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This article is about the fourth episode of Book Two: Spirits. For other similar uses, see Civil war (disambiguation).
"I'm done being manipulated by you. You're going to bring my father back, then you and your troops will return to the North."
Korra to Unalaq.

"Civil Wars, Part 2" is the fourth episode of Book Two: Spirits of The Legend of Korra and the 16th episode of the overall series. It aired on Nickelodeon on September 27, 2013.


In an attempt to get Judge Hotah to release Tonraq, Korra discovers that Unalaq had set up the trial and his brother's banishment, causing her to break away from him and his teachings. With the help of her friends, she hurries to save her father from his imprisonment. Meanwhile at the Southern Air Temple, Tenzin finds Ikki and they reconcile with their respective siblings.


In the outskirts of Wolf Cove, Tonraq and Senna are being taken away in a prison truck that is waiting outside of their house. Korra is standing outside trying to convince Unalaq that he is making a mistake, but Unalaq assures Korra that there is nothing to worry about due to the fairness of the trial that will be assured by Judge Hotah.

Meanwhile, Mako, Bolin, and Asami are waiting for Varrick in his mansion to close the deal with Future Industries. Just as Bolin comments that Eska cannot find him there, she, Desna, and several Northern waterbenders walk in looking for Varrick and inform the three members of Team Avatar that Varrick is a traitor as well as Korra's parents and they all are to stand trial. Eska, Desna, and the waterbenders leave finding no trace of Varrick, but before Eska walks out she insists that Bolin bow to her as she leaves, which he unquestioningly does while referring to her as his sweet koalaotter. Asami tells Bolin that he has to stand up for himself and tell Eska the truth about how he really feels. Varrick's voice suddenly interrupts, claiming that Bolin should disappear rather than be honest, like he did. Varrick reveals that he is hiding inside his stuffed platypus bear, Ping-Ping, along with Zhu Li, but he refuses to come out until he knows it is safe. Mako leaves to find Korra while Varrick gives Bolin some cash by means of the platypus bear's backside, noting that Bolin can use bribery to win the trial for the rebels, since it is most likely rigged by Unalaq, to which Bolin agrees.

Tenzin and Ikki having breakfast

Tenzin and Ikki have breakfast with four young sky bison.

At the Southern Air Temple, Tenzin is still looking for Ikki while being bothered by ring-tailed winged lemurs. He hears Ikki's voice from a nearby cave, where she is having a "civilized breakfast" with four young flying bison. Ikki is in the middle of saying a blessing, showing her thanks for the food, her new best friends and that Jinora and Meelo are not there, when Tenzin walks in and asks to join her. He takes a seat next to Blueberry Spicehead and is introduced to the other three, Princess Rainbow, Twinkle Starchild, and Juniper Lightning Bug, whom Ikki introduces as her new brothers and sisters. They also become Tenzin's new "brothers and sisters" after Ikki asks them if it is all right.

In a courtroom in Wolf Cove, Bolin explains to Asami that he gave some people all the money, told them to "take care of it", and winked at them. Asami notices the ordinary men in the crowd to whom he is referring and, knowing his mistake, slaps her forehead with the palm of her hand. When the bailiff called the court to order and presented Judge Hotah, Bolin realizes that he should have bribed Hotah, earning him a sarcastic agreement from Asami. The trial begins as Unalaq steps forward, informing everyone that he was attacked by rebels in the night while he was sleeping and that he awoke to find that Avatar Korra had saved him. Korra is questioned about the rebel meeting that had taken place to discuss a civil war. Korra answers honestly, explaining that all of the people on trial had attended the meeting, including her mother and father. In between Bolin's objections, she reveals the information that the meeting took place in her parents' house and was led by Tonraq and Varrick, but immediately objects afterward, claiming that her parents are nonetheless innocent. The judge retires from the courtroom, stating that he will return with his final decision.

Judge Hotah leaving

Judge Hotah leaves the courtroom after condemning the rebels to death.

Bolin steps out to try once more to break up with Eska, explaining that the spark they had is now gone. Eska agrees that there is a chasm and plans to fill it with marriage, marked by the betrothal necklace she gives to him with spikes and a skull charm on it. Judge Hotah returns and declares Senna's innocence, but informs the others that they have been found guilty of treason and each of them is sentenced to death, including Tonraq. Enraged, Korra threatens to kill Hotah if he carries out the sentence, but Unalaq interrupts saying that he will talk to the judge, and as a result he has their sentence commuted to life in prison, for which Korra thanks her uncle.

