The Legend of Korra: After All These Years (4×01)
Synopsis: Three years after the defeat of Zaheer, the Earth Kingdom is about to crown a new king. Team Avatar has split up, going their separate ways. The Air Nation has been repairing the Earth Kingdom and attempting to protect it from bandits. A new power rises within the Earth Kingdom.
I’m going to say this now and just once, there will be many many tears.Just as I have suspected, this season will focus on the broken Earth Kingdom that was thrown into chaos by Zaheer’s invasion and assassination. Sure the Earth Queen was insane, but at least the states weren’t constantly being attacked by bandits leaving people to starve.
We meet back up with Asami first, who has used her family’s technology to bring Republic City back into the modern age. It seems that people don’t have as much of a problem with the spirits in their city anymore. Korra is praised within the city. President Raiko seems to be puppeteering the young Prince Wu, who although is a little annoying and spoiled seems to be relatively harmless, not to mention very easily manipulated. Mako is at his side protecting him, but is more than ready to return to his position as a detective after Wu is crowned king.
Meanwhile, out in the different states of the Earth Kingdom, we see the states have been ravaged by bandits, and left nearly defenseless. Just as bandits seem to be running off with supplies, Opal and Kai fly down in their completely new outfits that make them look like flying squirrels, and take out the perps. Although they easily take on the three bandits, it is quickly revealed it is not enough and the entire Kingdom seems to be under the thumb of bandits.
Very little protection seems to be offered to the people in the outlying states, since Prince Wu seems to be oblivious to it. Kuvira, however, is not. You’ll remember Kuvira from Book 3, when she was a lieutenant for Suyin. Yes, the times have changed. She is now slowly “unifying” the Earth Kingdom under her loyalty. She has Warrick, Suyin’s son Baatar, Jr., and even Bolin at her side.Although the people love her, Opal clearly is not a fan. Upon meeting Kuvira in the town that they just saved, she mentions Kuvira’s betrayal. She doesn’t approve of Bolin helping Kuvira, though Kai mentions that he seems to be doing what he loves, which is helping people. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Bolin stray from the path, and I suspect he’s going to get a rude awakening when he sees Kuvira’s ultimate plan.
The parallels between Kuvira and someone like Hitler is pretty blatant. A leader banning broken people together under one banner while gathering her own paramilitary guard of the same type of person, those shiny uniforms, none of this is a good sign. Let’s not get started on that map. Before arriving at the town, Kuvira shows off her skills as she single handedly takes down an entire band of earth bending bandits without breaking a sweat. Without much of a choice she enlists them under her army. Arriving at the town, she offers them safety in exchange for them giving her their loyalty. Although their leader originally opposes, after Opal and Kai fail to help them get food, he reluctantly signs the agreement.
The people of the town seem to rejoice as Kuvira brings in her protection and her supplies (that she probably apprehended from them in the first place), but it’s clear that not everyone trusts her. And while Prince Wu may be spoiled and clueless, Kuvira has the makings of a tyrant if we ever saw it.
The episode documents everyone’s change throughout the three years. Everyone’s not only got a new look, but a new job. Kai and Jinora are as strong as ever. Asami’s business is expanding. Bolin and Mako are working for opposite teams. Tenzin’s kids are all in new outfits and Meeko is now a man. Even Tonraq has gotten more than a handful of grey hairs. But despite the changes in jobs and outfits, no one has changed as much as our main character.
Tonraq arrives with Naga to find out that Korra has lied to everyone. She told Tonraq she’s been in Republic City for the past six months, she told the rest of the group that she’d be arriving today. We close in on her in some cage fighting ring in Republic City where she’s getting her ass handed to her. Beaten to a pulp, she sports a shorter haircut and is not the Korra we remember anymore.
Personally, I thought this was a good premiere. Not perfect, there were definitely a few things I would have liked to see, but overall it did a great job in making the massive three year jump convincing. It’s a little sad to have been so deprived of Korra all episode. I can’t wait to get the story of where she’s been these past three years and what she’s been doing. I am a little disappointed at the Earth Kingdom storyline, mostly because I would love to see a little more of the other Kingdoms as well in the final season? But we don’t know where the story will take us, so I may just get what I bargained for!
Tune in next week for the episode “Korra Alone”!