his breakthrough. Every since then, only Tenzin has been around who would care about the welfare of the non-benders and Tarrlok has always ensured he is powerless to achieve anything in the Council's decision. Which explains one of the reasons why Republic City has fallen so far out of balance since the Gaang's time.
In the current Councils defense, has there been any statement made that all the members are benders, and not just non-benders representing the bending oriented nations, like Sokka was?
They voted, unanimously, for a highly reactionary curfew on non-benders so it seems likely all of them are benders. The Republic City Game shows the Fire Nation member bending but neither of the others. Its shocking how little information is available about them, we know more about several one scene character than any of the council outside of Tenzin and Tarrlok.
On both occasions where he removed a villain's bending, Aang has used the power of the Avatar state to overwhelm the opponent (it kicked in when he was about to be overcome by Ozai's spirit and against Yakone, you can see the glow as he energybends). It may be that Aang wants Korra to know about Energybending and how the enormous power of the Avatar State can help her out. It's foreshadowing to the moment where Amon will attempt to take away Korra's bendng and it might be the solution to stop his energy from disabling hers and reverse it, possibly purifying or destroying Amon instead.
It seems that Amon's "No Martyr" policy wasn't just an excuse to not kill of Korra. You'll realize he didn't go after Tarrlok until after he became a public enemy. Word of Tarrlok's treachery would have easily reached Amon after the crew attacked the Equalist base.
There's been a great deal of audience discussion over the differences between how Aang and Amon remove people's bending, but others have brought up the possibility that it's just a coincidence. How can the show's creator's address this without specifically calling attention to it? By showing Aang and Amon de-bending a powerful bender in the same episode. They're even under near-identical circumstances, taking out a powerful bloodbender who had just disabled their allies.
Aang was unable to resist Yakone's bloodbending until the Avatar state killed in, at which point he threw it off completely. Amon was able to resist it, but was clearly pushing hard against it the whole time.
As before, Aang enters the Avatar state and touches chakras on the forehead and heart. Amon engages in no light show, and touches chakras on the forehead and back of the neck (the Amon chakra).
Demonstrating this difference in a single episode makes it very clear that it is intentional on the creators' part, without calling attention to it in dialogue. It also means that Korra is the only person who has seen both Aang and Amon remove someone's bending, putting her in a position to realize there is a difference.
It seems odd that Amon decides to carry freshly de-bended Tarrlok away himself while his flunkies retrieve Korra, though the audience has seen that taking someone's bending doesn't noticeably slow him down, and he's well aware that Korra won't just passively let herself be taken, he even warns them about it. Couldn't he just let one of the unnamed chi-blockers stow Tarrlok away? But in the finale we see that he's Tarrlok's brother and he does still care for him. Plus, his flunkies had just been bloodbent and bloodbenders are seen as horrifying even by people who don't hate benders in general; they might have 'accidentally' dropped Tarrlok or something.
When Tarrlok is is outted as a bloodbender, his first instict is to flee to start a new life. That's exactly what his father, Yakone, did decades prior. He already knew that that strategy would work.
The name of the episode is Fridge Brilliance, and a huge hint about Amon's identity to boot. Before the finale, most people would just assume that "Out of the Past" refers to Korra's visions of her past life through Aang, and Tarrlok connection to Yakone. However, now that we know Amon and Tarrlok are brothers, the title takes on an entirely new meaning. It was referring not only to Korra's visions of Aang, but to Tarrlok and Noatak/Amon's first meeting in 20-odd years. Especially poignant when you remember that Tarrlok believed that Noatak had perished in the snowstorm back when they were children.
What's especially brilliant is that when they were children, Tarrlok buckled under the cruelty of his father's training and refused to bloodbend his own brother, causing the events leading to the two brothers separating. But now after many years, when the two brothers again meet face to face, he finally ends up bloodbending Amon after all, not realizing who the Equalist leader is. What a way to come full circle! It probably had a not-so-insignificant part in Tarrlok's realization that he had indeed crossed the Moral Event Horizon he tried to avoid.
That incident is a huge Chekhov's Gun considering how long it took for the consequences to backfire against Amon/Noatak. This guy had no hesitation bloodbending his little brother, which later allowed Tarrlok to recognize his brother when Amon used it again to take his bending, which in turn allowed Korra to expose him as a fraud. It's not very different from Ozai's own cruelty to Zuko, which several years later, results in Zuko joining team Avatar and making Ozai his own Unwitting Instigator of Doom.
Keep in mind that Tarrlok hesitating to bloodbend his brother during training it very different to freely using bloodbending on a known terrorist organisation and its leader in self-defence. His willingness to bloodbend Korra was far more significant.
Tarrlok tells Amon, "You fool! You've never seen bending like mine!", before trying to bloodbend him. But in fact, Amon/Noatak has specifically mastered this type of bendingand being Tarrlok's brother and training partner, he knows better than anybody about Tarrlok's abilities. Just how much stronger Amon was can be seen when he overcame it with just psychic bloodbending alone.
Also his statement, "I am the solution", in response to Tarrlok's question of just how Amon seems to be immune to his bloodbending is actually the answer to Amon takes away people's bending - a modified form of bloodbending with chi-blocking.
Also in that same episode, Sokka's statement that he's seen people with rare and unique bending abilities is Foreshadowing the whole nature of Amon's mysterious capabilities as well, apart from the obvious connection to Tarrlok's.
Turning the Tides
While it may seem surprising how the Equalists are taken down so easily by Tenzin's kids, it becomes immediately clear of just how much of an advantage airbending has over them. Their close range combat styles, their gas attacks and their weapons are totally useless if you just blow them away from you, and an air spout can just throw them around like a tornado. Did we mention that Airbenders are very good at dodging and can still do moves with their hands tied? While the Equalists optimized their combat styles to take advantages of the weaknesses in the bending styles of the other 3 elements, they probably never had much of any chance at seeing airbending styles of combat. All one has to do is blast them into something hard because there is only so much punishment a human body can take. As Tenzin shows, a very powerful blast of air can send even a Mecha Tank flying over the roof if you hit it hard enough. The Airball (introduced way back in ATLA Episode 3) could knock down multiple opponents at lightning speed.
Even the Equalists' planes could crash if one just cut the airflow over the wings. You actually wonder just what the airbenders could unleash if they weren't trained to hold back and fight defensively. That air slice move can cut rocks and split a buzzard wasp (or even a person) clean in two!
Plus the fact that Airbenders can quickly get away on their flying bison, which themselves can pack a wallop. Or they could outrun their opponent and jump over impossible heights that could get anyone else killed.
This also directly extends from the particular advantages Korra gained by using the airbending movements had in Pro-bending.
Furthermore, it's simple logic: Not only have the Equalists all trained on how to fight Firebenders, Earthbenders, and Waterbenders, but not Airbenders, but most of the people they've captured have been teenagers and adults. But right now there are a grand total of four living Airbenders (possibly five now), three of which are children. Sounds like the Equalists didn't have their guards up.
Also, with Fire-, Earth-, and Waterbending, they could see what was coming and dodge. Air is invisible. We can only see it because we're the audience, and it's more visually interesting for us to see the wind. Also, without the visual cue, most of what the airbenders do would look silly.
And also why Tenzin is the only council member they failed to capture. Airbending naturally counters their acrobatics and close range attacks, as well as their projectiles. Notice he also stood the longest against the Mechatanks back when they first appeared.
While it's quite clear that Lin has gone beyond her anger at being dumped by Tenzin, her last act of Badassery as a bender just shows who she is under her tough exterior. She looks at Pema, the frightened kids and her newborn baby and then makes the decision to go for the Heroic Sacrifice. It was not just I Want My Beloved to Be Happy, but she also cared as much for Pema and the kids as she did for Tenzin. Before that you see the way she appreciated their Curb-Stomp Battle against the Equalist mooks, she was proud of them. It shows you just how much Character Development she's been through since that time when she tried throwing Pema in jail.
And what about her remaining Defiant to the End against Amon? She'd rather die or lose her bending rather than betray Korra. You also see how far her relationship with Korra has come along since the first Episode.
Now the Equalists have their own airships, and in the finale they have biplanes with bombs. It seems rather impossible that they should have a small nation's worth of firepower at their disposal, but if Sato's wealthy enough to process platinum like steel and built the police airships, it's not so surprising, especially when you consider that he might be spending his entire fortune only to avenge his wife.
But then comes the question of how do they build things as big as an airship in a city without it being noticed? Answer: They don't. The most likely solution is that they have a base up in the mountains far away from the city where they build all the stuff and launch from the high ground. The airships back in ATLA could cross continents, so they can be built very far away indeed. It also might explain how the Equalists found Tarrlok so fast. More than one villain sees the advantage of the the mountains. As for shipping parts, etc...we can easily see how many non-benders are on Amon's side - there are insiders practically everywhere in the city's industry. And it's certain that raw materials are shipped in from outside for manufacturing within the city. So put up a plant far away from the city and the cops and there you are. They've had the time between Aang's death and Korra's arrival to establish themselves and it's all the time they need.
The simplest explanation is often the correct one. It's likely that Republic City had those vehicles for their own defense force or some such thing, and when Amon took control of the city he gained access to those weapons. Republic City is home to Future Industries, after all, they could have been working on a new type of sleek and fast airship.
