There’s nothing like a little Toph love to test your mettle.
I admit those puns were awful. I’m just ecstatic to see Toph return to the onscreen Avatar universe. She’s an undeniable fan favorite from The Last Airbender, and it’s great to see her brusque approach to training and particular spunk introduced to The Legend of Korra.
Speaking of which, how does the Avatar fare under the tutelage of “The Original Beifong”? During their swamp bonding session, Toph slams her around without much effort – hilariously pleased with herself for doing so – while Korra struggles futilely to fight back.
As the Blind Bandit dryly reveals, it doesn’t help that Korra still has some of the metal Red Lotus venom in her body. Leave it to Toph to drop such an important detail with complete apathy. The writers have kept her character exactly the same and it gives the sequel series a fantastic nostalgic touch.
Korra’s inability to relax hinders Toph’s efforts to extract the metal. Naturally, she gives up in a huff and leaves it for Korra to do herself. I sense the showrunners are punting that resolution forward to either the middle or end of Book Four.
At New York Comic Con a few weeks ago, Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino offered a peek at images featuring Korra in an updated version of her water tribe outfit. They also shared their desire to make her look more distinctly heroic as she resumes the mantle of the Avatar. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to the moment in which Korra triumphantly
unlocks the seventh chakra pulls the venom from her veins and opens her eyes to confirm her restored Avatar State.
This episode is called “The Coronation,” so I’d be remiss not to mention its titular event. Price Wu arrives in Ba Sing Se to take his seat on the Earth Kingdom throne. Kuvira is in tow, and the military leader wastes no time before unmasking herself as a full-on fascist. After the world leaders crown Wu in a depressingly low-key ceremony, Kuvira takes the microphone to “share a few words with the world.”
So much for the monarchy. Kuvira immediately dismisses Wu’s position, crushes the Kyoshi Medal of Freedom in her palm and declares the Earth Kingdom an “Earth Empire.” Kuvira’s got soldiers and resources to spare and a thirst for control; I sense war on the horizon.
The episode’s final scene seems to indicate the approach of a major military industrial conflict. Kuvira orders Varrick and her army to work on some unidentified technology involving a root extracted from the Spirit Wilds. Perhaps Kuvira will mount an attack on the spirit world? A disruption of spiritual harmony would force Korra back into the role of Avatar once again.
Mako confronts Bolin about his allegiance to Kuvira after she makes her splash. Bolin addresses Mako’s concerns. For now, however, he remains firmly aligned with Kuvira. Even though the exchange feels oddly immature, Bolin tells Mako off by mocking his status as Wu’s bodyguard. This argument plants seeds for what could be a strong thread this season: truly testing the bond between brothers. I hope the writers continue to explore these more intimate issues as the larger political conflict takes the fore.
I’m completely onboard with Kuvira’s character thus far. She holds a sinister presence onscreen, and this episode spends a shot to show her flash an evil sneer. She’s fearless, calculated and strong. This episode casts her as an apt foil for Korra, a dynamic that should enhance the drama in their inevitable confrontation.
The Avatar will have to break from her typical headstrong nature when she finally does take Kuvira on. Korra is infamous for bursting into action without a plan, but here she will have to tread carefully. There’s treacherous ground ahead.