- The four people who are said to have thwarted the Red Lotus' attempt to kidnap Korra were Tonrak, Tenzin, Zuko and Sokka. This confirms that Sokka outlived Aang, but he is dead by the beginning of the series. Even though both groups were evenly matched with three benders and one non-bender each (Zaheer was not a bender at the time), the aging Sokka would have been at a severe disadvantage against the Red Lotus. It's very possible that this is how he died. (this actually belongs in S3 somewhere, but I can't recall which episode right now)
- There's an aspect of being the Avatar after the defeat of Vaatu that has not been properly addressed in the series; Raava specifically states that if one defeats the other, the defeated will eventually be reborn in the victor. While Vaatu was imprisoned, this wasn't an issue, as his being precluded the possibility of him coming into being from whoever was bonded to Raava. But now that the current incarnation of Vaatu is destroyed, he will eventually be reborn from the Avatar - it may not be Korra, it may not be her successor, it may not happen for thousands of years, but some time between his defeat, and the next Harmonic Convergence, Vaatu will return, probably in the form of a new Dark Avatar, maybe even as the child of an Avatar.
- 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 "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.
- It gets worse in Season 2, which revealed that despite years of study and meditation, he was never able to enter the Spirit World. Air Nomads are deeply spiritual and even in Wan's time are shown to commune with spirits regularly. Tenzin not only lost his father but also could not access one of the most important parts of his heritage. No wonder he was so happy when Korra opened the spirit portals; it really was everything he could have ever dreamed of.
- Unlike Jinora, who had the New Air Nation who rang the chimes at anointment as an airbending master, Tenzin only had his one person ring them: His father.
- Bumi and Kya tend to really joke a lot about how they used to beat Tenzin up when they were kids. .... Wait a second... Bumi is ten years older than Tenzin. So... When Tenzin was five, he was getting his butt kicked by a fifteen-year-old? This really makes Tenzin's grumpiness and unwillingness to be around his siblings come off as way more justified, and their joking about it as adults way more mean-spirited and insulting.
- 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 is still alive and if she is, what kind of shape she's in. Lord Zuko is still alive and seems to be in decent condition - likely because he spent much of his older years in the pampered position of a Fire Lord. 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?
- In fact, an interview with the creators more or less confirmed this: Bryan Konietzko commented that Aang had "burned up some of his extra Avatar time" because of his 100-year suspended animation, which has to take a physical toll on the body.
- Played with by Toph, despite living a highly stressful life after the war without the benefits of either Katara or Zuko to mitigate it. Toph showed that she was no slouch in fighting Korra, only making the bare minimum of movements to dodge the latter's attacks, and gleefully boasted that she would have destroyed the new Avatar had she been in her prime. Given who she is, this is not exactly a surprise for anyone. However, this was only a small sparring match against a rusty opponent; when Toph joins Bolin, Opal and Lin in saving Suyin and the rest of her family, she has to do a lot more heavy duty Bending and comments later that she almost threw her back out, citing that she's not as spry as she used to be and that's why she and Katara have sat out most of the major conflicts going on in the show.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- Just how many people have died in this show? Given the finale of Season 1 and the last few episodes of Season 2 alone, some gravedigger is making a lot of money.
- This could fall under either Brilliance or Horror, but compare Korra between Book 4 and earlier books. Her hair is being portrayed as lighter. The mercury poisoning could have prematurely caused her hair to gray. However, this could simply be a slight art shift, though as the same comparison shows her skin as darker, which has no medical relevance. If anything, her skin too should be drained of a little color if she is aging prematurely.
- Amon can use water/bloodbending to essentially damage the brain of a bender, make them unable to bend and do it so subtly that no healer can repair the damage or even know that waterbending was involved in this. Exactly how much practice did he need to learn and master this skill to such a degree? How many people did he have to go Mad Scientist on and perform experiments on them while they were alive, helpless, and maybe even conscious? How many were killed or worse before he refined it to the point that they were unable to bend but otherwise seemed unharmed? Horror barely scratches the surface there.
- Since the Red Lotus is a 70-year old conspiracy group, and Zaheer mentions there are still more of them out there, that introduces a new level of horror that every government institution that hasn't fallen and even the White Lotus may be infested with Red Lotus agents. Given that Aiwei was a mole within Zaofu's administration, and Unalaq was tribal chief while being a member prior to betrayal, this is entirely plausible for other nations' governments as well. This, of course would also mean every nation's government has likely been compromised before Korra was born.
- The illegality of bloodbending brings up a whole layer of potential horror. Consider the fact that Hama only discovered bloodbending within a VERY specific circumstance: she was trapped in a prison and was desperate to get out, creative enough to figure out bloodbending, and strong enough to do it. She is seemingly the only bloodbending in existence, save for Katara, before Legend of Korra. So considering Yakone's knowledge of, and skill with, bloodbending, two distinct circumstances come to mind. Either:
- A) Hama managed to escape captivity and taught more waterbenders the ability, who would then use it for malicious purposes (revenge on Fire Nation citizens, probably) leading Katara to call for a ban. The few who escape arrest would go on to teach people like Yakone. OR
- B) Katara had it banned as a preventative measure, but some clever person, perhaps Yakone's himself, decided to investigate what bloodbending was, and who did it. They learned about the witch who would control people on the full moon, put the pieces together, and figured out bloodbending on their own.
- Essentially, since Katara and Hama were the only two bloodbenders, either Katara's ban was a call to stop some sort of Hama-created bloodbending crime spree (since Katara seems less inclined to teach vengeance-fueled maniacs or criminals a VERY dangerous skill) or Katara tried to prevent that, and essentially created one of the world's most infamous mobsters.
- Just how long have the Triple Triads been causing problems in Republic City?
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 anti-bending 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.
