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Michael Dante DiMartino Hey, this is Mike DiMartino, co-creator and executive producer.
Bryan Konietzko This is Bryan Konietzko, the other co-creator and executive producer.
Tim Hedrick Hi, I'm Tim Hedrick, I'm a writer.
Joshua Hamilton My name is Josh Hamilton, I am a staff writer on this episode.
Mike So, Tim was the writer; Josh...
Josh [Interjects.] Yeah, no...
Mike ... his support system.
Josh ... I just was there.
Tim He's-he lands some good jokes in this episode.
Bryan We all-we all help-we all help out in our tiny, little writer's room. [Mike affirms.] Um, but yeah, I guess people probably won't think, when they just see one writer's name on the end credit, um, you know, we should clarify, they're not just writing that episode alone. It's uh...
Tim [Interjects.] Takes a village.
Bryan Takes a vil-a very tiny hamlet, if you will. [Tim chuckles; Mike affirms.]
Josh Right, I think it's even that we sort of like know premises, um, before we know who's, like, gonna write the episode, right?
Bryan Right.
Josh Like, we usually get like four or five down the road, and then it's sort of like, "Tim'll take this one, Josh'll take that one." [Bryan affirms.]
Mike Yeah, for each Book, we tried to uh, factor in a few, at least a-three or four weeks of-of time where we could just talk about what the season's stories were gonna be, and-and hopefully by the end of that period, have a handful of premises um, worked out.
Bryan Yeah, and I would usually, uh, I was always very busy doing art direction stuff, but those early periods of the season, I would try to be in the writer's room as much as I could with you guys. Uh...
Tim [Interjects.] I think when we share the initial planning, it makes for character continuity, because I think Kai is a complete punk, [Bryan and Mike laugh.] and Josh was really defending him.
Mike Only 'cause he's name...
Josh [Interjects.] He's like a loveable scamp.
Tim Yeah. [Laughs.]
Mike He's named after your son, [Josh chuckles.] lets-lets mention that. [Tim affirms.]
Josh That's right, that's why I love him so much.
Mike That's why.
Tim So...
Bryan [Interjects.] Simil-similar hair.
Tim ... every time I make him look bad, Josh redeems him. [Josh and Bryan laugh.] Kinda keeps him...
Bryan [In the background.] Keeps him balanced.
Tim ... keeps him going, yeah.
Bryan Yeah. Yeah, he does have similar hair to-to Josh's son.
Josh Right, uh, hopefully, he'll look just like him.
Bryan [Refers to the aerial shot moving forward over the apex of Ba Sing Se's Inner Wall to showcase the sprawling buildings and architecture of the Lower Ring.] So, here we come back to Ba Sing Se. [Tim affirms.]
Mike [Refers to the low angle and aerial shots of the Lower Ring as Team Avatar fly over the city on their airship, the citizenry living in ramshackle, smoke-spewing buildings.] So, it's a little-little rougher now, at least the L...
Josh [Interjects.] How long's it been?
Mike Uh...
Bryan [In the background.] Seventy years.
Mike ... seventy years, man. [Bryan affirms.] You watch the show? [Mike and Tim laugh.]
Josh [Laughs.] Seventy years.
Bryan You should check it out, man.
Tim I-I can't find it.
Josh I... [Laughs.]
Bryan [Interjects.] Yes, it is hard.
Josh Is it on...
Bryan [Interjects.] It is hard. [Josh chuckles.]
Mike [Refers to Mako and Bolin holding their noses as the airship flies over the Lower Ring, the latter saying the smell must have been what drove their father away.] So, it's very stinky, apparently.
Tim Yeah. I feel like this is coming home, you know? I did a lotta Ba Sing Se work in the original show...
Bryan [In the background.] You did some great...
Tim ... and now we're back.
Bryan Yeah, you did some great Ba Sing Se work. [Mike affirms.] I like Ba Sing Se; it's fun.
Mike [Refers to the shots of the Middle and Upper Rings, the architecture looking well-maintained and colorful.] But then we were saying, like, the Middle and Upper Rings are-haven't changed dramatically, [Refers to the aerial shot tracking with Team Avatar's airship as it advances toward the Earth Kingdom Royal Palace.] especially this part is like, you know, [Tim affirms.] so just your...
Tim [In the background.] Keep it clean.
Mike ... your average palace.
Bryan Rich get richer, the poor get poorer. [Mike and Tim affirm.] Little-little uh... oh, I'm gonna say it; little uh, income in-inequality.
Mike I think so.
Tim Preach on it. [Bryan affirms.]
