not merely superfluous, but ridiculous
That screencap is semi-important. I used it as the article image first because it’s cute, second because the little bit of business between Pabu, Naga, and Korra at the episode’s beginning is a great example of how The Legend of Korra manages to keep things moving on an episode-by-episode basis. The first two seasons of the show occasionally made the strategic error of treating the whole season like a 6.5-hour movie, without any regard for the pacing in the episode itself. From Season 3 onward, there’s been a definite effort to begin each episode with something funny and lighthearted, and gradually move on to more serious business.
For a season that’s dealt with some pretty dark stuff, though, “Reunion” was a beam of light, a silly adventure with few possible repercussions, something that brought to mind the excitement of Season 1, when we were first seeing the Avatar-verse in its post-industrial-revolution stage. There were car chases, hints at relationships, bickering, and a few great battle sequences. That these battle sequences were all in the service of the show’s least momentous goal yet, protecting the useless Earth King Wu from being kidnapped by the Earth Empire forces, even though the king barely qualifies as a figurehead- he appears to be about as popular as the Shah of Iran, and about as self-aware. But watching Korra, Asami, and Mako team up to escort him across, atop, and eventually off the side of a moving train was a fun action moment.
Slightly more significant events happen to Bolin and Varrick, who begin to redeem their past blindness towards the atrocities the Earth Empire is committing by helping some prisoners escape. Also, Varrick figures out how to create EMPs, which could come in handy in the future. Varrick is still pining for Zhu Li, and Bolin is still pretty sure he’s missing out on something fun in Republic City.
There are now six episodes left in The Legend of Korra, and I imagine they will have more of an overarching narrative than this one, which can’t really even be called a place-setting episode because all the characters are in the same place they started out, more or less. But as long as it can maintain its current level of control over the tone and buildup of individual episodes, I’ll be happily watching to the very end.