Korra Episode Review – K310 Long Live The Queen


Nick spoiled the big moment of the episode, but did that have any effect?

K310 Long Live The Queen


Written By – Tim Hedrick
Directed By – Melchoir Zwyer
Animated By – Studio Mir

“DID THAT JUST HAPPEN !?” I am sure this or something similar was the reaction of basically everyone who watched this episode. For sure this episode will primarily be remembered for just that one shocking moment, but even beyond this it was a very good episode. Perhaps not the best of the book overall, but it had some very nice elements like The Red Lotus getting a starring role now that we know who they are and some more Korra and Asami friendship action. In terms of this episode’s placement in the series it is definitely the episode where the pieces are being put in place ahead of the finale, we are seeing a lot of characters returning and being moved about in the lead up to the final 3 episodes. So in that sense this episode did exactly what it needed to do and as a bonus had one of the most memorable moments in all of Avatar and Korra.

I think I have to start with this massive moment just so I can stop avoiding what happened. Zaheer killed Earth Queen Hou-Ting using airbending to suck the air out of her lungs and prevent her from breathing. My initial reaction was a combination of shock that they were showing us so vividly and up close what is happening to the queen and excitement that the much speculated Airbending suffocating technique had at last been used in the show. Now looking back this is such a well done scene, the visuals are violent and visceral as we see a super close up on her eyes as they bulge as she struggles to get air, the sudden switch from the usually self assured and over-confident Hou-Ting to being completely helpless. Then add to that how powerful and in many ways true Zaheer’s words are. He compares freedom to air and how necessary it is to the life of the citizens that she rules over and how she so easily and on a whim decides to give and take people’s freedom. It is a very symbolic death as he drains the last of the air from her lungs taking away her air, her freedom and her life. These villains are serious business, they have just killed the Earth Queen, ending her reign and we assume the royal bloodline also catapulting the city into riots and looting.

While it is not the most close up we have been to a death before, that honour goes to the death of Avatar Wan, we saw close up and personal his emotional and powerful last moments with Raava, he died center screen. The Earth Queen also clearly died, but fell out of shot as we tracked her last breath and not her body. We never see her body at all after this and the episode never uses the words dead, death, kill or killed, instead they use taken out, met a violent end and taken down to get this across. It is definitely interesting that they are allowed to show such intense moment of violence in the visuals of the scene, but afterwards they cannot simply use words like kill or dead in relation to this. ATLA has mentioned the words dead, die and death before, but never in relation to a character who has just killed a character who we have focused on. It seems like the show cannot literally say Zaheer who is a main character with a lot of focus on has killed another high profile character, instead he took down the queen. Perhaps In book 4 they will be able to say that he killed her if he is not around any more. I would love to hear Mike and Bryan’s take on this and what guidelines they have to use when dealing with character deaths and characters killing other characters. This confusion out of the way this scene was dark and powerful and really makes you wonder who else Zaheer would be willing to kill. Tonraq, Tenzin, Lin and Zuko are all in effective leadership positions, if he meets them will he go as far as he went with the Queen.

This was not the only scene with the Red Lotus in the episode, it was the most memorable, but they had other important scenes. From the way Zaheer deftly handled initial negotiations with the queen over trading info about the airbenders for Korra to the way the Red Lotus easily took out the Dai Li Agents protecting the queen and more. After the Queen’s death they go to the radio room and announce to the city what happened. This is a fascinating speech in that Zaheer makes it clear that they are not taking over the Earth Kingdom  and that they are just revolutionaries, he does not say his name or the name of his group, he simply says that they are giving Ba Sing Se back to the people. This is said over visuals of Ghazan taking down the inner walls of Ba Sing Se, destroying the class divides of Ba Sing Se that have existed for so long. It is a powerful scene because in this speech you see the potential of the good that this could do for the city, but it does not last long as we later hear at the end of the episode that the city is just overrun by rioters and looters. The absence of a leader has not solved all problems in the city, it has just allowed the people most willing to break the law and the most powerful to rise to the top, your average family in the lower ring who does not want to break the law and riot is in basically the same position, but with a lack of order. Instead of knowing that it is the Queen causing their problems it is the new people who have taken over. It will definitely be interesting to see how Ba Sing Se is by the end of this book and what the eventual result of the Red Lotus’s actions will be. Will anarchy be the solution, or more or a problem than the leaders. What is the solution to these issues.

