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Recap / The Legend Of Korra S 3 E 7 Original Airbenders

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There's a new nation in the world.
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Despite Bumi's bad attitude, Tenzin attempts to train the new members of the Air Nation with little success. Things become more complicated for the airbending master as Jinora, with Kai's influence, begins to exert her independence and demand her airbending tattoos. The new airbenders are tested when they are forced to face a group of bison rustlers who have taken Jinora and Kai along with several bison calves.


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  • Absentee Actor: While Korra and Bolin at least get a few lines, Mako gets only an unvoiced cameo. Asami doesn't even appear.
  • Advice Backfire: Tenzin comes to Bumi for advice on how to whip the airbenders into shape. Unfortunately for Bumi, Tenzin takes his advice a bit too seriously.
  • Ascended Fanboy: One of the new airbenders is a former Air Acolyte. Amusingly, his name is Otaku.
  • Badass in Distress: Jinora may the better airbender, but she lacks Kai's lockpicking expertise and remains trapped in her cage during the fight, giving Kai a moment to shine.
  • Bald of Awesome: The bald Air Nomad look proves both fashionable and functional when it alerts Daw to an attack from behind in time to dodge it.
  • Batman Gambit: Korra advises Tenzin to trick Bumi into giving him advice on how to motivate the new airbenders in a way that makes Bumi think he came up with by himself. Alternately, Korra tricks Tenzin into asking Bumi for advice in such a way as to allow Tenzin to still feel superior.
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  • Berserk Button: Do not harm baby air bison when Kai's around.
  • The Bore: All but one of the airbending students regards Tenzin as this, at least at first.
  • Brick Joke: Tenzin begins the episode talking about a guru taking a long fast. When Kya appears, she tries to recall it herself, causing a frustrated Tenzin to tell her he does know about it.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Daw gets his head shaved as part of Tenzin's lecture on feeling the air... and then Tenzin mentions that it's voluntary. However, it does come in handy by the end of the episode.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Tenzin—he's desperately trying to rebuild the Air Nation, and it shows in his frustration with his students who aren't so keen to learn about the spiritual part of being an Air Nomad.
  • Chekhov's Skill: All of Tenzin's air bending drills that he puts his pupils through come in pretty handy later in the episode.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: Kai still tries to finish the head poacher off after he surrenders. Tenzin intervenes and scolds Kai for attacking a defenseless opponent — then compliments his airbending technique.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Korra recounts the previous episodes to Tenzin.
    • The Evil Poacher tells Kai and Jinora a rumor he heard about the Earth Queen eating her father's pet bear.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: How Tenzin reacts to Korra's advice but in truth it's an inversion. It never occurred to him to ask his older brother, who used to be a military officer, how to motivate students/troops.
  • Cruella to Animals: The Earth Queen is a big fan of exotic meats.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty:
    • Tenzin becomes a tough teacher on Bumi's advice. The irony isn't lost on Kai.
    • Played for laughs with Meelo, who takes over the class for Tenzin and tells the airbenders that one of them won't make it out alive.
  • Evil Poacher: The bison poachers, who specifically target the babies because it would be a tall order to catch the adults. The leader even wears the pelt of one. They also had no problem turning in Kai and Jinora to the Dai Li for a reward.
  • Exotic Entree: The bison poachers sell baby bison to the Earth Queen, who likes exotic meat. They even heard a rumor that she ate her father's pet bear.
  • Fur and Loathing: The leader of the poachers wears a cape made from the hide of a baby air bison.
  • Kick the Dog: The rumor that the Earth Queen ate her father's pet bear, Bosco.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Kai was deeply hurt that the head poacher would threaten endangered, innocent creatures, so he just kept smacking him even though he surrendered. Tenzin had to remind him that Airbenders, by general principle, CANNOT do this trope.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Just as the previous episode focused on Lin and her family, this episode focuses on Tenzin, his family, and his new students.
  • Mama Bear: Wild sky bison are very, very protective of their young, even attacking anyone in proximity to them. They warm up after Kai rescues the babies from the poachers.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: Bumi inspires them into this to rescue Kai and Jinora. All they needed was a cause.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Daw is able to sense the air disruption from a net fired at his back, narrowly dodging and taking out the shooter.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The Evil Poacher group provided an obstacle for the new airbenders to overcome and gain confidence in themselves.
  • Otaku: An ex-acolyte turned bender, who has an incredibly extensive knowledge of airbending culture, is quite fittingly named Otaku.
  • Papa Wolf: When Tenzin sees Jinora being kidnapped by the poachers, he directs his bison Oogie to side-ram the truck then flip it over. Later when Kai is beating on the head poacher who had given up, Tenzin stops him by lightly admonishing him then complementing Kai on his form.
  • Psychotic Smirk:
    • When Tenzin tells Meelo to lead the recruits in the Ba Gua Circle exercise, his smirk... is not a good one.
    • During the obstacle course, Meelo is having way too much fun shooting melons at the students.
  • Rage Quit: A frustrated Bumi gets fed up with training, and declares he never wanted to be an airbender in the first place, and storms off.
  • Rejected Apology: After their argument, Bumi refuses to listen to Tenzin's apology. They make up at the end of the episode.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The baby air bison are adorable.
  • So Proud of You: Tenzin tells Bumi he's proud of him.
  • Timmy in a Well: Bumi is able to discern that Jinora and Kai are in trouble from what two animal-like spirits tell him, despite neither of the spirits being able to communicate verbally. When the other students question this, he says he gets the gist of it. Later Tenzin reveals he considers Bumi's ability to communicate with spirits to be a special skill.
  • Title Drop: "The bison are the original Airbenders."
  • Took a Level in Badass: The new airbenders are starting to get a grip on their abilities, and do reasonably well in their fight against the Evil Poacher group.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Bum-ju "told" Bumi this for not accepting his brother's apology.
    • Tenzin gives one to Kai when the latter continues blasting the lead poacher for kidnapping Jinora and the bison.
      Tenzin: An airbender never attacks a defenseless opponent! [beat] But that was very good technique.
  • Wise Beyond Her Years: Something Jinora angrily points out when Tenzin says she's too young to be considered an airbending master.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Played for Laughs. Early in the episode, someone says "bisons," and Tenzin notes that the plural of bison is actually bison. Most of the new airbenders keep saying "bisons" anyway.

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