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TheAnguishedOne

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While we lost some good, what's here still makes up for it. Korra's arc is still progressing nicely, and I'm down with General Iroh and Hua sticking around.

Look at that, you addressed my ultimate issue with Amon: him just using his movement to gain power. Non-benders feeling like they're a disadvantage is a totally realistic source of tension that would come up in this world, so a movement based around that belief made sense to me... which is why it was so annoying for Amon to just be using that belief to get power. Even if he's a bender, him agreeing with that mentality was way more interesting than just him being a standard power-hungry villain.
 

zenphoenix

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While we lost some good, what's here still makes up for it. Korra's arc is still progressing nicely, and I'm down with General Iroh and Hua sticking around.

Look at that, you addressed my ultimate issue with Amon: him just using his movement to gain power. Non-benders feeling like they're a disadvantage is a totally realistic source of tension that would come up in this world, so a movement based around that belief made sense to me... which is why it was so annoying for Amon to just be using that belief to get power. Even if he's a bender, him agreeing with that mentality was way more interesting than just him being a standard power-hungry villain.
I was under the impression that Amon genuinely believed in his movement and that bending was a plague on the world. Tarrlok says that when he tells his story to Korra, and he has no reason to lie about that. But I guess it wasn't communicated that well, so I made it very unambiguous here.
 

zenphoenix

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Legend of Korra - Book 3: Change
(Spoilers for most of OTL Book 3.)​

The opening credits feature Kuvira, Iroh, Kanna, and Sakari bending the elements. There are scenes of Ba Sing Se, Omashu, Kyoshi Island, and eventually Zaofu.

Two weeks after the defeat of the Red Lanterns, Cranefish City slowly rebuilds. Korra continues restoring people’s bending, but the general public grows impatient, and many benders demand to have their powers restored quickly. Furthermore, some of the plants infused with spirit energy have grown to large sizes, engulfing entire buildings and sometimes neighborhoods and forcing residents to evacuate. Meanwhile, remnant Red Lantern cells and resurgent triads wreak havoc in neighborhoods affected by the spirit-infused plants and where the overextended police department can’t reach. As a result, Korra’s poll ratings drop to single digits, frustrating her.

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A part of Cranefish City overrun by spirit-infused plants

To take her mind off things, Korra hangs out with Asami, who teaches her how to drive a car and takes her around the city. Asami notices Korra isn’t as hotheaded as she was when she first arrived in Cranefish City. Korra replies the last few months have taught her patience. Having been stuck with only airbending for so long, she not only adapted her fighting style to now focus on airbending instead of firebending, but she has also adapted some of the mindset of the Air Nomads. They find they have much in common with each other.

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Korra and Asami bonding over driving

On Air Temple Island, Bumi tries to reconcile with Iroh and bond with Tenzin’s children. In the process, he accidentally falls off a cliff but unexpectedly saves himself with airbending, which shocks Tenzin and his family. Mako and Lin investigate similar cases across the city where people have spontaneously begun airbending. Unable to control their powers, some have accidentally caused property damage. Tenzin believes this may be a result of Harmonic Convergence. Realizing this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to restore the Air Nomads as Aang would have wanted, he convinces Korra and her friends to help recruit these new airbenders and teach them the ways of the Air Nomads. Although Raiko is unable to help out as he is busy rebuilding the city and fighting against the Red Lantern remnants, Asami lends them an airship to fly around the world in. Korra talks to Aang, who is overjoyed to hear there are more airbenders now. Zaheer breaks into a wooden White Lotus prison in the middle of the ocean and frees his friend Ghazan, an earthbender who can melt earth into lava.

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Zaheer breaks Ghazan out

After picking up a couple airbenders in Yu Dao, Tenzin takes the airship to Kyoshi Island, where Yue introduces her daughter Kanna, current leader of the Kyoshi Warriors and now an airbender, and Kanna’s sister Sakari, a waterbender. Kanna is more analytical and tactical-minded, coming up with detailed plans of attack for her warriors, while Sakari is more humorous and sarcastic, improvising her own plans with the resources she has. While Kanna offers to join them, she declines Tenzin’s offer to become an Air Nomad, having found her calling leading the warriors, though she will accompany them around the Earth Kingdom. Asami learns the self-defense classes she was enrolled in as a kid taught a variant of the warriors’ fighting style, and Sakari trains her in actual Kyoshi Warrior styles. Sakari reunites with Hua, who had befriended her when Iroh’s fleet visited several years ago. Tenzin reflects on riding the elephant koi fish in the bay with Aang many years ago, but his kids want none of it. Korra learns about Avatar Kyoshi’s life. Yue shares stories of Suki’s exploits. Unfortunately, she passed away several years after Sokka died. Looking at Sokka’s meteorite-forged sword, Kanna hopes to get her own sword one day to follow in his footsteps. Meanwhile, Zaheer and Ghazan break into a volcano prison and free Ming-Hua, an armless waterbender. This alerts Kiyi and a retired Zuko, who arrive on Zuko’s dragon Druk. They warn Tonraq about Zaheer, and they head to Agna Qel’a, where the last member of Zaheer’s gang is imprisoned by Tonraq’s estranged brother, Chief Unalaq, a traditionalist who dislikes his brother’s secularization and modernization of the southern tribe.

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Lord Zuko arrives with Kiyi (not pictured)

The team continues across the Earth Kingdom, finding several more airbenders. Almost nobody joins them as they are unwilling to abandon their lives to become Air Nomads. In Omashu, they recruit a young orphaned thief named Kai. Seeing some of his past in Kai, Mako decides to be a mentor figure to him, but Kai is initially unwilling to stop stealing stuff, although he does if Jinora, his crush, tells him to. Tenzin goes to Ba Sing Se, where the most reports of airbenders comes from. There, the Earth Queen Hou-Ting, daughter of Earth King Kuei, receives them. Hou-Ting is nothing like her timid father. Instead, she is demanding and spiteful, particularly towards Korra, Tenzin, and Iroh. She believes Aang and Zuko manipulated Kuei into ceding resource-rich Earth Kingdom territory to create their “puppet Commonwealth,” and she will not be bullied by the Avatar or the Fire Nation like he was. So before she can show them where the airbenders are, she orders Korra to collect taxes from a nearby town. Korra and Asami collect the taxes while fighting off bandits who justifiably accuse the queen of corruption, leading Korra to wonder if she is on the right side. When they return, Hou-Ting orders them to leave. Korra protests, but Hou-Ting threatens to use the Dai Li secret police, now directly under her control, to forcibly expel them. Korra wonders why Kyoshi created the Dai Li.

Mako and Bolin catch Kai stealing again, but he tricks them onto a one-way train ride to the Lower Ring, where the poorest townspeople live. There, they unexpectedly run into their extended family, whom they lost contact with when their parents were killed. Their grandmother, Jin (Zuko’s date from long ago), welcomes them back into the family. Back in the Upper Ring, Kai continues stealing from the rich with airbending, but he is arrested by the Dai Li and put in a secret training facility with the city's airbenders, who were conscripted into Hou-Ting’s army. At the North Pole, Zuko, Kiyi, Tonraq, and Unalaq attempt to fight off Zaheer’s assault but fail, and the gang frees Zaheer’s girlfriend, a combustion bender named P’Li, who lays waste to the four masters and Druk with her explosive combusion blasts.

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Druk takes a combustion blast from P'Li point blank

Mako and Bolin learn the Earth Queen is conscripting anyone believed to be an airbender. They rush back to the Upper Ring to tell the others. Jinora suspects the airbenders are being held at the old Dai Li facility underneath Lake Laogai, but when they reach the lake, they find the facility had been abandoned for decades. Iroh comes across a familiar “Blue Spirit” mask he quietly takes. Kanna suggests another plan. She would airbend and get herself captured by the Dai Li, and the others would follow her to Kai and the airbenders. Lin arrives to warn of Zaheer. Tenzin is shocked to hear Zaheer is now an airbender, and Yue is absolutely terrified, but Korra doesn’t know why this is important. Lin, Tenzin, and Yue launch into an episode-long flashback to shortly after Korra was found to be the Avatar. When she was little, Zaheer and his gang attempted to kidnap her, but they were defeated by Tonraq, Unalaq, Zuko, Kiyi, Sokka, Suki, Yue (then a Kyoshi Warrior), Tenzin, Kya, and Lin. While fighting Zaheer, Sokka was killed and Suki severely injured, leading to her retirement from the Kyoshi Warriors. As a result, the White Lotus built the compound to protect Korra, and Yue was left with the trauma of being unable to save Sokka. The four were imprisoned and interrogated, but they never revealed their motives. Lin warns Zaheer’s group is dangerous and will try to capture her again. Korra refuses to hide, especially when there are airbenders on the line.

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(I used this short comic by u/kkachi95 as my canon for what happened in “the incident.” Spoiler tag for readability.)

Kanna executes her plan and is captured. The others follow her to the facility and force their way inside, freeing Kai and the airbenders. On the way out, they are accosted by more Dai Li agents and Hou-Ting, who orders Korra to hand over the airbenders. She threatens to consider this an act of war by the Commonwealth. Korra refuses to back down. Asami flies the airship over the palace, and everyone escapes. Leaving the city, Tenzin gives the airbenders a choice between returning to their old lives or joining him not as Air Nomads but as themselves, recognizing he can’t force his culture on anyone. The airbenders all join him. After dropping off Tenzin, Bumi, and Yue at the Northern Air Temple to teach the airbenders, Lin intends to take Korra back to Cranefish City for her safety, but Korra receives a report of an airbender in Zaofu, a city founded by metalbenders. Against Lin’s protests, Asami sets a course for Zaofu to pick up the airbender. Meanwhile, Zaheer infiltrates Air Temple Island, disguising himself by shaving his head.

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Team Avatar arrives at Zaofu

Korra is amazed to see Zaofu is a city made almost entirely of metal, with skyscrapers as tall and numerous as in Cranefish City, but Lin asks Korra to not tell anyone about her. Korra and her friends meet Suyin, the founder of Zaofu, whose daughter Opal is the airbender. With the help of her truth-seer, Aiwei, Suyin figures out Korra lied about Lin, revealing they are sisters. She confronts Lin, who refuses to make amends for a past incident. Korra meets Opal. Bolin is smitten by her, and to impress her he asks her brothers to teach him metalbending. Korra teaches Opal the basics of airbending. Suyin convinces Lin to join her and the others, including Varrick and Zhu Li (now her leading researchers working on new energy sources), for dinner, but they get into an argument, and Lin storms off. Suyin tells Korra their disagreement stemmed from when they were teenagers. While Lin followed in Toph’s footsteps and became a police officer, Suyin was rebellious and left home to travel the world. Eventually she married her husband, Bataar, and together they built Zaofu as a progressive city free from outdated kings and queens. At Air Temple Island, Kya recognizes Zaheer. She attempts to arrest him, but Zaheer fights her off and escapes, having learned Tenzin and the airbenders are at the temple.

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Korra teaches Opal airbending

Bolin tries metalbending but fails. Opal improves at airbending, learning alongside Kanna. When Suyin realizes Lin never taught Korra metalbending, she teaches her, and Korra quickly picks it up. Korra continues practicing with Suyin’s adopted daughter Kuvira, leader of Zaofu’s security forces. The two hit it off, Korra seeing much of her old brash self in Kuvira and Kuvira drawn to Korra’s willpower.

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Kuvira

Korra notices a fierce sibling rivalry between Opal and Kuvira. Asami talks with Bataar II, Kuvira’s fiancé and Suyin’s youngest child, about being non-benders. Bataar II complains about being in his father’s shadow, causing his many technical achievements to be ignored, and overlooked because all of his siblings are now benders after Opal gained airbending. Asami fends off harassment from the guard Guan, a metalbender supremacist who takes Zaofu's futurist ideals to the extreme and looks down on her as a non-bender. Lin suffers severe stress and undergoes acupuncture to relieve it, which evokes memories of her teenage years and a falling out with Suyin which led to their estrangement. She confronts Suyin about their past, and after a lengthy metalbending fight, they apologize and make amends. Suyin lets Opal go to the temple. In Cranefish City, Kya warns Raiko about Zaheer. Raiko locks down the city, but Zaheer’s gang fight their way out anyways, learning Korra is in Zaofu.

At the temple, Tenzin and Bumi continue teaching the airbenders the ways of the Air Nomads. Jinora and Kai grow closer while they work together to save wild sky bison from poachers hired by Hou-Ting. The other airbenders slowly hone their skills, although they take longer to learn Air Nomad culture. Kya and Pema arrive to warn them about Zaheer. Yue asks Tenzin to evacuate the airbenders on Asami’s airship, which arrived with Opal, but Tenzin believes Zaheer wouldn’t attack them since he has no reason to. At Zaofu, Zaheer’s gang sneaks in, drugs Korra, and captures her. Bolin notices them and calls for backup. Kuvira and Guan’s metalbenders surround Zaheer's gang, but Ghazan liquefies the ground while P’li blasts them with explosions.

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The battle devolves into trench warfare, with Mako, Bolin, Suyin, and Kuvira taking cover behind metal barricades to defend against P’li’s explosions and Ming-Hua’s water attacks. Ghazan gradually pushes them back as he liquefies the ground under them. Kanna devises a plan to break the stalemate. She has Bolin launch a pebble at P’li’s forehead to stun her and prevent her from firing. Iroh then uses his firebending to fly over the lava and attack at close range, while Mako uses his lightning to pin down Ming-Hua. Hua and Kanna cool down the lava with a combination of firebending the heat out and fan-boosted airbending. Lin and Suyin drop down from one of Zaofu’s airships and recover Korra. Realizing they lost, Zaheer’s gang escapes.

The next day, Suyin and Kuvira order the city locked down, realizing Zaheer must have had inside help. Aiwei questions Kuvira’s guards and eventually implicates one of them. But Varrick, who has experience framing people (as Asami, Mako, and Bolin are too familiar with), has his doubts, suspecting the guard was framed. Mako realizes if anybody in the city can keep a secret, it would be Aiwei himself. They confront Aiwei at his house, but he escapes, revealing his betrayal. Following a lead found by Kuvira and Bataar II, Korra and her friends track him to the Misty Palms Oasis and stake out his hotel room, but Korra realizes Aiwei is meeting and sharing information with Zaheer in the spirit world, which was how he knew she would be in Zaofu. She meditates into the spirit world and with Uncle Iroh’s help finds their rendezvous point in time to see Zaheer throw Aiwei’s spirit into the Fog of Lost Souls to cover up his loose end.


Not wanting to kill Korra yet, Zaheer explains his goals to her. They are part of the Red Lotus, an offshoot of the White Lotus which believes the White Lotus was corrupted from its original ideals after the Hundred Year War. The Red Lotus aims to return the world to its natural state, one of chaos, and Zaheer plans to achieve this by tearing down tyrannical governments like the Earth Queen’s regime. While Korra agrees Hou-Ting is a tyrant, she thinks killing her will only cause chaos. But Zaheer insists true freedom can only be achieved that way. And she forgets she is also one such oppressive authority. The Avatar doesn’t earn their power but is born with them. Past Avatars affected the world in negative ways. Kuruk neglected his duties and died young, plunging the world into chaos. Kyoshi established the Dai Li and didn’t bother to stop Chin the Conqueror until he tried to conquer her home. Roku failed to kill Sozin, leading to the Hundred Year War. Aang was frozen in ice for a hundred years, letting the Fire Nation rampage all over the world, and is responsible for the current White Lotus and propping up the monarchies of the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom. He aims to fix that. Originally their goal was to raise Korra as one of their own (with the attack where Sokka died their attempt to abduct her), but since that failed, they will have to eliminate her too, but not now. While stalling in the spirit world, Zaheer tells the Red Lotus her location in the physical world, and they attack. Mako and Bolin are captured, Iroh, Hua, and Kanna escape, and Asami tries to escape with Korra but is captured by the Earth Kingdom army.

