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"Aang ... this whole time ... you were trying to warn me about Tarrlok."
Korra to herself after meditating on her visions.

"Out of the Past" is the ninth episode of Book One: Air of The Legend of Korra and the ninth of the overall series. It debuted on June 9, 2012, on Nickelodeon.


After being imprisoned by Tarrlok, Korra tries to analyze the mysterious visions she has been experiencing. Meanwhile, Tarrlok devises an alibi and successfully covers up his duel with Korra as an Equalist attack. Tenzin and Lin Beifong, along with Mako, Bolin, and Asami, begin looking for Equalist hostages and Korra.


After Tarrlok arrives at a cabin located within the mountains near Republic City, he uses bloodbending to levitate Korra and lock her in a metal box. He leaves her imprisoned there.

The next morning, Tenzin's telephone rings as he is sleeping with Pema and Meelo. When Meelo picks up the phone, he states his displeasure with the earliness of the call and states that it better be important. Tenzin takes the phone from him and is horrified when he hears the news.

Investigation at City Hall

The Metalbending Police Force investigates the artificial attack on City Hall that led to Korra's abduction.

As the airbender arrives at City Hall, he finds Tarrlok having his arm treated by a healer and conversing with Chief Saikhan along with reporters on the scene. As Tenzin questions him about the events, Tarrlok lies, stating that Korra was captured by the Equalists after she came to his office demanding her friends be released. A flashback reveals, however, that it was in actuality Tarrlok who fabricated the entire scene as an Equalist attack himself, planting weapons to make it appear convincing and even going as far as to purposely electrocute himself on the arm.

When Lin Beifong, who is currently in the hospital, hears of the events on the radio, she metalbends her armor back on, takes off her Metalbending Police Force chief badge, puts on a coat and sets out to the police headquarters. There, she frees Asami, Mako, and Bolin from prison. As Bolin suffered from the lack of privacy while urinating, Lin relays the message that Korra has been abducted by Amon. The three are horrified, especially Mako, who is stunned and refuses to believe that she is gone. When the four approach Tenzin, the Councilman is surprised that Lin decided to forgo her stay at the hospital as well as the fact that the three teenagers are out of prison. Lin reminds Tenzin that finding Korra is more important and they decide to look for the Avatar together. Lin theorizes that in order to find Korra, they might have to search underground, to which Asami agrees, bitterly remembering her father's underground factory. Bolin shares his idea that the Equalists might be using tunnels to move underground, recalling how it sounded like the Equalists drove through tunnels when he was abducted along with the triads.

Older Aang and Toph

Korra envisions a forty-year-old Aang and Toph on their way to arrest Yakone.

Struggling to escape the metal box set up by Tarrlok, Korra is shouting for help and pounding the sides with her fists in the vain hope that someone will hear. Upon realizing the futility of her actions, she sits down while Tenzin's idea of meditating to learn Aang's message enters her mind. She meditates and successfully has visions of Aang's past. In her vision, she sees Aang and Toph Beifong talking alongside metalbending police officers. Toph tells Aang that he does not need to be here as she can handle this. Aang replies by saying that if the statements from witnesses are true, they are not dealing with a normal criminal, making his involvement in this situation a necessity. Toph submits to his request calling Aang by his childhood nickname of "Twinkle Toes" at which he becomes displeased, saying that he is far too old to be called that anymore and asks her to stop with the nicknames, though Toph casually responds that she cannot do that. The vision progresses to that of Aang and Toph in Kwong's Cuisine, arresting Yakone of his alleged crimes per witness statements. Yakone claims that he has beaten every charge against him before and can do it again. The vision ends with Korra pleased that she is finally able to connect to her past life.

Mako threatening Equalist

Mako threatens an Equalist in his eagerness to find out Korra's whereabouts.

As Lin, Mako, Tenzin, Bolin, and Asami locate the tunnel in the snowy streets of Republic City, the former police chief leads them through the dark passages using her seismic sense. Noticing Mako taking the lead, Asami feels his strong determination to find Korra as abnormal and she becomes discomforted. She later asks Bolin if they have shared feelings toward each other. After some pressuring, Bolin tells her that they had in fact kissed once during the tournament, but that it is "no big deal" and she has nothing to worry about, much to her dismay. Asami is not convinced by Bolin's reassurance and becomes saddened. The group spots two Equalists on motorcycles entering a secret passage and follow them. The team eventually reaches a large underground facility. They board a small tram cart, which they take through a tunnel to the other side. Scanning the prison with her seismic sense, Lin Beifong finds and frees her officers, though learns that they have already lost their bending due to being imprisoned in metal bars that she has easily opened. In the hallway, Mako angrily interrogates an Equalist about Korra's whereabouts, threatening him with his firebending, only for the man to tell him that they neither have the Avatar nor attacked City Hall, and that Tarrlok is lying. Lin confirms this by saying that she searched the prison and did not find Korra. When Mako asks why Tarrlok would make up a story about being attacked, Tenzin deduces that Tarrlok is the one who had abducted Korra all along.

