By Josh Axelrod
As we near the end of Book Four and the series itself (tears), it appears “Legend of Korra” is making it a point to tie up some loose ends and answer questions that have perplexed fans since “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” At least, that’s what this episode did for the Beifong clan. Hopefully they FINALLY tell us what happened to Zuko’s mother before Book Four closes.
“Operation Beifong” opened with Bolin, Lin and Opal reaching Kuvira’s camp. Opal quickly noticed that Kuvira had noticeably changed Zaofu already by tearing down its signature dome. Toph joined the group, ready to save her daughter, son-in-law and nephews. Bolin geeked out over meeting the world’s most famous earthbender, which was classic spazzy Bolin. He told everyone that Kuvira was holding Su and her family in one of her re-education camps close to her main compound.
Back in Republic City, Asami and Varrick presented Reiko with their plans for flying mech suits to protect Republic City from a feared assault by Kuvira and her forces. Reiko asked why the schematic didn’t include a spirit ray, and Varrick told him the spirit vine technology was too dangerous and unstable. Reiko wasn’t happy about this at all. He may be less prickly than he used to be, but Reiko can still sometimes be annoyingly blind to simple truths.
To appease Reiko, Korra offered to ask Republic City’s spirits for help defending the city. Prince Wu, in the first useful thing he’s done since his introduction, came up with the idea to start evacuating the city. Of course, he was only acting like “a man of the people” because he had a thing for Korra. One step forward, five steps back for Wu.
Back at Kuvira’s camp, Zhu Li and Bataar Jr. continued testing their giant spirit weapon. They tried to fire it up, but it almost exploded. Upon inspecting the machine for problems, Bataar Jr. found a cracked channelling ring. It seemed like someone was tampering with the machine. Hmm…
On the way to the camp, we found out that Toph and Lin hadn’t seen talked to each other in 20 years. Su and Lin may have worked out their differences, but Lin still harbored a lot of resentment toward her mother. Remember when I said it looked like “Korra” was actively trying to tie loose ends? Toph and Lin’s relationship was a major thread that needed to be repaired.
Toph, Lin, Bolin, and Opal broke into Kuvira’s camp. Toph used her heightened senses to “see” that her family was being held underneath the facility. Before they could do anything else, Kuvira entered the building to check on the weapon’s progress. She was not happy to hear that her doomsday weapon was still having problems. Zhu Li promised her that she would fix all the bugs, but Toph said that Zhu Li was lying. Hmmmm…
Back in Republic City, Korra tried talking to a few spirits. All of them disappeared before she could ask them about helping in the fight against Kuvira. Korra correctly surmised they were abandoning Republic City.
Team Beifong decided to wait until the next day when Kuvira would show off her weapon to her troops to break everyone out of the camp. Bolin asked Toph a big question: Who was Lin’s father? It was…wait for it…some random dude named Kanto. “It didn’t work out,” said Toph.
This set Lin off because she always hated the fact she was raised without a father and that Toph would never talk about him. “You make me furious,” Lin snarled at Toph. She said that after this mission, they would go back to not speaking. Toph was visibly saddened by this, but said if that’s what Lin would make Lin happy, she could agree to that.
The next morning, Kuvira broke out her weapon. It malfunctioned again, this time due to a missing distribution pin. Guess who had said pin? Zhu Li, who was trying to sabotage this project the whole time. Varrick is going to be ecstatic during their inevitable (possibly romantic?) reunion. Even after pledging loyalty to Kuvira, Zhu Li still did the thing.
While Zhu Li was taken to the abandoned city the weapon was going to be tested on, Team Beifong found Su in a wooden cage suspended over a pit. Lin used her metal zipline to get everyone to safety. Bataar Sr.’s screams of terror from being swung over the pit alerted the guards to what was happening, but not before everyone was freed. Bolin and Opal went after Zhu Li, while Su, Lin and Su’s kids tried to destroy the weapon. There was an amusing moment where Toph told Bataar Sr. to never call her mom. Oh Toph, you’re still the best.
Back in Republic City, Korra meditated into the spirit world. She formally asked the spirits to help her save Republic City from Kuvira. A dragon spirit told her that the spirits would not be used in a war between humans, and they all vanished again. The spirits are probably going to help Korra out at some point, but it’s going to take more convincing than this.
Right before the weapon was fired at the abandoned city, Su and Lin hit it with some earth that changed the blast’s trajectory so that it didn’t hurt Bolin, Opal and Zhu Li. As Lin and the nephews held off Kuvira’s army, Su attacked Kuvira head on with some incredibly impressive metalbending. Just check out the GIF below for a brief example of Su being badass.
Toph took out Kuvira’s forces with a tidal wave of earth. “You give metalbenders a bad named,” she shouted at Kuvira in typical Toph fashion. With everyone rescued and Kuvira subdued for now, Team Beifong retreated.
Lin finally buried the hatchet with Toph, promising to at least not hate her anymore. Opal did the same with Bolin, saying he “worked his way out of [her] polar bear doghouse.” I love that no one in this show would know what a dog is, but they know what a polar bear dog is immediately. It’s also worth noting that Toph said she was too old to continue fighting, so she would leave the rest of Operation Beat Kuvira to the kids. Loose ends, tied.
The episode ended with Zhu Li warning the gang that Kuvira is going to attack Republic City in two weeks. “Korra” is setting itself up to go out with a bang. If it keeps answering questions (Seriously, what happened to Zuko’s mother?!) and clarifying character relationships along with delivering an epic finale, “Legend of Korra” should end on a truly legendary note.