Because fans should be critical, too

Quick Thoughts on “Enemy at the Gates”

A solid episode. Yes, it has it’s imperfections, but expecting a perfect episode of The Legend of Korra at this point is merely setting yourself up for disappointment. Let’s just focus on the positives. Korra actually tries to talk things out with Kuvira, which is nice. Julie [sp?] finally breaks away from Varrick, though something tells me it’s a red herring. Bolin’s loyalties are nicely called into question, and it was great seeing him Lavabend again. And the cliffhanger is brilliant! I eagerly await the next chapter!

How did you all feel about this one?


9 responses

  1. Clander

    I think it’s spelled ‘Ju Lee’ or something like that. I also think Ju lee is faking it. I don’t know how to explain why it seems that way but it totally does. Apparently Ju lee is the most competent fighter out of her, Varrick, and Bolin so I’m sure she has some sort of plan.

    To me this episode mostly just seemed like a set up for the next episode. Basically not much interesting stuff happening but still important in it’s own right. The fight scene was also very well choreographed. I feel like Korra hasn’t had a good fight scene like that in ages. Although the mechanical robot suits animation looks much much worse this time around for some reason.

    October 31, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    • Italianbaptist

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the painfully bad cgi. And just the way Zhu Li delivered her speech to Kuvira, I too think it was staged. Something about it seemed…forced…though I can’t forget the last time someone gave a seemingly forced plea for release and how that turned out (bolin to eska)

      October 31, 2014 at 11:28 pm

  2. tox

    Yeah I really liked this episode as well. I think I’m warming up to Kuvira as a villain. No, she’s not the most nuanced villain and definitely not morally ambiguous, and I think that’s OK. She’s actually serving her role in the narrative well, and since the political ideology she seems to represent (the king of Qin perhaps, possibly some fascist leaders of the 20th century as well, and perhaps a touch of modern America) isn’t really a sympathetic one, unlike Amon’s, it’s fine that she’s not morally ambiguous. She’s intimidating, powerful, and driving growth in the characters, and she works as a foil to Korra personality-wise (the way she acted in this episode reminds me of Korra threatening the judge in Season 2).

    The rest of the plot wasn’t bad either. I agree that Zhu Li’s betrayal is a red herring, although it’s nice that the show finally acknowledges how shitty she’d been treated. Korra’s personality change was welcome (though she must have picked up Bolin’s naivete), and speaking of whom, Bolin’s had some nice moments this episode. I’m not even unhappy about the reintroduction of Hiroshi Sato, because with him around Asami has an extra dimension to “pretty, geeky, expert fighter and engineer.” And while the mech-on-mech action didn’t do much for me, the pseudo-bending of the mechs made it a little more appealing.

    All in all, that was a welcome return to form after a weak previous episode.

    October 31, 2014 at 3:20 pm

  3. I think this was another setup episode. I also think it had too much of a feeling of , this happened and then this happened to it,. But there were plenty of things I liked. I liked Korra’s new approach to Kuvira, Bolin’s betrayal, and I loved Asami’s scene with her dad. Some people say she’s too passive and forgiving but I think this was different, she didn’t forgive him necessarily and it took her years just to get that far. I also liked the little pah cho setup from last season coming back. I think the stuff with Su and Kuvira could have been handled better. Su talks about her like they’re extremely close but we haven’t really seen that until now. I just think their relationship should have been established earlier on, it would be sad to see the two of them in conflict with each other like this. But without the setup it just comes off as random. Still like Kuvura and the conflict alot though, just think it could have been handled alittle better.

    October 31, 2014 at 3:32 pm

  4. daciio

    God bless Zhu Li. At first I thought her betrayal was just a red herring too, but now I’m thinking that maybe she is being serious. Varrick will probably recognize how he treated his assistant in such a shitty way all this time and ask her for forgiveness later in the series. Then they’ll be on good terms again.

