|"I think there's been some sort of misunderstanding. I'm not going with you. I might be able to airbend, but I'm no Air Nomad, I'm no monk."|
|— Kuon to Tenzin.|
"Rebirth" is the second episode of Book Three: Change of The Legend of Korra and the 28th of the overall series. It aired on Nickelodeon along with "A Breath of Fresh Air" and "The Earth Queen" on June 27, 2014.
Tenzin, Jinora, and Team Avatar travel toward Ba Sing Se in an attempt to find new airbenders. They stop at various villages along the way, hoping to convince them to join the new Air Nation. Their efforts are met with little success, however, as they are able to convince only one person, a young boy named Kai, to join them. Meanwhile, Zaheer travels the world, first freeing Ghazan and then Ming-Hua from their prisons, before the three set course for the Northern Water Tribe to liberate the last member of their group, P'Li. Upon learning of their escape, Lord Zuko sets a course for the Northern Water Tribe himself, intending to stop them.
Asami arrives at Air Temple Island with a fully-equipped Future Industries airship, ready to aid Team Avatar, Tenzin, and Jinora in their expedition to search for airbenders in Ba Sing Se. Kya assures the group that she and Pema will take care of the island in the group's absence and expresses excitement over the chance to spend time with Rohan, who promptly vomits on her. Kya quickly cleans herself with her waterbending, while Pema takes the baby and states that he likes her.
Meanwhile, Mako arrives, bringing with him a map that he has marked with the locations of all the reported sightings of airbenders in the Earth Kingdom. Korra urges him join the trip, as he is still a part of Team Avatar, but Mako refuses, choosing to return to Republic City. Tenzin bids Pema farewell and promises to let her know once airbenders have been recruited to train at the Northern Air Temple. Ikki and Meelo ask their father why Jinora was the only one allowed to go to Ba Sing Se, but their disappointment is assuaged by Kya, who insists that they are needed at Air Temple Island to assist any airbenders who may come to them. Before he can leave the docks, Mako is stopped by Bolin. Mako cites his belief that he is drifting apart from Team Avatar as his reason for leaving, but his brother convinces him to join Korra anyway, pointing out that as they will be visiting their father's birthplace in Ba Sing Se, he does not want to disappoint their paternal grandmother, if they see her.
As the group leaves for Ba Sing Se, they discuss a plan to visit every settlement reported to have an airbender before landing in Ba Sing Se and excitedly consider the prospects of recreating the Air Nation.
A boat arrives at a wooden prison surrounded by ocean, no land in sight. The White Lotus sentries on the platform, guarding a single prison cell made of wood, are initially relieved as they believe their shift change has arrived, but they grow alarmed to see Zaheer piloting the craft. He easily overpowers the guards with airbending and manages to toss three stones into the cell during the altercation. The prisoner, Ghazan, promptly earthbends them, converting them into a whirling shuriken of lava and using it to cut through the wooden bars locking him in. He kicks the wall out, crushing a guard in the process, before taking out the remaining two with his lava shuriken. Thanking Zaheer for giving him the means to free himself, Ghazan inquires as to where he acquired his airbending abilities. Zaheer attributes them to Harmonic Convergence, interpreting it as a sign that their mission is righteous.
The Future Industries airship arrives in a small Earth Kingdom village, and the team is invited to a special dinner with Kuon, a local farmer who has gained the ability to airbend. Tenzin informs Kuon that he is going to help him rebuild the Air Nation. Hearing this, Kuon becomes defensive, refusing to leave his family to learn about the Air Nomads. When Tenzin continues to insist that he join them, Kuon reaffirms his position and urges Tenzin to leave his village.
The group visits other Earth Kingdom villages but is ultimately unsuccessful at recruiting individuals, who have lives of their own and are uninterested in learning about the Air Nomads. Deciding that Tenzin's method of recruitment is not working, Korra, Mako, and Bolin try taking matters into their own hands. They attempt to force a young, unambitious airbender named Ryu to join their cause but are ultimately unable to convince him.
Locked in a volcanic prison, Ming-Hua hears the White Lotus sentries nearby alerting each other that the prison is under attack. Zaheer and Ghazan overpower the guards and provide Ming-Hua with a barrel of water, which she bends to create tentacle-like arms to escape her cell. Ming-Hua takes out the remaining sentries and reunites with Zaheer and Ghazan, who inform her that they will be breaking P'Li out of prison next.