- Actually, he is - he appears at Varrick and Zhu Li's wedding, three seasons or so later. Still, who knows what happened to him in the meantime?
- Firebending mugger:
- 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 acquainted with the others, having been with them at the headquarters. 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 pulls his scarf 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 alright 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 Wolf-Bats short match we see one of their opponents on a stretcher, 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 that's 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. Worse is that it can explain the hole because everyone else thinks water can't do that much damage to where they let them aim in the face. They aren't above sending fire in the face either. Since they won three championships prior, picture how many of their victories involved such tactics.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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...
- 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. 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.
- 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... However, he's back to narrating the episode after, so he wasn't that badly hurt.
- 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 financial 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.
- 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 Yakone 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. 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 similar to Jet's case where Katara couldn't heal him. Remember how Sokka 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?
- 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.
- Yakone was old enough to have been around when the Gaang was trying to deal with the war if he is in his 50s or 60s when Toph and Aang was hitting 40. Given how isolated the Water Tribes were, imagine Aang, Katara, and Sokka was doing stuff at the North Pole while a guy who was in his 20s-mid 30s at the time would eventually become a mob boss that can use bloodbending at free will, control Republic City's underground for years, and nearly kill Aang. Let that sink in like water in a towel.
- 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...
- 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...
- 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.
- 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.
- A meta example; Mako's behavior. His behavior mirrors the Five Stages Of Loss. To put things in context, this is the socially accepted, even expected, behavior to display after having suffered the loss of a loved one. These five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. He goes into denial about Korra being gone, however briefly, then spirals into what everyone remembers, the anger. The third stage, bargaining, is more of an internal behavior, so we wouldn't have seen it if it did happen. This is a guy who did absolutely nothing outside of getting upset when his friend was kidnapped by a serial rapist.
- Except it doesn't gel with his earlier characterization during a similarly personal tense situation. In The Revelation, he's plausibly worried that Bolin, his brother/only family he has/only person he cares about besides himself, could be killed by the Equalists, a known hate group, instead of just debended like everyone would later learn seeing as how he's just another dirt-poor orphan, but Mako kept his head and Korra remained the one needing to be kept in check even after a day of Bolin being AWOL. However, when Korra, a relative acquaintance/crush he hasn't even known a full year and spent less than a handful of romantic times with, (which she even asked him about in The Spirit of Competition,) has been missing since last night and allegedly by Equalists who said they'd save her for last to avoid making a martyr, he's frantic like his wife's been kidnapped. In other words, a girl he crushed on getting spiritually crippled means more than than the life of his brother that he's raised since childhood. He later admits that her kidnapping was his Love Epiphany yet when Asami calmly and concisely asks him to just admit said feelings so everyone can move on, he not only still dithers for no good reason, the crazy bloodbender excuse is inaccurate (as far as he knows at the time) when said panic was before he knew Tarrlok kidnapped her (and was curiously calmer after that fact,) but he also tries to shift the blame onto Bolin for his own indiscretion, dragging on the Love Triangle a lot longer than it needed to be instead of being maturely diffused in one five minute conversation. Those are perfectly valid reasons people both in and out-universe were tired of him at that point, alone.
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 stealthily saying that is how the Equalists are handling benders: pest control.
- Communication lines:
- 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 simple 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?
- 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.
- Before Lin attacks the airships, she tells Tenzin that whatever happens to her, don't turn back. She was planning on taking down both, leaving her no other way out of the sky except to fall into the ocean along with them. Her Heroic Sacrifice wound up being losing her bending, but she fully intended to die.
- 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 taser 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.
- Tarrlok's and Noatak's backstory plays up much like a tale of child sexual abuse, with their abusive father bringing them along with him away in "hunting trips" away from their mother and making them perform acts that Tarrlok sees as degrading and viscerally wrong. Noatak ends up chillingly stoic and seemingly depressed, being the father's favoured plaything, and ends up committing said acts with less resistance... until he violently retaliates against the father and tries to run away. Years later, as adults, they end doing the exact same acts they thought to be degrading, much like victims of child sexual abuse become child rapists themselves.
- 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.
- The reveal of how Amon can debend people becomes 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 grabs both their forehead and the back of their neck (in other words, 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?!
- Tenzin's family 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.
- The finale makes Tarrlok bloodbending Korra and the others a lot worse to think about. 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.
- The cliff:
- 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 power to debend others 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 a while.
- 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.
- Another thing, Korra didn't jump but how many Benders that Amon depowered did commit suicide because of their loss...
- 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 bender's 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 why 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.
- 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 that his brother hadn't changed and killing them both was the only way to stop it from happening again.
- It's possible the supplies were there already and Amon just picked the first boat he could, although that makes the rest of the theory more Tragic.
- 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. And Hoist by His Own Petard. Killed by the same equipment he had used to terrorize the city.
- 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?
- 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 Moral Event Horizon, 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.
- We see that Amon had all the Airbenders tied up before the crowd, he said he would rid the world of airbending. From what we've seen of Yakone (disregarding the wife's heritage), 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 nonetheless. Not to mention how that would scar the children and how the crowd would just stand there to watch.
- The boat that Noatak 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 the entire world may never know that Amon is dead.
- 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.
- Not necessarily, Hama could still very well be the original bloodbender where once word-of-mouth spread of the technique (who'd expect those Fire Nation villagers to keep their mouths shut after such a traumatic experience), all it would take is other prodigies like Katara with a naturally aggressive/controlling personality no different than initial traits then enhancing them just like animal-breeding, and a lingering resentment toward Fire Nation people/anyone else in their way, then you'd have a whole epidemic of sociopathic killer waterbenders every full moon requiring Katara to outlaw the technique. All before you'd have an Ace of Aces in Yakone being the latest sadistic waterbender in the family that's powerful/skilled enough to not need the full moon yet exploiting the belief by bloodbending every other time. Then take those same traits into the next generation with even earlier training and you have a son who's an ace to the Ace of Aces that's effectively the Antichrist. Spirits help us all that neither Amon or Tarrlok left any heirs to continue the cycle.
