Oh please let this be only the beginning of the ramp up, pretty please. “Beyond The Wilds” is clearly meant to close off the Korra suffering from PTSD storyline and finally allow us to focus on the real threat, Kuvira. At the same time Bolin and Varrick finally managed to join back up with the team and inform Raiko and the rest of the world leader council about Kuvira’s super weapon. There was a lot of ramp up and pace building for what I will assume is the first part of the big Avatar finale as at the end of this week I felt myself being indecisive about whether anything truly worthwhile happened other than Korra finally overcoming her fears. There were just so many avenues in which this episode could have gone and very fear of them actually managed to pay off in the end. So, let’s dive in.
Let’s start with the big stuff namely Korra coming face to face with the man who allegedly ruined her, Zaheer. I will admit I fully expected the reveal to be that Zaheer had somehow managed to escape and was working with Kuvira considering how incompetent the White Lotus has been in this series, but there he was doing his best possible Loki imitation. Zaheer’s blunt philosophy of how Korra is the one who is actually imprisoned despite he himself being chained and locked inside a mountain was a bit too on the nose, but it worked. Henry Rollins capitalized on his appearance although it does strike me as odd that not only has Zaheer been left alive but he has been given just enough chain to fly around the room. I would have full on locked him to the wall after everything he has done, but to each their own. What really helped to make this reunion excel is the moment Zaheer realized the power vacuum the Red Lotus created had in fact made the world a worse place. You could see the destruction of his core philosophy, that anarchy would lead to peace, really hit him hard and that he wanted to help right the wrong he had created.
That started with him helping Korra overcome her fear of entering the Avatar State/ Spirit World and not feeling helpless any more. Zaheer is great at reading people and situations as he quickly understood that Korra is not limited by her powers, but rather has more power than she is able to comprehend. If Korra is the most powerful being in the entire universe her journey is about coming to accept that fear and overcome her natural limitations. The scene where Korra just gave into her nightmares outcome and finally overcame the fear was perfectly executed. The imagery displayed when the plateau Korra was on turns into spirits more than makes up for last week’s sad yet hilarious Bolin photoshop. They are really pushing the idea that Korra has unfounded spirit energy that she has to tap into so I fully expect full on laser fights once Korra and Kuvira tap into those powers. Also super touching to actually hear Raava’s voice once again. I was kind of depressed her presence hasn’t been more used in the past couple of seasons.
Speaking of underused presences Opal and Lin have a nice story arc brewing and are dragging Bolin into the fight. Bolin and Opal despite being together have had a really limited amount of screen time together, not nearly as little as Kai and Jinora, but still a surprisingly small considering how large their respective arcs have been this season. I did appreciate Bolin’s realization of just how horrible the things he has done this season actually are, it helped to add to the fact that Kuvira really kept him in the dark and if he had taken a second to think about what he was actually doing, he could have at least attempted to stop her. The one thing I just couldn’t help but find myself disagreeing with is Opal and Lin’s choice to go rogue and attempt to free their family without any backup besides Bolin. This ends one of two ways and they are both bad, either they are all captured and imprisoned or someone will pay the ultimate price and be killed to save everyone else. If the either of those outcomes happen my money is on Bolin being the sacrifice as he will entirely do the whole noble sacrifice of the hero thing without being asked.
The only part of the episode I felt was weaker was the whole world leaders portion which bothered me on two fronts. One Tonraq was surprisingly absent despite the fact he is a very important character who is also the most well trained fighter of all the leaders, and that this is the first time they decided have decided to take any action against Kuvira. They have know Kuvira was overstepping her bounds for a while now and this is the first time they have even attempted to fight back. Even Fire Lord Izumi realizes that they should have taken some sort of action even if it is only on the defensive. Unfortunately no one is willing to actually take the fight to Kuvira at this moment as she has not provoked the UN other than Wu so we have to wait for a gigantic power play by either side.
Overall it was a strong ramp up that was just missing that big final push.
Final Grade A-
+Zaheer and Korra conversation
+Raava reconnecting with Korra
+Bolin realizing his mistakes
-The UN should have done something sooner.
-Opal and Lin hiding their mission from everyone.
-Kai Watch Day 49. Still no sign of him, probably dead or going to pull a Han and save everyone in the finale.
-Asami breaking Varrick’s wrist shows a great deal of growth for her character considering how shocked by him she initially was
-In today’s Varrick logic scenario, “I own that building! A man has a right to bomb his own property!” Technically true.