It's been three years and everything on the new series of avatar has changed. When we left the end of the last series, Korra had defeated Zahir, but was left weakened by her encounter. The Airnation had decided to pull up the slack, and take over the duties of the Avatar. At which point I presume they all decided to get caught in love triangles then get angry and hit things.
But lets get down to business, it's been three years and now everyone has a new hairstyle !
General Iroh... I mean Mako is stuck babysitting the heir apparent to the Earth kingdom. An annoying whelp reminiscent of first season Bolin, only a bit worse. He's every bit as coddled and callous as his deceased aunt, and would certainly shape up to be just as good as the previous earth queen. Sure, he's comical now, but wait until he has the power to put you to death on a whim.
Meanwhile, bandits are ransacking their way across the earth kingdom.. except.. is it a bird ? is it a plane? is it Soooooperrmaaaaaaaan ?
No, it's Kai and Opal, airbender squad ! They leap to the rescue, rounding up some bandits and kicking ass. Then the village chief turns and chews them out for not bringing an army with them. Ungrateful sod.
But seriously, the Air nation is stretched thin trying to solve all of the worlds problems. Nevertheless, Kai and Opal stick around to try and do what they can for the village.
Then the Kuvira Train (choo choo) rolls into town. Just so you know, Kuvira's a badass, introduced with an action scene to show off her metal bending skills, advertising her "Final Boss" credentials.
Bolin and Varrick are both riding the Kuvira train (choo choo) toasting each new conquest, until they reach the village where they get reunited with Opal and Kai, and it is not exactly a friendly meeting.
Nevertheless , Kuvira seems like she's just trying to help, all she does is talk to the leader. She'll give him food supplies and clear out the bandits in exchange for the village returning to the earth kingdom.
Obviously, the three years of freedom, depredation and chaos following the death of the Earth Queen have gotten to the petty bureaucrat's head. His people may be starving, but he's happy to endure that so long as he can sit on his precious unmined ores and maintain full authority over his village. Because screw taxes yo.
In the end, however, he relents, and we see jackbooted soldiers handing out food to people whilst the empire theme plays in our minds.
And what's Korra been doing ? I dunno. We see an earthbender with a passing resemblance to her get her ass kicked in a fighting ring, but she says she's not Korra, and I'm willing to believe this spunky little fighter.
This episode does a lot of work establishing where all of the characters are now, giving a taste of conflicts to come, and mysteries yet to be solved. As ever, the world of Avatar is never quite black and white, like how some of the characters are placed on opposing sides. Putting Bolin on the side of Kuvira and the Metal Clan, and Mako on the Earth kingdom illustrates this point better than anything.
If this season is about balance, then Korra should be on the side of a united earth kingdom as well, which could make things awkward.
Seriously, this looks like it's going to be an excellent season. The quality of animation an the action sequences are still breathtaking. I feel like I should be watching this in a cinema, it's that good.