Leaving the spirit world, Zaheer delivers Mako and Bolin to Hou-Ting, who throws them in her personal dungeon, in exchange for her handing over Korra when she arrives. Mako urges Bolin to metalbend so they can escape, but he fails again. When Korra wakes up, Asami breaks them out of their cells. They attempt to seize control of the airship they are on, but it crashes in the Si Wong Desert, and they form a temporary truce with the airship crew to repair the ship. Returning to the oasis, they meet Zuko, Kiyi, Tonraq, Unalaq, and Lin. In Ba Sing Se, Zaheer learns of Korra’s escape and realizes Hou-Ting won’t be able to keep her end of the deal. So he moves on to his next plan. The Red Lotus storms the palace and destroys the Dai Li, and Zaheer uses airbending to brutally asphyxiate Hou-Ting to death, declaring her reign of terror is over and the people will be free again, like the wind.

1614055302279.jpeg

"You think freedom is something that you can give or take on a whim. But to your people, freedom is just as essential as air. And without it, there is no life. There is only...death."

He broadcasts a message declaring the Earth Queen’s tyranny has died with her, and the people of Ba Sing Se are now free to choose their own destiny. Ghazan uses lavabending to destroy the walls dividing the Lower, Middle, and Upper Rings, and the city, and soon the entire kingdom, descends into chaos. Having tailed the Red Lotus to Ba Sing Se, Iroh, Hua, and Kanna free Mako and Bolin.

The season ends with Korra and Asami learning of Hou-Ting’s death and the rest of their friends emerging from the dungeon to see the chaos engulfing Ba Sing Se, setting up the beginning of Book 4.

---

This is very similar to OTL Book 3, only I’ve added Kanna and expanded Kuvira’s appearances to more than just cameos in the background. She would be promoted as and considered a main character in this season. I liked writing Kuvira as a friend to Korra as this begins a character arc that will continue over the next three seasons.

Unalaq appears but as a morally gray good guy. I think this is where Unalaq’s character shines the most, in addressing the conflict between tradition and modernity, best exemplified in him and his brother and the two tribes they rule. Although Tonraq was still exiled to the South, Unalaq here had nothing to do with it, and although he is a little jealous Tonraq is the Avatar’s father, Unalaq won’t hesitate to help his family out where needed. Yue may have other things to say about him, though, which I'll address in Book 5.

Kanna is a pretty interesting character I added, in my opinion. She’s the granddaughter of Sokka and Suki and daughter of Yue. She wears a Kyoshi Warrior outfit and is the group’s tactician. She is slowly learning how to incorporate airbending into her fighting style. I picture her as looking somewhere in between Suki and Katara, leaning towards Suki, with slightly longer hair than Suki. Her sister Sakari (added even later to the story as a recurring character, and what I would've named Kanna if I had remembered that name) more resembles Sokka and Katara and has Sokka’s sense of humor.

And yes, I do know the grandma’s name is Yin, not Jin, but I changed it here because I thought it would be a funny reference.
 
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TWR97

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A few changes here and there, many callbacks to the og series (Good to know the Space sword was found after all) and certain characters having different plotlines. I like that bit on Iroh finding the Blue Spirit mask. I take it you have plans for addressing that bit on Zuko's legacy eh? I'm glad Aang got to see the reemergence of Airbenders too, Korra losing her connections to her past lives was a bummer tbh. I take it we'll be seeing more of Unalaq in later seasons. Quite liked what you've done with the Red Lotus arc too and simply saving there confrontation for the next season. Can't wait to see the last remaining member of OG Team Avatar make her appearance (Assuming book 4 roughly follows OTL that is)
 
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zenphoenix

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A few changes here and there, many callbacks to the og series (Good to know the Space sword was found after all) and certain characters having different plotlines. I like that bit on Iroh finding the Blue Spirit mask. I take it you have plans for addressing that bit on Zuko's legacy eh? I'm glad Aang got to see the reemergence of Airbenders too, Korra losing her connections to her past lives was a bummer tbh. I take it we'll be seeing more of Unalaq in later seasons. Quite liked what you've done with the Red Lotus arc too and simply saving there confrontation for the next season. Can't wait to see the last remaining member of OG Team Avatar make her appearance (Assuming book 4 roughly follows OTL that is)
If you read the first update closely, you'll notice Book 6 will have a lot of Fire Nation in it...;)

The past lives thing was a bummer, yes, but I made my peace with it. Still, I wanted more interactions with Aang and other Avatars, so I kept them. And Unalaq is now a good guy so that whole plot is out the window anyways. Making him a good guy was probably one of my favorite changes because it opens up so many new plotlines where he's not just obviously evil.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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The same general story beats, but given more time to breath. As the Blue Spirit was a highlight of Avatar for me, I am most intrigued where Iroh will be taking that aspect.

Again, Kanna strikes me as a fun addition to the cast. Larger group can mean it's harder to give everyone time to shine, but we've got a longer show planned out so I imagine that won't be an issue.
 

CaptainAlvious

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Just like TWR said about book 1, the tense cliffhanger and the intimidation factor of Zaheer and his posse give off are great. And of course, the returning characters from ATLA and the expanded cast are nice as well. Good to see Sokka and his family being more important to TTL's LOK than they were in OTL, although it's still sad to see him die.
This is very similar to OTL Book 3, only I’ve added Kanna and expanded Kuvira’s appearances to more than just cameos in the background. She would be promoted as and considered a main character in this season. I liked writing Kuvira as a friend to Korra as this begins a character arc that will continue over the next three seasons.
That's interesting dynamic, considering how OTL Book 4 draws some comparisons between Korra and Kuvira in a couple scenes. This interaction will be very interesting in later seasons in terms of drama and character development, especially if Kuvira still becomes a villain after Zaheer is defeated like OTL.
 
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zenphoenix

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Legend of Korra - Book 4: Order
(Spoilers for the rest of OTL Book 3, a few parts of OTL Book 4, and maybe some elements of the second LOK comic.)​

The opening credits feature Ghazan, P'li, Zaheer, and Ming-hua bending. The scenery shown focuses on the Northern Air Temple, Zaofu, and a burning Ba Sing Se.

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Ba Sing Se burns

Iroh, Hua, Kanna, Mako, and Bolin escape Ba Sing Se. The city is in flames as looters ransack the houses of the Middle and Upper Rings, including the royal palace itself. The surviving Dai Li have completely disappeared, while regular Earth Kingdom troops join the looters. Mako and Bolin commandeer a military airship. As they fly away, Mako suddenly remembers Jin and the rest of their family. He wants to turn the ship around, but Iroh tells him it's too late, as the Lower Ring is already so chaotic they would only be shot down if they approach. They set a course for the oasis.

In Zaofu, Suyin discusses the situation in Ba Sing Se. While Suyin does not mourn Hou-Ting, she is concerned about the power vacuum her death caused. Kuvira asks her to deploy Zaofu’s forces to Ba Sing Se, saying it is their duty to protect their fellow citizens. Suyin refuses, believing she would only be seen as another warlord. They get into a heated argument. Kuvira can’t stand by while her country burns and people die. She remembers when she was a child and her own parents abandoned her on the streets. She would have died if Suyin hadn’t taken her in. The people of the Earth Kingdom are just like her, and they need someone like Suyin now. Just like Korra embraced her duties, they must embrace their duty as Earth Kingdom citizens. But Suyin does not waver. Returning to Kuvira’s house, Bataar II tells Kuvira he agrees with her.

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Kuvira pleads her case to Suyin

Korra and Asami discuss the situation with Zuko, Kiyi, Tonraq, Unalaq, and Lin. Lin and Tonraq again ask Korra to go back to Cranefish City or even the South Pole compound for her safety, as the Red Lotus will certainly go after her next. Korra refuses to hide as long as her friends are still missing and Zaheer is still out there. Zuko realizes Zaheer or one of his followers may target Izumi and flies away to protect her, leaving Kiyi to help Korra. Korra learns Mako and Bolin are in Ba Sing Se and plans to rescue them.

Mako and Bolin’s airship malfunctions due to damage suffered in the riots, and they crash land in a forest in the central Earth Kingdom. They spend the next few hours walking on foot. Bolin wonders if he will ever see Opal again or finally learn to metalbend. Mako hopes Korra and Asami also escaped the Red Lotus and wonders why Zaheer wants to capture her instead of just killing her immediately. He complains how what was supposed to be a simple tour around the Earth Kingdom turned into all this madness. While calculating their most efficient path and use of resources, Hua forces Iroh to talk about their relationship, insisting she can’t always simply be his assistant, especially when they are nowhere near the United Forces. She talks about how she grew up poor in the Fire Nation village of Jang-Hui and joined the United Forces to support her ill parents. She is fortunate to have met and been assigned as the assistant to the crown prince, but she can’t keep being his assistant. Iroh promises to bring the matter up with the United Forces once they return home. Kanna remembers stories of how Avatar Kyoshi used her fans to boost her airbending. She remembers combining her fans with airbending in Zaofu, but she has been unable to replicate it since. Their journey stops when they see bandits menacing a village, and they decide to intervene. After a heated battle, the bandits are driven off.

In Zaofu, Kuvira and Bataar II reach out to other residents who may be sympathetic to them, as well as other members of the security forces. She learns many in Zaofu actually support her. Guan pledges his loyalty, wanting to prove the supremacy of metalbenders. Varrick and Zhu Li eagerly join her cause. The businessman has been working on harnessing the spirit energy infused into plants after Harmonic Convergence as an energy source. Kuvira promises to get him more plant samples in exchange for helping Bataar II improve Zaofu’s airships. Korra and Asami reach Omashu, where they meet Sakari’s Kyoshi Warriors, whom Yue sent to find Kanna. They join forces to stop a local warlord from taking the relatively peaceful city, which had been mostly spared the chaos elsewhere. Kiyi summons her personal airship to speed up their journey towards Ba Sing Se. Back in Zaofu, Kuvira puts her plan in motion. At daybreak, her forces seize the airport and commandeer the city’s airships, which they load with weapons and equipment. Suyin and guards loyal to her arrive to apprehend her, but Kuvira's forces leave anyways.

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Kuvira and her supporters defy Suyin and leave for Ba Sing Se

Heading north from Omashu, Korra spots Mako’s group on the ground and picks them up. The team reunites, and they update each other on what has happened since they split up. Seeing Kiyi’s airship, Mako tells them they have to go back to Ba Sing Se to rescue his family. But Kuvira has already reached Ba Sing Se. The looters are no match for Zaofu’s elite metalbenders, who quickly pacify the Lower Ring, Guan doing so with particular ruthlessness. Jin’s family, having holed up in their house, are relieved to see Kuvira personally dispatching the looters attempting to break in and rob them. By the time Korra arrives, the city has been pacified, and Bolin is amazed by the speed and efficiency of Kuvira’s intervention. Kuvira meets them in a safe location and delivers Mako and Bolin's family to them. The brothers thank Kuvira. Kuvira tells them her plan to continue her intervention in the rest of the Earth Kingdom. She will not stop until her country is reunited. Tenzin frantically calls in on the radio, warning the Red Lotus has arrived at the Northern Air Temple in an airship. Realizing the airbenders are in danger, Korra asks Kuvira to deliver Jin’s family to Cranefish City. Team Avatar still has much to do.

The scene cuts to the Northern Air Temple, where Zaheer arrives in an airship. Tenzin tries to evacuate the airbenders on Asami’s airship, but P’li destroys it with a combustion blast. He then asks Bumi and Kai to get everyone to the sky bison stables and evacuate on them instead. However, Ghazan turns the path to the stables into lava, cutting them off. Kai attempts to sneak the airbenders out another way, but Ming-Hua takes Opal hostage. Tenzin tries to escape with Pema and his children, but Zaheer personally cuts him off. The airbenders are herded into one of the auditoriums, where Zaheer intends to hold them as hostages until Korra arrives. Tenzin refuses to play along and fights back alongside Bumi, Kya, and Yue. Jinora and Kai lead the airbenders away.

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Kya, Tenzin, Bumi, and Yue (blocked by Ghazan) face off against the Red Lotus

Aang, Katara, and Sokka’s children fight the Red Lotus. Kya takes on Ming-Hua. Although she was trained as a healer, Katara still taught her how to fight, and she is evenly matched with the armless waterbender, who constantly drains water from the temple’s wells and fountains to create arms and blades of water and ice. Bumi and Yue team up against Ghazan, who liquefies the temple's floors and walls. Despite not having that much experience with airbending, Bumi uses his improvising and United Forces experience to his advantage, while Yue’s waterbending style, taking more from the Kyoshi Warriors and earthbending than her aunt's waterbending, douses any waves of lava Ghazan throws at her. Yue fights aggressively, having been given the chance to avenge Sokka, and occasoinally joins forces with Kya against Ming-Hua. Tenzin takes on Zaheer himself. As a non-bender, Zaheer was dangerously skilled enough with the motions of airbending techniques, but he is no match for an actual airbending master like Tenzin. Throughout the battle, Zaheer compliments Tenzin’s techniques and thanks him for the opportunity to battle him.

Jinora and Kai find a detour to the sky bison stables Ghazan hasn’t destroyed. But P’li fires several combustion blasts around the airbenders, pinning them down. Thinking quickly, Kai tells Jinora he has an idea. And in case he may not have another chance, he kisses her. As Jinora pleads for him to reconsider, Kai flies off on his glider, drawing P’li’s fire. This buys enough time for the airbenders to reach the stables, but Jinora looks back right as Kai take a combustion blast point blank and falls lifelessly into the abyss. She screams in anguish. P’li then fires at the stables and scares off the sky bison, preventing the airbenders from escaping.

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Kai falls from the sky as Jinora watches

Ghazan and Ming-Hua corner Kya, Bumi, and Yue on a balcony. While Ming-Hua begins overwhelming the tired Kya and Yue, Ghazan liquefies the balcony floor, forcing the three of them against the railing. Ming-Hua gloats they get to finish off Sokka’s daughter and asks Yue to send their regards to her father, who had scarred Zaheer with his sword. P’li circles around in her airship and fires at them, sending them tumbling off the side. Elsewhere, Tenzin has the upper hand against Zaheer until the airship circles around and P’li blasts him as well, knocking him into a nearby courtyard. Zaheer, Ghazan, and Ming-Hua corner him there. Tenzin holds off the assault from three elements at once for several minutes before P’li blasts him again, forcing him to his knees. Zaheer demands his surrender. Tenzin vows to never surrender as long as he is still alive. The episode fades to black as the Red Lotus resume their attacks, with the viewer still hearing Tenzin’s cries and the attacks landing. (Due to the Sentinel scandal happening days after this episode’s broadcast and executives from the network being implicated in it, The Legend of Korra went on hiatus for several weeks, with the fates of Tenzin, Bumi, Kya, Yue, and Kai remaining ambiguous. Fans debated intensely over whether they survived, and how, or if Bryke had the guts to kill off so many fan favorite main characters at once.)