Back at the air temple, Tenzin and Ikki are still in the cave as Tenzin is enjoying not being yelled at or told that he is delusional. Ikki wants to invite Kya and Bumi, but Tenzin insists that they would "spoil [their] good mood". Ikki objects, commenting that Kya is nice and pretty, and that Bumi is funny. Tenzin takes this opportunity to explain to Ikki the difficulties of being part of a family by explaining that Meelo is funny too, and Jinora can be sweet and gentle. Ikki realizes that family will always be there when needed despite these difficulties and they both agree to go back, but also to return to visit the sky bison.

Korra and Senna enter Tonraq's cell at the Southern Water Tribe prison and are relieved to find out that he is all right. Korra wants to break her father out of prison, but he objects, informing her that saving him would start a war, in which case the North would crush the South. He assures her that he will be all right and makes her promise that she will not do anything rash. Korra and Senna return to their home, where Korra comforts her mother, who feels helpless.

Korra threatens Judge Hotah

Korra threatens Judge Hotah.

On a nearby mountainside, Korra chases down Judge Hotah while riding Naga and forces him out of his car, insisting he release her father from prison. The judge reveals that he cannot do that because he was simply following Unalaq's orders. Korra angrily demands that Hotah explain himself, but the judge tries to evade the question, stating that he has already said too much. He relents, however, after Korra threatens him by placing his head inside of Naga's mouth, informing the young Avatar that Unalaq had told him what to say but needed the trial to appear fair. Korra also finds out that Unalaq had only freed her mother and changed her father's sentence to keep her on his side while still getting his brother out of the way. Judge Hotah also blurts out that Unalaq was the one responsible for her father's banishment.

Inside the statue room at the Southern Air Temple, Bumi is talking to his father's statue, apologizing for not being an airbender and seeking his father's approval for trying to keep the world safe. Kya, after secretly listening to Bumi, assures him that Aang would most definitely be proud of him and comforts him with a hug, for which Bumi is thankful.

Bolin engaged

Bolin receives a Northern Water Tribe makeover after becoming engaged to Eska.

Back in the Southern Water Tribe, Korra tells Mako, Asami, and Varrick what she found out from the judge about Unalaq. She explains to them how Unalaq hired the barbarians to attack the Northern Water Tribe and told them to hide in the spirit forest, knowing that his brother would attack them. This got Tonraq banished, so that Unalaq could become chief himself. Korra asks Mako, Asami, and Varrick to help her bust her father out of jail, to which they willingly agree. Bolin and Pabu appear at the door, wearing formal Water Tribe robes, and Bolin angrily announces that he is getting married to Eska. Korra points out that the boy is supposed to give the girl the betrothal necklace, and Varrick assures Bolin that he will help him out of his relationship.

Korra and Mako fighting Unalaq

Korra and Mako oppose Unalaq.

Asami, Mako, and Korra infiltrate the prison, stunning a guard with an electrified glove and approaching Tonraq's cell, only to realize that he is not in there. Unalaq appears, telling Korra that she will never see her father again, since he is on a ship headed to the Northern Water Tribe to serve his sentence. Korra threatens to take out Unalaq and his army if he does not bring her father back, but he reminds her that she is the Avatar and, therefore, cannot threaten war because she must remain neutral in order for the tribes to be unified. Korra accuses Unalaq of never wanting unity, only power, and theorizes that he has always been jealous of Tonraq, pointing out that he must have been greatly upset to find out that his brother had fathered the Avatar. Unalaq still insists that he only wants to help Korra realize her destiny, but she does not buy it and tells him she does not want his help anymore. Unalaq goes on to tell Korra that the dark spirits will destroy the South if there is a civil war, but Korra continues to demand that Unalaq bring her father back and leave with his troops, thinking she has the advantage, since she is the only one that can open the Northern spirit portal. Unalaq taunts Korra by informing her that he does not, in fact, need her and that she has already served her purpose. Korra, enraged by this comment, sends several balls of fire whirling toward Unalaq, which he tactfully blocks with water that he bends from a water skin at his side. Unalaq retaliates, while Mako joins in with a fireblade, only to be blasted in the face by Unalaq. Korra dodges Unalaq's attacks and bends a blast of air down the corridor, sending Unalaq flying against the back wall. Team Avatar takes this opportunity to escape to Varrick's yacht.

Varrick's biplane

Asami, Mako, and Korra take off of Varrick's yacht in a biplane.

