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Recap / The Legend Of Korra S 3 E 13 Venom Of The Red Lotus

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Zaheer's plan just hit a snag.
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Zaheer gets ready to pull the trigger on his deadly plan.


Tropes:

  • Achilles' Heel:
    • Zaheer seeks to exploit the vulnerability of the Avatar State to permanently end the Avatar cycle. By poisoning Korra, the Avatar State triggers automatically to save her life, allowing Ming-Hua and Ghazan to kill her without her reincarnating. Though that plan falls through, the poison itself can kill her anyway, especially since Korra has to split her energy fighting Zaheer and trying to resist the poison.
    • Ming-Hua's waterbending arms prove to be her downfall, as they conducted Mako's electricity very well.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The worst kind imaginable for Tonraq: Holding your child in your arms as they slowly die, powerless to help them.
    • Tenzin had some cause to worry, since his family were in the clutches of the Red Lotus and he was also powerless since he was too battered to fight, but that worry pales in comparison to Tonraq's tearful despair.
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  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Jinora's initiation as an airbending master for her part in helping Korra defeat Zaheer is a big formal thing. There's a gathering, Korra dresses up, there's a ceremony; it's a big deal.
  • Back for the Finale:
    • President Raiko and Senna show up in the final scene.
    • Vaatu, Unalaq and Amon appear as hallucinations.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jinora is initiated as the first airbending master of the new Air Nation, Zaheer has been imprisoned and the other members of his group are dead, and Tenzin vows that the new Air Nation will devote itself to helping the world rather than living apart from it. However, Korra's still recovering from Zaheer's poison and looks emotionally devastated, too weak to walk or even dress herself, and it's unknown just how long it will take her to get back on her feet. The Northern Air Temple, one of the few remaining pieces of Airbender history from before the 100 Year War has been destroyed. The Earth Kingdom is in disarray following the Earth Queen's death with fallout from the chaos threatening neighboring lands, and no one knows how many members of the Red Lotus are still out there. In addition, there's still no solution to the spirit vine problem in Republic City.
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  • Breaking the Bonds: Once she enters the Avatar State, Korra snaps three of the four chains holding her with brute strength. The fourth she rips out of the wall for use as a whip.
  • Break the Badass: The whole ordeal proves pretty traumatic for Korra. Not only does the metal poisoning take a toll on her body, leaving her wheelchair bound, the near death experience and the hallucinations have left her an emotional wreck, barely speaking.
  • Call-Back:
    • Going all the way back to Book 2 of the original series, dying in the Avatar State would end the Avatar cycle, a fact Aang learned from Roku.
    • Zaheer tries to use his suffocation technique on Korra, which he previously used on the Earth Queen. This time, he's interrupted.
  • The Cameo: While the poison is sinking in, Korra hallucinates the members of the Red Lotus as previous Arc Villains Amon, Unalaq and Vaatu.
  • Chain Pain: Korra used the chain she ripped out of the ground as a flail and catches Zaheer by the foot to slam him into the ground.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Ming-Hua luring Mako closer to a water source to give her more ammunition backfires by giving Mako a bigger target for his lightning.
  • Combination Attack: Jinora leads the airbenders in creating a giant tornado to attack Zaheer with, controlled by her and fed by them.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The climactic battle sees nods to several elements of Books 2 and 3's signature scenes of the original series, particularly the location (the crystal cavern and an aerial battle through a forest of spires), plot elements (the Avatar Cycle is threatened when the Big Bad attempts to kill the Avatar while in the Avatar State), fight match-ups (Mako vs. Ming-Hua/Zuko and Katara vs. Azula; Korra vs. Zaheer/Ozai vs. Aang), and even the conclusion of the fights (the Avatar is left severely handicapped following their near-death experience; the Big Bad is humiliated after their defeat and it is Played for Laughs).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Zaheer's plan to force Korra into the Avatar state has echoes of General Fong trying to do the same to Aang back in season two of the original series. Like General Fong, he too discovers that attempting to force the Avatar into a state of Unstoppable Rage is a very bad idea. The situation is inverted in that Zaheer wants to do this to kill the Avatar, whereas Fong wanted the Avatar's power as a weapon and didn't know the risk.
