After an unfortunate filler episode with “Remembrances”, The Legend of Korra bounced back quite powerfully with “Beyond The Wilds”. Delivering not only the push this season needed as it heads to its finale, but also truly concluding one of its most important threads.
It’s quite easy to love “Beyond The Wilds”, if for no other reason than there’s so much going on in it. Not the least of which was the unexpected twist of The Spirit Wilds in Republic City attacking people. And though no “true” explanation was given for why, it’s not hard to surmise that Kuvira’s attack in the swamp is causing the vines to lash out in Republic City, since they can’t destroy her forces in the swamp. Which reminds me…where’s Toph?
Back on point, after Korra figures out what Kuvira’s doing, she headed straight for the leaders of the world. Which led to the first true arrival of Fire Lord Izumi (aka Zuko’s daughter). She had been relegated to the background for most of the series, so hearing her talk about matters of the world was great. Especially when she refused to be a part of an strike team against Kuvira. Not because she didn’t believe what Kuvira was doing was wrong, but because she didn’t want her nation being thrown into another war. That’s an important distinction, and one that brings an air of both command, and compassion. The latter of which was also shown when she agreed to be a defending force instead of an offensive one.
However, this episode was truly about Korra finally getting over her funk in regards to both the Avatar State and her spiritual state. And I have no doubt that fans will rejoice at the return of fan-favorite villain Zaheer, complete with epic beard once again.
Not only was it great to see Zaheer, it was great to see he was still more-or-less the same guy we left when Korra beat him last season. He still believes in anarchy, and the thought that he “created” Kuvira haunted him greatly, so much so that he agreed to help Korra. But truly though, what I really appreciate was how much like a true Airbender he sounded like when he gave advice to Korra. Save for Tenzin, Zaheer may just be the most zen Airbender there is, so who better than him to help Korra?
Korra’s flashbacks to the fight with Zaheer have been a focus much of the season, but here we really got the reasoning behind why she kept having them. It wasn’t that she was afraid of it per se, she feared that there was something she could’ve done to change the outcome, instead of accepting what happened and moving on. Once she did, Raava came back, and the Avatar was truly reborn.
A couple of important side stories happened with “Beyond The Wilds” as well. First off, Bolin and Varrick FINALLY returned to Republic City to relay what Kuvira was up to. Which led to a tearful reunion with Mako and Korra…and a not so tearful reunion with Opal.
Relationships have an issue with fans in regards to The Legend of Korra and how they are handled. For me, the best relationship they’ve had the whole series is Bolin and Opal, and that was solidified here. Both of them were shown acting very humanly, and not overdramatic (like certain OTHER relationships). Opal has every right to be mad at Bolin, and Bolin has every right to try and make it up to Opal for what he did. His line about “never going to stop trying to win you back” was very beautiful. And now he, along with Beifong and Opal, are heading to Zao Fu to free Su and the others.
Varrick got to have some laughs as he was “welcomed back with open arms”. As both he and Asami were contracted to find a way to stop Kuvira’s superweapon. As funny as Varrick was, it was funnier to see Asami nearly break his hand as she warned him not to try and double-cross her again!
There were some small down moments for “Beyond The Wilds” that’d I be remiss in not mentioning. Wu was back…enough said. And while I like the whole “not accepting what happened” thing in regards to Zaheer, it seemed an almost too simple solution with how it played out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Korra is back to 100% (or so it seems), is just raises questions about certain things that happened to her.
In the end though, “Beyond The Wilds” was The Legend of Korra episode we both needed AND deserved. Everything is back on point, and with only a few episodes left it needed to be. So as we begin our journey to the finale we can take heart in knowing that this is probably going to be as epic as we want it to be.