The Legend of Korra focuses back in on the goings on in Republic City in it’s most recent episode, while also jumping back to Korra’s lessons with Toph. As Korra tries and fails to recover under Toph’s regimen, Mako and Bolin clash over political ideologies at Prince Wu’s coronation day. With Kuvira making her intentions for the Earth Kingdom clear, “The Coronation” serves to set up the varying conflicts that will define Season 4.
It’s coronation day for Prince Wu in Republic City, and all of the world leaders have gathered to see it through. The coronation itself is a total failure, but it serves to reunite separated characters for better or worse. Suyin and Bataar Jr. have an icy reunion that does little to explain what actually happened between them that caused their rift. Bolin, who arrives in Republic City with Kuvira, is greeted by Eska, who comments approvingly on his “new girlfriend”.
The most poignent reunion is between Bolin and Mako, who is still at the beck and call of Prince Wu. The brothers are initially happy to see each other, but Bolin’s newfound status as one of Kuvira’s lieutenants begins to cause a divide between them, especially when Bolin accuses Mako of blindly supporting Wu. While Mako is no fan of Wu, his enthusiasm about Kuvira is even more lackluster and he (hilariously) balks at Bolin’s comparison of Kuvira to Korra. It’s clear that the two are on opposite sides of the issue, and I hope they manage to get some decent conflict between them in before Bolin inevitably realizes the error of his ways.
The actual coronation brings with it the episode’s most political moment. Kuvira, previously expected to step down from her position of power upon Prince Wu’s swearing in, crashes his moment and declares the Earth Kingdom separate from the rest of the Nations. As intimidating as her speech is, it’s bizarre that none of the other leaders object. It’s clear that her path, while more practical than putting an idiot prince on the throne, will lead to tyranny. And while the world leaders do send Suyin to confront Kuvira about her harsh speech, it surprises me that they seem to be ready to let her do what she will until it becomes a more serious problem. This is how the Fire Nation managed to take power over the other nations. I hope they don’t make the same mistake twice.
It’s not clear whether Wu’s authority as prince is magically negated by Kuvira’s words, but his attitude post-coronation seems to imply that his swearing in is a bust. At the mall with Mako, Wu is attacked by Kuvira supporters, which could be an indicator of why the other leaders don’t want to mess with her. Kuvira represents the common people, and the common people adore her. Amongst the Earth Kingdom, she’s a savior. Forcibly removing her will turn the people against the replacement authority. Perhaps Zuko, Tenzin, Tonraq and the others are just trying to take care.
While trouble stirs in Republic City, Korra attempts to get her groove back in Toph’s swamp. There, she comes to learn that part of her problem is the residual poison in her system. After a couple failed attempts to remove it, Toph suggests that Korra doesn’t really want to recover.
Korra’s personal feelings about being the Avatar are worth looking into, especially after three years of being beat down by her adversaries. Unlike Aang, Korra originally reveled in being the Avatar. She came to Republic City feeling important and optimistic. Seeing her subconsciously reject her Avatar status is an interesting part of her road to recovery. Being the Avatar is a huge burden, and it more or less destroys one’s ability to live a peaceful life. People like Toph, who has lived in the swamp using her senses to check in on things, get to retire from their jobs. Korra never will. And being the Avatar is such a thankless job, especially in the modern age. It’s going to take a lot of introspection for Korra to be able to pull that metal out of her system. Perhaps Kuvira’s actions will goad her back into action.
“The Coronation” is a little confusing in it’s portrayal of Kuvira’s very public takeover and the mild response to it, but perhaps there’s a plan in motion that has yet to be revealed. Tenzin sends his kids to retrieve Korra, which implies his grave concern. And with Varrick working on a spirit vine invention that could potentially be catastrophic, conflict between Kuvira and Korra is on the horizon.
Images are copyright of Nickelodeon.