1614133914655.png

Tenzin’s last stand

The next episode opens with Kiyi’s airship landing near the temple alongside Suyin’s airship. One of the airbenders is sent to deliver a message to the group. Zaheer will release the airbenders if Korra turns herself in to the Red Lotus. The team debates what to do. Korra consults Aang for guidance, and he tells her he would do whatever it took to protect his people. She tells the others she will take Zaheer’s offer to save the airbenders and preserve balance.

Korra meets Zaheer on Guru Laghima’s Peak near the temple. He has been meditating while waiting for her, reciting Laghima’s ancient mantra. P’li puts her in platinum handcuffs she can’t metalbend out of, and keeping his word, Zaheer tells Ghazan to let the airbenders go. Mako, Asami, Bolin, Iroh, and Hua enter the temple and find a badly wounded Tenzin and the captured airbenders in a dark room. Regaining consciousness, Tenzin warns them it’s a trap. The “airbenders” dissolve into water, revealing Ming-Hua. Asami radios Korra. Realizing the Red Lotus’ ruse, Korra attempts to escape. Everybody—Kanna, Sakari, and their Kyoshi Warriors, Suyin and her guards, Kiyi, Tonraq, Unalaq, and Lin—charges up the mountain, where P’li blasts them with her combustion bending. Lin, Suyin, Kanna, and Sakari fight P’li. Lin and Suyin use their metalbending to create cover against P’li’s attacks, while Kanna finally combines her fans and airbending to deflect incoming blasts with the help of Sakari’s waterbending, and the Zaofu guards and Kyoshi Warriors close in on her. Tonraq, Unalaq, and Kiyi fight Zaheer. Zuko’s sister unleashes a roaring inferno of white flames worthy of the Fire Nation royal family, but Zaheer dispels it with a powerful gust. The two polar opposite brothers cover each other, Tonraq fighting at close quarters and Unalaq protecting him with long range attacks. Zaheer surprises Tonraq and airbends him off the cliff while Korra watches in shock. Several tense seconds pass, and then Kuvira metalbends up the cliff, Tonraq behind her, and attacks Zaheer from behind. Guan and his troops climb up behind her, surrounding the Red Lotus.

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The destruction of the Northern Air Temple

At the temple, Asami and the others free Tenzin and find a badly injured Bumi, Kya, and Yue, only to learn Ghazan turned the temple's foundations to lava, causing the temple to collapse, and fled with Ming-Hua. Just when it seems like they are trapped, Bolin desperately attempts to hold back a torrent of lava and miraculously finds he can lavabend, while an injured Kai appears with a sky bison and flies them out just as the temple crumbles into molten lava. At Laghima’s Peak, Zaheer fires an air blast at Korra which knocks her unconscious. Lin and Suyin execute an extremely risky strategy where Lin leaves her cover and charges at P’li, drawing her fire, before Suyin metalbends her armor around P’li’s head just as she fires, killing her. Zaheer is temporarily stopped by her death, but he steels himself, reciting Laghima’s mantra to abandon all earthly tethers, like P'li. He picks up Korra, jumps off a cliff, and flies away, having unlocked the ability of weightlessness. Kai arrives with Asami’s group and reveals he found where Zaheer is going. After he was blasted out of the sky, he overheard Ghazan talking about moving the airbenders to a certain location. They get in Suyin’s, Kuvira’s, and Kiyi’s airships and fly after the Red Lotus.

1614134058128.png

”Enter the void. Empty, and become wind.”

In a cave, Zaheer chains up Korra, leaving her unable to move or bend. A Red Lotus grunt metalbends mercury into Korra’s body, causing her to scream in agony. Zaheer explains the mercury will force her into the Avatar State for her survival, upon which they will kill her and end the Avatar cycle. In excruciating pain, Korra attempts to hold back the Avatar State, but it is a losing battle. She begins hallucinating past enemies. Zaheer becomes Amon, who declares the world no longer needs the Avatar. Ghazan becomes Tarrlok, who orders her to do what he says. Ming-Hua becomes Vaatu, who gloats she is too weak to resist. Meanwhile, Jinora and Opal break free of their bonds, overpower their captors, and free the other airbenders, alerting the airships to their location. Kai and Jinora are overjoyed to see each other again, while Opal confesses her feelings for Bolin.

In the cave, Korra finally gives in and enters the Avatar State, and Zaheer orders the Red Lotus to kill her. But Korra overwhelms them with the raw power of all of her past lives and blasts her way out with firebending, chains still attached to her limbs. Mako and Bolin rush into the cave and fight Ming-Hua and Ghazan while the others subdue the many grunts protecting Zaheer. Ming-Hua lures Mako to an underground lake, planning to use its water to tear him to shreds, but Mako turns the tables by lightningbending the water, electrocuting and killing her. Bolin is evenly matched with Ghazan now that he can lavabend. Realizing he can’t win and not willing to go back to prison, although he is proud Bolin learned his technique, Ghazan commits suicide by lavabending the entire cave with himself still in it, and the brothers barely escape.

Korra and Zaheer’s battle intentionally mirrors the final showdown between Aang and Ozai, with an airbender fighting against someone using firebending to fly in an area dominated by rocky pillars while epic orchestral music plays in the background. Korra’s raw power initially overwhelms Zaheer, but the mercury takes its toll, and she collapses. Zaheer then begins to asphyxiate her like he did with Hou-Ting.

1614134513329.png

"The Avatar cycle will be over momentarily."

Before she loses consciousness, Jinora and Kai lead the other airbenders in creating a larger version of Korra's tornado attack, which they aim at Zaheer to relieve Korra. Korra uses the opportunity to wrap Zaheer in her chains and pull him down to earth, where Lin earthbends restraints around him. Suyin metalbends the mercury out.

Several weeks later, Korra is back in Cranefish City. A radio talks about the stabilization of the Earth Kingdom’s core provinces thanks to Kuvira, and Chancellor Raiko is in talks with a provisional Ba Sing Se government over who should succeed Hou-Ting. Korra is now wheelchair bound, and Asami helps do her hair. Although Asami urges her to stay positive, as Zaheer is now securely locked away again, Korra remains traumatized by the poisoning. Asami promises to always be at her side during her recovery. They visit one of the shrines on Air Temple Island, where they, Katara, Zuko, and the others watch Tenzin anoint Jinora as an airbending master. While Korra recovers, Tenzin promises the Air Nomads will fill in for her, traveling the world and protecting the weak as they used to do. But Korra privately takes this to mean she is obsolete and useless, and she quietly cries.

1614134624833.png


---

This was one of the hardest seasons to write because I had to expand content from maybe just three episodes and Book 4’s backstory into a 15-20 episode season. I think I did good with pulling some content from OTL Book 4 and padding it out with the Mako/Bolin group walk. Still, reviewers here will note the season felt a little too long and would’ve been better with fewer episodes.

---

The same general story beats, but given more time to breath. As the Blue Spirit was a highlight of Avatar for me, I am most intrigued where Iroh will be taking that aspect.

Again, Kanna strikes me as a fun addition to the cast. Larger group can mean it's harder to give everyone time to shine, but we've got a longer show planned out so I imagine that won't be an issue.
The Blue Spirit will become surprisingly relevant eventually...

The original Team Avatar had 6 members by the end of Book 3 (I count Suki), so it's not that much more and we've got 6 books.

Just like TWR said about book 1, the tense cliffhanger and the intimidation factor of Zaheer and his posse give off are great. And of course, the returning characters from ATLA and the expanded cast are nice as well. Good to see Sokka and his family being more important to TTL's LOK than they were in OTL, although it's still sad to see him die.

That's interesting dynamic, considering how OTL Book 4 draws some comparisons between Korra and Kuvira in a couple scenes. This interaction will be very interesting in later seasons in terms of drama and character development, especially if Kuvira still becomes a villain after Zaheer is defeated like OTL.
At least I gave Sokka a heroic end.

I definitely kept that in mind.
 
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TWR97

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And Korra is about to embark on another journey to improve herself (With a certain Earthbender guiding her). I gotta say, that one episode that had most of the fan favorites on the verge of getting killed must have trigerred some Red Wedding flashbacks for watchers. I foresee memes where both Bryke and Gregoras laughing or smiling at the reactions on their respective works.

Something about those Metalbenders occupying Ba Sing Se is sure to provoke some interesting imagery to the Cold War.
 
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CaptainAlvious

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Very bittersweet moment for Korra there. She stopped Zaheer, but she no doubt isn't in good shape after that. At least she got to interact more with Aang and her past lives, albeit at the cost of some of her scenes with Zuko. Oh well, there's always Book 6 since it takes place in the Fire Nation, perhaps we'll see more of Zuko and his family there. Looking forward to her meeting Toph in later books.
And Korra is about to embark on another journey to improve herself (With a certain Earthbender guiding her). I gotta say, that one episode that had most of the fan favorites on the verge of getting killed must have trigerred some Red Wedding flashbacks for watchers. I foresee memes where both Bryke and Gregoras laughing or smiling at the reactions on their respective works.
I mean Zen did say back in the first update that Korra would be compared to Game of Thrones by fans in universe, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that episode was one of those reasons.
(Due to the Sentinel scandal happening days after this episode’s broadcast and executives from the network being implicated in it, The Legend of Korra went on hiatus for several weeks, with the fates of Tenzin, Bumi, Kya, Yue, and Kai remaining ambiguous. Fans debated intensely over whether they survived, and how, or if Bryke had the guts to kill off so many fan favorite main characters at once.)
Ouch, I guess the reach of Sentinel didn't just stop at political institutions. While we are on the topic of large scale scandals affecting media and the entertainment industry, would there still be a MeToo movement in TTL?
This was one of the hardest seasons to write because I had to expand content from maybe just three episodes and Book 4’s backstory into a 15-20 episode season. I think I did good with pulling some content from OTL Book 4 and padding it out with the Mako/Bolin group walk. Still, reviewers here will note the season felt a little too long and would’ve been better with fewer episodes.
I think you did a good job with the Book 4 content and the stuff with Mako's group as well. That said, now that you mention reviewers, I wonder if we'll see how fans and critics in universe would think of each season and the overall show in the production notes?
 
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zenphoenix

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And Korra is about to embark on another journey to improve herself (With a certain Earthbender guiding her). I gotta say, that one episode that had most of the fan favorites on the verge of getting killed must have trigerred some Red Wedding flashbacks for watchers. I foresee memes where both Bryke and Gregoras laughing or smiling at the reactions on their respective works.

Something about those Metalbenders occupying Ba Sing Se is sure to provoke some interesting imagery to the Cold War.
Michael: "How many characters should we kill in this episode?"
Bryan: "Yes but actually no"
:p
Very bittersweet moment for Korra there. She stopped Zaheer, but she no doubt isn't in good shape after that. At least she got to interact more with Aang and her past lives, albeit at the cost of some of her scenes with Zuko. Oh well, there's always Book 6 since it takes place in the Fire Nation, perhaps we'll see more of Zuko and his family there. Looking forward to her meeting Toph in later books.
I'll also have her interacting with other past lives in Book 6.
I mean Zen did say back in the first update that Korra would be compared to Game of Thrones by fans in universe, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that episode was one of those reasons.
That and the endings of Books 2 and 3. That probably told fans everything was on the table.
Ouch, I guess the reach of Sentinel didn't just stop at political institutions. While we are on the topic of large scale scandals affecting media and the entertainment industry, would there still be a MeToo movement in TTL?
Perhaps, but I didn't cover it here.
I think you did a good job with the Book 4 content and the stuff with Mako's group as well. That said, now that you mention reviewers, I wonder if we'll see how fans and critics in universe would think of each season and the overall show in the production notes?
Yes, production notes will also include critical reception and other stuff like sequel movies (the OTL comics and then some).
 

zenphoenix

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Legend of Korra - Book 5: Unity
(Spoilers for all of OTL Book 4 except the last episode.)​

The opening credits feature Lin, Hua, Bumi, and Kya. The scenery shown focuses on Cranefish City and Zaofu.


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A rebuilt Cranefish City with the new "spirit wilds" incorporated into its city plan.

Book 5 begins three years after the end of Book 4. Cranefish City has finally fully recovered from the devastation it suffered during the Red Lantern uprising. Thanks to Asami and Future Industries, the city has been extensively redesigned with new highways and parks to accommodate the new groves of spirit-enhanced flora and the occasional spirits that appear within them. While not overseeing more construction projects, Asami continues visiting her father in prison, where they play pai sho and Hiroshi tries to make up for lost time. Raiko’s popularity has soared due to his role in setting up a new Earth Kingdom government alongside Fire Lord Izumi and the other world leaders.

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Asami meeting with Hiroshi

The Air Nomads, wearing newer wingsuits, now have a fleet of airships to supplement their sky bison population and travel around the world, spending most of their time delivering supplies to impoverished parts of the Earth Kingdom. Jinora leads the Air Nomads’ global operations with Kai, with whom she is now in a relationship with, much to Tenzin’s displeasure. Inspired by the airbenders’ example, Kanna, Sakari, Yue, and the Kyoshi Warriors also set out across the Earth Kingdom again, just like they did under Suki. As promised, Iroh talked with the United Forces and got Hua promoted to an equal rank to him, and they returned to the Fire Nation. Bumi leads the United Navy in campaigns against pirates on the coasts of the Earth Kingdom. Kya went with Korra back to the South Pole to oversee her recovery under Katara. Recommended by Lin, Mako was hired as a bodyguard to the incompetent and spoiled Prince Wu, a distant relative of Hou-Ting, whom Raiko and the other world leaders chose as the new Earth King. Wu arrives in Cranefish City to prepare for his coronation, where his womanizing attitude disgusts Asami and Mako. Korra is supposed to arrive as well, but she isn’t found on the steamer supposed to be carrying her.

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Wu shortly before hitting on Asami, much to Mako and Lin's dismay

Kuvira continues her campaign across the Earth Kingdom with Bataar II, now her husband, and Guan, her second in command, at her side. Her metalbending forces have swelled into a large army equipped with advanced technology which sweeps away the bandits roaming the countryside. Her troops, including Bolin, who carries on a long distance relationship with Opal, deliver food and supplies as well as electricity and other modern amenities to impoverished villages. This earns Kuvira overwhelming public support, and many have taken to calling her the Great Uniter. She is vastly more popular than Wu.

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"The kingdom, long united, must divide. Long divided, must unite."

Meanwhile, Jinora, Kai, and Opal defend a town in the province of Yi from bandits just before Kuvira arrives in a bullet train to demonstrate the reach of the transcontinental railroad network Varrick, Zhu Li, and Bataar II have built. Kuvira offers Yi’s governor military protection in exchange for military aid. The governor refuses, not trusting her. Kuvira warns without her protection, Yi will be overrun by bandits again, but the governor again refuses. Bolin tells Opal he wished the governor took the deal. He saw what happened to the provinces who joined her. No longer are they poor rural backwaters, but they have access to electricity, radios, and cars now. She can’t deny Kuvira is doing good for the Earth Kingdom. Opal concedes Kuvira may be helping out, but she is still sour on her former adopted sister, with whom she rarely got along with as a kid, as well as her brother for siding with her. She hopes the airbenders can provide another option for those who aren’t sold on Kuvira yet. However, the bandits return, and the three airbenders are outmatched. Kuvira, seeing their struggle, intervenes and personally dispatches the bandits. Realizing the airbenders are unable to help him, the governor takes Kuvira’s deal. Guan gloats it is only natural for non-benders like the governor to rely on metalbenders like him. Elsewhere, a short-haired Korra is seen fighting in an underground earthbending cage match and losing, having renounced her identity as the Avatar.

