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|"You've lost faith in me, too, haven't you? No one thinks I'm capable of anything anymore."|
|— Korra to Tenzin.|
"Beyond the Wilds" is the ninth episode of Book Four: Balance of The Legend of Korra and the 48th of the overall series. It was released on Nick.com and through the Nick app on November 28, 2014, and aired on Nicktoons Network on December 12, 2014.
Ryu guides a group of tourists through Republic City's Spirit Wilds, though they are soon captured by the plants and Jinora with Korra and Opal investigate the case. Korra senses the plants' energy and learns that Kuvira harvests vines in the Foggy Swamp. She and Opal leave to inform President Raiko about the situation, while Jinora continues her search. At City Hall, the world leaders debate about the best course of action to take against Kuvira, though their meeting is interrupted by Korra and Opal and later Varrick and Bolin. They alert the leaders about Kuvira's plans and it is decided to strengthen the United Republic's borders. While Team Avatar reunites, Opal and Lin plan to rescue their family in Zaofu by themselves. Meanwhile, Jinora warns Korra that she has been captured by the spirit vines. In order to save her, Korra and Mako enter the Spirit Wilds, though finding her path to the Spirit World blocked by Zaheer, Korra decides to confront him. Since Kuvira's usurpation of power is not what he had intended for the world, the airbender helps her come to terms with the fate that had befallen her and guides her into the Spirit World, where she successfully reconnects with Raava and rescues the souls of Jinora, Ryu, and the captured tourists. Meanwhile, Asami and Varrick are tasked to work together to find a defense against Kuvira's super weapon and Bolin tries to reconcile with Opal. He ends up joining her and Lin on their secret mission to rescue Suyin and her family.
Outside the spirit wilds in Republic City, Ryu is gathering a group of tourists, about to go on a tour into the wilds. Among the tourists are his parents; his mother is proudly declaring how great it is that he is now an airbender and he has been doing "important Air Nation stuff" since. His father is less than impressed with his son, much to the annoyance of the latter. Inside the wilds, Ryu tells the tourists about Korra's battle with UnaVaatu, but the tourists seem to be rather dim about it, and Ryu gets slightly annoyed with the questions he is receiving. One of the tourists points out that a vine is moving toward them, but Ryu is unsure of how to address the issue. The tourist runs up to poke it, but the vine suddenly wraps around him and lifts him in the air. Ryu attempts to free him, but fails. The rest of the group is taken as well, and Ryu is the last man standing before being dragged away himself.
On Air Temple Island, Korra is playing with Naga, when Opal walks up to her. The airbender is frustrated that her family has been imprisoned and that she seems to be the only one to care. Korra tries to reassure her that they will get them back safely, when they are interrupted by Jinora. She tells them about a weird surge of energy she felt from the spirit wilds downtown, so they go to check it out. Opal doubts Jinora, but Jinora is absolutely certain of it. Korra also has her doubts, but the airbender convinces her to feel the energy of the vines, which leads Korra to see that Kuvira's army is cutting up the banyan-grove tree. Opal proposes that they tell President Raiko to help him convince the other world leaders to take action against Kuvira. She and Korra run off to find Raiko, while Jinora keeps looking for Ryu.
At City Hall, President Raiko is in a meeting with Chief Lin Beifong, Fire Lord Izumi, Tenzin, and Earth King Wu, discussing what they are going to do about Kuvira. Wu offers some far-fetched suggestions, which are all shot down by hard looks from the other world leaders. Raiko presses everyone on the fact that it would be best to take the fight to her. Tenzin disagrees, since she has not done anything aggressive against the Republic itself. Lin states that she agrees with Raiko, before Korra and Opal interrupt the meeting. Korra is surprised to see it going on and even more surprised that she was not invited, while Wu was. Tenzin tries to calm her down, but Bolin and Varrick make their way into the meeting as well. Raiko orders the guards to remove them, but they desperately explain that they are not on Kuvira's side anymore and have information about her super weapon. Korra astutely guesses it works with spirit vines, much to Varrick's surprise. She explains her vision and Raiko gets worried that Kuvira might use the weapon against Republic City. He presses for a preemptive strike again, but this idea is shot down by both Tenzin, who will not have his airbenders be part of an unprovoked attack, and Fire Lord Izumi, who does not want the Fire Nation to fight another "nonsense war". Raiko reluctantly agrees and he and Izumi compromise on fortifying the borders of the United Republic together. Opal leaves the building and Bolin follows her, trying to apologize, but Opal does not want to hear it. While she is glad that Bolin is okay, she tells him it is too late for a simple apology. Lin comes out as well, interrupting the conversation, and takes Opal aside. The chief tells the airbender about Raiko's decision and that if they want to save their family, they have to do it themselves. Meanwhile, Korra and Mako approach Bolin and greet him. They all hug and Bolin expresses his happiness and apologizes for his 'idiotic' involvement with Kuvira. Korra sadly puts the blame on herself, telling him she has lost everyone's trust, since Kuvira beat her in the Battle of Zaofu. Mako tries to cheer her up by pointing out that her friends are still there for her before turning to Bolin and saying that they know he just did what he thought was right. Touched by his brother's words, Bolin instigates another group hug.
Back at the Spirit Wilds, as Jinora walks, she finds the camera which had been dropped by one of the tourists. Suddenly, the vines attack her and, although she dodges them initially, they eventually capture her. Frightened, she uses her spiritual projection to appear in front of Korra and Mako, asking for help.
At the entrance of the Spirit Wilds, Lin evacuates the place and Korra shows up with Mako. Korra wants to help, but Lin does not think that is a good idea. Korra manages to convince her anyway and she and Mako enter the Wilds to look for Jinora. The vines attack them, but Korra and Mako manage to dodge them with firebending and run into a building. There, they find a bunch of green cocoons with people within them. Korra recognizes Jinora and tries to free them with spiritbending, but it fails to work, so she comes up with the idea of meditating into the Spirit World and freeing them from there. As she tries to meditate, she envisions Zaheer trying to kill her again. Terrified, she returns to the physical world, prompting a worried Mako to ask her what is wrong. Korra explains to him that Zaheer has been haunting her and she cannot enter the Spirit World. They return at the police roadblock, where they find Tenzin. Korra tells him she wants to face Zaheer in person, but Tenzin does not agree, saying he cannot be trusted. Korra tries to convince him, but he instead suggests calling her father to lead an expedition to the Southern portal. Korra expresses dismay at Tenzin having seemingly lost faith in her, a claim the latter denies. At Korra's insistence that she confront Zaheer, Tenzin relents and informs her that Zaheer's prison is located deep in the mountains outside the city; Korra thanks him for his help.
Back on Air Temple Island, Bolin is walking down a path calling out for Pabu, until the fire ferret comes down from a tree. Bolin hugs him, saying that he missed him very much. The earthbender informs Pabu that Opal is mad at him and asks for his help to win her back. Pabu responds by chittering excitedly as Bolin concocts a plan.
Moments later, Opal is approached by Pabu, who has a pink ribbon around his neck. When Opal greets him, she notices it and finds a note attached to the ribbon. Opal reads the note and becomes scared, running off immediately with guidance from Pabu. She stops to see that Bolin is sitting down and pouring tea in a picnic setting, looking relieved that she made it. When Opal questions what it is, Bolin responds by telling her that it is a picnic for both of them, but corrects himself to include Pabu. Opal responds by pointing out that the note that Pabu brought her, which said that he had broken both of his legs, was a ruse. Bolin admits that maybe it was, but since she is there, he asks if she wants to sit down with him, relax, try one of his homemade steamed buns made by Pema, and watch Pabu do some of his "world famous" backflips for entertainment. Opal replies coldly by saying sarcastically that steamed buns are her favorite and that they will obviously make her forget that Bolin ever worked for Kuvira, the person who captured her family and is probably torturing them at that moment. Bolin looks scared and guilty, while Opal continues even more angrily with her sarcasm, suggesting that they should have a great picnic because they are so in love. Opal apologizes to Pabu for letting him witness that scene and proceeds to leave a saddened and guilt-ridden Bolin alone with Pabu, who innocently eats one of Bolin's steamed buns.
In the president's office in City Hall, Raiko, Asami, and Varrick hold a meeting about Kuvira's super weapon. Varrick expresses his happiness to be welcomed back with open arms, though Raiko quickly corrects him by noting that his presence is only due to necessity. The president states his dislike for the eccentric inventor, especially after his attempted kidnapping. Varrick flippantly retorts that he only "allegedly" attempted the kidnapping, a statement that invokes the anger of Asami, who retorts that everything he does is "allegedly" and blames him for the takeover of Future Industries and the bombing of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center. Varrick argues that since he owns the building, he has the right to blow it up. Raiko diffuses the argument by imploring both parties to put aside their differences, as he would like them to work together and find a defense against Kuvira's weapon. Varrick offers a hand to Asami, asking to be partners again. Asami grudgingly takes it, though proceeds to place it in a joint lock and warn him against double-crossing her again, to which he weakly nods his agreement.
