[This is a review of The Legend of Korra season 3, episode 11. There will be SPOILERS.]
If this week's episode of The Legend of Korra, simply titled 'Ultimatum,' warrants any comparisons to features films, then it would have to be The Empire Strikes Back. Team Avatar and their friends now realize that Zaheer does not bluff.
Week after week, the creators behind this series keep upping the danger our heroes face. The insurmountable weight of it all leaves doubts in our minds about who might not survive. Did any of you think Kai was actually going to die? After the devastating events in Ba Sing Se last week, it's clear that anything is possible.
Fortunately, the overly exuberant youth was not killed and instead was saved by a cute young Sky-Bison. We haven't seen much of the Northern Air Temple acolytes for a few weeks now and Kai is one of those new characters who will hopefully be among the living at the start of next season (Book 4). While Kai's near death experience was thrilling, it was Aang's offspring who stole the show.
We all know that behind his tempered and somewhat dull demeanor, Tenzin is one powerful bender. Like Yoda, he saves his ferocity and skill for when it's truly needed. Unlike Korra, who unleashes her power whenever she has a bad day, Tenzin knows when to strike back. Watching him alongside Kya and Bumi was one of the more thrilling action sequences of the entire ATLA franchise. Joshua Hamilton (Green Lantern: The Animated Series), who has written most of this season, deserves high praise for the unique characters he's developed in such a short time.
Zaheer's menacing presence continues to astound, but we learned that he is not unbeatable. If it weren't for the help of the deadly Ming-Hua and the rest of the Red Lotus squad, Tenzin would have won the fight, eventually.
What's so fascinating about Zaheer is his respect for Tenzin and all other airbending and spiritual matters. Before their dual began, the Red Lotus leader told Tenzin how honored he was to be in the presence of a true master. The best villains always respect their opponents. What was your favorite moment from the battle at the Northern Air Temple?
With Tenzin now in the hands of Zaheer, it appears that Korra will have to confront the Red Lotus head-on if she's to save her mentor. Even though Korra was not the focus of 'Ultimatum,' her encounter with Iroh is the spirit world was a nice scene in an episode shrouded in violence. Lord Zuko's face was priceless, as Korra informed him that she had just spoken with his uncle. Will we see a reunion between the two relatives before the series ends?
Another interesting tidbit from Zuko's conversation with the Avatar was the mention of his daughter (who is now the leader of the Fire Nation). Lineage has been a recurring question throughout this season, like who are the Lin and Suyin Beifong's fathers? It will be interesting to see if we ever learn who Zuko ended up marrying. Perhaps we'll get a glimpse in a flashback?
The Legend of Korra season 3 (Book 3: Change) will come to a conclusion next week in a two-part finale. Who will live to see the start of the next season and will the Red Lotus be defeated for good? Stay tuned to see how it all ends.
The Legend of Korra continues with 'Enter the Void' and 'Venom of the Red Lotus' next Friday on various streaming services.