Recap / The Legend of Korra S1E9 "Out of the Past"

I am the solution.

"Out of the Past" is the ninth episode of The Legend of Korra, which aired on June 9, 2012.

Tarrlok arrives in the mountains and locks Korra in a metal box, then leaves her to herself.

The next morning, Tenzin is shocked to learn that Korra has been kidnapped. Tarrlok says that he and Korra were attacked by Equalists the night before. A flashback shows him leaving Equalist belongings at the scene and shocking himself with a glove to make his claim more believable.

Lin hears of the events and rescues Asami, Mako, and Bolin from jail, telling them about Korra's kidnapping. They meet Tenzin, who is initially upset that Lin left the hospital, but all decide to find Korra together. They don't even have Naga to help them, as she ran away earlier, but the group figure that the Equalists' hideout is underground, like Hiroshi's was.

Lin, Mako, Bolin, Tenzin, and Asami walk through a tunnel under the city. Asami is uncomfortable to see Mako so determined to find Korra and learns from Bolin that Mako and Korra kissed. The group find the prison that the former chief's policemen are being kept. In the hall, Mako interrogates an Equalist about Korra' whereabouts. The Equalist says they didn't attack City Hall, and Tenzin finally deduces that Tarrlok has Korra. The team escapes the hideout.

They go to City Hall and meet Chief Saikhan and the rest of the Council. Tarrlok arrives and Tenzin accuses him of kidnapping Korra. Tarrlok's secretary says that he witnessed the kidnapping and admits he was afraid to say so before because Tarrlok is a bloodbender. Tarrlok bloodbends the group and leaves. They later recover and search for him to find Korra's whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Korra meditates and has visions of Aang's past. In the vision, Avatar Aang and Toph Beifong are with Toph's police. She is certain she can handle Yakone without Aang, but Aang wants to see the trial for himself. Later, Yakone is arrested at a restaurant. The vision ends, and Korra is happy that she is finally able to connect with Aang.

Korra meditates again and witnesses Yakone's trial. Chairman Sokka and the rest of the United Republic Council hear out the accusations towards Yakone, that he's been bloodbending, something that's been illegal for decades. Yakone's lawyer dismisses those claims, saying it's impossible to bloodbend without a full moon. Sokka announces the verdict: Yakone is guilty of all charges. When Sokka was younger, he met people who had extraordinary abilities, so Yakone's isn't impossible. He sentences Yakone to lifetime imprisonment.

Yakone bloodbends Sokka. Toph and Aang try to intervene and are overpowered, and Yakone goes on to bloodbend everyone in the room to unconsciousness. Once freed, Yakone flees on an ostrich-horse-drawn cart. Aang's tattoo glows and he wakes up and pursues Yakone on his air scooter. He crashes the carriage, and Yakone jumps out, using bloodbending again, trying to break Aang's neck. Near death, Aang enters the Avatar State. He traps Yakone and removes Yakone's bending ability. Korra wakes up, realizing that Aang was trying to warn her about Tarrlok being a bloodbender.

