This week's episode of The Legend of Korra was much more subdued than the premiere, focusing more on politics and family squabbles than setting up what could be the overarching story of the season. 'Book 2: Spirits' is still without a clear direction as the Southern and Northern Water Tribes drift closer to all-out war.
While it was interesting to watch Korra learn more about herself and her role as the Avatar, her character was overshadowed this week by the show's more comedic characters. Bolin was extremely charming as he became fearful of living in "icy bliss" with Eska. The bit where Bolin asks Mako how to break up with girls was well-written and it recalled their relationship in the previous season.
With Mako dating Korra now, it has felt like the the group is always apart. One of the aspects from season 1 that made the story so compelling was the relationship dynamics between the Korra, Mako, Bolin, and Asami. Will Asami even play a crucial role this season? Her struggle against her father toward the end of last season helped us learn more about her character. Hopefully, she won't be tossed aside in the coming episodes.
The expansion of characters in a show of this scope can be good thing, but if it takes away from key characters like Korra, Mako, Bolin, and Asami, then the series could suffer. While learning more about Korra's mother and father adds depth to our understanding of the young Avatar, it's not as engaging as watching her learn about Pro Bending or battle Amon's henchmen in the streets of Republic City. The title of this season is indeed called 'Spirits,' but why should we care?
Unalaq is another annoyance, as he is made into an even more comical villain. Just watching him sit in his dimly lit chamber speaking to Korra about a war between the spritis and men was a little over-the-top. Is he supposed to be so obviously bad, or are the writers playing some kind of trick? Amon was interesting because of his mysterious motives and charisma. Unalaq just comes across as your typical power-obsessed villain. Nothing about him feels original or interesting. Like the spirit world, Unalaq's story needs more development.
On a lighter note, Korra making peace with her father was a touching moment. Last week, Korra almost seemed like a bully as she pushed her loved ones away in search of her own destiny. It's not easy being the Avatar, but Korra needs to remember that even Aang relied on his friends and family to protect him.
Tenzin's road trip with his brother and sister was another high point this week, as we got more insight into the their family structure. From the conversations, it's clear that Tenzin was the favorite child, with Bumi and Kya left wondering who would carry on the Aang legacy. Like Bolin, Bumi is another character who brings an array of comedic quirks that play well against Tenzin's serious outlook on life.
With Tonraq wrongfully set to stand trial for plotting against Unalaq, will Korra let the judicial proceedings take place? Or will she fight for her father, which could very well trigger a war between the two tribes? Find out next week.
The Legend of Korra continues next Friday with 'Civil Wars, Part 2' @7pm on Nickelodeon.