Darn commercial. It had to air right before this show began, so I get to see Aang one last time, looking ever so awesomely twelve and cute, as he saves the world again before he vanishes into the vacuum of time that waits for us all. Bye, Aang. You are a statue now. Sniffle. See you in the cartoons they show on the other side, little buddy.
But enough of the mourning. Tenzin has important things to say.
Earth! (Smash! Boom! Crash!)
Fire! (Whoosh! Sizzle! SSSSSSINGE!)
Air! (Hey, it's Aang! He's immortal and part of the opening credits now!)
Water (Hi, Korra! Splash! Welcome to the world!)
When Tenzin was a boy, his father, the Avatar Aang, told him about how he ended the Hundred Year War with the help of a neurotic, needy waterbender, a blind earthbender, a very ethically confused firebender, and a remarkably normal guy who couldn't do anything but crack jokes and fight like a total tiger. After that war was finally over, Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko - oh, it feels good to say that about Zuko! - worked together to create The United Republic of Nations. The idea was that benders and non-benders would work together in peace. I betcha Sokka helped write that charter. It's a shame the dream began to tarnish when the originators died. Aang and Zuko named their capitol Republic City, and gave it a motto: "Can't we all just get along?" Then Aang died, and he turned into a statue in the harbor. Unfortunately, this had to happen, or we could not meet Korra. It's like the Immortals: there can be only one.
Of course, the story begins in a blizzard. Korra is a waterbender; therefore, she's got to live in a desolate frozen wasteland. I wonder, if we go through enough Avatars, will we ever meet one who was raised in a comfortable city eating bon bons? A distinguished Inuit gentleman greets an envoy of the White Lotus. There's a kid in his house they've just gotta see.
As the envoys of the White Lotus enter the nicest igloo I've ever seen, a woman greets them nervously. Apparently, the White Lotus have been sent on some wild goose chases and don't want to be fooled again. However, these two parents know their little girl is the Avatar. She has no particular ability to start glowing when angry, but... she can make quite a violent entrance. Boom! Just made a new hole in the wall for ya, Mom! I ain't your grandma's avatar! Deal with it, or I will set you on fire with these pointless little torches I keep lighting everywhere just to scare everybody. She would not be accepted at a daycare center near you.
The years pass in an instant, and suddenly, we see a teenaged girl fighting in some kind of contest, where she is battling several firebenders at once and sending them sizzling onto the rooftops, still strangely alive. There are several members of the White Lotus watching this gravely, alongside a wizened old woman who seems somehow beloved and familiar. The wise old woman quietly says, "She's strong" but the White Lotus guru says, "She lacks restraint." That may be true, White Lotus guy, but she's still the Avatar and you can't fire her from that position. Besides, she's sixteen. Who has restraint at the age of sixteen? After enough pyrotechnics to engulf a major city in flames, Korra succeeds in making her last unlucky opponent pass out, and she celebrates with a war whoop. Korra is feeling pretty cocky, because she has mastered three of the four elements: fire, earth, and water. However, the stern-looking gurus are not so sure about Korra. She's got the physical side down, but she hasn't got a clue about the spiritual side of being the Avatar. Korra agrees with this, but thinks that learning Air Bending under Tenzin will solve the spiritual problem.
Katara thinks she is ready. Katara! That kind old woman, so beloved and familiar, appears to be the sole living member of the old gang that made us fall in love with this mind-bending world, and if Katara thinks she's ready, then she's ready, because she's KATARA, man. Well, Katara was sixteen once, and she saw some pretty screwed up teenagers turn out right well. Maybe she is onto something. So it is time for the Avatar to begin her Airbender Training... and to stop being so disrespectful and cocky. Hey sweetie, if you want to be the Avatar, you've got to be as serious as mud all the time, just like Aang... never was, at all.
Korra runs into her private quarters to greet a snow-white dog the size of a polar bear... it's Naga, a polar bear dog, of course, in this world of the amazing hybrids. She mounts her enormous steed and tells a very reluctant guard that she is taking the animal out for a stroll, but it's more accurate to say they are going for a gallop as the magnificent creature runs across the snowy plain.
A sky bison soars overhead as well, loaded with people. It's Tenzin with three children, including a very hyper kid named Meelo who cannot stop chattering and wiggling and pulling Tenzin's ears. Meelo looks almost exactly like Aang. One of the girls asks Katara the question we've all been wanting to know the answer to for years now: What happened to Zuko's mom? Katara begins to answer, but then another of the girls shoots off a rapid fire string of questions, and we are left to wonder as Tenzen helps his pregnant wife off the sky bison. This family has a lot of kids. Apparently they take the need to populate the world with more air benders very seriously.
