By Josh Axelrod
Bolin and Varrick took the words right out of my mouth. Up until this point, Kuvira has just been cold and calculating. Now that she’s tried to drop Varrick from a moving train, threatened to sound Bolin to a “re-education camp” and gave Zaofu 24 hours before she attacks them with her army, she can now officially be given villain status.
Kuvira continued her quest to reunite the entire Earth Kingdom under her banner. The only piece left to take was Zaofu, which Su obviously wasn’t willing to give up so easily. Kuvira even persuaded Bolin, who at this point still believed in her cause, to help convince Opal and her mother to pledge their loyalty to Kuvira. No such luck.
At this point, both Bolin and Varrick had reasons to doubt that Kuvira was attempting to unite the Earth Kingdom for purely altruistic purposes. Bolin thought those re-education camps were being used to teach poor Earth Kingdoms citizens a trade, put clearly that wasn’t the case. And Varrick’s experiments with spirit vines went wrong, making him believe that they were too dangerous to ever be considered a viable energy source. After Kuvira came very close to killing him, Varrick realized he might be working for the wrong side.
Bolin, Varrick and Zhu Li all escaped Kuvira’s train in giant mech suits, but they were soon ambushed by Bataar and Kuvira’s soldiers. Varrick wasn’t much of a fighter, but Zhu Li kicked all kinds of butt. Bolin also held his own, and we even got to see more of his lavabending skills in action. Unfortunately, thanks to Varrick’s uselessness, Bataar was able to capture the three of them and bring them to Kuvira.
Kuvira ordered Varrick to go back to work on the spirit vines and Bolin to be sent to one of her camps. In the most character development she’s even gotten, Zhu Li dropped to her knees and pledged her undying loyalty to Kuvira and her cause. She was fed up with the bumbling Varrick and decided it was time to work for someone, anyone else. I almost don’t blame Zhu Li, but considering how long she had been with Varrick, I wouldn’t be shocked if it turns out she’s just biding her time until she can free Varrick and escape together.
While all this was happening, Korra made her way to Zaofu to reintroduce the world to the avatar. Su told her a little about why Kuvira is so dead set on ruling the Earth Kingdom. Apparently Tenzin and Reiko originally approached Su about reuniting the Earth Kingdom, but she refused. Kuvira tried to persuade her to spread her influence, but Su wouldn’t budge. This caused a rift between Su and Kuvira, and once Kuvira was given provisional power over the Earth Kingdom, she decided it was in their (and her) best interest to keep her as their leader.
Korra also had her first confrontation with Kuvira. Well, it was less a confrontation and more of a shockingly rational talk. Kuvira, ever the wordsmith, convinced Korra that a peaceful solution was still possible between her forces and Zaofu. Korra went to go reason with Su, but her husband told Korra that Su was sneaking into Kuvira’s camp to “end things once and for all.” Womp.
Last but not least, Asami tried to cut ties with her father, Horoshi Sato. We haven’t seen him since Book One, when he was using Future Industries for evil and destroying his relationship with his daughter. He had been writing letters to Asami though, which she never opened. She told her father that she never wanted to see or hear from him again. And based on what he did, I don’t even blame her.
But gradually, Asami decided that instead of being angry at her father, she was really sad that their relationship had deteriorated so much. She offered to try to mend things, spending time with Hiroshi playing Pai Sho. Usually a storyline this disconnected to the overall plot would feel tacked on, but the emotions here were genuine enough that it didn’t feel extraneous. And based on the fact we’re reintroducing Hiroshi, I bet Future Industries is going to play a big role in Book Four’s endgame.