    • The beginning of Korra and Zaheer's battle (both in terms of the locale and their various moves and bending) mirrors that of Aang and Ozai in the series finale of the original series, only Korra is playing Ozai to Zaheer's Aang.
    • Mako and Ming-Hua's fight has echoes of Zuko and Katara vs. Azula, except the firebender is the protagonist and the lightning is used against the waterbender rather than the person who was trying to protect her. There's bonus points for having Grey DeLisle voice the antagonist.
    • Bolin and Ghazan's fight echoes the Zaheer and Tenzin fight, in which a prodigy takes on a master and acquits himself well, but is ultimately overwhelmed until backup arrives.
    • After his defeat, Zaheer begins to rant, only to get cut short by Bolin's classy Shut Up, Hannibal! and the Krew proceeds to laugh at his expense, similar to how Ozai was defeated and then mocked in the original series' Book 3 finale.
    • Book 3 ends just like Book 2 of the original series: the final fight begins in a crystal cavern, and it ends with the Avatar nearly dying. In addition, the Earth Kingdom is undergoing upheaval in both finales.
    • Lin's earthbending wheelchair lift is a smaller-scale version of the technique used by Toph and Aang to ascend the steps of the Earth King's palace in "The Earth King". In that instance, they had flattened out the steps to trip up the guards.
  • Convection Schmonvection: A battle between two lavabenders, in a cave, and the heat isn't a problem for either of them.
  • Deader Than Dead: The Red Lotus plan to end the Avatar Cycle for good.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The Red Lotus didn't anticipate that Korra's Heroic Willpower would allow her to stay out of the Avatar state for so long, nor did they realize just how powerful she would be in that state.
  • Die or Fly: Invoked by the Red Lotus. They know the Avatar State will manifest when Korra's life is in danger, so they poison her to activate it, then try to kill her so the Avatar cycle will end.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Between knocking her out, stripping off most of her clothes, binding her hands and feet so that she can't move or resist as a poisonous substance is painfully forced into her body, and literally trying to kill her soul, the Red Lotus put Korra through possibly the most brutal symbolic rape in the history of western animation. No wonder she's traumatized afterward.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Jinora bends a tornado with the help of the other airbenders. Zaheer fails to notice until it's practically on top of him and Korra.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Venom of the Red Lotus" refers to the poison used on Korra, the consequences of their actions, and the doubt about her value to the world that lingers long after she's physically recovered.
  • Failsafe Failure: The Red Lotus is unable to keep Avatar State Korra contained.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Played with: President Raiko formally welcomes Korra back to Republic City and sounds sincere in his belief that the world needs her. Korra, however, is too drained to even acknowledge it and Asami politely insists that they should get moving to the ceremony. Meanwhile, Tonraq sounds a little sore at Raiko, if only because he doesn't fully appreciate what Korra's gone through.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Vaatu's status as this for the entire franchise is emphasized during Korra's hallucinations. Out of the villains present, he gets the most screentime and proves to have the largest effect on Korra. The way he taunts Korra seems to blur the line between a mere hallucination and genuinely appearing to antagonize her.
  • Heroic BSoD: Korra is an emotionally broken state in the epilogue due to the events of the episode.
  • Heroic Rematch: Bolin and Mako fare better against Ghazan and Ming-Hua than they did the first time around. The fact that Bolin can lavabend certainly helps, and Mako gets to fight on terrain which favors his abilities.
  • Heroic Willpower: Korra is able to resist going into the Avatar State for a while on the strength ofher will.
  • I Die Free: Ghazan kills himself by collapsing the cave, preferring death to going back to prison.