Doesn't explain the Equalist paint job though, the airships are specifically designed for the Equalist tactics and no one is able to track something as utterly conspicuous as an entire airship fleet ready for take off and landing in a crowded city? So they must be attacking from a far away base, and their new models outrun and out-range the police airships. Something the size of an airship manufacturing plant with testing facilities is too huge to put inside a crowded city. Sato's industrial empire certainly isn't just confined to the city, but possibly extends all over the United Republic and maybe even the other nations. The mountains would be the best place to put them, since they can be accessed more easily by air.
Not that there's even need for anything that complex: no-one would question Sato's directions in building the airships, since there's nothing overtly subversive about them, unlike with the mecha tanks, and Equalists would only have to slap on a new paint job and attach few weapons to turn completely innocuous blimps into weapons of war.
Which is exactly what the Germans did to civilian luxury Zeppelins prior to and during World War One. Leave the improvement of the designs to the civil market forces, and then poach the resultant airships, load them up with machine guns and bombs, then paint some iron crosses on them... And hey presto! Instant aerial armada.
Pema's Oh Crap face. Funny as it was, she was indirectly the cause for Mako and Asami's little talk there. In the seconds between Asami's little quip, and when she nervously exits, she might be slowly putting the pieces together: that these are Korra's friends' she gave advice on a Love Triangle, and this couple in front of her is having an issue. So when she pulled her Oh Crap face, she probably realized she indirectly made things worse!
Another addition is that she was in a heated love triangle herself and knew what was about to unfold. Although, she could have stayed around and consult the two.
Remember how, back in Episode 1, Pema mentioned that she wanted her new baby to be like her, a non-bender? Rohan's eyes hint this may be so. Alone among the four children, he shares the same eye color as Pema.
Tenzin dodging the three Equalist electrical weapons aimed at him. Beard senses tingling or not, he is an Airbending master: he sensed the disturbance in the air when they fired, barely allowing him to dodge.
Skeletons In The Closet
Bolin says that Gommu cooks the finest street gruel he'd ever tasted, which might have been a Overly Narrow Superlative from somebody who didn't spend their childhood struggling for survival on the streets.
Why was Amon able to resist Tarrlok's bloodbending? The same reason as the original series: Amon/Noatak was a bloodbender just like Tarrlok, only more powerful.
Why would Korra's visions about Tarrlok being a bloodbender kick in several times when Amon attacked Korra, and why Tarrlok when Amon is a more dangerous? Of course now it makes sense Aang was not just warning about Tarrlok beeing a bloodbender, it was about Amon, also son of Yakone, too.
Look at the spots that Amon touches when he takes someones bending. Amon uses his bloodbending to block the Sound and Light charkas.
How was Hiroshi Sato able to create all these airplanes and blimps under the nose of the United Republic Council's eye? Well, who's to say they didn't know. Who makes the police blimps? Future Industries. So, Hiroshi could just have brought them to the Council and billed them as updated versions of the current blimps, modernised and newly refurbished. In which case, if he got a government contract, the zeppelins night have well been paid for by the United Republic Council from taxpayer's money, under the impression that they would replace the current police airships.
Actually nobody knew about the airplanes. It must have been another secret project, which is not uncommon in Real Life either.
It's not too hard to understand how Amon's bloodbending works. Waterbending Healing repairs and restores damaged tissues and chi paths in the body. Amon uses bloodbending to destroy the chi paths, or worse, some sort of brain damage. It explains why his victims are left so weak and depressed.
Now we know why the Yakone flashbacks kept coming whenever Korra was beaten by either Amon or Tarrlok. Aang wanted her to understand the truth about both of them.
That, and how she was caught between their opposing Evil Plans.
It might seem strange at first that Noatak and Tarrlok are given so much character development in this episode only to die by Murder Suicide in the next episode. If you think about it, though, their development is just as much a part of Korra's story as it is theirs — they weren't created as separate individuals, but variations on a theme. All three have unique bending abilities that they're raised to believe gives them purpose, and each attempts to define themselves as a savior figure — Korra as the Avatar, Tarrlok as a Councilman, and Noatak as Amon. All three attempt to become Republic City's savior using force, all three grow desperate and reckless when that identity is threatened, and all three are forced into drastic changes when those identities are stripped from them. Unfortunately for Tarrlok and Noatak, those changes lead only to suicide and death, whereas Korra is able to cope with her despair and finally understand what her Avatar identity means.
In Tarrlok's flashback, we hear Noatok/Amon tells his father "You keeps saying that bloodbending is the most powerful thing in the world, but it's not; the Avatar is."Boy does this come back to bite him.
The Lieutenant began to suspect Amon when Korra called him out as a bloodbender and followed him to find out the truth. He must have realized it could be true since he saw Amon resisting Tarrlok's bloodbending and knew that was the only way it could be done. And why Tarrlok had been kept as Amon's special prisoner.
Remember when Amon said he would "destroy" Korra? While at first it seems like a case of Never Say "Die", this episode reveals it was his Exact Words. When Korra and Mako attempt to reveal Amon's identity as a Bloodbender to undermine his reputation, he completely reversed the situation with his fake scars, turning the entire audience (assumed to be the vast majority of the city's non-benders) against her. He later proceeds to take her bending away, which at this point leaves her with nothing. She has no powers, no reputation, and - under the assumption that he's just won - no hope. He well and truly destroyed the Avatar. Until Korra gains her Airbending and outs him as the liar.
Why was Korra able to air-bend, even after Amon had taken away her bending? Amon takes his victims bending away by physical means (bloodbending). As air is the most spiritual of all the bending elements, Korra's airbending potential was not affected by Amon's block.
Or it was a case where she turned to her spiritual side in another moment of helplessness. While she was not as realized as Aang that she could energybend her connections to all 4 elements, it was still enough to restore her connection to air, which was the most spiritual of the elements and which was spiritually the "nearest" within reach. Had Korra been a fully realized Avatar, she could have undone Amon's bloodbending completely with the Avatar State.
The most plausible reason is the chakras. She was able to airbend when Mako was in danger of losing his bending. Which is the chakra that is opened by love? THE AIR CHAKRA, located in the heart. The first 3 chakras deal with Earth, Water and Fire respectively. When this chakra opened, it gave Korra her spiritual connection to the air element, and that did the trick.
How did Aang get the grip of Earthbending? He was forced to hold his ground and force the moose-lion head on to save Sokka, who would have been killed if he had dodged on that run. Now that he's got the attitude, he has no more issues with it. How did Korra get the grip over Airbending? When Mako was in danger. It really doesn't take that long to get the hang of it. Seeing a loved one in danger is one of the most powerful triggers that removes all physical and psychological limits that the brain imposes on the body for its safety.
Or even simpler than that, Amon never took away her airbending in the first place. Why? Because he couldn't! He had never debent an airbender before; He never got the chance to take away Tenzin and his family's. and probably assumed that it was no different from the other elements. He was wrong.
Why does airbending seem to be the most effective element to use against bloodbending? Because it is the opposite of bloodbending. Air is freedom, and what is bloodbending if not enslavement?
Why did Amon just wear makeup to look like he was scarred? Because that way he can just wash it off and move about unnoticed. If he had surgery, he'd attract too much attention. It explains how he could appear out of nowhere in Episode 6
Meta example of Fridge Brilliance. The resolve of the finale almost seemed too easy Amon and Tarrlok are dead, Korra learns to airbend, get's her own bending back as well as the ability to return everyone elses bending. The exceedingly happy ending really is a good idea, that way the series isn't forced to end on a cliff hanger if Nickelodeon decides not to go forward with the next season.
It should be stated Korra was originally just going to be twelve episodes, and that the decision for a second season likely came during a point where they couldn't change the plot if they tried.
Mako tells Korra he realized he loved her when they were looking for her back in Out of the Past. which easily explains his seemingly strange behaviour since the episode.
How did Amon take away bending? Bloodbending. How did Yakone try to kill Aang? Bloodbending. How did Aang overcome Yakone? The Avatar State. How did Korra get her bending back? The Avatar State. That vision wasn't just a warning, it was also the solution.
Amon/Noatak's single tear just 2 seconds before the boat blew up and Tarrlok's statement that "It will be just like the good old days...". He probably knew his brother was lying because there was no way that they could go back to the way they were before, and it makes you wonder if he knew what was coming.
Also, Noatak might have been able to sense Tarrlok's arm moving, being a bloodbender and all.
Tarrlok blowing up the boat was shocking, but then you realize he figured Noatak's statement was exactly a repeat cut of what his father did. Besides, all of Tarrlok's hopes are now destroyed. So on one hand he got even with his brother and on the other hand made sure that that Yakhone's bloodbending legacy would never be passed on to anyone, ever.
Exactly this. Just think about it: Yakone's gang busted Yakone (who had been de-bended) out of prison, he got a new identity and started over with a new life, and that's what led to Noatak and Tarrlok being born and Yakone starting this whole thing by abusing them to be shaped into his warriors of vengeance. Now Noatak is busting Tarrlok (who had been de-bended) out of a prison with promises of new identities and new lives...and just look at Tarrlok's stoic reaction. At this point, he's such The Atoner that he doesn't trust them to do this and not go down the same path as their father if they were to have kids, which would give Yakone more posthumous triumph and continue his cycle of revenge. So on that boat, Tarrlok, and possibly Noatak too, knew that it had to end. And it could only end in their deaths.