Then Zaheer frees all of the people in prison except Mako and Bolin, but he says that he will free them if they deliver a message to Korra. This is the clear link into the next episode “The Ultimatum”, I assume they will deliver this ultimatum to Korra which will force her to go to Zaheer. The problem is that she is probably heading there anyway, she is the Avatar and Ba Sing Se is in chaos, she has to go there, so what is Zaheer telling her that changes anything. I assume it has something to do with the new airbenders, that if she does not come alone he will take out the airbenders at the northern temple. But even this doesn’t make complete sense as he could have just kept Mako and/or Bolin as leverage over Korra to get her to come to him, but instead he is freeing them both to send a message. So it has to be something huge. I just don’t know what it is.

Speaking of Mako and Bolin they have a short, but interesting plot in this episode. Primarily focused on Bolin and the will he or won’t he metalbend question. I think it is fine to tease this once and a while to build tension, but doing it two times in the same episode within minutes of each other and teasing it hard withe the music and character build up, that is too much. Too many times and it will completely take away from any moment when he eventually does metalbend, if it even happens. If he does metalbend and they have teased it so many times, what makes the scene when it happens more important than the scenes when it was teased. Again I con tolerate a build to an eventual big moment, but too much and you then switch from building anticipation to building doubt over something happening and just create multiple scenes that are nearly identical. Pull the trigger on this moment sooner rather than later.

The final section of this episode is the Asami and Korra stuff. I noticed with this episode that many people had issues with this part of the episode, from it being too long or not really accomplishing anything. While I don’t think it was stunning or amazing, I did really enjoy this section for many reasons. Chief among them being that Asami finally got some focus for the first time this book really, she is the star of the desert escape utilising her engineering skills well to get her , Korra and the airship crew out of the Si Wong Desert. I don’t feel it did anything to overly expand the Korra and Asami friendship, just that has been the case all Book they are friends and work well together, the story here was more about how the crew felt about them and how it changed as the episode progressed.  Often Team Avatar and Korra more specifically have seemed to rub authority figures the wrong way and it has not always been their fault, more an issue with the person in power than our teens. This appears to happen here again, as they crash the ship and the crew want to arrest them straight away, but as the episode progresses the terrible situation causes the crew to work with Korra and Asami to escape the desert and because of this they come to trust them and see that they are not so bad to the point where they willingly let them go free. This is a big moment in that Korra and Asami proved to a crew that wanted to arrest them that they are worth letting go, they are not so bad. Add to that the setup of the Sand Shark and some amazing moments with it like it biting the airship in half. I felt it had such an atmospheric set up that when it was defeated it was a bit anticlimactic, Korra just firebent once into its mouth and it stopped chasing them, the move was not even that amazing, it just felt a bit tame, though it accomplished what it needed to.

Because I have criticised it for the last couple of reviews I have to mention that Ming Hua and Ghazan did get some nice character development in this episode. It was just one scene with them talking to Bolin, but it did so much to show you these characters as humans, they were bored in prison and had to  try and entertain themselves with Ming Hua even making up stories about the guards. When Bolin does the same for Ghazan we get the reveal that he was correct about 2 of the 3 things he mentioned. Potentially Ghazan was raised by his older sister, his moustache grew in when he was 10 and he and Ming Hua are attracted to each other. Just seeing that Ghazan is actually a really nice guy and Ming Hua is not just really angry all the time did so much for them as characters.

Overall a great episode to transition from the middle of the Book towards the finale. Onwards to “The Ultimatum”.

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My name is Morgan Bannon, I am a 22 Year old Male from Ireland and I am the Site Super Moderator. I have watched and been a fan of Avatar since it premiered. I am also a news post writer for the site and host the site's podcast, The Avatar Online Podcast. My strength as an Avatar fan would be just a good knowledge of Avatar Canon and characters.

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Comments - 3 Posts

  1. Avatar Wan Said: Comment by Avatar Wan on August 11, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    This episode kind of felt like a let down after the intense action and plot development seen in the previous 2 episodes. I hope things do pick up again next episode.


  2. F.L.Z Said: Comment by F.L.Z on August 20, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Creepy!I still can’t believe they showed the whole queen death thing!It was really creepy!!!!!


    AncientAvatar Reply:

    Yeah I was freaked out too. I just saw it on Nicktoons tonight. It kind of reminded me of blood bending but this time air. I only missed episode 6 (thought I had missed more) I still don’t get what is going on? Are these group of people just want to drive the world to chaos? Does this have something to do with Vaatu? The whole balance of good and evil? I don’t want to get a head but I really want to see the rest on Nick now.



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