Ok. So, after this week’s Korra, I want to try to get all of my feelings about the Asami/Mako/Korra triangle. I’ve mentioned this before, but again, I ship Mako/Korra. That’s my end game, but I do not hate Asami. However, I am still mostly indifferent towards her right now.
But let’s get into this, starting with Korra’s side of things, because I think it’s the most straight forward and simple with her. Korra likes Mako. She has liked Mako from the beginning. She was impressed with what she was hearing about him over the radio, and then meeting him, she’s got some stars in her eyes, even though he’s kind of cold to her at first. So, even if he’s kind of a jerk, Korra still likes him, and that only continues to grow as time goes on. Then Mako meets Asami, and Korra doesn’t really know what to do about that. She doesn’t get mean or petty with Asami, but she’s jealous, certainly. She’s just a seventeen year old girl who has probably never had a crush before and is so out of sorts with how to handle it that she actually asks children for advice.
Pema tells Korra to just go and say what she’s feeling, which is really sound advice, certainly better than just sitting back and letting everything fester. At least this way, if Mako says absolutely not, then the door is closed and Korra can have the chance to move on. Of course, being a seventeen year old girl with absolutely no experience, Korra sort of botches the whole thing. And being turned down, when she’s not really used to people saying no to her—because, come on, she’s the freaking Avatar—Korra gets a little miffed. But again, she’s not mad at Asami for moving in first. She’s irritated with Mako because she gets the feeling that he likes her too.
Korra does not go out with Bolin because she’s trying to get back at Mako. It is for no other reason than she is feeling really down, and her friend Bolin offers to take her out and take her mind off her troubles. And as great a time as she does have with him, she’s just not into him in that way. She’s still hung up on Mako, and she sort of gets it when Mako tells her to stay away from Bolin. She gets that there’s a part of Mako that is jealous. It leads to tensions, which almost costs them the tournament.
So enter the kiss. Mako tells Korra that, yes, she infuriates him, but also he kind of likes that, and she responds in the only way that makes sense to her. She kisses him. And he kisses her back. So the door isn’t closed. She knows for sure. Because if he honestly felt nothing, he wouldn’t have kissed back.
So, the door isn’t closed, but Mako stays with Asami. This has to be really frustrating for Korra, especially because she doesn’t hate Asami. Let’s think to how any of us would handle something like this. You’re watching the person you like dating someone else. Wouldn’t you just want to hate that bitch? But Korra doesn’t. She even admits to Asami that she had pegged her wrongly and thinks she’s a pretty cool person (yes, it’s kind of lame of Korra that she only thinks Asami is cool after the racing, but I don’t think Korra knows how to relate and handle girly-girls, so seeing a more tomboyish side to Asami is necessary for her to relate. Not saying it’s particularly right, just what it is), and she feels really bad about having to place suspicions on her new friend’s father. Additionally, when it’s all said and done and Sato is outed as an Equalist, Korra kind of gives up. She tells Mako that Asami needs him. She puts Asami’s needs over her desires.
When Ikki spills the beans, Korra is understandably mortified. She had no intentions of ever letting Asami know that there had been something with Mako. So things get a little awkward, but, at least for a while, it looks like they plan to just forget Ikki said anything. Until Asami sees Korra and Mako joking around on their Equalist hunt. Mako and Korra probably don’t even realize that they’re flirting a little bit. It’s just become sort of how they interact and joke around. But it’s subconscious flirting.
Now let’s look as Asami’s side of things. She nearly runs Mako over on the side of the street, recognizes him as a sports personality that she’s a fan of, and offers to take him out. One of the things that I do like about Asami is that she doesn’t let the fact that bending violence took her mother’s life affect her view of the ability. And for her to date a firebender, that’s a pretty big show of acceptance. So Asami is dating Mako happily and is oblivious to the tension between Mako and Korra until Ikki blurts it out. And Asami is uncomfortable, obviously, having just been told that her new friend has a crush on her boyfriend. But she doesn’t say anything, doesn’t tell Korra to back off. She just processes it. And when she sees Mako and Korra flirting on the hunt, she kind of narrows her eyes, but again, she doesn’t flip out or anything. She just watches and wonders.
Then, when Korra is kidnapped, Mako sort of flips out. He’s got a one track mind through the whole episode, and that is find Korra. And Asami picks up on it (not that it was all that hard to get a handle of it). And really, wondering the Equalists’ secret tunnels while searching for your kidnapped friend probably isn’t the time to voice concerns about whether or not your boyfriend has feelings for said kidnapped friend, but it’s just a kids’ show, so we can cut Asami some slack here. I’m sure she is legitimately worried about Korra too, but the girl has a lot on her mind. Her entire world was turned upside down learning about her father’s underground activities. Asami does not side with the Equalist cause, and so to learn that her father not only does but is actively supplying them with weapons, this feels like a huge betrayal to her. And with that, she was really relying on Mako for emotional support. But here is he, hardly noticing her since Lin told them that Korra was taken, and that’s shaking her too.
