The Legend Of Korra season 4 episode 11 review: Kuvira’s Gambit

Four seasons in, The Legend Of Korra still manages to surprise its audience. Here's Kaci's review of Kuvira's Gambit...

This review contains spoilers.

4.11 Kuvira’s Gambit

There are a lot of words I shouted at my screen during this week’s Legend Of Korra, most of which I will not repeat in a review for what is ostensibly a children’s show, but every single one of them came from a place of sheer disbelief at what I was seeing. A happy disbelief, if such a thing is possible, because it’s four seasons in and this show manages to surprise me even now. I couldn’t have predicted much of this episode, and even if I could’ve, I don’t think I would’ve imagined it as great as it was.

Team Beifong arrives safe and sound to Republic City, leading to the reunion between Varrick and Zhu Li. But the truly great thing about it is that not only does Zhu Li reaffirm her adoration of Varrick, but she immediately follows it with a demand that he treat her as an equal. It’s the solution to the problem I had with Bolin and Eska — I don’t really find it “funny” to watch one person in a relationship (be that romantic, platonic, business, or what have you) mistreat another. That’s not my idea of a laugh. I didn’t find it funny in Varrick and Zhu Li’s relationship, either, so I’m very glad that she stood up for herself and demanded to be treated respectfully. Good for her.

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Elsewhere, Team Avatar heads out to try and sneak past enemy lines only to find that Kuvira has built herself a mecha-Godzilla and equipped it with a spirit vine weapon. I don’t have words for how massive this thing truly is but it just stomps onto the screen like it owns the place and I spent the entire rest of the scene trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. It surprised the daylights out of me and yet as soon as I’d had a second to think, I realized: of course. Of course Kuvira would build herself a giant robot and stick a laser on it. She’s a breath away from being a Bond villain. This is right up her alley.

Korra decides to kidnap Batar Junior as a means of forcing Kuvira to back off Republic City and demands that Batar give them information. He refuses to betray Kuvira at first, only relenting when Korra swears that if he doesn’t, she will take him on the run with her and spend the rest of her life making sure he never sees Kuvira again. And what do you know, somewhere under all those layers of jerkiness, Batar’s just a man in love with a woman, and the thought of spending his life without her is unbearable.

Kuvira, it seems, does not agree, and fires the spirit weapon right at Team Avatar’s location in response, not even shedding so much as a tear that Batar might die from her attack.

The more I think about this, the more excited I am about it. Kuvira is not the kind of female villain I am used to seeing. I’m so used to seeing villainesses who are so because of their emotions, and in the end those feelings are used against them to bring their downfall. I’ve become accustomed to tricks like Korra’s actually working, because that’s the kind of female villain I’m used to seeing. But when Korra tries to play on Kuvira’s emotions here, it just doesn’t work. I’ll wager that she does love Batar to some degree — enough to warrant marrying him. I believe that’s genuine. But when it comes to her love for him or what she sees as her duty to unite the Earth Empire…there’s no context. Her duty and her honour comes first. I’m used to seeing this kind of tough decision being made by male characters, to be honest. It’s pleasantly surprising to see it in a woman.

Here’s hoping everyone survived the explosion, although with so few episodes left there’s every chance that some didn’t. Tune in next week for the two-part series finale. I’ll be here to recap Korra for you one last time.

Read Kaci’s review of the previous episode, Operation Beifong, here.

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