|"I'd like to make an announcement to the world: the Earth Kingdom is no more."|
|— Kuvira announcing her intention to reform the Earth Kingdom into a new Earth Empire.|
"The Coronation" is the third episode of Book Four: Balance of The Legend of Korra and the 42nd of the overall series. It was released online on Nick.com and through the Nick app on October 17, 2014, and aired on Nicktoons Network on November 28, 2014.
As Wu prepares for his coronation, Mako harbors his doubts about the prince's readiness for the duties of a king. At the coronation ceremony, downsized because most of the royal artifacts have been looted, Wu honors Kuvira with a medal, but she declares his authority illegitimate, claiming herself to be the head of the new Earth Empire and threatening to crush anyone who opposes her rule. Although he has been anointed king, Wu commands little to no respect among his people, which Mako brings to his attention. With a conflict imminent, Tenzin orders his three eldest children to search for Korra and bring her back to Republic City. Meanwhile, in the Foggy Swamp, Korra trains with Toph Beifong, who reveals that Korra's body still contains residual traces of mercury. Toph abandons her attempt to remove it after Korra subconsciously fought against her actions and asserts that Korra has accepted the poison as an excuse to avoid being the Avatar.
The day before his coronation, Wu and Mako travel to City Hall, where the royal excitedly details the schedule of the ceremony to his bodyguard; Wu hails the show, set to include singing earthbenders and dancing badgermoles, as the most "dynamite six-hour show" the firebender will have ever seen. Unfazed by Wu's enthusiasm, Mako asks the prince how much he has prepared to rule the Earth Kingdom. Wu waves off the question, assuring Mako that his ministers will deal with that, while the two of them "live the life" in the capital. As President Raiko joins their conversation and inquires how Wu is holding up, the prince runs off to scold a Metalbending Police Force officer for erecting bleachers where dancers will be performing the "Dance of the Badgermoles".
As Wu begins performing the moves of the dance, Mako asks the president if he feels comfortable leaving the Earth Kingdom in Wu's hands. As the president assures him that more experienced people will handle the governing, Tenzin joins them. As they watch Wu's antics, the airbender dryly notes that the prince seems to "become accustomed to the burdens of leadership". Replying that most royals like a ceremony, Raiko inquires if Tenzin has received any word on Korra's whereabouts, prompting the airbending master to report that they cannot locate her, even though airbenders all over the world are searching for her. Tenzin also expresses concern about Kuvira's growing military forces and her increasingly dictatorial methods. Raiko tries to reassure him by noting that she promised to step down after Wu's coronation the following day, so they can worry about correcting any of her mistakes after that. As Mako voices his doubts about Kuvira's willingness to hand over power to Wu, Raiko assures him that the metalbender knew from the start that her position was only temporary and that she has given him her word that she will step down. An unconvinced Tenzin concludes that he would feel more comfortable if Korra were there.
At the Foggy Swamp, Korra asks Toph to help her get back into "Avatar fighting shape", as she believes she is currently unable to serve the world, which needs her. Toph promptly tells her to get over herself, assuring Korra the world does not need her at all. The Avatar becomes offended and brags that she has defeated several powerful villains during her time. Toph waves off the accomplishments as insignificant; she counters by pointing out that although she worked hard as Chief of Police of Republic City, crime did not disappear. Astonished, Korra concludes that the elders means to tell her that everything she accomplished thus far as the Avatar had been pointless. As she comments that Toph is even grumpier than Lin, Toph declares proudly that she is the "original Beifong". Dispirited, Korra asks if all that means that Toph will not train her. The elder responds that she had planned to soak her feet in mud for a few weeks, but she also cannot stand seeing the Avatar "so pathetic and getting [her] butt kicked all the time" and thus agrees to help. As Korra excitedly surges forward to give the old woman a hug, she slams face-first into a slab of earth bent by Toph to block her advance; as Korra falls down, Toph tells her that if she wants to hug something, she can go find a tree as they are there to work.
Entering the Republic City Four Elements with the rest of Kuvira's delegation, Bolin expresses joy over being back in the city though is mortified to notice Eska is also staying at the hotel. The female Chief of the Northern Water Tribe approaches and congratulates him on having replaced her with a threatening-looking girlfriend, referring to Kuvira. Bolin corrects her, clarifying that the metalbender is his boss, though Eska sees no difference between the two.