Stay with me here, because this is a long one and it deserves quite a bit of thought. The ending seems overly rushed. Aang almost becomes the Deus ex Machina when he suddenly appears and claims that Korra has connected to her spiritual side out of the blue, before restoring Korra's bending and making her a fully realized Avatar by completing the connection with all her past lives and activating the Avatar State. But when you think of it, there's a LOT that's happened in Korra's spiritual development leading up to this point. Korra's been trying to train spiritually for years and was trained by Tenzin for quite a while, and it was beginning to work very well. Her abilities at the end of Episode 9 was already on par with Aang in season 3 of ATLA. Also Korra's style and personality are like that of Earth, stubborn and unyielding. It's only when she's totally put into a situation where her current approach cannot work, does she suddenly get the hold of airbending and is able to connect with Aang's visions. That is saying a lot about chakras at work in her spiritual and airbending blocks. That's the key to explaining how the ending turned out the way it did. Korra's hitting the absolute low was the final turning point, but there was a lot of spiritual development that had happened up to that point.
The Earth Chakra was opened when Korra learnt to face her fear of dealing with Amon. The Water Chakra was opened when she was able to overcome her guilt when she got over the love triangle by forgiveness and got them through into the final, though it might have even happened before that when she got the knack of the airbending movements. The Fire Chakra was opened up when she reconciled with Tenzin over her shame of not being able to airbend or being spiritually weak, and when she finally connected with Aang. The Air Chakra was obviously opened by love, and I mean Mako. The Sound Chakra was opened when she understood Tarrlok and Amon's true identities, and Amon building his whole movement on lying over his backstory. The Hiroshi Sato reveal also definitely had something to do with it. The light Chakra was probably opened somewhere between Korra realizing that she could still airbend and Amon's makeup job and waterbending powers exposed. The air chakra was probably fully open in that moment where Mako was about to lose his bending, which is why she could Airbend. Finally the last chakra was unblocked when she was planning to leave everyone and told Mako to leave her for good, despite the fact that both truly loved each other by this point - probably she was contemplating suicide, now that she could no longer do her job as the Avatar and called Aang, likely with the intention of taking her away to the spirit world, which is when she gave up attachment. That's when all her chakras were open and her spiritual connection became truly complete. While it's difficult to often pinpoint the incident as the cause of opening her chakras, it's clear that following Character Development Korra already very spiritual by the end and had successfully opened all her chakras allowed her to master the Avatar state. All that was now needed was a little help from Aang to energybend her broken connections.
This also makes sense why Korra never went into the Avatar State despite being in danger so often. She had already begun to open her chakras, and until all the chakras were opened, she couldn't enter it.
This also suggests that Korra's restrained and cocooned upbringing in that South Pole fortress also caused the spiritual block in her owing to insufficient Character Development. Katara knew this, the White Lotus didn't. Tenzin figured it out after Korra's first pro-bending match that her spirit really needs freedom to grow.
Aang's statement that in her lowest moments, she was open to the greatest change, was just summing up the way she had unknowingly more and more spiritual by life experience. Aang's energybending was the last piece of the puzzle. Now Korra having lost her connection to 3 elements is totally helpless to solve things by her usual badassery and so has had to let go of her pride, the reason for her spiritual block. All this time she had been feeling that she never needed the spiritual side because she had been so Badass, but now she had been humbled and her spirit was malleable to Aang's energybending. All that was left for Aang to do was to energybend Korra to restore her bending.
It makes more Fridge Brilliance. Becoming a fully realized Avatar involves mastering both the physical and spiritual sides of bending. The two of them are related and influence each other. Aang could bend with his chakras closed. He was wounded by lightning, and while he could still bend all the elements, he had lost his spiritual connection to all but 4 of his past lives and the Avatar State. He regained it by a purely physical means of having his blocked chi paths opened up by a sharp rock, which spiritually unblocked him. Throughout the series there has been quite a connection between Energybending and the Avatar State, with Aang using the Avatar State to debend Ozai and Yakhone. He was shown to have mastered the Avatar State after he had successfully energybended Ozai. Korra on the other hand, as the opposite of Aang, lost her connection to the physical side of bending, but by that point her chakras were open, she had completely mastered the spiritual side and connected with the spirits of the past Avatars, thus allowing her to master the Avatar State. Aang then uses the Avatar State to energybend Korra at a spiritual level, restoring her physical connection to her elements, making Korra a fully realized Avatar.
Ah, if only some of this had been explained or at least pointed out in the dialgoue, the ending would have been much better appreciated
It's already been noted by a lot of fans before that the plot is symbolic of how the chakras are opened, by dealing with fear, guilt, shame, grief (and love), truth and lies, illusion and attachment. Aang's chakras were blocked by all his experiences and the fact that he had responded in the manner that would lock them up. Korra on the other hand face similar situations but responded in the way that would open them. Maybe the writers know that ATLA fans aren't morons and don't feel the need to spell out the beautiful symbolism behind the plot, which would cheapen the effect.
How did Amon find Korra and bloodbend her out even though she was well hidden, and at the one moment where she let down her guard, but not Mako? This man is the greatest bloodbender who ever lived. That particular feat suggests that all his years of bloodbending has given him a "blood sense" like Toph's seismic sense. Similar to Toph, that give him an advantage in predicting his opponent's moves, by sensing their muscular movements, and do some stealthy bloodbending to ensure they can't hit him. It would also explain his power. He has extensive knowledge of chi blocking. He could sever the chi paths in a bender by sensing where the chi is flowing using this ability and then destroy those chi paths. He'd need the sense because bloodbending at this level would need surgical precision.
What's more interesting is that this would also explain how Korra could still airbend. Every element has its own chakra and set of chi paths. Amon has never had any experience debending an airbender, so he might not know exactly where the air paths were. After using his technique he would have detected zero chi flow and concluded that he had beaten Korra. Since Korra's chi paths connected to the Air Chakra were not active, he couldn't sense them, so he would never know the difference. But then her Air Chakra opened (it's opened by love), and she could airbend with her still intact air paths.
Based on the chakra theories and how Amon missed out taking Korra's airbending, it's likely every element has its own separate network of chi paths connected to its respective Chakra. Genetics would determine which element would be active in a bender, but only the Avatar can use all the chakras. In particular, the chi path connecting all the chakras is what allows the Avatar to use the Avatar state. The bending mechanism could be that cosmic energy from the top chakra comes down to the lower chakras dealing with the elements. Opening the chakras in general allows a person like the Guru to connect with the spiritual side and in particular allows the Avatar to take control over the Avatar state.
Aang's statement that Korra becomes open to change when she hits her lowest points pretty much sums up how she got the grip over spirituality and airbending. Korra's very first lines in Season 1 suggests that her ego was far too high above the balance point and it was totally fuelled by the fact that she was Avatar. Throughout the series, she's increasingly being brought down to earth and becomes more and more spiritual. What's notable is that when she is helpless and cannot fight her way out does she end up connecting with spirituality and Aang. However, it's only when she hits her absolute low, with her very identity as the Avatar being broken and she realizes that she is truly no different from any other bender is her pride finally shattered, and then she turns spiritual. Doesn't it remind you of a certain Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha after that one moment where he realized that he too was not above death, old age and suffering?
Also it's Truth in Television. A lot of people who went spiritual have a devastating blow in their lives acting as the turning point. Sometimes it really takes just one, powerful Wham moment.
Korra doesn't really seem to be that bad at spirituality. Whenever she really wants to contact Aang, or gets desperate enough, her blocks are gone and she is able to contact Aang or get the hold of Airbending moves quite easily. So it was all probably down to a big ego. Like Tenzin said, it takes a while, but the teachings do sink in.
Back in the Aftermath, Amon de-bended the Wolf-Bats at the Pro-bending stadium; when Korra ran into Tahno at the police station, he explained that he'd been to the best healers in the city but no one could find a way to give him back his bending. Now, at the end of the show, he tries to de-bend Tenzin and the airbabies at the Pro-bending stadium. Following that, Korra loses her bending too; she goes to Katara, the greatest and most famous healer in the world, but Katara can't help her. That's some great Foreshadowing.
Way back in episode 2 "A Leaf in the Wind" Tenzin told Korra, "Being the Avatar isn't all about fighting." And this is very true. When Korra finally Airbends and knocks Amon back she isn't doing to fight him but protect Mako, the man she loves, from being harmed by Amon. And protecting people is what the Avatar's duty.
Had Korra's "instincts" not told her to go after Amon personally, Tenzin and his children might have lost their Bending. That gut feeling wasn't random; it was probably Aang nudging her to go save his son and grandchildren.
Back in Episode 2, Korra got the hang of the airbending movements when she was totally cornered and her skill with the other 3 elements was no longer helping. In the finale, she gets the hang of airbending after losing the connection to the other 3 elements and in a most desperate moment to save Mako. It was really Foreshadowing.
Naga comes in with a Big Damn Heroes moment, saving Asami, Bolin and Iroh, but what about the electric fence that stopped the latter? How did Naga get through? Rather simple: using her super strength, she crashed one of the posts, creating an opening in the fence. And she might have even seen her friends get electrocuted, as staying up there didn't mean she couldn't watch from above.
