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In the following months, Bolin quickly became close friends with the Southern Water Tribe industrialist Varrick and starred in The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South, a propaganda film series created by Varrick in an attempt to drum up support for the Southern Tribe within Republic City during the Water Tribe Civil War. After reuniting with Team Avatar, Bolin attempted to help his friends stop Chief Unalaq from merging with Vaatu, the spirit of darkness, during Harmonic Convergence.
A few weeks after Harmonic Convergence, Bolin and his friends traveled around the Earth Kingdom to search for airbenders. At one point, the group had to flee from Ba Sing Se and split up from Tenzin. They continued their search until the Red Lotus attacked Zaofu, at which point they instead worked to combat the anarchist organization.
After bringing down the Red Lotus, Bolin began a relationship with Opal and joined Kuvira in her goal of reuniting the divided Earth Kingdom with military force with the rank of corporal, believing it gave him the opportunity to help others. He eventually realized, however, that there was a darker side to the army's actions, which prompted him to desert, though he was apprehended. However, he managed to escape with Varrick, leaving the army to believe they were dead for a while, and rejoined Team Avatar in Republic City to help them defeat Kuvira, while rebuilding his relationship with Opal.
Bolin was born to a multicultural family in Republic City two years after Mako; his father, San, was from the Earth Kingdom, and his mother, Naoki, was from the Fire Nation. Sometime after learning earthbending, Bolin attempted to learn metalbending, inspired by its creator Toph Beifong, but never succeeded. At the young age of six, he lost his parents to a firebending mugger, leaving Mako as his only immediate family. To survive, Bolin was heavily dependent upon his brother who, as the oldest, took on a parental role. To generate some form of income, the brothers initially ran small-time scams on the streets of Republic City during their youth and, for a time, also consorted with the Triple Threat Triad.
One day in 167 AG, during Bolin's involvement with the Triple Threat Triad, the fourteen-year-old earthbender and his brother attempted to pull off a scam on an elderly woman. After Mako snatched the lady's purse, Bolin posed as rescuer and retrieved the item after pretending to fight for it with his brother. The woman gave him only two yuans, infuriating Bolin and prompting him to steal a loaf of bread from her as well. He returned to Mako with the bread and gave some to him, attesting that it tasted better than what they had consumed the day before, even though they had not eaten anything that day.
Later that evening, Bolin went to the Triple Threat Triad headquarters with his brother and saw Shady Shin bribe Toza, a pro-bender. When Bolin expressed his disappointment about seeing Toza act this way, Mako became upset, believing Toza should be happy about receiving the bribe. Afterward, Shin told them that if they did not acquire enough bets to recover the ten thousand yuans given to Toza, he would abandon Bolin and Mako on the streets, after which the two brothers speedily departed.
As the brothers collected bets for the match at a local pet shop, they found that a fire ferret was trying to escape. It ran onto Bolin's head but was quickly reeled in by its owner, Mr. Feng, who thanked the earthbender for catching him. The owner told Bolin that the ferret would be fed to his pythonaconda, much to Bolin's dismay. He asked Mako if they could buy him for five yuans, but the firebender denied the request because they could not afford to feed him, and that Bolin needed to realize that larger animals consumed those smaller than them. While his older brother collected the owner's bet, Bolin noticed Toza signing autographs. He walked up to the pro-bender, who quickly recognized him as one of the Triple Threat's workers. Bolin tried to tell Toza that he did not need to throw the match because "he [was] the best", but Toza brushed him off, remarking that he was no longer an apt competitor, and that he needed the money. The earthbender sadly watched his idol walk away before Mako chastised him. Bolin angrily responded that he was not as mean as his brother and could not turn his back on those who were down.
That night, Bolin broke into the pet store in an attempt to rescue the fire ferret. He opened his cage and it appeared as if the two would get away easily. However, the pythonaconda came out from the cage and wrapped itself around Bolin. Just as the snake was about to choke him, Mako arrived and unwrapped the serpent, stuffing it back into the cage, while Bolin spun around and stumbled over a few boxes. When Mako told him that he had a knack for getting into stupid situations, Bolin agreed and thanked his brother for saving him. Still, the earthbender refused to leave the pet shop without the ferret. Mako agreed to keep it, but the money to take care of it would come from Bolin's half. A happy Bolin left the shop with his brother and the ferret, whom he named Pabu, saying that he got the idea for the name while the pythonaconda was strangling him. Soon, the pair became close friends, constantly playing practical jokes on Mako.
The following night, Bolin attended Toza's match with his brother, Shady Shin and Lightning Bolt Zolt. Initially the young earthbender disheartened witnessed the match, seeing his favorite pro-bender beaten and pushed around without resistance. However, when Toza suddenly turned the tide and defeated his opponents single-handedly, Bolin was overjoyed, loudly telling his brother that he had told Toza not to give up. However, Shady Shin overheard the conversation, enraged about its content. Bolin briefly tried to calm Shin down by saying that "there [were surely] other factors", but he escaped with his brother, causing the mobster to chase after them. The siblings eventually escaped into a gym, but soon Shin and two other gangsters found them. During the following fierce fight, Shin almost overcame Bolin's defenses, before he was interrupted by Toza. The pro-bender came to help the siblings, effectively bringing the battle to a standstill. However, Zolt entered the gym and brought the duel to an end. After a short conversation between the criminals and Toza, the pro-bender, having witnessed their skill, offered Mako and Bolin a home in the arena and to train them in pro-bending. The young earthbender enthusiastically asked his brother if they could accept the offer, and after some initial insecurity, he agreed. Bolin suggested celebrating the fact that they were no longer criminals, prompting Mako to remind his brother that they had to save their money. Bolin, however, revealed that he had bet everything they had on the Boar-q-pines, because he had a "good feeling" about it, thus winning lots of money.
Sometime later, Bolin, along with Mako and Hasook, formed a pro-bending team called the Fire Ferrets, which competed in Republic City's Pro-bending Tournament.
- Main article: History of Bolin (154 AG - 170 AG)
At the age of sixteen, Bolin became infatuated with Avatar Korra from the first moment he saw her at the Pro-bending Arena. He immediately befriended her and showed her some pro-bending tricks. He was thrilled when she helped the Fire Ferrets to reach the Championship Tournament and join the team on a more permanent base. When the team needed to come up with the thirty thousand yuans to enter the Championship, Bolin accepted Shady Shin's offer to do some muscle work for the Triple Threat Triad. He was kidnapped along with four other triad members and taken before Amon to have his bending removed. Before that could happen, though, he was rescued by Mako and Korra.
Grateful for his rescue, Bolin decided to make a move on Korra and took her on a date, although the Avatar did not share his romantic feelings. The romantic tensions were tampering with the Fire Ferrets' effectiveness during the Tournament, though they managed to reach the finale regardless. However, after their match against the White Falls Wolfbats ended with their defeat due to cheating of the other team, Amon and his Equalists attacked the Pro-bending Arena, effectively destroying the building and leaving Bolin and Mako homeless. Asami offered them a place to stay, but after Hiroshi Sato was outed as an Equalist, both the bending brothers and Asami moved to live at Air Temple Island with Korra.
To make an insecure Avatar feel better about herself, Mako formed a team with her and the others to actively do something about the Equalists in the city. They were successful, though the team was broken up when an angered Tarrlok arrested Asami, and subsequently Bolin and his brother as they came to the girl's defense. He was broken out of jail by Lin Beifong soon after, who alerted them that Korra had been kidnapped. Together with Tenzin, they all set out on a search for the Avatar, during which Bolin accidentally let slip to Asami that Mako and Korra had shared a kiss.
In the aftermath of finding Korra, Amon launched his grand attack on the city. Mako and his friends fought back for a while, but the sheer number and power of the Equalists forced them on the run. The foursome retreated into the tunnel system of the city, where they would await the arrival of reinforcements in the form of General Iroh and his United Forces.
However, after General Iroh too proved to be no match for the Equalists biplanes, the team split up, and Bolin accompanied Asami and Iroh to the Equalist airfield in order to stop more planes from taking off. Their attempt was cut short as they were captured quickly, though with the help of Naga, they managed to escape and destroy the airfield nonetheless, as well as capture Hiroshi Sato.
Events until Harmonic Convergence
- Main article: History of Bolin (171 AG - Harmonic Convergence)
After the Anti-bending Revolution, Bolin became the captain of the Fire Ferrets after Mako and Korra quit, and moved to a more decent apartment with his brother. The team was not any good, however, and they were easily thrown out of the tournament, ending their season. As such, Bolin had the time to accompany Team Avatar to the Southern Water Tribe to attend the Glacier Spirits Festival. He helped Asami save her company by striking a deal with Varrick, who quickly hit it off with him, and became romantically involved with Eska. He soon found the relationship to be too oppressing and wanted to break up with the girl. However, when he tried to do so, she ended up engaging herself to him and Bolin was more than happy to leave the Southern Water Tribe for Republic City, sneaking away without saying goodbye to Eska.
While spending time with Varrick as everyone else had their own business to take care off, Bolin was cast to play Nuktuk, the male lead in Varrick's propaganda mover The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South with which he hoped to sway the public's opinion and force President Raiko to send the United Forces to the South. The mover was a hit and Bolin earned himself fame and fortune throughout the city, though he grew saddened upon the realization that Team Avatar was falling apart. On the night of the final screening of The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South, Bolin went out to get some air and spotted a speedboat docked near the Pro-bending Arena. Mindful of Mako's words that he needed to be careful as something was not right with Varrick, Bolin set out to investigate and discovered there was a kidnapping attempt on President Raiko in progress. Freeing the president and his wife, Bolin moved the fight to the arena, where he used his pro-bending knowledge to overcome his opponents, although he was outnumbered. He managed to force the last waterbender to reveal who his employer was, thus exposing Varrick's scheming.
Hearing that Korra needed to get into the Spirit World in order to stop Unalaq from freeing Vaatu, Bolin readily joined Team Avatar on the mission. Together with Asami and Mako, he played a decoy for the Northern Water Tribe military stationed at the Southern spirit portal and although they managed to inflict some damage, they ended up captured. After Bumi managed to free them all, Bolin and Mako faced Unalaq in an attempt to hold him off while Korra closed the Southern portal before Harmonic Convergence started. Although she was unsuccessful and Vaatu managed to escape, the brothers continued to fight off Unalaq, now hoping to stop him from merging with Vaatu to become the Dark Avatar. They eventually met their defeat when Desna and Eska came to their father's help, but Bolin, apologizing for his earlier actions and declaring his love for her, managed to persuade the twins to let them go from their icy prison. Bolin and Mako rushed to Korra's aid when they noticed that Unalaq, now merged with Vaatu, had managed to extract Raava from within her, though to no avail as they were rendered unconscious by a powerful ice attack.
The trio was found and healed by Kya and while Korra meditated in the Tree of Time to connect with the cosmic universe in order to fight of the Dark Avatar, Bolin and the others battled numerous dark spirits who were trying to get to her. In the midst of the fighting, Bolin was snagged by the leg but was saved by Desna and Eska. He professed his love for her, kissing her on the cheek, and resumed his fight, now with the twins backing him up. However, they were no match for the numbers of the dark spirits and were slowly pressed back into the hollow of the Tree of Time. Before they were completely overrun, however, they were all saved by Korra's returning spirit. After Korra addressed her cousins over Unalaq's demise, Bolin suggested to Eska that she moved back with him to Republic City. However, Eska declined, saying that she and Desna had to return home and confessed that she was only caught up in the moment when she kissed him, but promised that he would have a special place "in the organ that pumps [her] blood".