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"I'm not the Avatar. I don't want to deal with it."

The credits after this episode are updated to show Korra with short hair.

The next couple of episodes go back and follow Korra. After Jinora’s ceremony, Korra went to the South Pole to recover. There, Kya and Katara helped her with waterbending healing and physical therapy. Her improvement was slow, and it took her many months to walk again and many more months to walk unaided. But she was left psychologically traumatized by the Red Lotus’ torture and is still unable to enter the Avatar State or contact her past lives. Her only contact with her friends came in letters from Cranefish City, although she only replied to Asami, developing feelings for her. Depressed by everything her friends did, she vented to Katara she was useless and unworthy of being the Avatar. Katara simply replied she must stay hopeful, like Aang was, and she will recover eventually. Eventually, she set out on her own. Tricking everyone into thinking she was heading for Cranefish City, she instead went elsewhere. She cuts her hair and travels the world, isolating herself from human contact after a particularly humiliating loss against petty thieves. She tries to meditate into the spirit world to consult the spirits but is unable to do so. She is constantly haunted by a dark apparition of herself as she appeared during the fight with Zaheer, a reminder of her failure. Eventually, she is led to the Foggy Swamp. There, she ends up in a remote cave where an elderly Toph lives.

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"Nice to see you again, Twinkle-Toes."

In Cranefish City, Wu’s coronation approaches. Mako is frustrated Wu is more concerned with the theatrics of the event than actually ruling. Asami complains Raiko could have found someone better to support as Earth King, but she would rather have the coronation over with so he leaves the city and stops harassing her. Iroh and Hua arrive with Kanna, Sakari, Yue, and the Kyoshi Warriors to escort Zuko, Kiyi, Fire Lord Izumi, and Iroh’s sister Princess Ta Min, an aspiring writer. Sakari hints she has feelings for Hua, who doesn’t reciprocate as she has eyes on Iroh. To Hua’s, Kanna’s, Sakari’s, Ta Min’s, and the Kyoshi Warriors’ dismay, Wu hits on all of them at once. Izumi is displeased with Wu, but Raiko tells her they have gone too far to back down now. Tenzin greets his old friend (and sister-in-law), who hasn’t been in Cranefish City since Yakone’s trial, and Izumi asks him where Bumi is. Mako is enamored by Ta Min, who asks him to show her around the city (so they can both get away from Wu). They hit it off, bonding over many common interests and Mako’s appreciation for her writing. Tonraq and Unalaq arrive, both still unaware of where Korra is. Yue refuses to talk to Unalaq, blaming him for ostracizing her and Suki from the Southern Water Tribe after preventing Yue from being elected chief for being a woman and of Earth Kingdom descent, despite Sokka having intended for her to succeed him. This led to a decline in Suki’s health, already bad after the incident with Zaheer, and her subsequent death. As a result, Yue and her family never returned to the South Pole until recently. She has no hard feelings against Tonraq for being elected in her place as he had no say in the matter.

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Bolin and Mako reunite

Later, Kuvira, Bolin, Varrick, and Zhu Li also arrive to be commended for their work at the ceremony. Zhu Li and Hua share stories about being assistants, and Hua encourages Zhu Li to bring up the matter with Varrick (although he doesn’t listen). Mako finds Bolin’s enthusiasm for Kuvira off-putting, and Bolin’s relationship with Opal is still strained. But the two brothers still see Kuvira positively, as she did save their family, with Bolin especially committed because he was haunted by the sight of seeing a little boy cry over his dead parents who were killed by bandits. Suyin vents her frustrations to Kuvira, who insists she is only doing what has to be done in the absence of the Avatar and any central authority. It's what her friend Korra would have done. Suyin won't hear of it. She refuses to talk to Bataar II, believing Kuvira turned him against her. She knows what Kuvira does to her opponents. Kuvira ominously replies Suyin then knows what will happen to Zaofu. Guan has a particularly nasty verbal confrontation with Izumi, not believing a non-bender like her should rule the Fire Nation, and everybody barely restrains Zuko and Iroh before they challenge him to an Agni Kai.

The coronation ceremony begins, and an Earth Kingdom sage “crowns” Wu with a "royal brooch" as the crown and everything else in the treasury was looted. Nobody applauds. He then calls Kuvira onstage, and Yue presents her with the Kyoshi Medal of Freedom, the kingdom’s highest honor. Kuvira gives a speech where she talks about her upbringing. Suyin taught her the idea of a hereditary absolute monarchy is outdated. A modern nation should be driven by technology and innovation, and its rulers should be chosen by merit instead of birth. It was the incompetence of the Earth Kings and Queens which led to the country’s current chaos, and only she managed to put the pieces back together after three years of hard work. She was horrified at the impoverished living conditions of many Earth Kingdom citizens and the atrocities bandits and warlords committed against them. She will not let the country slip back into that anarchy again. As such, she declares the Earth Kingdom abolished. Wu has no authority except as a puppet of the Fire Nation and its puppet Commonwealth. She proclaims the Earth Empire, led by herself. Anybody who stands in her way will be crushed. To emphasize her point, she crushes the medal with metalbending and looks straight at Suyin. Most of the audience erupts into a standing ovation, led by an enthusiastic Bataar II and Guan.

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"In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Earth Kingdom will be organized into the first Earth Empire, for a safe and secure society!"

Bolin firmly believes Kuvira is right to depose Wu and lead herself, having seen the progress they’ve made so far. But Mako is unnerved, as Kuvira reminds him of how Amon used to speak. Bolin still thinks Kuvira would be a better leader than Wu. She did save their family and Tonraq after all. And he believes she’s more like Korra, at least Korra when they first met her, and not Amon. Opal sides with Suyin, who believes Kuvira is overstepping her boundaries and seizing power for herself, just like Chin the Conqueror did centuries ago. Kanna and Sakari also see Chin in Kuvira and wonder what that means for their home. Asami just wants Wu to leave the city so she can get some peace. Wu tries to get the group to go shopping, but Mako snaps and calls him out, telling him no matter what Kuvira does next, at least she had the interests of her people in mind. Realizing it was his own fault he lost the throne, Wu quiets down and begins reflecting on himself.

On Kuvira’s bullet train as they head for Zaofu, Varrick and Zhu Li run experiments on Foggy Swamp vines, which have the highest concentration of spirit energy in the world. Zhu Li tries to use the time to discuss their relationship, but before she can get to her point, their machine malfunctions and generates a powerful beam of spirit energy which destroys half of the train. Kuvira, impressed by the accidental demonstration, orders Varrick to replicate the blast and make a weapon out of it, but Varrick finally realizes there are moral lines he won’t cross.

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The spirit energy blast generated resembles Vaatu's attacks against Wan

In the swamp, Toph doesn’t give Korra the positive reinforcement she was expecting, but she agrees to help her regain her strength. This mostly consists of her easily defeating a weakened Korra. She finds traces of mercury still in Korra’s body but is unable to metalbend it out as Korra subconsciously resists. Tenzin sends Jinora and her siblings to find Korra, and after tracing her journey around the world they find her in the swamp. Reuniting with them, Korra is encouraged to metalbend out the remaining mercury, allowing her to enter the Avatar State again and talk to her past lives. Hearing Zaofu is in danger, she heads there.

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Kuvira returns to Zaofu, on her own terms

At Zaofu, Kuvira, Bolin, Bataar II, and Guan enter the city under a flag of truce, meeting Suyin, Bataar, and Opal. Kuvira tries to make her case why Zaofu should join the Earth Empire, but Suyin refuses to listen. Bataar pleads for his son to return to their family, but Bataar II calls him deluded and out of touch. Bolin insists the Earth Empire has only brought stability and progress, but Opal tells him she saw what happens after the bullet train leaves. Dissent is suppressed, and troublemakers are sent to concentration camps, where they are either brainwashed or forced to work as slave labor. She doesn't know how Bolin can support Kuvira after she's done all this. Bolin insists that is a lie, but Opal calls him brainwashed by Kuvira’s lies and breaks up with him on the spot. Guan doesn’t help when he says the camps are intended to purify the Earth Empire and its people, like how metal is a purer form of earth and unbendable platinum is the purest form of metal. Suyin refuses Kuvira’s offer, so Kuvira makes an ultimatum. Suyin has 24 hours to surrender Zaofu, or Kuvira will take it by force. Back on the train, Bolin asks if Kuvira is being excessive, but Kuvira threatens to send him to a concentration camp as well. Meeting Varrick and Zhu Li in his lab, they agree Kuvira is going too far. They attempt to sneak away, but Bataar II captures them. Frustrated with always being treated as an assistant, Zhu Li turns on Varrick and Bolin, declaring her loyalty to Kuvira alone. Varrick and Bolin are forced to continue work on the spirit weapon under Bataar II’s close watch.

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"Guards...do the thing!" "Not the thing!"

Korra arrives in Zaofu and meets Kai and Kanna, whom Opal called for backup. She heads to the train and talks with Kuvira, asking her to remember their friendship and stand down. Kuvira tells Korra she’s thankful for everything. Korra taught her to be passionate about her beliefs and to always do her duty. She’s only following through on that, especially while Korra was missing. But perhaps she can mediate a settlement with Suyin. Korra goes to talk with Suyin only to find she snuck out to assassinate Kuvira. At night, Suyin attacks Kuvira in her bed, but it is actually Zhu Li as a decoy, and Kuvira captures her, having predicted she would do that. The next day, she announces the plot to Zaofu and orders her army to attack.

Korra, Kanna, Kai, Opal, and Jinora approach Kuvira's army, demanding Suyin’s release. Kuvira promises to do so if Suyin surrenders, but Suyin refuses. Korra pleads for Kuvira to turn back, as she doesn’t want to fight her friend. But she will to defend Zaofu. Realizing neither of them will back down, Kuvira challenges Korra to a lei tai, an earthbending duel, and the winner will decide the fate of Zaofu. Korra accepts the challenge, despite Jinora warning she is not at her full strength. Although now free of the mercury poisoning, Korra is still psychologically scarred. She remains off-balance throughout the fight, and Kuvira consistently outmaneuvers her. Desperate, Korra enters the Avatar State and prepares to kill Kuvira. But when she sees Kuvira, she sees her dark apparition and is paralyzed by a flashback of Zaheer, allowing Kuvira to defeat and restrain her.

Preparing a piece of sharpened metal, Kuvira apologizes for what she is about to do, but Korra will understand her point of view in the next life, as an earthbender and loyal Earth Empire citizen. The airbenders use Korra's tornado attack to save Korra and flee on Jinora's sky bison, abandoning Zaofu. While everyone else is distracted by the lei tai, Varrick and Bolin escape after Varrick fakes their deaths with an improvised spirit energy bomb which destroys the train and its stockpile of spirit energy. In response, Kuvira orders the army to head to the swamp and begin harvesting its plants, alerting Toph, who quietly sneaks away. Bataar II and Zhu Li are tasked with processing these plants using technology seized from Zaofu. The city’s platinum walls and domes are dismantled to be made into armor for Kuvira’s troops, mechas, airships, and spirit energy weapons.

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Just gals being pals

Jinora flies Korra back to Cranefish City, where she reunites with her friends, particularly Asami, who compliments her new look and causes her to blush awkwardly. Asami arranges a dinner for the six of them, minus Bolin, although Mako is forced to bring Wu along (who immediately gets on Korra’s nerves). While Mako asks why Korra only wrote back to Asami, Earth Empire agents abduct Wu. After a lengthy car chase in which Korra shows Asami just how much her driving has improved, they rescue Wu. Asami hides Wu in her mansion with Jin and her family.

Bolin and Varrick attempt to reach the Commonwealth on foot. They approach an Earth Empire concentration camp and are captured by resistance fighters, mostly waterbenders and firebenders who were imprisoned for not being of Earth Kingdom descent. Joining forces, they break into the concentration camp to free its prisoners. Bolin’s lavabending breaks down walls, while Varrick improvises numerous devices which disrupt the electrical systems of enemy machinery. Inside the camp, Bolin is shocked to see the inhumane acts carried out against prisoners, including brainwashing and indoctrination using modernized versions of the Dai Li’s techniques. He learns Guan created the camps to carry out his metalbending supremacist fantasies.

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Bolin and Varrick free concentration camp prisoners. The design of the camps and their official function as vocational centers invokes the Chinese laogais run by Wang Jingwei’s military junta during World War II to detain equalists, democratic activists, Siberian and Uighur populations, Japanese, Korean, Penglai, Fusang, and Siamese independence leaders, and prisoners of war. The modernized Dai Li brainwashing takes inspiration from the atrocities of Unit 731.

In Cranefish City, Korra’s friends take a short break while Tenzin, Izumi, Raiko, and the other world leaders discuss how to handle Kuvira. Mako goes on a date with Ta Min and asks Iroh to keep Wu far away from both of them, inadvertently ruining Hua’s date with him. Jinora and Kai awkwardly hang out and avoid Tenzin’s watchful eye. Korra and Asami hang out in a park Asami designed and named after Korra, and Korra is embarrassed by a large statue of her. Kanna fears Kyoshi Island may be next on Kuvira's list and trains with Sakari and Yue. Now that she can connect with them again, Korra consults her past lives to learn why she still has flashbacks after the poison was removed. Aang tells her she must confront her fears if she is to conquer them. Taking his advice, Korra visit Zaheer’s prison, where she tells herself he is no longer a threat. Zaheer, learning his actions only created a bigger tyrant, offers to help Korra, as they now have a common enemy. He guides her into the spirit world, where Korra relives the Red Lotus’ torture and the battle with Zaheer. With Zaheer’s encouragement, she overcomes and pushes past the trauma, acknowledging it happened and accepting it is over.

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At City Hall, Yue tells the other leaders Earth Empire troops were spotted harvesting plants from the Foggy Swamp for some reason. Raiko suggests launching a preemptive strike to depose Kuvira before she gets too powerful. Lin agrees, wanting to save Suyin and retake Zaofu. Tenzin disagrees, as Kuvira has not targeted the Commonwealth yet and they would only be seen as aggressors. Lin warns Kuvira can’t be trusted to not attack. Like Hou-Ting and a lot of the Earth Kingdom general public, Kuvira considers the United Commonwealth rightful Earth Empire territory stolen by Zuko, Aang, and Kori Morishita, and she will go after them eventually. Bolin and Varrick barge into the conference room, and Lin immediately arrests them. Bolin explains the situation and Varrick warns them about the spirit weapon experiments. Raiko is now more certain of launching a preemptive strike before Kuvira can use the weapon on Cranefish City. Tenzin and Izumi shoot down the idea. Izumi declares the Fire Nation has waged too many pointless wars in its history, and she will not drag it into another. However, if Kuvira does attack, she can spare a battalion of Fire Nation troops to defend the border. Raiko asks Varrick if he can make more spirit weapons for the Commonwealth, but Varrick refuses. Wu, barging into the room, surprisingly suggests evacuating everyone in the border towns, if not Cranefish City itself. Not expecting the prince to come up with something reasonable, Raiko agrees.

