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OnceSane

S04.E05: Enemy at the Gates

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Still felt like build up, but really tense build up...

 

Good for Zhu Li, though whether she's just playing Kuvira or truly (logically) sick of Varrick, who can say.

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Zhu Li is awesome! That is all.

 

I knew Bolin's arc was going to be predictable--he's a good person so of course he wouldn't go to war with his friends. I hope they do something interesting with him if/when he goes to the reeducation camp. I especially hope Mako isn't the one to rescue Bolin and that Bolin gets himself out of trouble.

 

And can Opal please fall from a great height? Like Meelo, I hate her more every time I see her.

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Bolin did pretty well with the lavabending until Bataar Jr. threatened to crush Varrick's head.

 

The mecha battle was awesome and Zhu Li was badass. I think she's probably pretending to be loyal to Kuvira now but I wouldn't blame her if she really turned on Varrick!

 

Kuvira doing the "Vader" forcechoke thing was pretty awesome and scary.

 

Asami reconciling with her dad seemed too separate from the main plot but it was nice to provide closure for that thread before the end.

 

 

And can Opal please fall from a great height? Like Meelo, I hate her more every time I see her.

 

I always liked that Opal seemed demure but actually never took crap from Bolin, right from the start of their relationship. Bolin was just too naive when it came to Kuvira. I think they had Meelo say what some fans might have said who were expecting a big showdown between Korra and Kuvira in this episode.

Edited by VCRTracking
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I always liked that Opal seemed demure but actually never took crap from Bolin, right from the start of their relationship. Bolin was just too naive when it came to Kuvira. I think they had Meelo say what some fans might have said who were expecting a big showdown between Korra and Kuvira in this episode.

 

So, what? That means she doesn't have to talk to him like an adult?

 

From the start she's been riding his ass because he joined Kuvira, the only person willing to do the job of saving the Earth nations from violence and starvation, and somehow Bolin's the bad guy? I don't mind that she takes no crap from Bolin or even disagrees with his choice to support Kuvira, but I do resent the hell out of the fact she goes about it by crossing her arms and turning up her nose instead of engaging him like a grown up. How hard would it have been to tell him about the reeducation and forced labor camps? How hard would it have been to take him aside back in the premiere and say, "Bolin, I want to show you what Kuvira's really been up to!" No, instead she expects him to take her word for it, while at the same time not giving a damn about Bolin's own experiences protecting and feeding people.

 

She's still the same immature, 'Why won't you act the way I want you act and feel the way I want you to feel' asshole she was three years ago.

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Asami reconciling with her dad seemed too separate from the main plot but it was nice to provide closure for that thread before the end.

 

It's probably relevant in that they'll be the Oppenheimer/Fermi to Varrick's Heisenberg.

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What I find weird is how absent Lin has been this season.  Apart from her appearance in the first episode, she has barely registered at all.  Why wasn't she with Reiko and Tenzin when they went to Zaofu?  You'd think someone like her would jump at the chance to impose order on the Earth Kingdom.  I realize it would have complicated the simpler Suyin v. Kuvira plot line, but it would have been awesome if initially, Lin and Kuvira had teamed up to unite the Earth Kingdom.

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Well, ep. 5 zipped by and left me wanting more, but not entirely for positive reasons: it was another episode with little subtlety and few surprises.

 

Oh, well, I was surprised that Kuvira revealed the full size of her army to Suyin. It seemed like an amateurish, prideful mistake to show an enemy her numbers. I suppose Kuvira knew Suyin would never acquiesce and so she’d need her full forces for a conquest. Or maybe that wasn’t Kuvira’s full army…

 

Asami reconciling with her dad seemed too separate from the main plot...

I saw it as part of the parent-child rift theme. In the flashback, Suyin dismissed Kuvira like a disobedient child rather than treating her as an adult employee, which set up their rift. (Bataar Jr. complained about being treated like a child by Suyin as well, IIRC, so…another rift.) Kuvira and Suyin approached their rift with intractability of course, while Asami and her father played out the alternative path.

 

I also see parallels in how both Zhu Li and Asami’s father told someone exactly what they wanted to hear. I hope it’s interesting to see which one is lying, if not both.

 

She's still the same immature, 'Why won't you act the way I want you act and feel the way I want you to feel' asshole she was three years ago.

Behavior Opal learned from her mother, clearly.

 

I laughed at Varrick using himself as a power measurement. He’d totally do that.

 

Also, Bataar Jr. still needs character development. I noticed during the fight scene that he kept growling—they couldn’t think of anything character-building for him to say? Not that I don’t enjoy listening to Todd Haberkorn growl...I recognize his voice from anime.

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In his own limit way I think Varrick does love Zhu Li, he names things after her just as often as he does himself! He's probably going to be grovelling at her feet when she inevitably betrays Kuvira and rescues him. For now she's letting him sweat. 

 

The Asami storyline felt like thread tying to me and a little shoehorned but I'm happy it was included. I wonder if we'll get something similar with Mako next week.

 

 Because Suyin and Opal annoyed me so last season I want Kuvira to crush Zaofu and then get her backside handed to her by Lin when she tries to do the same to Republic City. 

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Bataar Jr. said his was being in the shadow of his parents.

 

I agree with the Onion AV Club review that what Suyin managed to do with Zaofu would not work with the larger Earth Kingdom:

 

 

As the leader of the closest thing the Earth Kingdom has to a utopian society, Suyin Beifong is a natural choice to lead the stabilization and reunification campaign, which is why it’s remarkable that she’s so actively opposed to the idea. Su has no interest in imposing her values on an entire nation, understanding that the reason Zaofu has thrived is because it’s been a small, contained city-state. It’s an environment that Su can monitor very closely, and when there are problems, she can deal with them in a diplomatic way that maintains the peace she’s worked so hard to establish.

Charging into Ba Sing Se goes against Su’s principles, and she doesn’t want to be perceived as a conqueror and start even more conflict. Kuvira has quelled rebellion by showing force, but that’s not how Su operates, and she’s not going to make herself that kind of leader to satisfy President Raiko and Tenzin. If Su had decided to step up and rebuild the Earth Kingdom, it’s possible that the world wouldn’t find itself in its current situation, but at what cost to Su? Unlike Kuvira, she’s a mother and a wife and the leader of her own city-state; she has a lot to lose by becoming the savior of the Earth Kingdom, and she’d rather not risk it. But Su isn’t perfect. She’s vulnerable to her emotions, and when Kuvira threatens Zaofu, Su decides to stop her rival by infiltrating Kuvira’s camp with her sons Wing and Wei. These actions all but guarantee an attack on Su’s home, setting up what will hopefully be a massive face-off next week.

 

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If Korra still had access to her past lives Kyoshi would be telling her to get off her ass and kick Kuvira's ass the same way that she did to Chin.  Unfortunately for Korra those spirit vines will probably be weaponized before she can stop Kuvira.  Perhaps Zaofu will be blown up.

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First off...lower your voice, Meelo! Geez! While I also wanted a Korra vs. Kuvira smackdown, I appreciate Korra trying a diplomatic approach.

 

I actually didn't recognize who Asami was talking to for a second, but then I realized it was Hiroshi and thought "Wow, he lost a ton of weight!" :P And while the subplot felt a bit out of place, I think it would seem that way no matter where you put it. They might also be playing into the parent-child rift theme mentioned upthread.

 

When Kuvira threatened Bolin, she might as well have said, "I find your lack of faith disturbing..." I can't be the only one who thought of that. Hell, she basically force-choked Varrick, too.

