By Nico Danilovich
Ever since the Red Lotus attacked the city of Zaofu in “The Terror Within,” The Legend of Korra has fallen into a pattern. The past three episode have all gone as follows: The first act of each episode deals with the immediate, but not always terribly compelling, consequences of the previous episode’s explosive finale. This manages to satisfy the viewer’s natural curiosity about what happens next, a fundamental element of any good serialized plot-based show with frequent cliffhangers. Next, the second act, not yet ready to get to the episode’s point, tries to kill some time with filler. This is what the past three episodes have suffered from the most. Eventually, the third act rolls around, the Red Lotus poses a dire threat, a thrilling battle occurs and the episode finally gets to its main point. For example, the point of “The Stakeout” is to exposit information about the Red Lotus, the point of “Long Live the Queen” is to kill off the Earth Queen, and the point of “The Ultimatum” is to set up the stakes for Book 3’s finale. While the episode does indeed achieve its goal, “The Ultimatum” conforms just a little too much to this formula to feel entirely fresh. Furthermore, it fails to overcome the pitfalls inherent in this particular pattern, resulting in another good but not great installment.