Shortly after Harmonic Convergence, Bolin rejoined the Fire Ferrets and took part in a charity championship organized to help rebuild the city following the damages caused by the Unalaq Crisis. At the start of one match, Bolin insinuated that Mako had been out of practice, to which Mako stated that he had been out fighting crime as a cop, while Bolin was "fake-waterbending" as Nuktuk. As the brothers were busy teasing each other, they were quickly knocked out of the ring once the match had officially begun, leaving Korra to win the match by herself.
One week later, the Ferrets were up against the White Falls Wolfbats in the final match of the championship. During the match, Bolin and Mako cheerfully greeted Korra, as they had not seen her since the end of the last match. They continued to tell Korra what she had missed while she was away, though the Avatar was more concerned with preventing the brothers from being knocked out again. Bolin jokingly asked if the reason Korra broke up with Mako was due to him being the weakest member of the team, inadvertently making his brother feel uncomfortable. Shortly thereafter, they were able to beat the Wolfbats and win the charity championship.
An unexpected discovery
The Dark Avatar's rampage on Republic City left Bolin and Mako's apartment covered in vines. As a result, Tenzin invited the brothers to live on Air Temple Island, but only the earthbender accepted; Mako chose to stay at the police station.
One night, at dinner with Korra and Tenzin's family, Bolin informed Korra and Asami of Mako's decision and Bumi's claims of being able to airbend. As Bumi had only airbent previously when he was in danger, he requested that Bolin bend a boulder at him, but he thought this to not be a good idea. When the retired commander did airbend, Bolin, like everyone else, was left in shock. The next day, he watched as Bumi again tried to airbend, but to no avail.
Bolin and Lin Beifong later watched as Korra attempted to clear away the vines with spiritual cleansing. When the vines regenerated, the two earthbenders raised a large slab of rock to keep a building from collapsing. After Korra eased the situation, Bolin remarked, "I think that could've gone better." That evening, he interrupted Tenzin and Korra's talk about her decision to leave the portals open to alert the two that Mako called, saying a newly-found airbender had run to the top of Kyoshi Bridge and would not come down. He also apologized for interrupting the "Avatar wisdom" session, though Korra called it a thing of the past, and the three ventured to the bridge on Oogi. Bolin witnessed the Avatar calm Daw down and save him after he slipped.
Searching for the airbenders
A day later, Bolin and the rest of Team Avatar was prepared to leave for Ba Sing Se on a Future Industries airship given to them by Asami. Before they left, Mako arrived with a map which marked the sightings of airbenders in the Earth Kingdom before setting off to return to the police station. Bolin, however, wanted his brother to come along to help the Avatar restore balance and also return to the place where their father grew up and the home of their grandmother. Mako gave in and joined the team on the journey.
Their first visit led them to a small village, where the group dined with the new airbender, Kuon, and his family. Kuon accidentally airbent a pie in Bolin's face, but he did not mind as both he and Pabu enjoyed it. However, after Tenzin overpressured the new bender to help rebuild the nation, the group left the village. Aboard the shop, Bolin joked that they could have tried to stuff him into a potato sack.
After several failed attempts by Tenzin to recruit the new airbenders, Bolin, Korra, and Mako decided to visit the next airbender's home. They visited the home of Ryu and his parents; his mother was anxious to get him out of the house. The threesome's initial excitement faded though after Ryu showed a non-committal attitude toward his bending and the Air Nomad culture. Korra tried to get him to forcefully join, but after the airbender blasted himself away, Bolin and Mako restrained Korra from any further attempts.
Aboard the ship, the group lamented over their lack of success. Bumi suggested some "razzle-dazzle" to excite the new airbenders, which prompted Bolin to suggest an "air show". The next day, Bolin hosted the show, introducing Tenzin, Korra, Bumi, and Jinora as the airbenders and Mako as a firebending convict, whom Korra airbent with a tornado to show the power of the art. Bolin advertised the gliding of Jinora and Bumi's air blasts as what one could accomplish in just a few weeks of training. His pitch ultimately attracted one young airbender, Kai. Bolin became quickly sympathetic toward him upon learning that he was an orphan and believed his story that his parents were killed by outlaws. The earthbender was eager to accept him as a little brother. Just before they were about to leave, the men Kai claimed to be as outlaws showed up on motorcycles. After Korra defeated them, however, the men revealed themselves as the town's police force, and that Kai was a lifelong orphan who had stolen his foster family's life savings, which Mako recovered upon apprehending him. Kai tried to convince the group that his thieving side was the old him, and his airbending represented a change for him. When Korra accepted him, Bolin was again excited to welcome him to the family and initiate a group hug.
At Ba Sing Se
As the team entered Ba Sing Se, Bolin maintained his excitement to pass over the wall and into the capital. He was disgusted with the smell of the Lower Ring, understanding why his father left the city in the first place. He became excited again upon getting to the Middle and Upper Rings of the city. Upon arriving at the Earth Kingdom Royal Palace, the group was greeted by Grand Secretariat Gun, who informed Bolin that the Earth Queen did not care for pets and gave the group a long list of rules for interacting with her as he led them to their quarters. The earthbender was impressed with the accommodations, though frustrated with the no-pets rule.
While Korra met with Earth Queen Hou-Ting, Asami noticed that Kai had gone missing. Realizing the young boy was their responsibility, Mako decided that he and Bolin would try to find him. While searching, Mako caught Kai scamming a citizen by blowing his clothes up and stealing the money that fell, prompting the brothers to chase him. The chase made its way to a train station, where Kai trapped the two on a train en route to the Lower Ring. Bolin nervously referred to Kai as a "lovable little scamp", which reminded Mako of Bolin himself. Upon arrival, the brothers tried to buy tickets for a train back to the Upper Ring, but noticed that Kai had stolen their money. The conductor also threatened them with Dai Li intervention, causing the two to leave the station. Bolin made an attempt to find a brighter side, saying they could use the bathroom where ever they wanted.
The next morning, Bolin and Mako awoke from sleeping on a pile of trash. The earthbender expressed his concern for Kai, believing he may be scared and lonely. Feeling hungry and venturing upon a fruit stand, Bolin suggested they pull off an old hustling trick: Bolin would push Mako into the stand and faint upon his older brother screaming. Mako did not want to take part, however, especially as the fruit was disgusting. Tu, the proprietor of the stand, overheard them and at first wondered why they were attempting theft, only to be offended by the firebender's disparaging remarks about the fruit. After Tu showed off his muscles and tried to antagonize them into theft, Bolin wondered if they were pulling off the robbery, which prompted Tu to tackle them. At that moment, Tu's father, Chow appeared and wondered what was going on. He soon recognized Mako and Bolin as his brother, San's kids, and thus Tu's cousins.
Chow brought Bolin and Mako, along with Tu, to his home, explaining that San had sent a letter with their names, but did not hear about them until learning of their pro-bending successes. Chow and his family also enjoyed the Nuktuk movies, though much to Bolin's disappointment, they took the films as humorous. Tu thought the brothers were well-off as sports stars living in a mansion, only for Bolin to reveal that they too had a life on the streets. Chow quickly pulled them into the home, where they were greeted by their large family, particularly their grandmother, Yin, who was thrilled to meet them. She wondered where their parents were, leaving for the brothers to explain that they lost their parents when they were young.
The siblings enjoyed a feast; Bolin was excited to have such a large family to go along with it. Chow explained to the two that San left Ba Sing Se in order to pursue larger dreams and see the world, which was much to the frustration of their grandfather. Yin invited the brothers upstairs to show them a letter from San talking about his marriage and two sons, along with a photo of the family which showed San wearing Mako's trademark scarf. Yin believed their mother to be a "wonderful bride", and the three embraced after Mako gave their grandmother the scarf.
Upon returning to the feast, Chow told Bolin and Mako that San would be proud of them for journeying and working with the Avatar to help keep the world at peace. After Mako revealed that they were looking for airbenders in the city, Chow informed them that their neighbor began airbending a week earlier, and the Dai Li took him within a couple of days. Tu also informed them of a rumor that the Earth Queen was retaining them for experimental purposes. Bolin agreed with Mako to go back to the Upper Ring and inform Korra, with the earthbender continuing to hope that Kai was okay.
The next day, Tu had managed to procure two passports which allowed Mako and Bolin to return to the Upper Ring As they shared a goodbye hug with their extended family, Bolin tried to acknowledge each relative by name, but soon lost track.
Returning to the palace, an exhausted Bolin quickly explained to Korra and Asami in a quick summary made of broken sentences of what happened to them before slumping to the ground in exhaustion. After Mako explained that the Earth Queen was harboring airbenders for her army, they were approached by her and Gun, forcing Bolin to hide Pabu in his shirt. However, as his torso was sweaty, his pet started fidgeting around, briefly exposing his tail, but the earthbender was able to get Pabu out of sight. Gun told the team of a report of airbenders in the Yung province and Hou-Ting informed the group they could leave by evening. As she was explaining this, though, she began sneezing. Aware that the queen was allergic to animals and seeing Pabu's tail sneak out again, Bolin quickly slipped away from the scene.
After the entire team reconvened at their home, they began discussing where the airbenders could have been taken. When Jinora feared for Kai's safety, Bolin replied by saying that he was hard to catch, like a "little greased hog monkey". Ultimately, the group was able to discern that the airbenders were being held beneath the Earth Queen's Temple. While discussing plans on how to bail them out, they heard a knock at the door and believed it was again Hou-Ting, prompting Bolin to encourage Pabu to hide in his shirt again. However, their guest as actually Lin, who came to warn Korra about four dangerous criminals who were after her, but instead joined their rescue mission after Korra refused to leave Ba Sing Se.
Later that night, the party infiltrated the temple, first easily overwhelming two Royal Earthbender Guards. After reaching the airbenders' hold, Bolin, Mako, and Jinora split off to find Kai while the others freed the other airbenders. When they found him, Jinora gave Kai a kiss on the cheek, amusing Bolin, who had a feeling that Tenzin would not be happy. After the young airbender apologized to the brothers, Bolin forgave and hugged him before they began to make their way out. The four, however, quickly found themselves confronted by three Dai Li agents, including the sergeant. The brothers dodged initial attacks of rock gloves and fought them. Bolin was able to defeat two of them by slamming them into walls with rocks, but the sergeant was able to briefly capture Jinora, though Kai quickly freed her. The four ran out of the hold, Bolin calling for help as Dai Li agents continued to try and attack them. Spotting Korra and Tenzin coming to them on Oogi, Bolin earthbent them onto the flying bison and they flee the city.
The next morning, outside the city, the team broke apart, with Bolin joining his friends and Lin to continue the search for airbenders in Lin's airship while Tenzin and Jinora ventured to the Northern Air Temple to help train the ones the team freed.
