THINGS IN EPISODE THREE THAT WERE CLEARLY NOT FOR CHILDREN.
- Butakka (Bu Tahka? Butakah?) extolling the Ferrets’ winnings through the guise of things like rent and groceries, leaving them penniless.
- Bolin’s panic at having to raise 30,000 yuans.
- Basically anything involving finance. Since when do kids care about that?
- “I’ve always had people taking care of me.” “Then I wouldn’t say you have nothing.” Damn.
- Bolin’s past with the Triple Threat Triad and his obvious discomfort at remeeting Shady Shin.
- The fact that Shady Shin got Bolin to ignore his misgivings by giving him money. This is a goofy kid who loves his brother and did silly tricks with his pet while wearing a ridiculous moustache, and in an instant money turns him into a person willing to do gruntwork for criminals.
- Mako working hard labor to earn the entry money.
- (Off topic, but I have to laugh at the fact that we all assumed the lightningbending would be happening in a fight or something and instead Mako was using it for commonplace repetitive work at a power plant.)
- “I bet the little love bird is making a house call.” IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
- Seriously, Mako’s voice during that scene. You just KNOW he was thinking “Bolin wants to bang the Avatar so hard, the little scamp”.
- Street kids. Just. The street kids. And the way this twelve-year-old kid already knows how to coax money out of people in exchange for information.
- Money in general was just handled really maturely in this episode.
- TURF WARS. MOTHERFUCKING GANG TURF WARS. I CANNOT WITH THIS SHOW.
- “Pabu’s a friend, not a snack.” Subtle, but Naga hunts and kills things in front of Korra.
- “I did what I had to do to survive, and protect my little brother!” That was deep. This scene is telling little kids that sometimes you have to do morally wrong things to keep you and the people you love safe. You can’t always do the right thing and expect everything will work out okay - the world is too harsh for that. It’s a lesson we all have to learn someday, but the fact that this lesson is in an animated TV show aimed at twelve-year-olds is flooring.
- Oh, and then immediately afterwards we find out that MAKO’S PARENTS WERE BURNED TO DEATH IN FRONT OF HIM WHEN HE WAS EIGHT.
- Mako pulling his scarf up to hide his face. There was so much pain and vulnerability in that subtle little gesture that you know few members of the target demographic would ever catch. It was heartbreaking.
- Korra pumping the protestor for info by destroying his stuff and threatening him with bodily harm. That is not a heroic thing to do.
- Guess who else was burned to death (if he wasn’t lying)? Amon’s entire family.
- “Then, he took my face.” Wow okay so FACIAL BURNS ARE NOTHING NEW IN THIS FANDOM but that delivery was chilling. No wonder Steve Blum is revered as a voice acting god. I squeaked in terror- and you know the eight-year-olds watching did, too.
- Amon was kind of right. Not entirely, but the moral ambiguity in this show is something you almost never see in entertainment in general, much less kid’s cartoons!
- The Equalists bringing the Triad members and Bolin onstage to fight for their bending. Imagine if someone told you “I’m going to cut off your legs. You can have a head start.” and stepped back to let you run. And you start running and running and you think you’re going to get away but BAM - there he is in front of you. And you’re not doing any more running. Ever.
- Lightning Bolt Zolt’s eyes while Amon was, uh, debending him. (Fandom, we need a better snappy term than “taking his bending away.” GET TO IT.) And the way he just dropped when it was over, and his weak, terrified voice when he realized what Amon did.
- (Off topic, but did anyone else notice that Zolt had the same eyebrows as Mako?!)
- When the Equalists untie Shady Shin, you can see that the guy in orange to the left is sobbing.
- The look Bolin and the guy in green exchanged before they led him away.
- Those little whimpering noises Bolin makes when they untie him.
- Okay, let’s just say anything involving the rally at all was dark as shit.
- Bolin and Mako screaming and getting electrocuted.
- Tenzin’s tiny little eyeflick when Korra tells him what Amon can do. Blink and you’ll miss it, but it’s there. He knows something.
- “No bender is safe.” BOOM. Show over.
Holy shit, you guys. HOLY. SHIT.
And the next episode looks even darker.