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SEASON PREMIERE REVIEW: Legend of Korra 3×01 “A Breath of Fresh Air”

We’re back!!!! I mean none of us were expecting it to be back this early, but with the entire Nick Mexico incident and the fact that Book 3 was completed a couple of months ago means we catch a break. Legend Of Korra has returned to grace our screens during the summer doldrums and can I be the first to say, it is awesome. The theme of Book 3 is change as its title suggests, a lot has happened in the two weeks since Korra defeated Unavatuu. Spirits’ now live in the human world once again and the humans are not to happy about this fact as Republic City has become overrun by some sort of weird spirit vine. As if that wasn’t enough for our great heroine Harmonic Convergence has done something to some of the non benders turning them into Airbenders. Of course not all of these new benders are good guys as one of the most dangerous men in the world, Zaheer, manages to escape from a super secure and secret White Lotus prison. This first episode was really packed to the gills and we got three in total, so let’s dive in.

Let’s take about the first major change to our series structure, there are freaking airbenders now, like everywhere. First everyone’s crazy uncle Bumi starts bending in times of stress, and then some random Republic City resident named Daw. Safe to say this is an awesome development as it offers us the opportunity to grow the ranks of the Air Nomads as well as introduce some really interesting new characters. It also gives Bumi a real opportunity to grow as a character since he has mostly been used as comic relief and constantly bummed out that he was not born a bender. Now that Bumi has his first real taste of power and responsibility will he blossom or flounder under the pressure. This also opens up many different doors for Tenzin who has only been leading his father’s groupies and will now have to contend with actual people who don’t know how to react to the prospect of Airbending and the Air Nomad lifestyle. I am also interested to see how he reacts to his outgoing, wild child brother gaining the powers he has had his entire life. We know Tenzin to have a superiority complex, but how will he react if Bumi turns into a better leader of the Airbender’s than he is. It really is fascinating stuff.

On the actual Korra front, she has proven once again it is just awful to be the Avatar and that Republic City does not respect her. You would think after saving them from two separate uprisings that the city would at least be grateful for all she has done, but no. Somehow Korra has an eight percent approval rating and her inability to solve the city’s vine problem has her doubting whether or not she made the right decision to let the spirits live among the humans. Of course it falls to Tenzin to dispense all the necessary wisdom to Korra and the fact that he does not know if she made the right choice, but she has to wait it out and see that things will eventually work themselves out. Change is a terrifying this and it is our ability to adapt to that change that helps to define us as people. As Korra tells Daw, he is not alone in becoming an Airbender and there are plenty of people just dying to meet him and help him grow. Korra despite her brash and pig headed nature can be wise at times and if this turns into the season where we get to see that wisdom I will be happy. Unfortunately, President Raiko is not as patient as Tenzin and Korra and bans Korra from being in Republic City. I believe this is a great change as Legend Of Korra has relied very heavily on Republic City as a setting and I as a viewer have become burned out on it. It’s time for the Avatar to do what the Avatar does best, travel the world.

What really helped to make the episode flourish is the newly formed bond of Korra and Asami, who managed to have some great bonding over Asami teaching Korra to drive and how Mako is completely awkward around them. Asami has been largely underused in the series and mainly a punching bag for whenever something bad needs to happen to a main character. To see her becoming Sokka to Korra’s Aang made my heart extremely happy, plus the fact that she can hold her own and out think a lot of characters makes her a desirable foil for Korra to bounce off as. I could have done without the Mako now being super awkward around the girls, but luckily Bolin has still got it all in spades. His heart and humor is what keeps the duo interesting and hopefully Mako will experience some real growth this season rather than being the “brooding teenager” he currently is.

Now let’s talk about our villain for the season, Zaheer who is voiced by Henry Rollins of Black Flag fame. We don’t get to see much of him but what we do learn is he has recently become an airbender and is aiming to take down the White Lotus and the Avatar. From his brief monologue we know he is very intelligent, patient, and willing to explore all the random possibilities of his powers. Oh he can also single handedly destroy five members of the White Lotus who have had their bending abilities for a much longer period of time. Needless to say he is seemingly a mix of the best characteristics of Amon and Unalaq and will prove to be a worthy foe for our favorite heroine.

So yeah, it was a very strong premiere, possibly the strongest of the series and I can’t wait to see where this season takes us. Look out for our review of “Rebirth” and “The Earth Queen” which will be rolling out soon.


Final Grade B+


+Airbenders are back

+Actual growth for Korra

+Zaheer is a badass

+Korra and Asami’s friendship


-Mako being super awkward

-Republic City are a bunch of ungrateful jerks


Extra Thoughts

+Korra’s telling Asami to not hate her for making out with Mako was quite funny

+Sight gag of the episode: Tenzin sticking out his tongue and gliding out of frame. That will be a GIF in like 5 minutes.

+Bolin “Did I ruin Avatar wisdom time?” Avatar Wisdom Time is now an official thing.


What did you think of the premiere? Sound off in the comments.

About the author

Scott Swartz