- 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.
- Imagine, for a moment, that Amon had succeeded, then remember how he takes people's bending away. He doesn't - he blocks it. Since he doesn't actually remove a person's bending, it's possible that depowered benders could have bender children, who would likely be depowered at birth. But wait, it gets better! Even if Amon could have debended all of these children, he eventually would have died, and couldn't have passed on his techniques to anyone. After his death, the equalists would have had a lot of new benders on their hands, and no way to get rid of them, save one.
- Not helping is the fact that non-benders can still have bender children (Katara says hi). They'd eventually have to start keeping close tabs on each other, too, so not even the non-benders and their apparent supporters would be safe.
- The treatment of Tenzin's family at the Southern Airbending Temple. They were trying to be courteous, but it appears to be somewhat misplaced in a sense. First off, they didn't even pay attention to Kya and Bumi and even assumed that they were Tenzin's servants rather than his siblings. Secondly, the way they referred to his children as "The next generation of airbenders," it seemed like they weren't actually valuing them as human beings, but more as a charismatic endangered species that needed saving, like pandas. In a sense, they're treated more like breeding stock rather than children.
- Alternative Fridge Horror regarding the Air Acolytes: They seem to treat the kids as messianic figures, rather than children. It's plain as day that the Air Acolytes practically worship actual airbenders to almost disturbing degree. It's Pema who they may see more as "breeding stock" than a person in her own right, even if they are very polite about it.
Civil Wars Part 1
- Varrick pointing out that he can't get his ships out of the ports leads to the realization that the entire Southern Water Tribe is cut off from the rest of the world. Now remember how Unalaq wanted to send the Avatar away too. If she left, that would mean a religious extremist would have near complete control over a hostile and well-armed populace, with no dissenting voices he trusts to steer him away from anything drastic.
Civil Wars Part 2
- Unalaq attempting to send Tonraq and the rebels to the Northern Water Tribe becomes this, when you realise that once Tonraq and the men were taken away, no one would have known what had become of them aside from Unalaq's word. Unalaq could have easily disposed of them once they had reached the North Pole (or even before then) and lied to their families about it.
- Beginnings makes the finale of Book 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender much more horrifying. If Katara didn't have the spirit oasis water, Raava would have been destroyed and Vaatu would have made the world much worse.
- The Avatar Cycle is Wan/Raava's eternal cycle of rebirth and reincarnation to maintain balance in a world that they are responsible (through meddling/failure) for unbalancing. It is an eternal mission of atonement. There will never be "enough time". Conflict will always rear its head and the Avatar shall always be there to re-balance the world and suffer in every lifetime like Wan did/is. The Avatar can never find peace.
- Consider the things that happened to people before Wan's time, and the fact that the only bastions of human civilization seem to be on the Lion Turtles which have a finite capacity. What do you think happened to other humans when the spirits came around before they fled to the Lion Turtles?
- Lion Turtles in the background materials are said to have been hunted to extinction. Considering that Lion Turtles could grant bending powers, this makes a horrific sort of sense. By killing Lion Turtles in enemy held territory, you deny your opponents access to the ability to empower more of your enemies. We know that humans fought some brutal wars after the spirits left, considering Wan died on a battlefield.
- When Wan meets his old friend Jaya again, he is informed that Crazy Yao died along the way, but Jaya seems hesitant about elaborating on his exact fate. Yao is about 30% tree and therefore terrified of fire, yet helped found a colony in the Spirit Wilds with a group of people who are highly aggressive and irresponsible with their powers... their fire powers. Jaya may very well have accidentally killed Crazy Yao through sheer idiocy! It's potentially worse than that. Jaya and his colony made it clear that they were indiscriminately attacking spirits. Crazy Yao may have been seen by them as part-spirit. You do the math.
- The links to the Greek myth of Prometheus' Theft of Fire has been noted with Wan's stealing fire from the Lion Turtle. However, the parallels are a lot stronger, and more horrifying if you think about it. Specifically, the fact that Prometheus was later punished for his actions. Fire sparked the progress of civilization, in both the myth and in Beginnings. However, the progress of civilization is detrimental in both Greek myth and in the Avatar world, as in Greek myth it is seen as a weak age that fails to support the gods and in the Avatar world it fails to maintain the balance between the Spirit Realm and the physical. Prometheus was sentenced to eternal torture by being chained to a rock and having his liver eaten by an eagle, always healed every time to endure it again. Wan spends the rest of his life trying to restore balance, which humans have made impossible, and thus begins the Avatar cycle and their sole duty to restore balance in the world, a task which seems impossible to accomplish.
- We know the Chou are definitely dicks, with Chou the Elder being an elitist snob, and his kids being not much better, bullying people around because they're the only ones on their Lion Turtle with weapons, but... what are we not seeing that's so bad that dozens of people are willing to walk off into the Spirit Wilds, where the chances of dying horribly are pretty good, rather than live under their rule one minutes more?
A New Spiritual Age
- As of Episode 10, we are reunited with Wan Shi Tong, the Spirit of Knowledge. Jinora goes there to get information and casually mentions Dr. Zei from AtLA. And we are treated to the delightful sight of seeing his skeleton up against a bookshelf when Wan Shi Tong says 'he's still here'. So humans physically trapped in the spirit world die. Not unexpected, but surprising how direct it was shown. The horror part is that Dr. Zei's body was pretty much in the same position as the last time we saw him, surrounded by books, and from the look of his corpse, he didn't die of old age; Wan Shi Tong let the sand mummify him. This implies that at the end of Book One of TLA, the Ocean Spirit didn't just execute Zhao, it ripped his soul from his body before trapping him in the Fog of Lost Souls.
