Things are coming to a head in this last season (*sniffles*) of our beloved show. Last week was a great recap of allll the seasons so far, but Episode 9, “Beyond the Wilds,” brings us back to the action in real time. And WOOOO, the THINGS!
So, we begin this episode with our old friend, the hipster airbender, Ryu. They’re apparently leading tours through the spirit wilds in Republic City now, and Ryu is guiding a group that includes his parents. He’s honestly not the best tour guide, and he has to deal with one of those annoying people who asks a ton of questions, but none of them deserve what happens next: the vines go BONKERS and KIDNAP THE WHOLE GROUP, all boa constrictor style. WTF SPIRIT WILDS!
On Air Temple Island, Jinora races to Korra and Opal–who is still understandably freaking out that no one seems to be doing anything to help her rescue her family–because she felt a major energy disturbance in the spirit wilds and she’s getting bad vibes. The girls head over there and are investigating things. Jinora remarks how they should’ve run into Ryu’s tour group by now, but Korra doesn’t place too much confidence in that concern, Ryu being…well, Ryu. Instead, she tries to get reading on the spirit vines and she discovers something pretty awful: Kuvira’s harvesting of the spirit vines in the swamp. Korra figures that this is what’s making the vines in Republic City get sticky fingers for people. She and Opal run off to tell the President while Jinora stays behind to see what she can see.
Meanwhile, the President is holding a council meeting with Tenzin, Wu, and the leader of the Fire Nation. They are discussing how to proceed with regards to Kuvira. Wu offers some hilarious suggestions on how to get Kuvira to relinquish her grip on the Earth Kingdom by, among other things, offering her a fake all-expenses paid trip to the tropics that turns out to be a prison. There is disagreement on whether or not the United Republic should go on the offense or defense. In the midst of “kicking it world leader style,” Korra enters and is about to tell them all what she sensed in the spirit wilds when Bolin and Varrick show up! YAY their road trip is over! President Ryko is on the verge of capturing them when they reveal that Kuvira is making a super secret weapon that would be incredibly deadly and awful. Korra puts it together that Kuvira’s weapon uses the spirit vines, but the world leaders still disagree on how to go after Kuvira. When the leader of the Fire Nation backs out of attacking her, defense wins.
Bolin tries to apologize to Opal, but before he can get very far, Beifong comes out of the meeting and the two agree that they need to go on an unsanctioned mission to save their family. EEP! Bolin, Korra, and Mako have a nice little reunion, too. All of Bolin’s traitorous sins are forgiven and they have a group hug. AWWWW!
Back in the spirit wilds, Jinora is still looking for Ryu when, WATCH OUT, GIRL, the spirit vines come after her and capture her. DUN DUN DUNNNNN. She spirit bends to Korra to say that the vines have taken her.
At the edge of the spirit wilds, Korra offers to go into the spirit wilds to find Jinora. Mako goes with her. The two of them are attacked by a spirit vine but get away. They eventually wind up blockaded into a room where there are these glowing pods suspended in the vines. It’s Jinora and the tour group. When Korra tries to enter the spirit world to find their trapped spirits, she is instead plunged into a memory of her battle with Zahir and is unable to enter the spirit world. She confides in Mako that she’s been unable to enter the spirit world since their battle.
Korra tells Tenzin that she needs to face Zahir to save everyone. Tenzin hesitates, not sure that Korra is ready, but Korra convinces him that this is something she needs to do. Zahir is imprisoned in the mountains and Korra and Mako are going to head there.
Meanwhile, Bolin is FINALLY reunited with Pabu–YAY! And Bolin is still on the path to getting Opal back. He uses Pabu to trick Opal to come to a picnic, but Opal pretty thoroughly shuts him down. These two are NOT in a good place right now. Then the action shifts to President Ryko’s office, where Varrick and Asami are meeting with him. The two bicker a little bit, but Ryko says that he needs the two of them to work together to stop Kuvira’s weapon.
Korra and Mako make it to Zahir’s mountain prison and Korra is eager to face him and get over her fear once and for all. However, Zahir proves that he still holds power over her. Zahir is able to meditate into the spirit world even though Korra is not and she blames him for not being able to access her spiritual gifts. They argue about the powers of the Avatar being limitless until Korra mentions that it was his actions that led to the rise of Kuvira. Zahir says that she has to be stopped and Korra agrees to his offer to let him guide her into the spirit world.
When Korra arrives in the spirit world for the first time in years, she is connected with Raava once again. Raava leads Korra to where the spirit of Jinora is being held. When Korra arrives where her spirit is being held, she protests when Raava says she neds to connect to the spirit energy. Korra believes she has no power in the spirit world, but Raava tells her otherwise. Korra is able to use her spirit energy to release the spirits of Jinora and Ryu and his tour group.
Back in Republic City, Jinora is reunited with Tenzin, who is finally understanding that Korra is still capable and powerful. Mako and Korra have a good talk about how Korra feels better now that she’s confronted Zahir and her past. Is it just me, or did Korra and Mako have some nice little feelings cropping up? I think they did. Bolin sees Opal on her way to Xaofu. He confesses his LOVE for Opal and swears that he’ll do anything to get her back. Opal says the one thing he can do to win her again is go on the secret mission to rescue her family.