Korra is excited, eager to begin her airbending training, but Tenzin must attend to business in Republic City and cannot stay. Korra acts like a kid who has discovered that Christmas is canceled. Tenzin may not be able to train her for a long time, because he is a leader of Republic City and the political situation there is very tense. Korra suggests that she could move to Republic City, and one of the elders declares it too dangerous.
That morning, Korra watches bitterly as the sky bison takes her Airbending master and his wiggly brood away. Determined, she waits until nightfall and then saddles Naga. Katara comes up behind her, aware that she needs to escape. Aang's time is past, and most of the old gang is gone... (Bye, Sokka!) It's Korra's turn now, and Katara gives the girl her blessing as she says goodbye to her parents and begins her journey.
Korra and Naga stow away on a cargo boat bound for Republic City and enter a dazzling steampunk world filled with cars and other wonders she's never seen before. A statue of Aang guards the harbor, and beyond it, she can see Air Temple Island, the home of Master Tenzen. Naga is too hungry to make the swim just yet, so the enormous animal bounds into traffic, causing wrecks left and right. Korra can bend three elements, but she can't make her big dog behave as he invades a food pavilion. Korra has no money. How can they eat? How on earth did she leave home with no money? Katara, what were you thinking?
Well, it's handy to be the Avatar. In no time, she's waterbended herself some fish, nicely scorched with firebended flame, and she's just about to feast when a vagabond jumps out of the bushes and asks for a fish. Apparently, he is one of many homeless people living in the bushes. That's the first sign of imbalance. A police officer drives her away from her spot, so Korra now knows that there is hunger and suffering in Republic City. There is also great anger. On the street the followers of Amon have gathered, urging other non-benders like themselves to unite in protest against the benders they feel have oppressed them. Korra attempts to argue with them, but their hatred drives her away. That's the second sign of imbalance.
As she makes her way to Air Temple Island, Korra sees a vintage car bearing several particularly nasty benders come down a street. They appear to be members of a kind of bender mafia, and they are demanding "protection" money from a poor shopkeeper. Korra decides to intervene. At first, the thugs are amused... until Korra slams one guy with a water ball that freezes his face. Then she slams the ground, sending the second guy hurtling skyward. The shopkeepers begin to realize there's something odd here, but when she finishes off the third guy with a fireball, they realize that she is the Avatar.
Unfortunately, she's pretty destructive. Korra throws one guy through a store window, as glass and merchandise flies everywhere. As two of the others try to escape in their car, she earthbends a quake that crashes their car and damages two more buildings. The metalbending police descend, and Korra is shocked to find that she is under arrest as well as the thugs. Apparently, people don't like it when you crash stuff through store windows in Republic City. Korra attempts to flee, and soon she finds herself fighting an entire army of metalbending policemen as she continues to smash city property in her attempt to escape. Finally, a helicopter armed with metal tentacles grabs her, and she is taken into custody.
The police headquarters is guarded by a stern statue of Toph. The police chief is reading her the charges. Destruction of city and private property... evading arrest... she's toast! Chief Beifong does not think being the Avatar is any excuse. For a moment, Korra is excited, because Lin Beifong is Toph's daughter, but the ancient alliance between Toph and Aang is no help here. Councilman Tenzin, however, is. He offers to pay all the damages if Lin will drop the charges. In return, he will see to it that Korra goes back home.
Once away from the station, Korra begs Tenzin not to send her away, because she cannot bear to remain cooped up any longer. At the same time, she understands why Tenzin can't relocate; there is much suffering in Republic City. After thinking for it a bit, Tenzin relents. He has decided that the city is out of balance, and it needs the Avatar to help restore it. Korra can stay. His explanation to Lin should be interesting, since he's basically just double-crossed the Police Chief. Instead of being in jail, Korra gets to be in instant celebrity as they immediately call a press conference to introduce her to the public. Korra gives a speech. She believes she can restore peace and balance to Republic City. In a room somewhere in the city, a sinister pair listen to her speech over the radio, and a guard asks Amon how he wants to handle this. Amon grimly responds that they need to accelerate their plans, and as he turns around, we see that his face is hidden behind a weird, pale mask.
The recap for A Leaf in the Wind is now up.