The Legend of Korra: “The Guide” Book 2 Episode 9 Review

Photo Credit:http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/11/02/the-legend-of-korra-the-guide-review

Book 2 begins to live up to its title as Korra tries to venture into the Spirit World.

But the real star of The Guide was easily Tenzin. This season has done wonderful things with his character by putting him on vacation with his siblings, away from the civil war.

After Korra’s unapologetic choice to train with Unalaq instead of Tenzin in the premiere, their reunion was emotionally satisfying. So Korra fills Tenzin and his family about everything, literally everything, that happened since they parted (Tenzin’s reply, “I knew this would happen!” was hilarious).

With Korra traveling to the Spirit World, Tenzin is finally ready to be the teacher he’s always wanted to be. Turns out though, he may not be up to the task. His various attempts with different ceremonies were hysterical, but also layered with Tenzin facing another shortcoming of himself and possibly his father.

He’s never actually been to the Spirit World. So when Kya figures out that his daughter Jinora may have the connection Korra needs, Tenzin refuses to believe it. Tenzin’s development this season has always come down to his legacy. Aang put pressure on his to keep air bending alive. Now he’s struggling with the fact that even when Korra returns to him after choosing Unalaq, he cannot help her.

Jinora reveals her ability, thus outdoing Tenzin at such a young age. A lot of the wonder of the Spirit World we saw in Beginnings came forward as Korra told Jinora of her journey.

When everyone is attacked by dark spirit bats, Korra shows she’s mastered Unalaq’s “spirit bending” technique. It would have been nice to see more of her training and less politics earlier in the season, but she’s here now.

After Korra reassures Tenzin, he finally feels proud of Jinora and allows her to enter the Spirit World. I can’t wait for their exploration next week.

Meanwhile, Mako tries to convince Asami and Bolin that Varrick is the one behind the attacks. Varrick goes as far as to threaten him, in his own ridiculous manner of course. This story suddenly feels more disconnected now that Unalaq’s plan has been revealed. Mako’s development is still stronger than ever though, and it is good to see he and Asami back together. I just hope this “set-up” part of the subplot doesn’t last very long.

The Guide also finally made it clear that Unalaq is going to be as evil as possible. Entering the Spirit World with Desna and Eska, he tries to bend his way through the Northern portal. Desna is injured in the process, as Eska tries to help him. Could the twins turn on their father?

The final moments of the episode show Unalaq talking to Vaatu, as most of us suspected was happening. At least we didn’t beat around the bush like we did with Unalaq in the earlier parts of the season. This also helps raise the stakes.

Now, theory time. To create the avatar, Raava and Wan joined bodies. What if Unalaq and Vaatu join bodies? Would we have a dark avatar of sorts? Hmmmm….

The Guide propelled us into the end of the season with some great character work and a clearer definition of the stakes Korra and Team Avatar will be facing. Book 2 still has the possibility to live up to Book 1 despite the missteps earlier this season if it continues down this path. Let’s just get the folks in Republic City more involved. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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