The Legend of Korra IV.11

With Episode 11 the fourth series of The Legend of Korra enters the final straight. And it is not looking good for Republic City as Kuvira turns up on its doorstep a week earlier than expected with her spirit-vine super gun not mounted on a railway carriage like everyone expected but on the arm of a 25 storey high ‘mecha-giant’.

As it sets up the final showdown between Korra and Kuvira, the episode is strong on action and short on character moments.

With that said, there are still one or two neat touches; for example, when Korra tells Meelo he can’t come on Team Avatar’s mission to kidnap Kuvira’s Number 2, Baatar Jr, because his farts are too loud!

I haven’t said much for some time now about Korra and Asami. That is because there hasn’t really been too much to say. Ever since their reunion and the restaurant scene they have been going about their work separately.

I don’t think they have had one scene alone together since then, and I can’t think of any occasion where they have been in each other’s thoughts, let alone let slip to anyone that they are worried for the other.

As this is the first time I have watched series four I haven’t made a great effort to try and read between the lines of the episodes, but unless I am missing something that makes their feelings obvious, I would say that the reason for the below-the-radar nature of their love for one another is because, for all its narrative maturity, The Legend of Korra is still a children’s cartoon and the company behind it (or television station(s) that show it) are not ready to show a same-sex relationship just yet.

***

Two things about this episode impressed me.

The first was the use of stills to show a scene. Stills can have a great impact as they represent the essence of what a scene is about. For example, one of the stills in this episode showed the forced evacuation of Republic City. By freezing the frame, the director allowed us to switch from seeing the fear and chaos unfold to imagining it – something that can be even more powerful to our heart.

The second was the use – just once, I think, but once was enough – of a shaky camera.

I don’t know if Paul Greengrass invented it when he directed The Bourne Supremacy but that is where I saw it first, and appropriately enough, the camera shakes as the mecha-giant thumps into view from behind a hill. The shakiness takes us out of our seats and for a moment right into the heart of the action.

Stills and a shaky camera are very opposite narrative devices to draw us into the story more deeply. Their twin use in this episode was not overbearing and so very effective.

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