The Legend of Korra: “Operation Beifong” Book 4 Chapter 10 Review

“You give metalbenders a bad name!”

Wow. I mean, it really doesn’t get much better than this. Operation Beifong was a welcome, action-packed jolt leading us into the end of the season/series. It was a long week waiting for this episode after Lin, Opal, and Bolin rode off to save the Beifongs, but it was well worth it.

You knew with Kuvira using the Banyan Grove tree for her super weapon, Toph would have to come back into the fray. The oldest Beifong joins up with her daughter, grandson, and potential future grandson-in-law at the top of the episode, giving the writers ample time to deal with Lin’s family issues before the big rescue.

Lin and Suyin’s reunion last season was really well done. This episode felt like a period on the sentence that started with Old Wounds. Lin confronting her mother about a lot of things, including her dad, who appropriately turned out to be nobody important, was rewarding. As Line chewed out her mother, you saw the regret on Toph’s face, and it was heartbreaking. After all these years, the writers still know how to make us feel for Toph. That’s just a testament to how rich this universe and its characters are.

The rescue itself was fun, using Kuvira’s big weapon demonstration as a way to sneak in with less of a threat from the guards. They of course get caught by the end and get out by the skin of their nose.

Meanwhile, Zhu Li has been sabotaging the weapon, trying to destroy it before it could ever be used. But her efforts get more sloppy as they get more desperate. Kuvira’s silent lift of the missing pin out of Zhu Li’s pocket was terrifying. The punishment was worse, sending Zhu Li to the abandoned town (as if the parallels to nuclear weapons could be any more obvious) the weapon is being demonstrated on. This catches Opal’s attention, who then tells Bolin who is compelled to go save her. Like that, it’s time for a big brawl.

Watching Lin and Suyin fight together continues to be rewarding. They’re both so skilled in different ways, Lin being more of a brute while Suyin is defensive. Suyin’s duel with Kuvira, though, was just pure bending magic. It was the best fight of the season so far, the best moments being Suyin’s makeshift body armor and Kuvira making things physical by making her gauntlet into a sword. I’ve watched the episode multiple times now and still hold my breath for the entire fight. It should be noted that Kuvira doesn’t try to kill Suyin, especially not in front of Bataar Jr., instead throwing her off the side of the giant canon to rejoin her sister and sons in capture.

But don’t count out Toph just yet, who destroys the ground beneath Kuvira’s troops leaving just enough time for her to shout at Kuvira and get her family out of there. Awesome.

Toph’s actions here are enough for Lin to forgive her mother. Meanwhile, Bolin is back in Opal’s good graces. But Zhu Li delivers the bad news that Kuvira plans to attack Republic City in two weeks (funny how the finale is in two weeks too…). Thanks to a throwaway line from the Earth Queen in Book 3, we know that the city is technically Earth Kingdom territory. I guess the final battle always had to be in Republic City. Damn, this series really is coming to an end.

Speaking of Republic City, Operation Beifong offered a few developments there. Varrick and Asami apparently have come up with flying mecha-tanks (!), but refuse to make spirit vine weapons, a nice touch for Varrick’s arc this season.

This episode also featured the best use of Prince Wu since Kuvira dethroned him at the beginning of the season. His idea to start evacuating citizens is a noble one. Of course, he’s doing it to impress Korra and any other girls watching. I think Mako echoes all of us when he says, “You just had to ruin it.”

But Korra’s journey to the Spirit World was the most interesting of the non-Beifong happenings this week. Returning to the Tree of Time, the Avatar asks the spirits to join the fight against Kuvira. A really cool looking eel spirit thing tells her that they won’t get involved in human wars and the spirits disappear. Korra implores to them that if humans and spirits are going to live together they have to work together to save the world they share. I like where this is going. Imagine a last ditch effort against Kuvira where members of all four nations and the spirits fight together, united. Balanced. Suddenly, this feels like where the series has been headed since Korre decided to leave the portals open. It would be a natural and satisfying end. On top of that, spirits and humans have literally never really worked on the same side. We learned in Beginnings that they lived separately before Avatar Wan closed the portals. Now it’s time for a new age.

Operation Beifong was just outstanding. It was action-packed but still made time for character development and setting up the events to come. The end is nigh for The Legend of Korra. With three episodes left, it’s time for us to start saying goodbye to this universe. What a sad, but hopefully fulfilling, day that will be. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *