Legend of Korra: Love Square Ahoy
Recap: The episode opens with the Fire Ferrets all delighted that Korra has been spending more time at practice than the taskforce. It's led to an improvement of all of their skills. However, romantic tension is still running high. Bolin is crushing on Korra, while she smiles all over Mako, who looks rather uncomfortable at the attention. Thankfully, Asami stops by, saving him from any further embarrasment. She drops off their new team outfits and picks Mako up for their date. Bolin tries to do the same with Korra, but she turns him down. At the brothers' apartment, Bolin is simultaneously complaining and boasting about his relationship with Korra. His brother warns him not to get tangled up with a teammate.
|If you'd like to learn how a real pro bends, I could give you private lessons.|
When Korra shows up for the match the following day, Mako is waiting to confront her about her date. It is part jealousy, part concern for his younger brother. The confrontation leaves them both high and dry, and they storm off to play. They're up against the Porcupines for the quarter finals, but are unable to pull it together. Bolin manages to win the match for them.
Mako comes out to confront Korra a second time. He can't make up his mind, so Korra makes it up for him and Bolin sees them. He runs off and his brother doesn't chase after him. The next morning, Mako finds him at the noodle shop where he has clearly spent the night (with a bottle or two?) and wakes up a massive wreck. Mako lectures Bolin as they're nearly late for the semi-finals. What they need is a serious talk and not another match.
The semi final is Fire Ferrets versus the Buzzard Wasps. Bolin loses his noodles, literally on the floor. Korra nearly loses her temper, but tries to get everyone to work as a team. Her efforts don't merit anything other than silence. The final Bolin dislocates his arm and gets knocked out after Mako. Korra is the only one left. It's three on one. But when she puts her head in the game, Korra manages to knock every single one of them out in one blow.
Meanwhile, the White Falls Wolf-bats, who took to the ring immediately after the other semi-finals, win after only one round with a brutal knockout that sends the opposing team to the hospital. As the reigning champions, they are the ones the Fire Ferrets face next.
Thoughts: I was surprised by the focus on the romance here. The whole episode came off as a let's-get-this-over-with, which was disappointing. A:TLA was so good with combining romance and plot and character development, I think I may have been expecting that, but the format of LoK is quite different. Where A:TLA could be given more of a slow burn with all the adventuring and journeying, LoK is more concentrated and doesn't have the luxury of 60+ episodes. I'm not a huge fan of romance anyway, so if this means that's the last of the drama llama, I'll take it all in stride.
There were some problematic depictions about cheating here. While no one was particularly blamed for what happened (no slut shaming yay!), the matter seemed to be dealt with a bit trivially. Bolin has already been shown as the Innocent One, so his reaction might have felt comedic but did hit a cord with me. It was rather heartbreaking. Everything else however, like the idea that Mako could be torn between two girls, rubbed off wrong on me.
As a frequent YA reader, I'm used to love triangles -- and loathe them when they're done badly. The girl-boy-girl triangle isn't one we see a lot, but it is one that can be even more terrible than the usual. Girls are already shelved over as love interests in shows/books where that's all they're meant to be, but love triangles featuring two girls who do not feel anything for each other generally separate girls as the Good one and the Bad one. Thankfully, Asami and Korra have yet to be distinguished like this, but on the other hand, Asami barely had any development in her second episode.
Where we were treated to Mako's backstory in his second introductory episode, here Asami is regulated as the awkward fourth wheel to the trio's shenanigans. I also don't like that we didn't see whether or not Mako told Asami what happened between him and Korra. It may have been Korra who initiated it, but he did kiss back. I understand Mako is just a teenager, and this is probably his first time being in a love triangle, but I do wish that he could be given the same treatment as Bolin, who doesn't fit the typical Nice Guy mold. If you're in a monogamous relationship and you kiss someone else, the best thing to do is to confide in your partner because they deserve the truth. I hope, when the secret is revealed, that the writers did not fall back on cliches and that they don't shame either Korra or Asami. Despite their treatment of the cheating plotline in this episode, I'm fairly hopeful that that won't go so badly, but it all remains to be seen.
Next episode: And the Winner is... Korra and the Fire Ferrets prepare for the pro-bending championship as a threat looms over the arena.