Set 70 years after the events of Avatar: the Last Airbender, the animated series The Legend of Korra introduces viewers to all kinds of new characters, along with a few favorites like Toph and Zuko (now elderly). Avatar Korra is a real powerhouse, but let’s not forget her friends, like the kind inventor Asami Sato and the bender brothers Mako and Bolin.
Mako and Bolin are orphans, but they’re tough, and they welcome Korra to their pro-bending team. When Asami enters their lives, they form a brand-new team avatar, and they all have unique skills. So, what are some things that Bolin does best? And what are some things that are best left to Mako, the firebending brother?
10 Bolin: Provide Comic Relief
Every show needs a funny character who uses their charm and goofiness to relieve the tension, and this show has one in Bolin. From the very start, he’s been a lovable doofus, who means well but often ends up on his face.
He takes it well, though, and he’s rugged like any earthbender. Bolin manages to get his heart broken but look hysterical in the process (like when he saw Korra kissing Mako), and this adds to his charm. Mako is too straight-laced to assume this role.
9 Mako: Carry Out An Investigation
Between the events of season 1 and 2 of The Legend of Korra, Mako quit the pro-bending scene to train as a police officer, and by all accounts, he’s doing a fine job, and he’s quite ambitious. Maybe a little too much so.
He can track down regular criminals with ease, and when Varrick started his schemes, Mako made some serious headway into his one-man investigation when no one else even saw the threat at all. If it weren’t for Mako’s detective skills, things would have turned out much worse.
8 Bolin: Charm Others
This is loosely related to how funny and down-to-earth Bolin is. He’s not the brightest fellow (he’s actually gullible), but he is earnest, and he can win people over with charm and compassion whenever Mako’s own persuasion methods fall short.
In fact, Bolin once freed himself and Mako from Eska and Desna’s ice by bursting into tears, saying how he made a mistake in leaving Eska and he would die without having her by his side. It won her over, and both brothers were freed from the ice. Mako thought it was just an act, but maybe there was some truth to it, too.
7 Mako: Stun Enemies
All of these characters are bending lightning, which is the purest form of firebending. Mako is the most recent character to be seen using this arcane art, but unlike Azula and Ozai, he doesn’t use it for evil. He’s more constructive.
Mako once took a factory job where lightning benders were used on an assembly line, and he can also use that power to disable and stun any foe who can’t be easily beaten with brute force. Take, for example, the villainous watarbender Ming-Hua of the Red Lotus.
6 Bolin: Create Propaganda
To be more precise, it was Varrick’s idea to create propaganda films about the Water Tribe civil war, but those films wouldn’t have had that level of success without Bolin as the movie (“mover”) star to draw in the crowds.
With his effortless charisma, Bolin assumed the role of “Nuktuk, the hero of the south” and showed the masses that Unalaq of the Northern Water Tribe was quite the villain. Bolin was so successful, he got rich and had a cozy apartment all to himself, complete with a hot tub.
5 Mako: Use Connections
As a part of his street cop job, Mako knows how to talk to people professionally and build up a network of informants, spies, and the like to keep many eyes and ears on the streets at once. No one can even cough without Mako knowing it.
The first example of this was when Mako bribed a street urchin to give him intel on where the Equalists had kidnapped Bolin, and where they were going. No doubt Mako has done this many more times to track the movements of the Triads and other troublesome groups. Bolin would struggle to juggle so much information.
4 Bolin: Control The Battlefield
It is a given that Bolin can bend lava where Mako cannot, since lavabending is an advanced form of earthbending and not firebending. But this bending art isn’t just for show, or for burning things; it’s a great way to control the battlefield, too.
More than once in seasons 3 and 4, Bolin uses lava bending to block his enemies from getting closer, which is a great way to escape an untenable situation. He and Varrick escaped the Earth Empire’s border security forces this way, and without lava, they would have been captured.
3 Mako: Family Responsibilities
When Mako and Bolin lost their parents and ended up on the streets, they survived because Mako was the more responsible one. He kept both brothers alive and found ways for them to get money and food in that harsh situation.
Alone, Bolin probably would have starved or ended up killed, but Mako’s steely resolve and sense of responsibility got them through. Bolin owes him a lot for that.
2 Bolin: Move On
Move on from heartbreak, that is. Bolin may not be as mature as Mako in most regards, but he does have one advantage: he can better handle heartbreak and land on his feet. He was devastated when Korra chose Mako over him, but he recovered pretty fast and laughed it off later.
He was also hurt when Opal rejected him due to his Earth Empire allegiance, but he persisted, and Opal forgave him and welcomed him back into her life. It also seems that Bolin moved right on from his chaotic breakup with Eska.
1 Mako: Lead A Team
In season 1, the pro-bending team known as the Fire Ferrets is what keeps Korra, Mako, and Bolin together. This team is on the verge of greatness, and once Korra joined, they made it to the finals, a remarkable feat indeed.
But they only got there because of Mako’s firm hand in leadership, such as discipline and a rigid schedule for training and complex game plans. By contrast, when Bolin took over, he struggled a great deal, then quit the game entirely.
Mako and Bolin are orphans, but they're tough, and they welcome Korra to their pro-bending team. Each one can do things the other can't!