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REVIEW: Legend of Korra 4×10 “Operation Beifong”

Written by Scott Swartz

Alright, that was pretty cool, I mean for the idea of a prison break/escalation episode it definitely got the job done. The idea of the Beifong’s being rescued was a long time coming and to have the entire Beifong clan together at last made for some solid imagery. However, no matter how much I enjoyed the overall structure of the episode I am finding myself more and more disappointed in Kuvira as a villain as there has been a lot of implied evil but not nearly enough to make me full on hate her in the same way I grew to hate other villains. At the same time Korra was attempting to find a way to protect Republic City without resorting to creating a super weapon, and while this storyline was interesting it felt as if we were missing something important in order to escalate the stakes appropriately. So let’s dive in.

So a lot of the little big questions got answered this weeks thanks to everyones favorite curmudgeonly old Beifong. Yes, we had some strong mother daughter bonding this week as Lin was able to confront Toph about her parenting skills and growing up without a father. To Toph’s credit she knows that she has made many mistakes while raising her daughters and willing accepts however they want to treat her. Lin wanting to be angry and wanting answers and a life she would never have was a strong pollen for the episode, especially with all of the reconciliation towards the end. I just wish Toph did more as even with her explanation of being way to old to be fighting Kuvira felt like a cop out from having the old masters show up in the finale. Luckily the bulk of the material made up for the lack of a true display from Toph.

What helped to make the episode more bearable in the end was the sheer amazing amount of action and choreography that went into todays fight scenes. First off we had god damn Suyin and Kuvira finally have a real metal bending fight with all of the fluidity and creativity we have come to expect from a waterbending fight. That moment where Su made her armor was great beyond belief and Kuvira’s ninja star skill gave her a clear run for her money. You combine this with the breakout scene and you have some strong staging for a great earthbender showcase. What helped to increase the amount of hype was Toph basically doing a localized earthquake taking out approximately twenty soldiers and then proceeding to call Kuvira a disgrace. If anyone ever found out about Toph hating Kuvira she may lose her standing among a lot of her troops who regard Toph’s philosophy as gospel. All that was really missing was Bolin lavabending the hell out of the Spirit Cannon, because man that would have been cool.

The only part of the episode that was under par happened to be Korra’s interaction and search for assistance from the spirit world. On paper Korra asking the spirits for assistance was not a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination, it was just the fact that she did not think her speech or position through that led to her failure. Korra, and by extension humanity itself, has done nothing to really attempt to communicate or develop a connection with the Spirit World. They have only allowed the spirits to roam free for profit and power, so Korra coming to them and once again asking them to give something to humanity with nothing tangible in return felt extremely greedy. The spirit emissary said all the right things to Korra and that her idea was at the end of the day no different from Kuvira’s plan to weaponize spirits. Korra believed that because she opened the portals and merged the worlds that she was owed something by the spirits when intact it is the exact opposite. Korra has to prove to the spirits that they are indeed equals in this new world rather than tools for the humans to call on when they need assistance.

Similarly as much as I am enjoying Kuvira as a villain I just can’t get behind the fact that we have not truly seen how evil she is as a character. We have been told about the reeducation camps multiple times and yet have never seen the actual conditions of the situations. We have been told that all of the towns Kuvira has conquered have been left in a worse state than when they were rescued, yet the first town we actually got to see was an empty test site for Kuvira’s weapon. By episode ten of every season we have known exactly how dangerous our villain is because we have had the tension faceted up, however the big reveal of the spirit cannon was underwhelming at best. I mean look at our past villains: Zaheer killed the Earth Queen in episode ten, Unalaq imprisoned Jinora in the Spirit World, Amon removed Lin’s bending. Those are all big events and yet here everything ended about as well as we could have expected. I just need something big to happen in order to make Kuvira feel like a valid threat to Korra and the world.

Overall it was a very strong episode that just needed something more.

Final Grade B

+Beifong family reunited at last

+Some big minor questions were answered

+The fight choreography

-Korra’s Spirit World adventure was poorly planned

-Kuvira still not an entirely threatening villain.

Extra Thoughts

-Toph complains about being too old to fight at age 86. Bumi was 112 when the Day of Black Sun and Sozin’s Comet happened. Toph on the old crew have to have one good fight left in them or they are just lazy.

-Wu does everything for the ladies, never is anything not done in the off chance he might get lucky

-Juicy choose Opal, despite her trying to get another non sickly looking bison. Personally I think Juicy is awesome.

-At this point I am just going to assume Kai is chilling on a beach with Iroh II, Tonraq and the rest of Aang’s kids because they have all basically up and vanished in this super important time.

About the author

Scott Swartz