Everything is cool guys. It’s just everyone is questioning their own personal identity and trying to discover themselves. You know, normal post college semi-adult life stuff. “The Coronation” took a break from the pseudo military politics and PTSD storyline of the past couple of weeks to give us some quality character analysis. Everything from Toph being Korra’s teacher to Mako and Bolin trying to decide what is the best path is in order for the Earth Kingdom/Empire to prosper. The little amount of action that we got for the episode luckily did not detract from these bigger character moments and the tension which is building between the two sides will make for an interesting. What made all this even more exciting was Toph’s form of “helping” Korra and making Korra realize what her problems really are. So let’s dive in.
It’s great to know that even after nearly seventy year Toph is still the same old lovable self absorbed powerhouse we know and love. I had assumed her advanced age would have mellowed out The Runaway a little, but it turns out to have been just the opposite. Toph has now basically become future Superman, way to powerful for her own good and secluded herself away from the rest of the world because of Toph reasons. Literally she is just in the swamp because she wants to be yet her powers have grown so much that she can feel the earth’s vibrations all over the world. Korra, deciding Toph is her quickest way back to being a better Avatar, decides to train in the swamp to hilarious results. While this montage could have been easily written off, the way Toph’s voice actress conveys Toph’s extreme lack of empathy for Korra’s situation makes everything work.
You see Korra is still keeping mercury inside her body which is hindering her ability to be a hundred percent, and Toph being apparently the smartest person in the world knows why. Korra is intentionally letting herself fail so she will have a reason to quit being the Avatar. I like this twist a little better than Korra just continually having PTSD this season as it manages to explain a lot about how Korra’s journey has changed her. She has constantly been told that the world no longer needs nor wants the Avatar so she is mentally using the mercury as an excuse to possibly give up. We know as a character Korra will overcome this block but it is so much more interesting than the standard you have a physical impediment arc typically seen in a hero’s journey. Toph realized that the only way Korra will allow herself to be treated as a real Avatar anymore is for her to truly want to be at a hundred percent.
While all this fun Korra material was happening Kuvira decided to make her first real big move of the season and declare all of the territory she has “liberated” is now the new Earth Empire. First off, nothing with the word empire in it ever ends well, as they are always evil and power hungry. Even though we knew this turn was coming it just really helps to further the parallels between Korra and Kuvira. Both are strong women who desire for the world to be in some semblance of balance, it just happens that Kuvira is a power hungry facist dictator. Caviar is a strong choice for a villain although she suffers from the same fault of every other villain in this series of not actually having faced off against Korra or even really interacted with her, I prefer for the villain to actually make their presence known to our heroine rather than her figuring it out and then proceeding to attempt to take them down. It just seems after all this time you would think that Korra or some member of her inner circle would have an inkling to when a threat will pop up.
In the case of the rest of team Avatar everything in Mako and Bolin’s story is working out rather nicely. It is strange that Bolin, though being the most trusting member of the team even after everything he has seen, trusts Kuvira completely. It is clear if he watched Kuvira take down those bandits who were attacking her train Bolin would be capable of seeing she has a few screws loose. This makes his conflict with Mako, who continues to be one of the most interesting characters this season, feel forced and largely unneeded. Bolin knows Mako is a smart individual who is more than capable of seeing when something is amiss, but Bolin is to deep in with Kuvira that he is stubbornly refusing to see the other side despite what his friends and family say. Mako on the other hand is seeing all of the various threats including making Prince Wu realize that his incompetence is not a desirable trait in a leader. The scene where Wu realizes that he is not really worthy of being a king is a strong one and hopefully it will lead to some real character development rather than his current annoying personality.
Overall it was a very strong episode.
Final Grade B
+Toph being Toph
+Mako being Mako
+Toph telling Korra what her problem is
-Bolin being oblivious
-Wu still kind of annoying
-Just let Kuvira face Korra
-No Asami, Kai, or Opal at all. I thought they were important characters.
-Toph saying she would destroy Korra if she was in her prime made me smile too much
-The fake Earth Kingdom Chinese restaurant had a stuffed bear. WHERE DID THEY FIND A SECOND BEAR?