Hey there, Korra Nation! As many of you know, The Legend of Korra Book 4: Balance aired its newest episode, “Beyond the Wilds” on November 28th. 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!
By now, you guys know what a “post-cap” is. But in case you still don’t get it, it’s my make-believe term that by definition is part summation, part review, and tons of thoughts and feelings that one may have after watching an episode (and writing a full-blown recap). Got it? Good.
Now let’s dig into The Legend of Korra Book 4 Balance, Chapter 9, “Beyond the Wilds”:
The Swamp is an angry, vengeful swamp. The episode starts out with former “failure to launch” air bender Riyu giving his parents and other tourist a guide through Republic City’s Spirit Wilds. The vines are disturbed thanks to Kuvira’s harvesting session back in The Swamp, and as such, they attack the tourist group. Jinora tells Korra she’s feeling like something’s off with the spiritual energy in the Spirit Wilds. Korra heads to the Wilds with Opal and Jinora and learns that the Kuvira’s cutting down the Banyan Grove Tree (like this is Fern Gully or something). Korra and Opal head to President Raiko to drop the bomb on him only to learn that the President has summoned all the world leaders to discuss the “Kuvira Problem” sans Korra. Korra takes this as a total slap in the face since she’s supposed to be the ultimate world leader.
Tenzin tries to tell Korra that they didn’t want to bother her with the meeting since she’s been through so much so soon, but Korra questions how incompetent Prince Wu could sit in, but not her. Yeah, pretty low blow.
Bolin returns! Team Avatar is officially restored as Bolin bursts through the meeting with Varrick. After Raiko sics his guards on Bo and Varr, they let everyone know that they’re no longer traitors and got big news about Kuvira’s spirit nuclear bomb. Raiko says that everyone should wage war on her, but Tenzin says he’s not going to bring the air nomads into it and Firelord Izumi (in her second or third appearance) says she’s not going to send the Fire Nation into a senseless war unless they’re in eminent danger (meanwhile her great-granddad was all for genocide and her grandfather was a ruthless dictator). Raiko backs off saying that he’ll just fortify defenses and everyone agrees.
A little later, Bolin has a bit of a reunion with Opal and tries to beg for her forgiveness, but she’s not having it. Lin pulls Opal to the side and says she’s going on a secret mission to break out the family in Zaofu and Opal — who has already broken her air nomad vows to be a peacekeeper — is all for it. At the same time, Mako and Korra (who is extra smiley to see Bolin) have a moment of passing around apologies before finally hugging it out. #TeamAvatarBackInAction
No one trusts Korra. Jinora does her little astral projection trick to let Korra know she’s been captured by the angry vines. Korra and Mako run off the help, but Lin creates a road block. When Korra gets there, Lin tells Korra to back up, but Korra asks for a chance to try. With angry vines lashing out, Lin lets the two go ahead. Inside the Wilds, Korra and Mako are attacked by the angry vines, but manage to escape capture. In an abandoned building, Korra sees the bodies of Jinora, Riyu, and the tour group and deduces that they’re trapped in the spirit world. She tries to do some spirit bending but it doesn’t work. Korra then tries to meditate into the spirit world, but she has flashbacks of her near-death experience and is unable to do so. Korra tells Tenzin she needs to see Zaheer to get over her block, but he tells her no. Korra then complains that no one trusts her to do anything, but Tenzin says he’s just concerned. Either way, he gives in and gets Korra access to see Zaheer.
Levitating Red Lotus vs. Whiney Avatar. Korra has her face-to-face with Zaheer and realized (1) she’s still scared of him no matter what and (2) he is probably more wise than she’ll ever be. Zaheer tells Korra that he knows she can’t get into the Spirit World and also tells her that she’s using her encounter with him as a crutch for not being able to tap into her limitless power. Korra tells Zaheer that everything is his fault since he killed the Earth Queen, which gave way for Kuvira the Conqueror. Realizing that his plan for total chaos horribly backfired, Zaheer tells Korra that he’ll help her to get past her block. Again, Korra scoffs at someone more spiritually in touch (though he did almost kill her, so I understand), but realizing that she’s got no other choice, she lets him help her.
Zaheer helps Korra get past their battle and boom! — she breaks into the spirit world. In addition, Korra reunites with Raava, who tells her that she’s always been with her (yeah, OK). They find Jinora and the other and free their spirits with a one-touch spirit bending. Jinora & Co. hop out their little pods and when Tenzin asks how Jinora made it out, she tells her dad that Korra did it.
