why emma swan can be hbic and still be allowed to cry, or: stfu
So I clicked on this review today and I got as far as
I’m talking of course about the disgusting scene where Emma Swan, our strong, independent heroine, BROKE DOWN IN TEARS over Neal.
and then I near about lost my fucking shit.
Yep. She’s the Avatar; she has access to political power and has more social influence than any other due to her status as a powerful bender.
Social disparities are different in the Avatarverse. In this universe we have people of colour, queer people, the disabled, etc. at a social disadvantage; in that of the Legend of Korra, however, to be a non-bender is to be at a disadvantage. Being a bender grants you enough privileges as is, but to be the Avatar—the bender of the four elements—is to be a god in the eyes of the general public. So far, we have seen that Korra has abused her privileges quite frequently, as many people of excessive privilege are wont to do. She is narrow-minded and cannot grasp the concept that there is inequality in Republic City, despite never experiencing the plight of being a non-bender. She bursts into closed political meetings without prior notice and is opinionated for someone who is severely misinformed. She is convinced that her views of non-bender oppression are more valid than those of actual non-benders and she never questions just why only elite metal benders are cops or why pro-bending is a sport just for benders; it is all normal to her. How dare Equalists try and shake things up for her? This is what’s natural, isn’t it? Maybe non-benders shouldn’t be damned sensitive about everything!
It’s sad because Korra could have been more; she could have been understanding or constructive. The narrative could have challenged her views, engaged her to change her deleterious perspective. Instead, she was encouraged and her bias was reinforced by the end of Book 1 when she gets her powers back, plus the Avatar State and the bonus of reestablishing the status quo of bender supremacy.
But, you know, as a “wise and noble hobo” said, benders and non-benders can “harmoniously co-exist” to dispel the notion of oppression in Republic City. After all, if you “just don’t talk about it” it’ll go away. Which is…you know, simply ingenious, quite frankly.
Potential vs. reality: aka, what we should have gotten vs. what we got.
I’m not talking about peoples’ headcanons or anything. I’m talking about a lot of the themes and plotlines that were introduced way, way back in episodes 1-4 that never came to fruition because suddenly everything started to focus on being DRAMATIC and ROMANCE ISSUES. Like the Equalist plotline was interesting to a point, but they didn’t really do anything with it? It should have been the key to Korra realizing that not all things are black and white, good and evil, because let’s face it, the non-benders had every right to be mad and do something about their plight, but they were not being listened to by the people in power (benders) and were starting to get very drastic with their measures. Also, while that was happening, she should have been learning Airbending philosophies that would help her solve the crisis, and get slightly more in touch with her spiritual side. (That way the ending would be finite, but also be slightly open…and would have been an excellent lead-in to Book 2: Spirits) Buuuut that was thrown away for….whatever the deal with Tarrlok and Noatak was. lbh, it was interesting, but it came right the fuck out of nowhere and was really unnecessary because it bogged the plot down with MORE backstory and explaining at a point when we should have been past most of that. Oh, and it made the whole thing more about them than Korra. >:/
Basically, we get introduced to things that would make for some GREAT storytelling or character arcs for our main characters (Korra, Mako, Asami, Bolin), but these elements get shafted in favor of stupid, trivial things. Book 1: Air for Korra should have been, thematically, the exact opposite of what Book 2: Earth was for Aang. That’s what was implied in the first 3-4 episodes, but it fell away quickly. Book 1 barely involved any airbending-related things at all! And we’re getting this same pattern with Book 2: Spirits. There isn’t much focus on the main subject of the season, and things that could have been tied in to what happened last season just…aren’t. The new characters should be here to help tell KORRA’S journey, not take the spotlight away from her, but they also should be more compelling and thought-out than they obviously are.
So again….potential vs. reality. There was so much potential to craft an amazing storytelling piece that teaches lessons, utilizes themes, and explores some fascinating characters/plots, but the reality is, this was never the plan. The plan was simply to forgo those things to make something “cool” and “edgy” that older fans were supposed to relate to more than the old series….and unfortunately, those things they lost were exactly why the older fans connected so well with ATLA in the first place. And that is what disappoints me the most.