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"In Harm's Way" is the fourth episode of Book Three: Change of The Legend of Korra and the 30th of the overall series. It aired on Nickelodeon along with "The Metal Clan" on July 11, 2014.


Lord Zuko, Chief Tonraq, and Chiefs Desna and Eska face Ghazan, Zaheer, and Ming-Hua in an attempt to stop them from freeing P'Li, but fail to prevent her escape. Meanwhile, Mako and Bolin reveal to the rest of the team that the Earth Queen is capturing all the airbenders within her grasp; with Jinora's help, Team Avatar discovers the location of their prison. Despite Lin's warning to Korra that Zaheer and his companions have escaped, imperiling her life, Korra refuses to leave Ba Sing Se without having freed the airbenders. Working together, Team Avatar stages a successful prison break, and they flee the Earth Kingdom capital. Tenzin, Jinora, and the airbenders head toward the Northern Air Temple, while Team Avatar and Lin continue their quest through the Earth Kingdom to find more airbenders.


Lord Zuko arrives outside of P'Li's prison in the North Pole on Druk, and informs Tonraq, Desna, and Eska that he did not see any individuals heading toward the facility. He warns the group of an oncoming snowstorm, which Tonraq immediately identifies as the work of Zaheer, who is covering his and his cabal's attack on the prison with airbending. The two groups clash, with Tonraq declaring that he imprisoned Zaheer thirteen years prior and intends to do it again. The tribal chief attempts to subdue the airbender with waterbending, but the latter evades his attacks effortlessly.

Ming-Hua and P'Li escape

Ming-Hua and P'Li make their way out of the firebender's prison.

Desna and Eska attempt to subdue Ming-Hua with a series of ice projectiles. When she avoids them, the twins conjure a barrage of iceberg spikes in another attempt to stop her approach, but Ming-Hua weaves her way through the spikes and traps them in ice columns. Using an ice drill, the waterbender tunnels down to P'Li's cell and frees the combustionbender, much to her surprise. The two return to the surface with P'Li hanging on Ming-Hua's back; the former casually remarks that it would have been easier to take the elevator, as opposed to using ice claws to climb. Zuko's dragon immediately attacks the two with a fire blast, which P'Li dissipates; stating that she has waited thirteen years to feel warmth, she attacks Druk with a combustion beam. The four criminals promptly flee the scene after Ghazan and P'Li subdue Zuko and Tonraq, respectively. P'Li embraces Zaheer, telling him that she doubted that she would ever see him again, and the two kiss passionately, much to Ghazan's chagrin.

In Ba Sing Se, Tu provides Bolin and Mako with passports to allow them access to the Upper Ring. The two thank him for his efforts and proceed to bid their extended family farewell, finally returning to Team Avatar's temporary home, where they come across Korra and Asami training. Korra emphatically insists on the presence of airbenders in Ba Sing Se, calling Earth Queen Hou-Ting a liar. Asami asks for a break as Korra letting off steam is beginning to hurt. Seconds later, Mako and Bolin, exhausted by running the entire distance from the Lower Ring, tell her that the Earth Queen has been kidnapping the airbenders to train them as part of an elite division of her army. The Queen arrives shortly after with supposed news of airbenders in the Yang province, stating that it was exactly the type of news for which the Avatar is looking. Korra thanks her halfheartedly, but expresses her desire to remain in the city for a while longer, with Asami stating that they need to stay for at least another day to repair the Future Industries airship. Hou-Ting, having an allergic reaction to Pabu's fur, leaves in frustration.

Mako talks about Lake Laogai

Mako suggests that the Dai Li might be using Lake Laogai to house the imprisoned airbenders, as it was the site of a secret fortress in 100 AG.

Inside their home, the members of Team Avatar discuss their disbelief over the Earth Queen's actions. Bumi points out that the Queen's doing technically is not illegal, as she does have the legal right to conscript her citizens. Jinora expresses her concern over Kai's safety, believing that he has also been taken, but Korra assures her that they will find him. Mako speculates that the airbenders could be underneath Lake Laogai, as he read in one of Jinora's books that it was used as a secret Dai Li fortress in the past. Jinora states that she can explore it by creating an spiritual projection of herself, much to everyone's surprise. Although she reveals that the projection would not be as strong as it was during Harmonic Convergence, she ensures that the use of the technique will be successful if she is able to create the projection close enough to the lake. Together, they plan to free Kai and the airbenders.

In the training compound, the Dai Li sergeant tells the airbenders that they are now the property of the Earth Queen, responsible for protecting her at all costs; he forces them to spar with each other using airbending. Kai battles Yung, who asks him to be less aggressive, as he is still a beginner. This angers the sergeant, who tells Kai never to show mercy and to attack his opponent with no restraint. Kai regretfully attacks Yung again and apologizes, prompting the sergeant to state that soldiers never apologize. Irate, the young airbender replies that he is not a soldier, much to the sergeant's amusement, who assures Kai that he will have become one by the time his training is over.

Jinora explores Lake Laogai

A spiritual projection of Jinora explores Lake Laogai.

Korra, Tenzin, and Jinora arrive at a small island on Lake Laogai, where the young airbender creates an astral projection and explores the abandoned remains of the Dai Li's fortress; when she is unable to find any evidence of any airbenders being kept there, Korra asks Jinora if she knows of any other places where prisoners could be detained in secret. She replies that there are numerous possibilities, including the Crystal Catacombs beneath the Upper Ring, the sewers beneath the Lower Ring, and the maze of tunnels linking the three rings. Unfazed, Korra asks Jinora how she managed to find her during Harmonic Convergence, and the latter replies that the spiritual connection between the two of them enabled her to focus specifically on Korra's energy. Knowing Jinora has a crush on Kai, Korra urges her to find him using the same method, expressing the belief that the two have a connection of their own, a statement which concerns Tenzin.

