[This is a review of The Legend of Korra season 4, episode 5. There will be SPOILERS.]
The Legend of Korra featured perhaps not its best, but most complex episode in recent memory. 'Enemy at the Gates' beautifully paints a chaotic tapestry of betrayal, love and forgiveness in a way rarely seen on television.
These archetypal devices are nothing new, but when the obvious plotline is eliminated, everything that's left is a surprise you'll wish you could experience again. Asasmi Sato may be the most striking example of this, as writer Joshua Hamilton finds time in this already packed 30-minute episode to heal old wounds.
Lost veteran Daniel Dae Kim is always impressive with his portrayal of the greedy industrialist Hiroshi Sato. Now, years after his alliance with Amon has ended, Hiroshi is nothing more than a broken man seeking to make peace with his daughter. This arc is the most unlikely scenario, since one would have to assume that the eventual confrontation between Kuvira and Korra should take center stage. Surely that event will happen in due course, but Asami's willingness to spend time with her father may be the strongest moment from this episode. What do you think?
Since 'Enemy at the Gates' is an episode dedicated to change, who better to go through a transition than the series' most charismatic character, Varrick? After a "failed" attempt at harnessing the power of a spirit-vine, the crazed inventor starts hearing "nagging voices" inside of his head. His willingness to forgo the large sums of money he could make off this invention in favor of saving mankind was another unexpected twist. Looks like Varrick has a conscience after all.
Varrick's assistant Zhu Li is playing the part of a scorned employee well, but do you think she's really going to betray Varrick, or is this just some kind of diversion while she figures out how to take Kuvira down from the inside?
Further down the road, Korra will be the focal point as Kuvira continues to threaten the freedoms of others, but for now, the focus has turned to the supporting cast. For a moment, Korra was drawn in by Kuvira's words of a better future for the Earth Kingdom. The Avatar sees herself as a peacemaker and wishes to avoid confrontation, but like Aang and Fire Lord Ozai, Korra must face her adversary head on if she's to have any hope of success. How long will it take her to come to that understanding?
Bolin knows all to well that Kuvira is indeed crazy, but she can't be the only looming threat. The Red Lotus are still out there, perhaps waiting in the shadows for the opportune time to strike. How will the story develop in the coming weeks? Stay tuned to find out.
The Legend of Korra continues next Friday on various streaming services.