Legend of Korra, Season 4, Episodes 8-10

Season four of Legend of Korra is kicking serious ass. The humor, the writing, the characterization and development, everything has leveled up for this final season, and I’m really enjoying it.

Episode 8: Remembrances. This was the Legend of Korra clip show. Creator Bryan Konietzko explained that as a result of serious budget cuts, “We had two options: 1) let go a significant number of crew members several weeks early, or 2) make a clips episode. We never considered the first option. We weren’t going to do that to our crew, and even if we were callous enough to do so, we never would have been able to finish the season without them.”

Well, this was one of the most entertaining clip shows I’ve ever seen. I loved the pop-up chibi-style heads interrupting with questions and snide commentary in the first part. The second segment with Korra and Asami was great for another piece of character growth. But it was the final segment, where Varrick rewrites the entire first three seasons into a mover-style show with Bolin as the star, that was truly brilliant.

Also, I would totally watch Varrick’s mover about these four. (Click for full size.)

Korra 4x8

Episode 9: Beyond the Wilds. Any episode that opens with angry spirit vines and a tourist announcing, “I’m gonna poke it with a stick!” is a winner for me. But there were so many great moments and lines in this one.

  • Korra using earthbending like a laser pointer to play with Naga.
  • Varrick’s explanation of the superweapon. “Like a regular weapon. Only super!”
  • The fire nation’s refusal to go to war. I love the way you see them acknowledging their history, and being so cautious about never going down that road again.
  • Bolin’s line, “I love you guys … and I really want a hug again.”
  • Opal’s refusal to take any of Bolin’s romantinc scheming BS. Go, opal!
  • Asami and Varrick. Much as I like Varrick’s development this season, it was great to see that the show and the characters aren’t just forgetting everything he’s done until now. Asami wrist-locking the weasel and driving that point home was perfect.
  • And I loved Korra’s confrontation with Zahir. They’ve done such a great job of showing her struggle with PTSD. She’s fighting so hard, making real progress, but then every time her trauma resurfaces, you see her getting more despondent and frustrated. It feels so honest — there’s no quick fix. She thought facing Zahir would get her over her fear, but he showed her it wasn’t that easy.
  • But we also see Zahir’s regret for what happened in the wake of him murdering the Earth Kingdom queen last season. Korra’s victory wasn’t just in going to face Zahir, it was in choosing to let him help her.

Episode 10: Operation Beifong. Beifong reunion! Zhu Li being badass! Yes, please!

  • “What’s up with him?” To which Lin Beifong responds, “He’s an actor.”
  • I don’t know if we’d met Juicy the Bison before, but this was the first time I’d really registered him. He reminds me of a pathetic cat we used to have named Smoosh, a flat-faced beast with skin fungus and other problems who was constantly sneezing and snotting. So I’m loving Juicy the bison, as well as Opal’s commentary about the airbender-bison bond being permanent. You can’t change bisons. She checked. (But you know they love each other.)
  • I’m so glad that after three and a half seasons, Zhu Li is finally developing into her own character. I’ve hated the relationship between her and Varrick from day one. But she was clever enough to ingratiate herself to Kuvira and sabotage the progress of the atom bomb spirit vine weapon. And when caught, she all but spat in Kuvira’s face. Sweet!!!
  • And then we get Team Beifong, with Toph eventually joining in (as we all knew she would) to kick ass. Not even Kuvira wants to chase after that crew. Kuvira keeps her cool on the outside, but you know deep down she’s saying, “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. Please don’t make me fight the woman who invented metalbending.”

I’m really enjoying this season. My only dilemma now is whether to race through the final few episodes, or to space them out and prolong the enjoyment.