In their final confrontation, Korra actually does through willpower what Amon could only fake: she overcomes bloodbending.
Once Amon is defeated by Korra's airbending and thrown out a window, his mask falls into the ocean, thus signifying that Noatak's Amon persona is gone.
This ties in with the divine symbolism of his mask's color scheme and design. His divinity was just a mask; now it's removed.
There’s a very, very good reason why Amon was revealed to be a bender the entire time. That reason is because the Equalists, like Amon himself, were Hypocrites. The entire Equalist movement was flawed and hypocritical in every way possible. The movement was about making people “equal” and to stop oppression of the non-benders. Instead, what we saw, if anyone fell asleep during Hiroshi’s speech to the people in Republic City Park, was that in the end, they ended up being oppressive towards benders, to the point of out-right banning bending in public and capturing and imprisoning benders, and any non-bender related to them. Their movement, symbolized by the Chinese character which means either “peace” or “equal” was neither of these. They attacked innocent civilians at the Pro-Bending Arena, including non-bender Shiro Shinobi, bombed half of the city and probably killed lots of people in their final attack on Republic City. Not to mention the actual psychological factor of removing one’s bending or the impact it would’ve had on innocent benders (children included) and non-benders who have bender siblings/parents/children/relatives and how that would’ve effected them. The fact of the whole matter is that Noatak/Amon and the Equalists themselves were not what they were preaching, they were just as bad, if not worse as the insistution they fought against. Noatak’s revelation as being a bender only cements the whole hypocritical elements (no pun intended) of the Equalist movement. Sure, there is oppression against non-benders, but the way that the Equalists handled the situation was wrong, just as wrong as the very system they were against in the first place. (steampunkredpanda)
More Fridge Brilliance on the finale: Korra is supposed to be the opposite of Aang, and various elements of the show reflect that, as has already been pointed out. Another thing that makes Aang and Korra opposites? Aang's series ended with him learning to take bending away. Korra's series ended (remember that the first season was created with the intent of being the only season; the creators didn't know if they'd get more) with her learning to give bending back.
How exactly does Korra learn airbending suddenly? Some have suggested that it's her air chakra, but there's never been any specific connection between chakras and the element to be bent (Aang, for example, doesn't learn firebending because he overcomes the shame of what he did to Katara). So why does Korra learn airbending? Because of the nature of why Korra couldn't airbend and her lack of spirituality. Bending was her life; she took pride in being a powerful bender and the Avatar. Her pride is bound in her bending. For Korra, her spirit and body are one and the same. But an airbender must free their spirit from their body. Air is the the most ephemeral element; it cannot be held within the body for too long or you die. Aang even talked about how great Air Nomad monks detached themselves from the world to achieve freedom. Korra spirit, her self-worth, was always attached to her body via her bending, so she could never learn airbending. When Amon took her bending, he broke her body and therefore her spirit. But when Korra found the will to keep fighting, she finally separated her now weak body from her strong spirit. And therefore achieved the freedom she needed to airbend.
Just think, every airbender born into the world is going to only be descended from Aang. No one else. Not really disturbing until you realize its going to be impossible for an airbender to marry another airbender.
Only for a few generations. Fellow countrymen generally have as much genetically in common as fourth-cousins, so Tenzin's great-great-great-grandchildren could marry each other and not be more inbred than average people.
But considering that all Airbenders are going to learn the history of their culture, and about how they were all whipped out apart from one person, and they are descended from that one, odd's are they are not going to consider it for a long time.
A case of Blue and Orange morality. From the original series, it seems that familial ties between airbenders were largely nonexistent. The only reason Tenzin is still in a family setting because his family consisted of all existing airbenders. It seems that if they follow the old traditions (which Tenzin is trying to teach), they probably won't consider marriage important. They also have an ample supply of Air Acolytes to mitigate the issue.
Some of the Equalists probably have very good reasons for hating benders. Burglars, serial killers, and even regular schoolyard bullies are bad enough. Now toss in elemental powers. Imagine how powerless non-badass normals would be against such people. Look into our own history from an anthropological point of view. The technological advancement of the Avatar world within the span of 70 years is oft likened by many fans to be like that of our own Industrial Revolution. While we're talking about a world where people can bend the elements with their own hands, mass production may not be so difficult. But then look at the first part of the Promise comic and how, in a Fire Nation colony, the non-benders serve the benders. Now look at the historical recaps of modern day anthropology, where articles state that the Industrial Revolution was built on the backs of slave labour and colonialism. Think about that for a moment.
The first episode features some criminals trying to extort innocent citizens. Bending criminals. It's also revealed that Mako and Bolin's parents were murdered by a firebending mugger.
The "Welcome to Republic City" Interactive Tour adds another layer of reasoning behind the Equalists' motivations: Republic City's Council consists of five representatives, each one for the Air Nation, the Fire Nation, the Earth Kingdom and Both of the Water Tribes. There's no real political representation for people living in Republic City who doesn't have a cultural attachment for any of those nations, with said group consisting in its majority by non-benders...
Tenzin has a life of Fridge...Sadness? Growing up, he was one of only two Airbenders in the world. Then, for a few years, he was the only Airbender in the world. The age difference between Korra and Jinora is exactly how long Tenzin had his father's title of "Last Airbender". He was even more alone because Aang could at least summon the spirits of past Airbending Avatars.
Tenzin's "period of loneliness" lasts from Aang's death to Jinora's birth. That's 153-160 ASC, or 7 years. This could be viewed as an unfortunately long or fortunately short period of time.
Look at the weapons the Equalists have. Look at the utter Nightmare Fuel-inducing Magnificent Bastard that is Amon. Look at the political grandstanding, insecurity, and power playing that's taken hold within the Republic City government, with Tarrlok being particularly untrustworthy. Look at the sheer emotional immaturity of Korra and the Ferret brothers (largely due to being teenagers as well as their upbringings [Korra's being unhealthily sheltered and Mako and Bolin's lack thereof]) as well as the general unpreparedness of the Krew as a whole, teen and adult, to do anything about Amon's strikes and plans through the majority of Equalist appearances in the first seven episodes. The overall picture at this point is actually very clear: until more non-benders like Shiro Shinobi and Asami Sato take initiative to help stand up against the Equalists, the benders do not stand a chance.
Dented Iron. It's pretty clear that people in the Avatar universe are much tougher than in the real world, even the Badass Normals, but even so, in a world where people have been known to live in excess of centuries, most of the Gaang are dead within the 70-year Time Skip. Toph, Sokka and Aang are long gone; we don't know if Suki and Zuko are still alive and if they are, what kind of shape they're in; Katara looks pretty okay for a woman pushing 80, but (depending on what exactly the limits if waterbending healing are), it's very possible she can hold off any age-related medical conditions that she might develop over the years. The Gaang spent a significant portion of their childhoods and teen years absorbing the kind of punishment that would end a pro-wrestler's career on a regular basis, and probably took a few more good knocks as adults as we can see in the flashbacks. Rewatch some of the old episodes and look at every time a character gets smacked with a rock or a high pressure water blast or STRUCK BY LIGHTNING and imagine what that's gonna do to a ten-year old body. Then think about what that guy would look like in his sixties. Is it any wonder most of them are dead?
The three other members on Republic City's council alongside Tenzin and Tarrlok. We don't know much about them, but the three times we've seen it come down to a vote, all three side with Tarrlok, though notably with some hesitation. Considering Tarrlok's track record, and his newly-revealed bloodbending powers, what's to say he isn't threatening/blackmailing them so he gets what he wants?
From what we saw in the last series, Katara hardly seemed likely to even want to talk about Bloodbending existing. And yet, we know now that not only does Tarrlok know bloodbending, but he's implied to have learned it from Yakone. This means that either Katara either chose or was forced to teach what she knows about bloodbending and may well have taught the very man who is implied to have murdered her brother and Toph, or else Hama somehow managed to pass on her knowledge after the war.
If the latter... then just how manybloodbendersare still roaming the world?
Another scary thought: Yakone may have developed the technique independently (or was taught by someone who did), which may explain how it's usable off-moon.
When a person is being bloodbent, it's really horrifying to think about how it's even happening: They are not being lifted or carried externally, but rather, their own internal organs and fluids are being controlled, being lifted, fighting against the weight of the person's body. That, and, if this wasn't a children's show, the contortions of bodies would probably be a LOT more gruesome, considering who were bending them.
Contortions? How about the fact that lifting someone up and leaving them to dangle against their own weight is how CRUCIFIXION works!
Likely they developed it independently. Even if Katara never taught anyone bloodbending, a lot of people witnessed it, and may have heard about it through the stories about the Gaang. Cue experimentation.
It does appear to be an independent style. The bloodbenders in this series don't have to gesture a lot, but they did gesture while training. One gesture Hama and Katara repeatedly made while bloodbending is a kind of slow hand chop in front of their own faces. This series' bloodbenders make arms-up pupeteering gestures as kids, but never the chop. Also, Yakone blames Katara for making bloodbending illegal - if only she and the Gaang knew about that form, there'd be no reason to do that.