The alarm sounds, forcing the team to make their escape. Bolin uses earthbending to delay a rail cart of pursuing Equalist chi-blockers, but Lin spots the Lieutenant, chi-blockers, and mecha tanks that arrive at the end of the tunnel to block the fleeing team. Lin, however, evades them by using a metal pipe as a ramp, piercing a hole in the roof with her earthbending and piercing another leading to the streets.

Yakone being tried

Yakone's lawyer defends him at his trial.

Meanwhile, Korra dives deeper into her vision, witnessing Yakone's trial. The prosecution attorney announces that despite his control over the criminal empire, he has managed to stay out of the law's reach until now. Chairman Sokka and the rest of the United Republic Council hear out the accusations toward Yakone. The prosecution is accusing Yakone of resurrecting bloodbending, a technique that has been illegal all these years, supported by statements from witnesses. The defense attorney counters by reminding them of the rarity of such a skill and that a bender can only perform it under the full moon, which is contradictory to the witnesses claiming they saw Yakone bloodbending every day save for during the full moon.

After a period of time, Sokka announces the verdict of the Council. He explains how in his day, he had fought a firebender able to produce fire from his head, defeating him with his "trusty boomerang" and how before Toph Beifong had discovered metalbending, everyone had thought that such techniques were impossible. He rules that while bloodbending is indeed a rare skill, his past experience has taught him that there are people capable of doing feats which many consider impossible to do and that Yakone is one of these unique benders. Thus, the Council finds Yakone guilty of all charges and sentences him to life in prison. Outraged at the loss of the trial, the defense attorney crumples a piece of paper and throws it on the ground.

After the verdict, Yakone takes a stand while his eyes appear to bulge. At this time, Sokka is bloodbent, with his body contorting to Yakone's will. Toph tries to intervene with metalbending, but she too is overpowered. Yakone goes on to bloodbend everyone in the room, even Aang who was struggling to reach him.

Tarrlok bloodbending at City Hall

Tarrlok subdues the other Council members, Lin, Saikhan, and Team Avatar.

As Tenzin, Lin, Mako, Bolin, and Asami arrive at City Hall, they meet with the rest of the Council and Chief Saikhan, with Lin and her former captain sharing a cold greeting. When Tarrlok arrives, asking if they have news of the Avatar, Tenzin states they do and accuses him of having been the one who kidnapped her. Tarrlok denies and reiterates that the Equalists attacked and took Korra, but Tenzin refutes his story and accuses him of planting the evidence of the alleged attack. Tarrlok dismisses their accusations, but the council page confirms Tenzin's story as he witnessed Tarrlok placing Korra in the back of a truck. Tarrlok denies it once again and calls the page a "squeaky-voiced liar". When Lin asks the page why he waited until now to disclose this information, he admits to being terrified of Tarrlok's bloodbending abilities, which he saw him use to subdue Korra. Despite the group's initial shock, they confront the councilman, with Tenzin advising him not to make it harder on himself and to tell them Korra's location. Tarrlok, foregoing all pretenses, knocks out everyone through bloodbending and makes his escape.

As the group at City Hall recovers, Bolin states that he had an awful dream in which Korra was taken by a bloodbender, though Asami quickly notifies him that really happened and the power-mad bloodbender knocked them out. The group resolves to go after Tarrlok in order to find Korra.

Aang energybending Yakone

Aang removes Yakone's bending.

Korra dives even deeper into her past life's experiences, and witnesses Yakone force Toph to unlock his handcuffs through bloodbending. Once his hands are free, he knocks everyone, except Aang, unconscious. Yakone lifts him into the air and laughs at his helplessness, to which Aang replies that he will not get away with it. Yakone laughs again, promising to return one day and conquer Republic City, and throws him into the steps to knock him unconscious. He leaves City Hall and climbs into an ostrich horse-drawn carriage. As he rides away, Avatar Aang enters the Avatar State and chases after Yakone, using an air scooter. Aang airbends the carriage, causing it to crash across the street. As he closes in on the carriage, Yakone jumps up and bloodbends Aang to stop his attack. An enraged Yakone states that he is going to finish Aang's life once and for all, levitating him and trying to break his neck. When he was just about to die, Aang enters the Avatar State and breaks free of Yakone's control. Aang earthbends Yakone, preventing his movement, and uses energybending to remove the criminal's waterbending abilities for good. As Korra's vision comes to an end, she understands that her visions were Aang's way of trying to warn her about Tarrlok.

