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REVIEW: Legend of Korra 4×11 “Kuvira’s Gambit”

Ok, cool I guess as far as super villainous plots go giant mech with a death laser is up there in terms of super dangerous. That is what this week’s Legend of Korra attempted to deliver to us in “Kuvira’s Gambit” ratcheting up the threat level of our big bad and making everyone fear her might. I am definitely able to see why Kuvira is such a threat to the world at large now as her super mech aka Colossus managed to lay waste to everything in sight and put our heroes in quite a dire predicament. We also were able to ratchet up the emotional tension of the series which has been sorely missing for a few episodes. Getting to see certain characters step up and actually make some major change in the episode was extremely gratifying as well as seeing some characters who have been MIA for far too long get some nice screen time. So, lets dive in.

Thank god Kuvira is finally threatening, all it took was a massive mech armed with a death cannon to make her a deadly villain. Kuvira suffered in the same way that the Red Lotus did last season by being a powerful and deadly villain but did not make a powerful impact until the later half of the season. Now that she is at the gates of Republic City and has seemingly overpowered our heroes it will be interesting to see how she reacts to her plans going south. I mean she has basically been Azula without the mental instability and now she has basically reached the pinnacle of her arc. That means it’s going to be a super long fall to the bottom and I am betting that mech is going down with her considering it is her most prized possession. What helped to elevate her menace is just how cold and calculating she is, I mean we all knew she was using Bataar Jr, but for her to basically attempt to murder him in cold blood was hardcore even for Avatar. It showed that Kuvira is not to be messed with and left our heroes in dire situation.

Speaking of Bataar, for a character I have basically grown to despise every week he definitely earned some credibility points for not only creating the Colossus, but also being so devoted and emotionally connected with Kuvira. Todd Haberkorn was great this week in not only standing up to Korra, but also his desperate plea to Kuvira to give up her conquest and just be happy with him and the empire she has built. Haberkorn has been great in all of the anime and voice roles he has been in but his work as Bataar this week was some of the best material I have heard, especially when you look at just how amazing Janet Varney was as Korra this week. Varney’s performance in threatening Bataar was extremely powerful as she found the perfect pressure point to make him nearly turn on his beloved. Korra knew separating Bataar from Kuvira was a fate worse than death and that was more than enough to make him plea to Kuvira to just let it all go. If this is the warm up for the finale it was definitely a strong start.

Of course the heroes were going to get some strong character material, but this week it was really the side characters who managed to stand out. Other than Bataar, Prince Wu got a great character moment and it is amazing to think of how far he has come in such a short period of time as now I can actually picture him being a real leader for the Earth Kingdom. We also got to see Zhu Li and Varrick be reunited this week and not only did she confess her love for him but also stood up to Varrick. She is no longer his assistant and is now considered his partner much in the same vein as Asami, which is a big improvement over their usual slapstick routine. I especially enjoyed Varrick’s completely tone def response to Zhu Li’s confession, by having Bolin be the straight man in that situation once again we were able to capitalize on the ridiculousness of the situation.

To cap it all of we had some great action sequences this week from the United Forces getting wrecked by Kuvira’s spirit cannon, to the stealth kidnapping of Bataar. Both were excellently executed and presented both small and large-scale action we don’t get to see very often. If Bryan and Mike’s next series is centered on a heavily stealthy character at least we know they have the team behind them to animate it extremely well. Everything about that kidnapping was top notch and I hope we get to see something like it in the finale.

Overall it was it very strong ramp up episode and I expect next week’s big finale to be heart wrenching.

Final Grade A-

+Giant laser mech

+Bataar Jr and Prince Wu material

+Korra threatening Bataar

+Stealth raid

+Kuvira is an actual villain now

-Just some minor pacing problems

Extra Thoughts

-Holy shit guys it’s like the Yeti and Loch Ness Monster had a baby this week. We saw Kai and Iroh II and they both actually did something in the plot. Someone pinch me.

-So are the humming bird mechs even still around or all they all dead? Feels like that was supposed to be important.

-I loved Bolin’s pissed off attitude at Mako thinking he knew about the giant mech. Come Mako that is kind of a really important fact.

About the author

Scott Swartz