Night of a Thousand Stars
- When Korra has lost her memory of her fight with Mako, he does not tell her that they broke up, and the entire cast glares at him with disapproval. While this scene is humorous, it does have a darker side to it. Mako is effectively taking advantage of someone he claims to love, who has suffered from a traumatic event. The cast are not just glaring at Mako for not telling the truth, and Asami isn't just annoyed at him for dumping her in front of everyone. They all realize that what Mako is doing is taking advantage of a traumatized girl. It should be noted that after this incident, Mako never wins back the full trust of his friends until the series finale, where he almost sacrifices himself to save the city with no thought of reward, simply because it is the right thing to do.
Darkness Falls/Light in the Dark
- Vaatu is destroyed by Korra during the season finale, which means that Vaatu will now grow within Raava and all future Avatars for the next ten thousand years.
- And now he's fused to a mortal soul. So in ten thousand years, Dark Avatar's are gonna be a thing and unless one dies in the Avatar State, no matter how many times the Avatar kills them, they will never. Go! AWAY! Yay.
- Unless their fused form was their Avatar State in which case his Avatar cycle has already been broken. Though there's nothing stopping him from trying again when he's reborn, and this time he won't be sealed away since he'll be reborn from within Ravva.
- And now he's fused to a mortal soul. So in ten thousand years, Dark Avatar's are gonna be a thing and unless one dies in the Avatar State, no matter how many times the Avatar kills them, they will never. Go! AWAY! Yay.
- We might point and laugh at Bumi freaking out over invisible cannibals in the Fog of Lost Souls, but remember this: that means that, at some point during his service... he and his men were at the mercy of people who wanted to eat them.
- Spirits and humans living together in harmony! Great! Except spirits like Koh the Face-Stealer are now free to roam around the human world attacking people with impunity.
- People are frustrated with the spirits and vines as they are disrupting their livelihoods. Spirits aren't exactly friendly and neither are humans during times of great change. How long before things start turning out like they did during Wan's time?
- Thanks to the vines, many roads are clogged, a lot of plumbing is busted, buildings are being overrun, and services are non-existent. It would be unsurprising if there are people who have had sick or older relatives die as a result of the vine-mangled infrastructure.
- Air Nomads were a peaceful people who were strict pacifists. Now we have a man with airbending who leads a group of ruthless criminals who could bring the world to its knees. He lacks the self-restraint the Air Nomads had. Fridge Horror in the Avatar trope pages have already covered the horrific things Airbending could potentially do if a bender were so inclined. This man just gained airbending and is already proficient, taking out trained benders with ease. What about when he starts developing advanced airbending skills? Amon and the Equalists were high-trained anti-benders but could not handle airbending as no one is experienced in its ways due to its rarity. What chance do other people have?
- Speaking about the Equalists, while watching Rebirth and seeing how Tenzin and Korra are trying to force the new airbenders to go with them. Yes, force. Since bending is so defined into the culture of the different nations that just because you can bend you're instantly a part of it. Amon's anti-bending philosophy doesn't seem so far-fetched, especially since it's Tenzin that's almost dragging people away from their families.
- To be fair to Tenzin when the airbenders, disturbed by how strong his pitch is, refuse to join him he doesn't actually force them to come with him, but instead accepts their refusal. I read it more as him being excited at the idea that his people were returning and not considering that not every new airbender would be willing to join the air nation.
- When looked at objectively, the conditions under which Zaheer's cohorts Ghazan and Ming-Hua were imprisoned by the White Lotus are utterly horrifying. Even ignoring that solitary confinement is a method of torture condemned by human rights organization worldwide, Ghazan was locked up under the sun in a cell with no apparent door, suggesting that nobody ever intended to let him out, and Ming-Hua was locked at the bottom of a volcanic pit, surrounded by constant heat and magma. It becomes worse when you consider the logistical issues of feeding a captive waterbender who can bend without using arms-we got a look at the dehumanizing treatment that the Fire Nation employed against normal waterbenders and earthbenders in ATLA. How much worse must they do in order to contain Ming-Hua before hydrating her?
The Earth Queen
- Way back in the first series, Combustion Man was originally conceived as a sort of "Anti-Avatar", though it ended up being changed in the final draft. It seems like P'Li and the rest of the irregular benders are written to be just that.
- Ba Sing Se. Seems some corruption never dies. The Dai-Li are, perhaps, even more disturbing in how they seem to have so easily slithered back into power in the past 70 years.
- The Earth Queen's army. Kai is a roughly twelve-year-old child, but his uniform fits him snugly. Considering how fast everything went, it obviously wasn't tailor-made. Why does the Earth Queen's army have uniforms which fit children?
The Metal Clan
- Zaheer staying at Air Temple Island. He was in the perfect spot to attack Tenzin's wife and kids. Thankfully, he was more interested in finding out where Korra was than revenge.
- Suyin's response to Opal leaving can be chilling when you think about it. The shift in tone is subtle, but she is totally against Opal leaving. She claims that Opal, and by extension her family and all who live in Zaofu, can find everything they need in Zaofu, thus having no reason to leave, but it's eerily reminiscent to how Toph's parents acted towards the idea of their daughter leaving home. Zaofu is a city that bolsters innovation, creativity, and achieving one's highest potential through merit and hard work, which is great and all, but we haven't been told that that's what Opal wants, never mind what she needs. Opal's personality seems to suggest that she is stuck, inspirationally and physically. Her introduction, compared to her family's, is bland. While it introduces her as a sweet girl, it pales in comparison to introduction by performative metalbending, playing a self-invented metalbending sport, creating metal (postmodernist!) art sculptures, or creating innovative features for the entire city. What Opal needs is a life-changing, life-defining journey, much like Toph had. It's jarring as Suyin herself also had a life-defining journey and is keeping her daughter from having the same experience (unwitting or no). When you think about it, it's a vicious cycle of child rearing. Toph being unhappy with the way she was raised, raised her daughters to the opposite extreme. Suyin, being unhappy with her upbringing, again raised her children to the opposite extreme (though knowing what her mother went through, not to the extent of her grandparents). Fortunately, Su realizes this same thing in the next episode, and decides that maybe Opal does need a bit of freedom and lets her go to the Northern Air Temple. Yay!