Time to fight back! While Korra is finally getting over her block, President Raiko summons Varrick and Asami together to work on a counter to Kuvira’s spirit nuclear bomb. Asami warns Varrick of any funny business and Varrick agrees. At Air Temple Island, Lin and Opal get ready to head to Zaofu when Bolin rushes Opal with a slew of apologies after luring her to a picnic for the two went horribly wrong. Bolin tells Opal that he loves her and will do anything to make it up to her, and Opal tells him that he can make his grand gesture of love by joining she and Lin on their mission to take back Zaofu.
Thoughts & Theories: It’s episodes like “Beyond the Wilds” that take me on my emotional roller coaster with Korra as an Avatar. But before I dig into that, can I talk about the copious amounts of SHADE Firelord Izumi was throwing at the World Leader’s meeting? Izumi straight up did not want to help at all, and I get her being all Switzerland in this World War II going on, but I mean, considering the crap that her grandfather and great-grandfather did to push the world into a state of imbalance, she could’ve at least warmed up to the idea of taking down Kuvira. I totally get that she may not want to seem like she’s following in her lineage’s footsteps and all, but sheesh. I bet you if Zuko was still Firelord, he’d be down with the cause. But I digress…
As an Avatar, Korra really tries my patience, but I like her. This season, I expected her to go through her emotional ups and downs, and with the whole PTSD thing, I totally get it, but girl… get it together! This is the second time Korra turned down help from the more spiritually inclined (the first time was during Korra Alone). And while I totally got why she’d turn down help from Zaheer (being that he did try to kill her and all), it was yet another moment where I felt like Korra’s “I-Can-Do-Bad-All-By-Myself” attitude was getting in the way of her getting things accomplished — especially since she hadn’t been trying to make much progress on her own. Ultimately, she came around to Zaheer’s help and it actually brought her back in touch with Raava, who said she’d been there the entire time. That, of course, begs the question of how sucky can Korra be to not know that Raava was with her the ENTIRE FRIGGIN TIME. Korra can’t feel spiritual disturbances, she can’t feel Raava… it just makes you question: “why is she the Avatar?” I root for her, but sometimes she makes me even question my choices.
Moving on, Bolin had it ROUGH this episode. My boy comes back in tattered, muddied clothes hoping his lady would see the error in his ways and take him back and it was total “Access Denied.” I felt Opal was being a little #TeamTooMuch with her hesitance towards Bolin since (1) he didn’t imprison Opal’s family (2) he fought against it (3) he tried to warn her but got imprisoned (4) he made his way back to her (5) he told her he loved her. I mean, I hope there’s a point in time where Bo puts his foot down on these girlfriends who have way too much attitude towards him and his sweet-tempered nature. How could you be mad at him when his presence alone was indication that Kuvira lied about him being for her cause? Opal needs to smell the roses before she loses a good man. And speaking of… Bolin’s grand gesture of helping her breakout her family is proof positive of the power of the lady flower (you know what I mean).
Predictions? Well, from the looks of the clip from next week’s episode, my previous predictions were correct and Toph will be a part of the Beifong extraction unit. Bolin fanboying is a bonus.
As I said numerous times, this family breakout will test Baatar
Jr.‘s true loyalties, and I’m sure Kuvira will show her true colors by threatening to kill him in the process, prompting him to ditch her and make some kind of sacrifice for the family. I also predict with Korra’s newfound reconnection with Raava will hopefully allow her to get in contact with her past lives and they’ll guide her into a major decision when it comes to taking down Kuvira. Maybe she’ll take away Kuvira’s bending like Aang did with Firelord Ozai? Hmmm…
Also with Firelord Izumi’s involvement in helping Republic City’s defense, that may mean a bit of screen time for General Iroh, who I have ALWAYS shipped with Asami. She’s rich, he’s rich, she’s an inventor, he’s a general — perfect match. PLUS, I totally don’t mind Dante Basco making a vocal return this season.
Oh, and with Asami and Varrick working together, I foresee a lot of “Asami, do the thing!”s happening. Though, Asami ain’t that chick to mess with, so she’ll probably knock him upside the head a bit. I’m really hoping that Zhu Li is #TeamAvatar in disguise, but we’ll just have to see. If she isn’t, I can see Varrick vouching for her after all is said and done, realizing that he drove her to betray them because he denied her love.
What did you think of Legend of Korra Book 4 Balance, Chapter 9, “Beyond the Wilds”? Let’s talk about it in the comments or chat about it on Twitter.