The Legend of Korra IV.9+10

Beyond the Wilds

Operation Beifong

After the odd stand-alone episode of Remembrances we are thrown back into the fight against the would-be world conqueror, Kuvira.

In Beyond the Wilds, Korra – still haunted by her dark self – visits Zaheer in prison in the belief that by facing him down she will free herself of his influence.

And what do you know – it works, albeit, not in quite the way she might have expected.

At first the meeting goes badly, with the former leader of the Red Lotus still exerting his baleful influence over Korra until she mentions that he has ‘created the worst dictator the earth kingdom has ever seen’.

This changes Zaheer. He becomes Korra’s ally, taking her into the Spirit World where she is able to accept what he did to her at the end of the third series and be restored to her former strong state of being.

Well, almost; in a rather neat touch, it is made clear that Korra will always bear the scars of what happened. In the future, however, they will not be a weakness but a strength.

At this point you might be wondering why Zaheer – previously Korra’s implacable enemy – suddenly becomes her ally.

Given how he changes immediately after Korra’s accusation, it might be thought that he feels guilty about creating the menace of Kuvira.

After the accusation, Zaheer says that he has heard rumours about her, and that he didn’t know she had become so powerful. It is at this point that he says ‘she needs to be stopped’.

This gives me the impression that Zaheer is not thinking about his role in Kuvira’s ‘creation’ but that she has taken the wrong path afterwards.

And by ‘wrong path’ I mean a bad path. It is very clear from Zaheer’s reaction to Korra’s biting words that he does not approve of Kuvira’s dictatorship.

I wonder, therefore, if prison has changed him. As he tells Korra, he has spent most of his time in prison  there meditating and visiting the Spirit World. Perhaps his experience of doing so has given him a better perspective on life.

Operation Beifong is a straight forward rescue episode. Lin Beifong, Opal and Bolin travel to Zaofu to try and rescue Lin’s sister, Suyin. They are joined by Lin and Suyin’s estranged mother, Toph, which ultimately turns the rescue mission into not just a rescue of bodies but hearts as well as mother and daughters are reconciled. This theme is complimented by Bolin finally winning back Opal’s heart (having lost it through working for Kuvira).

A really interesting feature of this episode, however, is Varrick’s refusal to build a spirit-vine weapon for Republic City. But Kuvira has one! Raiko, the President says. Varrick, however, knows how dangerous the weapons are and is having none of it.

It really doesn’t need saying that not all progress is good but I have a feeling not enough people know it. Varrick’s refusal to copy Kuvira is not only brave but profoundly moral.

It’s funny that in both Beyond the Wilds and Operation Beifong the greatest good is done by two characters, one known only for his wickedness, and another for being simply morally dubious.

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