The latest episode of Legend of Korra (which can be viewed at Nick.com here) was both epic, powerful, and a casts a big foreshadowing…shadow, on things to come.
The title alone, “Long Live the Queen”, should’ve been an indication that something was going to happen to our (not so beloved) Earth Queen, especially given the proclamation that Zaheer made to Korra last week in the Spirit World. And boy did something happen…
But let’s get to the other parts first shall we?
Picking up right where we left off, Korra and Asami were brought aboard an airship on route to Ba Sing Se. I forgot to mention last week that Korra was bound in an epic Hannibal Lector type stretcher, complete with mask, it’s a nice touch to show both cultural reference, and how much the guards feared her.
With Korra unable to save the day, it was up to Asami to free them, and boy did she ever! Asami has been the one member of Team Avatar who seemingly gets the short end of the stick more times than not. Yet here, she not only saves Korra, but she uses her brains and skills to get them out of numerous trying situations. What situations? Well…
After freeing Korra, they (and by “they” I mean Korra, who else?) accidently crash the air ship and get stranded in the desert with the four officers in charge of the ship. Not a friendly bunch right off the bat. Yet with the options of fix the ship, wait for another ship, or get eaten by a monster (more on that in a bit), they had to work together to get the ship back to shape. And who took point on that? Asami!
And just when you thought it was going to be alright…out pops a giant sand shark (literally, see picture below) to tear it in half. I want to note how one of the men said that since Korra opened the portals, that the spirits have been investing the deserting. We saw spirits last week in the desert as well. I wonder if we’ll see more as time goes on.
Anyway, with their massive air ship gone, Asami (taking the lead again, hooray!) advises them to make a sand sail to get away. The following chase between the crew and the sandshark was tense right up until the very end. Beautifully drawn and paced, it was something fun to watch. And it was yet another reference to The Last Airbender, which I know fans will appreciate.
Ok, let’s get to the heart of the matter ok? Bolin and Mako were captured by Zaheer and the Red Lotus (STILL prefer Team Anti-Avatar), and also headed to Ba Sing Se. What was curious though, was that instead of just handing them over and then taking out the Earth Queen like we thought they would, Zaheer played the diplomat card and offered a trade. Mako, Bolin, and the location of the Airbenders, in exchange for Korra.
It’s in moments like these that Zaheer really shows his depth as a character. We knew he wanted to take out the Earth Queen, yet he passes on it to try and get Korra. And not only that, he knew how to get what he wanted, and played the Earth Queen perfectly with a tone of respect and politeness…
…yeah, we all knew it wasn’t going to last. When Zaheer learns that Korra busted out of the air ship, he goes on the offensive. And when the Earth Queen tries to have him apprehended, they strike out and take down everyone in the room. Save for the Earth Queen of course.
What was to follow was hands down the most chilling moment possibly in Avatar history. Greater than Aang almost dying by Azula’s hand, more impactful than Tarrlok killing himself and his brother. Zaheer used his Airbending to remove the oxygen from the Earth Queen’s body. All the while delivering a powerful speech further cementing his ideology.
It would be very easy for them to have downplayed the death, doing it offscreen, hiding her body and focusing on Zaheer, etc. Instead, they go full force into it, showing what the lack of oxygen was doing to her, right up until the end.
Not to let that moment be the defining one, Zaheer took the microphone (not unlike Amon did) and proclaimed that the Earth Queen was no more, and that Ba Sing Se now belonged to the people. This notion made form by Ghazan breaking down one of the dividing walls in the city.
As we learn via broadcast, Ba Sing Se is now in a state of full chaos, just like Zaheer wanted. Riots, looting, disorder. How far will it go? I don’t know, but it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.
The only downpart of this episode was the Bolin/Mako storyline. To be fair, they were captives, and thus didn’t have much to do. Bolin’s hilarious back and forth with Ghazan and Ming-Hua was hilarious, and all the while true to Bolin’s character, (Hey, Bolin, will you STOP trying to be friends with the bad guys?”).
The problem came when they were in the cells. The interaction with the prisoner next to them was great, but Mako trying to motivate Bolin to Metalbend…not so much. His repeating words of “This is your time!”, and “I know you can do it!” was very cheesy, and also a lie of sorts. Bolin has constantly said, and then reiterated, that he couldn’t Metalbend, despite how hard he tried. I know they were desperate, but Mako should have (and eventually did) thought of a more sure way for them to get out instead of pressuring Bolin.
For the record, I do believe he’ll Metalbend this season, but it was obvious it wasn’t going to be in that instance.
As the end of the episode came, Asami and Korra returned to the Misty Palms Oasis with everyone intact. The Captain even gave Korra his blessing to leave and saluted her in respect. He even bought his men drinks! (“Sir, have we been out in the desert too long, or is that a dragon?”)
Korra soon reunited with Lin, who was with Tonraq and Zuko! They revealed to her what happened to the Earth Queen, and she told them that this was only the beginning…again.
In the end, “Long Live the Earth Queen” will no doubt go down as one of the most powerful episodes in TLA and LOK history because of the literally death of the Earth Queen. With Ba Sing Se in chaos, Korra and crew now in route, and Zaheer waiting for them, the last three episodes will no doubt be must watch. Let’s just hope they keep the story as strong as they have it now.