Mike [Brief pause; refers to Grand Secretariat Gun welcoming Korra and her friends upon their arrival at the palace.] And now we meet uh, Gun.
Tim Yeah, kind of the new...
Josh [In the background.] Oh.
Tim ... Joo Dee. [Mike laughs.]
Bryan Yeah. Less brainwashing, but uh...
Tim [Refers to when Gun anxiously informs Korra of all the protocols she'll have to follow when interacting with the Earth Queen.] Still very much afraid of the state.
Bryan [Laughs.] Still very...
Josh [Interjects.] I love his nervous [Bryan affirms intermittently.] reads.
Mike Yeah, we wanted, s-technically, this guy has the same job that Long Feng had in the old series.
Bryan Oh.
Mike With all the-yeah, we-we-we couldn't remember [Tim affirms.] what the job title was, I think, but it is Grand Secretariat, we-we've discovered.
Bryan Oh, yes.
Josh Oh.
Mike So, he's like the advisor/handler.
Tim He's not quite as powerful.
Bryan You know? That makes sense, and I never thought of it. [Mike laughs; refers to Gun's nervous, obsequious disposition around the Earth Queen.] He's, yeah, he obviously doesn't uh... doesn't have the same pull that Long Feng... [Tim affirms.]
Josh [Interjects.] Yeah, unlike Long Feng, this guy's always scared for his life, I think.
Mike Yeah. [Bryan affirms.] Yeah, I think he's seen what the queen does to people who uh...
Bryan [Interjects.] Embarrass... [Josh and Tim affirm.]
Mike [Interjects.] Yeah, break the rules...
Josh [In the background.] Alleged...
Mike ... or anything, yeah.
Josh [Refers to Kai looking behind at the lavishly dressed man who passed by the group.] There he is. See? He just wants money.
Bryan Which must...
Mike [Interjects; laughs.] He just wants some money. [Tim laughs.]
Bryan This must be uh, Tim...
Tim [In the background; refers to the shots of the man's rustling money pouch, and his luxurious, sparkling golden earrings and rings.] Ooh, he just loves the little...
Bryan ... you know, trying to drag Kai's character down.
Tim That's right, I'm the devil on his shoulder. [Bryan affirms; in a mock menacing tone.] You know you wanna steal that.
Josh Guys. When you're all alone out in the world, you gotta do what you can, [Tim chuckles.] okay? So just give him a break.
Bryan [Refers to the wide-open foyer of Team Avatar's apartment.] So, this design was one we recycled; it was where Toph got captured, [Mike gives an affirming murmur.] uh, in the metal box.
Tim Oh!
Bryan Yeah, you...
Mike [Interjects.] Was it the exact same apartment? I guess there could've been...
Bryan [In the background.] No, it wasn't...
Mike ... a few different kinds of...
Bryan [Interjects.] Yeah, yeah, I mean, there might be, like, just...
Mike [Interjects.] Next door.
Bryan Yeah, a subdivision, [Mike chuckles.] where they're-they're all-bunch of iterations of the same architecture. But it, yeah, that-anyways, it was that-that design; it wou-you barely saw it in the old series, it was really dark.
Mike [Refers to Earth Queen Hou-Ting ordering her subjects around regarding the unsatisfactory topiaries they were creating.] So, when we were talking about this Earth Queen character, remember we looked up this old empress from China. We were kind of inspired by her story; she was like a pretty famous historical figure, I think, who was a bit of a tyrant, and uh, hoarded all her wealth, and things like that.
Bryan So, uh, Studio Mir was really upset with us, [Mike, Josh, and Bryan chuckle.] particularly me, um, when they got the queen's design, [Josh chuckles.] because it was very intricate. But... [Tim chuckles.]
Josh [Refers to the four tassels arrayed on the Earth Queen's hairpiece.] Tassels? Is it the tassels?
Bryan The tassels put them over the edge. [Tim and Josh laugh.] And I re...
Josh [Interjects.] They look great!
Bryan I remember, basically Ryu and-and, uh, Angela Mueller, Josh's wife, Ryu and Angela did the design, and uh, I was like, "I don't know, looks pretty good," and then I thought, "man, those tassels". [Josh chuckles; refers to the two pink flowers on the Earth Queen's hairpiece.] And she used to have, like, six flowers on [Mike chuckles.] her-her headdress, and I was like, "let's just make it two". [Tim laughs.] And I thought that made it easier, but I left the tassels, and-and knowing that that was hard to animate, but um...
Mike [Interjects; refers to the Earth Queen's tassels swaying about during her angered gesticulations.] Yeah, 'cause, literally, every time she moves her head, there's, like, overlapping action of the tassels. [Tim chuckles; Bryan gives a disconcerted murmur.]
