Bolin gets the chance to be a true hero when President Raiko’s life is on the line.
I was off on my theory with Bolin’s possible character development. I was expecting them to go with the whole “stardom is shallow” route, but it deviates into something else, largely for the better due to how unorthodox it is. The separation of Team Avatar hit Bolin the hardest; his lack of purpose prevented him from reaching out to his friends and his acting gig only served to push him further away. I think it’s appropriate that Bolin is the one who notices this enough to grieve over it; he’s the closest the group has to The Heart. He isn’t necessarily the glue that holds them together, but his sunny deposition and outgoing nature means he’s the guy who values friendship the most. He lives off the lap of luxury as a means to fill an empty void and while I think he should have owned up to his jerk behavior by apologizing to his brother (and Ginger), I do like that he doesn’t shun everything about his new life. It’s easy to write a story where an actor bemoans the vanity and emptiness of popularity and while Bolin did suffer that, he seems to have settled between embracing his fame without permanently catering to his ego. I confess, I think there should have been a bit more organic growth to this, but his story caps off very nicely. He didn’t rescue President Raiko because he wanted to impress someone or out of some pigheaded pride, he did it because it was the right thing to do. He’s also the first one to rejoice when Team Avatar is back together, showing just how much they all mean to him.
The only thing I didn’t like was Ginger willingly reciprocating after Bolin saved the day. So the lesson is it’s totally okay to date a guy who’s been hounding you despite your constant rejection just because he’s a hero? That’s a terrible message! I suppose the only consolation to all this is that it seems to be a one-off thing that won’t go anywhere. I wonder if this also speaks a lot about Ginger’s character that she’d fall for Bolin only when he actually lives up to his Nuktuk name.
The cops finally arrest Varrick after what he pulled, but I still love how ambiguous this man is. He has a point: however amoral as he may be, he did give Team Avatar a leg up to their solutions. And to top it off, he genuinely apologizes for what he did and forks over his personal battleship (he named it after his assistant, of course) to use against Unalaq. Jail time isn’t bringing him down (mostly because he expected to end up there someday); this man is still enthusiastically dapper.Varrick has consistently been one of the best things about Book Two. There are so many layers and so much unpredictability to his character and I’m glad he didn’t turn out to be a typical villain.
The fight scenes are especially creative here. Bolin’s actual battle with Northern Water Tribe sympathizers matches beautifully with the fake Nuktuk battle on the big screen. They really went all out with Bolin’s Earthbending and the way he uses the earth discs are a hoot to watch. Meanwhile, Tonraq and Unalaq’s encounter is intense and ferocious. The camera angles are especially good and by the end, you can clearly see how brutal Unalaq is. I’m glad they had one last scene together to really emphasize their rivalry and how broken Unalaq is.
There’s a lot of good character moments sprinkled all over the episode. Pema’s reaction upon seeing her daughter’s current fate was heartbreaking. I love the humanizing way Raiko’s wife dotes on him. When Team Avatar reunites, Lin’s frown curls into a smile. Mako does pull another stupid move when he goes back to Korra, even taking advantage of her memory loss when she has no recollection of their big argument. That is an awful thing to do, but I love that everybody gives him the most disapproving look they can muster. It’s very cathartic. I’m glad the writers were aware of Mako’s romantic mishaps to insert that little scene; it sure made me happy.
“Night of A Thousand Stars” is an amusing episode. Bolin finally gets a spotlight and while I’m iffy on a few parts, I’m largely satisfied with the results. There’s a lot to like about this episode that’s so packed with charm. Despite the ending with Unalaq’s scene, this is one of the most lighthearted episodes with plenty of feel-good moments.