During a pit stop, Bolin watched as Korra and Naga played a game of fetch before Mako and Asami emerged from the police airship, reporting that they had heard on the radio about an airbender being found in the city of Zaofu, home to the Metal Clan. As they neared the city, Bolin was excited to see that it was made entirely of metal and told Lin she should feel right at home, but only received a non-committal mumble from the police chief. The team made their way off the airship without Lin, who warned them to tell no one she was there. Once disembarked, the group was greeted by Aiwei, the city's emissary, and led on a train through the city. Bolin beamed at the city's sights as they passed by and became shocked at the statue of Toph Beifong. The earthbender asked Aiwei if Toph lived in the city and if they had a chance to meet her, but was left disappointed upon being told that she had left in search of enlightenment and had not been heard from since.
They eventually made their way to a building where a group of metalbenders was preparing for a dance recital. There, they were greeted by Zaofu's matriarch, Suyin Beifong. However, Suyin was informed by Aiwei that Korra lied about how many people were in their group. After the Avatar confessed that Lin was with them, Bolin and the others were shocked upon Suyin informing them that she and Lin were related. They made their way back to the airship so Suyin could reunite with Lin. Bolin watched as the half-siblings argued briefly over their past, but the group was soon invited by Suyin to her estate in order to meet her children, including the airbender.
The group first met the twins Wei and Wing while they were playing their own game called power disc. They proceeded on to Huan, who was using his metalbending to create art inspired by Harmonic Convergence. Bolin eyed Huan's work curiously, believing his most recent piece looked like a banana and calling it lifelike. After Huan told Bolin it was to represent a new age, the earthbender awkwardly answered he could see that, though quietly told Mako he still believed it to be a banana. Upon meeting the airbender, Opal, Bolin said her name was beautiful and introduced himself to her. Suyin soon told the group that their accommodations were ready and to prepare for an appetizing meal.
At dinner, Bolin remarked that, despite his initial skepticism, the food was delicious. When Opal told him she never had a bad meal, he replied by telling her jokingly about what he and Mako did to get food while living on the streets, calling "dumpster food" disgusting. After Opal apologized, Bolin assured her it was all in the past and told her about his journeys since, such as pro-bending, his mover career, and helping Korra rebuild the Air Nation. Afterward, Varrick entered the dining hall, pleasantly surprising the earthbender.
Following dinner, the brothers cleaned up in a bathroom. After Mako told Bolin how he noticed him hitting it off with Opal, the younger brother suggested that she was not his type. However, after being hurt by Mako's joke about that being "dumb mover stars" and "psycho ice princesses", he took a second to think over it, and soon believed that maybe Opal was his type. He thanked Mako for helping him realize it before heading out to visit the young airbender.
Bolin approached Opal in a flirtatious tone while making airbending noises in reference to her training shots. Opal was confused and asked him why he was acting weird, but Bolin asked the same thing back, prompting her to walk away. Bolin quickly got into her path, apologizing and saying that he got self-conscious and acted stupid whenever he knew a girl liked him. Opal wondered where he got the thought that she liked him, upsetting him, before he was told that she was just joking around, though he was advised to just be himself. Bolin agreed to try it and the two gazed into each other's eyes, but their moment was interrupted by Korra, who needed Opal's help with another matter.
The next morning, as the team gathered for breakfast without Lin, Bolin questioned as to if anyone had seen her. While Suyin was discussing with Korra about learning metalbending, Bolin was suggested by Opal to try as well. Bolin declined, saying he was more of an earth guy, though Suyin kept an offer open for him to learn as well. The group soon had to duck as their dishes were pulled away from them by Varrick's magnetic suit.
Bolin later tried to secretly watch as Suyin taught Korra, but was spotted by the Avatar. He tried to explain by saying he was looking for Pabu, whom Korra pointed out was on his shoulder, to which he lied by saying that he felt the ferret biting him and would need a shot. He was asked again by Suyin if he wanted to try metalbending, but again declined, believing only one out of a hundred earthbenders could perform the act. Suyin suggested only his attitude could limit him, but Bolin just decided to sit and watch. When Korra did metalbend, Bolin was dejected, believing she was that one in a hundred.
Later that day, Bolin made his way out to the courtyard and picked up a chunk of meteorite, trying in vain to metalbend it. To his shock, Opal joined him, prompting him to hide the space rock behind his back and attempt to replace it on its pedestal while trying weakly to distract a questioning Opal. He soon admitted his frustration about his lack of ability to metalbend and told Opal not to tell anyone. When asked why, he believed it was embarrassing and it was not the first time he attempted the act, having wanted to since he heard about Toph, his biggest hero. Opal advised him just to stop being scared and train with Suyin, but the earthbender countered by suggesting she too was afraid to leave home despite her desire to learn airbending from Tenzin. Opal realized he was right, and Bolin took notice of the fact that they were discussing their feelings and supporting each other before they embraced.
Having overcome his fear, Bolin joined Korra and Suyin, deciding he indeed wanted to learn the art. He was still nervous about a "waiting list", but Suyin decided they could start right away. Before they could, however, Suyin was confronted by Lin with a wave of rocks, prompting Bolin to tell Korra that she was mad about something. The two watched as the half-siblings fought verbally and physically. When Korra wondered if she could do something to stop the fight, Bolin told her to wait it out, telling her the fighting was just how siblings relieved tensions.
Sixteen hours after Lin passed out as a result of exhaustion from the duel, Bolin went with Korra and Mako to her room, but neither he nor the Avatar wanted to risk disturbing her sleep. After Mako entered, Lin emerged, greeting the three in a pleasant tone, much to their collective shock. Later, while Korra was speaking with Tenzin over the radio, Bolin briefly interrupted to fawn over Opal. Upon seeing Korra's annoyed look, he apologized and slipped away from the microphone.
Attempted kidnapping of Korra and investigation
Sometime later, Bolin was set up with Wei for a practice spar, but again could not metalbend. His meteorite was knocked out his hands by his opponent, who told him a "trial by fire" was the best way to learn. He dodged an attack and resorted to using a pebble to strike Wei, prompting Mako to complement him but also question if he was supposed to be using metal instead of earth. Bolin responded by saying metalbending was hard to get right away, if one could do so at all because the art was not normal. Upon seeing Korra defeat Wing with the art, he remarked she was not normal because she was the Avatar. Asami soon advised them to clean up for Opal's farewell dinner, saddening Bolin as he knew it was goodbye. At dinner, he told Opal he would always think of her whenever he ate kale, noting his upset over her leaving as they were getting to know each other. Though they would be able to visit the Northern Air Temple eventually, he knew it was still in the future. After taking a bite of kale from Opal, he declined relationship advice from Varrick. At Suyin's call, the earthbender raised his glass in a toast to the airbender, and later waved a sad goodbye as she departed. Bolin was comforted by Korra as he walked away.
That night, Bolin was stirred from his sleep when Pabu began squealing and looking out the bedroom window at something. Seeing nothing, he told his pet to go back to sleep and laid back down. Moments later, he was jumped on by the fire ferret and watched him go to the window. At first, the earthbender told him it was not playtime, but he soon saw the Red Lotus taking Korra. His shouts awoke Mako and the brothers went outside to free her. His attack was broken by Ming-Hua and he shielded himself and Mako from their counterattacks. They hid behind a pillar while the guards spotlighted their enemies. They were hit by an angled combustion shot by P'Li, landing them in front of Asami, who had just emerged from her room. They watched as the guards, Lin, Suyin, Wing, and Wei attacked the criminals and surrounded them, only for Ghazan to separate the groups with a pool of lava. Bolin was dazzled but also realized the threat they faced, remarking the lavabending to be "awesome...-ly not good for [them]." He, Mako, Lin, and Asami hid behind a piece of the metal ground decor, occasionally emerging to attack the foursome but to no avail. They were nearly hit again by combustion, but Suyin and her twin sons stopped the attack by bending another piece of metal to them for shielding. The half-siblings came up with a rescue plan by dropping in from the dome on cables. Needing someone to stop P'Li's attacks, Bolin, much to his dismay, was picked to be the attacker. Once the Beifongs and the twins were in position, the earthbender tried to strike, but could not find a clean shot. As the Beifongs descended from the dome despite Mako warning they were not ready, Bolin had to take his shot. He fired a pebble which directly struck P'Li's third eye, disabling her combustion ability, much to his happiness. The group ducked as Zaheer and his associates fled under a cloud of dust. After Korra was rescued, Bolin and the team returned to Suyin's office as Korra was treated for paralysis caused by shirshu-spit darts.
Discovering the truth
Having realized a guard was likely responsible for the gang's penetration, namely Hong Li, Bolin joined the team and Aiwei on a search of the guard's house, looking in his oven and cabinets and taking two cookies. When evidence was discovered, Bolin joined the rest of the group as they discussed their plan of action, ultimately deciding to wait to question at Aiwei's suggestion that he would break eventually. At the scene of the attack, the members of the team wondered about the evidence, Mako unsure of Hong Li's guilt, when they were surprised by Varrick. He watched in disgust with the rest of the team as Zhu Li rubbed pumice stones on his feet. Afterward, the industrialist explained what one planning a conspiracy would do: tell everyone a person was guilty and plant evidence on them. Bolin wondered who could be framing the guard, to which his brother realized it was the only one who could keep a secret: Aiwei.
Outside Aiwei's home, Bolin peeked through the windows to see no one home. He suggested Aiwei was likely out or could have even been invisible, though when Mako expressed annoyance, he went back to "just not home". They entered the house in search of evidence. Bolin picked a stylized jar off a bookshelf, to which Mako told him not to move anything, lest they get discovered. Mako had to replace it for the earthbender as he did not remember where it went. This, however, led to the discovery of scuff marks in the floor. They soon realized the bookshelf slid open to reveal a secret passage way. Bolin believed it could be a storage cellar, but Mako countered it was the entryway for the Red Lotus. Asami promptly warned the group of Aiwei's return, but they were caught before they could leave. Bolin gave a weak explanation, saying they knocked and heard him say "Come in! I'm in the bathroom!" in a high-pitched voice, but stopped because he knew Aiwei realized he was lying and that he did not sound like that. After Korra gave the correct explanation, Aiwei sat them down for a tea and talk. As the emissary realized he was being suspected, he began his escape by raising a metal wall. Korra bent a hole in it and led them through to the passageway, only for them to find a bomb, which promptly detonated. Bolin, Asami, and Mako were kept unharmed as Korra raised an air sphere around them for shielding. He and the Avatar used their earthbending to clear the rubble around Aiwei's escape tunnel before Lin and Suyin came down to find out what happened.
Regathering in Suyin's office, Bolin stood by as Korra and Lin argued over the potential search for the group, and was led to believe they would be leaving Zaofu when Suyin agreed with her half-sibling about ensuring Korra's safety. Later, however, they were again approached by the matriarch, who informed the team she had a fully-loaded jeep for them to use in a search for Aiwei. As a confused Bolin tried to speak up, Suyin explained that her agreement was merely to let Lin hear what she wanted and to buy them time to leave. Bolin joined Mako and Asami in the vehicle while Korra rode on Naga, beginning their search.