Josh That's all I see, right now.
Tim Looks great.
Mike But it's amazing, [Josh laughs.] it's amazing. [Tim affirms.] And they did...
Bryan [Interjects.] They were so unhappy [Tim and Josh laugh.] with me.
Mike [Refers to the sound of beads clacking as the queen's tassels move.] And the foley artists did a little foley for every little sound, [Bryan affirms.] little bead.
Bryan I-I do-I kinda-I regret it. I feel bad. [Tim laughs.] I'm sorry, Studio Mir. I should've erased 'em.
Mike Well, now they are immortalized forever.
Bryan Yeah. It does look good. But that kinda thing, you just leave a little design element like that on, and that can increase the drawing count by many, many drawings.
Tim [Refers to when Mako argued with Jinora and Bolin over whether the group should look for a now missing Kai, pointing out that the new airbender clearly doesn't care about them.] I like that they're saying, "maybe we should just leave Kai [Bryan and Josh laugh.] on the streets. [Laughs.] Let's cut our losses, [Josh laughs.] this guy's been nothing but trouble."
Bryan [Refers to the Earth Queen's infuriated expression as she tries to direct her subjects construction efforts.] So, Studio Mir, speaking of, did an amazing job on the queen. Um, Ryu and-and a lotta the board artists did amazing expressions for her, and Studio Mir did a great job with that stuff.
Mike Yeah, she's one of those great characters you like to hate. [Tim affirms.]
A brief pause in commentary until the Earth Queen repeats Korra's mention of airbenders in Ba Sing Se in a pronouncedly skeptical tone, causing Tim to give an equally disbelieving murmur.
Josh I think, I remember, like, we were talking about her character, and it was uh, you know, the king before her who-who did we decide...
Mike [Interjects.] Oh yeah. Her-her dad was the old Earth King [Tim affirms.] that we uh, saw in the previous series.
Tim She grew up with... Bosco.
Josh But he was so, you know, kind of like "let everyone else run the kingdom" and um, passive.
Bryan Long-Long Feng, in-in particular. [Tim affirms.]
Josh Yeah. And so we decided, you know, we wanted to, like, make this really strong, you know, character who like really, like, rules with an iron fist, [Mike affirms.] and what would happen if that-she took over.
Bryan Not looking out for her people.
Tim [Refers to when the Earth Queen frustratedly stated to Korra that the United Republic of Nations is rightfully Earth Kingdom territory, stolen by Aang and Zuko from her predecessor.] And she wants Republic City back, and uh, you know, [Bryan affirms.] it was stolen from the Earth Kingdom.
Bryan Which was an idea we had kicked around, Mike and I had kicked around, [Tim affirms.] very early on, this idea that...
Mike [Brief pause.] Yeah, I do remember actually like, in the development of Book One, we had talked about, like, a possible Earth King or Queen being a-being a villain [Bryan affirms.] to Korra. Um, but uh, obviously didn't make it into Book One. But like all our ideas, we just-we just recycle them for later. [Josh laughs.]
Tim [Laughs; refers to Kai pocketing some cash he stole from an Earth Kingdom noble he was ostensibly helping.] Stole uh... [Josh laughs.]
Bryan Well, it's not like it-that's not even recycling. We just-we just...
Mike [In the background; refers to Mako and Bolin noticing Kai.] There's his...
Bryan ... put a little uh, put 'em in a little plastic container and [Mike affirms.] refrigerate 'em. [Brief pause; refers to when Bolin called out to Kai, asking if he was under a nearby bridge.] I love when uh, [Josh chuckles.] P. J.'s like, "you under the bridge?" [Josh affirms; Tim laughs.]
Mike [Refers to the establishing shot of a short bridge spanning over an artificial river in the Upper Ring.] I think that was, yeah, that was ADR, 'cause we had uh, s-someone, you know, the board artist did that nice shot. [Bryan affirms.] It's just like... [Josh affirms.]
Tim [Interjects; refers to Bolin apologetically sidling in between two rickshaws during his and Mako's pursuit of Kai.] Yeah, this is a...
Mike ... good opportunity.
Tim ... pretty funny, little Bolin gag.
Mike Yeah. [Josh and Tim laugh.]
Bryan So, we kinda-we have this-this running gag, sorta subtle, that Bolin, I get the idea he does a lotta push-ups and pullups, but he's not so-so much into the cardio. [Josh and Tim laugh.] And uh...
Josh [Interjects.] Kinda bulky.
