Nickelodeon′s €˜The Legend of Korra′, sequel series to the hit show €˜Avatar: The Last Airbender′, continued Saturday, June 16, 2012 with its tenth episode, €œTurning the Tides.€

Spoiler alert!

Seventy years after Aang and his friends defeated Fire Lord Ozai, Korra (Janet Varney) is the newest Avatar and is training in Republic City to master airbending with Aang′s son, Tenzin (J.K. Simmons). She is also friends with Mako (David Faustino), a Firebender, and his brother Bolin (P.J. Byrne), an Earthbender, and plays on their team, the Fire Ferrets, in a competition known as pro-bending. Right now, Korra and her friends are embroiled in a struggle with Amon (Steve Blum), leader of the Equalists, who has developed the ability to remove a person′s bending permanently. He wants to conquer Republic City and destroy everyone′s bending abilities.

Meanwhile, Councilman Tarrlok (Dee Bradley Baker) has been waging his own war with the non-benders, thus causing he and Korra to butt heads. When Korra confronted him for wrongfully imprisoning her friends, he kidnapped her and lied about it, saying that Amon captured her. However, former Chief of Police Lin Bei Fong (Mindy Sterling) broke Korra′s friends out of jail and brought Tenzin along to discover the truth. Once discovered, Tarrlok fled Republic City, intending to take Korra with him, but then Amon showed up and took his bending away. Korra narrowly escaped Amon′s clutches and returned to Republic City, where her friends soon found her.

The tenth episode picks up with Korra recovering from her ordeal with both Tarrlok and Amon. She tells Tenzin and her friends what happened, leading them to believe that Amon′s actions are escalating towards his end game. Tenzin sets up a meeting with the city council to figure out how to stop him.

Meanwhile, Asami (Seychelle Gabriel), Mako′s girlfriend, has begun to get agitated with all the attention Mako bestows on Korra. She confronts him and demands to know if he likes Korra in a romantic sense, but Mako stresses that there is not enough time to argue when the entire city is in danger. This argument puts the two of them at odds with each other and the tension becomes so thick that even Korra later notices it.

When Tenzin heads to the council meeting, several Equalists attempt to capture him as they already captured the other council members, but Korra and her friends intervene. Seconds later, Amon leads several huge airships to begin a siege of Republic City. One of the airships heads towards the Air Temple, where Tenzin′s family lives, and they all rush back to help. Lin Bei Fong and Tenzin′s family fight off the Equalists, but more of them are coming. Tenzin sends a message to a nearby Fire Nation city for help while he takes his family to safety. He tells Korra and her friends to stay hidden in the city until the Fire Nation army arrives to help. As they leave, two airships follow them and Lin jumps off to stop them. She destroys one of the airships, but gets captured before she can stop the second one. She is brought before Amon and when she refuses to give up Korra′s location, Amon takes away her bending.

Only moments after this tragedy, the Fire Nation city responds to Tenzin′s message and sends their troops led by General Iroh (Dante Basco), son of Zuko. They are set to arrive in Republic City in three days to confront Amon and bring him to justice.

This episode is by far one of the most emotional in the first season. The escalation of the war between benders and non-benders as well as between the characters is built with ultimate precision. The dynamics of their relationships are changing as a result of constantly being in danger. By far, the most heartbreaking moment is when Lin′s earthbending is taken away from her. Her sacrifice to save Tenzin′s family is one of the most admirable actions in the entire series.

Furthermore, the action sequences are as astounding as always. The animation style lends itself to some of the most visually stunning fights one can be graced to witness. It was particularly satisfying to see Tenzin in action as he defended himself against the Equalists in their mecha suits. Tenzin always teaches peace and understanding, but like his father Aang, he is ready to defend the innocent and fight oppression.

The only thing that detracts from the quality of the episode is the continued lack of attention paid to Bolin. Because the Asami/Mako/Korra love triangle is so prominent, Bolin has been unable to get much screen time in the past few episodes. This is understandable, but also unfortunate as Bolin is a fabulously entertaining character and deserves more screen time.

The hour-long season one finale of €˜Korra′ is slated for June 23, 2012 at 11am EST. All of the events in the show have led up to this and you will not want to miss out. Be there.

Grade: 5/5