In Episode Three, The Coronation, Kuvira launches a military coup and installs herself as ruler of a new Earth Empire.
Korra, meanwhile, has been led by a spirit into a forest in the back of beyond to a metal bender who she hopes will help her to reconnect with her avatar self.
The metal bender is an old woman named Toph Beifong (mother of Lin Beifong, a prominent character in the previous three series but seen only briefly so far in Series IV); she tries to train Korra but fails.
Something is holding Korra back.
Toph identifies this as a residue of the poison given to the Avatar by the Red Lotus during their final showdown in the last series. She tries to remove it but Korra – even though she doesn’t mean to – resists her efforts.
At the end of the episode, Toph tells Korra with great disgust that only she – Korra – can remove the poison: if she wants to, for perhaps she doesn’t; perhaps she wants it to remain within her so that she has an excuse not to be the avatar again, to avoid being hurt again.
Given how badly Korra was hurt by the Red Lotus, this makes perfect sense.
No wonder she is in a state of despair, for despite not wanting to get hurt again, Korra feels obliged as the Avatar to put herself at risk for the sake of the world.
And yet, as Toph says, the world doesn’t need her. She may catch criminals but the streets will always remain dirty.
Korra is in a terrible bind but we are very lucky. What is unfolding here is a very sophisticated story. And it is sophisticated not only because of the themes that are being discussed but because it discusses them also in a very simple way.
This means that the series may be watched by children and adults alike who can both enjoy it on their own level.
Today, 22nd November 2015, is the 52nd anniversary of the death of C. S. Lewis. He once wrote that the best fairy tales are those which are able to be read by both children and adults. The Coronation demonstrates to me that The Legend of Korra meets this criteria.