From Tumblr user i-need-a-pilot-tho:
i can’t with people who are upset that Mako can bend lightning because its supposed to be such a rare skill for exceptional firebenders.
1. Bolin and Mako are both exceptional. they’re shown to have great innate talent for bending. idk why it would be a shitty thing that they’re kind of prodigies. why on earth would they be in the krew if they weren’t well above average benders? and maybe one of the reasons why he was so s***ty at relationships is bc he spent all his time training and honing his innate talent so that he could provide for himself and his brother and therefore spent v little time interacting w others and now is just trying his best to make it up as he goes along. (/s/ i mean, its not like he learns from his mistakes and grows into a brave, selfless person who learns to put others first, he has to be perfect from the beginning of the story right???)
2. you can accept that toph learned to bend, even for combat, by observing badger moles, and katara survived the entire first book before they got to the North pole with basic forms learned from a scroll but you can’t accept that Mako learned how to bend lightning probably by observing other benders on the streets and in the pro-bender gym (like Bolin said he learned). Hell, maybe someone from the triads taught him. Its implied that he did some rather intense (for lack of a better word) things for them, maybe he had his own Yakone in the triads who pushed him to learn how to bend lightning so he would be more useful to them. of course you can argue that there’s not enough evidence in text for this but it’s v clear that Mako was the character given least thought by the writers (like, his arc in season 2 is just. he’s put in so many difficult positions, does his best, keeps getting punished by the narrative, then the writers just decide that he’s not worth their time and abandon him to focus on everyone else) so I don’t see why its unreasonable for us to try and piece together parts of his identity to make up for how the writers short-changed him.
3. if ur stopping point is just that bending lightning is supposed to be a one in a million talent, even harder to learn than metal bending which is now widely used, then idk what to tell u, except maybe its similar to how the standards we have for indv sports now like ice skating and gymnastics have increased dramatically over the last century or so as people have pushed boundaries and found new ways of training, so maybe bending has changed in the same way. maybe bc of gazhan and bolin, lava bending will become more common too.
4. this idea that lightning bending is v uncommon also isn’t rly inconsistent w lok’s world-building imo tho i accept that this is my weakest point. there’s millions of people in republic city. it makes sense that out of the few that can bend lightning, they’d find work at the power plant, especially if they aren’t from well established families and so can’t get work with a guild. it doesn’t mean that there are suddenly an exorbitant amount of fire benders who can bend lightning, it just means that the v few who can are gonna use their bending to make a living in whatever way they can, especially bc as Mako said, it seemed to pay well. Republic City exemplifies how bending fits into the new industrialised world order, how its used to enhance engineering and science, i honestly thought the power plant was a neat bit of world-building, tho i understand that’s a subjective opinion.
tldr: its perfectly reasonable that Mako can bend lightening. as someone who loves him I can accept that there’s plenty wrong with how his character was written but his exceptional bending ability isn’t one of them.