Per Su's suggestion, Korra begins to learn metalbending. Opal admits her reluctance to leave Zaofu due to her obligations to her family, while Bolin deals with his apprehension toward learning metalbending. Meanwhile, Lin faces her past during an acupuncture session, forcing her to relive the events which led to her and Su's strained relationship. After a cathartic release of her repressed emotions, Lin makes amends with her sister, as well as Opal, who she convinces to follow her dreams and travel to the Northern Air Temple to train with Tenzin. Elsewhere, Zaheer and his group determine Korra's whereabouts shortly after escaping Republic City, deducing that she is under the Metal Clan's protection in Zaofu.
During breakfast in Zaofu, Mako makes note of Lin's absence, which Korra attributes to the fact that she is likely still sulking in her room. Suyin condemns Lin for yelling at Opal and states that their complicated relationship does not excuse her actions. Wei and Wing enter the dining hall and ask Korra to participate in their upcoming power disc game, but Korra, as she is unable to metalbending, declines. Hearing this for the first time, Suyin is shocked, and inquires as to why Lin never trained Korra in the art, to which the latter responds that her numerous responsibilities as the Avatar prevented her from seeking tutelage from the Chief of Police. Remarking that Lin would have made a lousy instructor, the matriarch offers to teach Korra metalbending, prompting Opal to suggest that Bolin join; the earthbender refuses, claiming that he is "more of an earth guy".
After reassuring Bolin that he is welcome to participate if he changes his mind, the group is startled by the sudden magnetization of all the metal fixtures to Varrick, who suddenly enters to test his functional magnet suit. Impressed by the prototype's success, the mogul orders Zhu Li to unplug the suit and clean the resulting mess, much to her displeasure.
Outside of the guest quarters, an agitated Lin reprimands two guards for lollygagging, attracting the attention of Aiwei, who attempts to ease Lin's concerns over Korra's safety by reiterating that Zaofu is the most secure city in the world. Recognizing her discomfort, Aiwei hands Lin a card and urges her to visit a nearby acupuncturist named Guo; Lin reluctantly accepts the card.
In an abandoned apartment complex overran by spirit vines located in Republic City, Zaheer and his gang discuss how to move forward with their plans. P'Li chastises Zaheer for exposing himself on Air Temple Island and compromising the group's whereabouts, since the incident prompted the police to begin actively looking for them. In light of the recent event, Ghazan asks whether the group should continue with their plan to attack President Raiko, an operation which Zaheer decides to delay in order to focus on determining a way out of the city. To that end, the group ambushes a truck driver with Ming-Hua avowing her intent to smuggle her and her associates out of the city undetected.
Having taken Aiwei's advice, Lin lies on a bed as Guo prepares to correct the imbalance in her chi using needles. After several needles enter her skin, Lin comments about not being able to feel anything, prompting Guo to use more needles to compensate what he realizes is a severe blockage of chi. Before proceeding, the acupuncturist warns Lin about his method and its ability to dig deep into an individual's most repressed memories, some of which may be particularly difficult to process. Lin brushes the warning off and snickers, before a needle in her forehead forces her into a memory she has suppressed.
Thirty years prior, a younger Lin, currently a police officer, returns home to find Suyin with two suspicious boys. She calls out her half-sister for skipping her classes and immediately spots an assortment of jewelry on the table, which one of Suyin's friends crams into a bag, claiming that they fell off a truck. Lin labels the two boys as criminals to which Suyin takes offense, grabbing the bag and walking away. Lin tells her sister that she has so much potential to explore but instead decides to waste her life; Suyin dismisses the assertion, slamming the door behind her.
Meanwhile, Suyin begins to train Korra in metalbending by using a piece of meteorite, which she identifies as an ideal medium with which to begin learning, due to its unique composition. She seamlessly molds a chunk of ore into several different shapes, before instructing Korra to do the same. Korra has trouble moving the metal, and soon finds her concentration broken by Bolin, who is observing the session in secrecy. Again, Suyin offers to train Bolin, but he refuses, stating that only "one in a hundred" earthbenders can metalbend. The matriarch advises the earthbender not to believe everything he hears, and claims that the only limitations to progress are those placed by individuals upon themselves. Despite having trouble initially, Korra manages to reshape the meteorite by focusing on the fine pieces of earth within the metal; Bolin notes with disappointment the quickness with which she figured it out.
In another flashback, Lin recalls being dispatched to apprehend suspects in a robbery. As the first responding officer, she chases a runaway Satomobile through the streets by herself, thwarting the getaway by removing one of the vehicle's wheels with her cable. The vehicle crashes, and two men emerge from the wreck and try to escape, but Lin easily stops them by ensnaring them with her cables. The driver then steps out and orders Lin to stop; much to Lin's shock, the driver of the getaway Satomobile is Suyin.