On the street, Bolin and "Ping-Ping" are walking down the street when a Northern Water Tribe soldier asks Bolin if he has a license for the animal. Varrick and Zhu Li, who are still inside of Ping-Ping drop money out of the backside of the Platypus bear, causing an uproar in the crowd, which causes a distraction for them and Bolin to slip onto Varrick's yacht. Korra, Mako, and Asami arrive on the yacht and plan to catch up to the ship that harbors Tonraq, realizing that the Northern Water Tribe ships are in the way. Korra mentions that she could waterbend the ships out of the way if she had a plane. Varrick responds by opening a hatch on his yacht, revealing a biplane, but there is no runway. However, Korra develops the idea of having Asami pilot the plane, while she and Mako supply sufficient thrust using firebending. The plan is a success and Korra clears a path for Varrick's yacht by going into the Avatar State and waterbending a huge wave that pushes the ships that form the blockade out of the way. Varrick drives his yacht through, while still in the platypus bear, with no problem and the three in the plane continue on to Tonraq's ship. They crash the plane into the water after jumping out and Korra waterbends them onto the ship, taking out the Northern soldiers while they are distracted by the plane crash, also using waterbending. Korra freezes one of the guards in ice and demands he tell her where the prisoners are. Korra finds and rescues Tonraq and the other prisoners, but her father questions her actions along the way. Everyone escapes onto Varrick's yacht and they get away.

Kya, Bumi, and Tenzin

After apologizing to each other, Kya, Bumi, and Tenzin reminisce over an old family photo.

Back at the air temple, Tenzin and Ikki return, much to Pema's relief, and Meelo and Jinora apologize at the prompting of their mother. The siblings make up and run off to play airball. Tenzin also apologizes to his siblings, admitting he had overlooked Aang's flaws. Kya and Bumi apologize in return, as Kya pulls out a picture of their family that she received from Katara. They all agree that, despite the imperfections in their family, they are indeed a happy family.

Meanwhile, Korra explains to her father everything that Unalaq did. Tonraq comes to the decision that he has to put his brother in his place. The other prisoners pledge their support, along with Korra, but Tonraq tells her that she can help by getting the United Forces on their side. She agrees and states that she will get all of the help that her father needs. Her father and the other prisoners depart from the yacht and return to coast, while Korra leaves with Mako, Bolin, Asami, Varrick and Zhu Li on the yacht.

Enraged Eska

An enraged Eska speeds toward Varrick's yacht.

Bolin thanks Korra for making the break-up between him and Eska official, but Varrick announces that they have company. Bolin informs everyone that it is his "darling Eska" speeding toward the yacht in a heartbroken rage of waterbending. Bolin then asks Varrick if the yacht is fast enough to outrun his "crazy, waterbending, ex-girlfriend", prompting Varrick to increase the speed of his yacht, saying "Why do you think I built this boat?" and they easily outrun Eska.


  • Additional voices:
    • Dee Bradley Baker

Production notes[]


Main article: Transcript:Civil Wars, Part 2
Main article: Transcript:Civil Wars, Part 2 (commentary)

Character revelations[]


  • When Bolin sarcastically thanks Mako at Varrick's house, the dark green collar of his shirt is missing.


  • The episode title is a double entendre regarding both the Water Tribe Civil War and the divide between Tenzin and his family.[1]
  • Even though Zhu Li was present and her voice can be heard, her face is not shown due to spending the entire episode inside a platypus bear costume with Varrick.
  • This is the only episode in which any cars or trucks are seen in any of the Water Tribes.
  • Korra's interrogation of Judge Hotah was inspired by the television series 24, with Bryan Konietzko and Joaquim Dos Santos joking that Korra is a kid-friendly version of Jack Bauer.[2]
  • The action sequence in which Team Avatar breaks through the Northern blockade was cut in half due to animation difficulties and time purposes. Part of the deleted sequence included Mako hanging upside down from a plane and firebending at the Northern ships.[2]
  • Joshua Hamilton came up with the names of the sky bison calves which Ikki befriend because his daughter is fond of princesses.[2]
  • The moment of Ping-Ping "pooping" money was initially more graphic in its disbursement, with the network requesting that it look more like an ATM dispensing cash.[2]
  • Despite Studio Pierrot being the animation studio responsible for the episode, members of Studio Mir did do freelance storyboarding and background design for certain sequences, including Bolin and Eska's betrothal, Unalaq's fight with Korra and Mako, and Team Avatar blockade running the Northern fleet.[2]
  • Bumi and Aang's statue being illuminated by a sliver of sunlight while contrasting with the other silhouetted statues in the sanctuary was a nod to the lighting techniques used in the film noir genre.[2]