Legend of Korra, Civil Wars Part 2

As usual Legend of Korra proves to be a landmark in animated family entertainment, or at least a continuation of one (of course I’m referring to it’s predecessor, Avatar: the Last Airbender). I use the term “family” in place of “children” because honestly this show has something to enjoy for any generation, tonight’s episode being no different. “Civil Wars: part two” had great comedy, compelling, dramatic storytelling and wonderfully resonant themes and lessons that members of the whole family should take to heart. The narrative of the episode follows three threads: Korra’s struggle to maintain peace between the northern and southern water tribes (while being manipulated by her dubious uncle); Mako, Bolin and Asami meeting with Varrick while Bolin attempts to get out of his restricting relationship with Korra’s domineering cousin (spoiler alert: hilarity ensues); and finally a continuation of Tenzin’s search for his missing daughter at the southern air temple.
A refreshing change was the fact that for once my favorite part had nothing to do with Tenzin (though his segments were still great). Korra’s struggle with her Uncle’s plot to assert the power of the Northern Water tribe over the Southern Water tribe makes for a compelling parallel to Avatar Aang’s major conflict in “The Last Airbender.” Rather than trying put an end to a long going war we see the new avatar try to prevent the start of a new one. Another interesting parallel I’ve noticed is the fact that all of “Legend of Korra’s” major villains have been water benders (Amon/Noahtock, Tarrlock, and Yakone in season one and now Unaloq and the Northern Water tribe this season), in juxtaposition to last airbender where the overarching conflict was derived from the imperial forces of the fire nation.
Meanwhile Mako, Bolin and Asami meet with Varrick, who’s still in hiding after conspiring to incite revolution again Unaloq. This is all done While Varrick continually proves to be a hilarious new addition to the cast as a crazed Howard Hughes-esque shipping magnate. Then, over at the Southern Air Temple, Tenzin finally finds his missing daughter Ikki where we, as viewers, are shown a heartfelt reflection on the issues felt by both children and adults alike: the stresses and annoyances of being part of a family.
All in all the episode makes for a strong entry in an already strong second season. No scene is wasted, making for a fast-paced progression of the story without feeling rushed. One minor complaint I have (which is just nitpick, really) is the dialogue between Korra and her Uncle in the first few minutes of the episode. It come off as a little stiff and stilted, both in the voice work and the animation (which consisted of one wide profile shot of the two from the side for a good duration of their dialogue). But that aside I found it to be thrilling, touching and hilarious and I eagerly await what next Friday night’s episode has to offer.

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