By Josh Axelrod
Well…that was sad. We knew Korra was in a bad place, but seeing how she got there was relentlessly depressing. At least we got a bright stop at the end with my favorite “Legend of Korra” cameo from “The Last Airbender” thus far. But for the most part, this episode showed how far from okay Korra is three years after Zaheer’s assault.
The episode began right where Book Three ended. A wheelchair-bound Korra decided to leave Republic City for the Southern Water Tribe, hoping to rehabilitate her body and clear her mind. Three weeks into her trip home, Korra was still in bad shape. She wasn’t eating or sleeping, and she still had nightmares of the torture Zaheer put her through.
This led to a visit with Katara (not the cameo I mentioned before), who realized very quickly her healing techniques wouldn’t help Korra recover. Korra’s issues were more mental than physical, so Katara switched from magic water to pep talks. Slowly but surely, Korra regained her ability to walk.
Of course, as a quick sparring match with a few firebenders proved, Korra was nowhere near in fighting shape. Tenzin did his best to comfort her during a visit, but it was pretty clear she was still too mentally down on herself to be at full strength yet. She had her friends and family trying to help her, but Korra was feeling more alone than ever.
It’s interesting to note that though Korra was receiving letters from Mako, Bolin and Asami, she only responded to Asami. Thank god the show spent so much time building up that relationship last season. As chickmances go, Korrasami is pretty adorable.
Though those letters really only served to make Korra more frustrated. Hearing how her friends were moving on with their lives while she was stuck in the Southern Water Tribe couldn’t have helped her state of mind. That was probably at least part of the reason she decided to sail back to Republic City.
On her way back, she ran into a couple of earthbending thieves who she couldn’t stop. It led to one random woman asking, “Are you sure she’s the Avatar?” The episode might have beat us over the head with how bad Korra felt about herself and her abilities, but it was certainly effective.
So when she got to Republic City and promptly decided to turn around, it wasn’t even a surprise. She changed her clothes, chopped off her hair and set out on an alternate journey to a spirit portal in order to find that tree from Season 2, hoping to reestablish her connection with Raava. No such luck. But what she did do is meet a cute little spirit…thing that would prove to be important later.
Oh yeah, Korra had been seeing visions of herself in the Avatar state with Zaheer’s chains around her wrist this whole time. She followed one to that underground earthbending fight from the last episode, where her opponent/the vision (Korra was sort of going crazy) beat her into submission.
After the fight, that same spirit from the tree led her into a swamp where, for the second time, Korra’s vision of herself began to fight back. Not only was it physically hurting her, but it was winning pretty emphatically. Right as it appeared it was going to kill Korra, she woke up in a bed in some old woman’s swamp home.
But that was no ordinary old woman. It was…wait for it…Toph!!!!! Yes, not only is Toph still alive, but it appears she’s going to help Korra get back to normal. Something tells me we’re also going to see more of Su and Lin, considering she is their mother after all. But for now, I’m happy to watch this Korra and Toph pairing that is sure to be both entertaining and an important step on the Avatar’s road to recovery.