Hey there, Korra Nation! As many of you know, The Legend of Korra Book 4: Balance aired its newest episode, “Enemy at the Gates” on October 31. As promised, I’ve written a recap (which can be found on Black Girl Nerds) in case you haven’t checked it out yet, but now it’s time for this week’s post-cap!
So just what is a “post-cap”? Well, it’s a make-believe term I created that by definition is mixed of thoughts, feelings, etc. that one may have after reading (in my case, writing) a recap. Hence, “post-cap”. I know I could as easily call my post-cap a “review,” but I like to do things my way. Got it? Good.
The Legend of Korra Book 4 Balance, Chapter 5, “Enemy at the Gates”:
Kuvira wears the pants in the relationship It’s incredibly hard to believe that this show wasn’t created with adults in mind because “Enemy at the Gates” was loaded with Kuvira running things, mommy/daddy issues, and unrequited love that most 8-year-olds (at least 8-year-olds in my day) wouldn’t have picked up. Either way…
The episode begins with its title aptly setting the scene. Kuvira and her fiancé boo Baatar
Jr. are approaching the city of Zaofu to with the full strength of their army to bring Zaofu’s leader, Suyin Beifong, to her knees. Baatar is anxious to see his mom bow down, which of course is a red flag on his relationship with his mom. Kuvira knows better and says it won’t be easy and notes they need a diplomatic approach to it: enter Bolin. Kuvira tells Bolin he’s needed to show Suyin that they’re not the bad guys and Bolin does his very best to convince Suyin on the matter when they meet, but Suyin sees through Kuvira’s schemes and as such, Kuvira drops all pretenses and gives Suyin an ultimatum: sign the treaty on in 24 hours she’ll take Zaofu by force.
Zhu Lick/ ZhuRrick almost happens… OK, maybe not. As correctly expected, Varrick reveals that he’s working on a battery of sorts using the untapped energy in the spirit vines. During an experiment the energy battery/bomb goes off, causing a massive a explosion that puts Varrick’s assistant, Zhu Li, at risk. Varrick saves her and there’s a moment where we almost think their ‘ship will set sail, however, Varrick proves to be the jerk he is and tells Zhu Li to clean the mess. When Kuvira asks what happens, Varrick tells her he’s done with the bomb experiments since he’s grown a “conscience” — the first time in the four-book series. Kuvira doesn’t care and threatens to kill Varrick (this show’s definitely gotten darker, btw) if he doesn’t finish her bombs. Varrick agrees to do so and Kuvira puts him in a prison cell to continue working on their weapon.
Asami’s dad is locked up — they won’t let him out. Back in Republic City, Asami visits her prison pen pal papa, Hiroshi Sato, to tell him she’s done with him sending letters to her and that she doesn’t want any kind of relationship with him. It’s pretty clear that prison life hasn’t done her dad, who has lost all color in his hair and several pounds off his face, well. Papa Hiroshi tells Asami that he’s OK with her not wanting to have anything to do with him since , you know, he tied her up and worked in cohoots with the man who wanted to rid the world of benders, but he tells her he still loves her and that she’s the best invention he’s ever made. Asami gets pretty emotional and runs out of the prison.
Sometime later Asami comes back to her dad — after watching a little girl play pai sho with her dad — and tells him that she really wanted him to hurt after everything he did, but at the end of the day, he’s her pops and maybe she can learn to forgive him by playing some pai sho in prison and dad is all for it.
Korra voyages to Kuvira. In the spirit of true Avatar optimism, Korra sets her course with the airbending trio (Jinora, Ikki, & Meelo) to Zaofu in hopes she can “talk” Kuvira into backing off Zaofu. Korra’s convinced that she can get through to Kuvira since Kuvira did save Korra’s dad three years prior during Korra’s battle, and when Suyin reunites with Korra and begs for her to go into the Avatar State and “end” Kuvira’s reign. When Korra asks for the reason behind the rift, Suyin breaks it all down:
When the Earth Queen died, the world leaders asked Suyin for her leadership to bring the Earth Nation back to order. Suying declined, but Kuvira insisted that Su take the job. When Su declined again, stating that she didnt’ want to impose her ideals on people, Kuvira decided to go behind Su’s back and enlisted the help of Baatar Jr., Varrick, several guards, and prominent families of Zaofu to take back Ba Sing Se. When the world leaders saw Kuvira’s success, they decided to put her in a temporary position of power, but she recently decided to make that position permanent.
After hearing it all, Korra decides to be a pacifist and speak with Kuvira and Kuvira tells Korra that she’s not going to back down, even saying it’s necessary and fair. Kuvira basically says that she’s been doing all the balancing Korra should’ve been doing win her three-year absence and Zaofu’s no different. Korra is kind of guilted into seeing Kuvira’s side of things and says she’ll go to Suyin to ask her to stop holding out and join the Empire.
Zhu Li’s got the moves! The moment we were waiting for finally happens, and the light in Bolin’s head goes off that Kuvira’s up to no good. When she threatens to throw him in a “reeducation camp,” Bolin busts Zhu Li and Varrick out of jail with a plan to help Zaofu in Varrick-designed robosuits. Varrick wants to warn Republic City of Kuvira’s weaponized battery bomb, but they’re ambushed by Baatar and some guards. Zhu Li proves to be an AMAZING fighter and she and Bolin kick serious butt, but Varick’s caught and they all give up. They’re taken to Kuvira who orders Varrick to work on the bombs and Zhu Li and Bolin to a camp. In a surprising twist, Zhu Li begs to work for Kuvira, telling them her love for Varrick blinded her sight on the bigger picture. Kuvira brings Zhu Li into her inner circle and sends the others away. At the last moment, Korra goes to Baatar Sr. to speak with Su only to learn that Su and her twins, Win and Wei, plan to attack Kuvira in the dead of night.
Thoughts & Theories:
I also see this impending fight between Suyin and Kuvira as being the defining moment for Baatar Jr. — will he side with mom or his woman? Will he take Kuvira’s side until she tries to permanently end his family or will it take a reveal like Kuvira only using him to get to power to cause him to shift sides? Hmm…
Also, I foresee Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo having some part in an escape plan, since they’ve been absent for much of the show and it looks like no one knows they’re there. Maybe they will be the ones to take the news of Kuvira’s schemes to Republic City; Maybe Jinora will do some of her nifty astral projections stuff! And as for Zhu Li, I was pretty surprised by her ability to switch sides so easily, which prompts me to believe that she’s only staying in Kuvira’s circle to get intel and help take her down. That’s the hope.
I’m pretty anxious to see what will happen once news gets back to Mako that his brother is being held captive in a camp. We all know Mako’s a hot-head, but he’s also keeping Prince Wu safe, so maybe there will be a threat on his life once Kuvira completes her empire.
What did you think of Legend of Korra Book 4, Chapter 5: “Enemy at the Gates”? Let’s talk about it in the comments or chat about it on Twitter.