Back at the compound, the Dai Li sergeant attacks the airbenders with earth disks to test their abilities. Kai defends Yung, prompting the sergeant to attack him with a series of disks which inevitably subdue him. Kai then unsuccessfully tries to attack the sergeant and is sent to solitary confinement, where Jinora's projection suddenly appears in front of him. After assuring Kai that she will find a way to free him, Jinora floats to the surface and discovers that the compound is directly underneath the Earth Queen's temple.

Lin reveals Zaheer's escape

Lin Beifong reveals that Zaheer and the Red Lotus have escaped.

After revealing to Team Avatar that the compound is hiding the airbenders in plain sight, they resolve to free them at night. They are unexpectedly visited by Lin Beifong, who reveals to Tenzin that Zaheer and his cabal escaped their prisons and are in pursuit of Korra. Tenzin asks how they could have possibly escaped and becomes demoralize when he learns that Zaheer is now an airbender. When Korra asks who they are talking about, Tenzin reveals that thirteen years prior, shortly after Korra was identified as the next Avatar, the group attempted to kidnap her for reasons that were never revealed, but were stopped by he, his uncle Chief Sokka, Zuko, and Korra's father, which is why he and Tonraq kept her hidden in the South, rather than let her travel the world like Aang and all the previous Avatars had done. When Mako inquires what they wanted with her, Lin responds that years of interrogation could not get any information out of them. Lin urges Korra to return to Republic City, but the latter refuses as she is no longer a little kid in need of protection and refuses to do so until she frees the airbenders from the Earth Queen, prompting Lin to help them.

That night, Team Avatar breaks into the compound with several objectives: Korra, Bumi, and Tenzin search for the airbenders; Bolin, Mako, and Jinora search for Kai; and Asami and Lin wait outside with the airships to provide a means of escape. Korra and Tenzin find the airbenders and tell them that if they are to escape, they will need to hurry, prompting Bumi to alert Lin to come with the airships. Meanwhile, Bolin, Mako, and Jinora break Kai out and Jinora kisses him on the cheek; an amused Bolin states that Tenzin would not be happy to know of it. Kai apologizes to the brothers for stealing from them. The three attempt to join up with the others, but are confronted by three Dai Li agents, including the sergeant.

Airbenders fend off the Dai Li

The airbenders fend off the Dai Li using airbending.

Exiting the compound, Korra and the airbenders are accosted by Dai Li agents and Earth Queen Hou-Ting; the latter asserts that stealing the airbenders would be an act of war. Korra dismisses the Queen's threat and manage to subdue the Dai Li agents with help from the airbenders. Inside, Bolin and Mako are able to defeat two of the Dai Li agents, while Kai quickly subdues the sergeant when he threatens Jinora's life. Both groups flee the capital, as Bumi and the airbenders depart on the airships while the other members escape on Oogi. They land on a mountain summit somewhere in the Earth Kingdom, where Tenzin and Korra let the airbenders decide if they want to go to the Northern Air Temple to train and live in the ways of the Air Nomads or be relocated to a safer place. All of the airbenders decide to join Tenzin at the Northern Air Temple, much to his delight, while Korra and the rest of the group continue their search for airbenders in the Earth Kingdom.


Production notes[]


Main article: Transcript:In Harm's Way
Main article: Transcript:In Harm's Way (commentary)

Series continuity[]

  • Mako mentions reading about a secret Dai Li fortress underneath Lake Laogai, which was discovered by the original Team Avatar in "Lake Laogai". Jinora explores the fortress shortly after and discovers that it is abandoned, having been destroyed by the Dai Li in "The Earth King".
    • The small island on Lake Laogai that Korra, Tenzin, Jinora, and Oogi land on is the same one Team Avatar rested on in "The Earth King".[1]
    • During her search, Jinora projected herself into the same room where Jet died in "Lake Laogai".[1]
  • Korra references the time Jinora created an astral projection to help her find Raava during Harmonic Convergence in "Light in the Dark".
  • Korra expresses understanding over Tenzin and Tonraq's decision to keep her locked inside the Southern Water Tribe compound, a decision of which she was made aware by Unalaq in "Rebel Spirit".

Character revelations[]

  • Earth Queen Hou-Ting is allergic to animal fur.
  • Jinora retained the ability to create astral projections even following Harmonic Convergence.
  • Zaheer and his cabal attempted to kidnap Korra when she was young, which is why they were incarcerated for thirteen years and why the Avatar was sheltered away for her training.
  • Tenzin reveals that Sokka became a tribal chief.


  • This episode was one of four to be leaked by the Mexican Nickelodeon website, MundoNick, on June 8, 2014.[2]
  • The Earth Queen's allergic reaction to animal fur was originally going to be even more pronounced, with Michael Dante DiMartino deciding to cut down how much the monarch sneezed after her fit had been recorded.[1]
  • A scene in which Asami and Lin sneak into their airships and a flashback scene depicting the Red Lotus' first kidnapping attempt of Korra were cut from the final storyboard.[1]
    • In the commentary for the episode, Bryan Konietzko expressed an interest in seeing the flashback illustrated by storyboard artist and fan-comic writer Johane Matte.[1]
  • The scene in which Ming-Hua opens P'Li's cell door was inspired by an episode of MacGyver, in which the titular character is trapped inside a meat locker and escapes by trickling melted ice water into the door lock as means of breaking it once the water refroze.[1]
  • The Dai Li sending a hail of rock glove tiles at a fleeing Mako, Bolin, Jinora, and Kai was a callback to the Dai Li using the same move during their pursuit of Zuko and Iroh in "The Crossroads of Destiny".[1]