Pursuing Aiwei and capture
With Naga's tracking abilities, the team followed Aiwei's trail to just outside the Misty Palms Oasis and made their way to a tavern, hoping to find information on his whereabouts. There, Bolin saw a poster of himself, believing it to be a promotional one for his mover, but Mako corrected him; they were actually wanted posters issued by the Earth Queen because they had freed her airbenders. They soon noticed the patrons threatening them, prompting the team to leave.
On the oasis' outskirts, Team Avatar found Aiwei's jeep. Mako decided he and Bolin would investigate the oasis; the earthbender was excited by his brother's police talk. He also suggested they disguise themselves, which they did with a pair of yellow ponchos and glasses. Bolin made a fake backstory from himself as ex-United Forces operative Ting-Ting who had found love in a woman named Ivy, but lost her to his archenemy, Dr. Razor. Mako cut him off and had them proceed. Bolin tried to give Mako a backstory, but was rebuffed. In the village, they first spoke with a tavern owner, providing him a physical description of Aiwei. After being told their description matched Aiwei's and that someone had visited the tavern last night, dismissing his claim of having the best drinks as a lie, the brothers realized Aiwei had been through there, but the owner told them that he did not know where he was but sadly admitted Aiwei was right about his drinks being terrible. Outside another tavern, Bolin tried to bond with a spirit, but was bit by it. He soon saw two individuals eyeing him, prompting the earthbender to believe they were bounty hunters who had recognized him. After telling Mako his suspicions, the brothers ran, ducking into an alley behind a couple of crates. Just as Mako suggested they head back, Bolin spotted Aiwei and pulled his sibling back into hiding, pointing out the emissary and suggesting they follow him. They quietly tracked him to room 102 of the Misty Palms Inn. At Mako's suggestion, the earthbender kept an eye out while the former told Korra and Asami of their findings.
The four tried to request the room across from Aiwei's at the inn, but the innkeeper initially denied them service because teenagers had previously trashed another room. They were soon spotted by the two figures from earlier and all took an attacking stance, but the people turned out to actually be fans of Bolin's movers and asked him for his autograph. Somewhat unnerved, Bolin consented and signed a poster from the Nuktuk chronicles while also being presented with a squeaky Nuktuk doll. His status prompted the innkeeper to grant them a room after all. Much to Bolin's dismay, the room across from Aiwei's was small, leaving the four, Naga, and Pabu cramped. He remarked the room was not perfect and was also smacked by Naga's tail. Bored by the stakeout process, he looked through the small chest of drawers, found a Pai Sho board, and asked Mako if he wanted to play, but was turned down. Asami, however, accepted the offer, but Bolin bragged about his learning of the street variation with Shady Shin, believing the game would not be fair. Asami, however, remained insistent on playing as she had learned from her dad, and the two were locked in a "Pai Sho-down". Mid-game, Bolin wondered why the game was progressing slowly, believing Pai Sho to be a fast-paced game of chance. He pulled out a rulebook, reading off the game's origins of both strategy and chance, confusing him. When they learned the game had countless variations, Bolin suggested Korra establish official rules, though was given a sarcastic response, which he still remarked as "cool". As his brother and the Avatar suggested they find out who Zaheer was and what he wanted by spying, the earthbender remarked it was like Pai Sho, as he read in the rulebook one needed to know their opponent to win. At that moment though, Asami made the winning move against him. Over the next few hours, Bolin was repeatedly beaten and tried to add more games, going as far as best seventeen out of thirty-three. Just as he believed he finally had a chance to win, however, Pabu jumped on the board and sent the game pieces flying, distressing Bolin.
Near sundown, after no break in the stakeout, Korra decided to confront Aiwei directly, the others trying to stop her. They instead found Aiwei meditating, which Bolin thought was just "a weird way to nap" before being corrected by Korra. After she realized he was in the Spirit World and meditated in herself, the three kept watch over her physical form. After nightfall, they saw Ming-Hua and Ghazan approaching. Bolin tried to get Korra up, but to no avail. Asami rushed the Avatar to safety while the brothers tried to hold the criminals off. The earthbender took on Ghazan, driving him back initially with a slab of rock, only to have it blasted back at him in the form of lava. In trying to combat the lavabender with blasts and defenses of earth, Bolin realized it was an impossible fight because he was simply giving Ghazan ammo for the lava attacks. He tried a small mountain of earth as an attack, but Ghazan merely turned that into lava and countered with three balls of the molten rock, prompting the younger sibling to jump into the pool while dodging the blasts. However, he was soon trapped by in a sphere of water by Ming-Hua. He and Mako were taken to the Red Lotus' camp, where Zaheer ordered them to be loaded onto a truck and taken with them to Ba Sing Se.
Aboard the truck with the Red Lotus members, Bolin and Mako were tied together in the back under supervision of Ghazan and Ming-Hua. He asked them how they dealt with being imprisoned for so long, as he imagined it to have been boring. Hearing about how Ming-Hua killed her time by making up background stories about her guards, Bolin gave it a shot himself and suggested that Ghazan had been raised by an older sister, had his mustache growing in when he was ten, and that there was an "unspoken attraction" between the lavabender and the waterbender, to which an amused Ghazan admitted that he got two out of three right. At that moment, Mako told Bolin to stop trying to make friends with them. Upon the Red Lotus' arrival at Ba Sing Se, the brothers were gagged and subsequently presented before the Earth Queen, who ordered the Dai Li to send them to the palace dungeon.
Sitting dejectedly in his cell, Bolin was convinced by Mako to try metalbending them out of there by saying the need to free Korra was the motivation Bolin had lacked before to unlock his inherent ability to perform the art. Encouraged by Mako and a supporting chant from their fellow prisoners, Bolin tried to bend the cell door open, but to no avail, leaving him to sag to the floor in sadness.
While still in their cell, the brothers heard Zaheer announce over the communications system that he and his associates had taken out the Earth Queen. With Korra being Zaheer's next target, Bolin was urged to try metalbending again, assured by Mako it was "really" his time. As he shot his fist forward, all the cell doors opened except for theirs, making the earthbender believe he had metalbent, only to be told by Mako that he had not been responsible for freeing everyone. The brothers were subsequently approached by Zaheer, who threw them to the back of their cell with an air blast, before informing them that they would be released in order to be able to give a message to Korra.
Escaping Ba Sing Se and attempting to warn Tenzin
Afterward, Bolin and Mako left the prison to find the city in chaos and looting rampant. Bolin asked if they should do something, but was told by Mako it was not their battle; they instead needed to deliver Zaheer's message to Korra. He expressed his doubt about their journey to get out of Ba Sing Se and scour the desert. After Mako suggested finding an airship, they made their way to one docked outside the palace, only to find looters scouring it for parts. Bolin was able to lure them out by saying the queen's gold was on the third floor of the palace and subsequently took the controls of the vehicle, despite some key parts having been stolen and his unfamiliarity with how to fly it. After initially struggling to get the ship airborne, he found the proper controls and the two took off.
As the two saw the entire city burning, Bolin realized their family was in danger. He was shoved away from the controls by Mako and asked if his brother knew the controls better "because [he] dated Asami". After Mako lowered the airship to their family's roof, Bolin went in to rescue them. However, he initially could not get them out as Yin declared she would not leave her home, the place where she raised her family, instead offering Bolin tea. Knowing they had no time, Bolin told his grandmother one thing he and Mako learned on the streets; if one was around their family, they would always be at home. After this failed to convince Yin, he decided to lift her up on his shoulders and tell the family to move out, which finally prompted his grandmother to concede and leave with him. Once they were all on the airship, Bolin took the controls and guided them out of Ba Sing Se.
After several hours of searching for Korra, Tu found pieces of her wrecked airship and a trail which led them to the Misty Palms Oasis. After a rough landing, Bolin remarked the procedure was hard. Once in the oasis, Bolin suggested the group split up into teams and scour the town. When he realized Pabu had climbed onto his shoulders and after simply saying they would need his help, he stopped and excitedly greeted the ferret, hugging and kissing him. After seeing Naga arrive to the scene, Bolin caught sight of Asami and Korra; the earthbender tightly hugged the former, slightly lifting her into the air. Upon seeing Lord Zuko, Bolin was starstruck, but soon bowed respectfully as Mako declared their honor to meet him. Afterward, he helped explain to Korra and Asami their capture and the dire terms surrounding their release: to deliver a message that Zaheer was threatening the airbenders at the Northern Air Temple unless she turned herself over. With no suitable radio nearby, the group returned to Zaofu to seek solid communication.
At Zaofu, the group learned Suyin and her guards had found a signal at the Northern Air Temple, but were not getting any answers. When Korra went to meditate and attempt to find Zaheer in the Spirit World, Bolin said he and Mako would stay behind to assist with communication. They ultimately got through, but Bolin was frustrated in speaking to Meelo as the child remarked Bolin was not there. He instead told the young airbender to get Tenzin, but was soon sidetracked when told about the family finding a herd of baby bison. Korra subsequently shoved the earthbender out of the way and took over the conversation.
Double-cross and escape
On board a Zaofu airship, Bolin stood with his friends and allies as they discussed a plan to ambush the Red Lotus. He suggested disguising himself as a hiker and distracting the Red Lotus with bird calls which he demonstrated, earning weird looks from his allies and a dismissal from Mako, which the earthbender rebutted by saying he had not heard any good plan from him. He was left shocked when Korra suggested surrendering herself. While Korra was radioing Zaheer, Bolin was pacing around the airship, fearful for Opal and upset he did not have Pabu to comfort him; he added his hope that the ferret and Naga were all right in Zaofu. After Korra's discussion with Zaheer was complete, Bolin and the others were informed of his new terms: she would go to Laghima's Peak at noon on her own and the airbenders would be released upon her surrender. Suyin decided to set up a plan of attack with their numbers advantage, telling Bolin to go with Mako and Asami on the airship to the temple to retrieve the airbenders while the others would position themselves below the peak. Before separating, a saddened Bolin embraced Korra around her shoulders, resting his head on one of them. As the three approached the air temple, the earthbender was left in awe upon looking at the damage it had sustained.
Upon arrival in a courtyard, Bolin tied the airship down with rope. Ghazan approached them, prompting Bolin and Asami to look at each other with confused looks and eye their foe suspiciously. Nonetheless, they followed Ghazan into the hold where Tenzin and the other airbenders appeared to be kept. They got the go-ahead to retrieve the airbenders once the Avatar had surrendered. Bolin and Asami worked to release Tenzin from his chains. They soon realized, however, that they had been double-crossed; what they believed to be the airbenders were just sacks full of water maintained by Ming-Hua. Mako and Bolin tried to duel the criminals, but the fight was short-lived as Ghazan converted the floor between the duos to lava, trapping the brothers, Asami, and Tenzin. Bolin raised a small wall of earth to try and stop the spreading lava. The airbending master pointed them to another way out, telling the earthbender to open a secret passageway.
The four made their way up to a meditation room which contained a door to a spiraling staircase out of the temple. Bolin continued to use his bending throughout to block the rapidly expanding lava while trying to move everyone along quickly. He tried to guide them through a shortcut, but this only led them to the edge of the cliff and left them cornered as the lava continued to close in on them. Bolin charged at the lava and was able to bend it back and stop its expansion, shocked to learn he could lavabend. They were soon retrieved by Kai and hopped on his baby bison, Lefty.
