What happened to Korra in those three years? That was the question we were left with at the end of last weeks episode as our formerly fearless heroine was clearly broken and battered beyond recognition. This week’s episode, “Korra Alone” aimed to offer some answers and the briefest of looks into exactly what is causing Korra’s mental block and fear. When I saw the title of the episode I became a little bit hesitant as “Zuko Alone” of the original series is my all time favorite episode as it managed to slow down the story to give us an in-depth look at what made our supposed villain become who he was. This is episode was practically the emotional inverse of Zuko’s as instead of seeing how a relatively good life became so muddled and confused, Korra’s story is about her constant struggle to overcome her PTSD. This was a dangerous story for the writers to tackle and luckily they manage to easily make it one of the best episodes of the entire series. So, lets dive in.
PTSD is a very tricky topic to tackle as you never know if you will be offending the population that deals with it every day. In Korra’s case she is clearly terrified of reliving her confrontation with Zaheer again and having to fight against an enemy that is not only sure in their motivation but also who they are as a person. Throughout the entire series Korra’s belief of what the Avatar is and what it means to the world as a whole has been torn down, so at this point in the story it is satisfying to see her struggle with her actual inner demon. Korra at her core wants to be as powerful as she was the first time she stepped foot in Republic City, but she knows the world is so much bigger than the little box she has been secluded to by herself and the White Lotus. That is what made her decision to vanish and change up her appearance so exciting she was no longer being looked at by everyone in the world as the Avatar, rather she was much like Wan or Roku: a nomadic traveler looking to finding meaning in an extremely confusing world.
What really helped to elevate Korra’s journey was her constant search for Raava which is currently what Korra currently believes will lead her back to the person she once was. The thing is Korra, much like Zuko, only knows who they want to be seen as rather than what they are destined to be. The new Korra may be nothing like our brave strong heroine but that is the entire point of growing up and discovering who you are truly meant to be. In a way, that is why I believe Korra is hallucinating herself in the Avatar State. No one truly realizes how terrifying it is to have all of this power and rage built up in your body and how the Avatar State is driven by these emotions. However, with control and patience this explosive amount of power can be used for good. Unfortunately, for the time being Korra sees the Avatar State as a source of pain, suffering, and fear. Her ability to come to the realization that the pain is part of her will truly help her begin her rebirth into a new Korra.
As for the quick cuts of how Korra’s three years played out it was nice to hear about all of the letters, and see Korra beginning her journey by running into the guy and his “Wall of Avatars”. It is interesting to see Korra actually roaming the world and hopefully finding out more about all of the different types of cultures the Avatar has been part of, but the moment in The Tree of Time was the real payoff. The biggest change Korra has made was the opening of the spirit portals and to see her return and turn down the aid was slightly disheartening. Luckily one of the spirits somehow understood that even if Korra did not want the help she desperately needed it. Leading her to The Swamp, which apparently in Korra’s entire lifetime no one told her about The Swamp’s mystical properties.
The fight between Korra and her berserker self was definitely the most well staged action scene of the young season as Korra went head to head with the monster that beat Zaheer and easily got her but handed to her. Berserker Korra’s teleportation affect was an especially nice touch as well as having her beat Korra in a similar fashion as Zaheer to bring the parallels of Korra being brought back to earth in full circle. Of course the ending led to the reveal that the one and only Toph has just been chilling in the swamp which in my opinion is very poetic as this is the first place we ever caught a glimpse of the famed Blind Bandit. Hopefully Toph helping Korra will go better that her tutelage of Aang did.
Overall an amazing episode and one of the best of the entire series.
Final Grade A
+Korra’s journey to rehabilitation
+Korra the nomadic wanderer
+Getting into Korra’s metal state
+Korra v Korra
+Toph is back
-So The Swamp is apparently a stones throw from Republic City this raises two questions: Why is it so close and how has Toph never been seen by anyone?
-“The Wall of Avatars” is possibly the second best sight gag of the entire series of the entire series. Varrick in the platypus-bear suit is number one.
-Bolin’s Ken Burns-esque letter being revealed as Sokka-esque drawings is probably the third best gag for me personally.
-So is Toph Yoda and The Swamp Dagobah? I think it is.