The Legend of Korra “Remembrances” & “Beyond The Wilds” REVIEWS
And we are back! A few of you might have noticed the lack of recap last week and that was intentional. Recapping a recap just does not leave much room for commentary. By now, most of you have learned the circumstances surrounding the episode, as detailed from Bryan Konietzko’s tumblr post. Long story short: Nick cut their budget. Instead of having to cut staff early, they went the “classic” anime route, produced a ‘Clips show” and there is really not much to say about it.
OK there are few things to say about it. “Remembrance” featured plenty of inside baseball, with the writers pointing out and laughing at some of the more absurd aspects of the show, while at the same time addressing many of the criticisms fans have had throughout its run in a playful manner. Mako’s section could almost be labeled “in defense of Mako” the writers giving the Firebender the opportunity to reflect and explain himself as if to say “Hey internet, Mako isn’t that jerk you keep trying to make him out to be.” Korra and Asumi’s section is the blandest, with the two leading ladies speaking to one another as if they themselves did not participate in any of the events of the entire series. However, what makes this episode is Varrick’s retelling and lampooning of events during his pitch for a new Nuktuk mover, in which he cast Bolin as the star. Because P.J. Byrne and John Michael Higgins voice work is so good and Varrick’s story is so engaging, you almost forget you were watching a clips show for a moment.
Luckily “Remembrance” was only a one time affair and “Beyond The Wilds” returns us to the normal Book 4 action. Balance has featured a lot of setup. Much of this storytelling has been very nuance, making it feel like a slow build, but without all its setup much of “Beyond The Wilds” would not work as well as it does. For much of the Book, Korra has been trying to heal herself. This process has taken her all around the world in an effort to try and forget her pain. She has had physical therapy with Katara, strength training with Toph, while making progress, her fears still remained. She wasn’t the fighter she used to be and begins to doubts she can still be the Avatar. Who would have thought what she needed was to confront the man who hurt her the most.
When we last saw Kuriva, she was harvesting Spirit Vine for her Spirit Bomb super weapon. This is having a negative effect (we can assume) on the Spirit Vines around the world, as the Spirt Wilds in Republic City begin attacking and adducting people into the Spirit World, first with our favorite slacker Airbender Ryu, his overly proud mother, their tour group and eventually Jinora. This is definitely an Avatar problem, but many are not sure Korra’s ready to handle this or the Kuriva problem. Riko and the other leaders are busy discussing what exactly the right choice of action against the Earth Empire is, but did not invite Korra to the table. They invite Wu…Perhaps worst for Korra to Tenzin is has slightly reverted back to “protective father mode” and after Jinora doesn’t want to lose Korra to the vines as well. Unable to enter the Spirit World because she is still being haunted by memories of her fight with Zaheer, Korra knows she needs to see her former foe and convinces Tenzin to let her.
Korra’s trip to see Zaheer is based on a lie she keeps telling herself. Zaheer, knows better and instantly calls her on the bluff. The meeting is at first tense, with both characters openly speaking their opinions of one another. Janet Varney gives a great performance, voicing Korra’s frustration and anger towards Zaheer; after all, this is the man who almost killed her. Rollins has grown in his role and Zaheer won’t let Korra shift all her problems on him. He quickly cut to the case and tells Korra what he knows is wrong with her: She’s still scared because she’s never accepted what happened to her. She’s keeps reliving that painful moment because she is trying to pretend it did not happened and does not recognize her survival is a testament to her strength.
With Zaheer’s help, in a sequence that is beautifully scored by Jeremy Zuckerman, Korra is able to make it back to the Spirt World and also reconnect with Raava, before saving everyone trapped by the Vines. What Korra experienced is still scary, traumatic and brutal. Learning to deal with that pain is the true bitter work and she must be saluted for it.
Bolin’s problems, on the other hand, seem small in comparison. Finally making it back to Republic City, Varrick and Bolin return in time to let most of the world leaders know what Kuriva is planning. Even in the face of danger, doing the right thing isn’t so simple. No one wants to be the first person to attack, especially the Fire Nation. While Zuko’s daughter might sound harsh in her refusal to straight up attack the Earth Empire, understand her position. You don’t want to be the Fire Lord to start another war after so much of the world is recovering from your nation’s brutal imperialism just some 60 years prior. So the nations agree to a defensive pack and this isn’t the happiest news for Lin and Opal.
Opal has plenty on her mind and Bolin’s standard charm and Pabu tricks are not going to make her forget he did help Kuriva, the woman who betrayed and imprisoned her, take over the Earth Kingdom, creating a fascist empire. No it’s probably going to take “People’s Champ” Bolin to win her back. We see a little bit of that Bolin, as with the fire and water bender runaways, when he agrees to help Opal and Lin sneak into Zaofu to hopefully rescue the rest of the Beifong clan.
Book Four has been an intimate, personal journey for Korra, the depth of witch most likely will not be fully appreciated until after it is fully concluded. With Kuriva’s action now effecting Spirits around the world, Lin, Opal and Bolin heading back to Zaofu and Korra in control of her fears, the final few episodes are looking more exciting by the moment.