From there, they were taken to a forest away from the collapsing temple, where they regrouped with their allies. He announced their arrival with a bird call, though fell off Lefty on the landing. When Mako told them about Bolin's lavabending, Suyin complimented the earthbender, telling him he just needed to believe in himself. He remarked being moments from death helped to motivate him, but also praised Kai for getting them to safety. He was disappointed to learn Korra had been taken, however, and shocked that Zaheer had gained the ability of flight, asking Lin if she was sure about what she had seen. Kai told them he had seen the airbenders be taken to a cave where Red Lotus guards had taken them into. With Oogi having arrived, the group flew over to the cave in question to retrieve the airbenders and Korra.
Rescuing the airbenders
Kai led them to the cave where he saw the airbenders go. The group, save for Tenzin, entered and quickly ambushed the Red Lotus sentries before releasing the airbenders from the chains in which they were held. Excited to reunite with Opal, Bolin shoved Suyin out of the way and embraced her. The earthbender and Mako promptly joined Tonraq to find Korra, being tipped off to her exact location by Jinora. After the Avatar, who was in the Avatar State due to the effects of a metallic poison, took off in pursuit of Zaheer, Bolin and Mako dealt with Ghazan and Ming-Hua, respectively.
The earthbenders traded shots back and forth before Ghazan hid behind a boulder and charged to throw Bolin to the ground, but he was able to throw Ghazan away and break up two more attacks. Seeing Ghazan smile, Bolin wondered why he was doing so. Being told it was because of the last time they fought and attacked with a surge of lava, the young bender dissipated part of the blow, remarking a lot had changed since, and counterattacked with lava whips, smirking and winking. He was challenged by Ghazan to show what he had before being attacked again.
Despite having gained somewhat equal footing with his newfound ability, Bolin was still largely on the defensive, having to run from Ghazan's offensive. After stopping a pool of lava, however, Bolin was joined by Mako, who had just dispatched Ming-Hua, much to his glee. The brothers overwhelmed and cornered their foe. Ghazan, declaring he would not return to prison, decided to try and take them down with him, collapsing the entire cave in with lava and earthbending. Bolin quickly made an earth ramp to get the siblings out. They emerged from the cave just as the airbenders were working to get Korra out of Zaheer's grip, able to save her and throw the criminal airbender to the ground. He, along with Mako, Asami, and Tonraq, ran over to the poisoned Avatar, watching with worry as Suyin attempted to bend the metallic substance out of her. After Korra had been saved, Zaheer began shouting about the revolution and the natural order of chaos, but Bolin took off his sock and stuck it in Zaheer's mouth, remarking he had literally "put a sock in it".
Two weeks later, Bolin joined his friends and allies at Jinora's airbending master ceremony, smiling as Tenzin praised Korra for her efforts in restoring and saving the Air Nation and Jinora's for saving the Avatar and the nation as well. He stood and watched as the ceremony was completed with the revealing of Jinora's master tattoos.
After the ceremony, Bolin joined Asami, Mako, Tenzin, and Jinora on the ferry dock to say goodbye to Korra, who was set to board a ship heading toward the Southern Water Tribe. He happily exclaimed that he could not wait for Korra to leave, as he was excited to have her as a pen pal. He proceeded to hand her a first letter and immediately disclosed that it told about how he and Pabu already missed her. As the ship departed, he waved her off, yelling that she should not forget to write. In the following months, he wrote letters to her, reporting on his life. In one of those letters that he wrote while using formal language, he reported that he had found employment with Varrick and Kuvira and had left Republic City to bring balance to the Earth Kingdom. He did not receive a reply, however.
Annexation of Yi
In the three years following the insurrection of the Red Lotus, Bolin joined up with Kuvira and her army to help reunite the Earth Kingdom under her control. He also became romantically involved with Opal, though the long distance between them and his support of Kuvira put a strain on their relationship. In 174 AG, while on a train to the state of Yi, he informed Baatar Jr. that two more states had agreed to join her, bringing them to ninety percent of their goal. He took some celebratory tea from Varrick, though digressed from drinking it with everyone else when Kuvira said she would not celebrate until the mission was complete, causing the beverage to spill on his clothing when the train came to a sudden stop due to bandits having erected a barricade on the tracks.
After Kuvira handled the bandits, the group arrived at the capital of Yi where Bolin was called out to by Kai, prompting him to dash over and hug him warmly, remarking he had grown up and gotten much heavier since he last saw him. In turn, Kai remarked that his hair made him look like a stiff, a fashion choice the earthbender defended by stating that Kuvira had told him it made him look intelligent and professional. When Opal ruffled his hair and told him to not believe everything Kuvira said, Bolin turned and warmly hugged her, expressing his happiness to see her again. However, when Kuvira and Baatar Jr. arrived, Bolin quickly straightened his hair back out and watched nervously as Opal bickered with her brother and Kuvira over the former's betrayal and the latter's taking over of the kingdom. Bolin nervously asked his girlfriend if it was great that her brother and the metalbender were getting married, before eyeing the state's governor in surprise upon noticing the politician's angered look.
After the governor angrily left the train in which he had a private audience with Kuvira, Bolin received the order to leave Yi, though asked his commander what had happened. Upon receiving the explanation that they were unable to strike a deal with the governor, Bolin started saying his goodbyes to Opal. When she begged him to not turn his back on the people of Yi, he explained that while he wanted to help, he could not stay since the governor wanted them gone. He apologized and tried to hug her, though was pushed away and told to leave. Saddened, Bolin entered the train and left for the state border. When the governor was left with no choice but to submit to Kuvira's role, Bolin and the rest of the army returned by dusk and he happily helped to hand out food to the hungry people of Yi. As he spotted Opal in the crowd, he smiled brightly at her, a blush coloring his cheeks, though he was left saddened when she averted his gaze and retreated, before dejectedly resuming his duties.
Reaffirming his loyalty
Bolin and the rest of Kuvira's army arrived at Republic City a day before Prince Wu's coronation as the fifty-fourth earth monarch. Entering the Republic City Four Elements with the rest of the officers, Bolin expressed his joy over being back in the city, though his expression promptly fell when he noticed Eska was also staying at the hotel. When the waterbender congratulated him on having replaced her with a threatening-looking girlfriend, referring to Kuvira, Bolin corrected her, telling her she was his boss. Upon seeing Mako, the two brothers traded a mock punch before sharing a hug. As Mako complimented him about having become "all important", Bolin admitted that he was not used to seeing himself in that way. Upon being asked what it was like to work for Kuvira, Bolin revealed that it was great, as they were helping people all across the Earth Kingdom. He was surprised to learn that his brother had spent his time working for Wu as opposed to fighting crime in the city. He quickly changed the subject, asking if he had seen Korra yet, though was left worried upon learning she had been missing for months.
The following day, Bolin attended Wu's coronation, sitting on the bleachers with Varrick, Baatar Jr., and Zhu Li. When Kuvira denounced Wu's authority and dissolved the Earth Kingdom in favor of the Earth Empire with her as its leader, symbolically crushing the Kyoshi Medal of Freedom she had been given, Bolin was reluctant to follow his fellow officers in the standing ovation for their leader.
After the ceremony, Bolin retreated with the other officers to the Presidential Suite. Sitting in the living area with Varrick, the earthbender expressed his surprise about Kuriva's declaration, fearing it would turn all the world leaders against them. As Varrick left to conduct experiments on a spirit vine, Bolin was approached by Kuvira, who had noticed his worried expression. He admitted that he had some misgivings about her ambush of the world leaders. Although he believed in the work they had done thus for, he had his doubts about the "empire" and Kuvira's pledge to crush every person who dared to stand in their way. His misgivings were eased by his leader, who told him her choice of words were merely tough rhetoric to show people they were serious about their cause and implored the earthbender to stand by her, as she would need his help more than ever because the other leaders would force them to accept Wu. After a moment's pause, he reaffirmed his loyalty to her cause and left the room on Kuvira's request when Suyin entered.
Bolin made his way to Wu and Mako's suite on the seventh floor. When Mako stated that he could not keep working for Kuvira now that she was going against the wishes of the entire world, Bolin tried to explain to his brother that he had a wrong view of Kuvira, stating that the metalbender was truly helping all the poor people of the empire, which was for the best. Since Mako continued to be skeptical, Bolin invited him to join their cause, so he could see first-hand all the good they did and how they were making history. As his brother mused that they were doing that by crushing everyone in their way, Bolin waved the choice of words off, relaying Kuvira's explanation that it was merely tough rhetoric. He defended Kuvira by drawing a parallel between the metalbender and Korra, as they were both hard to deal with though passionate about their beliefs. When Mako continued to voice his skepticism, labeling Kuvira to be a dictator taking over the Earth Kingdom by force, Bolin retaliated by asking if Mako thought Wu would be a better leader than Kuvira, forcing his brother admit that he did not think so. Bolin grew angry when his brother still refused to see things his way, blaming him for wasting his time as Wu's glorified butler while he was making history. As Mako called Kuvira a "glorious emperor" with a "military dictatorship", Bolin stormed off, stating he would return to the army train with which they brought freedom wherever they went, while Mako would be left to "lick the king's boots".
En route to Zaofu, Bolin was summoned to Kuvira's cart, where he nervously inquired if he had done something wrong that warranted the audience. Kuvira reassured him that the meeting had the opposite goal, as she invited Bolin to become part of her inner circle, much to his pleasure. He caught himself and toned down his enthusiastic outburst, politely thanking Kuvira for that "great honor". Upon asked what being a part of the inner circle meant exactly, he learned that he had proven his worth. Being told that Suyin's resentment toward Kuvira and Baatar Jr. would prevent the matriarch from joining their cause and truly reunite the Earth Empire, Bolin readily agreed that he could talk to Suyin to change her mind, confidently stating that she would be begging to join their cause after he was done relaying all the great things they had done. When Kuvira subsequently revealed that they had arrived at Zaofu along with the rest of the army, Bolin wondered if the presence of the troops would not send the wrong message. His worries were dismissed by his commander, who stated the army to be merely a projection of strength, whereas Bolin was there to present peace.
Arriving in the city, Bolin and Kuvira were led by Baatar Jr. to the room where the rest of the Beifong family was awaiting them. Upon noticing Opal, he enthusiastically greeted her and moved to embrace her, though was angrily told off, as he had "chosen [his] side". Surprised about the outburst, he told everyone that there should not be sides and tried to make both parties form a circle, to no avail. Bolin tried to defuse the building tension by proposing to forget about all the painful, personal history that there was between them. He tried to connect with Wing and Wei for support, though was met with a cold shoulder. Unfazed by the unenthused response, he urged everyone to focus on the future, which was very bright according to him. To emphasize his point, he gave the example of a town he and the army had visited a month prior; it had nothing, though when they left, everyone had two Satomobiles, running water, and a maglev train running trough their tow. When Opal added that after the army left, the citizens were forced into slave labor and dissenters were sent away, Bolin refused to believe her and snapped at her that he was one hundred percent certain that they were making the Earth Empire a better place to live. The tension between the couple was defused, however, when Bolin grew shocked upon hearing Kuvira issue a twenty-four hour ultimatum to surrender Zaofu, lest she would take it by force.
