The Legend of Korra: “The Battle of Zaofu” Book 4 Chapter 6 Review

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Looking back, Korra doesn’t win very many fights. But the beating she takes here is just difficult to watch.

When negotiations for Zaofu fail with Suyin making an attempt on Kuvira’s life, it’s finally time for Korra to intervene in this conflict. We get a Mexican standoff in front of the city’s domes. The title of this episode is a little deceiving, however. The true battle for Zaofu is a simple one-on-one fight between Korra and Kuvira.

The Great Uniter shows us once again how she talked her way into power when she tells her army that she’d never ask any of them to do something she wouldn’t do herself, risking her life in a duel with the Avatar. Jeremy Zuckerman’s score is appropriately subdued, this is not an epic fight for the fate of the world, this is a broken hero being outdone by her enemy in every way. It was a nice touch that for every hit that Kuvira landed on Korra, her followers cheered her on.

The choreography here was brilliantly calculated, every step being worth watching in preparation for the striking blow about to come to Korra. Finally, with a captured Suyin egging her on, Korra goes into the Avatar State. Another nice touch was Kuvira’s hair getting completely disheveled, which reminded me of Azula in Sozin‘s Comet. But Korra apparently still has some healing to do, as she once again sees her past self in Kuvira, prompting her to fail.

This whole sequence reminded me of The Dark Knight Rises, where Bane crippled Batman on their first meeting without the assistance of Hans Zimmer’s crushing score. Korra used some very similar tactics as the villain beat the living hell out of the her.

But Korra manages to escape with the help of Tenzin’s kids and Opal. They leave Zaofu and Kuvira moves in. When Suyin’s husband and other son refuse to bow, Baatar Jr. puts them away. Now that Kuvira’s quest to unite the Earth Kingdom is complete, her focus seems to be shifting to the super weapon.

Luckily, Varrick gives them a bump in the road. Away from Korra and Kuvira’s duel, Varrick has developed on of his best schemes yet. Convincing Baatar Jr. to let Bolin act as his assistant, Varrick manages to turn the device into a bomb, threatening Baatar Jr. and allowing Bolin to make their escape.

This plot had a ton of great comedy too, with Bolin never knowing what to do when Varrick exclaims “Do the thing!”. Plus, Bolin’s “I want you to know, I hate you,” just before their escape was a lot of fun. These two once again prove to make a great pair and I’m glad they are on their way to Republic City, presumably, to meet up with the rest of the characters.

The Battle of Zaofu was one of the most intense episodes Korra has ever done. Kuvira has once again stepped up her villainy in a convincing way while Varrick got probably his best material yet on the series. Now it’s time to bring everyone back together so all of Team Avatar can do what they can to bring down the Great Uniter. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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