    I’ve never really been fond of Asami’s story with her father, so her scarce screentime in this episode was mostly boring. She’s still a character whose potential is being wasted, and I doubt that’ll ever change.

    If I had to pick the worst thing about this episode, it’d be Meelo’s dialogue when he was talking to Korra right at the beginning.

    October 31, 2014 at 7:55 pm

  5. ChaosJumper

    To Long to Read Version: A lot of this feels like a possible good thing which could better if they go through with it as a Korra-Kuvira coordination and bashing of Kuvira’s practically fascistic utopia versus Korra’s…Don’t even know what to add here. Any help? Making it into more of what Book Three should have been (Basing of ideals) than Good Guy wins…because! I “meh” to the idea that Kuvira is basically repeating the ideals of the Dai Lee of Ba Sing Se (Utopian in appearance, not behind the scenes) because it feels more like an unnecessary repetition than something really different, but I can be wrong (only episode 5 after all). Hopefully, but I will put my foot down and say this is not happening, she will at be half as good as Zeheer or at least continue in cold-hearted execution to challenge the Avatar.

    Long (And dragged on) version: This episode is simply set up for Kuvira to have some justification and characterization before she uses the big ray gun and Korra stops it like that old Superman Cartoon from the 50’s. This, however, is a prediction based off of what we’ve seen over the past 3 seasons. If I’m wrong, and it becomes more of a battle of ideals and the magic root becomes kind of like a Perpetual Motion device to advance Republic City and Kuvira isn’t beaten by Korra just going to the Avatar State and being the Protagonist, I would be satisfied (Kind of like an alternative ending that people would want from Mass Effect 3, for an overly simplistic example).

    Anyway, I personally don’t care too much about Kuvira for the same reason why I didn’t care about Season One after repeated viewing; the opposition is Straw Manned heavily and given no a good limelight. I didn’t mind the annoying prince because I thought it would be one of those ironic characters; really snobbish, but with some kind of talent (Political, Intellectual, hell I wouldn’t mind if he was just a Top Tier earth bender) that would actually show a good opposition to Kuvira’s ideals of “Unification”. On top of that, and I’m hoping this feeling is just because of my disappointment of the series as a whole, her problem has a bigger problem; her opponent, Korra.

    For myself, all of the villains of Korra (including Zeheer…sort of) kind of reveal a problem with their ideals that ruin the series for me in Book 1 and 2 (Of course, Book two has MANY other problems, but this one bothers me the most); the dichotomy between Man (Benders-Nonbenders) and God (Korra…for some reason) is practically transcendent. This could also be because of her lack of development, but Korra’s character felt forced in there because the plot says so. Which is why I didn’t care about the ending of Book One [even though it is some of the worst endings I’ve encountered since some of the arcs in Fairy Tail manga series]. With the “Darkening” of the Avatar universe, Korra’s overly simplistic archetype of a character only brings the series down. It isn’t like Captain America 2 or Avengers where the Cap’s simplistic character brings a beacon of hope in the dark (While still campy) stories of these two movies. Where Captain America brings real balance to the narratives, Korra is like a 10 ton weight shifting from different scales when the narrative seems fit; no matter where she goes, Korra has felt odd and (ironically) unbalanced. Even Bolin, the comedic character, feels more like a more appropriate protagonist than the Avatar.

    The villains make me think of a Batman Year One where it would be more interesting to see them in action WITHOUT the Avatar. Like if Korra was 3 years old by the time Amon started this whole thing and Korra is observing from the South Pole. And Unalock being a quasi villain to Korra; fighting him through extreme bursts of the Avatar State due to the Harmonic Convergence. The reason why Zeheer would be the real villain of LoK (and why I want to exclude him from this transcendence) is because he was basically what Amon and Unalock weren’t; a Nietzschian Superman. He was able to Challenge God herself while feeling like a natural Jacobian Revolutionary (With the death of the Queen making me think of “Let them eat cake!”). Not to mention, he had the greater elements of the two villains: Amon’s desire for an equal ground to the point of the Destruction of Class [Communism/Apollonian Extreme] and Unalock’s desire to put us back in our place as creatures in nature [Back-to-Basics Political Economy/Dionysian Extreme]. On top of that, Zeheer was able to take two of these ideas and ascend them due to his desire and [in my opinion, however short] fantastic achievement for enlightenment. He was, as all of us know, the true villain to God; a man that climbed to the heavens and overthrow the sovereign lord with a goal of destroying the rift between God and Man. Or it’s my version of the story with Also Sparch Zararthustra playing in the background? You get my point.