Back in the army camp, Bolin asked Kuvira if she truly intended to invade Zaofu and grew wary about her using "other ways" to convince people to join if they refused to cooperate. Inquiring about how many times they had already resorted to those "other ways", his question was dismissed as to be not of importance to him and he was told that the citizens of the annexed states were Kuvira's loyal subjects, whom she could order around as she saw fit. As part of their inner circle, she made it clear that there were some hard truths that he just needed to accept without questions. Voicing his doubt about being inner circle material, Bolin suggested to just leave Zaofu, as that would mean that the Earth Empire would already be united. His proposal did not sit well with Kuvira, who blamed him to love Opal more than he was loyal to her. Threatened to be shipped off to a reeducation camp, Bolin stated that he thought it was a camp to teach people new trade skills. When Kuvira noted that his loyalty seemed to be wavering, he quickly reaffirmed his belief in her.
Deserting Kuvira's army
Leaving Kuvira's tent, Bolin tried to visit Varrick in his wagon, though was turned away by the guards at the door. Undeterred, he climbed atop the train and entered via a ceiling hatch. When the two men stood face to face, they grabbed each other by the collar and declared simultaneously that "Kuvira [was] crazy", revealing to one another that they had been threatened by her. Agreeing that they needed to get away from there, Varrick and Zhu Li escaped via the hatch with Bolin close behind.
The three each secured a mecha suit and made their escape to the nearby forest, where Bolin stopped and proposed to sneak into Zaofu from the rear. Varrick dismissed his idea, however, as he wanted to go to Republic City and warn the world about Kuvira's potential super weapon. Acknowledging that Varrick's plan was also a form of helping, albeit different from his direct aid by staying in Zaofu, Bolin took the time to ponder the options. However, this enabled Baatar Jr. and two sergeants of the army, each piloting a mecha suit as well, to catch up with them and Bolin was promptly shot down by an electrical charge aimed at him by Baatar Jr.. Recovering, he tackled his commander to the ground. In the ensuing struggle, Baatar Jr. managed to get the upper hand and delivered a strong blow to the center of Bolin's suit, knocking it on its back. As Baatar Jr. charged him with another electricity bolt at the ready, Bolin quickly evacuated his suit and left it to be completely destroyed by his commander. He was forced to continue to battle on foot, defending himself against Baatar Jr.'s flamethrower by erecting an earth shield. Bolin managed to break Baatar Jr.'s attack by launching the shield at him and toppling a nearby tree in his direction. Free to take in his surroundings, he noticed that Zhu Li was in trouble and leaped to her rescue, sending a stream of lava toward the two sergeants, effectively melting their suits and enabling himself to capture them by encasing them in an earth shell. The victory was short-lived, however, as Bolin was forced to surrender when Baatar Jr. reappeared atop a cliff, threatening to kill Varrick if they would not comply to his wishes. Escorted back to camp, Bolin and the others were presented to Kuvira, who ordered them to be sent away on the next train, with specific orders for Bolin to be sent to the reeducation camp for their most severe dissenters.
Bolin and Varrick were placed on a train that took them away from Zaofu. Spending the night on the floor of his prison cell, Bolin woke up due to the commotion caused by Baatar Jr. and his two metalbending soldiers, who were roughly forcing Varrick to continue on weaponizing the spirit vine technology. Asking what was going on, he was told to resume sleeping, as he would need his energy for his time in the reeducation camp. After Varrick spooked the guard that was assigned to be his assistant by retelling how the experiment created an uncontrollable blast of energy last time they tried it, pointing out that the man might lose his hands, Bolin was assigned to help Varrick instead, much to his displeasure. When the guard came to pull him up, Bolin tucked his hands safely away underneath his arms, trying to stall by inquiring if they could at least have breakfast first while he still had his hands. His request was ignored, however, and he was dragged off toward the cart housing Varrick's new laboratory.
As Varrick started tinkering at the machine containing the stasis capsule with a spirit vine sample in it, Bolin was told to "do the thing". When he was confused as to what he should be doing and Varrick irritatingly stated that he never needed to elaborate on his requests with Zhu Li, an annoyed Bolin defended himself by saying that he was not Zhu Li and that Varrick needed to pretend that he did not know anything about what was going on, that he did not want to contribute to the creation of a "super weapon", and that he did not wish to have his hands blown off. When Varrick told Baatar Jr. that he had envisioned to use the spirit vine energy as a source of clean, unlimited energy, Bolin jumped on that plan and inquired why they were not doing that instead. His intervention was not appreciated, however, and he was told to keep quiet by the second-in-command, as he was only there to assist Varrick, not to voice his opinions. When Baatar Jr. threatened to order the guards to roughly force Varrick to continue his work, the inventor returned to his station, though as he passed Bolin, he revealed that they had failed to control the power last time when they ran the current through the vine and that he was trying something new this time in an attempt to direct it; the earthbender did not understand what the inventor meant by that, however, and confusedly looked around.
As Varrick continued adjusting the power source on his invention under Baatar Jr. supervision, a bored Bolin occupied himself with cleaning the dirt from underneath his fingernails with a screwdriver. Upon being asked to hand the object to Varrick, Bolin outed his disbelief over Varrick actually helping Kuvira's war efforts by building the machine, noting it was not right. Varrick reassured him that he knew what he was doing, though Bolin failed to grasp what exactly the inventor meant by that. He grew alarmed when Varrick powered up his machine and revealed that it had been converted into a bomb that was set to detonate five minutes later. Although Bolin stated that he was not ready to die yet, his pleas were ignored.
When the last guard and mechanic passed Bolin and Varrick to enter the next wagon, Bolin confirmed their half of the train to be deserted. He was ordered again to "do the thing" by Varrick, who irritatingly elaborated that he was referring to unhooking the carts when Bolin did not move. As they watched the train depart with all of Kuvira's guards, Bolin complimented Varrick's plan and revealed that he too had been convinced that the inventor intended to blow them up. Asking how they could shut the bomb down, he was shocked to learn that Varrick had not been bluffing about his intentions. Distressed, he started running through the cart, looking for a way out. Spotting a hatch leading toward the tracks, he slapped Varrick in the face and told him he hated him, before grabbing the inventor by the shoulders and exiting the train moments before the explosion. Being underground safeguarded them from the blast and, using his earthbending, Bolin tunneled a way for them through the earth and exited at the bottom of the crater. When Varrick started laughing and complimented him on having done "the thing", bestowing him with a kiss on his forehead, Bolin glared at the inventor and told him that he could not believe Zhu Li had worked for him as long as she had.
Escaping the Earth Empire
Bolin and Varrick started their journey toward Republic City on foot, though he was soon reduced to Varrick's mount. While staggering through a forest with Varrick on his back, a tired Bolin proposed that the inventor would walk on his own for a while. When Varrick compared him to Zhu Li, bragging that the latter could carry him for twenty miles a day with a sprained ankle, Bolin unceremoniously dropped Varrick on the ground, irritatingly stating that Zhu Li was not there. As the inventor lamented that he deserved to be left behind for all he had done, Bolin snapped at him, pointing out that he was not getting off that easily since he was responsible for the super weapon Kuvira was trying to make. He softened his tone, however, when Varrick wailed to be a horrible person, and noted that Kuvira had fooled them both into doing her dirty work. He declared that they would atone for their actions by making it back to Republic City and warn the world about Kuvira's plans. Bolin managed to motivate Varrick to go on and the inventor even proposed to carry Bolin on his back for a while, an offer he gladly accepted. They did not get very far, however, as Varrick immediately stepped into a trap, which suspended them in a net high above the ground, much to Bolin's displeasure.
Unable to break the ropes, Bolin expressed his wish to have Pabu there with them, as the fire ferret could have just gnawed them out of their predicament. When they were approached by a group of people, Bolin excitedly called out to their "fellow travelers", asking if they would free them. It became apparent that the group was not supportive of Kuvira's actions and her soldiers and, when Varrick revealed that they had been part of Kuvira's inner circle, Bolin quickly placed emphasis on the fact that they were no longer with the master metalbender.
After they were cut down and tied up, Bolin inquired how a group of fire- and waterbenders ended up in one of Kuvira's reeducation camps, upon which he learned that she had been purging the Earth Empire of everyone not of Earth Kingdom origin. Being told that the escapees planned to use them to talk their way past a border checkpoint, Bolin used his earthbending to push them all back, before creating a moat of lava to cut through his ropes and keep the fugitives at a distance. He apologized for the fate that had befallen them, though he emphasized once more that they no longer worked for Kuvira. Bolin cooled his lava when it became apparent that the only way either party was getting out of the Earth Empire was by trusting each other and working together.
Bolin and Varrick walked in front of the now tied up fugitives and, upon reaching the checkpoint, he whispered to Varrick to follow his lead. Saluting the guard post officer, he stated that they had captured escaped prisoners and needed to transport them to a secure facility. He told the man that they had come from Camp 14, though upon learning that the camp was back the way they had come from, he snapped authoritatively at the officer that Kuvira wanted the prisoners transferred. Bolin was at a loss for what to do when the guard demanded to see a transfer order, though watched in surprise when Varrick want on a rant about the hardships he had allegedly suffered through to get there, which ended up convincing the officer to grant them passage. Although they managed to pass through the wall of the checkpoint, they were recognized by another guard post soldier as traitors to the empire and were prevented from making a clean escape. In the ensuing battle, Bolin defended himself with earth and lava against three mecha suits, though despite his relentless attacks, he failed to permanently take down the suits and ended up being cornered by them, trapped behind his earth shield by their flamethrowers. As one of the mecha suits was on the verge of taking him out, Bolin was saved by Varrick, who had created an electromagnetic pulse device which shut down all the machines. Although the inventor urged him to leave with him, Bolin noticed that the fugitives were being pressed back by the remaining guards. Calling out to Varrick to wait, as they could not leave the group, he surged forward and created a large stream of lava with which he forced the soldiers to retreat and prevent them from following afterward. When he was thanked by Baraz, who noted that he had not needed to come back, Bolin stated that he had needed to come back, before urging he group to move away from the checkpoint.
As they reached the shore where the escapees boarded a small boat, Bolin apologized to Baraz and Ahnah for all Kuvira had put them through. Being conscious about the fact that his apology might not mean much considering the uniform he wore, he was glad to find Baraz readily accepting it. When Ahnah offered to give them a lift on their boat, as they were heading north as well, Bolin elbowed Varrick, who was in the process of declining the offer, and the two friends boarded the small vessel.
A tiresome journey
In order to pass time and entertain each other on the long seaward journey, the fugitives told stories, though after Baraz recalled the origin of his dislike of onion-bark soup, Bolin was bored to the point that he asked everyone if there was someone else who wanted to throw themselves overboard as well. Varrick brightened the atmosphere by starting to tell the story of Bolin, as Nuktuk, in Bolin, Hero of the World, which confused Bolin, as he did not know whether he was playing Nuktuk or if Nuktuk was playing him. He also did not agree with his attributed title of "hero of the world", guiltily explaining that he had left this friends and family to join a "psychotic dictator" who had imprisoned him and was now running back to them in shame. Varrick waved off his complaints and started to tell his modified version of Bolin's story, beginning from their meeting at the Southern Water Tribe, though when the Varrick made him sing in the story, Bolin corrected the inventor, stating adamantly that he was not singing, Varrick was not levitating, and Asami was just a friend, not his girlfriend. Wanting to relay the truth, Bolin wistfully started his own story from the night he met Korra at the Pro-bending Arena, though was interrupted by Baraz, who deemed his tale to be boring and wanted to know when he would start to sing. When Bolin emphasized that there was not going to be any singing, he was shocked to be booed out by the fugitives and Varrick dismissed him as being "on-screen talent" who should leave the storytelling to the masters.