Bryan Yeah. [Refers to when Mako jumped onto a wall, having used it as a vantage to propel himself over a rickshaw that Kai had slid under.] Ma-Mako, very good with the cardio... but you'll-you see it when uh, when they catch up, when they finally get back to Korra and Asami, you know; Bolin's cardio, not so good. [Refers to Mako and Bolin being too slow to follow Kai out of the monorail before its doors close.] Neither of them, uh, as good as Kai.
Tim That's right.
Josh He's young, it doesn't-doesn't count. [Mike chuckles.]
Bryan [Laughs; refers to Bolin calling Kai "a loveable little scamp".] There it is, "loveable [Tim affirms.] little scamp".
Josh Me and Bolin get it. [Tim and Josh laugh.]
Bryan [Laughs.] Well, I kinda, you know, Josh, you are kinda Bolin in my head. [Tim chuckles.]
Josh [Laughs.] Thank you so...
Bryan [Interjects.] You're-you're smarter-smarter version of Bolin, but uh...
Josh [Interjects.] Aw.
Mike [Laughs; refers to the tracking shot of the monorail's profile as it travels through one of the city's walls.] Love that shot.
Bryan Really, yeah.
Mike So...
Bryan [Interjects.] Beautiful. Fancy.
Mike [Refers to the monorail pulling into the station in the Lower Ring.] So, they make it down to the Lower Ring. [Refers to when Mako and Bolin realize Kai stole their money, preventing them from buying passage back to the Upper Ring.] And they're stuck.
Tim Oh boy. [Brief pause; refers to the ticket master letting a passenger into the monorail.] Love that train service. Good public transpo in Ba Sing Se.
Mike Yeah. [Refers to the ticket master refusing to let Mako and Bolin onto the monorail after they fail to produce their passports or tickets.] But this ki-kind of explains, like, why peop-you know, all the Lower Ring people don't go hang out in the upper...
Bryan [In the background.] Oh yeah.
Mike ... upper rings, 'cause they...
Tim [In the background.] Need your...
Bryan They're not allowed. [Mike affirms.]
Tim ... Upper Ring passport.
Mike [Brief pause.] Yeah, we were thinking like, even if they do, they're-they're like working for people in the Upper Ring, [Bryan affirms.] they have their work pass, or something.
Bryan It's like a curfew, they have to be back [Mike affirms.] a certain time.
Mike Man, that Earth Queen is so lame. [Bryan affirms; refers to Bolin saying to Mako that the bad news is that they're stuck in the Lower Ring, while the good news is that they can go to the bathroom wherever they want.] And I love this last line.
Tim Here's a good Hamilton line, here. [Mike affirms.]
Josh Oh, alright. Here we... [Mike laughs.]
Bryan [Brief pause.] So, just to describe the writing process a little further, um, 'cause I also don't wanna make it seem like Tim didn't actually write the episode, 'cause he did. [Josh chuckles; Tim affirms.] Um, but, you know, what-like-like everybody was saying earlier, um, we will have a-basically, Mike and I will, before a season, get lunch a few times, pull some of our old ideas out of the plastic containers, and-and, you know, we'll have a general idea of what a season's gonna be, and then we'll, um, all the, you know, the four of us and Katie, the writer's assistant, would meet, talk about the season. And I, like I said, I would try to spend as much time as I could in those early formative meetings, um, and then uh, I would, you know, inevitably have to leave and go do art direction stuff. Um, but then you guys would kick around a bunch of ideas, take-take it further; I would check back in maybe the next day, see where you had, you know, new developments hap-and the-so, it-it was kinda good actually. I'd-I'd sorta be like the "fresh ears", you know, I'd come into the room and hear where you guys had taken it. And then we'd have a rough idea of the season and new characters, um, but then you guys would kinda come up with premises and how you were gonna structure the season, and uh, and then once a premise is fleshed out, uh, we'd break it outright into different cards with the-the beats, and everybody uh, pitches on those, and tho-those no-the writer's assistant takes notes from all those pitches. And then whoever's assigned that episode takes a-all those cards from the pitch; and the cards are, like, different scenes.
Josh They even uh, write-it's like, if you-it's your episode before, so you're writing the cards...
Bryan [Interjects.] Oh, okay. [Mike affirms.]
Josh ... with your own way you write cards. [Tim and Bryan affirm.] Which there...
Mike [Interjects.] There was a whole-we all had our own technique.
Josh Yeah. [Laughs; Tim affirms.]
Mike Index card.
Josh There's a lot of writing.
Bryan And we would use different colors.
Tim Lot of theories about that. [Josh laughs.]
Bryan Card-card theory. And then, yeah, so the writer would take those cards and all the notes from the-the pitch-out, where-where we would uh... you-you sit there with the cards, and you say, "okay, in this scene, I don't know, I had an idea. This happened, or this could be..."