- Remember the police cars that P'Li aka Combustion Woman blasted with her third eye? Yeah, those guys did live, right? And how about the guys in the cars that ran into Ghazan's lava pool.
- Just how many endangered species did the Earth Queen have hunted and killed just to satisfy her own taste of fine meats? And how many animals might have gone extinct because of her? She also employs poachers, meaning she's probably always done this in secret. One can only imagine the reaction she would have gotten from either Zuko or Aang, given their respective relations to near-extinct animals.note
- The Earth Queen was probably spoiled rotten by her father, if you remember the kind of guy the Earth King was. He probably doted on her all the time, she always got what she wanted and never lacked any kind of love...then she grows up, quite possibly kills and eats his bear, and utterly runs Ba Sing Se into the ground. Poor Kuei.
The Terror Within
- Aiwei's IED and the subsequent blast that follows. It would have been a whole different story had Korra not airbended in time...
- The implications of Aiwei being The Mole. Just how big and powerful of an organisation is the Red Lotus, and how far have they infiltrated the world's governments? Korra herself realizes that this means she isn't safe anywhere until the Red Lotus is brought down. Made worse when you remember that the Red Lotus had been locked up for over a decade. Aiwei has been a mole for a very long time, right under Su's nose.
- Aiwei has been mentally and spiritually thrown into the Fog of Lost Souls, while his physical body will presumably be stuck back at the inn, stuck there until someone does something about it. Worse yet, according to Katara, a person that is separated from their body for too long dies and since nobody's coming for Aiwei...
- The Red Lotus plan:
- They planned to kidnap young Korra, train her and raise her according to their ideals. Imagine Korra, raised and trained by the likes of Ghazan, P'Li, Ming Hua and Zaheer. Terrifying doesn't even begin to describe what she'd be like to all enemies of the Red Lotus' new world order. Though one has to admit, an Avatar with Lavabending, Combustion bending, and psychic Waterbending would be pretty awesome.
- More Fridge Horror hits when you realize that even if they had succeed in training her and wiping out the world governments, Amon's Equalist movement would have taken over. The Red Lotus would have wiped out any possible resistance to Amon's plans, given the WHOLE WORLD plenty of justification to flock to his side, and not ONE of the Red Lotus members would be able to defend against his bloodbending. They would have set the stage perfectly for Amon to implement his genocide of the benders on a worldwide basis. Of course, Amon's bloodbending may not help against Combustion bending (Unlike the other bending styles, Korra and/or P'Li would only need to focus on him and blow him away from far away, no need to even approach him and tip him off to their presence).
- Don't forget Unalaq. There is the chance he would use Korra and Red Lotus to release Vaatu. Even if he failed, you'd then have a three-way world war between Amon and the Equalists, Unalaq and the Northern Water Tribe(Plus the Dark Spirits) and Zaheer and the Red Lotus, with Korra fighting for them. Even if Korra wasn't put to the task of killing world leaders until she grew up, the fate of the world would be left solely in the hands of Zuko and his family, Republic City President Raiko and the Earth Queen. There would be no need to release Vaatu, ''because the world would already be thrown into complete chaos''.
Long Live The Queen
- It's long been speculated what an airbender could do if they had no scruples about killing. In this episode, Zaheer confirms much of those theories by bending the air right out of Hou-Ting's lungs and suffocating her with it. It hammers home how utterly destructive the Air Nomads could have been in times of war. It also gives a hint as to how Monk Gyatso killed all those firebenders he was sitting on back in the previous series. On the subject, this post explains the impact and implications of just how powerful airbending can really be.
- The Earth Queen had a trapdoor right in front of her throne. How many unwanted guests and political rivals were disposed of that way?
- How many people are going to get assaulted, raped or murdered with the upper ring taken down and looters free to pillage?
- All of Ba Sing Se went up in flames, as shown in this episode. The Earth Queen's demise probably happened within that day considering it was daytime when Zaheer made the announcement and Ghazan tore down the wall. It was sunset by the time Bolin and Mako escaped from the prison. You know what this means? It means that in mere hours, the entire city of Ba Sing Se descended into absolute madness and pure chaos.
- The attack on the Northern Air Temple takes on a whole new light when you realize that the original destruction of the Air Nomads probably looked a lot like this, but with even more children involved.
Enter the Void
- We find out about P'Li's backstory, about how she was supposed to be trained as some unnamed warlord's killing machine, until Zaheer saved her. While she may be a villain, that must not be an easy thing to deal with as a child. Also, her unique power can only cause destruction, and this warlord took advantage of her, most likely.
- Zaheer figured out how to fly really quickly right after he recited Guru Laghima's words. He also tried this before in the temple before P'Li came to talk to him. Maybe he figured out at that point that P'Li was his earthly tether and was planning to kill her? From his expressions both when he talks to her and when she dies, he likely figured it out or at least theorized on it, but he genuinely loves her so he can't hurt her and reassures both himself and her of that... only for her to die, just after he decided it wasn't worth "becoming wind". It's no wonder he becomes suicidal and more extreme and cruel towards Korra. Their conversation implies he rescued her when they were kids, and they've been together ever since then. He lost his (only?) childhood friend, his (likely) long-time lover, the last trace of the (assumedly) heroic boy he might have been once, and very likely lost his sanity too.
