Published on November 24th, 2014 | by Lauren McPhee0
The Legend of Korra – Reunion – Review
Reunion takes a bit of time off mid-season from the larger events of the series to tell a simple, fun story, reminding us that a good, old fashioned adventure is still at the heart of Avatar. In this episode, Korra returns to Republic City for the first time in three years, only to have her reconciliation with Mako and Asami interrupted by Wu getting kidnapped; meanwhile, Varrick and Bolin struggle to get back to Republic City in order to warn the others of Kuvira’s diabolical, spirit-weapon plans. Returning to humour and action really marks this episode as a turning point in the series, as well as bringing our heroes (minus Bolin) back together, fighting side by side, like old times.
The episode starts with Korra and the Airbenders returning to Air Temple Island. First off, Korra’s reunion with Naga is the sweetest thing and as a result, I’m disappointed that Naga didn’t get to join in with the chase scenes later on. The animation was still super cute, though. In contrast, however, I felt like Korra and Tenzin reuniting needed a lot more to it. After everything Korra has been through, this whole scene needed to be longer and more significant than it was. Tenzin and Korra’s relationship has been too important to the series to be glossed over the way it was here, so I hope that’s something that’s addressed in coming episodes.
Moving swiftly onwards, the next scene is Bolin and Varrick on the run from the Earth Empire. I love all of their scenes together and this episode features some of the best. Particularly, I’m impressed by how the two of them benefit and grow from their ongoing experiences together and how this is represented by the art and writing. The scene opens with Bolin carrying Varrick piggy-back style, the two of them dishevelled in torn, muddy clothing, while Varrick continues to bemoan the loss of his Zhu Li.
Dumped on the ground for all of his complaining – literally, splayed on the ground, in the dirt – Varrick acknowledges his guilt over his mistake to create the spirit-weapon for Kuvira. After three seasons of being a cocky, self-interested, neutral party, Varrick’s change of heart feels genuine and the art is able to capture his regret without losing the comical, mad-genius elements that we’ve grown to love. Then, after Bolin talks Varrick back onto his feet and Varrick decides he’s going to take over some of the hard work for a while, he carries Bolin two steps into a trap set by prisoners escaped from Kuvira’s prison camps.
Back in Republic City, meanwhile, Korra, Mako and Asami reunite. Watching Korra blush at Asami’s compliment of her hair is certainly one of the highlights, as is their reactions to Wu crashing their reunion dinner. His obnoxious presence helps balance out some of the awkwardness in the mist of lingering hurt feelings and disconnect caused by time spent apart. In all, Wu serves to keep what would otherwise be a very difficult and conflicted scene light, while not overwriting the importance of the characters’ feelings and reactions. The comedy of his kidnapping as well as the chase that follows really help to make this episode fun and exciting as a turning point in the series.
In the scenes that follow, Team Avatar (minus Bolin) jump in Asami’s car for a spot of car chase action in order to rescue Wu from followers of Kuvira. Here, we get a closer look at Korra’s new subtly mature style, as she’s dressed in a variation of her season two costume. The costume change also seems to mark a change in attitude for our heroine. This episode we see Korra start to smile again and not dwell too much on the fact that she’s still not at her best, but almost to accept her failings and work around them, both in her role as the Avatar and in her relationships with her friends.
And yet, this is what Bolin has always been doing: continuing on even when he comes up shorter than others. Never as good a pro-bender as his brother; not the greatest actor despite the successes of his movers; easily manipulated tool of Varrick and Kuvira, Bolin’s successes this season could almost go unnoticed. But part of the joy of this episode is Bolin’s subplot without the support of his friends. Everything Bolin achieves this episode is at the level of the Avatar herself, and that makes him the real hero. Korra could do to take a few lessons from him when they finally get to meet again.
So, what made this episode really enjoyable for me was seeing Korra, not back to her old self, but somewhat at ease with her new self, and how finally being ready to return to Republic City was so essential to achieving that. Also, watching Bolin come into his own so naturally, and bringing Varrick along for the ride, and their journey together, is incredible. And lastly, just the pace and the light-heartedness of an episode that dealt with difficult emotions without labouring them and managed a bit of fun and action alongside.