As Zhu Li, who is carrying Varrick's considerable load of luggage, catches up to him in the lobby, Varrick bemusedly laughs that President Raiko must have turned purple when Kuvira forced him to pardon the industrialist of his "alleged" crimes. When Zhu Li calls him an upstanding citizen, he readily agrees with her, before whispering to her to fill his extra bag with as many little, lavender-scented soaps as she can find.
As Mako and Wu also enter the lobby, the two brothers greet each other by trading a mock punch before sharing a hug. As Mako compliments Bolin about his position in Kuvira's forces, the earthbender admits that he is not used to seeing himself as important. Mako asks him what working for Kuvira is like, and Bolin excitedly relays that, while Kuvira can be tough, they are helping people across the Earth Kingdom, turning around the nation, and cites the improvement of their family's neighborhood in Ba Sing Se as an example. In return, Bolin asks about Mako's job and is surprised to learn that his brother has spent his time working for Wu, rather than fighting crime. He quickly changes the subject, asking if Mako has seen Korra yet, and is worried to learn that she has been missing for months.
As Suyin checks into the hotel, she is greeted by her eldest son. She acknowledges his presence by saying his name, but Baatar Jr. dryly corrects her, saying that he goes by "Baatar". He smugly notes that she must regret choosing not to go with them, after seeing all the good they have accomplished. Suyin responds that she does not know if she would call marching all over the Earth Kingdom and forcing people to bow to Kuvira "doing good". Baatar Jr. states that she will need to change her view of Kuvira soon, as she is now his fiancée and will soon be an "official" member of the family. Unfazed by the announcement, Suyin merely notes that she is pleased that Kuvira is stepping down the following day. Somewhat insulted, Baatar Jr. questions if she would rather be ruled by "that royal idiot", turning his attention to Wu, who is trying to chat up Kuvira by complimenting her beauty. When she ignores him, he says he will use his status as a long term, beloved guest to procure her an upgrade at the hotel. Kuvira promptly declines his offer, deeming his help unnecessary, as she already booked the Presidential Suite herself. Wu laughs it off as impossible, considering he is staying in that room, until Kuvira informs him that she had him moved to another room. Shocked, Wu grabs Cam by his collar and asks where his stuff is, to which the front desk clerk responds that he has been moved to a "very nice junior suite" on the seventh floor. Kuvira smugly tells Wu that he should remember that she always gets what she wants.
The following day, Mako and Wu wait in the hall of City Hall for the arrival of Gun and the rest of the royal cabinet. When they arrive, Wu is shocked to learn that the delegation consists of only three people, who inform him that most of his servants scattered and the royal artifacts looted from the palace after Hou-Ting's assassination; the only object they managed to safeguard is a single golden earring, which Gun dubs the "Royal Brooch" and will replace the stolen crown. The prince becomes angry upon realizing that his coronation will be much simpler than he had planned.
Korra faces Toph in a sparing match, during which she barrages the elderly woman with three airbending strikes and a water stream; Toph easily evades all of the attacks and knocks her down with a mud pillar. As Korra gathers her bearings, shooing off a frog squirrel that has jumped on her shoulder, Toph asks her to reflect on what she did wrong. Korra explains herself by saying "I was thinking", and Toph immediately interrupts her, declaring her thinking to be the issue. When Toph turns her back on the Avatar and orders her to try again, Korra subjects the elderly earthbender to another elemental barrage; again, Toph easily evades all the attacks and defeats Korra with a single countermove, launching her in the air with a mud pillar once again. While Korra gets back on her feet, Toph berates her "pathetic" performance and declares her to be, by far, the worst of the two Avatars she ever worked with. Korra defends herself by pointing out that Toph is just enjoying having someone to beat up, an assessment with which the elderly woman agrees, noting that the resident swampbenders are too easily beaten. Changing the subject, Korra inquires why Toph has chosen to disconnect herself from the rest of the world. Toph, somewhat offended, promptly declares that she is more connected to the world than Korra has ever been: through the vines in the earth, she is able to see everything. Korra tests the claim by readying a water whip behind Toph's back but is knocked down with a blast of mud before she can execute her attack. Toph declares that, of the two of them, Korra is the one who is truly blind.
