This was a very pleasant episode to watch, for several reasons. I can see how some people might not like it, as the kids are a bit annoying, but it had a lot of moments that to me felt like an episode of ATLA, and not just for the familiar environments. I think that youth brings energy and charm to the screen, and I'm really glad we got to see the kids have their own episode like this because with such a short run I doubt they'll ever get much focus again. Meelo feels almost like Sokka mixed with Aang, Jinora reminds me of Katara and Aang, and Ikki, to me, seems to be a bit to Toph and Aang. All very charming and each had their good moments. And to me at least, nothing felt rushed, either. The episode flowed naturally, and ended at the perfect moment.
I agree with those who see some Empire Strikes Back plot lines in this episode, and I certainly agree. But unlike some, I embrace that idea, because it works so well. And let's not forget, Book 2 of ATLA had similar ideas taken from Star Wars. Nothing wrong with that at all, so let's be consistent with our complaints.
Another reason I like this episode is because of it's settings, and how it ties so well into ALTA, especially The Swamp. The vines grabbing the Sky bison, Korra using the tree to find her friends, even the referencing to events of Aang's journey, summarized so well by Toph. I really love those kinds of tie-ins, though some don't. I like them because, like it or not, Korra is simply not as good as Avatar, and I think most of you can agree. It has far many more problems. BUT, by referencing and paying homage to it's predecessor it shows respect to the universe that has been created and that was displayed so well in ATLA. I only hope we can see the Fire Nation again in this season. I think that would make the show fee complete. Also glad to see Korra's conflict with the poison is over, as with so little time left to sum this franchise up, the less time we can spend on a single plot point, the better.
Also, I have a strong feeling that the next episode is going to focus on what that one guard said, about Kuvira leading an attack on Zaofu. That's... a pretty damn big deal! 0_o Maybe we'll get a big battle in the next one. That should be fun.
One thing I really love about this episode is it's final seconds. As Toph walks back to his cave, we hear a bit of Aang's theme. In this franchise, music is really everything for setting the mood and emotion of the scene, and hearing Aang's theme, for however long, brings back a rush of nostalgia so powerful it sends shivers down my spine at times. And honestly, it's almost the perfect way to end Toph. While I want more of her in this season, if they don't, what they gave us here would still be a good send-off by all means.
Overall, a good episode, and I can't wait for the next one