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Everything changed when the Fire Nation DIDN'T attack

After the meeting, Bolin tries to reconcile with Opal, who doesn’t accept his apology. He has better luck with Mako and Korra, who are simply glad he is still alive. Opal talks with Lin about a secret plan to rescue Suyin and her family and asks Bolin to help her, promising to reconsider their relationship if they succeed. Jinora and Kai fly Lin, Opal, and Bolin to outside Zaofu, where they meet Toph, who heard her family was taken to a nearby concentration camp. At the concentration camp, Bataar II and Zhu Li test a prototype spirit weapon, a massive railroad-mounted cannon. The weapon malfunctions and almost explodes, but Bataar II shuts it down. Kuvira deduces Zhu Li sabotaged the weapon to kill them all, and Zhu Li calls Kuvira a monster. She is thrown in the camp, and the fixed weapon fires, annihilating a small hill and abandoned town in the distance.

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The design of the railroad cannon is based on the Schwerer Gustav railroad-mounted artillery gun, which was commissioned by the Roman military in 1934 for the main purpose of destroying Soviet fortifications in the event of war with the CSSR. When the Angeloi rebelled against Kaiser Otto, military units loyal to them seized the Schwerer Gustav. The cannon was used to break the siege of loyalist-held Vienna and was later used during the Battle of Constantinople in 1941, although it was only fired once in the latter battle to obliterate a part of Constantinople’s outer walls. It finally served its original purpose when it was deployed as part of Operation Theodorich, although due to being tied up in Constantinople it missed many of the early major battles. It was used a few times to shell Leningrad, but when the Angeloi lines collapsed in 1943-44, the gun was hastily destroyed so it wouldn’t fall into Soviet hands. A second gun of the same design was deployed in the Balkans, but it was destroyed in a loyalist aerial bombing.

Lin, Toph, and Bolin free Suyin’s family, along with Zhu Li, and the Beifongs escape. Kuvira attempts to stop them, but Toph holds her off long enough to get everyone to safety, calling her an insult to all metalbenders. Returning to Cranefish City, Opal forgives Bolin, and they begin repairing their relationship. Zhu Li warns Kuvira will invade the Commonwealth in two weeks.

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"The empire, long divided, must unite!"

Kuvira broadcasts a speech to the entire world, talking about how she spent the last three years pulling the Earth Empire out of chaos and anarchy. Now, most of the former Earth Kingdom’s provinces have been brought under their rule. But their job isn’t over yet. They must correct the national injustice that is the United Commonwealth, which Avatar Aang, Fire Lord Zuko, and Councilwoman Kori Morishita carved out of Earth Empire land with the help of the incompetent Earth King Kuei. It’s time to take back the Commonwealth and reunite the empire. Cranefish City will be hers.

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The United Navy arrives in Yue Bay, led by Bumi

In Cranefish City, the Beifongs and Zhu Li warn Raiko of Kuvira’s plan. Raiko gives the order to evacuate every Commonwealth settlement on the border. The capital’s citizens begin evacuating to Yu Dao, with Wu overseeing the operation. He finds he is extremely charismatic and socially adept, and he evacuates hundreds without incident. Bumi arrives with a joint United Navy/Fire Navy fleet to evacuate civilians and transport soldiers in. With Iroh’s help, Izumi finally corners him before he can get back on his ship, demanding to know why they no longer are so close. Bumi admits although he still loves Izumi, he didn’t want to be only seen as the Fire Lord’s husband or the father of the crown prince. He wants to have his own legacy. He apologizes for what he’s put Izumi, Iroh, and Ta Min through. If he survives this war, he will try to make it up to her somehow. The airbenders recall all of their airships to Air Temple Island to defend the city. Asami and Varrick get to work figuring out how to render spirit energy inert. Unable to make progress, Asami turns to Hiroshi for advice, allowing him to temporarily leave jail to work in her lab at the Future Industries headquarters. When Varrick treats Zhu Li as an assistant again, Zhu Li calls him out and refuses to do so, insisting she can help as an equal. Varrick finally concedes and promises to change his treatment of her. But they still don’t have enough data to figure out how to neutralize the spirit energy.

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Earth Empire troops advance into the United Commonwealth. Kuvira's tanks are based off China's World War I-era Mark V "barrels."

Kuvira unexpectedly attacks a week early. A declaration of war is telegraphed to Raiko half an hour before the first Earth Empire troops cross the border, engaging a United Forces and Fire Nation army. Panicked reports warn almost every mecha, tank, and airship in Kuvira’s army is now armed with smaller versions of the spirit weapon, made with the platinum taken from Zaofu. Then the reports cut off. Team Avatar flies out to investigate and finds only devastation behind the advancing Earth Empire army. They spot the original spirit weapon now attached to the front of Kuvira’s main airship. Kuvira fires, and Opal barely flies her bison out of the way. They hurry back to Cranefish City. Tenzin and his children fortify Air Temple Island. The airbenders, aided by Yue, Kanna, Sakari, and the Kyoshi Warriors, begin evacuating civilians on airships, while Wu takes badgermoles from the zoo to earthbend escape tunnels with Toph’s help. Iroh, Hua, Mako, and Ta Min join Bumi’s evacuation efforts, while Kya and Izumi, who insisted on going despite being a high profile target and a non-bender, head off to the front.

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Korra and Iroh oversee the United Forces defenses

The next day, Kuvira arrives outside Cranefish City. The United Forces and Fire Nation army dig in, while the Earth Empire army prepares its spirit weapons. Kuvira calls Raiko and tells him she will spare Cranefish City and its people if he surrenders. If he doesn’t…she fires her spirit weapon into the heart of the city. The beam cuts through multiple skyscrapers, destroying them, and punches out to the harbor, where it tears apart several of Bumi’s ships. She reminds Raiko she has more spirit weapons ready. Raiko scoffs. “Do you take me for a fool?” he replies. He is the son of Kori Morishita, the woman who came up with the idea of the Commonwealth. It would spit on his mother’s legacy, and the trust the people of the nation put in him, to surrender without a fight. He will not surrender, not today, not ever. He ends the call. Kuvira orders her army to attack.

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"If you want my city and my Commonwealth, you'll have to pry them from my cold dead hands!"

The assault begins, and Earth Empire metalbenders charge the Commonwealth/Fire Nation lines. Benders of all four elements—coming from the Air Nomads, the Fire Nation, the Water Tribes, Kyoshi Warriors, Earth Kingdom rebels, and the United Forces itself—fight back. Kya begins treating the wounded with her waterbending. Izumi draws two platinum broadswords and charges across the battlefield in a whirlwind of unbendable metal, occasionally firing knives and daggers from her sleeves to hit distant foes. Fighting with the Kyoshi Warriors, Yue, Kanna, and Sakari combine their waterbending and airbending to create a raging blizzard. Mako shorts out enemy machines and radios by directing the lightning generated in the storm, while Bolin lavabends the ground in front of the metalbenders to push them back. However, the Earth Empire’s spirit weapons open fire, causing mass destruction throughout the allied lines.

Guan confronts Izumi, chiding her for showing up to a fight for benders only. Preparing her broadswords, Izumi replies she will not abandon her soldiers despite her lack of bending. Although she fights fiercely, she is outmatched by Guan’s ruthless metalbending and is severely injured, the enemy general gloating there is no way a non-bender can defeat him. Kya, fighting and healing at the same time, carries her away from the front lines before Guan can kill her. Taking massive casualties, the Commonwealth and Fire Nation withdraw into downtown. Working with Lin’s metalbending police officers, they take advantage of the urban terrain to make the Earth Empire bleed for every block they take and buy time for the civilians to finish evacuating. Now in range, Bumi’s and Iroh’s ships open fire, shelling the enemy from the harbor. In the skies, Korra, Tenzin, Jinora, Kai, Opal, and the other Air Nomads generate many copies of Korra's tornadoes to push the enemy airships back, preventing them from flanking the ground forces. In Future Industries, Asami, Hiroshi, Varrick, and Zhu Li continue working, but they still don’t have enough data. Varrick and Zhu Li evacuate first. Hiroshi believes they need data from analyzing a spirit weapon blast, but Asami warns they’d only die if they try to get close enough.

Despite Korra’s best efforts, the Earth Empire airships breach the airbenders’ defenses and shoot down the Air Nomads’ airships. They bomb the allied troops on the ground, causing their lines to collapse. Bolin liquefies entire streets into lava, but this barely slows down the enemy, and Mako finds his lightningbending countered by enemy armor. The spirit weapons continue firing. While some attack the ground forces, others target skyscrapers, either collapsing them on top of Cranefish City's defenders or blocking off paths of retreat. Korra tries destroying each spirit weapon as quickly as possible, but there are too many of them.

1614211036920.png


At Asami’s lab, Asami pleads for Hiroshi to leave, but he refuses. He tells Asami to leave before the fighting reaches their part of the city while he conducts one final test. Asami refuses to abandon her father. She never thought she would say that. Just three years ago, he was working with the Red Lanterns and trying to kill her. And here they are, working together. Hiroshi apologizes for his actions. He realizes he was wrong to have helped the Red Lanterns. He thought he would honor Asami’s mother that way, but he now knows that wasn’t what she would've wanted. He hopes to make up for it this way. He hands Asami a radio, pushes her out of the room, and locks the door. Asami demands he unlock the door, but Hiroshi refuses. He tells her to get ready to write down anything he finds. Knowing what Hiroshi plans to do, Asami tells him she forgives him. Running to a nearby alley, Asami gets out a notebook and finds a safe place to sit down and write. Hiroshi radios his findings to her, and as the enemy spirit weapon blasts land closer and closer, his data becomes more accurate. Asami looks up in time to see an energy blast obliterate the Future Industries building. Hiroshi manages to get out a perfect data sample before the radio cuts off. She holds back a scream.

By now, it is clear Cranefish City is lost. The Commonwealth’s and Fire Nation’s armies have been defeated by the spirit weapons. After confirming all of the city’s inhabitants have been safely evacuated, Raiko orders a full retreat to the harbor. Korra and her friends, fighting alongside the Kyoshi Warriors, the Cranefish City Police Department, Air Nomads, Air Temple Island’s White Lotus guards, and Izumi’s royal guard, hold the line to cover everybody’s retreat. Then they too begin boarding Bumi’s ships. Realizing Asami is missing, Korra stays behind and tries to hold off the enemy on her own. Although the others urge her to leave, Korra refuses as long as Asami isn’t with them. Asami finally shows up, asking why Korra hasn’t left yet. Korra replies she won’t leave without knowing she's safe. They get on Bumi’s ship, which casts off from the docks. From her airship, Kuvira watches the United Navy and Fire Navy leave Cranefish Harbor. Bataar II asks if they should just sink the entire fleet now. Kuvira decides against it. They pose no threat as long as she has the spirit weapons. And she has a plan to deal with the Fire Nation eventually.

The season ends with a homage to the end of Book 2 of The Last Airbender. Bumi’s ship steams into the open ocean as the sun sets. Korra consoles Asami over Hiroshi’s death. Raiko sadly looks back at the still burning Cranefish City and says, “The United Commonwealth has fallen.”

---

Present day Izumi finally appears, and already I’ve given her two major character arcs. Since most fanfics understandably make her a firebender, I made her a non-bender as the ultimate rebuke to Ozai. I really liked writing her in this season and the next.

Mako’s scrapped romance with Izumi’s daughter has been restored here now that OTL Book 4 is two full seasons and no longer plagued with budget cuts. There won't be a clip show...at least not like the original...Bolin better be excited for what I have in store for him...

Korra’s clash with Kuvira is now more tragic due to the friendship they built up in Book 3. I think at the start of the season most viewers would still consider Kuvira a good person and even a member of Team Avatar, but as the season continues many would start questioning her until it’s clear she’s gone too far.

I actually thought something like this was going to be what happened in OTL Book 4 before I remembered it was the final season. Since we’re now out of OTL seasons to adapt, Book 6 will be VERY different.

Edit as of February 24, 2021: How ironic that I'm working on this when literally just an hour ago (as of writing this) new ATLA content was announced!
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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I still think you did a good job fleshing this book out. Poor Korra, despite her victories she keeps getting signs that the Avatar is not needed in this world.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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On book 5: I am all for Izumi being a non-bender, Ozai rolling over in his grave at the sheer insult to his plans.

Things are obviously bleak, but there's always hope for a comeback. Also that "Just gals being pals" bit genuinely made me laugh out loud.
 

TWR97

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Izumi being a non-bender yet skilled in swordsmanship was a nice touch tbh, I can see why the Blue Spirit Mask was found by her son eventually. I like all the parallels towards the original series and to history as well. Raiko being an Otto-like figure certainly is something. Kuvira being a modern day version of Chin the Conqueror makes me think Kyoshi will be a key figure for Korra to talk to in the next book. Honestly I like how the series as its on way of repeating scenarios yet makes it distinct to the original. Just like how the cycle of the Avatar repeats. I feel bad for what Korra must be going through, in a slowly modern world the job of the Avatar keeps getting harder and slowly obselete.
 
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CaptainAlvious

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There's a lot of content to unpack here. Definitely love the irony of Izumi being a non bender, that would piss off Ozai for sure. As for what Azula would think, well that would probably depend on what character development she gets in the ATLA comics/sequel movies and whether or not she's still alive and shows up in Book 6, but Azula in the original series would definitely share Ozai’s sentiment. Love how most of the supporting cast gets their moment to shine in the season, through there are some plot points like Yue's grudge with Unalaq that need to be addressed. And of course the fall of Cranefish City are is a grim closing things for this season, but one that sets the hopefully seeds for one grand finale in Book 6. At least Hiroshi went out honorably while making things up with Asami.
Korra’s clash with Kuvira is now more tragic due to the friendship they built up in Book 3. I think at the start of the season most viewers would still consider Kuvira a good person and even a member of Team Avatar, but as the season continues many would start questioning her until it’s clear she’s gone too far.
Argued. It’s pretty heartbreaking to see Kuvira become a villain after helping out Team Avatar in the last two seasons. Her relationship with Korra actualy reminds me of Roku’s friendship with Sozin in a way, wouldn’t be surprised if that’s something that comes up if Korra talks to Roku’s spirit.

Also, damn that's a lot of shipping in this season, I can see the LOK fandom having heated discussions about that stuff, as fandoms usually do. :p:eek:
Ironic how one of Jin’s grandsons end ups with a granddaughter of Zuko. We’ll see how Book 6 resolves the Iroh/Hua/Sakari love triangle. Nice to see Bumi reconnect with his family. Love the Korrasami dynamic, hope to see more of it in Book 6.

Like the little details about “real world” Hohenzollernverse lore inspiring stuff in LOK, it’s another cool angle of worldbuiding. Now that you remind me about the TL-191 reference you did with tanks being called barrels during WW1 before you dropped that in HOI3, did you come up with an in world lore reason for the name change from barrels to tanks? I remember hearing the Confederates in the Southern Victory series actually tired changing the name of Barrels back to tanks, but it didn’t stick. Maybe the Angeloi and Loyalists changed the name for the same reason the original Barrel name was picked: disguising military industrial products.
 
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zenphoenix

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I still think you did a good job fleshing this book out. Poor Korra, despite her victories she keeps getting signs that the Avatar is not needed in this world.
All her life she's believed she's special because she's the Avatar, but as she goes on her journey, she finds it is very different from what she expected. It's something I can sympathize heavily with.
On book 5: I am all for Izumi being a non-bender, Ozai rolling over in his grave at the sheer insult to his plans.

