It is bizarre that it feels like it was both just yesterday and yet such a long time ago that we talked about Legend of Korra. In actuality it has been less than two months since the Book Three finale but with today’s premier of Book Four: Balance it turns out it has been much, much longer for our favorite heroes. When those magic words “Three Year Later” appeared on my screen I was immediately hesitant about what this meant for our heroes and how they had changed in such a massive period of time. Suffice to say there have been some pretty major changes in the world, the Earth Kingdom has relatively settle thanks to The Great Uniter Kuvira, Asami and Sato Industries are making huge strides in connecting the world, Mako is playing bodyguard for a douche, and Korra has been MIA for three years. Even one of these plot lines would make for an exciting episode, all of them together made for a massive game of catchup for the fans. So let’s dive in.
I really enjoyed a lot about this episode as it managed to catch us up rather quickly on what all of our heroes have been doing in the past three years. It is strange that our heroes are now full fledged adults in their twenties but I think this will open up a lot of different opportunities for them moving forward. The one thing I was most excited about was getting to see Asami have her life not completely be in shambles anymore as she has finally transformed into a powerful and well respected business woman. One of my main problems with Asami as a character has been just how much the butt of the joke she has been over the course of the series. Thankfully, now she is actually contributing to the world at large and it should be interesting to see if she has any pull or is just another pawn for the adults to move around the board. Speaking of pawns, Mako seems to have gotten the crapshoot job of baby-sitting Prince Wu who I am pretty sure if you look up the definition of whiny, self-absorbed little bitch you will see his picture. I can only count the minutes until Mako makes a break for it and rejoins our beloved team.
Speaking of team members, Bolin has apparently been swept up in the magnetic leadership of Kuvira, voiced by Zelda Williams. He clearly thinks that she is doing the right thing even if there are some inclinations from Opal that she went about the wrong way of obtaining her power. I don’t know if or when Bolin will come to his senses but it is clear Kuvira is able to sway pretty much anyone given she applies the perfect amount of pressure. Speaking of Kuvira, she is a rather dynamic villain for Korra to be facing this season as she is basically everything Korra was striving to be pre-Zaheer. Kuvira’s determination and desire to unite the world in her own sick version of harmony helps to show that she will be able to ask the tough questions of Korra in their confrontations and help Korra define who she wants to be as a person. Kuvira was also amazingly effecting in both her earth and metalbending when she took down all of the bandits, I also think she may have even magnetbended the bandits together, which would be a first in either series. I really want to see how her character develops and who she becomes as a foe.
As for the airbenders, who are now providing assistance any way they can around the world, It was fun to see just how much all of the dynamics have changed in the past three years. For one Kai, who puberty hit like a brick, is no longer the douchey street rat we met lat year, but rather a true leader of the air nation people. His skills and overall maturity have helped him grow into a clearly more likable character as he was not focusing on his own good but rather the good of the people he was aiming to protect. Meanwhile Opal got more characterization than she managed to get all of last season. She has a clear distrust of Kuvira, and worrisome nature about Bolin falling in with the wrong crowd, and much like Kai is constantly thinking about the betterment of the whole rather than just those she cares about. It will be interesting to see how there characters further develop in this season and whether they can bring Bolin to his senses.
As for our fearless hero, she is not the Korra we remember from Book One. From the brief look we got at the new Korra, who has been hiding in Republic City for the past six months, she is clearly searching for identity in a post Zaheer world. The Korra we know could have easily taken down that one person in a fight but this new Korra is so seemingly self destructive and unsure of her place in the world that she has seemingly resigned herself to being a punching bag. Hopefully we will soon see what has led Korra to be in such a sorry state and also hope that Team Avatar can get her back on her feet soon.
Overall a great start to the season.
Final Grade B
+Kuvira “The Great Uniter”
+The team’s evolution over the past three years
+Kai not being a douche any more
+Stellar action as always
-Prince Wu can not be killed off soon enough
-Mako getting the shaft
-So Kuvira is clearly using the bandits to get villages to sign on the dotted line right.
-How is everyone seemingly alright with Kuvira raising an army? There was an entire plot about conscripting an army last season and no one was cool with it.
-Odd lack of Bumi and Kya I hope we see them soon.