In Republic City, Gun decorates Wu with the Royal Brooch and declares him "king of all the earth lands and Glorious Defender of Ba Sing Se". In his speech, he thanks his countrymen for having worked hard to restore him, their "beloved leader", to the throne. To express his gratitude, he calls forth Kuvira and awards her the Kyoshi Medal of Freedom for her service to the kingdom. She asks to speak to the crowd, and Wu gives her the floor, begrudgingly noting that they had six hours to fill now that his lavish ceremony was stripped to the bare minimum. Kuvira starts off by noting that growing up in Zaofu with Suyin Beifong taught her that the idea of a hereditary monarchy is archaic, and that technology and innovation must be the core of a thriving nation. Blaming the "pathetic" rule by earth monarchs for the state of disarray in the Earth Kingdom, she declares that it has taken her three years to stabilize the nation, and that she will not allow it to descend into chaos once again. As such, Kuvira denounces Wu's authority and dissolves the Earth Kingdom, appointing herself as the leader of what she now calls the "Earth Empire", intending to bring about a new era of prosperity for her people. Warning the world leaders not to stand against her, she emphasises her treat by tearing off and crushing the medal she has been given. As Kuvira receives a standing ovation from a cheering crowd, Wu slumps his head, muttering that it is the "worst coronation ever".
After the ceremony, Kuvira's delegation returns to the Presidential Suite. Sitting in the living area with Varrick, Bolin expresses his surprise about Kuvira's declaration, fearing it will turn the world leaders against them. Varrick brushes off the lavabender's worries, stating that there is nothing the other nations can do since the earth nation is under Kuvira's control and Republic City relies on the metal they are mining. The conversation is cut short when Zhu Li enters the room, presenting a spirit vine to the industrialist. Varrick inspects the vegetation and, approving it, orders for it to be taken to their lab and stabilized immediately. As Varrick leaves to conduct experiments, Bolin is approached by Kuvira, who comments on his worried expression. He admits that he has some misgivings about her ambush of the world leaders with her speech. Although he affirms his belief in the work they have done, he voices his doubts about the "empire" and Kuvira's aggressive pledge to crush every person who dares to oppose them. Kuvira assures him that her choice of words was nothing but tough rhetoric, intended to show people they are serious about their cause. Noting that conflict is the last thing she wants, she implores Bolin to stand by her. After a moment, he reaffirms his loyalty to her cause. When Suyin enters, declaring she and Kuvira need to talk, Bolin leaves the room at Kuvira's request.
Once they are alone, Suyin announces that she is there as the representative of the world leaders. Kuvira promptly declares Suyin's interest in world affairs as overdue, reciting the Zaofu matriarch's refusal to stabilize the Earth Kingdom after Hou-Ting's assassination. As Kuvira connects that passive attitude to a desire to hide in Zaofu while others deal with the consequences, Suyin counters that she did not want to seize power for herself, as Kuvira has done, and adds that Kuvira stepping down as leader of the Earth Empire is for the greater good. Kuvira rebuffs her statement, pointing out that she provides stability and equality in her nation. She reiterates her refusal to recognize Wu's reign, referring to him as the world leaders' "hand-picked dictator". When Suyin denounces Kuvira as "another tyrant", asserting that she knows what the latter has done to cities that refuse to surrender to her, Kuvira, unfazed, warns Suyin that the same fate will befall Zaofu if the matriarch will not follow her.
