By Josh Axelrod
As blatant filler episodes go, this one wasn’t so bad. Nothing of earth-shattering importance happened, though a lot of earth was shattered (earthbending jokes, deal with it). But there was an amusing side adventure involving Bolin and Varrick, as well as Korra’s reunion with Asami and Mako in Republic City.
After getting her butt kicked by Kuvira and losing control of Zaofu, Korra returned to Republic City ready to see her friends for the first time in three years. She said hi to Tenzin and Boomi before going to dinner with Mako, Asami and an uninvited Prince Wu. It should be noted that Korra visibly blushed when Asami complimented her hair. It almost felt flirty. Not to read too much into an interaction between female characters on a Nickelodeon show, but if the show is planning on making Korra bisexual, that’s remarkably progressive.
During dinner, Mako and Asami both found reasons to be angry at Korra. Mako was pissed that Korra wrote to Asami during her time away and not him, and Asami didn’t like Korra lecturing her on how to deal with her father. While Team Avatar was arguing, Prince Wu managed to get himself kidnapped by some of Kuvira’s men. Typical.
While Asami, Mako and Korra raced to find Wu, Varrick and Bolin found themselves wandering the woods trying to find some direction. Instead, they found some water and firebenders who escaped one of Kuvira’s re-education camps. In their words, Kuvira is now trying to “purge” the Earth Kingdom of all non-earthbenders. The Nazi Germany allegory is laid on pretty thick, but this is pretty edgy material for a kid’s show.
The refugees enlisted Bolin and Varrick’s help to get through a checkpoint that could lead them to freedom. Kuvira’s forces recognized Bolin and Varrick, and a battle ensued. First and foremost, it was nice to see some bending besides earthbending for a change. Bolin’s lavabending has become my favorite bending to watch because of just how plain visually awesome it is. With a little help from an EMP that Varrick built to take down the mechs, he, Bolin and the refugees escaped and continued their quest to reconvene with Team Avatar.
Back in Republic City, Korra used the spirit connection trick she learned from Toph to locate Prince Wu on a train. She let it spill to Asami and Mako that she learned the trick from Toph, who she described as a “cranky, more miserable version of Lin.” Well said Korra.
Getting Wu to safety took some teamwork, but Team Avatar was able to do it without too much trouble. It seemed the purpose of this storyline was to remind Mako, Asami and Korra that they actually liked each other. And, more importantly, to get rid of Prince Wu, who is now staying with Mako’s family at Asami’s mansion. Hopefully that’s the last we see of him, because he’s just an awful character.
The episode ended with Kuvira and Bataar Jr. harvesting spirit vines from Toph’s swamp. Something tells me she isn’t going to take kindly to seeing her home destroyed. Kuvira might have been able to take down a weakened Korra, but hell hath no fury like an angry Toph Beifong.