Legend of Korra is back, but not exactly as viewers remember in the premiere of Book 4′s After All These Years. Book 3:Change attempted to create a different world for the avatar universe, but it seems most of the change was just focused on the air benders and the Earth nation. The Earth Kingdom is being overrun by bandits, the air benders have become a nomadic rescue squad, Republic City has turned the spirit vines and trees into an attraction, and team avatar has disbanded to move on with their respective lives. The passing of the three years finds our heroes older and more mature-even Bolin.
Nickelodeon also made changes to the syndication of Legend of Korra. No longer a Friday night showing, but an “on-line only” season. It seems that Nickelodeon wants to avoid viewers from seeing the episodes before it premieres and is ready to throw in the towel with the avatar series as many fans have also abandoned viewing. Although the change means boldly states the end of the series, creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko deliver a strong premiere that makes for a promising final arc in the series.
Three years have passed since team avatar successful defeated the Red Lotus’ plot to kill avatar Korra and end the avatar line and, with Korra out-of-commission, the world has become a different place. The air nomads have stayed true to their promise of protecting the four nations, but their numbers are still not high enough to cover all the dangers that plague the world-mostly the Earth kingdom. Enter in a new savior in metal bender and militant Kuvira. Some may remember her briefly from Book 3 as one of the soldiers in the Zaofu‘s army, but now the lonely soldier has taken charge. Kuvira’s intentions of uniting the Earth nation and bringing order to chaos seem noble, but her tactics are more tyrannical than sovereign in nature. From the introduction and throughout the episode it is clear that Kuvira will prove to be the main antagonist in the series and that Korra will have to overcome her defeated spirit to down the tyrannical new uniter.
With Korra believed to be still in recovery, the first episode focused more on the side characters and what was going on in their lives since the end of Book 3. The beautiful, intelligent, yet dull Asami is head of Future Industries still and back from virtual bankruptcy with her new invention of a train system. Mako is now a well-groomed bodyguard to the wimpy heir of the Earth kingdom throne. Bolin trades in his movie star career for helping the people of the Earth Kingdom by Kuvira‘s side-creating a minor conflict between him and now girlfriend Opal.
What After All These Years set up was a tough antagonist with a clear agenda. It directly portrayed the plot and how it will unfold within the season, while still delivering some action and back story for viewers to catch up on what they have missed. Korra made a brief appearance with a new haircut and depressed look on life towards the end of the episode, but it seemed that the episode was fine without her. A common problem that has made the Legend of Korra a hard series to fully love as The Last Airbender-the main protagonist is not as interesting or compelling as her predecessor. Even without Korra’s plot line being the main focus of After All These Years, the episode was still a solid and entertaining watch. One of the stronger premieres from this series in a long while.
By Tyler Cole