Quick Impressions of “Reunion”
Starting with “Battle of Zaofu” and continuing with “Reunion,” The Legend of Korra is rapidly turning into The Varrick and Bolin Show. Having escaped Kuvira’s clutches, the two goofballs now have a single objective: get to Republic City and warn the officials of Kuvira’s plot. Their subplot clearly lacks the narrative and thematic complexity of the main story, and that turns out to be its greatest asset. Instead of careening through obvious dialogue and contrived emotionality, the characters and their situation are allowed to breathe and develop in interesting and hilarious ways. It helps immensely that voice actors P.J. Byrne (Bolin) and John Michael Higgins (Varrick), two natural comic actors, are consistently getting material worthy of their talents. The same goes for the animators, who haven’t been allowed this much visual comedy since Book One. If the adventures of Varrick and Bolin seize after this episode, I’ll gladly cherish what we’ve been given.
I can’t say the same for the main story, which reunites Korra with Mako and Asami after three years. They’re accompanied by Prince Wu, who has become more tolerable, though still unfunny (that said, his attempt to join in on the group hug in the end was adorable). I think it’s the voice actor that’s letting him down. Perhaps a young Christopher McDonald could have pulled off the sleaziness required of Prince Wu, but not Sunil Malhotra.
The exciting train sequence notwithstanding, the main story felt flat and perfunctory, especially compared to the Varrick and Bolin antics. Much of the characters’ interactions reeked of melodrama and bad action serials, especially in the absolute need to spell out everything with dialogue (the most egregious example being the “just like old times” prattle near the end). It’s quite amazing how poorly the episode portrays their alleged friendship (meanwhile, the bond between Varrick and Bolin gets stronger by the minute).
Aw, well. At least this episode has yet another great cliffhanger. What will become of the great swamp? Will it all be plowed away, or will we get a sequence of Toph Bei Fong fighting against (and likely losing to) the unstoppable onslaught of fascist industrialism? We’ll just have to wait and find out.
What did you all think of this episode?