The Missing Plot: Amon’s Platform
Why do thousands of people join him, civilians take up arms for his cause, what is the fodder that incites this civil war?
All we get in 12 episodes is that the non-benders feel oppressed, but we never get a concrete example, but for after the fact when Tarrlok starts rounding up Equalist supporters.
The thing is that the oppression was shown but never pointed out. For example, pro-bending is a bender-only sport, working in the factory seems to require firebending, to be a cop you must be an earthbender, and there is no one to represent the non-benders in the council. The non-benders are underprivileged because they get less access to jobs and political positions, yet the show refused to point out any of these things because Korra was too stubborn to see things outside of her privileged position. It’s even worse that Korra gets handed everything and doesn’t once question why and how she is seen as special compared to everybody else, especially non-benders.
So the Equalists saw all this just… nobody was there to point that out to Korra or the audience. In the end, everything fell flat.
1. Pro-bending is not oppression. I am 5’2, I am not oppressed by professional basketball players.
2. There are non-benders on the police-force e.g. the cop in the park that chases Korra and Gommu
3. There are non-benders on the council: Sokka
4. Factory workers: Are you saying that Sato, one of the major employers in the city, does not hire non-benders? Same goes for cabbage corp.
5. Even though these are examples, we have no proof that Amon uses any of this to gain followers, which is my point.
1. Probending may not be a form of opression per say, but it does inform the public’s collective imagining of bending; bending is glorified and celebrated, implying that those who can bend are worth more than those who can’t. Also, pro-bending is a job that non-benders don’t have access to; Mako and Bolin might still be on the street if it weren’t for pro-bending.
2. There may be non-benders in lower ranks, but as far as we can tell the high-ranking officers (i.e. those who fight alongside Lin) are metalbenders. Non-benders have less access to better jobs.
3. There were non-benders on the Council. In Korra’s time, Tarrlock makes it clear the all of the Council-members are benders, so non-benders have no political representation whatsoever. So, not only are they at a socioeconomic disadvantage, but there is no one in the government trying to help fix the societal oppresion of non-benders.
4. Non-benders do have access to jobs that aren’t bender-specific, but so do benders. Therefore, non-benders are competing with benders for jobs in a society that seems to think that benders are inherently better. And benders have a huge advantage because their job market is much broader.
5. Then there are the Bending Triads. Non-benders are less able to defend themselves against these gangs. Furthermore, they act as a refuge for impoverished benders that is inaccessible to non-benders; again, Bolin and Mako might non have survived if they weren’t benders.
So yeah, there are some benders who are poor despite their privilege (Bolin, Mako, and the inhabitants of Gommu’s tent city) and some non-benders are rich despite their societal disadvantage (Hiroshi Sato and Cabbage Man Jr). Still, their societal structure is clearly oppressive to non-benders. However, the only oppression Korra recognizes is Tarrlock’s insane power-trip. Coming from an uber-priveleged, sheltered environment, she has no idea how complex the problem truly is. Therefore, she’ll probably be shocked to discover that the Equalist movement didn’t die with Amon, as will most benders. (Though I do hope that Book 2 will show that there were some benders who were Equalists as well.)
Granted, none of this was explicitly stated, because the show was almost exclusively composed of action sequences, dramatic revelations, romantic subplots, and punch lines. Still, to me, the Equalist movement made a lot of sense, and I certainly hope it ultimately leads to tangible reform.
^ This. But they should have done a lot more to make this more obvious and for Korra to realize this and actually bring harmony and equality as the Avatar.
Also, to your tags, I could analyze the heck out of all the implied systems set in place and draw parallels to currently existing institutions.
Also, a whole paper on why Mako is being a jerk.
The twisted part of all of this is that at the very end, non-benders as a group were just pawns used to further the ambitions of just another bender. They lose out the most from this Avatar vs. Amon fight. Now, when non-benders voice legitimate grievances about social institutions that reflect inequalities in society, they can be dismissed or even persecuted simply if benders conflate them with the discredited Equalist movement.
We never saw Korra reflecting on why Amon was able to successfully use the inequities faced by non-benders as an effective strategy to build a base of followers, or to consider that there might be legitimate reasons why people would speak out about their experiences as non-benders.