Tarrlok finds Korra, who correctly infers that his bloodbending secret is out. Tarrlok admits that his father Yakone tried to rule Republic City from the criminal underworld and that Tarrlok was going to do so as a Councilman instead. He decides to escape and start a new life but meets Amon and and Equalists upstairs. Amon is unhappy to be accused of something he didn't do, yet. The Equalists succumb to bloodbending, but Amon powers through it, to Tarrlok's horror. He removes Tarrlok's bending and orders his men to electrocute the box and take Korra. Korra is able to avoid being shocked by hanging from the box's ceiling. She firebends and escapes, catching a glimpse of Amon putting Tarrlok's body in a truck. Korra successfully evades Amon but collides with a tree on the ride downhill. Naga finds an unconscious Korra, wakes her up, and takes her back to Republic City, where they rejoin with the group. Mako carries Korra to Oogi, assuring her that she's safe now.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Badass Longcoat: Lin wears one.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Or in this case Chekhov's polar bear-dog. We're told that Naga is missing at the beginning of the episode. She appears at the end to pick up Korra from the snow.
    • Also the council page.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Creator Cameo: Michael and Bryan play the chi-blockers who are met by the empty tram in the Equalist base. Bryan plays the sarcastic one.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Korra feigns getting electrocuted in her cell in order to escape from Tarrlok and Amon's mooks. Later, Naga finds her in the woods and brings her back to Republic City and a waiting Team Avatar.
  • De-Power: The metalbending cops captured in "The Aftermath," Tarrlok.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Tarrlok and Amon face off directly. Amon wins.
  • Flashback: How Korra learns about the incident with Yakone and deduces that Tarrlok is his son.
  • Frameup: Tarrlok tries to pin Korra's disappearance on the Equalists, throwing a rope around one of the pillars, dropping a mask on the floor, and injuring himself with a taser glove (also left on-scene) to make the supposed attack more convincing. The Equalists were not pleased about this, especially after Team Avatar broke into their lair.
  • Great Escape: Lin uses Metalbending to bust Bolin, Asami, and Mako out of prison. Later, the group free the metalbending cops from the prison in the Equalists' hideout.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The ending of the episode makes it clear that Mako still has feelings for Korra, and Asami seems to be picking up on it.
  • Held Gaze: The moment between Korra and Amon after she has broken out of Tarrlok's prison and before either has a chance to react to the sudden appearance of the other.
  • Hero Secret Service: Team Avatar, Tenzin, and Lin Beifong join up to find Korra.
  • I Am the Noun: "I am the solution." (Which is a nod to "Amon is the solution," the translation of the Chinese characters on all the Equalist posters.)
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: When Lin suits back up to begin her outside-the-law business, she takes the police badge off her armor.
  • Ironic Echo: When Yakone attempts to kill Aang with Bloodbending, he states he's going to put him to sleep "for good". However, Aang breaks free of his hold and prepares to Energybend him, in which he says he's taking away his bending "for good".
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Toph and Aang had shades of this when the latter came in to help deal with Yakone, as Toph believes crime bosses within Republic City are a police problem. Since Yakone is a super-dangerous criminal, that's where the Avatar has to step in, which Aang uses as reasoning to step in. Toph reluctantly agrees to let him join in.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Admit it, you were cheering when Amon took Tarrlok's bending.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Tarrlok and Yakone. They're both bloodbenders, they both wanted to take over Republic City, they both even get their bending taken away, ultimately meeting the same fate.
  • Lock and Load Montage: We see Lin Beifong dressing in her police armor with some badass metalbending.
  • Love Epiphany: Revealed in the episode Endgame. Mako realizes that he is in love with Korra during their search.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Tarrlok is the son of Yakone, a bloodbending criminal defeated by the Avatar a few decades before the show started.
  • A Father to His Men: Lin's very direct with Tenzin and the members of Team Avatar, but when she rescues her metalbending cops and states that their bending must have been taken away already her voice and expression are gentler than we've ever seen her before.
  • Neck Lift: Mako does this to an Equalist with one arm to his collar while interrogating him about Korra's location.
  • The Nicknamer: Toph still calls Aang Twinkletoes even after 28 years.
  • No-Sell: Amon is almost unaffected by Tarrlok's bloodbending. Let that sink in. Even Aang had trouble fighting against bloodbending (even resorting to the Avatar State) and yet here Amon is making it look easy.
  • Not Me This Time: The Equalists really didn't kidnap Korra, it was Tarrlok, who then framed the Equalists for it. Tenzin, Lin, Bolin, Mako and Asami find out that Tarrlok kidnapped Korra, not the Equalists after interrogating some members.
  • Off-Model: Toph has six fingers again. Of course, they did use the exact same footage.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Tarrlok has such an expression when bloodbending does not stop Amon.
    • Yakone too, when Aang went into the Avatar State.
    • Korra still hasn't got over her fear of Amon, made clear from her expression when she confronts him at the end.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Korra's various dreams of Aang's life are shown again and expanded upon, with audio this time.
  • One-Man Army: Lin really comes off as one in this episode, since she orchestrates the defeat of hordes of Equalist footsoldiers.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    Amon: (To Tarrlok.) It is time for you to be equalized.
  • Randomly Gifted: Sokka justifies Yakone's life imprisonment based solely on the testimony of witnesses. He mentions the existence of rare individuals who demonstrate extraordinary powers that break the accepted rules of bending, citing Toph and Combustion Man as examples. In Yakone and Tarrlok's case, their abnormal bloodbending ability is inheritable (or at least teachable).
  • Saying Too Much: Bolin tells Asami that Korra and Mako kissed during the tournament.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Korra hears Tarrlok screaming as he gets stripped of his bending power.
  • Spanner in the Works: Tarrlok's secretary stayed around long enough to catch what he was doing and warn everyone of his abilities.
  • This Cannot Be!: Tarrlok when Amon powers through his bloodbending.
  • Toilet Humour: Bolin is interrupted twice while urinating against a wall in a prison cell, then Chief Beifong metalbends his fly up when he forgot to re-zip.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: As Tarrlok relates his false story to Tenzin, a flashback shows him doctoring the crime scene.
  • Villainous Rescue: Done by accident. Amon and some Equalists show up and managed to disable Tarrlok. They plan to kidnap Korra themselves, but she takes the opportunity to escape.
  • Wham Episode: Not only is Korra captured and imprisoned but Lin breaks out Team Avatar from prison, the Team infiltrates an Equalist base, rescues Lin's soldiers (who have already been de-bended), Korra contacts Aang and learns about Yakone and Tarrlok, while Amon resists bloodbending, de-bends Tarrlok, and inadvertently allows Korra to escape. And, to top it all off, there's significant Makorra Ship Tease.
  • Wham Shot: Aang's first appearance in the series outside of brief glimpses can be seen as this. Then, in the present day, Amon's appearance in Tarrlok's shack and then resisting his bloodbending almost effortlessly.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Tarrlok's reaction to Amon's ability to shrug off the effects of bloodbending.
    Tarrlok: What are you?!
    Amon: I am the solution.
  • Working with the Ex: It's right there in the synopsis.
    • Played for Laughs when Lin slaps Tenzin to wake him up after being bloodbent into unconsciousness by Tarrlok.