After last week’s episode, “The Calling,” where just about nothing happened, this week’s “Enemy At the Gates” finally gets back to the feeling of season three’s highs with some fantastic character insight, bringing Korra back to the forefront of the action, and some exciting action scenes. All of the characters have their own subplots though, so here’s what’s down with each one of the main story arcs.
We haven’t seen much of Asami as of late, but she’s brought back into the fold in a touching way, reintroducing her convicted father from season one. She goes to visit him where he’s being held to try and break off from him completely, to hurt him and get back at him for what he did to their family. However, after lashing out, she’s sitting alone outside and sees an interaction between a father and his child and realizes that it’s never too late to make some progress. She goes back to her father, extends her olive branch, and it’s nice to see a story forgotten a while ago get some sort of resolution. It will be interesting to see if this story makes an appearance at any other point in the season.
Bolin’s storyline this week is easily my favorite because it has everything that I enjoy about a Korra episode: it has action and some really great fight sequences, it allows for some realistic character development, and it has humor, which comes with the territory if the Varrick character is involved. The voice work that John Michael Higgins does as Varrick is fantastic, creating the larger than life character from the inside out.
I had initially been concerned about Bolin’s storyline this season starting out the way it did. While it was interesting in theory to have Bolin working with Kuvira, it also ended up making him look naive to the point of being unrealistic. Having him have his wake up call early in the season was a smart choice because it fits with what we know of the character, so that once it was even hinted at that the people they were “helping” were actually being hurt, he’d back off.
His fight scene with Varrick and Zhu Li after the three of them try to escape Kuvira’s control is one of the coolest scenes to come from this season. They’re all wearing new tech which allows for a futuristic, steam-punk style, but it gets all the more exciting when Bolin is out of the armor and fighting with his earth and lava bending, showing just how good of a fighter he’s become. They don’t end up escaping, and Bolin is being sent to a “re-education” camp, and I’m curious to see if he’ll make it to the camp at all or if he’ll break free in time.
It’s a nice change of pace to finally see Korra back in the heat of the action after being so far removed from the other characters for the first four episodes. Korra is such a strong female character, and getting to see the beginnings of her going off against Kuvira, another strong female character, is fantastic and very promising. Kuvira is an excellent villain, and an incredibly intelligent one, which will make the struggle between her and Korra better because as we saw in this episode, Kuvira is even able to manipulate the Avatar.
This is also not the Avatar we’re used to, at least coming from the typically hit first/think later Korra. It’s suggested to Korra for her to go into the Avatar state and demolish Kuvira’s army before they can do any more damage, but she says that’s something the old her would have done and it would just lead to more destruction. She wants to try and reason with her first. The audience knows what Korra doesn’t, though, and that is that Kuvira isn’t someone who can be reasoned with.
We’re left with a cliffhanger for next week’s episode, and it leaves us wanting the instant gratification of more episodes. Su is determined to not allow Kuvira to take control of Zaofu, and has decided to take matters into her own hands by infiltrating the camp, which could have disastrous results. This is the pace I like the show to be at, and it would seem that the action is about to pick up tremendously.