Joey Sack ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
After The Legend of Korra Book Four premiere last week, this episode, “Korra Alone,” is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s always interesting to watch our main hero go through physical and emotional turmoil, but a lot of the episode kind of feels like a clip show of Korra’s recovery and subsequent journey to different parts of the world to find herself. When an episode is named to conjure up memories of the Avatar episode “Zuko Alone,” viewers would hope that the title is being used well. With that said, it’s still an enjoyable episode, with some good character moments, some good action, and one amazing guest appearance at the end.
The episode splits its time between Korra (Janet Varney) in the present and Korra in the past, soon after the end of Book Three. She still has trouble embracing her role as the Avatar again, and is haunted not only by flashbacks to her battle with Zaheer, but also by a vision of her past self. It is also revealed that since her battle with the Red Lotus, Korra cannot enter the Avatar State or connect with Raava, the spirit of light and peace and the source of the Avatar’s power.
What really stuck out are the scenes when Korra is reading letters from her friends. All of them are moving on from the events of Book Three, and that serves to make Korra feel even more useless than she did before. At one point in the episode, Korra writes to Asami (Seychelle Gabriel), and makes it a point of not sending letters to Mako and Bolin, as she feels that the two bending brothers wouldn’t understand what she is going through. It’s very telling of which of Korra’s friends she trusts the most, and in whom she can confide the most. It’s a nice touch that adds to Korra’s path to recovery.
While these flashbacks of Korra’s recovery are enjoyable to watch, they are a little rushed, as it feels more like an 80s-style training montage than a meaningful look at her progress. It’s great to see Katara again, who provides Korra with some helpful advice about her physical and mental recovery. A lot of her advice has to do with visualizing the end result that you want and then pursuing it, which fits thematically with the certain someone you meet at the end of the episode. When Korra regains the ability to walk and fight, she tries to show Tenzin (J.K. Simmons) that she’s all better, but still can’t shake the visions of Zaheer that keep her from fighting effectively. There’s a great moment where Tenzin is about to tell Korra to be patient for the millionth time, and Korra warns him about finishing his sentence. It’s that kind of hotheadedness that we’ve come to know and love Korra for.
Eventually, Korra tells her parents that she wants to go back to Republic City by herself, which we see was her original plan. However, she sees a vision of her past self as she approaches Air Temple Island, and as she tried to get away from it and find herself, she decides to leave Republic City behind. She elects to travel to the North Pole to enter the Spirit World and meditate within the Tree of Time, in hopes of reconnecting with Raava and maybe restoring her ability to enter the Avatar State. When that doesn’t work, Korra decides to travel to different parts of the world to find some inner peace. While enjoyable, even her travels around the world seem like a training montage, never letting each location and their meanings truly sink in. In Korra’s attempt to fully recover, she seems convinced that she needs to handle it all on her own. As she mirrors Aang’s sentiments after coming out of a coma at the beginning of Book Three of Avatar; it’s only natural that after being so weak for so long, Korra would want to prove to herself and to the rest of the world that she can finish her recovery all by herself.
One thing that needs to be brought up is the end of the episode, so spoiler alert. Korra follows a small dog (later revealed to be a friendly spirit) into a swamp, possibly the Foggy Swamp from the original series, where a Korra vs. Korra fight ensues. When Korra is defeated, she blacks out and later finds herself in the underground home of everyone’s favorite blind earthbender, Toph Beifong. This is a great reveal, and it’s a nice touch when Toph calls Korra “Twinkle Toes,” a nickname that Toph used for Aang. It’s clear that the next episode will follow Korra and Toph’s interactions and maybe Korra can learn a thing or two from her predecessor’s old friend.
After spending the entire first episode of the season with little Korra, it’s nice that the writers decided to balance it out with an episode with almost all Korra with very little interaction from other recurring characters. “Korra Alone” may not be quite as strong as last week’s episode, but it’s still a good episode filled with good actions, good moments for Korra, and the best reveal for a fan-favorite character. It’s a great look into Korra’s return to greatness, and it definitely builds the hype for the next episode.
Overall Episode Grade: B+/A-