Now let’s get into Mako. Settle in, because he’s the most complicated side of this whole triangle. Mako meets Korra and assumes that she is one of the fangirls that his little brother likes to bring up to their box, and, as a serious young man, this tends to grate on Mako’s nerves. He sees pro-bending not as a game but as a means of survival for him and his brother. And bringing around fangirls is a major distraction that he thinks they can’t afford. So he isn’t impressed by Korra. And then he finds out that she’s the Avatar. And no, at this point, Korra hasn’t really done anything, but by sheer virtue of who she is, she is special and unique. There can only ever be one Avatar at a time. Korra, no matter what else, is one of a kind.
Mako is aware that Bolin has a crush on Korra, which is why, when they realize they fell asleep on each other in the park, Mako is sort of horrified. Mako is Bolin’s caretaker, basically his parent. His number one concern is Bolin’s safety, health, and happiness. So realizing that he’s got some feelings for Korra, that’s got to upset him. Because he doesn’t really want to have these feelings, if only to spare his brother.
And then enter Asami. Mako is immediately attracted to her, and why shouldn’t he be. She’s very pretty, and as it turns out, she’s rich. As if that isn’t sort of the jackpot to a poor kid who grew up on the streets, Asami is fairly down to earth. She’s kind and isn’t prissy, and she throws her money around, but not in an obnoxious way. She treats Mako to a nice dinner because she nearly turned him into roadkill. She brings him to Tarrlock’s fancy party and also includes Bolin. She convinces her father to support the Fire Ferrets in the tournament. That is a huge gesture. It’s a lot of money, and it’s a big goal of Mako’s. Again, he sees the pro-bending as a means to support him and his brother. And winning the tournament, making a real name for themselves, that is an excellent way to improve their status.
But the problem is that Korra is still there. She’s not pushing herself on him at this point, but she’s still there, still on his radar. And despite Bolin’s crush on her, Mako still has these feelings and still considers them. He compares Asami and Korra and wonders which one is a better fit for him. And I’ve seen people call him a jerk for this, but this is very real, very normal. Feelings aren’t simple and clean cut. There are complications, and being attracted to two different people is a pretty big complication. Having feelings doesn’t make you a jerk. It’s how you handle them.
On the one hand, Mako has Asami. She represents a level of stability that Mako hasn’t experienced since he was eight years old. His parents were killed—right in front of him—and suddenly he, just a child himself, was in charge of the wellbeing of his little brother. That is beyond a huge responsibility. It’s a beyond a huge responsibility for a married couple who are emotionally mature enough and financially stable enough to support children. Raising children is the most difficult thing in the world because you are responsible for another person’s life. Everything is resting on you. It is cruel and horrible that such a burden was placed on Mako’s shoulders. He has to be strong, even though he wants to break down because his parents are gone forever. He has to be smart, because the streets are rough, and one wrong move could cost them all that they have left. How many nights of their childhood did Mako have to worry about would he be able to feed his brother tomorrow, would he be able to find a place for them to sleep, would he be able to keep Bolin clothed? They had to live one day at a time, and that sort of existence is extremely trying. So Asami, with her wealth, is a pillar of stability, and that is very attractive to someone like Mako.
But then again, there’s Korra. She’s wild, makes snap decisions, has little to no filter, is stubborn and boisterous, and exceedingly self-confident. She’s not stable, but for some reason, Mako is drawn to her. She’s this good kind of unpredictable, and it’s probably sort of amazing for Mako to see that spontaneity can be a good thing. She irritates him, but again, it’s a good kind of irritation.
When Korra admits to Mako that she likes him, it throws off the balance that he’s created. Yes, he likes Korra as well as Asami, but she hasn’t said anything about it, so it’s safe for him to just be with Asami and for Korra to be his friend. They can all just exist like that, and everything is just fine. But then Korra says she likes him, and in that split second he has to choose. And life and experience has taught him to go with stability over gut instincts. So he picks Asami, feels pretty crappy about it, and then immediately has to watch Bolin ask Korra out and she accepts. Yes, Mako has made his choice here, but that’s still difficult to watch. Saying he’s staying with Asami does not magically make all of his feelings for Korra go away.
So Bolin and Korra go out, and Bolin probably came home over the moon, which wouldn’t do anything to ease Mako’s feelings on the whole matter. Yes, on the one hand, he does want his brother to be happy, but on the other, he’s still got the Korra feels, and so this whole thing just sucks. So the next time he talks to Korra, Mako tells her to back off Bolin under the guise that she must just be using him to get back at Mako. Yes, Mako is stretching here, and yes, it’s a jerk move after he’s chosen someone else to basically be saying “I don’t want you, but I also don’t want anyone else to have you.”
