The Legend of Korra: “After All These Years” Book 4 Chapter 1 Review

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“We pledge our loyalty to you, Great Uniter.”

It’s been three years since the Avatar faced off against Zaheer, a fight that nearly killed her and sent her back to the Southern Water Tribe in a wheelchair. Once again, a lot has changed in the world. That said, in a surprising move, the premiere decides to showcase how the world has evolved without the Avatar to protect it. Korra only shows up at the very end of After All These Years, the rest is how everyone moved on without her. This cleverly plays into the overarching theme of the series of just what place the Avatar has in the world. Clearly, this being the final season, we’ll hopefully get some closure on this matter.

We open with Asami cutting the ribbon on a new rail station in Republic City that helps connect the metropolis to the recovering Earth Kingdom. We are then immediately introduced to a new character, Prince Wu, heir to the Earth Kingdom throne. He’s spoiled and pretty absurd. There might be a little too much of him in the premiere, but I can’t deny laughing every time Mako, his bodyguard, is forced to acknowledge the eccentric future king.

Even though most of our characters are in Republic City, a lot of the episode takes place in the Earth Kingdom state of Yai. It’s clear that this part of the world is still recuperating from Zaheer sending the nation into chaos three years ago. Bandits flood the roads and steal food and supplies from unprotected Earth states.

Enter Kuvira (Zelda Williams), or as many are calling her, the Great Uniter. It appears that since the Earth Queen’s demise, Kuvira has led an aggressive campaign to reunite the kingdom. She says she plans to restore order and eliminate the chaos, making her sort of an anti-Zaheer and, therefore, a fascinating antagonist to work with considering she may deconstruct what we think of as right and wrong so soon after Zaheer did the same.

She’s hands-on, flinging pieces of her metal gauntlets at bandits blocking her train and forcing them to pledge allegiance to the true ruler of the Earth Kingdom. Suddenly, Prince Wu’s buffoonery doesn’t seem so bad.

A very interesting mix of characters are working with Kuvira when we meet her, including Varrick, one of Suyin’s sons, and Bolin. That last one ought to turn some heads, but not as angrily as Opal’s. She and Kai are called into Yai to help with the bandit situation when they run into Kuvira’s forces.

When this new force threatens the state’s governor, Kai and Opal try to get them some food to tide them over for a while. The new airbender flying squirrel suits are incredible in action, but they still can’t fend off the bandits and lose their haul. This forces Yai to come under the control of Kuvira. Her style of abrupt leadership is menacing and well-written. I found myself wondering what would be the straw that broke the camel’s back that gets Bolin away from her side and brings Korra out of retirement. Based on her introduction, I can’t wait to find out.

The episode ends with Tonraq arriving in Republic City only to tell Team Avatar that he thought Korra arrived six months ago. So then where is she?

Just before the episode ends, we get a scene of Korra, sporting a killer new haircut, fighting in an earthbending cage match. But, unlike most fights Korra gets into, she loses. These past three years still haven’t been long enough for the Avatar to recover.

With that, Book 4 starts to look like a redemption story. Korra will have to regain her trademark confidence if she’s to restore balance. With a whole new status quo to play with and Kuvira looking to rival the series’ best villains, this final season looks to be one hell of a ride to the finish line. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

One Response to The Legend of Korra: “After All These Years” Book 4 Chapter 1 Review

  1. SherryAva says:

    Way to go Matt! It was great to tune in to Korra again.

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