  • I'll Kill You!: Korra promises that none of the Red Lotus will survive once she gets free. She ends up being two-thirds right about that.
  • Important Haircut: Jinora shaves her hair to receive her airbending tattoos as a new master.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Jinora has proven herself worthy to be an Airbending master, and is given a ceremony for her ascendancy to masterhood.
  • Kick the Dog: When it appears as if Korra has died in Tonraq's arms, Zaheer chooses that moment to gloat about how his plan has succeeded. Jinora pops his bubble by identifying the poison as metallic, allowing Suyin to remove it and save Korra.
  • Literal Metaphor: Bolin literally puts a sock in it (Zaheer), and of course points out what he just did.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's never confirmed whether or not Vaatu was just a hallucination or if he was actually speaking to her. He is, technically, inside of her by way of Ravaa.
  • Mood Whiplash: The mood swings from heartwarming when Korra is saved from near-death, to funny when Bolin stuffs a sock in Zaheer, then back to heartwarming/sad with Korra's recovery and Jinora's master ceremony.
  • Not Quite Flight: Korra propels herself using earthbent springboards and by firebending from her hands and feet, so she can keep up with Zaheer.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ghazan looks alarmed when Korra breaks free and takes out Ming-Hua.
  • The Oner: There is a very epic 21 second single shot tracking Zaheer flying at top speed while Korra chases and attacks him with earth and firebending; in the middle of the shot he stops, the camera passes him and turns around to watch him attack Korra. It's quite a sight to behold.
  • Orifice Evacuation: Suyin bends the metallic poison out of Korra through her mouth (that went in through her skin), which borders between Orifice Evacuation and a Vomit Indiscretion Shot.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: We are reminded of the awesome raw power of the Avatar State while Korra has murder on her mind while chasing Zaheer. At one point she throws a mountain top at him.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The Red Lotus greatly underestimated the power Korra has in the Avatar state. This is the power of a god after all.
    • Bolin's new Magma Man abilities do take away a good portion of Ghazan's advantage, since Bolin has control over the lava Ghazan throws at him now, but the older lavabender is much more experienced at bending lava and thus still has the upper hand until Mako joins in.
    • Even a powerful and skillful fighter can make a critical mistake and lose a fight if they don't fully know their opponent. Ming Hua has never seen Mako lightning bend and has no reason to assume that he can. She lures him into a part of the cave that seems to favor her because it's flooded with water, which she instantly turns into a weapon. Mako responds by hopping out of the water and using his lightning to fry her. Not knowing what your opponent is capable of can result in getting a rude shock, (no pun intended) or even worse outcomes.
    • The Avatar State doesn't cure poison, so Korra's battle is cut short once the poison gets the better of her determination.
    • Even though the metallic poison (confirmed to be mercury, a natural liquid metal) is removed and Korra survives, she is confined to a wheelchair and seems emotionally devastated, barely speaking. Though she is expected to get better, it's clear that she isn't going to just bounce right back from the physical, mental, and emotional injuries that were inflicted on her.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: While hallucinating, Korra imagines Zaheer, Ghazan, and Ming Hua turning into Amon, Unalaq, and Vaatu respectively. When this happens, they start telling her that she's no longer needed and the Red Lotus will succeed in their plans.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Ghazan takes himself (and the possibly unconscious Ming-Hua) out because he refuses to be captured.
  • Ship Tease: During the rescue mission, Asami takes the initiative (despite being surrounded by benders) and violently electrocutes a Red Lotus guard, looking as angry as we've ever seen her. After Korra survives, it's Asami who takes care of her and is shown at her side throughout the ceremony.
    Asami: (holding Korra's hand) I want you to know - I'm here for you. If you ever want to talk, or...anything.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Zaheer's line, "we lucky few, this band of brothers and sisters in anarchy," is an allusion to the line, "we happy few, we band of brothers," from the St. Crispin's Day Speech from William Shakespeare's Henry V.
