Reviews for 111 - Skeletons in the Closet
The average grade for this episode is a A. You can submit your own review on our forums.

AvtrSpirit graded A

Reviewed on: May 3, 2013
[Preface: These reviews are written after having seen the first season in its entirety. My focus is on the writing, not music or animation.]

Amon fights on two fronts: the physical war (mostly thanks to Hiroshi) and the propaganda war. Korra and team know only how to contest him in physical terms. But Korra also wants a one-on-one confrontation. Unlike Ozai, who in the original series would have relished nothing more than a physical confrontation, Amon has avoided it so far. Hitherto, the propaganda fight and the army battle have all been on Amon's terms. Korra hopes that a one-on-one surprise confrontation may be on her terms.

A theme that is shared between this and the original series is that a handful of talented and really passionate individuals, working in perfect sync, can accomplish what whole armies cannot. This is borne out by both the original and the new team Avatar, as well as Azula's gang. It is difficult to tell whether this theme is accidentally (arose out of need for more thrilling story-telling) or purposeful (since Azula explicitly says that a small elite team works best).

In this episode, we get the very last major character introduction, that of General Iroh. Since it is so late in coming, it makes perfect sense to mesh it with the action-packed battle scene. Characters reveal most about themselves when under pressure. So, we quickly get that in the heat of battle he is as unrelenting as his name sake, though perhaps a touch more aggressive. Very much like Korra.

Then comes the big reveals: the point at which all the antagonists' stories intertwine: Yakone, Tarrlok and Amon. What is amazing is how different the motivations are for all of them. By the time they are fully grown, both Noatak and Tarrlok detest their father and become contemptuous of his desire to rule Republic City just for the sake of wielding power. In fact, they both dedicate their lives to opposing what each thinks is their father's failings: Tarrlok is relentless in pursuing criminals and Noatak wants to eliminate benders.

And yet, as Tarrlok says, they were both put on their respective paths by their father. By teaching them blood-bending, Yakone inspired in them a near absolute certainty about their bending prowess and how unbeatable they would be if they mastered it. Though neither of them showcase their blood-bending ability openly, the confidence generated by this realization can be seen over and over again in both Tarrlok and Noatak throughout the series. Yakone also inspired in them the importance and centrality of Republic City in the new world order. Is it any surprise, then, that Tarrlok and Noatak's ideologies should clash on the battlefield of Republic City? I have previously expressed my distaste of using co-incidences to move the plot forward. In this case, however, the clash of the two brothers is explained excellently by their back story.

One other theme that is shared across multiple avatar life-times is that the new avatar has to deal with the unforeseen consequences of the actions of the previous avatars. Aang did this at least for Roku and Kyoshi. And now Korra has to deal with the fact that Aang merely punished Yakone instead of properly rehabilitating him. This is a great way to impress upon the viewers that all actions have consequences. It also lends realism to the world of the Avatar.

Overall, this was a very well-paced episode that deftly handled a lot of endgame exposition.

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