Amon fighting Tarrlok

Amon fights Tarrlok just before taking his bending.

Tarrlok arrives at Korra's cell, telling her that his life had been ruined because of her. Korra deduces that the fact that he is a bloodbender has been discovered and that he is Yakone's son, which is how he could bloodbent her without a full moon. Tarrlok does not deny her accusation and states that while he was his son, he became someone else in order to win Republic City by becoming its "savior", rather than through its criminal underworld like his father. He tells her of how perfect his plan was before Korra intervened; of controlling the city through winning over the people, contrasting with his father's failed attempt to rule Republic City through its "rotten underbelly." As Tarrlok tells her that he will start a new life, taking her as his hostage, he heads upstairs and sees Amon, alongside some of his chi-blockers and the Lieutenant. The mysterious man behind the mask tells the chairman that it is "time for him to be equalized". Tarrlok retorts by saying that they have yet to face bending like his and proceeds to use his bloodbending to put down the chi-blockers and the Lieutenant. However, Amon remains standing and starts to advance toward Tarrlok. Tarrlok tries once again, but Amon continues to move toward him, albeit with some difficulty. Gasping in horror, Tarrlok asks Amon what he is, and as he responds by simply saying he is "the solution", Amon restrains Tarrlok and subsequently takes his bending.

The Equalists watch Korra flee

Amon, the Lieutenant, and an Equalist watch Korra escape.

As Amon orders his men to electrocute the box as a safety precaution and take Korra, the Avatar slings her armband over the bars at the top of the box and hoists herself up to avoid the electrical current, faking a cry of pain. As Lieutenant opens the box finding what seems to be an unconscious Korra, the Avatar attacks them with firebending and incapacitates them with earthbending, allowing her to escape. She rushes out of the cabin and, from a distance, manages to get a glimpse of Amon abducting Tarrlok. Korra waterbends sharp icicles at Amon to give her time to escape. She slides down the mountain with Amon overlooking from behind and reprimanding the Lieutenant about their underestimation of her.

Mako holding Korra

Mako holds Korra after she is rescued by Naga.

However, on her way down, she trips on a root and slides several feet through the snow before slamming into a tree down the mountain, where she is later found by Naga, who brings her back to the city. When Tenzin, Lin, Mako, Bolin, and Asami find her, Tenzin and Lin begin to question her on how she escaped and where Tarrlok was. Mako pushes them aside and demands they give her some space. He lifts her off Naga and carries her toward Oogi, where he tells her how worried he was and asks her if she is okay. Korra responds with a smile and says she is fine, and that she is glad that he is here. Mako carries her up and lays her down at the back of Oogi's saddle. He brushes her hair out of her face and brushes the cut on her face with his hand, reassuring her that she is safe now.


  • Additional voices:
    • Mindy Sterling
    • Steve Blum
    • Jeff Bennett
    • Kate Higgins (prosecution attorney)
    • Dee Bradley Baker
    • Clancy Brown

Production notes[]


Main article: Transcript:Out of the Past
Main article: Transcript:Out of the Past (commentary)

Series continuity[]

  • Tarrlok lies to Tenzin and the police about the events at the end of "When Extremes Meet", planting Equalist gear at the scene of his battle against Korra in order to frame them for her disappearance, when it was in fact he who kidnapped her.
  • Aang's energybending improved considerably since Ozai's final defeat, as Aang was able to remove Yakone's bending with little effort.
  • Korra's flashbacks in "The Voice in the Night", "And the Winner Is...", and "When Extremes Meet" are fully explained. The visions tried to warn Korra not to trust Tarrlok.
  • In the flashback, Aang notes that he is forty years of age when he meets up with Toph and her officers to arrest Yakone.
  • In the flashback, Sokka mentions his defeat of Combustion Man and references Toph's discovery of metalbending.
  • Toph referred to Aang as "Twinkle Toes" in the flashback, a name she used to refer to Aang ever since the two met.
  • Bolin recalls the time he was kidnapped in "The Revelation".
  • Asami mentions her father's underground secret factory found in "The Aftermath".
  • The Equalist that Mako threatens was seen in the audience of "And the Winner Is...".
  • This is the first episode to show a location outside of Republic City since "Welcome to Republic City".
  • When the Lieutenant electrocutes the box in which Korra is trapped, she uses her wristband to endure the shock. After escaping, Korra does not have her right wristband for the rest of this episode and the beginning of the next.
  • Bolin preventing the Equalists from chasing him by collapsing a tunnel and saying "Try to chi-block that, fools!" is similar to Katara trapping Ty Lee in slurry from the Fire Nation drill and saying, "Why don't you try blocking my chi now, circus freak?" in "The Drill".