 

After what little Zhurrick we got last season, I was freaking out when it looked like they were gonna kiss. Varrick and Zhu Li were easily the best part of the episode, and we were long overdue for development on the latter. "Cold, heartless war machine" is right! She kicked ass! Though I'm guessing Zhu Li is just playing Kuvira for the time being, Varrick deserved to be called out on his treatment of her. "Guards, do the thing!" "No, not the thing!" XD She also seems to be much stronger than him physically; the spirit vine didn't seem like it was that heavy until Zhu Li handed it to him, and while Varrick struggled to pull Zhu Li back into the train, she lifted him into the hatch no problem. I wonder if she'll get a hand-to-hand combat fight scene.

 

I'm scared for Bolin now...

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So is this actually going to be the final season? I feel like they could go a couple more since the seasons are so short. Esp. with Korra's new look. I'm really loving this season. Season 3-4 have been awesome.

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I enjoyed it, though things are clearly still being built up. You can tell this is the final season as I'm certain that the writers are deliberately giving all their secondary characters a "day in the limelight" episode before focusing on the mains (the premiere was Opal/Kai, last week was the air-bender kids, this week was Varrick/Zhu Li). I'm looking forward to the Korra/Tenzin, Korra/Lin and Korra/Asami/Bolin/Mako dynamics taking centre stage again.

 

Likewise, Asami visiting her father in prison was clearly a last-chance attempt to wrap up that particular loose end.

 

I'm nervous about their portrayal of Kuvira - on the one hand they're very good at giving her just cause in what she's done, on the other it's clear that her desire for Zaofu is entirely personal. I'd love it if Korra does in fact manage to find a way to negotiate peacefully with her, though this is at heart an action show. There's bound to be a showdown at some stage.

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Way to go, Zhu Li!  I hope she's playing Zuvira.  She turned on Varrick way too fast for that to be genuine.

 

I hope Bolin gets out of this on his own, not with someone else's help.

 

Glad to see that Asami and her dad have finally buried the hatchet.  Didn't think they'd revisit that thread.

 

Two weeks of no Mako?  Wonder where he is?

Edited by Donny Ketchum

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First off...lower your voice, Meelo! Geez! While I also wanted a Korra vs. Kuvira smackdown, I appreciate Korra trying a diplomatic approach.

 

Less Meelo, more Ikki please.

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Prediction: Kuvira is going to use the spirit vine weapon and destroy Zao Fu. Like Carthage, Krypton, Hiroshima and Alderaan, it will be annihillated. Part of it is as an example to any nation who might oppose her, but also to hurt Suyin.

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I was just rewatching and something occurred to me: Bataar Jr. doesn't seem to be a bender. There's this very deliberate shot where you see him buttoning his cuff (with a metal button) by hand early on. Later in the episode he's seems super aggressive in his mecha-suit. And it got me thinking -- if Su had 5(?) children and two of them weren't benders, how would the nonbending child feel, especially one of several boys? Opal was the only girl in the family and that probably helped any feeling of inadequacy she had. But three years ago, Opal started bending. I think I'm starting to see why Kuvira was able to win Bataar over -- she went after him when he was probably feeling the weakest of his whole family. Looks like the drive to be better than the benders might be influencing Bataar a little too much...

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I was just rewatching and something occurred to me: Bataar Jr. doesn't seem to be a bender. There's this very deliberate shot where you see him buttoning his cuff (with a metal button) by hand early on. Later in the episode he's seems super aggressive in his mecha-suit. And it got me thinking -- if Su had 5(?) children and two of them weren't benders, how would the nonbending child feel, especially one of several boys? Opal was the only girl in the family and that probably helped any feeling of inadequacy she had. But three years ago, Opal started bending. I think I'm starting to see why Kuvira was able to win Bataar over -- she went after him when he was probably feeling the weakest of his whole family. Looks like the drive to be better than the benders might be influencing Bataar a little too much...

 

Good catch!

 

I hope this turns out to be true it would add a lot of depth and reason to Bataar siding with Kuvira. 

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