Well that was fast. After a great Season 3, the final season of LoK starts after a brief two-month hiatus; in their universe however, 3 years have passed. Despite the 3-year time skip, this season feels more connected to the story than the previous seasons. Season 1 of LoK could stand alone, Season 2 had some closure, but Season 3 left on a sour note. If anything, Season 4 feels like Season 3 part two, which is awesome because Season 3 was my favorite season. I want to talk about what I took away from the first episode, how it relates to past themes, and what I expect to see in the future.
There multiple themes that carry over from last season.
1. Korra continues to suffer from her poisoning mental breakdown. She believes the world is rejecting her and struggles with separating her identity with that of the avatar’s.
2. Suyin’s comments about how the outdated notion of monarchies were heavy-handed foreshadowing for Season 4 and influenced Kuvira’s mindset heavily.
3. Varrick and Kuvira were minor characters last season, but will be in the spotlight this season as probably the main antagonists.
4. The airbending nation seems to be legit and have taken over Korra’s duties.
5. Kainora and Bopal are now official.
Team Avatar growing apart as they got older is one of the most realistic things the show has done. Asami modernized and improved Republic City’s train system, but I’m not too impressed when there are mecha suits in this universe.
I’m glad we’re able to see a true earthbender villain, yes it’s not really confirmed if Kuvira will be the villain, but have you seen this face? Kuvira truly believes she’s making a better future for her people, which humanizes her. She’s as stubborn and hard-headed as a…rock. I kind of agree with her though, she would make a better leader than Prince Wu. I probably won’t agree with her methods, but she’s not crazy.
Let’s go over the past earthbender antagonists.
1. Gazan – Certainly a master of his element, but he wasn’t the main antagonists for Season 3 and he mostly lava bended.
2. The Dai Li/Long Feng – These guys were like the secret service on crack and were probably the closest thing we’ve gotten for earth bending villains. Long Feng, the leader of the Dai Li back in Season 2 of Last Airbender, was more of a sub boss than a true antagonist. He was able to capture Appa and kill Jet though, he had a pretty impressive resume until Azula put him in his place.
“You’ve beaten me at my own game,” he told her.
“Don’t flatter yourself. You were never even a player,” Azula coldly said.
Damn I miss Azula. The Dai Li briefly came back during LoK Season 3, but disappointed again. They were the ones capturing the new airbenders for the Earth Queen, but they were only able to detain the air benders for an episode before Team Avatar rescued them. The Dai Li also failed to protect the Earth Queen against the Red Lotus, their most important job. They were always a cool idea, but they never impressed me. Their stone hand bending was…effective at times, but I wouldn’t consider them masters or ever a real player.
3. The Boulder – He gets the headline here, but he was never a villain. He got one episode during Toph’s introduction and then with Toph’s old master was even able to capture her before she learns metal bending. So 2 episodes of “villainy.” There was also that one earth general that tried forcing Aang into his avatar state and those sand benders that stole Appa. That’s pretty much been it. Melon Lord was tougher than those guys.
4. Kuvira (seriously look at that face) – Introduced briefly last finale saving Tonraq’s life, we meet her again in a seat of power. She has Bolin, Varrick, and Suyin’s oldest son Bataar Jr. in her corner. I didn’t notice Bataar Jr. last season and thought he was the Skrillex looking son at first. I think she’ll be the main antagonist, but will have the support of earth citizens because she’s been “protecting” the Earth Kingdom. In the past 3 years she’s mastered earth and metal bending. She demonstrates her prowess by easily taking out a bunch of bandits with her armor metal bending. Her style seems proficient and graceful as she cuffs and blind folds the bandits with metal.
Kuvira seemed pretty totalitarian when she demanded the mayor to sign over his town. So I guess she went a little overboard with power, I wonder how the writers are going to handle/portray her later in the show. Kuvira is called the Great Uniter…sounds pretty evil to me. She pretty much steals the food that was going to save the town and then gives it back to them like a hero. Of course she took the food, what starving earth bending bandits have airplanes? Her bandits that’s whom. She’s definitely evil!
It doesn’t help that she has stormtrooper soldiers! She’s like a sexy female Darth Vader, hopefully no one burns her face off. There’s one guy waving and holding up a earth nation pole in the background, I notice everything animation team.