Having retired to Wu's junior suite, Mako begins to pack his clothes, listening to Wu lament about how he has lost his suite and throne. When the king apologizes for not being able to take Mako back to Ba Sing Se with him, believing it to be crushing Mako's spirits, the firebender urges him not to worry about him, which earns him another compliment from the royal. When someone knocks on the door, Mako answers and finds it is Bolin. Despite Wu's order to get rid of the "Kuvira associate", Mako steps outside of the room to talk, leaving Wu to hover near the door, eavesdropping on the siblings' conversation. Outside, Mako tells his brother that he cannot keep working for Kuvira now that she is going against the wishes of the entire world. Bolin tries to explain that Mako has a wrong view of Kuvira, stating that the metalbender is truly helping all the poor people of the empire, which is for the best. Since Mako continues to be skeptical, Bolin invites him to join their cause to see first-hand all the good they do and how they are making history. Mako declines the offer, however, by musing that they are doing that by crushing everyone in their way. Bolin waves the choice of words off, relaying Kuvira's explanation that it is merely tough rhetoric to let people knew the Earth Empire was not to be fooled with. He defends Kuvira by drawing a parallel between the metalbender and Korra, as they are both hard to deal with though passionate about their beliefs. Mako grows annoyed by this and labels Kuvira to be a dictator taking over the Earth Kingdom by force. Bolin retaliates by asking if Mako thinks Wu will be a better leader than Kuvira, forcing the firebender to admit that he does not think so. Despite the admission, Mako still refuses to join Kuvira, which makes Bolin angry and blame his brother for wasting his time as Wu's "glorified butler" while he is making history. Irritated over the outburst, Mako mock-apologizes for his unwillingness to work for a "glorious emperor in her military dictatorship", causing Bolin to storm off, stating he will return to the army train with which they bring freedom wherever they go, while Mako will be left to "lick the king's boots". Reentering the room, Mako expresses his disbelief over what just happened. Wu apologizes to him and offers to cheer him up with a visit to the Little Ba Sing Se Fashion Mall, where he will treat the firebender to a smoothie, and offer Mako softly accepts.
Walking through the swamp, Korra dejectedly notes how terrible the practice has been. Toph laughs at the statement, noting that while it may have been like that way to Korra, she had a great time, recalling how much she missed tormenting the Avatar. As Korra states that she was tossed around like a rag doll all day long, Toph excitedly agrees with her assessment. Complimenting herself that she could still do that despite her age, she urges Korra to imagine how it would have been in her prime and laughingly noted that she would have "destroyed" the Avatar. Disheartened by the comment, Korra stresses that she does not understand why she cannot get back to her old self, noting that she is a step slower, tentative, out of sync, and just cannot get back in the groove. When Toph notes that carrying around the metal probably does not help, Korra questions what she is referring to. Annoyed, Toph informs her about the little bits of metal poison stuck in her body, adding that she really is the "worst Avatar ever" since she cannot feel those particles in her own body. Surprised by the revelation, Korra mentions that she was under the impression that Suyin had rid her off every trace, though Toph counters that her daughters never picked up on the finer skills of metalbending. Relieved to finally understand why she has been to out of sorts, Korra excitedly makes her way over to Toph and, grabbing her by the shoulders, declares that she has to get it out of her system, asking Toph if she can do it for her. Offended by the need to even ask whether or not she can do such a thing, Toph shoves Korra away from her, making the Avatar fall back to the ground.
Slurping their smoothies at the mall's lower ring, a disinterested Mako listens to how Wu is excitedly sharing their shopping plans. The royal suddenly cuts himself short and spits out his drink all over Mako, much to his surprise, and runs off toward two females wearing a T-shirt with Kuvira's face printed on the front. Offended, he asks them where they have purchased the item and is directed to a small shop selling Kuvira merchandise. Angered, he runs over to the vendor and his customers, yelling that such goods cannot be sold in the Little Ba Sing Se Fashion Mall as he is the "Little King" there and they need to respect that position. Upon being booed at, he throws his smoothie at the customers, hitting one. Mako grows alarmed upon seeing the angry crowd and quickly starts pulling Wu along with him. With the crowd close behind them, he creates a fire barrier under the cover of which they vanish in one of the mall's alleys.
The two seek refuge in the Upper Ring of the shopping mall, where they find a replica of the Earth Kingdom Royal Palace, which is in reality a restaurant. Wu excitedly runs inside, pushing people out of his way in his mad dash for the throne. He pulls the royal scepter out of the hands of a child that is sitting in the chair and snatches the royal robe away from the child's mother, defending his actions by declaring that the young boy will have a birthday next year to celebrate whereas he will never have another coronation day. Donning the crown and other royal artifacts, the king bursts out into tears, declaring it to be the worst day of his life. Hearing this, Mako briskly asks him if he truly wants to be king and says that it is no wonder that the people favor Kuvira over him, considering that even though she is a "power-crazed dictator", she has worked hard to better the Earth Kingdom, whereas Wu has not done anything of the sort. As Wu calms down, Mako apologizes for speaking out of line, though the king agrees with him, labeling himself "a joke who got what he deserved". They are forced to flee again, however, when Mako spots the angry Kuvira supporters.