Meanwhile, a disheartened Team Avatar considers whether heading straight to Ba Sing Se would be the best course of action but ultimately decides to host an "airbending street performance" proposed by Bolin and Bumi. With Bolin acting as the host, Tenzin, Korra, Bumi, and Jinora demonstrate their bending in an attempt to entice airbenders to join their group.
Following the show, a young airbender named Kai offers to join Team Avatar's mission to recruit airbenders. Requiring parental consent, Tenzin asks Kai what his parents think of him leaving to become an Air Nomad. Dejectedly, Kai tells Team Avatar that his parents died protecting their village from an outlaw raid. The group decides to admit him, but before the airship can leave, a group of earthbenders arrive demanding custody of the boy. Identifying them as the outlaws, Kai urges the group to flee, but Korra decides to confront the men instead.
After a short fight, the men reveal that they are officers from the town seeking to arrest Kai for stealing his foster family's life savings. Kai ultimately concedes that the sheriff's account is true but insists that gaining bending changed him and pleads for Korra and Tenzin to take him along. Tenzin ultimately decides to recruit him. Before the group leaves, Mako stops Kai, warning him that he will be wary of his action, as he is more than familiar with the kind of person Kai is due to their similar backgrounds. Kai reiterates that he is planning to change, before turning to board the airship, where he meets Jinora, who sheepishly offers to teach him what she knows about airbending.
Back at the volcanic prison, a sentry informs Lord Zuko of Ming Hua's escape and Zaheer's acquisition of airbending, visibly alarming the former Fire Lord. Zuko places great emphasis on the prowess of each of the escaped convicts, stating that they have the power to "take down the entire world" as a unit. Knowing that they will come to release P'Li, Zuko instructs the sentry to send a message to Desna and Eska, the chiefs of the Northern Water Tribe, to warn them that an attack on their prison is imminent. He also orders a message to be sent to Chief Lin Beifong, requesting that she make the safeguarding of the Avatar her primary concern. Having finished relaying his instructions, Zuko mounts his dragon and flies toward the Northern Water Tribe.
- Written by:
- Directed by:
- Janet Varney - Korra
- David Faustino - Mako
- P. J. Byrne - Bolin
- J. K. Simmons - Tenzin
- Seychelle Gabriel - Asami
- Henry Rollins - Zaheer
- Jeff Bennett:
- Dee Bradley Baker
- Lisa Edelstein - Kya
- Richard Riehle - Bumi
- Mindy Sterling - Beifong
- Mindy Sterling is credited despite Lin not appearing in the episode.
- Logan Wells - Meelo
- Darcy Rose Byrnes - Ikki
- Kiernan Shipka - Jinora
- Also starring:
- Specially designed prisons against benders were previously seen in "The Runaway", with a wooden cell in which Toph and Katara were held, and in "The Puppetmaster", with suspended cells in Hama's prison.
- This episode marks the first time the borders of the United Republic are revealed.
- The fake moustache that Bolin uses for his airbending street performance was borrowed from the street performer costume that he wore in "The Revelation".
- Mako and Bolin's father grew up in Ba Sing Se.
- Lord Zuko owns a dragon, which he uses as his mount.
- The map of the airbender sightings that Mako provides is first shown having each location marked with a circle with an 'X' through it; however, the map is shown later with having only circles around each location and 'X's solely on the places where the airbender did not want to join the Air Nation.
- After Team Avatar completes their street performance, the crowd applauds; however, as Bolin is delivering his finishing line, the crowd is standing perfectly still even though applause is still being heard.
- As Team Avatar's position was shown on the map as they traveled throughout the Earth Kingdom, their heads were in their chibi forms.
- This is the third episode in The Legend of Korra whose title is only one word, the others being "Endgame", "Peacekeepers", "Reunion", and "Remembrances". Avatar: The Last Airbender contained only two episodes like this: "Imprisoned", and "Jet".
- The creators wanted to show the new airbenders who came from the Fire Nation, but were unable to given the narrative timeline of Book Three, as well as the production issues that would come with creating more characters.