Character revelations[]

  • Tarrlok is Yakone's son.
  • The members of the Metalbending Police Force who were abducted in "The Aftermath" have had their bending taken away by Amon.
  • Sokka is revealed to have been the representative of the Southern Water Tribe and Chairman of the United Republic Council forty-two years prior to the present day.
  • Amon demonstrates that he is able to resist the effects of bloodbending, albeit with some difficulty.


  • When Meelo wakes up, he has two buttons on his pants. In the next shot, he has none.
  • When Tenzin first enters City Hall, the Equalist rope was not on the pillar. However, in subsequent shots, it appears.
  • In the scene in which Tarrlok is planting the evidence against Korra, the City Hall stands are all in place but two. However, in the previous chapter, "When Extremes Meet", they were completely destroyed by Korra.
  • When Tarrlok is knocked unconscious, the glove is still on his arm. Yet when he comes to, the glove is some distance away.
  • In the flashback in which Toph points at Yakone and says he is under arrest, she has six fingers. This error is also present in the same flashback from "And the Winner Is...", which uses the same footage.
  • When Yakone first uses bloodbending in Korra's vision, his lawyer is seen slumped over to the right of him. However, in the next shot of him, seen from behind, and all subsequent shots, the lawyer is on his left.
  • During the council page's flashback, after Tarrlok closes the back door to the car, he punches the right door. During the actual event in "When Extremes Meet", he punches the left door.
  • Before Tarrlok bloodbent Tenzin, Lin, and everyone except the council page in the City Hall, Chief Saikhan is seen behind Lin. However, when Tarrlok bloodbends them, he is on the left of Tenzin.
  • When the council page reveals that Tarrlok is a bloodbender and the latter decides to attack preemptively, characters behind Tenzin and Lin seem to change place.
  • After being bloodbent into unconsciousness by Tarrlok, Asami's left foot and shadow are drawn over the nearby desk.
  • While the camera zooms out on Korra after her last vision of Aang, she looks completely unharmed, though all the wounds she sustained during her battle with Tarrlok reappear afterward.
  • When Team Avatar, along with Tenzin and Lin, find Korra being carried on Naga's back, Asami and Bolin are next to Oogi, meters away from Lin, Tenzin, Korra, and Mako; in the next shot they are away from Oogi behind Tenzin and Lin.


  • The two Equalists who discover the empty tram car were voiced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko in uncredited roles. Konietzko's character was affectionately referred to as the "sassy chi-blocker".[1][2]
  • The healer treating Tarrlok's wound is the first male healer seen in either series.
  • This is the second time Aang is shown energybending within the two series.
  • This is the first episode where Meelo makes an appearance and his sisters do not.
  • When Aang was going after Yakone, the score "Aang's Theme" from the original series can be heard in the background.
  • The title of this episode, "Out of the Past", reflects Korra's visions explaining Yakone's history.
  • This is the first time that the City Hall council room is seen with an audience present.
  • This is the first episode in which Lin Beifong is seen bending while not wearing her armor.
  • Even if Korra made contact with her cell as it was conducting electricity, she would not have received a shock, through the Faraday cage logic.
  • It was revealed by the creators in the Korra: Making of a Legend marathon that Aang's message to Korra was meant to warn her about Amon, not Tarrlok.[3]
  • A cut scene for the episode involved Lin encountering her former subordinates in the Republic City Police as she was going to jailbreak Korra's friends; the police would have tried to stop her, only for Lin to intimidate them into letting her pass.[2]
  • Book One storyboard supervisor Colin Heck wrote Bolin's moment of smelling the alleyway he was brought through during his kidnapping in "The Revelation".[2]
  • This episode is a nod to old film noir movies, notably in Tarrlok's decision to hide Avatar Korra in a cabin outside of the city, as the use of hidden mountainside cabins by villains is a common plot device in such films.[4]