Or, Fridge Brilliance: In many parts of the world, you cannot be punished for crimes that aren't legally considered criminal offences. Presumably, Republic City is big on Human Rights, being the center of peace and balance. If they hadn't declared it illegal, Yakone would have gotten away with bloodbending, or perhaps it would have been just considered "abuse of bending" or something along those lines.
Chi blocking could stop bending, but only temporarily. The move Amon makes on the forehead is probably only stylish - so it looks like a mystical chakra move. Tarrlok describes it as a bloodbending grip, which suggests he is simply using it to mask what he's really doing. That move he pulled on Korra to get her out of hiding, suggests that years of bloodbending has actually given him a "blood sense" for biological water, using which he can sense energy flow within the bender's body. Once he detects active energy paths, he doesn't just block them, he uses bloodbending and destroys them from the inside. That explains why it can only be healed by spiritual means like energybending.
Episodes 1- 6
Welcome to Republic City
Korra only said goodbye to her parents after she escaped the compound. They lived in their old house, outside of the compound. Naga had a stable, and Korra was trained by masters traveling to live in the compound, so in all likelihood, Korra lived there, too. A 16 year old girl hadn't lived with her parents since she'd started training to learn each element, which must have taken years.
A Leaf in the Wind
The Fire Ferrets are almost forced to give up on the championship title when their waterbender, Hasook, fails to show up for their next meet after a lackluster performance in their last. One more act of ineptitude by a kid that just didn't click with his team... right? Unless the antibending activists roaming the city took him out. Hasook didn't just quit - he inexplicably vanished, and is never seen again after he leaves his last match in anger.
That one, at least, can hopefully be explained away by the fact that at this time in the series the Equalists were targeting criminal benders. So long as Hasook didn't get into any shady business after he left, he'd probably be fine, and was just actively avoiding his former teammates because it would be awkward.
Remember the second trailer, where Amon reaches out to grab Korra's face? Rewatch it now that we know he is a energybender. Brr.
Mako witnessed his parents killed by a Firebender. A FIREBENDER. Just think about that for a minute. Mako must resent his firebending a lot if that is what happened. It's possible to set fire to stun in the Avatarverse. This criminal chose not to.
Even worse when you consider what kid Mako must of thinking about his firebending and that every single time he uses his firebending, he could be reminded of what happened...
Even worse when you realize Mako never went into detail beyond stating that his parents were "cut down" right in front of him. We know the one responsible is a firebender. What we don't know is if that firebender used fire or lightning, especially seeing how common bending lightning is by that time. That's right, Mako may have been saved from seeing his parents burn to death, but getting shocked full of lightning is just as bad (as Azula would like to remind you in the book 2 finale of the previous series).
When Bolin was kidnapped, he was missing for at least part of the night and an entire day. In the hands of the equalists. Who hate benders. Who believe him to be part of a well known and much hated bender gang. That much is fact. Now think on this. Would they have been fed during that time? How much did they have to interact with their captors? Were they bound the whole time? Did the chi-blockers constantly block their bending abilities until showtime? Were they informed ahead of time what was planned for them, giving them time to contemplate just what was going to happen, and how that would impact their lives? "Interest of fairness" indeed.
Bolin is kidnapped while doing work for the Triple Threat Triad, who Mako mentions they had worked for in the past. The other individuals taken, at least Shady Shin and Lightning Bolt Zolt, are members. Obviously Bolin knows Shady Shin, but it's likely he was at least partially aquainted with the others, having been with them at the headquaters. These weren't just some random strangers he met on the street, they were people he knew, who he had spent a night and day with as a fellow captive. Mako likely knew them as well. And both have to watch them get their bending stripped away.
When Mako talks to Korra about how Bolin is his only family and if anything happens to Bolin he his scarf closer to closer to him later we learn that his scarf is the only memento of his father and how it makes him feel safe.
The Voice in the Night
Based on the dialogue between Mako and Asami in this episode, at least a week's gone by in-universe. Imagine the Equalists' actions off-screen capturing more benders to de-power. Picture the amount of stress on the authorities getting increasing reports of this happening.
At the moment, the Equalists are likely sticking to criminals like the Triple Threat Triads, since they want to build up support by having themselves viewed as heroes, the same reason why Amon didn't depower Korra in episode 4. Also Tarrlok's line (paraphrased) "they'll come for the rest of us eventually" suggests that they haven't attacked regular benders yet. Key word: yet.
Along with not wanting to turn her into a martyr, one possible reason that Amon might be waiting to de-bend and kill Korra is the possibility of him wanting to do it when she's in the Avatar state in order to destroy the Avatar spirit along with her. As he said,he has a plan.
The scene in where Amon captures Korra is depicted as disturbingly similar to rape. Consider: young attractive woman strolling past a monument at night is grabbed and dragged into the darkness. She is set upon by multiple attackers who overpower her and hold her down. Their leader, a powerful male, taunts her impotence before knocking her out. She wakes up later, alone, and is found by her mentor/father figure. He asks if she's all right and tries to reassure her that the "nightmare is over." She breaks down crying, telling him how terrified and helpless she felt. Just replace the word "bending" with "virginity" and the scene becomes that much more horrifying. This is supposed to be a kid's show?!
How does Amon manage to hijack the radio music channels to broadcast his threatening messages? This technology is too old to be hacked into remotely - it's only possible if he has a means to directly access the transmission stations and interrupt their broadcasts with his. So there are two ways he could do it a)He and the Equalists raid the radio stations in the city from time to time or b)There are equalists among the employees of the city's radio network, and they broadcast pre-recorded messages on his orders. Since the first option entails a risk of getting caught, the second one is far simpler and elegant. That would also explain how in Episode 10, they are able to cut all phone and radio lines at a moment's notice. He has insiders do the job for him.
The Spirit of Competition
After the wolfbats short match we see one of their opponents on a strecher, and he has a hole in the visor of his helmet. Only water benders are allowed headshots so that had to be Tahno's handiwork. People underestimate how powerful compressed water can really be, in addition to the possibility of using rocks or ice. How much damage did the Wolfbats intend to do their opponents and how many times has this happened? We see in the following episode that they have no problems bribing the ref but we don't know how often thats the case and Shiro made it sound like that was unusual, so the previous attack may have been LEGAL. Also if they do stunts like that often what does that say about their fanbase?
And the Winner Is...
You know all those clips where Amon takes over and destroys the pro-bending arena? Mako and Bolin's home is above the arena.
One of the opposing players that the Wolf-Bats beat in "The Spirit of Competition" had a hole in his visor and was being carried out on a stretcher. In this episode the Wolf-Bats use a dirty trick where they fill Tahno's water blasts with crushed rock that he threw at the Fire Ferrets' face... the guy with broken visor could have (and may have) lost his eye.
One of the Equalists electrocute Shiro Shinobi, the announcer for the pro bending challenges. The game "Welcome To Republic City" confirms he's a non-bender, which means the Equalists are not against harming non-benders! And that means non-benders who support bending are not safe like the Satos (Well, at least one of them supports bending...) and Pema. We also know that some non-benders have bender relatives. If that's true, it means the Equalist are fine with attacking people just for being related to benders and not hating them for bending. Imagine what that must be like for non-benders with bender children...Either they'd abuse their sons and daughters for being "unnatural", or try (and possibly fail) to hide them from the Equalists. They're ideological revolutionaries. Non-benders opposing the Equalists would be the equivalent of class traitors. Now the class traitor is what is making things more bad for Pema, who is not only married to Tenzin, an airbender, he is also part of the Council in charge of Republic City. And she already has three airbending children, with a fourth child which may or not be a bender. This would potentially put a target on her for the Equalists.
What's even worse is when you realize that, not only is Pema in danger of Equalist attacks, but so is her newly born child. Imagine the scenario, Pema, trying to escape an attack, picks up her child, and goes to run, but gets shocked, while still holding her child. The Equalists appear to have no qualms about this.
Another big horror is Tahno and his team's encounter with Amon and the Equalists when the arena gets stormed. The supposedly best team in the pro-bending world is taken down like novices by chi blockers, and Tahno is begging in vain for Amon to not take his bending away. If that is enough Nightmare Fuel for you, the fact that Tahno knows what's about to happen to him, and pleading for Amon not to do it, means that his message to the city's benders has gotten around. And, if Amon can do that to "the best pro-benders" (cheaters as they may have been), then any other pro-benders won't stand even a snowball's chance in hell.
Also, look at the actual fight. Amon sure shows that he's fast, but the chi-blockers ganged up on them, tossing their bolas at their feet and immobilizing them while Amon had them distracted. That's the thing about these guys; they play dirty.
We see a lot of Equalists being thrown down hundreds of feet from their zeppelins. We see few of them land. We don't see most of them getting up again.
Here's a big one. Amon says that he will basically de-bend the world. There are likely millions of benders in the world, and as far as we know Amon is the only person able to permanently strip someone of their bending. Realistically he cannot do this to everyone. One guess at what the other option is.
In the same vein, Amon's chi-blocking/Energybending presumably doesn't prevent the genetic heritability of bending. So what would be done about the children of de-powered benders in Amon's world? Energybending them as infants? Internment and observation? Sterilization? Ethnic purge?
From what we've seen in Episode 10, the equalists aren't above pursuing children and even new born infants.
