“Remembrances” isn’t “The Ember Island Players” but the clip episode isn’t a total loss.
With the closing act of Legend of Korra starting next week, “Remembrances” is a reflection on the road so far. Unfortunately, this is done via a clip episode, and while nothing can get around that fact, it’s still a pretty good clip episode. In fact, the last half of it is entirely irreverent, inaccurate, and hilarious.
Avatar: The Last Airbender did something similar with “The Ember Island Players” near the end of that series. For those that skipped ATLA (something you should fix), that episode took the heroes to a ridiculous stage performance of their adventures put on by members of the enemy Fire Nation. It was a unique experience, and something that “Remembrances” doesn’t repeat.
“Remembrances” only adds a few minutes of new animation, but the clips themselves are narrated by Mako, Korra, and Varrick, with commentary from their respective audiences. In the case of Mako, that commentary is, at times, hilarious, while Varrick’s over-the-top story is just brilliant. Interestingly, Mako’s story gets the most screen time, and it’s largely about his love life.
No matter how well done a clip episode is, it’s still a clip episode, and it isn’t something you like to see when you tune in for new episode. Co-creator Bryan Konietzko gave viewers a warning on his tumblr page, sharing that early in production for Book Four their budget was reduced by the cost of animating an episode. Rather than letting people go, they opted for a clip episode, and put effort into it even if it was something they dreaded.
“We all worked really hard to make sure at the very least it isn’t crummy,” Konietzko said.
“Remembrances” was almost a disappointing episode, even with the chibi heads of Mako and Prince Wu arguing over clips. Thankfully, the completely ridiculous Varrick portion made this an episode to watch, and definitely took away the sting of it all.
Maybe something light and silly is just what we need before we head into the last episodes of the series. Or as Konietzko says, “before POOP. GETS. REAL. And then the series is done.”
Episodes of Legend of Korra: Book Four are released on Nick’s website on Friday mornings, with all of the previous episodes available to view now. The first two seasons are available on Amazon, with Book Three on Vudu.
Mako’s Love Life
“Unlike you, I wasn’t raised by a pack of cops in the woods,” Prince Wu says to Mako, suddenly realizing he doesn’t know anything about his bodyguard. After a bit of prodding, Mako reveals that he once dated the Avatar, which Wu wants to “gab” about, kicking off the first story of the episode.
While Mako’s romantic history is far from the most interesting tale from Legend of Korra, it surprisingly works as a tool to survey the series. Still, Mako is a fairly dull character, and framing the journey of his friends in his perspective isn’t the best way to look back on LoK.
Luckily, the commentary from Prince Wu and Mako’s grandmother is pretty great. In fact, “Remembrances” is probably Prince Wu’s best appearance so far. He’s still annoying in his own way, but his lines still earn a few laughs, especially played against Mako’s skewed memory of past events.
Korra’s attitude and emotional turmoil has been done well this season, but her short appearance in “Remembrances” wasn’t great. She’s negative and pessimistic, caught up in all the bad that’s happened in her life, and there’s been plenty, but her delivery in this episode doesn’t land. Add to that the incredibly over-dramatic voices she and Tenzin use and the whole segment just doesn’t carry the emotional weight it wishes it did.
On the bright side, Tenzin’s reflection on Korra’s past successfully communicates just how much the Avatar has grown over the years. The show revisits Korra destroying the airbending gates from her training, immediately followed by the time she talked Daw down from the bridge. These two scenes might be the best reflection of the extremes of Korra’s personality.
Still, Korra’s sequence is the weakest of the episode, especially compared to the brilliantly inaccurate Varrick.
The Greatest Mover Ever Made
On the boat with Earth Empire refugees, Varrick shares a story about Bolin, proposing the tale as a mover (the LoK equivalent of a movie). It’s hilarious, completely false, and absolutely the best part of the episode. Varrick’s narrative is of Bolin fighting against the unified forces of Zaheer, Vaatu, Amon, and the “annoying and clingy” Unalaq.
It’s fantastic. The conference call between the series’ villains was priceless, and well worth watching the clip episode itself. Even some of the clips are edited, including the addition of Bolin’s face to the giant spirit Korra from Book Two.
Bottom Line: It’s a clip episode, no getting around that, and this is definitely not “The Ember Island Players”. But the commentary makes it easier to watch, as does Varrick’s tale.
Recommendation: An absolutely skippable episode, but if you like the goofy stuff, watch it just for Bolin as Nuktuk as Bolin as told by Varrick.[rating=3.0]