One of the elements that I disliked the most about the finale was how they handled Korra as the Avatar. Looking at the series as a whole, I didn’t like how they handled benders and bending in general, and bending privilege specifically, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Let’s just, at first, go over what the Avatar is.
In ATLA-verse, the Avatar is:
-Master of all four elements.
-The great bridge between the natural and the spiritual worlds.
-The spirit of the planet in human form, reincarnated endlessly to know human experience and bring balance to the world.
In Korra-verse, the Avatar is:
-Master of all four elements.
No, really. That’s it.
Iroh is a Disney prince
oh that’s why this scene felt so familiar
oh my god watching this over and over again is breaking my heart
I know it’s probably supposed to be more of a “oh no, my evil plan has failed, they’ve found me out” moment, but
maybe he really did care for the nonbenders of this city, maybe he really was trying to help them in the best way he could think of, and just maybe he really did have good intentions deep down because, as so many have pointed out the equalist movement really did have a freaking good point about benders and non-benders
and then right here everyone that loved him starts hating him and everything he spent so much time and planning and effort on falls apart and maybe this whole time he really was just trying to do what he believed to be the right thing
they just animated this moment really well okay
gosh there are a thousand different emotions on his face
New The Legend of Korra Clip from Episode 10 “Skeletons in the Closet”
Korra and Mako reflect.
And then Korra said “BUT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DATING ASAMI, YOU JERK. DID YOU EVEN BREAK UP WITH HER BEFORE COMING OVER HERE AND FLIRTING WITH ME? GOD, WHAT A DOUCHE.”
NEW CLIP from the season finale of Korra: Korra and team cozy up with Gommu underground after Amon’s takeover.
GOOD TO SEE MAKO STILL HASN’T HAD THE DECENCY TO CALL IT OFF WITH ASAMI. SERIOUSLY, GOOD SHOW DOUCHEFACE.
My feelings!!! Toph was my favorite character of ATLA, and I was really fond of Lin.. dammit.
Can we just stop all our ship wars and everything else to appreciate this perfect character that is Lin Bei Fong?
She understands Tenzin is a councilman and even though it’s gonna be awkward as hell she’s still willing to protect Tenzin’s family so he can go kick some Equalist ass. And then when the Equalists do attack, she’s practically fighting an army of Equalists by herself and still manages to hold them off, until the kids arrive and help her but even when she’s about to die her main concern is still the kids.And then erghhhh the third gif she knows her main priority should be to protect Korra, the Avatar. But she’s trusting Korra to take care of herself and going with Tenzin because that’s how much she cares about protecting this family. Tenzin and the kids are the last airbenders in the world and she understands that and even though she should be protecting Korra she goes along with Tenzin. The last gif ohmygod THIS IS WHERE MY FEELS JUST EXPLODED ALL OVER THE SCREEN.CAN SOMEONE JUST GIVE THIS WOMAN A FUCKING OLYMPIC MEDAL.HELL GIVE HER AN OSCAR OR GRAMMY CUS SHE JUST DERSERVES ALL THE FUCKING AWARDS. LOOK AT HER FACE. THAT FACE WHERE SHE SIGHS JUST BREAKS MY FUCKING HEART She’s fully aware that by holding off the airships she’s not gonna make it back out alive, or be able to keep her bending. She looks at the kids’ and Pema’s faces and just thinks ‘I have to do this.’ and swings like a badass and takes out a whole fucking airship.
That’s right Meelo. Lin Bei Fong runs this fucking show.
has been will forever be a Lin Bei Fong appreciation post blog life.
is that it’s redundant. Seriously.
Every Makorra moment since the Kiss has been undermined by someone else’s pain. Mako has been called out on his jerkbending several times. Asami is a sympathetic, likable character rather than a flat, bitchy obstacle to Makorran bliss. We are meant to sympathize with her.
The show knows that Mako is a jerk. It goes to great lengths to showcase Mako at his worst. It simply isn’t necessary for us all to bash the character for not being a good boyfriend; the story doesn’t want him to be one right now.
The story has plans for Mako-the-jerk. That is the only explanation for such self-awareness in a damning portrayal of the romantic lead’s flaws.
