Book 3 is flying by, and we’re fast approaching the end — the two-part season finale will air on Friday, August 22nd! My recap and thoughts on episodes 3.10 and 3.11 are after the jump.
Episode 3.10 – Long Live the Queen
Korra and Asami are imprisoned on an airship returning to Ba Sing Se, where the crew will deliver them to the Earth Queen. Asami uses some strategic thinking to enable them to escape – it works beautifully, but Korra’s rash actions against the ship’s pilot cause them to crash into a sand dune in the Si Wong Desert.
The pair are forced to cooperate with their captors in order to escape the desert alive; Asami leads everyone in repairing the ship. When they finally have it ready to fly, however, a giant sandshark destroys the ship. Asami shifts gears and has everyone construct a sand-sailer, like the ones used by the sandbenders who live in the region.
They successfully evade the sandshark and return to the Misty Palms Oasis, where the Earth Queen’s men part ways with them on good terms. At the Oasis, Korra and Asami meet up unexpectedly with Lin, Zuko and Tonraq.
Mako and Bolin, meanwhile, are being transported to Ba Sing Se by the Red Lotus. Zaheer presents the brothers to the Earth Queen as a gift of good faith. He offers to take the Avatar off her hands to avoid an international incident, and she agrees. The brothers are thrown into her dungeon; Bolin tries to metalbend to escape, but fails.
When Zaheer learns that Korra has escaped the Earth Queen’s grasp, he changes his strategy and murders her by airbending the air out of her body. He incites anarchy and riots in Ba Sing Se, then releases Mako and Bolin on the condition that they deliver a message to Korra.
Episode 3.11 – The Ultimatum
Ba Sing Se has fallen to chaos. Mako and Bolin commandeer an airship, stopping to rescue their family before heading into the desert.
They find the wreckage of Korra & Asami’s airship and follow the sand-sailer tracks to the Misty Palms Oasis. There, they deliver their message: Zaheer wants Korra, or he’ll destroy the new airbender nation.
Hoping to prevent a tragedy, Korra tries to meet with Zaheer in the spirit world, but finds Iroh instead, who suggests she talk to Zuko. Zuko says Aang might have done anything to save the new airbenders, but he also knew his role as Avatar was important to the entire world, implying that ultimately, she must weigh the two and make her own decision.
Mako and Bolin, who have been trying to radio the Air Temple to warn Tenzin about Zaheer, finally get through, but too late: the Red Lotus group has arrived. Zaheer and company round up the airbenders to hold as hostages, but Tenzin won’t go down without a fight. He, Bumi and Kya take on their captors while the others try to escape, but in the end, only Kai manages to get away.
- It was delightful to see Asami further grow into a strategist/technical role in 3.10. It seems as if the writers are finally figuring out what to do with her.
- The Earth Queen’s demise was surprisingly violent for a show that usually shows indeterminate deaths. I’ve spent some time trying to figure out why they went so dark, and my best guess is that they wanted to make absolutely certainly we knew that Zaheer was a lungbender. (Breathbender?) Indeterminate deaths sometimes leave room for confusion, and the fan base has a history of second-guessing deaths unless they’re crystal clear, so maybe the writers wanted to make certain we knew she was dead…?
- I’m interested to see why the Red Lotus still wants Korra so badly. It’s too late to raise her to their ideals – are they hoping to eliminate her? Or do they have other plans?
- Mako/Bolin’s grandma asking Mako, “why aren’t you dating any nice girls like them?” was a delightfully cheeky nod to the melodramatic love triangle. Their expressions were glorious.
- Speaking of expressions: when Korra told Zuko that she had spoken with his uncle in the spirit world, his expression was heartbreaking. Poor Zuko.
- I like Kai and all, but I can’t help feeling like his role could have been fulfilled by one of Tenzin’s kids. I would have loved for Jinora to escape, or maybe even Ikki or Meelo. After Jinora’s importance last season, I’d love to see her doing more.
- The moment Tenzin said “as long as I’m still breathing,” his deathflag started waving high. I don’t expect the show to actually kill him off – but then again, he is somewhat expendable now, with Jinora well on her way to becoming an airbending master + a host of new airbenders to carry on Air Nomad culture…
- We’ve only got two episodes left, and it seems like the story is still barrelling along with no climax in sight. It almost seems like Book 3 will end with a mini-climax, and Book 4 will carry on the story. The creators originally said each book would be its own arc, but it feels as if there’s a lot more going on than can be wrapped up in two episodes. Then again, I felt the same way about Book 1, so maybe we’ll be seeing a similarly rushed finale. I’ve been enjoying this season immensely, and I’m really hoping it will have a strong finish.
Have some thoughts of your own? Any predictions for Friday’s 2-part finale? Sound off in the comments below!