Josh [Brief pause.] Tim-Tim was famous for-what-what? Under-carding. Or...
Tim [Interjects.] I like a really one-word card. [Bryan laughs.] That's the ideal card.
Josh And I put as many...
Bryan [In the background.] Minimalist.
Josh ... words...
Tim [In the background.] That's like "fight".
Josh ... on my card as I can.
Tim Yeah, Josh...
Mike [In the background.] And I'm somewhere...
Tim ... is writing the outline [Josh affirms.] in the cards. [Bryan affirms; Josh chuckles.]
Mike I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm uh...
Bryan [Interjects.] So, then the writer takes all that stuff, and all of the pitch-out ideas, and has to weave it into an outline, which is a-a more fleshed out, kinda structured, written version of the-the pitch-out. And uh, and that's a-tha-that's a good, when you start doing the outline right, I-I always remember when I was doing 'em, it's like... you kinda go, "oh wait, that thing we thought made sense doesn't make sense, at all," [Laughs.] you know? Or-or I have-I have to...
Tim [Interjects.] Right, that's when you put in, like, the connective tissue [Bryan affirms.] that kinda makes things flow. [Josh gives an affirming murmur.]
Bryan And then all those pitches, you know, the li-you might have twenty pitch ideas for a scene, but it only might fit eight, [Tim affirms intermittently.] and you've gotta figure out which ones work. Um, and, so yeah, again, I-I-I wanna give credit to the writers for-for-they actually do write the scripts. Uh, and then-and then once we all would give notes on the outline, um, all of us; I-I would give notes even if I wasn't there for the pitch-out, and the wri-you know, Josh would give notes on, we all-we all gave each other notes. And then uh, I guess the network too, at that stage; and then-and then you'd take all that, and you'd go and you write the-write the script.
Tim And then you get more notes.
Bryan More notes. [Mike chuckles.] But the-but that's the big, you know, the-the writer takes the script... [Tim affirms intermittently.] flesh-or takes the outline, turns that into the script; but then from there, it is-it is quite a team effort, because then we [Josh affirms.] throw it up on the-the projector, and kinda revise it as a team. Although I wasn't in much of those for uh, the later seasons 'cause we had you guys.
Tim Yeah. That's what we're here for. Take it easy.
Josh And you're busy doing something else.
Bryan Yeah, but you uh, you know...
Josh [In the background.] I don't know what.
Bryan ... I would pop in and-and be like, "guys, c'mon. Less cakes, [Tim gives an affirming murmur; Josh chuckles intermittently.] more-more smoothies."
Mike So...
Josh [Interjects; laughs.] That's right. [Tim laughs.]
Mike ... [Refers to Mako and Bolin meeting their paternal grandmother, Yin.] we should talk about Tim's uh, early on when Tim was pitching uh, lines for the grandma...
Tim [In the background.] Oh right.
Mike ... you had a very specific [Tim affirms intermittently.] uh, vocal quality to her. Do you remember what that was, Tim?
Tim She-she sounds kinda like, [In a pitched up, wavering, melancholy voice.] "oh, Mako. [Mike and Josh laugh.] Please, why don't...
Josh [Interjects.] An old Italian...
Tim ... why don't you play with your brother?" [Josh laughs.]
Bryan So, it's-it's...
Mike [Interjects.] Yeah, she was an old Italian grandma.
Tim [Refers to Yin living in an apartment with her numerous family members.] Yeah, they uh, live in a slum, in [Laughs.] like...
Bryan [Interjects.] Basically...
Tim ... Brooklyn in 1920. [Josh and Tim laugh.]
Bryan Basically, Giancarlo imitating his family. [Josh laughs.]
Tim Yeah, yeah, it's very similar. [Bryan and Josh affirm; in a pitched up, wavering voice.] "Oh..." [Bryan chuckles.]
Mike [Refers to Korra and Asami fighting barbarians attempting to steal the Earth Queen's taxes.] Uh, and then we have another one of Tim's favorites is uh, barbarians.
Tim Oh, I love barbarians. We could never get enough [Bryan laughs.] barbarians on the show. I pushed, every season, for more barbarians.
Mike Well, these are...
Josh [In the background.] You got a few.
Mike ... pro-probably your best barbarians yet.
Bryan This is more of a...
Tim [In the background.] This is a-kind of Mad Max-y. [Mike affirms.]
Bryan ... Eighties, punk-Eighties punk gang.
Mike No, I love these guys.
Josh Oh.
Tim [Refers to the bandits driving through the streets of an Earth Kingdom town on motorcycles and a truck.] Yeah. This is like "Warriors, come out and play."
