This week’s episode made up for the severe lack of Korra in the season opener with an emotional Korra-centric episode. Like the title suggests, this episode is about our Avatar after she left for the South Pole to recover from her fight with the Red Lotus leader Zaheer. She’s definitely not the Korra we know anymore. She’s cut her hair, ditched her Water Tribe clothes, left her spirit dog Naga behind, and joined in a cage fighting match in the seedy Earth district of Republic City.
It appears that Korra’s fight with Zaheer left her even more broken than it first appeared at the end of Book 3. She’s wheelchair bound, she can’t go into the Avatar State, and she has a pretty vivid (real?) Korra ghost following her and threatening her. It’s unclear if this menacing manifestation of Korra (I’ll call her Nega Korra) as she appeared during her fight with Zaheer is a hallucination or if it is real, since some spirits can detect Nega Korra’s presence. This question is sure to be answered throughout the season.
Korra goes to the South Pole to try to regain the use of her legs. She says she’ll be gone three weeks but two years fly by. She regains her ability to walk, but she is still a physically weak fighter. She feels absolutely useless, and Tenzin basically saying “The other Airbenders and I got this whole world peace thing” probably isn’t making her feel any better. Tenzin certainly means well, but his words appear to hit Korra pretty hard. If she can’t maintain world balance, then is she a failure as the Avatar?
As she tries to recover, all her friends—Mako, Bolin, Asami, Tenzin, and Jinora—are all doing great things for their world. Korra lies to her parents about going back to Air Temple Island and goes on a journey to reconnect with Rava, the Light spirit. This leads her to an unexpected person: Toph, who apparently has been chilling in a swamp for who knows how many years. This wasn’t a surprise for anyone who watched the season trailer, but it’s still tantalizing to think of what role the greatest Earth Bender in the world can play in the final chapter of the Avatar saga. Perhaps a Yoda-like character to Korra’s Luke Skywalker?
Korra’s character and personality centers completely around her physical abilities. Now that that has been cruelly taken from her (temporarily, hopefully), she has to deal with questions of her identity and her purpose as the Avatar. If she can’t do anything, then what good is she to anyone?
Her physical prowess is such a part of the Korra character that I didn’t even know how to process the first episode of the season. “Did she just purposely throw that fight?” I asked my sister after Korra lost a cage match.
“I don’t think so,” my sister replied. It was so jarring to think that an Earth Bender that Korra wouldn’t have sneezed at in the first season could beat her up so completely. Breaking Korra down in this way is sure to lead to intriguing storylines.
“Korra Alone” is a solid second episode for Book 4 that helps ground some of the more startling aspects of the first episode, “After All These Years.”
– Why is Nega Korra haunting Korra? And most importantly, is she real or a figment of Korra’s broken psyche?
– What has Toph been doing all these years?
Some great moments:
– That Avatar Aang picture in the seaside shop. Good to see he was still goofy, even when he grew up.
– Mako writing letters to Korra – “It is 2:14 in the afternoon…”
– The cute little puppy dog spirit that leads Korra to the swamp
– “You’re not the first Avatar who has overcome great suffering.”
– And of course… “Nice to see you again, Twinkletoes.”
The last season (Book 4) for one of my favorite shows began on Oct. 3rd and I plan to review each episode every week.