When the Equalists in the crowd began arming themselves, many of them pulled out electrical gloves from their popcorn. Because the Metalbenders must have searched them prior to entering, that must mean that they were likely smuggled in through the confections stand at the arena by the employees, likely communicating with signals of some sort.
And Amon says that anyone can have the power of a chi-blocker with those gloves. What's to stop people from going out and stealing from, torturing, or even murdering Benders? It's even worse because we know not all Benders are rich and corrupted - street urchins and the like will probably be targeted first, just because they're easier to get at.
And that's assuming they stick to benders; those gloves can certainly hurt non-benders, too, as we see later on. Any Equalist who's just a little less scrupulous than the rest could be as bad as they picture benders to be, or at least have power over other civilians.
Because of Amon's de-bending, Tahno's chances of employment are screwed. Not only has his career felt down the drain, he lost his sponsors, has no experience in anything else due to devoting time bending, and is likely treated badly because he is essentially the poster boy for Amon's uprising. More like Fridge Sadness, but it's rather gruesome how one can have issues getting a job when the only thing you were skilled at is gone. Now scale that up to where both non-benders and ex-benders are both competitively seeking work in the same fields, making it even more hell for the group Amon promised to make life better.
When Korra's riding up to Amon's zeppelin, we get a clear shot of the arena, and the surrounding area. Look at the police forces' airships and normal ships. Think about what likely happened to the officers on them...
Episodes 7- 12
How did Sato secretly build a massive cavern deep underground without anyone noticing? Just about the only probable explanation is that he employed some Earthbenders in secret. Now, what do you imagine happened to them when the work was done?
And the way he uses Platinum as though it were steel. Considering the difficulties of mining platinum ore and extracting the metal, what to speak of working with it, it's quite likely he used Earthbenders to help him accelerate things. And Amon doesn't mind. Now about the fate of those earthbenders...
The fact that firebenders are responsible for the deaths of several family members of several characters might be funny, but it stops being when you consider that firebenders are probably the most hated group of people in the Avatarverse, being blamed for the 100 year war. It's clear Fantastic Racism is well present.
While Tenzin was knocked out in "And the Winner is...", it was arguably for reasons of necessity. Now that Hiroshi Sato was willing to send Tenzin to Amon, we can see that the equalists have absolutely no respect for the airbenders. (The airbenders are the survivors of a mass genocide and currently reduced to a single family, and Tenzin himself appears to be the one member of the council who is most considerate of nonbenders.)
It's also a strategic move to put the Avatar out of the picture. Even if they shipped Korra to him, he would send her back for reason back in episode 4. With Tenzin though, Hiroshi would figure Korra would lack an airbending teacher and not be able to pose a threat because she has to be a fully-realized Avatar to damage the mechs. Of course, this is from Sato's viewpoint and not Amon's, who is less crazy and more level-headed on which people should be debended first for the correct political move.
Seeing Asami shocking her own father with an electric gauntlet was awesome, but it's also a visual reminder that benders aren't the only ones vulnerable to it. All Hiroshi Sato has done is invent new and dangerous weapons. It may only be a matter of time before triads wielding lightning gauntlets and other advanced weapons replace bending gangs.
Hey, at least they haven't invented guns yet... Also, the electric gloves seem relatively nonlethal even compared to bending, in keeping with the Equalists' PR strategy of not wanting to actually kill anyone so more people would have fewer reservations about joining.
This is the first episode where the Previously On segment is not narrated by Shiro Shinobi. Considering he was attacked on-air at the end of the previous episode...
This was a good move on the writers 'part to replace Shiro Shinobi's segment with a "news report" since it saves time between recalling previous events and exposing the aftermath of the attack with Tarrlok's ongoing climb in political power and use of the media.
If Sato's wife was killed 10 years ago, and he's been planning revenge since, then he must have met Amon a long while before the series started. Amon must have been underground for years until Sato's finacial and technical support began to give him his breakthroughs.
When Extremes Meet
When Tarrlok enacted laws to force a curfew on non-benders and restrict their rights, this has horrific implications in 2 ways: 1) The Air Acolytes and non-bending White Lotus guards are likely under them and 2) This makes it much, much easier for chi-blockers to pick targets since most the people out at night are going to be benders, meaning they don't have to think if the person walking around is one of them or not. And since the bending triads are benders, the curfew gives them more free reign because a non-bender citizen can't leave the house and inform others their neighbors are being abused.
In Korra's vision, we see Toph, Aang, and Sokka being bloodbended by an unknown man. Katara mentioned in the first episode that many of her friends are dead (She and Zuko are the only ones confirmed alive). This heavily implies that Toph and Sokka were murdered by bloodbending.
We know that at least Aang survived that attack. Not only with the vision of him standing over what one presumes to be Yakone, but the fact that this incident happened 42 years ago and Aang died at 66, 17 years ago.
Aang died at 66? When most other Avatars survive well into their 100's? Hmm... Yakone bloodbended against Aang, with intent to kill him, for several seconds before Aang's Avatar State kicked in and enabled him to finally overpower Yakone. Could he have sustained internal organ damage that substantially shortened his lifespan?
A. We have no idea how long most other Avatars lived, B. Word Of God is that Aang's early-ish death is because of his 100 years on ice. Also, internal organ damage doesn't usually take nearly 25 years to kill you.
Even worse, the official website specifically says that Bloodbending can be used to crush internal organs. Why would they get that specific unless they planned to do something with it?
Because it would have been figured out easily enough. The instances of bloodbending from last season showed limbs being twisted - why not organs which also have blood through them? And then the cells which are water, so even 'non-blood bloodbending' (because it seems to be more the concept that determines the name) could be used to either crush or explode organs. High school biology students (hint: 17-year-olds) could figure it out. But barring the obviousness of it, it could be that some mook could have his organs crushed and it surprises the main characters such that Korra and Amon work together to defeat the madman or something. Or it could just be a red herring.
When Tarrlok began enacting his new laws, he started with putting the power out in one of the areas. Given the amount of people being arrested in the affected area, it's possible there are districts solely for non-benders and benders to live in. If it isn't then it is possible he is likely considering the idea of area segregation to make it easier to enforce his laws.
Considering that there is no bending done other than by Korra and the cops there were almost certainly no benders in the crowd. What is less obvious but would probably be just as impactful is that it drives home how dependent on benders they are. Not only to firebenders apparently produce most or all of their electricity but a council of benders with its will enforced by a group of combat benders decides if they get any or not.
When Korra walks into Tarrlok's office, the first thing he asks is if all the other council members have left and then orders his secretary to do the same. And there's a waterfall behind him, which is obviously for more purposes than just office style. He expected Korra would come all along and he knew that she would fight if necessary. But it doesn't end there. Looking at his actions and the fact that he started the fight, he'd already made up his mind to take extreme measures against her long before Korra had even entered his office and planned to fight her all along. He even has a police car waiting in his office so he can drive her to wherever he's planned. His actions against the non-benders was actually a cover up - his real intention was to lay a well planned trap for Korra and put her out of action when she walked into his office, and she fell for it.
Bloodbending can make you go insane. Tarrlok has practiced bloodbending and is powerful enough to bloodbending even without the moon. And it appears Yakhone is so skilled he can bloodbend multiple people with his arms tied, probably using his face. It explains Tarrlok's power hungry and Ax Crazy extremist tendencies and his actions against innocent people as well - he's hiding under a mask of a shrewd politician, but he's a psychopath underneath.
Adding to this, the fact Yakone was implied to be very far over the Moral Event Horizon, and we've seen what a nut job Tarrlok is. The fact these two maniacs are capable of bloodbending any time they want and just what it's capable of, and you've got a lot of Fridge Horror.
By stopping Korra from freeing the innocent non-benders, Tarrlok just wants to project how helpless the Avatar has become in modern society, and how even she can't do anything above the (corrupt) law. It is a very far cry from the days of Avatars like Kyoshi, Yangchen or even Aang, who probably were considered God in Human Form. Korra is further disadvantaged because she is just a teenager who's been forced to live in a cocooned world for a long time and is still struggling to make her presence. The Unfortunate Implications are that more and more people will place their faith in Amon instead, because his plans definitely work.
Out of the Past
Why else has Aang's lifespan been reduced aside from being stuck in an iceberg? It appears Yakone might have inflicted permanent damage on Aang's organs. (Possibly a smaller extent to Jet's case where Katara couldn't heal him.)
Remember how Sokka, Toph and Aang are the ones most definitely known to be dead? And Zuko is still alive? What if the level of bloodbending Yakone committed had permanent effects on them afterward that caused debilitating health issues later in life? *shivers*
There were healers in the city, so that must have helped in some way.
Remember how Toph was being bloodbended? She was levitated in the air, being unable to see while she was being levitated towards Yakone with the keys to unlock him.
Knowing what Tarrlok is really like makes the scene where he invites himself to dinner at Tenzin's home — sitting right next to his children — in the third episode suddenly really disturbing.
Tarrlok bloodbent everyone to the ground and they lost consciousness. How exactly? Probably by bending the blood downward thus forcing most of the blood out of their brains - thus blacking out. How... pleasant...
That's actually the least traumatic way to knock somebody out. Blacking out from too many g's (which bloodbending would simulate) generally doesn't cause any permanent damage as long as you don't crash into something or get otherwise attacked while unconscious.