Outside the prison, Mako asks Korra if she is ready to face Zaheer for the first time in three years, before continuing on. A White Lotus Sentry takes Korra and Mako down a lift to Zaheer's cell. Korra subsequently arrives at the entrance to Zaheer's cell, which is a sluice to prevent another escape. Mako wants to come in with Korra, but she stops him, saying that this is something she needs to do alone. Once inside, Zaheer is floating, but still securely chained to the ground. He tells Korra how he has been expecting her and how desperate she must be. Korra counters by saying that she wants to look him in the eye as she denounces him as a threat. The airbender smiles and lunges for her, but is stopped by his chains. Korra is still scared of Zaheer though, which seems to amuse him. He also informs her that he knows she has not been to the Spirit World in quite some time. Korra blames Zaheer for this, but he ignores the accusation, saying that she only does that to make herself feel better. She says that she might never be the same and Zaheer agrees, explaining that he learned to fly though is bound in chains, while Korra has limitless power and the freedom to use it, though chooses to hold herself down. When Korra notes that her powers have limits, Zaheer refutes her statement, pointing out that she was able to fight off the lethal mercury poisoning, and emphasizes once again that her powers are limitless. Korra brushes off his remark and informs him that despite all his talk about chaos and freedom, his assassination of the Earth Queen has created the "worst dictator the Earth Kingdom has ever seen", for which she sarcastically thanks him.
Worried by the development, Zaheer offers to guide Korra into the Spirit World, but she refuses until Zaheer reminds her that if she had any other options, she would not be with him. She agrees and he guides her through the memory of Zaheer suffocating her. Korra begins to panic, but Zaheer instructs her to let it play out and accept what happened to her instead of dwelling on what could have been. She enters the massive air vortex and falls toward the earth. She breaks through the ground and into the Spirit World, across from her former enemy. Zaheer says she will know where to find Jinora and heads back to the physical world. Raava lights up inside Korra, surprising her. She tells Raava how she missed her and asks where she had been. Raava replies that she had always been inside the Avatar. Korra subsequently asks Raava if she can help her find Jinora. Raava takes her to a green bubble holding the spirits of Jinora, Ryu, and the other tourists. With Raava's help, Korra frees them and, in Republic City, their bodies are being released from the cocoons. Jinora leads the others out, where she tells Tenzin that it was Korra who saved them. Outside Zaheer's cell, Mako asks Korra if she will finally be able to forget about what Zaheer did to her. She replies that she will never forget, but she is finally able to accept it, which is what makes her stronger.
Back on Air Temple Island, Lin and Opal are loading their luggage onto a sky bison, when they are approached by Bolin. He says that he understood her anger toward him and would do anything to win her back. He acknowledges that Opal might never forgive him, but that does not mean he will ever stop trying, since he loves her. Touched, she thanked him for his heartfelt apology and stopped the earthbender from leaving in sadness when she agrees that there is something he might do to win her back, namely to join her in her mission to save her family.
- Janet Varney - Korra
- David Faustino - Mako
- P.J. Byrne - Bolin
- J.K. Simmons - Tenzin
- Seychelle Gabriel - Asami
- Mindy Sterling - Beifong
- Kiernan Shipka - Jinora
- Jeff Bennett - Radio broadcaster
- John Michael Higgins
- Tourist #1
- Spencer Garrett
- Sunil Malhotra - Wu
- Alyson Stoner - Opal
- April Stewart
- Henry Rollins - Zaheer
- Maria Bamford - Mom
- Jon Heder
- Dee Bradley Baker
- Main article: Transcript:Beyond the Wilds
- Izumi recalls the Fire Nation's history of participation in many wars.
- Korra recalls how Zaheer killed the Earth Queen in "Long Live the Queen" and how he poisoned her in "Venom of the Red Lotus".
- Korra recalls how the actions of the Red Lotus indirectly brought a more oppressive dictator, Kuvira, into power.
- Ryu attained a job as an Air Nation tour guide for the Spirit Wilds in Republic City.
- Varrick owns the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center.
- Zaheer was moved to a new prison cell deep within the mountains surrounding Republic City.
- When Korra is talking to Zaheer about how he used to speak about chaos and freedom, her sleeves turn to a brighter shade of blue when she turns away from him, but when she turns back, her sleeves revert to their normal color.
- When Zaheer turns away from Korra, the chains on his waist are not twisted as they should have been, considering the bond around his waist is formfitting.
- The way Korra and Zaheer face each other's spirits is similar to how Korra accessed her own Avatar memories in "Beginnings, Part 1".
- During the episode recap, the scene where Korra and Asami hug has slightly altered animation from the same scene in "Reunion".
- The tourist voiced by John Michael Higgins was revealed in the Blu-ray commentary of this episode to be named "Steve" .