I think putting Bolin on the antagonists side could lead to an interesting conflict. Him and his brother seem to be on opposite sides that seem destined to clash, but I doubt the brothers will fight each other just because their jobs demand it… I would love to see them fight though. Now that Bolin has lava bending I think he has the edge, but I wonder if he was able to master metal bending at all, especially considering he travels with a metal bending expert. I’m going to guess no, but that doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed in Bolin.
I love how Varrick is still relevant in the show, I don’t think he’s truly evil, just like I don’t think Kuvira is truly evil, but he’ll probably be an antagonist this season. It’s interesting how Varrick sided with Kuvira and not Suyin, he has a knack for sticking around people in power, and he clearly thinks Kuvira has a higher ceiling.
The people who “attacked” Prince Wu shows that he isn’t the most liked character or potential king. People were booing him when he walked out of the building as well, he’s just too arrogant to notice. The pie scene was funny, how could he possibly confuse strawberries with bee stings, ridiculous! Wu mentions having tiny fish eat the calluses off his feet, and while Mako doesn’t approve, it’s actually pretty cool. Mako and Prince Wu’s relationship is almost identical to Mako’s previous relationship with his brother, except he loved his brother. Prince Wu…not so much. I guess Mako built a tolerance for stupidity spending all those years with Bolin.
Suyin seems to be holding a grudge against her son Baatar Jr. and Kuvira. Let’s try and understand why with a list.
1. Kuvira and Baatar Jr. left Zaofu 3 years ago, so this isn’t a recent occurrence.
2. Suyin says she felt betrayed by her son (according to Opal).
3. Baatar Jr. and Kuvira don’t think it’s a big deal anymore, Opal disagrees.
4. It wasn’t about getting married because Opal is just learning about their engagement.
5. I have no idea what could have pissed off the free spirit mother Suyin. She traveled the world in her youth, so them deciding to leave the Zaofu doesn’t seem like a good reason to feel betrayed. Suyin being mad about them dating seems silly as well. If I had to guess it would relate to something about her becoming the Great Unifier, but this seems like a silly reason for Suyin to consider a betrayal because helping the Earth Kingdom after the Earth Queen feel would be a good idea…I have all the evidence, but I can’t Sherlock a conclusion.
We knew that Korra wasn’t going to be spending too much time in a wheelchair this season thanks to the trailer, but I didn’t expect her to lose an underground bending competition to a no name earthbender either. I think it has more to do with her confidence shattered than any physical injury. The next episode is titled “Korra Alone,” and if it’s anything like “Zuko Alone” then we’ll be in for a treat. I expect the episode to focus entirely around Korra with flashbacks placed intermittently throughout the episode explaining what she’s done the past 3 years. I think we’ll understand Korra’s feelings a lot more next episode and I’m looking forward to her inevitable clash with Kuvira. Whether that’ll be as the avatar or as herself, well only the writers know that.
We’ll probably focus mostly on the Earth Kingdom this season, but I wish we got to see some more Fire Nation, especially after Zuko was able to transform it into the best nation.
Things I Loved
Kainora are an official couple now, their relationship seems to be off to a smooth start. What a…breath of fresh air, to have a young couple that actually has a good relationship in this series.
Korra’s short hair looks great. Whenever someone cuts their hair in this series it looks really great, see Zuko and Iroh. Then again Meelo and Jinora look great with hair…Meelo looks like Aang did during the 3rd season of Last Airbender. Bald Jinora was thankfully short-lived and she looks better with hair.
The new air bending outfits look awesome.
Prince Wu’s eyebrows.
Meelo is adorable.
Things that Annoyed Me
How could the Kai and Opal tag team lose a fight in the air. That’s their element! The guy had a rope and a sword, but somehow managed to steal all the food. Maybe fight together?! Did Opal really need to keep steering the giant flying bison and let Kai do all the fighting?! I’ll blame this one on plot convenience, but come on, they’re airbenders in the air, they should be unbeatable.
The mayor shouldn’t be ungrateful for Kai and Opals perfect timing, he should be mad that it took two months for Tenzin to send out 2 measly airbenders. How stretched out can the Air Nation be if all of Tenzin’s family seems to be chilling in Republic City…come on Tenzin, start sending your children into the world. Jinora is the only full-blown airbender besides him too, maybe give her a little more freedom.
Bolin chose his duty to the Great Unifier over his girlfriend…dumb move Bolin.
Prince Wu’s eyebrows. I both like and dislike them.
Kuvira said she was going to leave the bandits on the tracks, is she talking about leaving their hands magnetized to the train track?! That’s insane! That’s badass, but we don’t want any more Ming-Huas walking around. Earth arms…woah