Bolin let Varrick continue his story, though when the inventor made Zaheer and Vaatu team up to take him down, he incredulously pointed out that was far from the truth and inquired how that would have even occurred, to which Varrick answered that the villains had held a conference call. Although he did not agree with the airbending master and the Spirit of Chaos teaming up with Amon and Unalaq, Bolin agreed with Varrick portraying him as a ladies' man. As Opal was mentioned, he lovingly reminisced about his girlfriend, calling her smart, caring, and pretty to smell. He soon burst out in tears, however, lamenting over his mistake of choosing Kuvira over siding with Opal and was promptly told by Varrick to pull it together. Bolin grew hopeful again when Varrick mentioned that, in the mover, Opal forgave him for everything he had done out of love, though when he added that Opal's kiss granted Bolin the ability to fly, the real Bolin interjected that the idea seemed too unbelievable. As Varrick ended his story, Bolin was shocked to see him receive a standing ovation from the fugitives. He verified in disbelief whether they really liked the story, as it did not make any sense to him due to the plot holes such as "zombie Amon" and "stars made out of magic fairy dust". Distressed, he grabbed Baraz by the collar and asked him up close if he was crazy, repeating the question to Ahnah, who was standing beside the firebender. Being told by Baraz not to overthink it as it was just a mover, Bolin grew even more annoyed when Varrick draped his arm around him and told him to never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
When Bolin and Varrick made it back to Republic City, they immediately headed for City Hall, where they interrupted a meeting of the world leaders. Before they could say anything, however, Raiko had them arrested for treason, though as Bolin was being dragged away, he yelled that they had vital information for the leaders, which prompted Raiko to rescind his order. Bolin attempted to explain the details of Kuvira's plan with sound effects, though Varrick quickly took over and plainly stated she was building a super weapon.
After the meeting was concluded with the United Republic fortifying its borders, Bolin ran after Opal and caught up with her just outside the building. He apologized for everything he had done, ranging from not listening to her to having her home toppled and family captured. Self-conscious of how bad it sounded, he promised he would make it up to her. However, Opal left him standing without another word when Lin desired to talk to her in private. As he stood dejectedly against one of the building's pillars, he was approached by Mako and Korra, who welcomed him back with an embrace. Bolin apologized to Mako for not listening to his warnings, declaring himself to be an idiot. When Mako brushed his worries aside, noting that he had merely been doing what he though was right, Bolin expressed his love for them and embraced them once more.
Having changed out of his military outfit, Bolin started to scour Air Temple Island for Pabu. After a fond reunion, he asked his ferret for help with winning Opal back. He wrote a note, saying he had broken both of his legs, and tied it around Pabu's neck, who would deliver it to Opal while he set up a romantic picnic. As she arrived, Bolin tried to entice her to stay with home-made steam buns and entertainment provided by Pabu, though she rejected him, reiterating his involvement with Kuvira, and left him sad and alone.
Bolin later found Opal preparing Juicy together with Lin. Asking where she was going, he was brushed off with a vague answer that they had family business to take care off. Mildly fazed by the evasive response, Bolin declared that, while he understood her anger toward him and knew there was no big gesture he could do to make up for all his mistakes, he would never stop trying, because he loved her. Thanking him for his apology, she gave him the chance to win her back by accompanying them on a secret mission to free her family, an opportunity he readily accepted.
After arriving on the outskirts of Zaofu, Bolin declared his readiness to save the Beifongs and his relationship with Opal. However, as he started on another dramatic exposition, Lin ordered him to be silent, as she had heard enough of it on the way there. When Toph made her presence known, Bolin excitedly started hopping up and down, being overwhelmed about being in the presence of his hero. However, he toned his antics down a little after Toph rejected them as him needing to use the bathroom and introduced himself to her, revealing that she was his biggest hero and that he was sort of dating her granddaughter. Much to his displeasure, however, he found his request for a hug ignored. When Toph noted that Suyin and the others had been moved to a nearby prison camp, Opal coldly asked him where it was located, leaving him to admit in shame that there was a factory and reeducation facility not far from Zaofu. As Toph denounced him as a "dipstick" for having worked for Kuvira, Bolin emphasized that his affiliation was a thing of the past, though found his word ignored once again.
Arriving at the factory, they all sneaked in, allowing Toph and Lin to deduce with their seismic sense that the Beifong family was being detained in an underground cavern. As Kuvira entered the hangar, Bolin urged everyone to hide and they overheard a conversation between her, Baatar Jr., and Zhu Li. Much to Bolin's delight, Toph noted that Zhu Li was lying when she said that she was doing everything she could to help fix the spirit energy cannon. Retreating back to the hills surrounding the facility, Bolin agreed with Opal that they should also try to take Kuvira down now that they had the chance, or at least attempt to destroy the cannon. He reasoned that their best moment to attack was during the demonstration of the weapon the next day, since Kuvira wanted all the factory's soldiers and workers present, which would leave the factory largely deserted, a suggestion that earned him a compliment from Opal.
During dinner that night, Bolin tried to have a conversation with Toph once more and revealed his failure to learn metalbending. As she denounced him to be a "blockhead" for not figuring out the specifics of the art, he noted that he could lavabend. When Toph amusedly noted that there was a possibility that he did have some talent, Bolin grew excited all over again. When he asked about the identity of Lin's father, he inadvertently sparked an argument between mother and daughter, since that was a conversational topic Toph would never breach with Lin, much to the latter's disappointment, though casually answered for Bolin.
The following day, after Opal alerted them that the demonstration was about to start, Bolin, Toph, and Lin burrowed themselves a tunnel toward the underground cavern where the Beifong family was being held captive. With Toph's help, Bolin catapulted Lin atop the wooden cell, so she could swing back all the prisoners on her cable and he could catch them. Everything went well, until the acrophobic Baatar inadvertently alerted the guards to their presence. Despite this setback, Bolin radioed to Opal that their mission had been a success and that they were resurfacing. Reuniting with Opal, Bolin learned that Zhu Li had been captured and sentenced to die in the abandoned town that was to be blown up by the cannon and he promptly noted that he had to save her. He reasoned that since Zhu Li had been lying about trying to fix the cannon, she must have been attempting to stop it. When Toph hypothesized that Zhu Li was merely covering up a mistake she had made, Bolin decidedly noted that the woman did not make mistakes. He told the Beifong family to leave without him, though as he made his way over to the abandoned town, he was joined on his quest by Opal, who took them there on Juicy. Before they could free Zhu Li, however, the cannon fired a beam at them, though due to the intervention of Opal's family, it missed them and blew a hole in the hill overlooking the town. Not wasting any more time, Bolin and Opal freed Zhu Li and returned to the factory to pick up the others, before flying off to safety.
Landing in a bamboo forest, Bolin hugged Lin and Toph after the two reconciled their differences, noting that having a family was special. His intervention was not appreciated by the two Beifongs, however, and he was shoved back by Lin after Toph had freed herself from his embrace. When Zhu Li thanked everyone for saving her, she urged them not to be too hard on Bolin for having worked for Kuvira, emphasizing that his heart had been in the right place. Much to his surprise and delight, Opal noted that he had worked his way out of the "polar bear dog house" and kissed him on the cheek. His euphoric mood was broken, however, when Zhu Li revealed that they needed to return to Republic City as soon as possible and alert everyone that Kuvira planned to attack it two weeks later.
Defending Republic City
Having returned to Republic City, Bolin, Lin, Suyin, and Zhu Li immediately set course for City Hall, where they interrupted a meeting between President Raiko, Avatar Korra, Prince Wu, Mako, and Tenzin. As he entered, President Raiko immediately snapped at him, asking why he always interrupted important presidential meetings. Bolin did not answer the question, though instead answered Korra's, who had asked how Suyin had escaped her imprisonment. He noted that he, Opal, and Lin had rescued the Beifong family, had encountered Kuvira and her spirit energy cannon, and that they had brought back Zhu Li, who had been on their side all along and informed everyone that Kuvira planned to attack two weeks later.
After the meeting, Bolin gave Zhu Li the chance to change her clothes before he led her toward the Future Industries factory where Varrick was overseeing the manufacturing of the hummingbird mecha suits. He told the inventor that he had gone to Zaofu to save Suyin and her family and upon noting that they had also found someone else, he presented Zhu Li, urging Varrick to open up to his former assistant, before stepping back to let them talk. He slapped himself against the forehead, however, after Zhu Li ran out on Varrick when the eccentric businessman failed to treat her as an equal.
Bolin later talked to Korra, Mako, and Asami and decided that they would try to take out the spirit energy cannon in order to increase the United Forces' chances of winning against Kuvira. Discovering the army the next day to only being hours away from the city, a week before they had been expecting them, Bolin was shocked to see the enormous mecha suit that was transporting the cannon. When Kuvira took aim at them, Bolin urged Korra to steer their bison out of there and they only narrowly avoided being shot out of the sky twice. Team Avatar returned to Air Temple Island, where they reported on Kuvira's progress. With her attack imminent, Bolin, Mako, Asami, Suyin, Wei, and Wing headed toward the Future Industries factory in an attempt to finish construction on a few hummingbird mecha suits. From there, he witnessed in shock how Kuvira destroyed the United Forces battleships in a matter of seconds.
After Korra joined them and revealed that Raiko had surrendered, leaving the fate of the city in their hands, Bolin wondered how they were supposed to counter an entire army, a "mecha giant", and the spirit energy cannon. After Korra and a stealth team of airbenders kidnapped Baatar Jr. and brought him to the factory as well, Bolin stood by while she and Suyin tried to convince him to reveal how they could defeat the enormous mecha suit carrying the spirit energy weapon. After Baatar Jr. contacted Kuvira and seemingly succeeded to convince her to cease her conquest of the United Republic, Bolin was forced to run for his life, when Kuvira traced Baatar Jr.'s radio call toward the factory and blew it up with her spirit energy cannon. He managed to survive the explosion and lifted an enormous piece of concrete by himself, allowing everyone to emerged from the rubble as well. When Tenzin warned them that Kuvira was heading their way with a battalion of mecha suits, Bolin sadly noted that it might be best to let Kuvira take the city for the time being until they could figure out a way to beat her. Since Korra refused to let the city fall, however, he joined her and the other benders on their quest to take down the spirit energy cannon, while Varrick and Asami worked on adjusting the prototypes of the hummingbird mecha suits in order to provide them with air support.
