"When Extremes Meet" is the eighth episode of The Legend of Korra, which aired on June 2, 2012.
Mako, Bolin, and Asami move into Air Temple Island after losing their homes in the previous episodes. Since Chief Lin Beifong has resigned, Saikhan takes her place and says he will bring any issues to Tarrlok. Korra and Tenzin find this suspicious, but Tarrlok says he only has Republic City's interests in mind.
Later, Korra and Tenzin talk to Tarrlok, who wishes for Korra to rejoin his task force. Korra refuses, telling him that she's the Avatar. Tarrlok challenges her statement and reminds Korra that she cannot airbend. As Korra and Tenzin leave city hall, Tenzin reminds her that Avatar Aang had past Avatars to talk to and advises her to meditate on her visions.
In the evening, Asami, Bolin, Mako, and Pabu meet up with Korra, forming the "new Team Avatar". Using one of Hiroshi's vehicles, the team apprehend a group of Equalists.
The next day, Tarrlok persuades the Council, save Tenzin, to pass a law that allows the arrest of anyone "associated" with the Equalists, and imposes a curfew on all non-benders. Team Avatar discovers a crowd of non-benders protesting against Tarrlok for taking out the electricity in their homes. Korra tries to reason with Tarrlok and is ignored because he supposedly believes all of the non-benders are Equalists at a rally. He orders the arrest of Asami for being an Equalist's daughter, and Mako and Bolin for arguing against him.
Korra goes to Tenzin to bail her friends out, but Chief Saikhan cites due process of law, ensuring they and the innocent non-benders won't be freed any time soon.
That night, Korra returns to City Hall to confront Tarrlok. Each compares the other to Amon, and at hearing Korra's retort, Tarrlok attacks her, and a fight ensues. Korra gains the upper hand by destroying the fountain behind Tarrlok and forcing him out of the room. Having run out of water, Tarrlok resorts to bloodbending, able to stop Korra from firebending at him despite the absence of a full moon. He sends Korra flying into a wall and approaches her. Korra has another vision of Avatar Aang, Toph, and Sokka at the trial of the unknown man. Sokka has a pained expression, and Toph is seen trying to attack the smirking individual with metalbending cables but is unable to. Aang struggles to reach the man, and behind him the entire room is also under a strange power.
Korra regains consciousness and discovers she's been tied up. Tarrlok tells her that he is taking her somewhere far away and will never see Republic City again.
Tropes in this episode:
- Adult Fear: The ending would be horrifying to any parent, especially those of a teenage girl.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- "Asami, did you know Korra likes Mako?" spoken by Ikki to Asami (Mako's girlfriend). Though it affects Korra more than it does Asami.
- Played for Drama when Tarrlok asks how Korra's airbending training is going when she reminds him she is the Avatar.Tarrlok: How is your airbending going? Made any significant progress with that? (Korra looks down in shame) I didn't think so.
- Later when Korra confronts him for arresting her friends and using his power to threaten and intimidate, which is exactly what Amon says is wrong with benders, he asks if she's not doing the same. She denies it, but it clearly affects her at least for a second.Tarrlok: You obviously have something on your mind. Spit it out.
Korra: Don't you see? You're doing exactly what Amon says is wrong with benders. You're using your power to oppress and intimidate people.
Tarrlok: And you don't?
Korra: (Taken aback) Of- (Determined) Of course not!
Tarrlok: Isn't that what you came here to do? Intimidate me into releasing your friends? (Korra glares at him)
- Arrested for Heroism: Not played lightly. Asami, Mako, and Bolin get arrested for their acts and Tenzin cannot bail them out because of the new police regime.
- Art Shift: Happens in the background with Korra's reaction to Ikki bring up the subject of Korra's crushing on Mako. It includes a realistic sky background, lightning strikes, and fire.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: One has to admit despite being a sleazy politician, Tarrlok's a really good fighter and an extremely skilled waterbender.
- Probably half the reason he has a fountain in his office is to defend himself against attacks.
- Badass Boast: Subverted. Korra says she is the Avatar and Tarrlok needs her in the Badass Boast fashion, but he quickly comments on her difficulty airbending. Korra later asks him during their fight after she gains the upper hand if she's still a half-baked Avatar. Cue Tarrlok using his bloodbending.
- Berserk Button: Korra presses Tarrlok's when she compares him to Amon for his actions taken concerning maintaining peace, while Tarrlok presses Korra's by arresting her friends as a bargaining chip then attacking her when it fails.