Bolin caving in the tunnel. If the pursuing Equalists didn't stop in time, what happened to them?
Thanks to the dust and debris, we can never be sure. But we most definitely heard a crash...
They died, probably. Or were very badly hurt.
The armor of metalbenders is designed to be put on and taken off with bending. How did the Equalists get it off chi-blocked prisoners?
It looked like that was just Lin implementing Rule Of Cool. But Probably they used metal shears◊ such as the Jaws of Life.
Easiest solution, they just forced them to remove it with the threat of electrocution.
You wonder how long Tarrlok was able to keep successfully manipulating the council to pass his resolutions,. The other 3 members look like they can't think for themselves, and Tenzin cannot do much against a majority vote, and he knows all of Tarrlok's decisions are furthering worsening the bender-muggle divide. Amon's claim that the council has been corrupt and bender centric would mean he's been implementing a large number of laws and measures like these offscreen for years together that only served to de-stabilize the city. We only got to see the most dramatic and explicit ones, but to have gained so much power over the city, he must have done many tiny things whose effect began to add up over the years.
Obviously, Tarrlok was going to disguise himself and Korra after he was revealed to be a bloodbender, seeing as he's a highly prominent political figure who kidnapped and tortured an even more prominent political figure. But despite how he would easily be able to keep her nearby and order her around if he claimed to be her father, they're clearly not related. And, even if he could claim that Korra takes after her mother, Tarrlok is thirty-seven—which is too young to be a convincing age for the father of a seventeen year old. Combined with Bolin mistakenly thinking Tarrlok was a suitor in "A Voice in the Night", Tarrlok might have tried to pass Korra off as his wife.
He could have always just said she was his younger sister, or a niece.
Just how could he hope to achieve all that anyway? This is KORRA, the avatar. He'd have to continuously keep Korra bloodbended or keep her in the box to ensure she would be in his control. When you think about it, a much better plan would have been for Tarrlok to flee leaving Korra trapped in the box in his hideout. He'd be far away before anyone found her. Taking her with him was a very dumb idea, when you think about it. He was just wildly dreaming, just like Amon, speaking of which, it appears to be a trait that runs in the family.
At thirty-seven and seventeen there is no reason that Tarrlok couldn't pose as Korra's father (other than, as the post above points out, that would be a very dumb plan). That would mean he was twenty when she was born, which is youngish, but by no means unreasonable.
Tarrlok planned on keeping Korra locked up even after he's forced to leave Republic City. If he wanted to, he could have killed Korra and been done with it instantly, taking satisfaction in the knowledge that he could continue with his plans safely, but no. He plans on keeping her locked up for a good time, possibly the rest of her life, alone and presumably being bloodbent every moment outside of the cage. He's not trying to get her out of the way, he's trying to make her suffer without any need.
Rule number one when you've captured the Avatar: never ever kill her/him. As long as you have the Avatar captured you have control of the situation, the moment she/he dies, however, the Avatar spirit gets reincarnated and now not only do you not have the Avatar captive anymore, you don't even know who it is. True, you've bought yourself a decade or so (remember, those Avatars can train fast when the pressure is on), but you're a complete idiot if you don't think "taking down the Avatar-killer" is one of the first things on the newly realized Avatar's list.
Turning The Tide
Just how many innocent people were hurt or killed in the Equalists' all out attack on Republic City?
As heartwarming it was, Pema's new child shares his birthday with one of the worst terrorist attacks in Republic City's history. It's going to be rather eerie getting used to sharing the most important day of your life with that of a terrifying historic event.
When The Lieutenant in disguise was discussing exterminating a spider-rat problem, it wasn't meant just as a disguise dialogue, but stealthly saying that is how the Equalists are handling benders: pest control.
You wonder how the Equalists were able to cut out all telephone lines and radio stations at a moment's notice. It's the same way Amon is able to hijack the radio broadcasts. This technology is far too old to allow hacking from remote systems. So the only other option is that there are Equalists working among the employees of the communications department, who not only broadcast all his pre-recorded messages from time to time, but also took out the communication lines as soon as they realized that the police department was sending out a wire to the armed forces for help. How else do you explain the timing?
Also there may be Equalists amongst the mechanics who fix the military and police equipment, which is why all the boats were found sabotaged. Which non-bender can be trusted? Even the window cleaners turn out to be Equalists in disguise. How were the other council members captured? Equalists among their chauffeurs? Or the cab drivers? Or kidnapped at their home. What about Sato's employees - there would a be a lot of them and he's the backbone of the industry. The only way to explain all this is that between the 17 years Aang passed away and Amon's attack, the city has turned into one Wretched Hive.
If they can destroy connections, what if they were able to wiretap and listen in on those calls? They may have had a good warning of the United Forces coming, explaining how there were numerous ships sunk in the promo.
There is good reason to believe that missiles and rockets have been invented by Sato, there are bombs and even planes. How do they shoot down airships without Kamikaze attacks?
There are also hints of mechanical sabotage there as well. After all, Future industries built those airships.
So now we see that the Equalists can go low enough to try and attack children, pregnant women and even new born infants. Seriously that airship was sending in a net to catch a sky bison in mid air at that speed. Just think for a second what would happen if an aircraft or a helicopter crashed into a giant net in mid air. Oogi would have been violently thrown off balance and would have struggled (like Appa did in "Appa's lost days"), probably ending up hanging from his tail and rear legs because of the size of the net. Look at the chase scenes in ATLA. Everyone on board would have been seriously tossed about or fallen overboard. It would have been equivalent to a human being thrown out of a car into a catch fence. If Lin hadn't destroyed the net, Tenzin would have to do some violent maneuvering to dodge it like the ones in ATLA. And did we mention that those nets could be electrified too, if the mechs are any example? Pema's just come out of the ordeal of delivery and there is a new born baby on board, and they were planning to use a tazer on them too?
Or worse, if they were only targeting those on board, they just intended to rip everyone out right out of the saddle and maybe electrocute them (airbenders and Lin could easily cut through nets). It's still brutal.
The concept of taking away the bending of an innocent person is bad enough. But consider: we've seen Lin use an earthbending technique similar to what Toph used to "see" with her feet. Being raised by Toph, it's highly likely that Lin was using the earthbending sense all her life. So when Amon took away her earthbending, he wasn't just taking away her ability to move rocks and metal with her mind. He was taking away one of her senses.
The reveal that Amon is not only a bloodbender, but an extremely powerful one, even more so than Tarrlok. Assume that the power hunger that he displayed is his true motivation, then realize had he succeeded, he would not only be the only bender left, but an extremely powerful Bloodbender with no qualms about backstabbing his own brother to make it happen.
His reveal as a bloodbender only makes his de-bending abilities all the more terrifying the longer you think about it. Now that we know that he's not an energybender, we know that whatever he does to a person is strictly biological. Think about it: when he de-bends a person, he grips both their forehead and the back of their neck (in otherwords, right where your spinal cord is). If he's not doing anything to the person's spirit, that means he's probably slicing up neurons in their brain. And it gets worse; how did he learn to do that without killing the person? How many "test subjects" did he go through before he could do it right?!
Is this what happened to Hasook?
Not really, Amon's technique is just reversed healing; in both cases, water is being used to manipulate the chi, but in Amon's it's simply as means to sever. He could cause nerve damage, but I seriously doubt it wouldn't be noticed.
The airbenders being caught says a lot of things: Not only they were caught, but imagine the children feeling the effects of being electrocuted for the first time. Given that the Equalists had a mountain base, maybe that is why the airship left with Lin because they knew a message would be sent to a base to ambush the Sky Bison.
It doesn't necessarily mean they were electrocuted. Tenzin may well have simply surrendered once it became clear he couldn't outrun or fight them.
Amon's sadly crying tells so much... Both him and Tarrlok knew that everything was wishfull thinking, that it would never be the same and Amon also knew that he would die at that moment.
There never were any "good old days" for either of them.
The finale makes Tarrlok bloodbending Korra and the others worse. The flashbacks showed that Tarrlok saying that he would never bloodbend another human. Either he had to break his principles to save his life or he had fallen down a slippery slope since Noatak left. Neither is a nice thought.
When Aang appears before Korra, he says that Avatars are open to their greatest change when they're at their lowest point. But what is Korra doing before they appear? Crying and sitting close to the edge of the cliff. Could Korra have been contemplating suicide?
Moreover, her tear falls from beyond the edge of the cliff and into the sea below. How is that possible? If Korra is at the very edge of the cliff, looking over.
Thematically it makes sense. We know from her nightmare in "A Voice in the Night" that she sees herself as being "nothing" without her bending. And furthermore, if her access to three of four elements is blocked, she can't carry out her duties as Avatar - and we know from past experience that having a missing or incapacitated Avatar is very bad news. She might well have thought that her duty to the world required suicide, to allow the world to have a fully realized Avatar in another sixteen or so years.
When Mako confesses his love to her, it only makes her feel worse. She's not able to reciprocate his affections until after her bending is restored. If she is having suicidal thoughts, this makes sense - she now knows just how badly he'll be hurt if she goes through with it.
To bring it around to the Chakra theory, the final chakra is Earthly Attachment. She was willing to give up literally everything if it meant the world got a Fully Realized Avatar. Earthly Attachment was nothing at that point...and thus her final chakra opened. Just as when Aang was willing to sacrifice Katara to save the world.