Reeling from the vision, Lin accidentally metalbends the needles in her body, causing them to fly in every direction. She gets up to leave, much to Guo's dismay, who warns her that leaving in the middle of a session can result in sickness. Despite the warning, Lin returns to the guesthouse and is visited by Korra, whom she initially sees as a young Suyin due to her hallucinations. The Avatar demands that Lin apologize to Opal for her behavior, but becomes visibly concerned by the metalbender's appearance. Lin dismisses Korra and returns to Guo, who resumes the session.
In another flashback, Lin expresses her anger over her sister's involvement with the Terra Triad, whom the latter defends. Although Suyin insists that she only drove the getaway car as a favor, Lin remains unconvinced and threatens her sister as the latter begins to walk away. Suyin dismisses her sister's warnings, prompting Lin to stop her by snagging her wrist with a cable. Exasperated, Suyin unsheathes a hidden blade on her free wrist and slices the restraint; the sudden release of the cable's tension causes to snap back, and the end, razor-sharp and flailing wildly, slashes Lin's right cheek, leaving two deep gashes.
Back in Republic City, the truck driver prepares to smuggle Zaheer and his gang out of the city over a bridge, which is barricaded and being patrolled by the police. Anxious over his predicament, the driver falters when questioned by the officers, who force him out of the vehicle as a result. The truck driver flees the scene and leaves the police to open the back of the truck, at which point Zaheer catches them by surprise with an airbending blast, knocking the officers back and giving Ming-Hua enough time to take the wheel of the truck and begin driving out of the city. The four are pursued by five police cars, three of which are immediately taken out by P'Li using her combustion. To trap the remaining officers, Ghazan turns a section of the road into lava, allowing the four to successfully escape.
Back in Zaofu, Bolin slyly grabs a meteorite and attempts to bend it to no avail, before he is startled by Opal, who he attempts to deceive with lies. Eventually, Bolin relents and confesses having a desire to metalbend ever since hearing about Toph Beifong, who he names as his biggest hero. Opal reminds him that her grandmother trained her mother in the art and insists that Bolin overcome his fear, prompting him to retort that her reluctance to go to the Northern Air Temple was also due to the same thing. Opal admits that Bolin is right and reveals that she is unsure of leaving, as she does not want to disappoint her parents. The two comfort each other, prompting Bolin to happily commend their healthy discussion of their feelings and support for one another.
During her session, Lin relives another memory: she and Suyin sit in their mother's office, discussing the latter's involvement in the robbery. Toph reprimands her daughters for putting her in an impossible position and dismisses their attempts to blame the other for the incident. Having made a decision, Toph tears up Suyin's arrest report, stunning a disbelieving Lin. She demands that her mother not cover the incident up and urges Suyin to take responsibility for her actions, but Toph, frustrated, affirms that she cannot have a daughter in prison as the Chief of Police. Lin complains to Toph that Suyin apparently is allowed to do whatever she wants without facing any consequences; Toph retorts that she has no other options, and chooses to overlook her daughter's involvement in the crime, ordering her out of the city to live with her grandparents.
Having completed the session, Guo removes the needles and urges Lin to rest and recuperate. She refuses, stating that she only needs to do one thing she should have done years prior. In the meteorite courtyard, Suyin congratulates Korra for becoming the first metalbending Avatar and agrees to train Bolin, who has finally decided to attempt learning the art. Before his training can begin, Lin arrives and confronts Suyin; Bolin and Korra cautiously note the chief's bitter temperament. Lin states that she wants to have a long-overdue talk with her sister.
Lin reprimands Suyin for not having taken responsibility for her actions in her youth, and for costing their mother her job; Suyin reminds her sister that their mother decided to leave the position the year after the incident, and was hailed as a hero upon her retirement. Lin retorts by revealing that Toph's decision was a result of her being guilt-ridden over protecting Suyin, and that her choices caused her to feel unworthy of her badge. Suyin admits that she was not perfect and made numerous mistakes, but assures Lin that she and her mother have since reconciled. She insists that if she and her sister had done the same, the change she underwent would be more apparent; Lin refuses to be convinced by Suyin's claims. With venom in her words, Suyin remarks that her sister is the unchangeable one, and that she was not surprised by Tenzin's decision to leave her.
Provoked by the comment, Lin attacks Suyin and the two engage in a battle; while Korra is concerned, Bolin reassures her that fights between siblings help in conflict resolution. During the ensuing battle, Baatar, Huan, Wei, and Wing arrive to watch and witness as Lin sends one of Huan's sculptures flying into a wall. Although initially dismayed, he eventually remarks that the distortion of the metal is a significant improvement over its previous state. As the two sisters prepare to attack each other once more, Opal intervenes and separates the two with a strong gust of wind, reprimanding her mother and aunt for fighting. Seconds later, an exhausted Lin crumples to the ground and falls unconscious in Korra's arms.