I expect Mako to crash and burn in the season finale. His major conflict is not, as some have claimed, “which girl do I stick it in,” but rather “why do I keep hurting the people I love, and how do I stop?” Mama Mako is a provider, a protector. And right now, the people he cares about have all been emotionally wounded by him. When he realizes this, well, the biggest Mako-hater will be Mako himself.
All I’m saying is there’s no need to call the show out on something it’s doing on purpose, most likely to set up an epic redemption arc come season two.
I’m sorry, I don’t seem to recall Mako getting called out on his jerkbending “several times.” I remember Asami doing it in the most recent episode, literally half a show after he cheated on her and has been treating both her and Korra like crap, but that is one.
I also have not seen any of this existentialist crisis you seem to think Mako is having, either. I see a guy who, when confronted with the fact that he cheated on his girlfriend, tries to blame his brother (aka his only family in the world) for the fact that she found out about it, instead of owning up and having a serious talk about it. Now he’s pissed that Asami is mad at him, and he’s STILL going after Korra without having the decency to call it off with Asami first.
I don’t know, maybe that stuff is all in there and I just missed it. Maybe you can enlighten me?
Asami was spot on in this conversation. As soon as the kiss is brought up Mako immediately tries to back peddle and find a way out. He wonders how she found out and becomes pissed off it was Bolin. Instead of apologizing, or even admitting it was true and grovelling for forgiveness, Mako gets annoyed. The dude is fucking work of art. How we are supposed to support him I will never know.
Asami rightly points out that he should not be trying to shift the moral blame of the convo onto his brother. He was the one who was kissing Korra and yet he won’t even admit it, let alone apologize. Mako was trying to deflect blame at this point and Asami stopped him right there. I thought this was the worst he could get in this episode, I was wrong.
The last scene confirmed everything I dislike about Mako. He is no longer being oblivious to leading these two girls on, he knows what is at stake and shows no qualms in putting his arm around Korra and leading her away in front of a disappointed Asami. The guy is a douche, plain and simple. It’s a shame that Korra isn’t like ‘what the fuck are you doing, aren’t you with Asami’, but she probably is just a bit distracted what with the bloody war. Mako on the other hand knows exactly what is going on now, and he’s made his choice. No apologies, no explanations, nothing. He wants Korra this week and he doesn’t even have the decency to break up with his girlfriend. Nice one, dude!
YES FUCKING EVERYTHING THIS
First, lemme just say I love the Legend of Korra. I really do! The characters are genuine and story is interesting, it feels fresh and new and exciting and I can’t get enough of it.
That’s why, compared to the others, episode 9 just felt…off, to me. It actually took me a few days to figure out why.
So, this just my opinion as to where some of the writing and direction fell apart.
spoilers and plot details ahead!
The episode starts off simply enough. Tarrlok locks Korra in a metal box in the middle of nowhere and hightails it back to the capital. When confronted by Tenzin, Tarrlok lies and says she’s been captured by the Equalists. This news gets broadcast over the radio. Lin hears about Korra and immediately jumps into action.
The first thing she does is free Asami, Mako, and Bolin from prison.
This is where things start to go south.
- Mako is the only one with a significant reaction to the news that Korra has been captured.
Everyone’s distressed, but the camera does a dramatic and noticeable zoom-in on Mako, and Mako alone. He’s clearly meant to be the most important one in this shot. He’s the only one that even gets a speaking line. No … no, she can’t be gone.
Bolin doesn’t even react to this news. Bolin, the king of over-reactions! Remember how he reacted when he saw Korra kissing his brother?
Yeah. I’m sure you do.
I don’t know, maybe I’m freaking out over nothing, but it just…irks me that Mako gets all the focus in this shot. His is the only reaction we see, because we’re being told that he’s the most important. The other two are supposed to be her friends too, but they are…not as upset, I guess.
As to what I would like to see in the next episode..
- Asami slapping Mako
- Korra slapping Mako
- BOLIN slapping Mako
- Lin slapping Mako
- Tenzin slapping Mako
- Amon slapping Mako okay really I don’t care who I just wanna see that boy get slapped
More realness re: what was wrong with episode 9.