Mark Watches ‘The Legend of Korra’: S04E11 – Kuvira’s Gambit

In the eleventh episode of the fourth season of The Legend of Korra, I can’t even fathom how fucked up this is. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Legend of Korra.

I know I say I’m not ready all the time, but not being ready is the entire point of this episode. There was not a single clue for the major plot twist this episode, so the audience is precisely as shocked as all of the characters, and it’s a brilliant writing decision. The entire tone and atmosphere of this season changes in an instant, and it’s chilling to think about. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so hopeless and terrified by this show. It’s unreal to me! WHAT HAS THIS SHOW BECOME?


There’s no doubt in my mind anymore that Kuvira truly believes that she’s on a moral path, and that does worry me because she can’t ever be convinced otherwise. Her dream of uniting the Earth Kingdom is so sincere that everyone who tries to stop her – no matter the reason – is merely an obstacle, and an expendable one at that. She’s not the kind of antagonist creating misery and suffering for the sake of it; it’s done out of a moral imperative attached to a national identity. Kuvira has imagined herself at the center of this journey as if she’s a savior, and therefore, everyone else is a justified enemy. She’s making history in her mind, and future generations will look upon her as a distinguished hero, not a monster.

That’s terrifying.


It took a national emergency for everyone to finally be on the same page, but here it is. Everyone GETS ALONG. Reiko supports Korra; Meelo admits that he’s best qualified to stay home; each person admits what they’re good at and sticks to it. There are a couple of montage sequences within “Kuvira’s Gambit,” and they’re well-placed. They provide a sense of urgency as Republic City prepares for the imminent attack. Hell, even Prince Wu exhibits some character development when he delivers a stunning evacuation message that helps assuage the fears of everyday citizens!

Part of the preparations involve the rapid construction of Asami and Varrick’s mecha hummingbirds, and I thought that the return of Zhu Li would help accelerate that. However, there are two complications. First of all, Varrick has got to stop treating Zhu Li like she’s only an assistant, as if there is nothing else to her identity or purpose. But then there’s a much bigger problem than Zhu Li and… well, I’ll get to it now.


I thought that Team Avatar were well-prepared for Kuvira, as best as they could be given the circumstances. After evacuating the city, the only real risk was to their own lives and to the buildings that stood in Republic City. Right? That’s precisely when Kuvira shows up – a week early! – to ruin everything. Fine, she showed up early, I thought to myself. Inconvenient, right? But they could still stop her, yeah?

Haha. Ha. h a h a h a h a.

A giant mecha robot.





I don’t even know what to say about this. I’m still in shock. Look, I never thought Kuvira would be an easy enemy to take down or stop or even delay, but this? THIS IS SO OVER-THE-TOP AND HORRIFYING. In rapid succession, Kuvira details just how unbelievably powerful she is. How many people did she kill in this episode? A hundred? A thousand? And to her, it was all worth it.

We haven’t even gotten to the thing yet. I guess I don’t blame Reiko for surrendering after witnessing the awe-inspiring capabilities of the mecha suit because what the hell could he have done? If he’d ordered an attack, Kuvira would have slaughtered all of his soldiers in a matter of seconds. That would have been a million times worse than the other alternative, and at least Reiko could spare some lives. I appreciate that Korra and many of the others refused to accept the surrender. I mean, when were they ever going to be close to Kuvira again with such a good chance to stop her or trip her up?

I thought the plan to kidnap Baatar, Jr. was desperate at best, but that’s sort of the point. These people needed to take out the mecha suit, and Baatar was the only resource they had. Was it a good plan? Not particularly, especially since Baatar, Jr. was so supportive of Kuvira’s mission. Was it heartbreaking to watch Suyin beg for her son to come home? Absolutely, and a large part of that was because I knew it wouldn’t work. The writers were aware of this! That wasn’t meant to be surprising. Korra’s suggestion, though, hit a lot closer to home. What if Baatar could have Republic City, but he couldn’t have Kuvira? Was the city worth his conquest?

The thing is, we saw Kuvira’s tenderness earlier. We know she’s capable of affection and love. (Which I appreciate because I’m bored by the idea that villains need to be the opposite.) So when Baatar appealed to her… I don’t know. I had hope. I had hope that maybe she might realize the personal stake in all of this.

Instead, she blows a fucking lazer beam into the room where Baatar and Team Avatar are because she’s out of fucking control, and I cannot deal with this show anymore.

The video for “Kuvira’s Gambit” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– 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. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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