Bryan [Refers to the bandits' tattoos and minimalist apparel.] This is like Eighties directors' ideas of what gangs looked like. [Tim affirms; Josh laughs.]
A brief pause in commentary until the bandits drive toward Korra and Asami on their motorcycles, brandishing their weapons and whooping.
Mike Uh, here we got-here we got our dudes, [Tim affirms.] our bar-bar-barbarian dudes.
Tim Now...
Mike [Interjects; refers to the bandits' leader, Gombo, approaching a now surrounded Korra and Asami.] And I think Joaquim did, like, the concept for this-this guy, right?
Bryan Yeah.
Josh But he had...
Mike [Interjects.] Was this Gombo?
Bryan Yeah.
Tim Yeah.
Mike Yeah, Gombo.
Josh Gombo. [Tim laughs.]
Bryan But he had a uh...
Josh [Interjects.] Of course.
Tim Gombo really cheeses your hunger away. [Josh laughs.]
Bryan [Refers to Gombo's hair, ponytail, and a streak of his beard being dyed a light, vivid green.] I think he-I think his streaks were dyed red, but it didn't make much sense for Earth-Earth Kingdom uh... gang.
Mike He mighta got some Varri-dye from somewhere.
Bryan Well, I know, but just red, [Mike laughs.] I just [Tim affirms.] made it green, but it's pretty shocking.
Tim [Refers to Asami charging a motorcycle headed towards her, jumping at the driver, locking her legs around him, and using her momentum to spin herself and him through the air, throwing him off his bike as she lands safely on the ground.] This is some great...
Josh [In the background.] Yeah, knee...
Tim ... Asami action. [Bryan affirms.] I feel like you can never get enough Asami fighting. I think in the original script, she was supposed to steal somebody's motorcycle and ride it around.
Bryan Ooh!
Mike Ah.
Tim Which...
Bryan [Interjects.] I like that.
Tim ... I maintain was a great idea. [Mike laughs.]
Bryan That's pretty cool. [Refers to the slow motion sequence of Asami front flipping, changing into a back flip in midair, another motorcycle, using her electrified glove to shock the bandit swiping a spear at her, catching the weapon as she lands.] Although this is cool, too.
Tim That's-yeah, that's pretty awesome.
Bryan Yeah. [Refers to when Korra and Asami calmly stood in place and bantered as the bandits drove towards them on their vehicles.] Uh, yeah, I saw some fans point out... uh, which was nice to see, how Korra and [Laughs.] Asami weren't worried at all [Mike chuckles.] when the guys were rolling up.
Tim [Laughs.] Yeah.
Bryan They were just kinda like, "alright, [Sighs.] here we go". [Brief pause; imitating and referring to Gombo calling out Korra for doing the Earth Queen's dirty work.] "You're on the wrong side of this fight. [Tim affirms; Josh laughs.] The Queen."
Tim He's...
Josh [Interjects.] Like that...
Tim ... I mean, he's speaking the truth.
Bryan I think...
Tim [Interjects.] Speaking truth to power.
Bryan ... [Refers to the rundown town where the Earth Queen's taxes were stored.] that is uh, I think the-maybe this little Earth Kingdom was a borough of New York, [Josh chuckles.] I'm thinking; [Tim laughs.] or Chicago, something.
Mike [Refers to Desna and Eska complaining that no one told them about the secret prison built beneath the North Pole they could have been using.] Nice to bring back Eska and Desna for a little...
Tim [Interjects.] Oh, this is a treat. [Mike laughs; refers to when Zuko mentions his hiring of Combustion Man to kill Aang, and when Eska tries to defuse the awkwardness by mentioning her attempts to kill Korra after she ruined her wedding with Bolin.] When they talk about trying to kill the Avatar, everybody kinda chimes in with the plans. [Bryan laughs.] That's one of my favorite moments. [Josh chuckles.]
Mike [Laughs; refers to shot of an elevator descending down a shaft, as Zuko, Tonraq, Desna, and Eska converse about the prisoner they're visiting, one who can create explosions with her bending.] This elevator scene?
Tim Yeah. [Mike affirms.]
Bryan This is an odd-it-it's a strange, um, grouping.
Tim [Refers to when Tonraq glances at Zuko with a raised eyebrow at his mention of trying to have Aang assassinated; laughs.] Tonraq's like, [In a gruff tone.] "hey."
Josh Right. [Laughs.] The dad.
Mike [Refers to the group's awkward conversation down the elevator being a long take.] And I remember, like, we specifically wanted this to be just like one shot, [Bryan affirms.] kinda thing. I think the humor plays...
