The Legend of Korra: “Rebirth” Book 3 Chapter 2 Review

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After a character-heavy premiere, the second episode of Book 3 gave us a larger impression of what this season is going to be about.

With Korra thrown out of Republic City, she and Team Avatar are taking to the skies to search the Earth Kingdom for the new wave of airbenders showing up after the Harmonic Convergence. But they aren’t going to be riding Oogi. No, Asami has a luxury airship for everyone to travel in.

The first scene sets up who’s going on this journey. Korra, Tenzin, Asami, Bolin, Bumi, and Jinora are all ready to go, but Mako needs some persuading. But when Bolin brings up the potential of them finding family in Ba Sing Se, Mako has to come along. Sadly, however, Kya is staying back with the rest of Tenzin’s family. But at least they’ll be joining them later at the Northern Air Temple.

The quest to rebuild the Air Nation is a trying one for Korra and Tenzin. They quickly learn that these new airbenders have no interest in their lives being uprooted to go live in a temple away from their families. And the rebirth of a nation has hit its first roadblock.

After a few failed attempts on Tenzin’s behalf, Korra tries her own brand of coercion. She, Mako, and Bolin visit a 22-year old airbender living in his mother’s basement. He’s lazy, dismissive, and ultimately unfazed. Once again, The Legend of Korra is throwing in astute commentary on young-adult life and injecting it with the show’s unique sense of humor. Korra screaming at this young fellow was hysterical, perfectly capturing that she does in fact still have some growing to do, despite her newfound maturity.

After all these failures, Bolin comes up with a plan for show business. Tenzin hilariously, and shirtlessly, rides a spinning air wheel to impress a crowd. He and Korra defeat the “evil” fire bending escaped convict (Mako, hamming it up in a way only he could). This leads them to meet Kai, a young new air bender orphan looking to join them. Except he’s a thief. The police attack, giving Korra a rare chance to show off her airbending skills, but then the truth comes out and it looks like Kai is off to prison. Taking pity on him, Korra brings him into the group anyway. Kai looks to be a fun new addition, especially for young Jinora, who blushes as he walks onto the airship.

Throughout Rebirth, we also got two very awesome prison breaks. After the new villain Zaheer escaped at the end of the premiere, he shows up in the middle of the ocean. His style of airbending here was more believable than his own escape, as he had a lot of acrobatic moves here accompanied with air blasts, not as much airbender style airbending.

He tosses a few rocks into the lone prison cell and we instantly know things are about to get nuts. The new earthbending foe, Ghazan, creates friction among the rocks, giving him a molten rock saw that cuts him out of prison. Awesome.

But not as awesome as the waterbender they break out later in the episode. We see an armless woman in a lone cell over a fire pit. Zaheer air slices a barrel of water over her cell, allowing her to create arms. This new criminal, Ming-Hua, takes bending as an extension of your body to the next level. Her movements are incredible and easily the action highlight of the three episodes that premiered this week.

To close the episode, a familiar face warns a White Lotus guard about these criminals. It’s Zuko. The Fire Lord is back! And, and, and…he has a freaking dragon! Zuko is the only living member of the Airbender cast we’ve seen aside from Katara (although we did get Spirit Iroh in Book 2 and it was amazing). What role he will play and how he will interact with Korra will be fascinating to see.

Rebirth solidified that the excellent Book 3 premiere was not a fluke. The Legend of Korra is setting up an excellent season with a ton of new, and old, players entering the fold. Now it’s time to sit back and watch it all develop before it all goes downhill for the Avatar. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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