By: Dan Tomasik
Following the betrayal by one of the Metal Clan’s own, Korra & co track him down to an Earth Kingdom outpost near the desert. Learning of his planned rendezvous with Zaheer & his cohorts, Team Avatar stakes out the traitor’s hotel room to await Zaheer. They learn, however, that the meeting is to take place not in the physical world, but that of the spirits. Korra and Zaheer meet, and with no bending to fight each other with, Zaheer agrees to explain his identity, his motives, and anything else Korra wants to know.
Finally some answers to the living enigma that is Zaheer. How he can adjust to airbending so quickly, physically, mentally, and spiritually. How he can know so much about Korra and the avatar. How he can have so many connections to powerful individuals even after being locked away for 15 years. Why he seeks the destruction of the White Lotus. Above all, his ultimate goal.
Zaheer is intentionally set apart from avatar villains of the past in the way he holds his goal to be greater than himself. What he seeks is not individual gain, but a new world order. An order without order. Zaheer is an anarchist, a member of the Red Lotus Society. He makes a strong point in his discussion of the way individuals with power over many have wrought destruction upon the world. Fire Lords Sozin and Ozai, Admiral Zhao, Long Feng, Amon, Unalaq, not to mention the current president and Earth Queen. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a villain dedicated to a set of ideals, as opposed to just hungry for power. Furthermore, that his ideals are inspired by the teachings of an air nomad introduces a fracture to the wisest and most trustworthy nation of the world. Finally it has become clear just how dangerous these criminals are. Not just in their abilities, but in what they are working towards.
The episode ends with Korra & Asami captured by the Earth Queen’s forces, and Mako & Bolin captured by Zaheer’s Red Lotus comrades. The midseason finale comes next, and with it comes the promise of an epic battle to dwarf all others of this season so far. The fireworks are about to start.