Bryan [Interjects; yawning.] It helps make it...
Mike ... plays best, yeah.
Bryan ... [In a drowsy tone.] helps make it more uncomfortable. [Mike affirms.] Sorry, I'm really tired. [Josh chuckles.]
Everyone laughs as Tonraq's eyes remain narrowed during the awkward pause between Zuko saying his attempts to have Aang killed didn't work and Eska mentioning her own attempts to kill Korra.
Mike [Refers to Tonraq looking back at Eska with a slightly exasperated expression.] Yeah, Tonraq's not-not [Josh and Bryan laugh.] into this conversation.
Tim "Hey, that's my daughter you're talking about."
Bryan "Let's talk about football." [Tim laughs.]
Mike [Refers to the establishing shot of the underground White Lotus prison, built in between and deep within a gap in the glacier, held apart by several metal trusses.] Uh, love this location. [Tim affirms.] Super cool.
Josh So cool.
Bryan Great painting by Fred.
Mike Feels-I always feel cold when I'm down here. [Bryan affirms intermittently; refers to Desna and Zuko's breaths being visible as they talk about the supposed impregnability of the prison.] They did, like, little-cool little, like, breath, cold breath animation on them, when they're talking, there. Which really makes you feel, like... uh, freezing.
Bryan [Refers to when Zuko stated the prison was built to ensure the prisoner remained cold, preventing the use of their firebending.] It's pretty-pretty cruel, I'll say.
Mike Well...
Josh [Brief pause.] Isn't the idea she can sort of warm herself...
Bryan [In the background.] Yeah.
Josh ... just enough to, like...
Bryan [In the background.] The fire...
Josh ... stay warm? Right.
Bryan Yeah, yeah. Firebenders, but, you know, probably takes a lotta calories. [Josh and Mike affirm.]
Tim That's true.
Josh They feed her a ton.
Tim I'm sure she's very well fed.
As the prisoner, P'Li, menacingly says she feels warmer already after realizing that Zaheer is coming for her, Tim gives an anticipatory murmur.
Mike [Refers to the lower half of P'Li's face being visible through her cell door when she talked to Tonraq.] Yeah, I like that we don't-didn't show her face [Tim affirms.] fully yet.
Bryan Who is uh, P'Li's voice?
Mike Uh, it was a actress named Kristy Wu. Uh...
Bryan [In the background.] The...
Mike ... variation for us, and uh, great job.
Bryan Great job, yeah.
Mike She's not nearly as tall [Bryan chuckles.] as the uh...
Josh [Interjects; laughs.] She's not 8'?
Mike No. [Josh gives an affirming murmur.]
Bryan [Gives an affirming murmur.] Most people aren't. [Refers to Mako and Bolin eating dinner with a large number of their paternal relatives in one room, sitting around a short-legged table with many kinds of plated food on it.] So, yeah, this was um, a lot of this Mako-Bolin family stuff was based on uh, Mike's and my experience in Korea. Um, when we've been over to some of the animators' homes, um, on the staff on the animation studio, a lot of uh, lot of dishes everywhere; [Mike chuckles.] um, low table, every-huge family sitting on the floor. It's really fun.
Josh The idea of having a really big family was such a fun idea, but then you guys had to draw... [Mike and Josh laugh.]
Bryan Yeah, it's not easy for animation. Definitely tricky.
Tim [Refers to Mako and Bolin's grandmother, Yin, showing them an old photo their father, San, had sent to his family in Ba Sing Se, showcasing himself, his wife, Noaki, and the two brothers as young boys.] This is a very sweet scene, here. [Mike affirms.] Poor old grandma.
Bryan Let's hear you do it in your grandma Yin voice.
Tim [In a pitched up, wavering, melancholy voice.] "Oh, look, Mako. There is you as little boy." [Josh and Mike laugh.]
Bryan So, that...
Tim [Interjects; refers to San wearing Mako's red scarf in the photo.] "Dad's wearing his scarf that you have now." [Josh laughs.]
Bryan [Refers to Yin showing the brothers the only letter their father sent to his family after he left Ba Sing Se, detailing his marriage, new children, and desire to reunite with his estranged family.] That let-that letter we see um, I think I had Mike write up something, and then we gave it to S. L. Lee, our uh, calligrapher and translator. [Tim gives an affirming murmur.]