Things are obviously bleak, but there's always hope for a comeback. Also that "Just gals being pals" bit genuinely made me laugh out loud.
I'm not done with the insults to Ozai yet...
Izumi being a non-bender yet skilled in swordsmanship was a nice touch tbh, I can see why the Blue Spirit Mask was found by her son eventually. I like all the parallels towards the original series and to history as well. Raiko being an Otto-like figure certainly is something. Kuvira being a modern day version of Chin the Conqueror makes me think Kyoshi will be a key figure for Korra to talk to in the next book. Honestly I like how the series as its on way of repeating scenarios yet makes it distinct to the original. Just like how the cycle of the Avatar repeats. I feel bad for what Korra must be going through, in a slowly modern world the job of the Avatar keeps getting harder and slowly obselete.
I did have Korra talk to Kyoshi a lot in Book 6, as well as bring in plenty of Kyoshi novel references (even though at this point the novels wouldn't have been released yet, but whatever).
There's a lot of content to unpack here. Definitely love the irony of Izumi being a non bender, that would piss off Ozai for sure. As for what Azula would think, well that would probably depend on what character development she gets in the ATLA comics/sequel movies and whether or not she's still alive and shows up in Book 6, but Azula in the original series would definitely share Ozai’s sentiment. Love how most of the supporting cast gets their moment to shine in the season, through there are some plot points like Yue's grudge with Unalaq that need to be addressed. And of course the fall of Cranefish City are is a grim closing things for this season, but one that sets the hopefully seeds for one grand finale in Book 6. At least Hiroshi went out honorably while making things up with Asami.
Azula won't appear in Book 6. The story I wrote wouldn't involve her, and I have plenty of Fire Nation royals already (including the other sister to Zuko).
Argued. It’s pretty heartbreaking to see Kuvira become a villain after helping out Team Avatar in the last two seasons. Her relationship with Korra actualy reminds me of Roku’s friendship with Sozin in a way, wouldn’t be surprised if that’s something that comes up if Korra talks to Roku’s spirit.
It's very tragic indeed to see two former friends fighting. Korra tries to show mercy given their past and her growth over the last three years, but Kuvira, still locked in her hotheaded and willful mindset like Korra's in Book 1, won't budge. She's the Great Uniter, and you have to deal with it.
Also, damn that's a lot of shipping in this season, I can see the LOK fandom having heated discussions about that stuff, as fandoms usually do. :p:eek:
Ironic how one of Jin’s grandsons end ups with a granddaughter of Zuko. We’ll see how Book 6 resolves the Iroh/Hua/Sakari love triangle. Nice to see Bumi reconnect with his family. Love the Korrasami dynamic, hope to see more of it in Book 6.
A lot of shipping in this season? laughs in Book 6

I didn't intend for the Jin/Zuko connection between Mako and Ta Min, as I only wanted to restore that scrapped plot point from OTL Book 4, but it works perfectly.
Like the little details about “real world” Hohenzollernverse lore inspiring stuff in LOK, it’s another cool angle of worldbuiding. Now that you remind me about the TL-191 reference you did with tanks being called barrels during WW1 before you dropped that in HOI3, did you come up with a lore for the name change from barrels to tanks? I remember hearing the Confederates in the Southern Victory series actually tired changing the name of Barrels back to tanks, but it didn’t stick.
No, I don't have a reason as of now, because I only changed the name back to tanks for my own convenience.
 
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zenphoenix

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Legend of Korra - Book 6: Balance
(Spoilers for the series finale, the second LOK comic to some extent, and...the Kyoshi novels, I guess. Most of this season is original content.)​

The credits' bending montage updates every few episodes. The scenery focuses on the Fire Nation and the Earth Empire-occupied Cranefish City. The closing credit's shots of Cranefish City now show smoke rising from downtown and Kuvira's airships circling in the skies.

1614275228158.png

Earth Empire armor executing a "lightning offensive" against Yu Dao

The final season opens with Kuvira giving a speech over a montage of the Earth Empire’s military victories. After the fall of Cranefish City, Earth Empire troops invaded and conquered Yu Dao within hours, blasting a statue of Kori Morishita to pieces to symbolize their victory. Hours later, Omashu, the last Earth Kingdom city resisting Kuvira, surrendered without a fight. Only Kyoshi Island, guarded by the Southern Water Tribe’s navy, remains free of Kuvira. By the time the sun rises and Bumi’s fleet approaches the Fire Nation, Kuvira has taken over the entirety of the former Earth Kingdom mainland.

1614275743317.png

The Fire Nation

Korra and Asami watch their ship pass through the Gates of Azulon, where a second Fire Navy fleet escorts them to Caldera City, the capital. Bolin and Opal deliver food to Jin’s family. Raiko and Tenzin wonder what they will do now. Hua confesses her feelings for Iroh, who although he reciprocates is worried about the optics of falling in love with his former assistant and a commoner. This inspires Zhu Li to talk to Varrick, but he is busy working on the spirit energy nullifier with Asami. Kanna and Yue contact their friends on Kyoshi Island, while Sakari goes home first. Lin and Suyin practice metalbending with Toph. Iroh, Ta Min, Bumi, and Mako stay at Izumi’s side while Kya heals her.

Unconscious, Izumi flashes back to moments in her childhood. As a kid, she frequently visited Cranefish City, where she played with Lin, Suyin, Tenzin, Kya, Yue, and Bumi. She especially drew close to Bumi as they were the only non-benders in their group: this evokes memories of attending Bumi's commissioning ceremony, their marriage, and later estrangement. Occasionally, Kori brought along a young Raiko, while Kuei brought Hou-Ting. Hou-Ting was a kind and shy girl, and Izumi wonders how that girl grew up into a spiteful old lady. They had last met right before Zaheer assassinated her. Izumi demanded an answer for why she was conscripting airbenders against their will, including several Fire Nation citizens. Hou-Ting denied the charges and insisted she was within her rights to conscript her citizens, and Izumi had no right to complain, especially after what her father did to Kuei. She called Izumi disrespectful to make demands of her in her own throne room. She was not qualified to lecture her on governance when she herself gave up so much of her power to a Legislative Yuan so she could avoid the responsibilities of the throne. Izumi asked Hou-Ting to remember their childhood friendship and their fathers’ friendship, but Hou-Ting refused, saying Zuko had only manipulated the weak-willed Kuei into giving up his own land. She would not be taken advantage of like him. The Earth Kingdom would do fine under her guidance, and she did not need help from Izumi, which would only put it back under Fire Nation occupation. She expelled Izumi from the throne room and severed diplomatic ties. Minutes later, as Izumi was still leaving, she heard Zaheer declare Hou-Ting was dead. She and her guards narrowly escaped the riots and got out of the city. If she had stayed just a few more minutes, she might have also been killed.

The ships dock. Korra’s friends take in the sights of the Fire Nation, but they are unable to relax knowing Kuvira still occupies the Commonwealth. Korra comes to realize the friend she knew in Zaofu is gone, replaced by a brutal dictator she must defeat. She asks her past lives for advice. Aang shares how he defeated Ozai. Roku talks about his friendship with Sozin but how that led to his hesitation, which allowed Sozin to start the Hundred Year War. They tell her she must be decisive in confronting Kuvira, even if she was once a friend. Korra goes back to Kyoshi, remembering how she defeated Chin the Conqueror, a similar Earth Kingdom tyrant.

Kyoshi tells her Chin rose to power under similar circumstances. In the years after Kuruk's untimely death, bandits and organized crime rampaged across the Earth Kingdom, and the situation only worsened when many of the Earth Kingdom’s political and military elite were killed in a coup. Chin seized power during that power vacuum. From his base in the northwestern Earth Kingdom, he formed an army and set about reuniting the country, through brutal means if necessary. His efforts to stamp out the bandits and other criminals earned him the support of the common people, and soon most of the kingdom fell under his rule. Kyoshi, at the time still early in her career as the Avatar, believed he was only bringing balance and order back to the Earth Kingdom. But all that power corrupted Chin, and he turned into a cruel tyrant.

1614275837662.png

Kyoshi confronts Chin outside Yokoya

Finally, he led his army to attack Kyoshi’s hometown of Yokoya, demanding she and her people submit to his rule. Kyoshi, refusing to let her home be taken over, went into the Avatar State and separated Yokoya from the mainland, creating Kyoshi Island. The ground under Chin collapsed, and he fell to his death. Korra asks why Kyoshi didn’t just intervene sooner. Kyoshi replies she wishes she didn’t have to fight Chin, and she hates killing, but by that point diplomacy wouldn't have worked, and she had no other choice. She would have intervened sooner if she knew about Chin’s crimes. Kuvira is very similar to Chin, and it is Korra’s duty to defeat her and restore balance to the world. Korra asks how she can do that. She can’t just turn Cranefish City into an island and hope Kuvira falls off a cliff. And she doesn’t want to kill her old friend. Kyoshi tells her of how she once came to blows with a dear friend of hers. It ended with her being forced to kill him, the guilt of which she still lives with, even though she knew it was the right and only choice she could make. She tells Korra she must be decisive and make the right call to kill or not, as “only justice will bring peace.”

1614276064203.png

Caldera City (credit to the Legend of Genji team for this fan design - although Legend of Genji is supposed to take place maybe 30 years after LOK, it's basically what I imagined the Fire Nation to be in Korra's time)

Korra and her friends enter Caldera City. The Fire Nation capital was built in the caldera of an extinct volcano, with Izumi’s palace at the center. Skyscrapers dot the cityscape, although they aren’t as numerous as in Cranefish City or Zaofu. The architectural styles are similar to those found in Cranefish City, only without Earth Kingdom influences. Bolin tries out the street food and finds a lot of dishes are very spicy. They reach the royal palace, where Kya continues healing Izumi. Zuko leaves retirement to fill in as her regent, warmly greeting Toph (who still complains he never took her on a “life-changing field trip”) and the others. He promises the Fire Nation will do everything it can to restore the Commonwealth, but the Fire Nation has not fought a major war in seventy years. Furthermore, there is an upcoming solar eclipse happening in several months, which will neutralize all firebending for a few minutes. In those few minutes, the country would be extremely vulnerable. Remembering Sokka’s invasion plan during the Hundred Year War, Kanna believes Kuvira might try to invade during the eclipse. Although the Earth Empire apparently hasn’t invested much in a navy so far, Zuko can’t rule it out, as Kuvira has recently been giving speeches calling for revenge against the Fire Nation for the “century of humiliation” it inflicted upon the Earth Kingdom. They must stay on their guard.

While Raiko, Zuko, Tenzin, and the other world leaders talk, Korra and her friends settle into their new lodgings. Iroh and Bumi remain with Izumi and are joined by Mai, Izumi’s mother. Jin ambushes Zuko after one of his meetings and taunts him about their date decades ago and the fact that their grandchildren are dating. Katara arrives to help Kya heal Izumi and meets Zuko and Toph. Yue confronts Unalaq about their past, and Unalaq slowly questions if the conservative norms he enforced in the North are really worth preserving. Bolin and Opal try to have some peace of mind and go on several dates in Caldera City, but Varrick crashes the latest date and pressures Bolin into doing more propaganda movies so they can turn public opinion against Kuvira.

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Bolin filming the hit serial movie "Nuktuk: Hero of the South" back during the Red Lantern occupation, telling the story of a heroic waterbender from the South Pole fighting to save Cranefish City from the evil "reanimated zombie leader" Amon. Nuktuk is based on hit 1930s Roman serials such as Flash Gordon.

Mako approaches Iroh for help with confessing his feelings to Ta Min, preferably in a way which would not incur the wrath of two Fire Lords, Kiyi, and Mai. Iroh improvises some advice, as he also finds himself very awkward with Hua, so he asks Bumi for advice. Reflecting on how she was outclassed by metalbenders at Cranefish City, Kanna removes the metal from her fans and Kyoshi Warrior outfit and focuses more on chi blocking and technology, asking Asami to help her forge a katana with an electrically charged platinum blade. After being rejected by Hua, Sakari focuses on the coming battle and begins practicing with Sokka’s boomerang, which Yue gave to her. Wu, no longer an incompetent womanizer, actively involves himself in Zuko’s meetings and discusses what they can do. Grieving together over Hiroshi’s death, Korra and Asami draw closer, finding solace in each other. Korra admits she can’t live without Asami. Asami also reciprocates, having also developed feelings when writing to Korra. She doesn’t want to lose Korra so soon after losing her father.

The world leaders conclude they must defeat Kuvira before the solar eclipse begins, or else they risk the Fire Nation falling as well. They have to send as much of the Fire Navy and what remains of the United Navy back to retake the Commonwealth. Tenzin warns Kuvira will be expecting them to attack, and if they lose, they would be completely open to attack. Raiko suggests not directly attacking Cranefish City, which will be heavily guarded as Kuvira's current base of operations. Yue and Kanna suggest a false flag attack from Kyoshi Island into the southern Earth Empire. Meanwhile, the real invasion will take place at Yu Dao. Toph is pleased with the plan, as she can take back her old metalbending academy from the woman who tarnished metalbending’s reputation. Tonraq and Unalaq pledge to commit as many of their fleets as possible to supplement the Fire Navy and United Navy, and Tenzin promises to send airbenders in defensive roles. This will be an international operation. They must attack as soon as possible before the solar eclipse begins.

In occupied Cranefish City, Kuvira talks with Bataar II and Guan about the pacification of the western Commonwealth. Bataar II worries Yu Dao is exposed to an invasion, but Guan assures him he has everything under control, thanks to the combination of Zaofu’s technology and the Commonwealth’s industrial base allowing them to build Bataar II’s designs at record speeds. Privately, Bataar II asks Kuvira if the next step in her plan is what they really want. They already have their united Earth Empire. They can stop here and build their ideal nation now. Kuvira refuses. As long as the Fire Nation exists, it will always try to keep the people of the Earth Empire under its imperialist heel. As long as its Commonwealth lackeys are still alive, it will stop at nothing to bring them down and plunge the world into a new Hundred Year War. For the sake of the world, Kuvira must destroy the Fire Nation and make it atone for its crimes. Bataar II protests this isn’t what Korra would have wanted or done. Kuvira replies she is only doing what is necessary for the safety of her people, which Bataar II calls unnecessary and crazy. Realizing he can’t convince her, he storms off. Considering her husband unreliable now, Kuvira begins withholding information from him and consulting Guan instead. Worried Kuvira may turn on him eventually, Bataar II fanatically embraces her ideology even more fervently to prove he is loyal to the Earth Empire.

Izumi begins recovering from Katara and Kya’s healing. As soon as she can walk, she heads to a training facility to hone her sword and knife throwing skills, believing if only she was better, she could have saved more of her soldiers. Zuko and Mai arrive to encourage her. Zuko tells her how his father once almost banished him because he thought Zuko was a non-bender. But Zuko would never do that to Izumi, as she is the Fire Lord not because of her bending but because of who she is. Mai simply gives her tips on how to improve her knife throwing. Afterward, she meets Bumi, and they fondly reflect on their youth. Izumi remarks it’s been so long since she was in Cranefish City. Bumi remembers how much time she spent reading evidence to build the case against Yakone. Izumi asks if they can be closer again like they were before, when Bumi dropped everything to move to the Fire Nation with her. Bumi decides to try. He's glad she gave him a second chance (and no longer has to worry about Zuko and Mai coming after him).