    • When the Red Lotus torture her into transforming, Korra's in a very similar position (physically and story-wise) to fellow Nicktoon hero Danny Phantom's in the episode "Kindred Spirits".
    • When the poison is pulled out of Korra's system, the way she pukes it is similar to A Haunting In Connecticut.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Bolin shoves a sock down Zaheer's throat when he starts ranting that the Red Lotus are far from done after being defeated.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: The Earth Kingdom is still in a state of anarchy after the Queen's death, the Red Lotus are still a threat, and Korra will have to step down from her duties until she recovers. This is a question the world leaders address, and Tenzin decides the one thing they must do is rebuild, as the world will still need them and it is their duty to do so.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: While Jinora's likeness to Aang has been noted before, she's a dead ringer for him in everything save eye color once she shaves her head and gets her tattoos.
  • Super Strength: Korra's physical performance in the Avatar state makes it clear that bending isn't the only thing that's amplified. She is able to snap the chains holding her and tear one free from the rock wall it's bolted to through just brute strength.
  • Super Toughness: During her fight with Zaheer, Korra is repeatedly knocked down in ways that would swiftly stop, if not kill, a normal human, but she just keeps going until the poison finally takes its toll. It's possible, however, that these injuries are part of the reason she's in a wheelchair later on.
  • Taking You with Me: Ghazan is so determined to not go back to prison that he's ready to take down Mako and Bolin with him. He lavabends the walls of the cave they are fighting in, causing it to collapse and fill with lava, but Mako and Bolin escape just in time.
    Ghazan: I'm never going back to prison! If I'm going down today, YOU'RE COMING WITH ME!!!
  • Tempting Fate: Zaheer gloats about his victory when Korra appears to be dead, moments before Jinora reveals how they can save her.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Giving Korra lethal amounts of poison and then striking deadly blows at her may look too much, but there is a reason; the Avatar can only be truly killed while in the Avatar State, which is why poison is needed to sustain the effect long enough for the Red Lotus to lay lethal strikes at her. Even if they don't strike at her, the poison will kill her slowly anyways.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Zaheer obviously didn't expect Korra to be able to resist going into the Avatar State for as long as she did, let alone break free of her restraints. It's also clear that the Red Lotus do not understand the full ramifications of removing the Avatar from existence. Vaatu even lampshades this.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Korra while in the Avatar State, due to having been forced into it by Zaheer. This is notably the first time we've seen Korra enter the "berserk" version of the Avatar State that Aang often succumbed to, and all that rage is focused on Zaheer.
  • Victory by Endurance: Once Korra breaks free and begins chasing Zaheer, this becomes his strategy. He has absolutely no chance of beating her in a straight fight, but he can try to evade her long enough for the poison to either kill her or weaken her enough that he can finish her off. While he needed a few lucky breaks and a host of other factors working against Korra, this plan came very close to working and Zaheer would have killed Korra if not for the intervention of Jinora and the other airbenders.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The mercury is expelled from Korra via her mouth.
  • We Are Everywhere: Zaheer reminds everyone that he may be defeated, but the Red Lotus is far from defeated. Sadly, the heroes accept this to be true, and vow to prepare for it.
  • Whip It Good: Korra uses the chain she's bound with as a whip.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Korra is nearly killed by Zaheer while in the Avatar State thanks to a number of factors. Primarily, she is suffering from severe mercury poisoning, which eventually catches up to her and leaves her unable to fight back. Zaheer, meanwhile, has far greater mobility and only needs to wait Korra out, going in for the attack once the poison has sufficiently weakened her.Estimations on how much that one platinum chain weighed are around fifty pounds, and mercury is very heavy too. Assuming a liter of mercury was forced into her body that would be an agonizing additional thirty pounds or so. Korra is only able to defeat Zaheer after receiving help from the airbenders.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ghazan is impressed that Bolin has picked up lavabending, even challenging him to do his best.

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