Returning to Toph's home, Korra lays down and is told to relax in order for Toph to be able to complete a successful extraction of the residual mercury. Despite her assurance that she is relaxed, Toph comments that Korra's body is tense like a "twisted tree trunk", though the Avatar snaps at the elderly woman to commence with the extraction anyway. The moment Toph starts, however, Korra shoots up and grunts in pain, prompting Toph to berate her for not being relaxed. Being ordered to stop fighting, Korra hotly denies that she has been fighting Toph. When the elderly earthbender tries again, Korra is plagued by another vision of Zaheer trying to asphyxiate her in the Avatar State. Gasping in pain, she curls up, resulting in Toph stating that Korra will have to bend the metal out herself, since she is apparently adamant about keeping it in her body for the time being. Perplexed, Korra asks why she would want to keep poison in her body and only manages to halfheartedly denounce Toph's theory about her using it as an excuse to forsake her duties as the Avatar out of fear of getting injured again as ridiculous. As Toph walks away, unwilling to deal with the Avatar's issues, Korra asks what she is supposed to do and the elderly earthbender defers her to the spirit that brought her to the swamp in the first place, though adding that if Korra's wish is to find a place where she could disappear, she has come to the right swamp.
When Tenzin returns to Air Temple Island, he gathers his three eldest children in the meditation pavilion and tasks them to bring Korra home as the world will need its Avatar now that conflict is coming to the Earth Kingdom. Asking if he can count on them, Meelo readily answers that he can be counted on, though that he is not so sure about his sisters, earning himself annoyed looks from Jinora and Ikki.
As Kuvira and her army left Republic City on her train, Varrick and Zhu Li are busy conducting tests with a spirit vine sample. Kuvira watches their progress, informing Varrick that from then on, the development of that new technology is his number one priority. Looking at the capsule, the inventor comments excitedly that it is "going to change everything".
- Janet Varney - Korra
- David Faustino - Mako
- P. J. Byrne - Bolin
- J. K. Simmons - Tenzin
- Jeff Bennett - Radio broadcaster
- John Michael Higgins
- Sunil Malhotra - Wu
- Anne Heche - Su
- Zelda Williams - Kuvira
- Spencer Garrett - Raiko
- Stephanie Sheh
- Zhu Li
- Philece Sampler - Toph
- Mitchell Whitfield - Gun
- Todd Haberkorn - Baatar Jr.
- Aubrey Plaza - Eska
- Logan Wells - Meelo
- Dee Bradley Baker - Bullfrog
- Main article: Transcript:The Coronation
- Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar
- Almost all of the royal ceremonial artifacts and other valuable objects belonging to the Earth Kingdom Royal Family were looted during the anarchy in Ba Sing Se.
- Eska remarking that there is no difference between being someone's boss or girlfriend references how she treated Bolin during their relationship.
- There is residual mercury remaining in Korra's body.
- Varrick was pardoned by President Raiko.
- During the coronation, when Wu is thanking everyone for the ceremony, Izumi, who is sitting in the background, is missing her crown.
- During her speech, Kuvira pulls the Kyoshi Medal of Freedom from around her neck, ripping its strap. However, when it drops on the floor, the strap is whole again.
- When Wu notices the two girls wearing Kuvira shirts in the mall, he spits his smoothie onto Mako's shirt, leaving a prominent stain. When Mako drags Wu away from the hostile Kuvira supporters, the stain is missing. It reappears in the next scene, only to disappear again when they reached the royal palace.
- When Toph prepares to remove the poison from Korra's body, the latter's shoes are on at first, but in the next shot of her, Korra is barefoot.
- A plastic version of Bosco is present in the Little Ba Sing Se Fashion Mall.
- The scene in which an elbow leech clings to Korra recalls a similar scene in "The Swamp", where an elbow leech clings to Sokka when Team Avatar crashes into the Foggy Swamp.
- This is the first episode in which Izumi, Zuko's daughter, makes an appearance.
- The script for the episode featured the council meeting between Suyin and the world leaders, but it was ultimately cut.