- Beyond the Impossible: Tarrlok is able to bloodbend Korra even though it's not a full moon (in fact when shown the moon is actually at a crescent meaning his water bending should be fairly weak). When Korra asks how it's possible Tarrlok just replies that there are lots of things she doesn't know about him.
- Black Magic: Bloodbending, which is seen as this by most waterbenders, makes a return.
- Bound and Gagged: Korra after Tarrlok defeats her. Though he nearly got his eyebrows singed for forgetting the "gag" bit when Korra spits some fire at him in her thrashing.
- Call-Back: The episode brings back the bloodbending from the original series.
- Close-Call Haircut: Tarrlok's first attack causes this for Korra.
- Continuity Nod: The wall fountain in Tarrlok's office incorporates a design of two koi in a yin-yang configuration, referencing the original incarnations of the ocean and moon spirits from the first series.
- Cool Car: Asami drives yet another one of these this episode.
- Cry Cute: Korra has this in angst to the airbending block before her.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tarrlok and the police rounding up all non-benders who don't go in for curfew...and anyone trying to defend them. And the non-benders only came out because Tarrlok had their power shut off for some reason.
- Anyone suspected of helping the Equalist terrorists, or of even being the same "type" as them (ie. non-benders) are arrested and held indefinitely with no hope of release. Do we really need to spell this one out?
- While From a Certain Point of View the metal-benders and Tarrlok do have the ability to arrest Asami for being out after curfew, Mako and Bolin are arrested after Mako says "You can't do that" to Tarrlok having her arrested.
- Downer Ending: Even worse than last episode. Asami, Bolin, Mako, and many other innocent people are in prison, and not even Tenzin can bail them out, and Korra's been sent somewhere, with Tarrlok saying she'll never see Republic City again.
- Fascists' Bed Time: Tarrlok imposes a curfew on all non-benders. And then goads a neighborhood full of nonbenders into breaking it by cutting off their electrical power.
- Flashback Cut: Korra discusses her visions with Tenzin at the beginning, though he says he's not sure what they mean just yet. She then has another one of these but it's more intense than the previous ones and reveals that Tarrlok may have something to do with Yakone.
- From the Mouths of Babes: Ikki pulls this on Korra. She reveals Korra's crush on Mako to Asami, who was unaware of the crush beforehand. Ikki also likes to comment on stuff that isn't appropriate.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: As seen in the page image.
- Godzilla Threshold: After Korra starts tearing her way to him, and once he runs out of water, Tarrlok is forced to reveal his bloodbending abilities to stop her.
- Ground-Shattering Landing/Three-Point Landing: Korra gouges out a landing crater in the council chamber as a show of force to Tarrlok.
- Hair Flip: Asami does this a second time.
- Hope Spot: It seems that by the end of the episode, Korra has defeated Tarrlok. Then he reveals his Bloodbending ability...
- I Have Your Wife: Tarrlok uses the fact he has Korra's friends in custody to blackmail Korra into serving him, but it backfires.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Tarrlok reveals to Korra that he is a bloodbender.
- Identical Stranger: When the metalbenders are arresting the non-benders, there's a woman who looks almost exactly like Tahno◊.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Tarrlok, yet again. He mocks Korra for not doing much in her airbending training, which is entirely true. That is, until he locks Korra in the metal box, with the intention of kick her out of the Republic City.
- Kick the Dog: Most everything Tarrlok does in this episode. In order—tries to get Korra back on his task-force, imposes a curfew on all non-benders, shuts off many non-benders' homes' power at night and arrests them when they gather to protest, arrests Asami, then Mako and Bolin when Korra tries to help the non-benders, attacks Korra when she tells him he's no better than Amon, uses bloodbending to subdue her when she wins, and finally locks her in a car headed far away, saying she'll never see the city again. That's a lot for an implied 48 hours.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Tarrlok briefly gains the upper hand against Korra when he shields himself with a water bubble being fed from the wall fountain. Korra can't breach it and he can fire icicles from it without affecting its integrity. Korra responds by earthbending the entire stone wall at him.
- Might Makes Right: Korra accuses Tarrlok of doing this and proving Amon right in the process. Tarrlok instead says that she also does the exact same thing with her bending abilities.
- Mook Horror Show: The back half of Korra's fight with Tarrlok plays out like this. He's got no water to bend while an angry Korra tears her way through the wall and blows up the floor, her voice practically dripping with malice as she closes in.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The first half of the episode is relatively light-hearted with plenty of laughs and heartwarming moments. Then Republic City becomes a police state similar to the Nazi era and the Red Scare. All of Korra's friends are arrested and Tarrlok reveals he can bloodbend, without a full moon, providing probably the biggest Downer Ending in the series so far.
