Korra Episode Review – K411 Kuvira’s Gambit
K411 Kuvira’s Gambit
Written By – Joshua Hamilton
Directed By – Colin Heck
Animated By – Studio Mir
To think next time I write one of these reviews Korra will be over. Hard to believe that this journey will be over in just 4 days, I am getting emotional all ready and for sure this episode didn’t help, the set up for the finale was excellent with a lot of great emotional character moments as well as some crazy intense moments with the battles. While there remains a lot of things to resolve in the remaining 2 episodes, this episode perfectly succeeded in making me excited for this Friday.
I guess the obvious place to start is the end. While the preview clip for the finale diminished the impact of the cliffhanger ending somewhat with everyone being alive and for the most part uninjured, it was still a powerfully emotional moment for Kuvira and Baatar Jr followed straight away by that feeling of dread when you are left wondering “Have they just killed off most of the cast here, who is alive and who is dead?”. It was executed so well because of the set up from the first scene of the episode and the various interrogation scenes with Baatar Jr, you are left wondering just how into the relationship Kuvira is, Baatar loves Kuvira 100%, but how does she really feel about him. In the end you see that despite her actions she does care at least somewhat for Baatar, Kuvira is always so in control and composed, but in the lead up and aftermath of her drastic action you can see a little bit of concern on her face, this was an effortless action for her. That moment where the episode ends with the close up on her face and she does that little exhalation, it shows she cared for him a bit. It also sets up how Baatar will react next episode to this betrayal from his love.
Following on from this seeing just how devoted Baatar is to Kuvira during his interrogation was a big moment for Baatar. Even now we don’t know exactly why he turned on his family, we have had hints that it relates to feeling ¬†like he is in the shadow of his father and people like Varrick and I think the fact that Su says she doesn’t know what they did may be the problem itself. He has maybe been the forgotten child, remember he was the only one of Suyin’s kids who did not get solo focus back in Book 3, he was just introduced by name in the same scene as his father. This leads into an unexpected move from Korra, deciding that the only way to get Baatar to work with them is to keep him from the person he loves the most, she says that she will dedicate her life to keeping Baatar from Kuvira no matter how badly they lose in the upcoming battle. It is an idea I have never seen used in anything ever, a hero going so far to get a villain to talk that they will accept defeat as long as they keep that villain from who they care about, it is a harsh move from Korra, but understandable during this crazy situation. Korra really meant this and the fact that she figured it out was great for her. Baatar instantly cracks and realises he cannot live like that without Kuvira and says as much to her during the negotiations, Baatar is really becoming important as a character. Final thing I want to mention here is that Kuvira is so powerful that Korra is willing to let Kuvira and Baatar have their earth empire and be together once they stay away from the United Republic, things are so bad that Korra has to give up the Earth Kingdom.
Speaking of how awesome Korra was in this episode, she had a bunch of these moments in this episode. She was such a good leader in this episode, she was rarely questioned for her decisions in this episode and when she was she stuck to her idea and convinced others that it was the way to go. Her in seconds deciding that the way to go was to kidnap Baatar Jr and get him to help them and picking her stealth team was great, the fact that she was in command of character much older than her like Tenzin and Bumi says a lot about how much she has grown. Even earlier on in the episode when she decides to go and stop the spirit weapon with Team Avatar was a great showcase of her having proved herself to everyone.
Wu also had a great moment in this episode, while his evacuation idea from before was good he ruined it by saying he did it just to impress Korra, this time round he honestly proved that he could make a good earth king when he takes over for Mako on the radio and manages to connect to a panicked city and calm them down and even inspire them while also getting the evacuation across to everyone and bringing everyone together. I still think that if he is to become the new ruler of the Earth Kingdom he needs another moment or he needs to make a big decision where he is involved in ruling but makes it more of a democracy than a monarchy. I also enjoyed getting to see Tahno and the wolfbats again in addition to Gommu and the officer from K101.
Now for the Colossus in the room, the colossus mech was revealed to us *insert Attack On Titan Colossal Titan joke here*. The first reveal scene was so well done with the atmosphere of fog and it being hidden in shadow though you can clearly see the¬†silhouette, the scale and general form of the machine, but not the full design just yet. It just appearing and destroying the scout outpost was a great set up scene for the colossus. The actual design looks great, it is different from the other mechs we have seen, but you can also see the basis for the design in the other mechs. In terms of continuity we assume it is made primarily from the ripped down domes of Zaofu, that and perhaps the metal mined from the various cities they captured earlier in the city like the town of Yai from episode 1. Makes me wonder if there is any platinum in the machine or if a big group of metalbenders could rip it apart if given enough time. The sense of scale with this thing is insane, it towers above everything else on screen and completely gets across how bad things are for our heroes, they have no hope against it ¬†and you understand Raiko’s quick decision to surrender. Last note on this, I love that Kuvira controls it via metalbending the controls, she is such a precise bender that it makes a lot of sense. I am so excited to see how they approach taking it down.
I mentioned the kidnapping of Baatar earlier on and I think this scene shows exactly how close to the end we are, usually a mission like that would get an episode of its own, but here they are in and out in under a minute, the pace is electric in this episode.
One of the more emotional parts of this episode was the reunion of Zhu Li and Varrick. I was initially struck by how different Zhu Li looks when she is not wearing her assistant outfit or uniform, this new look really helps her to stand out as a character of her own and not just Varrick’s assistant. I was asking myself “Do we have a new contender for the most attractive female character award?”. The reunion itself is so well done, she is so sorry for what she has done, but makes it clear to Varrick just how much he means to her, but again he is oblivious to how she really feels about him and just expects her to go back to being his assistant when in fact she did mean part of what she said during her “betrayal” she no longer wants to just be an assistant she wants to be considered his equal. I am really excited to see where this issue goes, I assume Varrick will soon realise what Zhu Li means to him and they will become a couple, hopefully it ties into these two talking about how they first met.
Final thing to mention is just that i loved the almost humour of Raiko and Lin waiting for Baatar to arrive and how frustrated they were getting
Raiko “This is a deeply unprofessional way to conduct a surrender agreement!”
It made the Earth Empire which is always so professional look so silly.
Overall perfect set up for the 2 episode finale on Friday. We are already in the final battle, so there is no set up needed, all the finale needs to do is give us some good battles, resolve some key character issues and also find a way to end the series overall effectively. That is a tough ask, but when ATLA came to an end everyone was extremely worried about how it would end, but I have seen nothing but praise for the ATLA finale. I have faith that Korra will end well. 4 days people, 4 days until one of the best shows on right now comes to an end. I am already feeling emotional.
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