In the seventh episode of the fourth season of The Legend of Korra, Korra is reunited with old friends amidst Kuvira’s expansion of her empire. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Legend of Korra.
Seriously, this might just be the best season of the show, and that’s a high bar to match after last season. It’s just SO GOOD.
Bolin / Varrick
Look, I don’t think it’s an easy thing to take two enjoyable characters and give them stories where they’ve contributed to an oppressive system. But the writers are willing to take Bolin and Varrick on this journey and respect that they’ve got to redeem themselves in the process. Yes, Bolin was naive, and yes, Varrick was oblivious, but this episode presents them both with direct evidence of what Kuvira has done. I appreciate that because it means that neither of them can escape that.
Hell, even before Baraz, Ahnah, and the other rogue benders capture Bolin and Varrick, Bolin was already willing to criticize his own participation in Kuvira’s empire. I love that he thinks as he does because it shows us how mature he’s become over the course of this show. He spells it out for Varrick, too: Varrick built something that can cause actual harm. Bolin was fooled into causing actual harm. They have a duty to rectify this however they can, and moping around in guilt isn’t going to help anyone.
So it’s appropriate that seconds later, these two meet all the benders who have escaped from one of Kuvira’s prisons. They’re not in the best condition, either, and I love that there’s a visual juxtaposition between them and the Earth Kingdom uniforms that Varrick and Bolin wear. (On that note, it’s also fascinating to me to see how their uniform degrade through the episode, suggesting that their relationship to Kuvira has also done so.) Plus, the writers don’t make these new characters bow before Varrick and Bolin. No, they’re all fairly hostile towards them, and they should be! Who would believe them? Who would take their words at face value after being imprisoned for dissent and disagreement?
Bolin and Varrick have to prove themselves, and they do that through their actions at the checkpoint out of the Earth Kingdom. The fact that people can’t leave this kingdom freely is a huge problem to begin with, and I think it helped to suggest just how controlling and terrifying Kuvira is. Beyond that, though, it provides two of her ex-supporters a chance to prove definitively that they want nothing to do with one another. It was a real treat to see Varrick in action, too, especially since he works so well under pressure. But it was also a chance to see how he could use his skills for good, you know? In a pinch, he creates a device to disable all of the mecha suits. WHICH IS COOL AS HELL.
But Bolin is the one who truly understands how he’s going to make up for what he’s done, and I adore that he teaches Varrick a lesson in compassion and contrition. He could have easily left Barah, Ahnah, and the others behind, but he knew that this was his duty. His support of Kuvira got them all imprisoned, even if it was an indirect thing. And that’s something he’s always got to live with! At the same time, he can do whatever he can to help these people now, to show them love and kindness and grace. And that is the Bolin that I know and adore.
On the same theme, I thought it was satisfying of the writers to make Korra’s reunion with Mako and Asami so horrifically awkward. After three years apart, these three need to remember what it’s like to hang out with one another. I think that’s important because it shows that they’ve all grown enough that the dynamic of their friendship has changed. Primarily, that’s why Korra reached out to Asami and not Mako. The kind of friendship she needed while rehabilitating herself was something only Asami could provide. (Oh, my shipper heart.) That doesn’t mean Mako is an awful person or that Korra doesn’t view him as a friend. But we require different things of different people. Our friendships with people often manifest in unique ways becauseâ€¦ well, people are unique.
Through the adventure provided by Prince Wu’s kidnapping, though, these three friends do discover the value of one another. Nothing like a good caper, right??? I admit that I still don’t understand why Prince Wu was kidnapped, though. Was Kuvira just trying to tie up all the loose ends to guarantee that she had no one else to challenge her? Perhaps, and I guess it’s not all that important. The journey itself was far more rewarding for me. I mean, Korra revealed her new spirit power and that she spent time with Toph Beifong! THIS IS WONDERFUL. It’s also wonderful to know that this group of friends is back together. All they need is Bolin, and the circle of friendship is complete!
WOW, NOPE. NOPE. Please let her desecration of the swamp backfire on her. PLEASE.
The video for “Reunion” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S. this summer and fall Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder ofÂ The Legend of Korra, series 8 ofÂ Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
-Â Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook!Â I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!