- Just as the Krew form the new Team Avatar, Meelo, coming out of nowhere, lands on their hands and farts.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: There were heavy implications Korra was going to murder Tarrlok, a far cry from what Aang would do.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Unreasonable curfews imposed? One group of people singled out for draconian laws? Take over of the police department and converting them into personal enforcers? Yeah, Tarrlok's going this route.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Korra engages in a bending fight with Tarrlok, kicking his ass immensely, until Tarrlok reveals he can bloodbend.
- Not So Above It All: Korra says Saikhan is the worst chief of police ever. Tenzin tells her to leave, and agrees with her that Saikhan is the worst.
- Not So Different: Tarrlok says this to Korra on going to extremes to assure the peace. Korra promptly turns it back on him, saying that his recent actions especially rounding up non-benders who have done nothing wrong make him no better than Amon, making his eye twitch with fury.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Saikhan gets one when Tenzin finds him in the lobby.
- Tarrlok has a horrified look on his face when Korra comes at him with, what appears to be, full intent to kill. This leads him to using bloodbending to survive.
- Korra also gets one when Tarrlok reveals that he's a bloodbender.
- People Puppets: Tarrlok is able to bloodbend, which might be surprising but is exceedingly appropriate.
- Personality Powers: Tarrlok. He's a smug snake, manipulative bastard, as well as both a sleazy and corrupt politician who can bloodbend.
- Precocious Crush: Meelo's crush on Asami.
- Puppet King: The new Police Chief Saikhan is serving Tarrlok.
- Shock and Awe: Mako uses lightning very efficiently to take down some Equalists' motorcycles and a van, without killing any of them. Asami also gets to shock a couple of chi-blockers who jump onto her car.
- Slipknot Ponytail: Happens to Tarrlok while fighting Korra.
- Spanner in the Works: Tarrlok was counting on Korra either being like Tenzin or joining him, as he bitterly states, Korra, being Korra, messed his plans up to the extent he had to expose his bloodbending ability just to survive.
- Standard Female Grab Area: Tarrlok grabs Asami by the arm with a water whip after Korra tries to stop the police from arresting the non-benders. Probably justified; Korra would retaliate against the police, but Asami likely wouldn't be so eager.
- Completely justified. The only weapon Asami had was her electro glove, which is probably the last thing you'd want to use on a Waterbender. And though her self defense training may very well have included chi-blocking, we only see her beating up Equalists (read: other non-benders), and that with some of their own technology; for all we know she'd get curbstomped going up against benders herself. Also while Asami isn't subdued simply by being touched with the water whip she's smart enough to know resisting will not help anyone in this situation and it's better to bide her time, if possible.
- Tempting Fate: Asami, Bolin, and Mako reassure Korra that like Avatar Aang, she has friends on her side and they can save Republic City together. Then the three are arrested. Later, Korra taunts Tarrlok about having no water to bend after destroying his office, which had a fountain. Then she gets bloodbended.
- Title Drop: A very subtle one.Tarrlok: That's what I admire about you Korra; your willingness to go to extremes to get what you want. It is a quality that we both share.
- Unstoppable Rage: Tarrlok proves his competence as a fighter as he gives Korra the fight of her life, driving her to the point that she earthbended a stone wall. If anything, the girl was seeing red and was ready to end the man with her firebending before Tarrlok pulled the bloodbending card.
- Wham Episode: Though both of the previous episodes were also, the implications towards the end—namely that going by Korra's vision and what we now know about Tarrlok, he may have something to do with Yakone, who Aang defeated 42 years ago. And the immediate ending.
- Wham Shot: Korra suddenly freezing in place just as she was about to continue to attack Tarrlok. Any Avatar fan, after a moment of confusion, will immediately react in horror when they realize what kind of bending Tarrlok is using.
- Wild Take: When Ikki tells Asami that Korra likes Mako, we get a combination of Thunder Shock and fire in the background, Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises, and a high-pitched scream all at once.
- Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Korra's opinion on Saikhan being the worst chief of police ever for not letting the innocent non-benders and her friends go free and going along with Tarrlok's draconian measures. Tenzin agrees with her.
- You Are Not Alone: When Korra stresses about not being able to airbend, Mako, Bolin, and Asami come along and remind her Aang was not alone and neither is Korra. Which makes the later events of the episode all the more brutal.