It gets worse- remember what Amon's energybending is an allegory for? And Mako only confesses his love after Korra experiences that. Her claims that he pities her become absolutely devastating, on top of her possible suicidal state.
Of course Mako telling her he loved her could have been what stopped her from jumping in the end. I mean think about it: from what she says to Mako she thinks she isn't anything if she isn't the Avatar. He literally says her status as the Avatar doesn't matter to him. He loves her. What would have happened if he hadn't said it? Worse yet, who would have found her?
One reason this makes sense is that if Korra died, the Avatar would be able to bend again. Also, when Korra tries to get "Tenzin" to go away, Aang tells her that she had been calling him. She didn't seem to be aware of it... unless she was considering joining him.
Not to mention, subconscious use of the Avatar State tends to happen when the Avatar's life is in danger.
Or when the Avatar is under extreme emotional stress, which is certainly the case here—it could be both.
Look back at when Jinora and Ikki give her romantic "advice". Korra expressed a level of agreement with Jinora's story (well, over Ikki's anyway). Jinora's story ended with the suicide of the main character! Korra had been thinking of suicide as a viable option for awhile!!
It must be noted that Korra's actually displaying several legitimate warning signs throughout the last few scenes — feelings of failure ("Amon got away"), hopelessness about the future (the best healer in the world can do nothing for her), loneliness (even in a room full of people who care about her, she can't let any of them in), and — most problematically — a sense that she's a burden to other people ("I'm not the Avatar anymore. You don't need to do me any favors"). That last bit makes it especially hard to swallow any interpretation in which Korra is rewarded for sacrificing herself; not only does Korra care far too little about her life for giving it up to be much of a sacrifice, but playing it off as such would come awfully close to glorifying suicide. Fortunately, this does not appear to be what the show is implying. Korra is only able to connect with Aang after she sits down, which implicitly implies that she made the decision not to jump. And deciding to live even without being the Avatar would be a much better demonstration that Korra has started to overcome her ego-driven tendencies, which was explained to be the source of her airbending block (and therefore, presumably, her spiritual block) to begin with.
Aang said she was calling out for him. That doesn't make sense as a specific, but a general SOS makes perfect sense.
When Noatok was discussing about starting a new life with Tarrlok, they both knew it was all wishful thinking. They had gone beyond the Moral Event Horizon and the sign of Equalist equipment hinted that Amon could not change, even if he hated being who he was. Their boat was also located somewhere in the middle of the ocean and no boat can have enough fuel to keep going for much longer. There are signs that Amon knew what was coming when he shed that single tear, or when he rescued his brother and fled. So when he was planning to close his present life and start a new one, at the point where Tarrlok agreed and blew up the boat, it suddenly struck that they probably meant it literally.
Though the extrapolation is plausible, the reasoning isn't; they're extremely powerful waterbenders, remember? Fuel wouldn't be an issue.
Now that Korra's declassified the secret to Amon's bending severing, sooner or later, the techniques will eventually become wide spread to a point where any sufficiently skilled waterbender will have the ability to sever another benders bending. This won't be so bad as long as a half trained Avatar is around, but what about when the Avatar is still in infancy?
There's a reason bloodbending is illegal. Yakone was given a life sentence for twelve counts of it, but there's plenty of reason to believe he'd have gotten a life sentence for just one.
But remember that bloodbending itself is a rare skill to begin with. Yakone's ability to bloodbend psychically is apparently one-of-a-kind, and was compared to the Combustion Man's powers, which have never been replicated. The only other people who shared this ability were his sons, who are now dead. So unless Yakone had some other sons or grandsons we don't know about, it's extremely unlikely that someone else will be able to figure out how to block bending abilities with bloodbending.
Amon didn't just escape with his brother in a boat, he escaped in a boat stocked with Equalist supplies. He may have wanted to start a new life, or said that, but why would he have a boat stocked with those supplies? If nothing else, it may have convinced Tarrlok his brother hadn't changed and killing them both was the only way to stop it from happening again.
Not necessarly, the reason that the boat have equalist weapons is that it's a equalist boat... nothing more. You can't expect someone that's escaping remove the stuff inside just because it's "wrong".
Among the weapons there I saw the lieutenant's kali sticks, so Amon had at least picked those up and put them onto the boat.
Or they just had extras so the Lieutenant can get them from different sources, like if Bruce Wayne had many suits around Gotham so he could turn into Batman at any time.
Maybe there are other higher-up chi blockers that use them that we never see. Also, Amon was forced to flee the scene after Korra knocked him out of the buliding they were fighting in—the same building that he defeated/killed the Lieutenant in. He never had a chance to retrieve those specific sticks, and I doubt a Genre Savvy guy like him would try to go back and grab them after everyone knows who he is.
Amon's Ironic Death. He perishes due to electricity and fire, the same elements his made-up firebender assailant would have used on him and his parents.
Speaking of Hoist by His Own Petard, let's not forget Hiroshi Sato, who was defeated by the very mechs he had developed. His own equipment finished Amon and Tarrlok in the end.
Hiroshi was defeated by the pilot: His daughter, another 'creation' of his. How high can Hiroshi's petard be hoisted?
Surprised that this wasn't commented on, but Amon/Noatak as a boy looks very similar in appearance to Korra as a young adult. And the result of learning bloodbending caused him to cross over to the dark side. Now think back to "When Extremes Meet" when Korra and Tarrlok fought, when she nearly killed him. Not only could this fight have caused Tarrlok to cross his personal MEH, but it might be seen as payback for what Amon/Noatak did to him as a boy. And on top of that, a subtle hint to what Korra could become if she ever stooped to that level again.
Going one step further, Tarrlok may have subconsciously seen Korra as Noatak.
We see that Amon had all the Airbenders tied up before the crowd, he said he would rid the world of airbending. If what we've seen of Yakone (disregarding the wife's heritage) then disabling bending doesn't stop the persons involved from having bender children. So how would he get rid of Airbending? By public execution of course, of children none the less. Not to mention how that would scar the children and how the crowd would just stand there to watch.
That's probably why he was in jail though. The first time he displays any sign of airbending, bam, debended. Furthermore, consider the following: Contrary to fanon, children don't display bending at birth. Maybe he couldn't have severed the connection between him and airbending without him airbending first, just like he couldn't stop Korra from airbending.
That makes perfect sense, except the OP suggested that Amon was going to kill the airbenders in order to eliminate airbending from the gene pool.
A crowd that could agree while chained up children were killed might balk at it happening to a newborn. If Amon planned to kill them off-stage, he could have killed Rohan at another time and place too. The public might never know he existed.
The boat Noatok and Tarrlok were in was apparently pretty far out into the ocean when Tarrlok decided to blow it up - no land was visible in any direction. This means that potentially, Korra, Tenzin, the White Lotus Society, Republic City and the world as a whole may never know that Amon is dead.
Also you wonder because a speedboat could never have enough fuel to cross an ocean, or where those two were even going by traveling westward. Was Amon just driving on in name only, waiting for Tarrlok to send them to their watery grave?
Well, Amon is a waterbender. He could have run that boat, fuel or no fuel.
Asami comments on how the tanks work just like a Future Industries Forklift. Any more proof needed that most of Future industries' workers were the Equalist mooks?
That doesn't really need to be the case, although some probably were. It just means that Hiroshi was able to build many parts for his mechatanks in his public factories without raising suspicion, rather than having to build them from scratch in secret, which would take much more time and effort, and much greater chances of getting caught.
Not to mention the fact that a well known system would help insure a shallow learning curve. It's very fitting with the Equalist's supposed idea of equality: A mech that any non-bender could hop into and, with little training, be on level ground with a bender. Syndrome comes to mind...
Now we know why bloodbending was made illegal - Hama was not the first bloodbender by a long shot. Yakhone at one point claims that his family has the strongest line of bloodbending genes in history, which means this art has been around for a long time and refined to an alarming degree. And why not? A basic fact of biology is all that is needed to know how it can be developed. At some point the gaang must have discovered that there were more bloodbenders out there than they had thought and the skill was in fact well and truly around. Also the presence of all these bender gangs like the Triads gives further weight to the idea that some of them had used bloodbending on their victims, prompting the city to make it illegal.
Tarrlok is the first to figure out that Amon's bending removal is bloodbending because he's the only one who's experienced it for more than a few seconds. It's also likely that everyone who experienced energy-bending and can compare the differences has died of old age.
Wait a minute, after what we saw at the end of Season 1, you realize that the Avatar state never kicked in because Korra's actually never had the Avatar state back up at all the whole time, even for emergency defense.
This is because Korra was completely inept at the whole spiritual aspect of bending... and the Avatar State was ALL spiritual, so yeah, she didn't have access to it even if she needed it.
Actually i think the Avatar State never kicked in because Korra was never in any real danger to be begin with. The Avatar State is a defense mechanism, designed to act as a trump card in case the Avatar was in mortal peril. But as we seen throughout the show, the Bad Guys never actually wanted to kill her, but rather de-bend her, and that it. In the Finale, all Amon did to her is de-bend her and left her alone.
Korra had to deal with terror, not anguish. Aang was set off by seeing loved ones in danger,drowning,loosing control of his emotions...but never terror. Which is basically all of Korras dark points.