So they argue, and then they kiss, and Bolin gets his sweet little heart broken. Mako and Korra remain irritated with each other, but they’re both very sorry to have put Bolin through this. And it looks like, at the end of the day, they all sort of silently agree to just forget it all ever happened. Bolin recovers, Mako keeps most of his attention on Asami, and Korra has bigger things to worry about in the form of Amon continuing his threats.
After Amon wrecks the tournament and all pro-bending is canceled, Asami arranges for Mako and Bolin, now homeless again, to come live with her. Obviously the boys jump at this offer to life the good life. It looks like things are going just fine for a while. The boys have a good place to stay, the girls are starting to get to know each other and get along, and everything is looking up. But then Korra overhears Sato’s phone conversation and brings her suspicions to Tenzin and Lin. Asami assumes that her father’s ideals about the Equalists are the same as hers, and thus she is offended that they’re being investigated. And because she is offended, Mako is too. And he thinks that this is somehow connected to Korra’s feelings for him, that maybe if she can taint Asami’s name, he’ll dump her and go for Korra. He’s off, of course, he’s way off. It’s definitely a self-centered moment, but it might also dip back a little bit into Mako’s concern for keeping a roof over their heads. What if Korra’s right here? What if the Satos are involved in the Equalists movement? What does that mean for him and his brother?
As it all turns out, Korra’s suspicions have merit, and Sato is an Equalist. This is a hard thing to accept. Sato is a good actor, and he has seemed to show nothing but kindness to Mako and Bolin. He paid for them to stay in the tournament. He allowed them to live in his house. But then the truth comes out, and Sato hates Mako solely based on the fact that he’s a firebender. And that actually has to be really hard for Mako to hear. Because Asami’s mother was killed by a firebender. Just like his own parents were. His element, which is such an integral part of him, has to be very difficult to live with. So, the whole day is a pretty big bummer for everyone. Mako apologizes to Korra for being a dick about her concerns, and she pushes him back into Asami’s arms.
So now the Krew is all together on Air Temple Island. They decide they’re going to go out on the streets and handle this Equalist thing Avatar style. They handle some things pretty well, despite being a bit outside the law, and Tarrlock reacts well to that, since he’s such a standup guy. He threatens to arrest Korra’s friends, and when someone grabs Asami, Mako gets mad. Mako does not react well to the people he cares about being threatened, seen further when Korra gets kidnapped.
Team Avatar seems like they take to getting arrested fairly well. They don’t put up a huge fight, so you have to figure they expect to get released quickly. Just about the first thing Lin tells them when she busts them out is that Korra is missing. And Mako goes into a super-protective mode. His mind is on a single track for the rest of the episode and that is an intense focus on finding Korra. He’s irritable, snapping at the others that they’ll search every tunnel in the city if they have to until they find her. He threatens the chi blocker by holding him off the ground and waving fire around (which, wow, way to prove the Equalists’ point).
And then, finally, after they’ve been searching for hours and hours, maybe even over a day, Naga brings Korra back. And Mako is still in his super-protective mode, to the point that he doesn’t care about anyone else, just her. He doesn’t care that she’s a de facto member of Tenzin’s family. He doesn’t care that she’s the reincarnation of Lin’s uncle. He doesn’t care that she’s Bolin’s friend. He doesn’t care that Asami is right there. He has eyes only for Korra at that moment, and he needs her to be in his arms so that he can be absolutely sure that she’s safe.
I both have a problem with this and don’t. His behavior here is 100% inconsiderate of the others who care about Korra as much as he does. But I sort of see where he’s coming from. Mako is someone who has lost too much that is important to him in his life, so I imagine that the thought of losing anything else is absolute torture to him. Korra going missing was terrible.
Korra going missing was a real wake up call for Mako. His reaction to her kidnapping was extreme, and I don’t think it would have been quite that way if it had been Asami. Yes, he cares about Asami, but he loves Korra. Obviously, while she was missing, there was no time to evaluate those feelings and sit Asami down and talk it out with her. But I’m hoping by next week, that has happened and that they’ve split up. Because it’s out there now. Mako’s feelings for Korra are more intense than his for Asami, and to remain with her isn’t fair to anyone involved in this triangle. But we’ll see how that goes.
Wow, this got to be a pretty big rant. Mostly just wanted to organize my feelings here and also put something out that doesn’t involve hate on any of the characters. I can’t stand seeing shipping posts like that with all the bashing. None of them are perfect. All of them have their own issues and depth, and they all have reasons for acting the way they do.