Kuvira discusses her war plans with Guan. Kyoshi Island remains the only former Earth Kingdom holdout to her rule. As the home of Avatar Kyoshi and the place where she defeated Chin the Conqueror, taking the fiercely independent island would be a massive symbolic victory for her. Guan urges her to ignore the island for now, as their naval forces are not equipped to fight the Water Tribes. They should focus their efforts on the northwest, particularly the restless former Commonwealth provinces. With the eclipse approaching, it is increasingly likely the Fire Nation will try something before then. Kuvira agrees. She asks if their latest inventions are ready for mass production. Guan reports they should be able to meet the quota by their deadline. Kuvira thanks him. Her husband may not fully appreciate the importance of their cause, but Guan does. Kuvira assigns Bataar II to an impending but strategically unnecessary invasion of Kyoshi Island, which is still in the planning stage and only distracts him from the main operation. Eager to prove his worth, Bataar II fully commits himself to the invasion, embracing the symbolism of taking the island.

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Jang-Hui in Aang's time

Hua takes Iroh to visit her home in Jang-Hui, a poor Fire Nation village Aang and his friends once visited. Iroh is actually more nervous about meeting Hua’s parents than the invasion itself, and the normally calm and composed prince is a nervous wreck when they enter the village. Thanks to Bumi’s advice, he conducts himself well in the presence of Hua’s parents, although he is a little unnerved by the fact one of her ancestors was the general Zuko spoke out against and was scarred for, and promises he will invest more into Jang-Hui. He also meets many villagers, including some former Red Lantern or Red Lotus sympathizers, who lost faith in the monarchy, finding such sentiment has been on the rise in the Fire Nation for some time. Bolin continues filming Varrick’s movies and convinces Opal to co-star with him, although she doesn’t like her lines. Taking Iroh’s “advice,” which somehow works, Mako shares his feelings with Ta Min, who reciprocates. Izumi, who was eavesdropping on them, cautiously approves of their relationship but not yet of Ta Min’s calling. On Kiyi’s advice, Korra and Asami go to Ember Island to relax but end up confiding all of their insecurities and past trauma to each other. Kai devises a new airbending technique, a gust that disarms an opponent of all weapons, to impress Jinora and get Tenzin to approve of him. Kanna is frustrated everybody on the team except her is dating someone (ignoring Wu’s now genuine interest in her), so she focuses on training with her new sword. Lin and Suyin continue training under Toph, who berates their metalbending as terrible.

As the invasion nears, the Fire Nation gears up for war. Bumi and Iroh reorganize the fleets of the Fire Navy, United Navy, and Water Tribe navies into a massive armada capable of holding thousands of soldiers. Always aware there may be Earth Empire spies lurking, Bumi creates multiple wildly different invasion plans ranging from the most realistic to the craziest, all of them equally valid. Each part of the armada is tasked with practicing a different plan, making it impossible to predict which one is the real plan. Asami continues working on the spirit energy nullifier with the final data set Hiroshi sent her. Korra continues asking Kyoshi for advice, although she eventually goes off topic and asks for dating advice regarding Asami. Kyoshi is surprisingly helpful and talks about her first love, a firebending woman named Rangi who helped found and train the first Kyoshi Warriors with her.

A week before the invasion, Korra and her friends and their dates go to see one of Varrick's propaganda movies. Like the episode “The Ember Island Players” in The Last Airbender, the episode and movie are merely framing devices to recap the entire series in-universe, only from Varrick’s perspective and with Bolin as the protagonist.


Korra said:
Fire.

Air.

Water.

Earth.

Long ago, the four nations lived in peace. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation WAS ATTACKED! Only Bolin, hero of Cranefish City, can stop the evil Earth Empire. I believe Bolin can save the world!

The "credits" for the movie have Bolin bending every element (badly).

Everyone is replaced with heavily satirized versions of themselves, except for Bolin and Opal, who play themselves, and Varrick, who is made completely perfect. A love triangle between Korra (a stereotypical tough girl), Mako (an edgy brooding bad boy), and Asami (a rich damsel in distress) takes up most of the early plot, which focuses on pro-bending. The love triangle is responsible for the Fire Ferrets performing badly. An inspirational speech from Bolin repairs the rift between Korra and Mako and gets them to the championship match. But their Kuvira-sponsored opponents cheat their way to victory. Hiroshi’s betrayal is dramatically emphasized, and Asami initially joins him, only for Bolin to convince her to turn good by reminding her of her love for Mako, although she violently dumps him later. Korra loses her bending to Amon, and Bolin rescues her from the airship with the help of Iroh, a romantically oblivious Zuko clone obsessed with honor, and Hua, who is very obviously in love with Iroh. They head to the Southern Air Temple, where Bolin motivates Korra to train in airbending and masterminds a plan to take back Cranefish City. But Korra decides to take a meaningless detour to the spirit world to fight some “evil spirit who came out of nowhere” (who seems to be working with a now evil Unalaq for absolutely no reason). While Korra fights Vaatu in a dramatic but unnecessary kaiju laser fight, Bolin heads to Cranefish City, where he defeats Amon in an epic battle and unmasks him as a waterbender. Amon attempts to bloodbend Bolin, but Bolin overcomes it with the power of friendship. As he is taken away by Lin, Amon claims he was only preparing Cranefish City for a bigger threat.

Harmonic Convergence leads to some people manifesting airbending, and after receiving a vision from Aang, Bolin sets out to recruit them. He meets Kanna, who won’t shut up about her fans or her training, and Opal, who falls in love with him at first sight. Their romance isn’t approved by Opal’s mother Suyin, a controlling matriarch concerned with the purity of the Beifong bloodline. Kuvira is seen in Aiwei’s role and as a scheming plotter jealous of Opal for “stealing” Bolin. She masterminds the Red Lotus’ release from prison and orders them to kill Bolin—if she can’t have Bolin, nobody can. The Red Lotus rampage across the Earth Kingdom, killing many in collateral damage, including “some crazy old lady named Hou-Ting,” before targeting the airbenders Bolin recruited. Remembering a promise he made to Aang, Bolin confronts the Red Lotus at the Northern Air Temple. Tenzin’s and Korra's fights against Zaheer are recapped, only with Bolin replacing them. He rescues Opal from being tortured by mercury poisoning and then goes on to kill defeat all four of the Red Lotus masters at the same time in an epic battle. Zaheer gloats even though he was defeated, Bolin has only lost the coming war. (At this point, the movie is briefly interrupted by hecklers calling for the end of the Fire Nation monarchy.)

While Bolin fights the Red Lotus, Kuvira launches a coup in Zaofu, deposing Suyin. She marches on Ba Sing Se, where she declares herself the new Earth Empress (justifying her takeover by saying since the planet is named Earth, she deserves to rule it all). As Raiko was turned into a stereotypical corrupt politician, Bolin steps up to oppose Kuvira. When she inevitably marches on Cranefish City, piloting a giant 25-story mecha armed with a spirit laser cannon (powered by Vaatu for some reason) alongside a freed Red Lotus and Amon (who somehow lost his arms and now fights like Ming-Hua), Bolin is there to stop her. He uses his lavabending to melt the mecha’s legs and break open its armor, allowing him to climb inside. He first defeats Amon, Vaatu, and all of the Red Lotus at once before confronting Kuvira, who is still jealous he loves Opal instead of her and did all this to both impress him and get revenge. Bolin defeats Kuvira and puts her in prison. The movie ends with Bolin telling the audience he counts on them to oppose the real Kuvira and restore peace to the world.

Leaving the theater, Korra and her friends have mixed feelings about the movie. Korra and Asami are embarrassed by their portrayal in the love triangle, while Mako refuses to talk about it. Asami feels guilty over how she treated Hiroshi, even if he did try to kill her. Iroh asks Hua if he really is so obsessed with honor he didn't notice her hints sooner. Kanna complains they ignored everything about her besides her fans, and Yue complains she was completely cut out. Bolin enjoyed every minute of the movie and continues recapping his favorite parts to everyone else, while Opal complains she was just a generic love interest. Tenzin and Lin awkwardly talk about the movie’s secondary love triangle between them and Pema (which is later dropped in favor of a bizarre romance between Kya and Lin). Unalaq complains he was turned into a minor villain for no reason at all and contemplates his conservatism even more, while Raiko thinks hard about his political career. After hearing the complaints of the hecklers, Bumi and Izumi have a long conversation about the future of the monarchy and the legacy of the royal family. Toph is satisfied she is still played by a deep-voiced muscular man everybody fears. Katara and Zuko are glad they were not put in another romance like in the original play. Kiyi asks why Varrick said the Fire Nation was attacked when that didn’t happen. Varrick replies it's just a marketing ploy. As expected, the movie’s release influences public sentiment against Kuvira, and soon there are massive demonstrations calling for an intervention in the Commonwealth.


A week later, the Fire Nation and Commonwealth are ready for the invasion. Bumi executes his crazy plan. The fleets of the Southern Water Tribe sortie out from Kyoshi Island to attack the southern Earth Empire. While enemy forces are redirected to the south, Bumi’s main fleet, consisting of ships from the Fire Navy, United Navy, and the Northern Water Tribe fleet, approach the coast of the Commonwealth and begin an amphibious assault on the coastline near Yu Dao. Resistance is fierce, but Bumi’s plan accounted for that. His unorthodox strategies slowly push back the Earth Empire. The Air Nomads focus their efforts on throwing off the aim of the spirit weapons or sabotaging their firing mechanisms. Team Avatar leads the charge into Yu Dao.

They initially push deep into the city, finding the enemy disorganized, but things turn for the worse when Guan reveals what he has been mass producing: more advanced planes (resembling World War II fighters), tanks (resembling Cold War designs), mechas, and armored airships. The Earth Empire launches a counterattack, firing all of its spirit weapons at the invasion forces and decimating them. Bumi orders a retreat, but when they reach the coast, they find Kuvira has moved a fleet of newly invented aircraft carriers and battleships into position to cut off the invasion fleet. Bumi is shocked Kuvira built a blue water navy so fast, believing she had focused mainly on land armies. The allied armies are now trapped on the coast between Kuvira’s fleet and a reoccupied Yu Dao. Realizing they have lost, Bumi orders Korra and her friends to escape on Opal and Jinora’s sky bison while the rest of them fight to the end. While Korra and her friends escape, the rest of the army is either destroyed or captured.

With most of the Fire Nation military destroyed in the invasion, the Earth Empire strikes back in the weeks leading up the Day of Black Sun, and despite Izumi having prepared as much as she could for this, the Fire Nation is steadily beaten back. Long range bombers and battleships destroy the coastal defenses at the Gates of Azulon, while submarines sink Fire Navy patrol boats. The Earth Empire's aircraft carrier battle groups sail straight into the harbor of Caldera City, where they launch their fighter aircraft to carry out bombing runs on the capital and surrounding cities. Transport ships deploy hundreds of Earth Empire metalbenders, tanks, and mechas. Izumi leads the Fire Nation troops in a fierce battle, but all firebending is neutralized during the solar eclipse. Although the Fire Nation armies can still fight using their technology, the metalbenders have the advantage of retaining their bending. In the next eight minutes, the Earth Empire storms Caldera City. Izumi, Mai, Kiyi, and Ta Min bravely defend the palace, but they are captured by Guan, who metalbends restraints onto them. Using the Dai Li’s brainwashing, he forces Izumi to surrender and order her troops to stand down. By the time the eclipse ends, the Fire Nation has been completely defeated.

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(credit to u/theryancardinal - this was my inspiration for this plot line)

Sitting on the Fire Lords’ throne, Guan declares the Fire Nation ended and its lands annexed into the Earth Empire as reparations for the Hundred Year War. He also proclaims his final victory over Izumi, saying she has no right to rule. Zuko secretly escapes. Varrick, forced to work on improving the spirit weapons once again, realizes Zhu Li had been brainwashed by Guan since the Beifongs broke her out and was responsible for leaking all of their plans. He secretly begins working on undoing the brainwashing.

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Guan gloats about his victory

The Fire Nation scenes in the credits now show signs of the Earth Empire occupation.

Fleeing Yu Dao, Korra's friends are relentlessly pursued by Earth Empire fighter planes no matter where they go, and the sky bison they ride on grow tired after several weeks. Iroh, guilty about not being with his family when the Fire Nation fell, convinces Opal, Kanna, and Hua to turn around and face the planes, buying time for Korra, Asami, Mako, Bolin, and Kai to escape with Jinora. Opal flies her sky bison west, back to the Fire Nation, while Jinora continues flying towards Kyoshi Island, where the planes are forced to turn back by the Southern Water Tribe. There, they rest and catch up on what has happened elsewhere. Yue believes an invasion of the island is imminent. The Earth Empire is gathering troops in Gaoling, mostly aircraft. Kyoshi Island has no antiaircraft defenses, only Tonraq’s fleet. Lin and Suyin, arriving with the remains of the United Navy, offer to go to Gaoling, their mother’s hometown, and destroy the air fleet. Katara, deciding she can no longer watch while the world burns again, goes with Kya to free her other children and Raiko from a concentration camp. Learning Izumi and Ta Min are being held in Omashu, Mako and Bolin head there to rescue them.

In the Fire Nation, Wu rallies a resistance against the Earth Empire occupation. Although Guan puts out a huge bounty for Wu, as the last challenger to Kuvira’s rule over the Earth Kingdom, Wu escapes his patrols with the help of the people. Gradually, he begins escalating his rebellion, going from sabotaging supplies and military equipment to blowing up occupation offices and army bases. Enraged, Guan imposes curfews, lockdowns, random searches, and then mass arrests of anyone associated with the resistance, sending them to concentration camps. In the eastern Fire Nation, Opal finally shakes off the planes pursuing her. Fearing her family may be in danger, Hua has Opal fly to Jang-Hui, where they evacuate her family and the other villagers to the Western Air Temple before Guan’s troops take them to a concentration camp. They link up with Wu’s resistance, and Kanna and Opal steal an airship to evacuate Jin’s family and other civilians to the South Pole. From there, they join Korra on Kyoshi Island. Iroh and Hua stay behind to help Wu, who dons the Blue Spirit mask to disguise himself during his resistance activities. Meanwhile, Varrick inadvertently stumbles across a design for a highly powerful spirit energy bomb which could wipe out an entire city in an instant. Despite his best efforts to destroy the plans, Guan seizes them and sends them to Bataar II. Varrick has more luck on his second project. He corners and interrogates Dr. Sheng, pioneer of the Earth Empire’s new brainwashing technology, and forces her to divulge how to undo the brainwashing. He then builds a device which frees Zhu Li, and they escape with Kanna and Opal.

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An Earth Empire concentration camp...one of the smaller ones, that is.

Katara and Kya sneak into the concentration camp. After confirming Tenzin, Bumi, and Raiko are okay, they free everyone. Katara leads the prisoners to a waiting fleet sent by Unalaq, who takes them to the South Pole. Toph finally gets her “life-changing field trip” with Zuko when they team up to attack the Boiling Rock, a former Hundred Year War prison now used to contain the Earth Empire’s Fire Nation prisoners of war, and free Kiyi and Mai. They meet up with Iroh and Wu, who gives the Blue Spirit mask back to its rightful owner. Zuko dons his old persona one last time, helping Wu's resistance raid Earth Empire bases across the country and free concentration camp prisoners.