- Suyin's mind-blowing killing of P'li. Before she can get another combustion blast off, Suyin wraps her armor around the woman's head. The result is that the blast goes off in an enclosed space. The same blast that shatters rocks. On top of that, the only escape route for the energy and blast is the hole around her neck. It's been assumed that her body was riddled with skull fragments.
- Zaheer's previous quotings of Guru Laghima, and his figuring out how to fly after P'Li's death brings up the question of how moral and friendly this Laghima really was. His quotes ring too much to the Red Lotus' ideals and becoming The Übermensch, and the fact he developed an ability that requires letting go of all earthly bonds implies he would have had to outlive, kill or forsake everyone he cared about. We could very well be dealing with an Airbender Sociopath. Whether Zaheer realized it or not, would make it even worse.
Venom Of The Red Lotus
- The poison:
- Jinora stated the poison used on Korra by the Red Lotus was metallic in nature. There is only one metal that exist at normal temperatures as a liquid: mercury◊. No wonder Korra is in such bad condition even two weeks after those events: the Red Lotus poisoned her with an extremely high dose of mercury. If the producers accurately portray the effects of mercury poisoning, Korra might never get better or even become worse.
- One of the effects of severe mercury poisoning is permanent damage of the nervous system. And it was injected right into Korra's legs and arms. Early in season one, we saw how devastating the loss of her bending was to her, and it's highly possible that her bending will be permanently affected.
- Further verifying that the poison was mercury, it was absorbed through the skin. Mercury is poisonous to the touch, as it can easily be absorbed through the skin.
- Another effect of mercury is insanity, which is why the Mad Hatter exists (they used mercury on their hats, which overtime drove them insane). What is the world gonna do with an insane Avatar?
- For added horror, here and here are lists of most of the possible ailments that mercury poison can lead to. Seriously, Korra better be getting some good treatment soon.
- During the end, she's crying despite the general happiness of the ceremony, lethargic, and generally seems worn down. Emotional exhaustion is one thing, but all of those could be treated as symptoms of mercury poisoning.
- That all being said, one of the reasons why mercury poisoning is so damaging is because of how hard it is to extract. Suyin managed to pull out at least the majority of it, so while the damage is done, it shouldn't progress further. Turns out that wasn't the case. Kudos for Korra not being dead, though.
- Notice how slow Korra's firebending movements were as Zaheer escapes from the cave? That's her body struggling to adapt to the unnatural and sudden additional weight of mercury.
- She does recover fully, but it takes upwards of three years and significant spiritual and emotional development on her part.
- While the hallucination of Ming-Hua shifting into Vaatu is terrifying on its own, it becomes all the more frightening when one realizes that it's most likely not a hallucination at all. Remember how the cycle of Raava and Vaatu operates? When one is defeated, they are slowly reborn through the other. Now, think about how Vaatu gains strength, how he draws power from chaos and turmoil. In all reality, the hallucination of Ming-Hua shifting into Vaatu is the Spirit of Chaos reaching across his current imprisonment within Raava through the hallucinations to taunt Korra. As she grows weaker and the world descends further into chaos with the machinations of the Red Lotus, his strength grows and grows, until he is eventually free once more.
- When Korra thought she couldn't be the Avatar anymore back in Book 1, she became suicidal, and she only lost three of her four elements. This time, the mercury poisoning has taken a serious toll on her body, which is as good as not being able to bend period, and left her emotionally vulnerable by making her question whether or not there even needs to be an Avatar. On top of that, depression and suicidal thoughts are side effects of mercury poisoning. Seriously, the others really shouldn't leave her alone until she's 100% mentally recuperated, which is probably going to be a while.
- As the poison was metal, it implies that the benders who administered it to Korra were Metalbenders. Now think back to the first known collaborator with Zaheer; Aiwei, who was also a Metalbender. Since Suyin now has no truthseer in her city and that it's known that Metalbenders collaborated with the Red Lotus, she's going to have some major trust issues with her own city's citizens for a long time coming.
- Suddenly, the Red Lotus's plans for Korra becomes downright terrifying. They wanted to abduct Child!Korra and raise into a mindless puppet that would destroy all world leaders one day. And after all that was over, the Red Lotus would kill Korra because she's the Avatar, which in some ways is technically a world leader. And, the Red Lotus!Korra would've most likely accepted her fate.
- As Jinora and the new Airbenders demonstrate, enough airbenders can generate tornadoes, much easier than benders of the other elements could match with earthquakes, firestorms or tidal waves and without the Elemental Baggage. And these are relatively untrained airbenders with the exception of Jinora and her siblings; can you even imagine what a similar-sized group of Airbending masters could do? Sozin needed that comet for his armies to stand against the Air Nomads, much less wipe them out. Between this and Zaheer's talent for asphyxiation it's like Book 3 is all about the Ascended Fridge Horror of airbending. Which also explains why he wiped them out. It was too dangerous to let any of them live.
- "Once change begins, it cannot be stopped, even by the Avatar," Zaheer claimed a few episodes ago. The Avatar wasn't able to stop the changes that the Red Lotus wrought upon the Earth Kingdom, leading to its fall. The Avatar also wasn't even able to stop the very same people that tried to kill her, seeing as how it was her teammates and the new Airbenders to do so. Finally, perhaps the biggest change that the Avatar wasn't able to stop is that the new Air Nation is basically going to fulfill the role of the Avatar, maintaining balance in service and sacrifice for her as she recovers. Zaheer was right. The Avatar wasn't able to really stop all those changes, which really just adds onto how useless and broken she feels by the end, confirming the very same fears she faced when she hallucinated the previous Big Bad villains.
- The Red Lotus are very lucky that Korra didn't die while in the Avatar State. Either Raava would die with her and cause a massive spiritual imbalance that would have pretty much every spirit on the planet after them or only Korra would die and then they have a ticked off super spirit after them. Either way they would have been unable to enjoy their victory for long.
