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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 fear of learning how to bend metal. Meanwhile, Lin faces her past during an acupuncture session, forcing her to relive the circumstances 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 notes Lin's absence, which Korra attributes to the fact that she was still likely sulking in her room. Suyin admonishes Lin for her attitude toward Opal and states that their complicated relationship does not excuse her behavior. Wei and Wing enter the dining hall and ask Korra to participate in their upcoming power disc game, which Korra declines due to her lack of metalbending experience. Shocked at this revelation, Suyin inquires as to the reason why Lin never trained Korra, to which the latter responded that her numerous responsibilities as the Avatar occupied and prevented her from seeking tutelage from the Chief of Police. Remarking that Lin would have made a lousy instructor in the first place, the matriarch offers to teach Korra, prompting Opal to suggest for Bolin to join, though the earthbender refuses due to being "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, which she reluctantly accepts.
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, stating that the incident prompted the police to begin 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 rebalance her chi using needles. After penetrating her skin, Lin comments about not being able to feel anything, prompting Guo to use more needles to compensate for the severe blockage of her chi flow. Before proceeding, the acupuncturist warns Lin about his method and its ability to dig deep into an individual's most repressed memories that can be particularly difficult to process. Lin brushes the warning off and snickers, before a needle in her forehead forces her to relive a part of her life.
In a flashback to thirty years ago, 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, prompting Suyin to dismiss her once again and slam the door.
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 the two women catch observing the session in secrecy. Suyin offers to train Bolin once more 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 themselves. Despite having initial trouble, Korra manages to reshape the meteorite by focusing on the fine pieces of earth within the metal, surprising Bolin who notes how quick she managed to grasp the concept.
In another flashback, Lin recalls a robbery in which she is the closest responding officer. After chasing a runaway Satomobile through the streets, Lin thwarts the getaway by removing one of the vehicle's wheels with her cable, causing it to crash and two men inside to flee. Lin easily prevents their escape by ensnaring them with her cables, prompting the driver to step out and urge her to stop. Much to Lin's surprise, she finds that the driver was Suyin and that she was involved in the incident.
Reeling from the shock of her repressed memories, Lin accidentally metalbends, causing the needles in her body to shoot out 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 for Lin to apologize to Opal for her behavior but is 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 releases a hidden blade from her free wrist and slices the restraint, causing the cable to snap back and hit Lin on the right cheek, giving her two distinct scars.
Back in Republic City, the truck driver prepares to smuggle Zaheer and his gang out of the city via Kyoshi Bridge, which was barricaded and patrolled by the police. Anxious over his predicament, the driver wavers while 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, from where Zaheer launches a surprise airbending blast, knocking the officers back and giving Ming-Hua enough time to gain control of the wheel 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 identifies 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 during a flashback concerning the time she and Suyin were in their mother's office to discuss the latter's involvement in the robbery. Toph reprimands her daughters for putting her in an impossible position and dismisses their attempts to blame one another for the incident. Having made a decision, Toph tears up Suyin's arrest report much to Lin's disbelief. She states that her mother should not cover the incident up and urges Suyin to take responsibility for her actions, prompting Toph to frustratingly affirm that she cannot have a daughter in prison as the Chief of Police. Lin complains over Suyin apparently being able to do whatever she wanted without having to face any consequences but Toph insists that she has no other options, choosing instead to overlook her daughter's involvement and order 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 over 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, concerning Bolin and Korra who note the chief's temperament. She states that she wants to have a talk with her sister, one which was long overdue.
Lin reprimands Suyin for not having taken responsibility for her actions back in her youth and costing their mother her job, prompting the matriarch to remind her sister that their mother decided to leave the position a year following the incident and was hailed as a hero. Lin retorts by revealing that Toph's decision was due to her being guilt-ridden over protecting Suyin and that her choices did not make her feel worthy of her badge. Suyin admits that she was not perfect and has made numerous mistakes, but reassures Lin that she and her mother reconciled years ago. She insists that she and her sister would have done the same and that the change she underwent would be more apparent if Lin only agreed to come and talk when she was invited, though the latter remains unconvinced. Suyin bitterly remarks that her sister is the one who has not changed and states that she is unsurprised over Tenzin's decision to leave her years ago.
Provoked by the comment, Lin attacks Suyin and the two engage in a battle, concerning Korra who is reassured by Bolin 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. Soon after, Lin begins to faint from exhaustion and eventually becomes 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 her worry over disappointing Suyin. Lin remarks that her own decision to become Chief of Police in hopes of pleasing her mother did not make Toph happy and 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 ended up if she 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 by promising to show up without attacking her sister as a start and 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".