Legend of Korra Book 4: 'Operation Beifong' Review

The Legend of Korra is nearing its finale.

And the latest episode, "Operation Beifong" has the Avatar universe's favorite dysfunctional family saving the day; Toph shows us that--even in her old age--she is still capable of dominating a fight, Opal and Bolin renew their relationship, Zhu Li turns out to be a double agent, and Korra is left baffled by the spirits' lack of interest in helping her.

This episode closes the book on the Beifong's familial woes. Toph shows up out of nowhere to help Bolin, Opal, and Lin save Suyin. But, Lin is reluctant to accept her help. For the first time, Toph's husbands get addressed.

Suyin and Lin are half-sisters, and the latter is upset by the fact that she never had a father figure in her life. Toph apologizes for this and shows remorse for the first time since her debut in The Last Airbender.

It's among the most powerful scenes in the Avatar franchise.

Toph proves to be helpful in the fight against Kuvira. She is the only Last Airbender cast member to make a substantive contribution to a battle.

Zuko tried to help combat Zaheer in Change but was overpowered. In addition, Katara never fought in The Legend of Korra--resigning to the role of a healer.

During the rescue mission, the group discovers that Kuvira is going to demonstrate the power of her spirit weapon. But this goes awry when she discovers that the weapon has been sabotaged.

Zhu Li is a double agent. This means that we can expect a reunion between her and Varrick before the conclusion of the series--along with a few more times when she will have to "do the thing."

The highlight of the rescue mission is the fight scene at its climax. Lin and Suyin team up against Kuvira. Toph intervenes at the last minute to save her daughters from capture.

She scolds Kuvira before flying off on Opal's mucus-covered bison. Simply put: Toph still rules.

All seems well when Zhu Li delivers some ominous news: Kuvira is going to attack Republic City in two weeks.

The second part of "Operation Beifong" focuses on Korra and her effort to get the spirits' aid in fighting Kuvira. The spirits, however, aren't interested in earthly affairs. They disappear when Korra begs for assistance.

In addition, President Raiko tries to think of options to fight Kuvira. He wants Varrick to use spirit vine weaponry to fight her, but it seems the crazed entrepreneur has grown a conscience since his debut in Book 2, Spirits.

Varrick refuses, and Wu shows character development when he recommends that Republic City be evacuated to avoid casualties in the event of an attack.

This impresses everyone at the table, but Wu shows regression when he reveals his motivation: He just wants to woo Korra. Wu has become more likable since the beginning of Balance, and I understand his place in the series after questioning it at the beginning of the season. Wu is supposed to take the throne when Kuvira is inevitably defeated--restoring balance to a world nearly thrown in chaos.

But the Earth Monarchy has always been aloof; The Earth King didn't know about the Fire Nation war in The Last Airbender, and The Earth Queen used her royal status to oppress the masses.

If anything, Wu is an upgrade from his predecessors.

"Operation Beifong" has great action, well-timed humor, and moments where characters shine. I will miss the series' perfect blending of all these traits after its conclusion.

You can watch "Operation Beifong" here.