The Legend of Korra: “Kuvira’s Gambit” Book 4 Chapter 11 Review

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Holy colossus! Kuvira’s super weapon takes an unexpected turn as the fate of Republic City becomes horrifically unclear.

Kuvira’s Gambit, the last episode before the two-part finale, was an exciting lead-in for what is sure to be an epic series ender next week. Considering the title, it was no surprise that this was one of the most Kuvira-heavy episodes of the season. Much like Zaheer and P’Li in Book 3’s Enter the Void, the writers insert humanizing moments of romance between Kuvira and Bataar Jr. right at the top of the episode, making sure that demise feels as tragic as it would for the heroes.

As for why Kuvira tore down the domes covering Zaofu, turns out she was secretly building a giant mecha-suit, topped off with her spirit weapon on its arm. It’s very cool how Kuvira controls this new terror herself with metalbending, mercilessly wiping out anything in her way. That said, I do hope the final battle has less mecha-suit and more bending.

Back in Republic City, Zhu Li warns Team Avatar that the Great Uniter plans to attack the city in two weeks. She also gets a chance to talk to Varrick. You had to love Zhu Li finally standing up for herself, telling Varrick she wants to be treated as his equal. Varrick’s dumbfounded reaction was great, as was Bolin’s face-palm.

In a desperate move, Korra, Mako, Bolin, and Asami (the originals!) flew off on an air bison to take down Kuvira’s weapon. They discover the colossus, which then fires at them when an air bison is reported to Kuvira, and that the army is a week early. With Kuvira practically on Republic City’s doorstep, General Iroh assembles the United Republic army. But when President Raiko sees what Kuvira’s weapon can do, he calls the battle off, surrendering the city.

In an even more desperate move, Korra assembles a small team of airbenders to kidnap Bataar Jr. from his airship in hopes that he’ll spill a way to take down Kuvira’s ultimate weapon. This goes surprisingly well, to the point that the crew of the airship are hilariously bewildered when Bataar Jr. doesn’t walk out to meet Raiko at the rendezvous.

I loved how Korra switched on the Avatar State while questioning Bataar Jr., lifting him up with one arm. But she could never torture him, leaving Suyin to try and appeal to her son. It was heartbreaking to watch her fail, but Korra has a new plan. The threat of taking Bataar Jr. away from Kuvira forever is enough to get him to try and call her off.

This lead to the best scene of the episode. “Are you injured?” Kuvira asks her fiancee over the radio. It’s the first thing she says. She truly cares about him, which makes the eventual “I love you” before the canon shot incredibly tragic. Like Zaheer, Kuvira’s mission is no longer bogged down by love, a detachment she willingly makes.

I doubt anyone actually died from the explosion. It’d be a black mark on the series finale to have Tenzin or Suyin die unexpectedly like that. The writers are smarter than that.

Kuvira’s Gambit was less action-heavy than we’re used to at this point of the season, but it was a great set-up for the final showdown ever next week. The end is nigh Korra fans. This fanbase has always felt more like a community than a lot of other shows and movies. I’m sad that next week is our last together, but I am hopeful that this incredible world will be passed down to the next generation. Relish this last week of speculation, next week’s goodbye is going to be hard. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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