Sixteen hours later, Korra, Mako, and Bolin arrive to Lin's guesthouse to check on her condition. As Korra and Bolin are hesitant to knock, Mako approaches the door to address Lin, who steps out soon after. She greets the three with a significantly more pleasant demeanor, much to their surprise. Lin visits Suyin's chef, who presents her with a new concoction known as the "kalenutsco", a drink made from a blend of kale, coconut water, and walnuts. After gulping it down, Lin spots Opal and urges her to talk, promptly apologizing to her niece for her previous outburst and reiterating that her relationship with Suyin is complicated. Opal admits that it must be hard to deal with her problems, urging Lin to compliment her intelligence and intuition. The latter encourages Opal to train at the Northern Air Temple, but she confesses that she is worried about disappointing Suyin. Lin remarks that her own decision to become Chief of Police, done in the hopes of pleasing her mother, did not make Toph happy; she urges Opal to decide on her own path, warning her not to make the same mistakes. Opal embraces her aunt before leaving to confront her parents in their study.
Outside the estate, Lin admires a statue of Toph and is approached by Suyin, who informs her of Opal's decision to leave for the Northern Air Temple. Lin assures her sister that she did not coerce Opal, but the latter simply admits that she is proud of her daughter's decision to do what makes her happy. She remarks that she gave her daughter too little freedom, and apologizes to Lin for her involvement with the Triads years prior, expressing how different her life would have been if she had never left Republic City. Lin responds by saying that her sister would be probably be in jail, to which Suyin agrees. The matriarch also reveals how she heard from Mako that Lin is an excellent Chief of Police, noting how lucky Republic City is to have her and how proud their mother would be of her choices. Suyin echoes her desire to have Lin be a part of her life, offering her a permanent residence in Zaofu and even the position of co-director of the next dance recital. Overwhelmed, Lin compromises, promising simply to show up without attacking her sister as a start; the two reconcile.
In a forest outside of Republic City, Ghazan, Ming-Hua, and P'Li discuss how to find the Avatar, while Zaheer meditates. The waterbender expresses her regret over not having taken a police officer as a hostage in order to interrogate for Korra's whereabouts, though Ghazan points out that she could be anywhere by now. P'Li simply reassures the two that they will find her in due time. Soon after, Zaheer opens his eyes and reveals that he knows where Korra is, announcing that the Avatar is in Zaofu with the Metal Clan.
- Janet Varney - Korra
- David Faustino - Mako
- P. J. Byrne - Bolin
- Anne Heche - Su
- Henry Rollins - Zaheer
- Mindy Sterling - Beifong
- John Michael Higgins - Varrick
- Maurice LaMarche:
- Kate Higgins - Toph
- Dee Bradley Baker - Pabu
- Jeff Bennett (misspelled Bennet):
- Radio broadcaster
- Police officer
- Peter Giles:
- Guard #1
- Jessie Flower - Young Su
- Kristy Wu - P'Li
- Alyson Stoner - Opal
- Paul Nakauchi - Acupuncturist
- Jim Meskimen:
- Police dispatcher
- Marcus Toji:
- Jason Marsden:
- Guy #1
- Grey DeLisle-Griffin:
- Young Beifong
- Main article: Transcript:Old Wounds
- Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar
- Korra references several events from Book One: Air when providing reasons as to why she did not have time to learn metalbending. She recalls her airbending training under Tenzin, her involvement in pro-bending as the waterbender for the Future Industries Fire Ferrets, as well as her role in ending the Anti-bending Revolution and stopping Amon and the Equalists.
- P'Li references the fact that Zaheer was discovered on Air Temple Island by Kya in "The Metal Clan".
- Suyin advises Korra to focus on the fine pieces of earth within the metal in order to bend it, which was the same approach that Toph Beifong used in order to develop the art in "The Guru".
- Suyin recalls Tenzin's decision to leave Lin, which was first revealed in "And the Winner Is...".
- Lin Beifong's facial scars resulted from slash marks made by her metal cable when Suyin cut it to avoid arrest.
- Suyin Beifong was previously a member of the Terra Triad in Republic City.
- When telling Bolin that he was welcome to learn metalbending from her anytime, the neck plating around the back of Suyin's neck is brown instead of silver.
- Lin leaves her acupuncture session wearing boots, despite having been barefoot when it started.
- Suyin knocks Lin against the stairs at the end of their duel before walking halfway across the bridge to stop in the middle. In the next shot, Suyin is back on the bank from where she originally came.
- While Bolin and Korra watch Suyin and Lin's duel, their positions change from being near the two combatants to being near the other members of the Metal Clan by the stairs.
- The "kalenutsco" is a reference to Bryan Konietzko. The idea for the drink was developed by Michael Dante DiMartino, Tim Hedrick, Joshua Hamilton, and Katie Mattila based on Konietzko's propensity for raw vegan smoothies.
- The golden ornament on one of the structures in Suyin's estate bears a resemblance to the top of the Chrysler Building in New York.
- Lin is the main character of this episode, whereas Korra only has a supporting role.
- This episode was last of four to be leaked by the Mexican Nickelodeon website, MundoNick, on June 8, 2014.
- During her metalbending demonstration to Korra, Suyin creates several shapes from a piece of metal, much as Toph did with her bracelet in "Sokka's Master".