- This episode confirms that Zaheer is a very disturbing mixture of Aang and Ozai. Signs were already there, as he's a studious and calm airbender who respects the airbending arts and is decidedly against imperial rule, but at the same time he's detached and insane, has a dangerous indoctrinated following, and launched an attack that effectively deposed the rulership of the Earth Kingdom. But the parallels are made explicit with this fight, given that it's a fated battle in a rocky formation in which he dominates most of the way through like Aang did in the final duel of the original series despite being the Ozai-type antagonist. The detachment angle itself is a horrowing example. He ultimately takes the "abandon everyone" approach to clearing one's mind, which Aang had initially mistaken Guru Pathik's advice for, but loved P'Li too much to achieve that successfully before he watched her die and suddenly jolted into it. This even makes him a darker equivalent of Tenzin, with his inability to innately tap into spiritual things he has intense knowledge of, while at the same time signaling how valuable Roku's mentioning of his marriage to Ta Min in retelling his own life really was. Had he not dispelled Aang of that premature notion before becoming a "fully-realized" Avatar, Aang might've become similar to Ozai in his out-of-touch self-deluded outlook and willingness to manipulate and/or discard those closest to him for his objectives. And given Raava's original hatred for humans before linking up with Wan
- Kuvira's uses her trademark metal strips in a non-lethal manner in order to capture the bandits. Those things are fast, highly maneuverable, and she has a ton of them. Imagine if she used them as throwing knives rather than handcuffs.
- Kuvira's combat style uses accessories on her body as ranged weapons to restrain her opponents. This is very similar to the Dai Li. The fact that she's actively trying to wrestle control of the kingdom from the future (and very inept) Earth King only furthers the parallel (as it's the same as what Long Feng tried to do). It also shows her connection to Suyin, whose ideals she at least claims to be working off of. Suyin weaponized her necklace to cut down Zaheer's glider in Zaofu. Now Kuvira is using similar techniques and is going against Zaofu, showing her as a dark foil for the matriarch.
- We see Korra going through a realistic portrayal of PTSD, one which includes hallucinating. In this case, Korra is constantly haunted by a dark figure resembling herself, who only Korra can see and feel, except spirits. What makes this terrifying is that others can't see it. And when Korra uses any of her bending against this figure, she might be accidentally hurting another person.
- The way Baatar reacts to being called "Baatar Jr" makes his decision to join Kuvira a lot more understandable. People joining... less than upstanding groups such as cults in a mistaken attempt to create their own identity is depressingly common.
- Prince Wu appears to be little more than a brainless Royal Brat who has no worries or problems. There is one thing that might put a different light on him. Why is a young, 20 something old prince the one becoming the the king of the Earth Kingdom? By the right of inheritance the one to take the throne should have been either his father or mother. What if he doesn't have them though? What if they are dead? His fear of assassins seems much less funny with that realization.
- Kuvira's forces appear to be cutting down parts of the Earth Kingdom's forests for lumber and other supplies. The last time an army destroyed a forest on Avatar, it got a rather powerful spirit very, very angry. And now, the world is absolutely full of spirits.
- Meelo and Pokki ate some poisonous berries that made them vomit. The good news is that that's all they did. Certain poisonous berries like deadly nightshade would not be so forgiving. Suffering atropine poisoning in the wilderness like that without a medic would surely be fatal.
Enemy at the Gates
- The metal pauldrons that are part of the Earth Empire uniform aren't just for style. Kuvira can metalbend them to lift them up just like a Force choke. Varrick finds this out the hard way.
- A single piece of spirit vine, only a foot or so in length, can produce enough energy to blast a massive hole out the back of Kuvira's train. Republic City is covered in the equivalent of a massive nuclear arsenal. Doubly horrific when you recall who the Earth Empire is based off of. Each villain operated under an extreme ideal that came into prominence in the twentieth century; Amon is communism, Unalaq is religious fundamentalism, Zaheer is anarchy, and Kuvira is fascism. Avatar's relative equivalents of the Nazis have begun developing the nuclear bomb. The next episode essentially confirms this fact: when Varrick blows up Kuvira's train with his improvised vine bomb, Baatar jr has to cover his eyes from the bomb flash. The camera then pans out to show the train consumed in a massive dome of incandescent purple energy, eerily reminiscent of a mushroom cloud.
- Suyin urges Korra to put an end to Kuvira's plans by going into the Avatar State and destroying the Imperial Army. Thankfully, Korra disagrees, saying that fighting like that is something the old Korra would do and that it would only make things worse. Korra is not only a fully realized Avatar, she is also capable of metalbending. The sheer devastation she might have caused had she not undergone all that Character Development is horrific.
- The parallels between Kuvira and Korra add a new, subtle level of scariness. Kuvira isn't just frightening because of her ruthless methods and enormous power - she's also frightening because she is what Korra might have become.
Battle of Zaofu
- At the end of their battle, Kuvira noticeably tries to kill Korra (before Jinora and Opal stop her). As if that isn't bad enough, consider the fact that next Avatar in the cycle will be born in the Earth Empire, which is currently under Kuvira's control and not accepting anyone else in. Think about it. If Kuvira doesn't find and kill the next Avatar, she could instead raise him/her as the new ruler of the Earth Empire, because who wouldn't want the most powerful person in the world raised as their very own personal weapon? Imagine, one of the most evil and powerful world leaders since the Hundred Year War, in complete control of the one person in the world who can wield all four elements in addition to the Avatar State, with nobody to stop her. Fire Lord Ozai would be absolutely envious of her achievements. And you thought the Red Lotus was bad. Ignoring the implications of where the next Avatar would arise, what about immediate consequences? Korra was trying to beat Kuvira into submission, while Kuvira was actively going in for the kill. If she is going to kill the Avatar, what's stopping her from going after the other world leaders afterwards, especially with her spirit weapon? This possibility even fits with her fascist subtext; in RL Francisco Franco groomed Infante Juan Carlos to be his heir (although that story had a happy ending when it turned out Juan Carlos was only pretending to buy into fascist ideals, and made Spain into a Constitutional Monarchy).