Mike Yeah, and the idea is, I remember we talked about how, like, you know, there'd be immigrant families, you know, in-in real life who, you know, maybe left their countries, and, you know, contact was-was hard to come by, you know, in the-the early/late 1800s, [Tim gives an affirming murmur.] early 1900s, that-that it wasn't uncommon that families kind of lost touch with each other [Josh affirms.] over the years. [Refers to Yin and the rest of her family not knowing San had died until Mako and Bolin tell them.] And that's why she didn't-she and the others didn't really know, like, exactly what happened. Like, they got this early letter from-from her son, but...
Bryan [Interjects; refers to Chow, Mako and Bolin's uncle, revealing that San had a row with his father after the former refused to take over the family's fruit stand.] Plus, I think there was a lot of uh, you know, didn't end on the best note. You know, he got in a fight. [Tim affirms.] So...
Mike [Interjects.] And clearly the Earth Queen has a terrible post-postal [Bryan chuckles.] system. [Tim affirms.]
Josh Got to. It cannot be good.
Tim And that third ring, man. You know...
Bryan I'm sure the Dai...
Tim ... put the post card through there. [Mike affirms.]
Bryan Yeah, I'm sure the Dai Li are reading all of the letters. [Mike affirms.] Censoring them.
Tim [Refers to Korra, fed up at being used by the Earth Queen to extort those in poverty, calling the monarch's topiaries stupid.] I don't wanna send an anti-topiary message, here. [Bryan and Josh laugh intermittently.] I feel like this show is-comes on really hard on topiaries; I love topiaries.
Bryan I like...
Mike [Interjects.] They must be made responsibly.
Bryan [Refers to Korra, walking away from the Earth Queen with Gun trailing behind her, turning around and angrily pointing at the monarch and in the vicinity Gun's face, causing him to fall backward.] I like this little gag, the running gag, that uh, [Refers to when Korra pushed Gun away as he tried to physically guide her away from the Earth Queen.] she doesn't actually hit Gun that time, but uh, like...
Mike [In the background.] He's very jumpy.
Bryan ... Korra's little outbursts, [Mike affirms.] just are alway-always putting Gun on-on the floor.
Mike [Refers to Bolin eating food as Mako mentions to his family about the mission they were on with the Avatar to find new airbenders.] Bolin is still stuffing his face. At some point...
Bryan [Interjects.] You know, he, [Mike chuckles.] he-he needs to do more cardio [Tim and Josh laugh.] if he's gonna ea-ea-eat that much.
Mike [Brief pause; refers to Chow telling Mako and Bolin that one of their neighbors that had started to airbend was taken by Dai Li agents.] Yeah, so now we learn there-there are other airbenders, in fact, being snatched up.
Tim The Dai Li. They just keep doing what they do.
Bryan Yeah. So, I always try to, I-I-I've, few times, watching this, I've wondered which of our airbenders w-was their neighbor? [Mike and Bryan chuckle.] You know, which...
Mike [In the background.] It's like a...
Josh [In the background.] Oh yeah.
Bryan ... which of the ones that we have. Mo-some of them have names...
In the background, Josh chuckles as Yin bows to a portrait of the Earth Queen hanging on the wall, wishing her a long reign.
Bryan ... but the other half have numbers.
Tim Grandma's a real patriot.
Mike Yeah, she does love her queen.
Tim [Refers to Kai being captured by the Dai Li after using his airbending to steal someone's valuables.] I like to always end an episode, and Dai Li, with a boy being snatched by secret police. [Mike and Bryan laugh.] If I can't get that in, then I walk. [Josh and Bryan laugh.]
Mike [Refers to the long shot of a Dai Li agent standing at the juncture of an alleyway, his silhouette illuminated from the light pouring out from the other passage.] This...
Bryan [Interjects.] It's in his contract. [Tim and Josh chuckle.]
Mike I love that shot. Super, [Bryan affirms.] super creepy. Yeah, so these guys are from the old series. [Refers to the two Dai Li agents sending out their rock gloves to suspend Kai in the air by his wrists.] Their rock gloves.
Bryan Haven't aged a day. [Mike affirms.]
Josh They're still around.
Tim [Refers to the shot of Kai's pouch of coins as they spill out onto the ground.] That guy's always dropping a bag o' gold somewhere. [Bryan laughs.]
Mike [Refers to the shot of the other captured airbenders in the Dai Li's prison cell.] And then uh, we see the other airbenders in here.
Bryan [Refers to when the Dai Li agent, while slowly closing the door to the airbenders' cell, announces to Kai that he now lives to fight for the Earth Queen.] I like how dramatic this Dai Li agent is with, like, he's like, "I'm gonna slowly close the door as I'm saying [Mike chuckles.] my line." [Bryan, Mike, and Tim laugh.]
Josh "Not done yet. Not done. Okay."
Bryan Awesome job, Tim.
Tim Whoo-hoo!

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