Bolin, Wei, Wing, Lin, and Mako watched in worry from the cover of an alley how the airbenders assaulted Kuvira's machine with paint balloons, covering its windows and obscuring the vision of the pilots. After Lin, Wei, and Wing failed to metalbend the joints of the enormous mecha suit due to it being manufactured from platinum, Bolin created a large pool of lava underneath the machine's left foot, causing it to sink slightly. When the twins were done wrapping the mecha suit's legs with cables, he signaled the airbenders to attack the suit and blow it off balance. Their attack failed, however, and when Kuvira shot the spirit energy cannon at the airbenders, Bolin rushed to Opal's side, who had been rendered unconscious due to being knocked down by the energy emanating from the beam that nearly hit her. Carrying her in his arms, Bolin retreated with everyone else to Asami's office at Future Industries Tower.
Safely inside, Bolin noticed that Varrick had created an electromagnetic pulse that had shut down the incoming mecha suit platoons, though had left Kuvira's enormous mecha suit unaffected. When he asked the inventor for an explanation, Baatar Jr. revealed that the machine had its own spirit vine-charged power core. After Lin brought Hiroshi Sato to the tower as well to help their efforts to stop Kuvira's mecha suit, Bolin took part in the new plan that was formed: the benders would once again try to stall Kuvira's advance, while Asami, Hiroshi, Varrick, and Zhu Li equipped the hummingbird mecha suits with plasma saws and, as soon as the suits were operational, the benders would relentlessly attack the mecha suit to distract Kuvira and enable the two hummingbird mecha suits to land on the enormous machine and cut a hole in it without being crushed.
As such, while standing atop a building and working together with Suyin and Lin, Bolin severed the top stories of a large building and toppled it on Kuvira's mecha suit. While the machine was buried under the rubble, he was lowered back to the street by Suyin, where Korra, Wei, and Wing where awaiting them; they were all shocked, however, to discover that the mecha suit uncovered itself without so much as a scratch. As Kuvira resumed her rampage, Bolin was baffled to see her crush Hiroshi to death in his hummingbird suit just as he completed his mission of cutting a hole in the suit's armor. Realizing they now had an opening, Bolin was grabbed by Lin and they both rappelled atop the machine with her metal cables. As Korra used her waterbending to prevent the mecha suit from crushing them as well, Bolin managed to dive inside the hole together with Suyin, Lin, Mako, and Korra.
Inside, Bolin was ordered by Korra to climb up to the engine room with Mako and try to power the machine down. Using a lava disc, he cut through the locks on the hatch to grand himself and Mako access to the room. While Mako went after one guard to secure the lever there, Bolin focused on the other and assaulted him with his disc. After trading several blows, he managed to cut the steam pipe next to the metalbender, forcing the guard to leave his cover. Roughly body-checking him, knocking him unconscious against that same steam pipe, he called to Mako that he had also managed to secure his lever. Baatar Jr.'s instructions in mind to simultaneously pull the levers to power down the suit, the two brothers counted to coordinate their actions, though after nothing happened, Bolin deduced that Kuvira must have installed an override in the system.
When Mako mused that there had to be another way to cut the power, Bolin looked over the control panel, though refrained from touching any buttons. He told his brother that all he knew about the vines was that if they were disturbed, they would explode, inadvertently giving him the idea to zap the vines with lightning. When Mako ordered him to take all the engineers to safety and explained his plan to him, he tried to dissuade Mako from going through with it, emphasizing the dangers. As his brother remained adamant, Bolin relented, though made him promise to get out as soon as he could. After telling his brother he loved him, he left with the two engineers and Mako fired his lightning at the vines. However, when the power core started to explode and Mako was rendered unconscious, half-draped over the hatch, Bolin came back for him and carried him off to safety. Despite making it in time to the lower parts of the suit to be protected from the devastating blast, the brothers were rendered unconscious as they were shaken around inside the suit.
After they regained consciousness, Bolin helped Mako to exit the suit. As he pushed open hatch, he was shocked to find that the Spirit Wilds had been blasted open, which happened when Kuvira had fired the spirit energy cannon from within the vegetation, and housed a new spirit portal in its center. Realizing Korra and Kuvira were nowhere to be found, Bolin and the rest of Team Avatar set out to search the area for the Avatar. He watched in surprise when the spirits emerged a few moments later from the new portal, followed by Korra and Kuvira. After Kuvira was handcuffed and escorted away, Bolin hugged Korra, with the rest of Team Avatar soon joining in.
Later, Bolin acted as the official during Varrick and Zhu Li's wedding. When Pabu gave him the couple's vows, he read them out loud, though when he came to Varrick's, noticing that he had requested for Zhu Li to scrub his calluses on a bi-weekly basis, Bolin promptly stated that he was not reading all of that. As Zhu Li accepted the vows nonetheless, he announced that they could "do the thing" and stepped back to allow the couple to kiss. Afterward, during the dinner party, Bolin was dragged on the dancing floor by Opal.
Despite his tough childhood on the street, Bolin is still a laid-back and fun-loving person and possesses a good sense of humor, in contrast to his older brother Mako. He is also expressive, naive, high-spirited, enthusiastic, and comfortable in his own skin. At the same time, he is not without insecurities, having a degree of sensitivity over his inability to perform metalbending. According to Mako, he has a "knack" for getting himself into trouble. He is typically an optimist and enjoys the attention he receives from his fangirls, though he is a novice in the world of dating. Bolin affirms that he is strong, fun, and attractive, though readily admits he is not good at reading other people. Bolin is also not the best at keeping secrets, as he accidentally blabbed to Asami about Mako and Korra's kiss while she was still dating his brother.
His naive and immature personality is attributed to his past, as Mako attempted to shield him from the harsh realities of the world after their parents were murdered. Despite differences between Mako's personality and his own, Bolin shares a close bond with his brother. However, he lacks the firebender's confidence, which leaves him to often doubt his own abilities, needing to be reassured by others. He can also get starstruck when in the presence of someone powerful or famous, such as when he first met Lord Zuko at the Misty Palms Oasis. Despite such nervousness, he is always respectful and deferential.
Although helpful and friendly, Bolin is also protective of the people about whom he cares and will spring to the defense of his friends and family. A prime example of this would be when he rode in on Naga to Asami's rescue at the Equalist airfield, employing ferocious and brutal earthbending attacks on Hiroshi Sato, who was nearly able to kill her with his mecha tank. On the other hand, Bolin is generally forgiving of others, even if they have wronged him or those he cares about, such as Korra, Varrick, or Eska.
Bolin is an idealist, always motivated by a strong desire to help people and make their lives better. When the Earth Kingdom fell into chaos, he joined Kuvira and her army, believing she wanted to help others as much as he did. As a result, his idealism and naiveté prevented him from second guessing the extreme lengths Kuvira would go to in order to achieve their goals, until they were pointed out to him.
Bolin can be gullible at times and was taken advantage of by Desna and Eska due to his affection for the latter. He was grateful to Korra for starting a war just to get away from Eska, but his joy immediately turned into fear upon seeing Eska coming for him in a fit of rage.
- Main article: Earthbending
As the earthbender for an official pro-bending team, Bolin has become highly skilled in the art of earthbending. Bolin describes his earthbending style as "light on his feet", which grants him greater maneuverability and evasiveness during matches. Bolin also employs pro-bending-like attacks along with more traditional earthbending outside of matches, as made evident by him sending rectangular blocks flying at the Lieutenant and defending himself with an earth wall.
Bolin also possesses a sharp aim, being able to direct an earth disc at the exact angle to make it ricochet off a guard rail and squarely strike an opposing player. His aim is so great that he can bend a tiny pebble and strike P'Li's third eye, thus making her combustion explode, which affected Ghazan and Ming-Hua. He can also fire small chunks of earth in rapid succession to take down a speeding motorcycle, thus demonstrating the ability to earthbend without touching the ground at all. He is also capable of subduing three waterbenders in tandem, using only the small discs available in the Pro-bending Arena. He is agile as he was able to dodge the Dai Li's attack in attempt to escape the Earth Queen's Temple. Bolin possesses considerable bending might, enabling him to lift an enormous piece of concrete, albeit with noticeable strain, and pushing over the top half of a building by working in tandem with Suyin and Lin Beifong.
Although Bolin discovered by accident that he had the rare ability to bend lava, he was able from the start to quickly stop an oncoming flow of the heated substance. Shortly afterward, despite being an amateur, Bolin proved himself able to phase change the earth between both states and manipulate it in battle. During his second fight with Ghazan, Bolin was able to hold his own using this skill against the more experienced lavabender. At first, he used a range of pro-bending tactics in his combat against Ghazan. As the battle continued, he used more traditional earthbending tactics, incorporating them into his lavabending. By 174 AG, his proficiency in lavabending had improved to the point that he could create larger streams of lava that stretched much further and even use it while being handcuffed. He also demonstrated the ability to lavabend with his feet and is able to turn lava back into earth much quicker and with less effort, while also being able to create large waves of molten rock. Bolin can also manipulate and maintain lava in a disc shape and rotated it at high speeds to cut through metal.
Bolin also has some skill in wrestling and grappling, which he utilized during his one-on-one tiebreaker match with an experienced Black Quarry Boar-q-pine earthbending opponent. He also has a degree of resilience to pain, as during his semifinal pro-bending match, he was able to continue fighting despite being hit in his right shoulder by an earth disk. Bolin has also proven himself to be a good swimmer, capable of holding his breath for a significant period of time while simultaneously dodging Ghazan's lavabending attacks.
Bolin has a strong business sense, as has been noted by both Asami and Varrick, and is a talented and charismatic public speaker, able to draw huge positive reactions from crowds. Varrick decided to exploit this ability by casting Bolin as the star of his propaganda films, making him the poster boy of the Southern rebellion.
- Main article: Bolin's relationships
- Bolin's appearance was inspired by the early ideas of Toph, who was originally going to be male.
- According to Mako, Bolin apparently has a habit of bringing "crazy fangirls" to the Fire Ferrets' changing room.
- Korra noted that his "light on your feet" style of earthbending is more useful than the traditional style.
- Bolin is similar to Sokka, as they both:
- Serve as comic relief from time to time.
- Have a sibling who dated the Avatar.
- Lost their mother to a firebender.
- Came up with the name of their respective Team Avatar.
- Have worn fake facial hair to disguise their appearance.
- Had a romantic relationship with a Northern Water Tribe princess, as well as with a four lettered named, nonbender born, Earth Kingdom citizen.
- Narook's Seaweed Noodlery and Central City Station are some of the places Bolin usually hangs out.
- Bolin is particularly bad at lying.
- Bolin's hairstyle resembles a "ducktail", a popular American hairstyle in the 1950s. "Greasers" often had their hair styled in a ducktail.
- Bolin learned a street variation of Pai Sho from Shady Shin.
- Along with Ghazan, Bolin is the only other known non-Avatar earthbender with the ability to lavabend.
- With the death of Ghazan, Bolin is the only known living lavabender.
- Michael Dante DiMartino considers Bolin especially fun to write for, particularly "knowing PJ Byrne is going to add his own hilarious take on whatever [they] give him".
- Bolin's leather jacket outfit in Book Four: Balance was inspired by that of the comic book character Rocketeer, created by Dave Stevens, though it was given a sleeker appearance in the line of a design of Sarah Trost, because the original jacket had too many buttons, which is a burden for animators and would have led to too many retakes.
|Fire Ferrets' captain|
170 AG - present
| Succeeded by|