- The parallels between Korra and Kuvira are now getting very blatant. Kuvira is what Korra was like at the start of the series; powerful, in control of her powers and in a position of relative authority. Korra has grown to the point she does not want to kill anymore, and would rather resolve things peacefully. The blatant part is that in the duel, Korra sees Dark!Korra instead of Kuvira She is realizing that what Kuvira is doing is exactly what she would be doing in her shoes.
- At the end of the episode, Baatar inspects some Spirit Vines. These are from the Swamp, and he states that they're even more powerful than the vines from Republic City. Kuvira then orders her troops to harvest the vines until there's nothing left. If some vines from Republic City could make a bomb big enough to blow off train tracks and cause a huge crater, then these vines, which are apparently stronger, could do much more damage. Kuvira's threat of a Fantastic Nuke grows closer and closer.
- Spirits are extremely picky about humans damaging the environment. And now we have Kuvira planning to harvest the swamp, one of the largest spiritual hotspots in the world. Yeah, they aren't going to be too happy.
- Kuvira is rounding up foreigners and putting them in reeducation camps. Bolin's mother was from the Fire Nation, and Varrick is from the Southern Water Tribe. Even when they were on her side, she was probably planning on getting rid of them once they outlived their usefulness.
Beyond The Wilds
- Zaheer's body is in chains, but he mentions he can explore the spirit world at his leisure. He is exactly the sort of person who could follow in Iroh's footsteps and abandon his body completely, attaining immortality and vast power in the spirit realm. At best, he's basically a Karma Houdini. But there's nothing seen to stop him from hatching new plans and plots in the spirit world. In fact, there's already been a threat exactly like that; Hundun, who meditated into the Spirit World to survive and more or less obtained immortality there but was trapped by the sealed portals.
- The swamp is doing the same thing to the harvesters as the ones in Republic City and these soldiers don't have Korra to set them free if they get captured.
- Zhu Li taking out the pin to the Spirit Weapon tank would've caused the weapon to blow up everything within a certain radius. That means that Zhu Li was willing to kill herself in order for this spirit vine technology to never be utilized and for Kuvira to stop her reign of terror.
- Not only Zhu Li we later find out that the rest of the Beifong family are being held captive in a bunker right underneath the weapon storage depot. Had the weapon detonated, there is a good chance the Beifongs might have been affected too. Suddenly, in light of Bataar Jr.'s freaking out over seeing his sister Opal down-range right as the gun is firing, his determination to stop the meltdown rather than running for cover makes a lot more sense
- The Colossus and the super cannon provide Kuvira with one of the strongest forces on the planet, save for the Avatar Spirit. At present, Kuvira can only conquer the Earth territories; the Colossus wouldn't be tall enough to walk through the ocean towards the Fire Nation or Water Tribes. But, if she was able to make the Colossus fly (she already has a perfect power source) the entire planet is no longer safe. Her transformation to Ozai 2.0 would be complete. Of note, she wouldn't need to have the Colossus fly — just the cannon. The Avatarverse already has mass-produced airships, Kuvira could even make multiple cannons as long as she has spirit vines (which, given what happened when Korra attempted to remove them, she likely has an infinite supply). Moreover, had she succeeded in Republic City, she would also have killed or incapacitated most of the Airbenders who could catch up to her; she could destroy opposing nations without touching the ground.
- Kuvira and her army clearly mistreated the people who were not of native Earth Kingdom origin, "purging" conquered territories of them and locking them up. If she gains control of the United Republic, with all of its ethnic diversity, who knows how she'll treat all the people of Fire Nation and Water Tribe descent who are living in the Republic?
The Last Stand
- Earlier, Toph stated that the spirit vines extend beyond the Foggy Swamp and branch all over the world. The swamp's vines and the Spirit Wilds are shown to be the same underlying organism in "Beyond the Wilds." Had Korra not redirected the energy from the exploding spirit cannon, the ensuing Fantastic Nuke would have destroyed Republic City. If the explosion had set off a chain reaction with the rest of the spirit vine network, we'd be looking at The End of the World as We Know It or an Apocalypse How anywhere between class 4 and class X.
- As Asami and Korra talk about Korra having been gone for so long, while Asami is happy, she admits that, "I don't think I could've handled losing you and my father in the same day." While it's one of the more heartwarming moments of the entire series, and illustrates how much Asami loves Korra, it also has a darker side: the woman who lost her mother to murder, whose father ended up being a terrorist, whose business had nearly gone bankrupt and been stolen from her, and yet managed an albeit-melancholy smile throughout, basically admits that Korra dying would have put her completely over the Despair Event Horizon. For a series that's unafraid to show murder, terrorist actions, allegorical rape, mercury poisoning, realistic PTSD, and plenty of other things you wouldn't even find in most adult series, it's not hard to imagine what might have happened. Just as worse would be if Asami attempted to murder Kuvira.
- Speaking of Hiroshi, try not to think about just how sad and forlorn his funeral is gonna be if he has one; He's not gonna have a lot of people mourning his death. Asami and her comrades would be the only ones in attendance. They know he died a good person, because they're the only ones who saw what happened and understand the circumstances. As far as the world knows, he's a terrorist who got what was coming to him. In other words, Hiroshi died loved by his daughter, but reviled by the rest of the world.
- More like Fridge Sadness, but Baatar Jr. wasn't present at the Varrick/Zhu Li wedding. While he did help with the defeat of the Colossus, he also waged war against Republic City. So, even with his help, Baatar Jr. will still have to punished for his actions. Unlike Kuvira, however, Su is willing to offer her son forgiveness.