Warning: This review fully spoils the first episode of Book 3.
Finally, after waiting what seemed like forever, the creators of the series, Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino has delivered us the premiere of Legend of Korra‘s Book 3: Changes. Nick premiered this season’s first three episodes; this review will focus on the first episode, A Breath of Fresh Air.
Change can be either for the better or for the worse. This book’s title refers to what changes are occurring as a result of the Harmonic Convergence, which resulted in the combining of both the spirit and human planes. Change is coming to Korra’s world, and it’s happening fast. Combining both planes have more of an effect on the world than Korra expected.
We rejoin Korra a few weeks after the events that occurred during the Harmonic Convergence; everything is not going well for her. Since her battle with Unavaatu, Republic city has been littered with ever-growing spirit vines that are now ruining the townsfolk’s homes in the process. Amidst this catastrophe, Korra is immediately blamed for the cause of the vines, and quickly loses Republic’s city’s favor. That’s not the only change that is coming to the Avatar universe — airbending is making a resurgence through non-benders.
During a near death experience, Bumi discovers he now has the ability to airbend. Bumi then reveals this discovery to his family, which makes for an extremely hilarious dialogue between characters. During dinner with everyone, Bumi displays his bending in front of his unbelieving family and friends. The characters’ reactions of Bumi’s surprising bending ability, shows that Legend of Korra has not lost its sense of humor during the year long break.
At first, I thought that Bumi’s bending was just a latent ability (because his father is an airbender) that he accidently brought out during a life threatening incident, but I couldn’t be more wrong. Come to find out, Bumi is not alone in gaining the ability to airbend. Mako receives a call from a shopkeeper who reported that his brother, Daw has the ability to airbend, and not being able to control his bending, ruined his shop. Mako reluctantly takes the call, and discovers what the shopkeeper reported held true. Mako encounters Daw and gets knocked into a wall by Daw’s airbending, which leads to Daw’s escape.
Mako then delivers an amusingly awkward report to Asami and Korra (due to their love triangle history) about the newly discovered airbender. Later, Korra and Asami poke fun at Mako — bonding over the mishaps during their shaky past relationship with the firebender. The scene gave me the hint that this season will not heavily focus on the pointless love triangle between the three characters, unlike the past two seasons.
Upon tracking down fleeing airbender, Daw, Korra and krew encounter a devastating scene of vines wreaking havoc in a heavily populated part of Republic City. She then encounters a disgruntled spirit porcupine that gave us a little more perspective, subtly hinting that humans are not the only ones that are having problems arising with the convergence of both planes. Korra’s brief discussion with the porcupine leads to an idea to expunge the spirit vines — it involved her using her estranged (and evil) uncle, Unalaq’s “spirit taming” technique. Surprise, surprise, the technique doesn’t work, in-fact it makes things worse. It was very dense of Korra to use a technique that she hasn’t perfected, especially one that she learned from her uncle. The vines start to destroy the building in reaction to the technique Korra used upon them — with people occupying the building, Korra had to do an impromptu rescue.
After diffusing the situation she caused, Korra then moves on to Kiyoshi bridge where Daw has found sanctuary. Korra then uses her airbender glider to reach Daw to talk him down — her taking a pacifist approach to the situation and using the glider (which is blue to match her wardrobe) is extremely reminiscent of Aang. Korra convinces Daw to calm down and ultimately, to join Tenzin and his family at the Air Temple Island, where Tenzin can mentor the inexperienced airbender.
Korra is then banished from Republic City by the president, in result of him and the general public of Republic City believing that Korra was the cause for the problems. She uses his decision to her advantage — by coming to the conclusion that they (Korra and krew) must travel the world to recruit all of the freshly new airbenders that need mentorship. I’m ecstatic about this– it gives Korra and krew a reason to travel the world, and allows us to see how previous locations that Aang and gaang had visited (Ba Sing Se) have changed, after the 100 year war came to an end and now that the two planes have converged. This also gives the creators a chance to tap into the magic that the original series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, captivated their audience to begin with.
Before the episode ended, we got a glimpse at another newly appointed airbender, a prisoner by the name of Zaheer ( voiced by Henry Rollins); who impressively broke out of the prison by using his newfound bending, even though he hardly had time to adjust to his new abilities before the breakout. I’m looking forward to seeing an evil character using airbending and seeing how it could be used offensively, since all the people we’ve seen use airbending were/are good natured, and only used it in a defensive/evasive style and manner. Zaheer seems like a worthy antagonist for Korra in Book 3.
- The resurgence of airbenders give Korra a valid reason to explore the world
- Great humor
- An evil airbender
- Korra making an obviously vapid decision when it came to dealing with the spirit vines