Recap / The Legend of Korra S1E11 "Skeletons in the Closet"

Put an end to this sad story.

The first episode of the one-hour season finale, first aired along with "Endgame" June 23, 2012.

The new Team Avatar (Korra, Mako, Bolin and Asami) are holed up underground in Republic City, doing recon of Amon's forces and preparing for the arrival of General Iroh, Fire Lord Zuko's grandson at the head of a liberation fleet. Unfortunately, Hiroshi Sato has managed to create biplanes, and the fleet is sunk, although Korra manages to save the general. Iroh pinpoints the Equalists' airfield as their next objective, and leads a commando raid to destroy it. However, Korra insists on staying behind to confront Amon directly, and Mako backs her up.

The two sneak onto Air Temple Island with the intent of ambushing Amon. The place is practically deserted, though, save for the depowered Tarrlok in a prison cell. He provides a whole-act flashback after he reveals that he is actually Amon's brother. Tarrlok says that after Yakone was stripped of his bending by Avatar Aang, he had plastic surgery and went to live in the Northern Water Tribe under a new identity. His two sons, Noatak and Tarrlok, were both waterbenders, and Yakone taught them his bloodbending skills, shaping them to seek revenge on the Avatar. As a final test, the brothers have to bloodbend each other. Tarrlok refuses to bloodbend his brother, and Noatak bloodbends his father, then asks Tarrlok to run away with him. Tarrlok refuses and Noatak leaves, and Tarrlok and his parents assumed Noatak died in the storm. Since then, Amon (that is, Noatak) has somehow figured out how to use bloodbending to revoke people's bending ability. Tarrlok says he thinks Amon truly believes that bending is the source of all evil in the world, despite being a bender himself.

Korra and Mako discuss their options. A direct attack is suicidal. Amon, an impossibly powerful bloodbender, would hold all the cards. Instead Korra decides to tries to expose Amon as a bender in front of his Equalist followers, in hopes that the support for him will dissolve on the spot. Korra and Mako sally forth to try this new angle with Tarrlok's blessing.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • All There in the Manual: The fact that Gommu, the hobo, is a telegraph operator comes from the official Nick game Welcome to Republic City.
  • The Atoner: Tarrlok.
  • Back for the Finale: Gommu makes a return, hiding Team Avatar in his underground hobo settlement.
  • Buffy Speak: Courtesy of Korra:
    Korra: I hate this being patient stuff.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: A more horrifying example when Noatak bloodbends Yakone, rubbing in his face that for all he says about power he doesn't have a lot anymore.
  • Cool Plane: The Equalist biplanes.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Korra and Mako dress in chi-blocker garb for reconnaissance.
  • Flashback: In which we find out that Amon/Noatak and Tarrlok are brothers, and that Amon is a bloodbender like his father and brother.
  • Gone Horribly Right: You taught your son well, Yakone... too well.
  • Held Gaze: One happens between Korra and Mako that nearly becomes an Almost Kiss, but Korra draws away at the last minute.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Asami finds out Gommu's gruel that she was apprehensive about eating was actually culled from the "finest dumpsters", so she has a sick-color face for a second, spits out the one mouthful she hadn't swallowed yet, and puts it aside. Pabu then laps it up. On the other hand, Bolin, as a former Street Urchin, declares it the finest street gruel he's ever had.
  • Incoming Ham: Gommu's cameo... makes an impression.
  • Irony: Hiroshi Sato begins the episode talking about how the Equalists have overthrown the "tyrannical" Bending government... as he's shadowed by Equalist goons, and hundreds of mecha-tanks prowl the streets, talking about how bending has been made illegal. Not to mention Amon dragging benders to be de-bent, mass-execution style.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Amon/Noatak forces a pack of wolves to do this in a flashback.
  • Manly Tears: Gommu gets these when Team Avatar splits up.
  • The Reveal: That Amon is a bloodbender and Tarrlok is his brother. The title "Skeletons In the Closet" is very accurate.
  • Reverse Telescopic Vision: Bolin holds a telescope backwards before quickly correcting himself.
  • Ship Tease: Between Mako and Korra again, par for the course for the last few episodes.
  • Tell Me How You Fight: Tarrlok identifies Amon as his brother, despite Amon's appearance being totally concealed, by the distinctive feel of his bloodbending.
  • Training from Hell: Imposed by Yakone to his sons, to make them master bloodbenders, like he was.
  • Tykebomb: Amon's father Yakone tried to turn him and his brother, Tarrlok, into this in a plot for revenge on Republic City and the Avatar. While he did turn on his father, he ultimately ended up fulfilling what Yakone wanted him to do anyway (to make Republic City suffer).
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Tarrlok, and even Amon before the bloodbending lessons.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Korra uses an air bubble to sneak herself and Mako onto Air Temple Island.
  • Wham Line:
    Tarrlok: I'm Amon's brother.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Lampshaded. Bolin points out how Hiroshi seems to be able to find the time to invent all kinds of new war machines.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The drama continues. Subtly resolved with Mako and Asami's short conversation right before the former heads to Air Temple Island with Korra; Word of God is that this was their breakup.