Operation Beifong: The End Is Near

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Folks, Legend of Korra will be over in two weeks. I don’t know how to deal with that, so let’s just dive into it. Shit gets pretty real in this episode. Be ready for some action and a little bit of nitpicking, because by now, you know that’s just what I do.

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The episode starts as Opal, Lin, and Bolin arrive near Kuvira’s base camp with Juicy, Opal’s flying bison. They observe the camp to establish a plan. First little remark when Opal wonders why Kuvira tore down all the domes of Zaofu. Er, lady, I don’t mean to disrespect your culture, but I never fully understood why the domes were a thing in the first place. Are you afraid of the air or something? Anyway. Lin wants to infiltrate the camp right away so they can find Su and her family, but oh wait! Toph arrives, claiming that the prisoners have been moved. Her arrival provokes different reactions, including an embarrassing display of fanboyism from Bolin. On Bolin’s indications, the little earthbender squad takes off for the factory where the prisoners are detained.

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In Republic City, Varrick and Asami present a plan for a flying mechasuit to President Raiko, who immediately asks where the spirit ray comes out. Oh boy, here we go. President Raiko demands that his new weapons be equipped with spirit vine weapons, this despite Varrick and Korra explaining to him how dangerous those weapons are for everybody. President Raiko snaps at Korra, who agrees to at least ask the spirits if they want to help defend Republic City. Prince Wu suggests to evacuate the civilians, his first good idea since the beginning of the season. Yay for character arc! Or, you know, not, because Prince Wu then reveals to Mako that he’s doing it to seduce Korra. His excuse is that everything men do, they do for the ladies. That seems to be one of the themes for this episode. I was kind of annoyed about it at first, but, as usual, the story actually presents a couple different angles on the matter. Prince Wu merely represents the “terrible excuse of a human being” angle.

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At the factory, Bataar Jr and his team, which includes Zhu Li, test the Spirit Vine Cannon. Their first attempt fails and almost causes the cannon to explode. Fortunately for everybody on Kuvira’s side, Bataar finds a way to shut it down before it blows up and destroys the whole factory. After all, we would hate for the entire antagonist team to be disintegrated before the end of the show. The reason of the failure is a cracked channeling ring. Bataar demands that every piece of the cannon be inspected, as our eyes turn to Zhu Li. C’mon, we know it’s her. Can we just get to the scene where she undoes her hair and passionately makes out with Varrick?

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The Beifong Squad lands in the factory and infiltrate the warehouse where the cannon is stored. Toph and Lin use their awesome earth sonar, also known as earthnar (which is totally not a word that I just made up), to detect a prison, several floors below them. Unfortunately, right as Team Beifong is ready to move, Kuvira enters the warehouse for a surprise visit to her men. Kuvira is not pleased. She immediately turns to Zhu Li for answers, but Zhu Li very shadily brushes her off. Toph senses that she’s lying. Well, duh. This was probably to confirm that Zhu Li had not changed sides and also probably to make everything clear for the younger audience, but believe me, even the kiddies know what’s up. Toph’s line was not really necessary.

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Team Beifong establishes their plan. Since every single one of Kuvira’s men will have to assist to the first public trial of the cannon the next day, that moment will be the ideal occasion to strike. At night, between two awkward questions from Bolin, we get some insight into Lin and Toph’s relationship. Lin resents her mother for never knowing her father, among other things, and Toph is, well, she’s Toph. If I didn’t buy that Aang would have been unfair to his kids, I am not surprised that Toph wasn’t exactly a dream mom. Toph’s personality is close to mine, so I can hardly imagine that having a family was anywhere in her plans to begin with, so I can picture how being her kid wouldn’t be great, especially when she was still young. I enjoyed the scene even more because I thought it was really well written. In the end, we don’t know everything that happened between Toph and her daughters, but we don’t need to, because we already know these characters. And Toph’s tired sigh when Lin declares being through with her speaks volumes.

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In the morning, as Opal relays to them the information about the trials, the Beifong Squad finds the prison, which consists of a cage suspended above what seems to be a very, very deep hole. They then establish a somewhat acrobatic plan to get the rest of the Beifong family out of there. Above the ground, the cannon is about to be tested. When it fails once more, Kuvira turns to Zhu Li, who happens to carry around a part of the weapon that was missing. Zhu Li boldly reveals what she thinks of Kuvira. In return, Kuvira has her chained up in the target town. Underground, Bataar’s screams as Lin propels him towards the other side of the cavity finally attract a guard. The guard smashes the alarm button, alerting the whole camp about what’s going on. Kuvira’s not happy. She sends reinforcement to the prison, and commands Bataar to fire anyway. The Beifong squad, now with Lin and the rest of her family, manage to escape the mechasuits and come back above ground where Opal and Juicy join them. Bolin learns from Opal that Zhu Li has pretty much been sentenced to death by Kuvira. Bolin decides to rescue Zhu Li. Opal follows him. Lin, Su, and the twins want to try to take out Kuvira. Toph, thinking they’re insane, stays behind to look after Bataar Sr and Hipster, I mean Huan.

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In Republic City, Korra tries talking to the spirits, in vain. It’s like they’re abandoning the city. She contacts them directly in the Spirit World, where she makes a passionate plea for help, but a birdragon spirit remarks that, in the end, what she wants is not so different than what Kuvira wants and spirits won’t interfere in human business. The spirits vanish one by one, leaving Korra alone. What will she do?

Right as the cannon is finally ready to fire, Bataar spots Opal and Bolin in the target city. Too late. Fortunately, Lin and Su use earthbending to deviate the beam, that burns a giant hole through the hill right behind the target city. But Su, Lin, and the twins are not done. They attack Kuvira’s men head on, earthbending with badasserie until Su finds an opening to attack Kuvira herself. Folks, that whole scene is jammed packed with action and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. Of course, Su can’t beat Kuvira as it is, and her and the others soon find themselves surrounded. This until Toph The Cavalry Beifong slams her mighty feet to the ground and knocks 20 of Kuvira’s men out, allowing the whole Beifong Squad plus Zhu Li to escape safely. Damn.

It’s time for the Beifong Squad to go their separate ways, or at least, it’s time for Toph to go back to the swamp after finally making up with Lin. Opal and Bolin also make up, just as Zhu Li drops a bomb: Kuvira will attack Republic City in two weeks, just in time for the finale.

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AAAAAAAH! Folks, I really liked this one. Sure, it has flaws, but I think that the season as a whole really suffers from having to cram its huge story into 13 episodes, especially since they basically lost an entire episode with the budget cut. The story has to take shortcuts that make things seem a little too easy at times, but the team’s heart is in every frame and every word, I can feel it. Plus, let’s be honest, you can never go wrong with action scenes in Legend of Korra: the bending is always incredibly imaginative and the animation is flawless. Still. Two weeks. I am so excited I’m going to burst, and yet I don’t want this to end. I am in deep denial, but whatever happens, I will be there to watch.

Some say she’s French. Some say she’s a voodoo witch. What is certain is that Anais left her awkward print on all things artsy at one point or another in her life, performing as a singer and a pianist, exhibiting photographs and paintings, and leaving an embarrassing amount of visual proofs of those events on the internet. Anais’ dream is to be an animation writer. She thinks everything should be animated and she is more than half convinced that she is herself a cartoon character. She hopes that one day, Pendleton Ward or Jennifer Lee will read her screenplays and say they’re neat.

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