Though very simple and streamlined, “Battle of Zaofu” quickly and epically placed itself as the top episode of Book Four so far.
The opening alone was super cool, showing Su and her sons trying to take out Kuvira at night. Stealth missions are something we rarely see in this series, so having them do one was really fun. Especially when Su did a scan of the area Toph style to see if Kuvira was in there.
Predictably she was not, which set up the main story for the episode, Korra vs. Kuvira. Before I touch on the battle though, I want to note how Korra again tried to do the peaceful route instead of just going in guns (or in this case Bending) blazing. It was also cool how Jinora and Opal acting as her angel and devil voices. One preaching peace, while the other was demanding action.
Now, onto the battle!
This matchup was intense, even though it was incredibly one-sided. It’s important in a show like this to have enemies who are as good or better than the Avatar, else Korra (or Aang) come off as unstoppable. And that was exactly what Korra wasn’t here. Call it her not being 100%, call it her being rusty, Korra got owned. Kuvira manhandled her with attacks of both the earth and metal variety. While Korra couldn’t land a single hit until she went into the Avatar State. Which you would think would mean she would win, but…
Nega-Korra returned! Whatever rhyme or reason may not be known yet, but Nega-Korra’s return marked her doomed, as she was soon defeated. All wasn’t totally lost though, as Opal and Jinora went hurricane to save her. This callback to what they did in the Book Three finale was epic, especially as we saw the range the attack had, and what it was doing to the mechs.
Korra and the others did manage to escape, but Zaofu fell. And now Kuvira’s Empire is complete. So…what now?
The answer technically came from the other storyline starring Varrick and Bolin. Who were forced to create the spirit weapon for Kuvira. It was hilarious to see Varrick carry on without Zhu-Li, all the while still acting like she never left. “I never had to tell Zhu-Li what to do.”
No doubt the best part of the episode was when Varrick went crazy (or was it sane?) and rigged a bomb to blow up the train, the vines, and him and Bolin. If it had truly been their end, it would’ve been an epic way to go. Thankfully, Bolin saved them at the last minute, and now they’ll be in play to stop Kuvira’s plot.
In the end, “Battle of Zaofu” was the truly highlight of the season. An epic duel, a daring getaway, a suicide (almost!) bomb, and the stakes again being raised, it was all top notch. So as I asked before, what now?