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Gaoling, the ancestral home of the Beifong family

Lin and Suyin reach Gaoling and are shocked to see the city’s ruler is none other than Kanto, their absent father. Once a reformed triad member who had fallen in love with Toph, he had disappeared soon after Suyin’s birth. Lin demands to know why he abandoned them, while Suyin asks why he sided with Kuvira. Kanto replies he didn’t want the obligation of supporting a family, especially after he was pulled back into the triads. Kuvira gave him a second chance when she destroyed the triads of the Commonwealth and recruited him and the other members into her army. He earnestly believes he is doing good by helping Kuvira bring peace and order to the world. He doesn’t wish to fight his daughters, as they remind him of Toph, and asks them to leave for their own safety. Lin and Suyin refuse to leave, and they fight. Kanto is quickly defeated, and Lin and Suyin destroy the air fleet. As they leave, Kanto says he is sorry for what he put them and Toph through. He also warns them there is another air fleet being readied in Omashu.

Mako and Bolin arrive in Omashu, using Bolin’s insider knowledge to blend in as normal Earth Empire soldiers. They gain access to the prison where Ta Min and Izumi are being held. While Ta Min happily embraces Mako, Bolin finds Izumi was not imprisoned but is giving pro-Kuvira propaganda speeches in her brainwashed state. She fiercely resists, and their cover is blown. Lin and Suyin arrive to destroy the air fleet at Omashu and bail them out. With some difficulty, they drag Izumi back to Kyoshi Island, where Varrick breaks her brainwashing. Meanwhile, Asami perfects the spirit energy nullifier. Unfortunately, Yue learns yet another air fleet is already on its way to Kyoshi Island, personally led by Bataar II. Apparently Kanto wasn’t told the full plan. Furthermore, Kuvira is close to producing a spirit energy bomb. Korra realizes she must confront Kuvira now.

The four part finale, “The Last Stand,” begins. Yue, Kanna, Sakari, Opal, Lin, Suyin, Tonraq, and Unalaq stay on Kyoshi Island to stop Bataar II. Izumi joins Iroh, Hua, Kiyi, and Wu in the Fire Nation to fight against Guan. Katara, her children, and the airbenders join Zuko and Toph in the western Commonwealth to retake Yu Dao. Finally, Korra, Asami, Mako, and Bolin head to Cranefish City to deal with Kuvira. After Wu's rebels sabotage the spirit energy bomb manufacturing facility in the Fire Nation, Kuvira orders a prototype bomb sent to Agna Qel’a. Although here each plot is separated for convenience, each episode jumps between the different plots, with a focus on one.

The credits for the first episode show Suyin and Lin, Iroh and Hua, Kanna and Opal, and Yue and Sakari, and the scenery focuses on Kyoshi Island. The credits for the second show Toph, Zuko, Tenzin and Bumi, and Katara and Kya and focus on Yu Dao. The credits for the third show Guan, Kiyi, Jinora, and Tonraq and focus on the Fire Nation.

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The Water Tribe blockade around Kyoshi Island

At Kyoshi Island, Bataar II's air fleet arrives, and the Water Tribe fleets open fire. Rising into the air on a water vortex, Yue shoots down dozens of planes with icicle spikes, while Lin and Suyin grapple onto the airships and begin tearing apart their metal frames, just like Lin did against the Red Lantern airships. Proudly wielding her new sword and a traditional wolf-shaped Southern Water Tribe battle helmet, Kanna leads Sakari and the Kyoshi Warriors against Earth Empire ground forces. Opal confronts Bataar II and pleads for her brother to stop the chaos and come back to his family. But Bataar II refuses. He will take Kyoshi Island and succeed where Chin the Conqueror failed. Then Kuvira will know how loyal he is. Opal sadly acknowledges her brother is lost to her. She defeats him and forces him to surrender.

At Yu Dao, Aang’s old friends gather one last time, together with Tenzin, Kya, Bumi, Jinora, and the other airbenders. In several minutes, Katara, Zuko, and Toph overwhelm Yu Dao’s Earth Empire occupiers, while Tenzin, Kya, and Bumi free the prisoners of war held there and the airbenders protect the city’s inhabitants from collateral damage. At the center of the city, Toph approaches the shattered remains of Kori Morishita’s statue and rebuilds it. She then metalbends wreckage from destroyed Earth Empire vehicles to build a larger statue of herself next to Kori’s.

In the Fire Nation, Wu launches his uprising, calling the people of the country to rise up in the name of Lord Zuko, Fire Lord Izumi, Prince Iroh, and Princess Kiyi. Guan orders his troops to show no mercy, but they are outnumbered in a foreign land, and their technology is no match for thousands of angry Fire Nation citizens. After Iroh proposes to Hua, they fight alongside Wu through downtown Caldera City, using their firebending to burn through barricades and tanks. Kiyi charges ahead, her white flames routing entire enemy battalions. Izumi heads for the palace and confronts Guan, ready for a rematch. Guan attempts to pull the same trick as before and use metalbending to restrain her, but she has prepared for that. She throws knives from her sleeves to intercept the metal projectiles he fires and draws too close for Guan to metalbend or defend himself against her swords. By the time Iroh, Hua, and Kiyi arrive, Guan has been subdued. In a radio address to her people, she declares Guan defeated and the Fire Nation reborn. In custody, Guan remains shocked he, a superior metalbender, was defeated by a lowly non-bender.

The final credits show Korra bending all four elements and focus on Cranefish City.

The final battle takes place at Cranefish City. Korra, Asami, Mako, and Bolin ride on Naga to reach the capital of the Commonwealth, where they locate Kuvira on her airship and the bomb being loaded onto a second airship. As the Earth Empire forces spot them, Korra orders Naga to swim to a safe distance and then tells the others to prepare for battle. Bolin assaults the approaching Earth Empire troops with lavabending. Asami commandeers an Earth Empire plane and crash-lands into the airship with the bomb. She fights her way through the airship’s defenders and uses the nullifier on the bomb, rendering its spirit energy inert, before climbing in a mecha and jumping back to the ground to help Bolin. Korra airbends herself and Mako onto Kuvira’s airship. Mako holds off the airship’s crew while Korra immediately attacks Kuvira, knowing she will no longer listen to reason.

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The two former friends fight for the last time

On the ground, Bolin uses his lavabending to liquefy the foundations of several skyscrapers, bringing them down on the ground forces below or airships and planes passing by, while Asami tinkers with her mecha’s systems to improvise an electromagnetic pulse which disables most of the Earth Empire’s mechas and other electrically-powered machines.

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Bolin and Asami do their part

On Kuvira’s airship, while Korra and Kuvira duel on the bridge, Mako gradually pushes back the airship crew. Descending to the lower levels, he sabotages the spirit weapon and disengages it, letting it fall into the city, before turning to the engine. Making peace with his fate and asking Ta Min to forgive him, he charges up and channels a powerful bolt of lightning into the spirit energy-powered engine, intending to blow it up and bring down the airship with Kuvira still onboard.

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The music playing during Mako’s last stand incorporates motifs from The Last Agni Kai, which played during Zuko and Azula's final battle.

Seeing what he is doing, Bolin recklessly earthbends up to the airship and saves Mako just before the engine explodes, leaving both brothers injured on a skyscraper roof and unable to fight. Korra and Kuvira’s fight is interrupted by the explosion and subsequent crash. They are thrown out of the wreckage, Korra using her tornado attack to break her fall and Kuvira earth-surfing down the side of a building. Afterward, they continue their fight through the destroyed streets of Cranefish City. Growing more desperate as she tires, Kuvira tears apart the buildings, pavement, and cars around her to hurl at Korra, who deflects them with her airbending and metalbending. Korra keeps asking Kuvira to surrender, offering mercy, but Kuvira refuses. She comes across the discarded spirit weapon in one of the city's parks and finds it still has several charges left.

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"It's over, Korra! I have the high ground!"

When Korra approaches, Kuvira manually fires the weapon directly at her, but the mechanism regulating the beam malfunctions, and it lets loose with all charges at once. Kuvira is thrown off the weapon. Realizing it is about to overload, Korra enters the Avatar State and energybends the spirit energy away from them, protecting both of them from the ensuing explosion which levels much of downtown.

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Kuvira asks why Korra saved her, after all she did. Korra replies she could never bring herself to kill her old friend. She saw a lot of herself in Kuvira. Three years ago, Korra was just as hotheaded and impulsive, determined to get what she wants without thinking things through. Kuvira insists Korra would have done the same as her if she was in the same position. If only they had surrendered peacefully, then none of this madness would have happened. Korra admits she may have been like that at one point, but she isn’t anymore. Kuvira may have started out with good intentions and a genuine desire to help her people, but like Chin the Conqueror before her, she was corrupted by her power and became a tyrant. Korra thinks she understands why Kuvira did this. She grew up an orphan, cast aside by her parents. She couldn’t stand by while the same happened to her people. Korra sympathizes with that. Remembering her torture, she knows what it is like to be afraid. Kuvira slowly comes to realize exactly what she has done, from the concentration camps and other atrocities to how she pushed away Korra and her other friends and family. She finally admits she was wrong and unconditionally surrenders to Korra. She turns herself in to seek punishment.

The Earth Empire is dissolved. Things slowly return to normal. The Fire Nation and United Commonwealth are both restored. Raiko returns to the Commonwealth to cheering crowds, and from a makeshift office on Air Temple Island, his first new act is to make the production and use of spirit energy weapons illegal. Future Industries and its main rival, Cabbage Corporation, join forces to rebuild Cranefish City again. Izumi returns to Caldera City a hero, and support for the Fire Nation monarchy reaches an all-time high. Wu formally takes his place as Earth King and passes a constitution turning the Earth Kingdom into a democratic monarchy. Kuvira is put in prison while an international tribunal is set up to try her for crimes against humanity, and she is expected to plead guilty to all charges and testify against other Earth Empire leaders. Kai becomes an airbending master, and Tenzin finally approves of his relationship with Jinora. Bumi retires from the United Forces and moves to the Fire Nation to fully reconcile with Izumi, while Kya returns to the South Pole to take care of Katara, who had been injured during the liberation of Yu Dao. Zuko and Kiyi return to retirement, and Toph goes back to the Foggy Swamp. Varrick and Zhu Li move to Yu Dao and plan to marry, after which they will work on developing spirit energy as a power source.


Two months after the final battle, Korra and her friends gather one more time to celebrate Iroh and Hua's wedding on Air Temple Island. They share their future plans. After their honeymoon, Iroh intends to go back to the Fire Nation to prepare for his future reign. Opal will stay with the Air Nomads, while Bolin will try to be with her when he has time in between filming movies. Mako will resign from the Cranefish City Police Department to move to the Fire Nation and be with Ta Min, who has just published her first book with support from Izumi. Kanna will head home and take over leadership of the island from Yue, who is now one of Wu’s advisors alongside Suyin. It seems everyone is going their separate ways. Korra sadly wishes they could stay together longer. Later, Korra and Tenzin talk. Korra reflects on the history of Cranefish City, from the ancient city Avatar Yangchen defended against rampaging spirits to its time as sacred Air Nomad land and finally its founding and growth into a modern city under Aang. Aang would never have imagined the city he built would end up like this. Tenzin tells her she has changed the world far more than some Avatars have done in their entire lives, but Korra feels like her story is only just beginning.

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Korra and Asami are such good friends

As the party winds down, Asami talks to Korra. Korra apologizes for not coming back to Cranefish City sooner and leaving her alone. Asami forgives her, knowing what she was going through. She asks what Korra intends to do now. Korra asks Asami if she wants to go on a vacation with her and see the world they’ve built. Asami likes the idea. That night, they gather their things, get in Asami’s car, and drive to the top of a mountain to watch the sun rise over Cranefish City. The series ends with Korra and Asami kissing in a homage to the final scene of The Last Airbender.

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The End.

The closing credits show the usual Cranefish City skyline, only destroyed by the spirit blast.

---

There is no studio interference or apprehension preventing the writers from outright confirming Korra and Asami’s romance here, so it was built up over the entire series, and by 2017, when this episode aired, the social climate had allowed for such a scene to air. This would still be the first Western kid’s cartoon to portray such a romance (don’t ask me how it influenced other cartoons airing since 2014, the OTL end date).

Wu got his redemption arc this season, showing he has earned his throne back and won the respect of his people by freeing another people. Although his decision to abdicate and establish a republic was really good for his character development, that can’t happen here since in the Hohenzollernverse basically every country is a monarchy of some kind.

I really liked writing Izumi’s arc and its conclusion. It was always jarring how the bender vs non-bender conflict faded away after Raiko was introduced, so I continued and concluded it in the form of her rivalry with Guan.

While I do get why Toph, Katara, and Zuko didn’t do that much fighting (if any), I just wanted more Toph interactions with her family and old friends as well as some epic fight scenes from all three of them to mirror the White Lotus masters in Sozin’s Comet.

I have nothing against the original wedding scene, but I think it would have been more appropriate to give it to Iroh and Hua in this case.

The spirit portal ending is nice, but I decided it wouldn’t happen here due to Book 2 being radically different and leaving the city in better shape.
 
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TWR97

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Now that is a hell of a finale that's just as awesome as the OG series' third season. Mako's last stand there was pretty serious tbh, I legit thought he was gonna die there. So many callbacks and satisfying character arcs, Wu's in particular was really great, from an incompetent womanazing nobleman to the leader of the Resistance AND a second incarnation of the Blue Spirit. Izumi's arc was great as well. More scenes on Toph was awesome, even in her old age she's as badass as ever.

That bit on Jin confronting Zuko about their 70 year old date is hilarious, especially since Zuko is still as awkward as ever even in his old age (I take it that elevator convo still happens here? That one was hilarious). and I like what you've done with Unalaq's characterization here. Really fleshes out the idea that he just wants to preserve traditional Water Tribe values but eventually comes to realize that he might need to reform.
 

zenphoenix

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Now that is a hell of a finale that's just as awesome as the OG series' third season. Mako's last stand there was pretty serious tbh, I legit thought he was gonna die there. So many callbacks and satisfying character arcs, Wu's in particular was really great, from an incompetent womanazing nobleman to the leader of the Resistance AND a second incarnation of the Blue Spirit. Izumi's arc was great as well. More scenes on Toph was awesome, even in her old age she's as badass as ever.
I really was planning on killing off Mako there, but then I remembered I added Ta Min, so I spared him again for her sake. I liked writing Izumi's arc a lot, both as a final repudiation of Ozai's supremacism and as a resolution to the bender vs non-bender themes of Book 1. Wu really pulled an Otto at the end there, coming into his own as a leader not only for his own people but for those of the Fire Nation as well.
That bit on Jin confronting Zuko about their 70 year old date is hilarious, especially since Zuko is still as awkward as ever even in his old age (I take it that elevator convo still happens here? That one was hilarious). and I like what you've done with Unalaq's characterization here. Really fleshes out the idea that he just wants to preserve traditional Water Tribe values but eventually comes to realize that he might need to reform.
The elevator conversation definitely still exists. And while I didn't mention Desna or Eska anywhere, they'd still be around (but nowhere near Bolin). Zuko would still be an awkward turtle-duck even as a grandpa.

I like to think I took the best part of Unalaq, the themes of modernity vs tradition (though I had to scrap the humans and spirits together part), and expanded that into an arc of its own, where he realizes they aren't mutually exclusive. His arc will continue into the sequel movies, one of which will involve Yue's past and the political machinations that expelled her from the South Pole.
 
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