    Kuvira’s ideology is the equivalent of watching Episode III after watching Episode II; the former has some good elements, but is simply a repeat of the past taken to a few levels that are somewhat inferior to the later. Her ideology is basically (in execution) similar to that of Ba Sing Se. Both, in essence, have the idea of a utopian outer appearance where anyone could join (so long as they obey the rules) but both their methods of establishing (and keeping) paradise are both extreme and seemingly inhumane. The difference (at least to me) is only temporary; a lack of a hereditary hierarchy. Just replace the Dei Lee with the Inner Circle and it’s basically the same thing. I guess that’s kind of cool, but currently I’m not extremely interested at this point. It’s not BAD, just a retread. I like the fact that Korra is trying to show empathy to both sides because she is doing what was eluded in Book One: Choosing her battles wisely. Although, I felt it being too quick to just have empathy for Kuvira’s cause without a lot of background of the entire situation but one step at a time. Hopefully, Korra has some development to end this series with me saying “Her lack of development over the past 3 seasons was kind of worth it” but with the team preferring plot over character, I’m not setting my expectations too high.

    November 1, 2014 at 1:10 am

  6. JMR

    My issue with this episode is one that I’ve had with the series for a long time: the fact that it’s a straight up action adventure series attempting to teach it’s protagonist a moral about non-violence. The action adventure format’s demand for, well, action and adventure consistently trumps any attempt by the characters to solve problems in a non-violent way. As such, all of Korra’s character development in this direction, here and elsewhere, has always rung very hollow to me.

    After all, this is the series finale. Do we really believe that the conflict here is going to be solved at a Diplomatic Summit over tea and biscuits? Of course not, it’s going to come down to a fight in the end, likely involving Korra going into the Avatar State and beating the crap out of Kuvira.

    As such, this episode wherein the central plot element is Korra attempting to solve the Kuvira problem diplomatically doesn’t really know what to do with the idea of actually solving a problem diplomatically. Because of this, the entire episode revolves around the weak exchange between Korra and Kuvira that boils down essentially to:

    Korra: “Hey Kuvira, would you please leave the city alone?”
    Kuvira: “No.”
    Korra: “Okay.”

    Just like all of the previous seasons, we have to set up Kuvira as this extremist who won’t listen to reason and so needs to be put down violently. We need Kuvira to justify any violence committed against her. At best, we can hope for this sort of limp, half-hearted nod to non-violence while knowing that in the end, violence will be the solution to the problem. The episode is all about saying, “Hey, look, we did the non-violent thing! Can we get to the fighting now?” Yes, you can show. And in doing so you will again undermine Korra’s character development because violence is always the answer to your big conflicts, no matter how much you may bluster to the contrary on occasion.

    November 1, 2014 at 10:23 am

    • You’re probably right. And what happens with Su and Kuvira next episode will probably give Korra that reason to fight. Honestly, I just hope Kuvira isn’t killed and Is given the chance to be forgiven. Also, I hope korra doesn’t defeat her with just fighting.

      November 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm

  7. Short response because night is calling. But if you think about it Asumi is such a wasted character, after book one it was universally agreed that she was one of the best characters, and if Korra wasn’t the main protagonist with amazing bending powers then most people of would chosen Asumi as their favourite character. We’re in season four and I still feel like Asumi’s character isn’t given justice.

    November 2, 2014 at 9:45 am

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