Legend of Korra Review: The Explosive Showdown

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Korra is attacked by Zaheer and his gang, and the reality of the threat hits home.

This past week saw the last on-air broadcast of The Legend of Korra for the foreseeable future, but at least the episode, “The Terror Within”, included one of the showdowns we’ve been looking forward to, even if it was restrained. The episode telegraphs the big reveal, but the follow-up was much more exciting than expected and by the end of the episode the audience finally has a reason to view the antagonists as “the bad guys”. Up to this point, Zaheer and his gang have only been guilty of breaking out of prison and sneaking around, but now that their path has finally crossed Team Avatar’s they’ve shown how vicious they can be.

Legend of Korra has had a rocky week. First there was the shocking news that the show would no longer air on Nickelodeon after this last episode, “The Terror Within”, but then fans were told the show would continue to be made available online. There’s still no news on how this will affect the confirmed Book Four. On the bright side, we’ve finally seen some gameplay from Platinum Games’ downloadable Legend of Korra game.

As far as the move to digital is concerned, I expect it is the right move. Korra doesn’t belong next to SpongeBob, and while there are plenty of young fans, the show definitely has an appeal to an older audience who takes advantage of watching their shows online. At first, Nick refused to put the first half of Book Three online, presumably due to the leak of a few episodes before the season premiered. Now that the series is moving to digital, the older episodes of Book Three are available.

From this point on, new episodes of The Legend of Korra will be made available on Nickelodeon’s website on Fridays at 12 pm EST.

The new episode, “The Terror Within” opens with a cute little farewell dinner for Opal, daughter of Suyin, Matriarch of the metal city of Zaofu. The eccentric inventor Varrick shows off a new invention: a tool for finding new airbenders. Varrick has had a lot of tech that he’s revealed this season, but none of it has actually been used yet. I’m starting to wonder if all of these technologies are just quick jokes with no real purpose. Before the action of the episode kicks off, we also get a quick scene of Korra and Bolin metalbending, and of course Korra is fantastic while Bolin struggles just to move metal.

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That night, the moment we’ve been anticipating all season finally arrives when Zaheer and his gang of dangerous benders attack the enclosed estate while Team Avatar sleeps. They almost succeed in their plan, drugging Korra and sneaking her out of the city, before Bolin and Mako notice. The alarms sound and the fight breaks out between Zaheer’s gang and pretty much every other bender in the estate. Ghazan, the criminal earthbender, melts the ground surrounding Zaheer and the others to prevent the pursuit of the city’s metalbenders, while combustionbender (that’s what we’re calling it now) P’li proves too challenging to overcome.

It’s an exciting fight, sure, but it is so restrained by the lack of Korra’s involvement and the severity of P’li’s instantaneous ability, which forces Mako, Bolin, and the city’s guards to take cover. Since Zaheer’s gang is surrounded, though, the entire confrontation quickly turns into a standoff. Suyin and her sister Lin formulate a plan to drop in from above to rescue Korra but are almost blasted from the sky by P’li. Bolin expertly knocks her in the forehead with a pebble at the last second, stunning her and proving that Bolin might not be the most badass member of Team Avatar, but he is brilliant when it matters. The daughters of Toph Beifong rescue Korra and Zaheer’s gang escapes and the investigation into how they infiltrated the “safest city in the world” begins.

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After interviewing random guards, “truth seer” Aiwei claims that one young guard is responsible, and evidence is found in the guard’s home. Mako is the only one who sees that there is something wrong, and leads a secret investigation into Suyin’s most trusted advisor. The shocking revelation that Aiwei was behind it the attack isn’t shocking at all. However, when Korra and gang pursue him they set off a bomb in his basement, the explosion rocking the city. Suddenly, the episode’s title “The Terror Within” took on a very different meaning.

Of course, Korra threw up an air shield around herself, Bolin, Mako, and Asami and they escaped unharmed, but for a moment I did think that they might have been seriously injured. While the episode completely failed to surprise with the betrayal of Aiwei, the explosion caught me completely off-guard and I finally have a reason to hate on Aiwei, and by extension Zaheer and his gang.

The danger has been laid out. Zaheer, P’Li, Ghazan, and Ming-Hua are too powerful for anyone but Korra so far, who has yet to face them. Aiwei has proven deadly and unscrupulous, prepared to frame a young man for treason. After a little help from Suyin to deceive Lin, Team Avatar left Zaofu to begin hunting down Aiwei and take the fight to Zaheer. We’ll see what else his gang has planned in Friday’s episode, “The Stakeout”, the first digital-only release for The Legend of Korra.

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