Legend of Korra
4×1: After All These Years
Episode Summary (from the Avatar Wiki): In the three years after the Insurrection of the Red Lotus, Republic City has come to terms with the spirits living in the metropolis, Kuvira and Baatar Jr., along with their supporters, have traveled the Earth Kingdom in an attempt to reunite it under her militaristic rule, and the Air Nation assists there where needed. By 174 AG, Asami Sato helped modernize Central City Station and Prince Wu is groomed to ascend the vacant Earth Kingdom throne with Mako momentarily serving as his bodyguard. Meanwhile, Kai and Opal stop a robbery in the State of Yi, though are unable to restore the town’s supply lines, leaving the reluctant governor no other choice than to agree to Kuvira’s terms for help and hand over the town to her command. Korra was set to reunite with Team Avatar in Republic City, but has been traveling alone for the past six months, making a rough living with earthbender cage fighting while hiding her identity as the Avatar.Initial Thoughts: I lost my love for this show some time during season two. It just wasn’t everything I wanted it to be. Season three got a bit better in some ways, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to watch season four.
This episode made me happy. I think the three-year jump from season three helped a lot. Airbenders with glider suits! Asami being the badass businesswoman she was meant to be! Meelo being Meelo! Kuvira being cold and calculating, but also metalbending like a boss. And the suspense around Korra.
There was new stuff here, and it was great to see. It also felt like part of a larger story, between the rebuilding of the Earth Kingdom and the growth of the Air Nation and Korra being … well, broken. I am officially hooked.
Grumbling: Why is Varrick in my show? For a long time, I kept waiting for there to be a point to his character. Or for Zhu Li to be something more than an obedient servant. He’s annoying, brings nothing to the show that I’m aware of, and is basically like nails-on-a-chalkboard every time he’s in a scene. And if there’s some sort of slimy man quota we have to fill, well, now there’s Prince Wu for that!
Specific Things that Made Me Smile: Naga racing off the boat and rolling over for belly scratching!
The colors and animation felt better.
Kai and Opal’s teamwork, especially when Kai fell from the air bison with a torn glide suit.
The pies. That was a lovely bit of misdirection and fun.
Thoughts from the Nine-Year-Old: Jackson pegged Kuvira as a bad guy pretty quickly, and is convinced that she’s the one behind the bandit attacks, creating a danger she can use to continue to conquer the Earth Nation. Which seems like a pretty plausible theory to me.
Overall, he didn’t like the episode as much as I did. Partly because he doesn’t like seeing Bolin working for a bad guy, or a bad guy taking over a town. He also didn’t like seeing Korra reduced to arena fighting, especially since she lost the fight.
Conclusions: This feels like a really good start to the season. A lot of the things that annoyed me about the previous seasons were gone — things like overreliance on forced relationship drama or lack of character change and development. How many times did Korra make the same mistakes from show to show and season to season? But they’ve allowed the characters to change and grow, and I think that’s a very good thing, and bodes well for this season.