Hey there, Korra Nation! As many of you know, The Legend of Korra Book 4: Balance aired its newest episode, “Korra Alone” on October 10. As promised, I’ve written a recap (which can be found on Black Girl Nerds) in case you haven’t checked it out yet, but now it’s time for this week’s post-cap!
I know some of you are probably wondering just what is a “post-cap.” First, it’s a make believe term I created that by definition is mixed of thoughts, feelings, etc. that one may have after reading (in my case, writing) a recap. Hence, “post-cap”. I know I could as easily call my post-cap a “review,” but I like to do things my way. Got it? Good.
The Legend of Korra Book 4 Balance, Chapter 2, “Korra Alone”:
Korra’s PTSD is serious. “Korra Alone” follows directly after “After All These Years” with Korra in a bathroom trying to heal herself with some water bending after losing her bending match. When Korra’s rushed out the bathroom, she’s met with a vision of herself in the Avatar State. She tries to fight it off, but is ultimately bending fire at nothing in an alley and looks like a crazy person in the process. When she rejects help from a passerby, it triggers a flashback of Korra three years prior where she’s helpless and in a wheelchair — one of the first clips we were given before the premiere. In this flashback we learn that Korra couldn’t walk AT ALL after her fight with Zaheer, with nightmares of their battle doing the most damage.
All hope isn’t lost though, as Korra is sent to do some physical therapy with old Katara. This is pretty great, since we’re getting to see Korra interact one-on-one with a member of Old Team Avatar. Anyway, Korra and Katara work on Korra regaining control over her legs and they have a cute scene á la Kill Bill, where Korra wills her big toe to move.
Korra’s good, but not great. For a portion of the episode, we go through Korra’s ups and downs of recovery. While Korra is able to walk, and bend again, the mental trauma of her near-death experience is a major block in her concentration. Furthermore, she’s unable to go into the Avatar State, which of course is a big deal. In the midst of it, Tenzin drops the little birdie that Kuvira is restoring the Earth Kingdom, something Korra says is what she should be doing. This, to me, is a bit of foreshadow of a battle to come between the two strong women who believe they are best at the job of restoring balance to a world in chaos.
“Korra Alone”. As I so correctly guessed, Korra sets off on a journey of self discovery. While I didn’t expect to see her three-year absence wrapped up so quickly, it was done masterfully, explaining the last 6 months of Korra’s life in a montage of Korra traveling across her world from the icy poles, to volcanic mountainsides, and treacherous deserts searching for a moment of clarity. Cleverly catching up to date, we learn Korra isn’t actually living the life of a cage fighter. Instead, she followed her hallucination into the ring one night and got her butt kicked by the bender she was unable to see through her illusions. Either way, viewers are officially caught up with each of the characters, and is now following Korra in real time on her solo mission.
Family Places and Faces. While I thought it was pretty foolish of Korra to pass up help from spirits in the Spirit World earlier in the episode, Korra’s acceptance of their help later on the episode really facilitates what happens next. One of the spirits leads Korra into The Swamp for her to find someone (as it’s done in the past on Avatar: The Last Airbender). Initially, Korra finds herself in the Avatar State yet again and a battle ensues. Korra loses this big fight, but it’s not all for naught. When Korra is being nursed back to help, we learn that Korra’s host is none other than an elderly (and still spunky) Toph.
Thoughts & Theories: Again, I wasn’t expecting to see a wrap up of Korra’s three-year absence done so quickly — or so early in the Season, for that matter — but I have to admit that it was done so seamlessly, I couldn’t be mad at it. And while some parts of it were slightly depressing, I can only imagine it was meant to be that way in order for us to understand Korra’s overwhelmed and overworked mental state. Also, I totally loved the Kill Bill reference, which I guess only adults such as my self would’ve picked up.
Additionally (though it was very subtle), I enjoyed the little glimpse of Aang in this episode when we see a photo of him at the seaside island as an adult air bending his food. Not only do we get to see Aang as a man once more, but we see that he was still every bit a goofball as he was when he was a kid.
Another thing I liked? While everyone likens this episode to ATLA Season 2, Episode 7: “Zuko Alone,” I actually liken it more to ATLA Season 2, Episode 4: “The Swamp.” Why? Well, they both take place in the The Swamp (duh!) and they both involve characters encountering apparitions of someone they lost (in ATLA Katara sees her dead mom, Sokka sees a “dead” Yue, in Korra, Korra sees the Avatar State she can no longer attain). But last and painfully obvious of all, The Swamp led the Avatar, not once, but twice to the laughing blind bender girl, Toph.
I totally love that we meet the third and final living member of the original Team Avatar. And what’s more, Toph calls Korra “Twinkle Toes,” her nickname for Aang during ATLA.
Final thoughts: I definitely like where this season is going. Considering that Korra’s at a stage in her self-discovery where tough love (and maybe some bad ass earth bending techniques that will help her later fight Kuvira) is needed, pairing Korra up with Toph seems about right. Toph can give Korra a lesson in the benefits of being a loner as well as having a support system. And let’s face it, we’re all wondering if Toph is going to spill the beans on who her baby daddies are.
That’s all that I’ve got for my “post-cap” this week. Check in next Saturday when I dig into next Friday’s episode “The Coronation.”
What did you think of Legend of Korra Book 4, Episode 2: “Korra Alone”? Let’s talk about it in the comments or chat about it on Twitter.