|"I got a good look at Dr. Sheng's setup. I'm sure there's a way to reverse-engineer it, but I won't be able to figure it out on my own. I'm going to need Baatar. Jr's help."|
Ruins of the Empire Part Two is the second installment of the Ruins of the Empire trilogy. It was originally scheduled for release on October 8, 2019, but this was later pushed back to November 12.
What will it take to stop a war?
King Wu's dreams of peacefully transitioning the Earth Kingdom into a democracy are in danger when Commander Guan throws his political hat in the ring, hoping to subvert the new system from the inside out. But playing fair was never part of his plan; Guan and Dr. Sheng are using terrifying new technology to cement Guan's win! In a desperate attempt to save the Earth Kingdom from falling back into the dark days of conquest and empire, Korra and Kuvira convince an old friend to return and take the former commander on in the polls. But will it be enough?
The Future Industries airship is shown resting at the Gaoling airfield, with Korra, Asami, Mako, and Bolin gathered around the bottom of the airship's gangway. Behind Korra, Wu, wearing jungle attire and a large backpack, climbs onto the back of Naga's saddle, realizing all too late that he is facing the wrong way. Asami informs the group that she has radioed Suyin to let her know they are bringing Kuvira to Zaofu for safekeeping until the election is over and that she did not sound very happy about it. Korra figured that Suyin would be but notes that Asami does not have time to fly Kuvira all the way back to Republic City. Korra and Asami hug one another and share a kiss, with both women telling each other to stay safe.
The captain of Wu's Royal Earthbender Guards approaches him after the king turns himself around on Naga's saddle. He asks whether Wu is sure he does not want to be accompanied though Wu declines, instructing him to stay with the guards and keep eyes on Kuvira. When the captain raises the treacherous nature of the Foggy Bottom Swamp, Wu tells him not to worry, as the Avatar will guide him, and he has plenty of bug spray. Korra says a final farewell to Team Avatar, with Bolin telling Korra to greet Toph for him. As an Earth Empire soldier looks on, another soldier is speaking into a radio and saying that it is time.
Onboard the airship, Asami instructs the pilot to take off. Kuvira, now confined to her platinum pod, supposes that Asami will not let her out. Asami affirms her assumption, coldly noting that Kuvira it to remain confined until they reach Zaofu and that Suyin. Kuvira sarcastically proclaims that she will be trading one platinum prison for another. The pilot leaves the cockpit and informs Asami that the engines will not start, to Asami's own surprise, as there were no issues on the way. Kuvira grows tense, saying she has an idea why, and suggesting Asami let her out immediately. Mako asks why.
Suddenly, Earth Empire soldiers smash through the windows, swinging in on metal cables, Kuvira pointing out the reason for her suspicions. Mako blasts one of the soldiers with a fireball before he can land, while Bolin, devoid of earth to bend, dives for the room's table and hits a soldier with one of the chairs, and Pabu leaps off his shoulders with a screech. As Asami begins to fight an Earth Empire soldier, Kuvira pleas to be let free so she can help, but Asami refuses. The soldier shoots a cable at Asami that wraps around her, pinning her arms to her sides, and other soldiers wrap cables around the brothers, slamming their heads together and knocking them out. Asami, Mako, Bolin, Wu's guards, and the pilot are tied up with rope as Earth Empire soldiers stand guard. Asami sarcastically congratulates Kuvira on taking the perfect opportunity to escape, despite the latter assuring that this is not her doing. The airship's elevator doors open to reveal Guan and two Earth Empire soldiers. Kuvira points out his culpability to the group, while he triumphantly greets Kuvira with a smile.
Korra, Wu, and Naga are then shown making their way through the Foggy Swamp. Korra informs the king that the swamp is a strange place, and Wu wants to just find Toph and get back to Gaoling. Korra says that she first has to find where Toph is, though Wu protests that Korra said she had already visited Toph. Korra responds that there are no clear directions to follow, and when Wu asks how they will find her, Korra walks toward a root and informs Wu about the energy flows that she can tap into and connect to Toph. Wu begins to sing and walk away so he can relieve himself, asking Naga for privacy when he sees that she is watching him.
Having finished, Wu steps back out from behind a tree but finds that Korra and Naga have inexplicably vanished, and he calls for Korra's aid. A voice tells him that the Avatar cannot help him and that he has lost his way. When the voice claims he is a weak king, and a disgrace to the throne, Wu finds himself before a vision of his late great-aunt, Earth Queen Hou-Ting. The spectral queen tells him that he entrusted him the Earth Kingdom and he has made a mess of it. Wu tells her that he is trying to change things and make the Earth Kingdom better. Hou-Ting responds that people do not care about change or progress, only stability. Wu raises that people should have the freedom to have a say in who leads them, though the vision tells him to stop fooling himself, and that he is only pushing for democracy because he is too scared to rule on his own. Wu objects, but Hou-Ting grows furious, telling him that he handed the Earth Kingdom over to Kuvira after she died and that he is ready to give away all his power again even after regaining the crown. Wu cowers and closes his eyes to then feel Korra's hand on his shoulder, telling him that he is all right. He tells Korra about his vision, and Korra apologizes, saying she should have told him beforehand that the swamp loves to mess with people's heads. Helping Wu onto Naga's saddle, Korra asks him to elaborate on their way to Toph, while Wu states that he will not ever go to the bathroom in the swamp again.
Guan confronts Kuvira inside a tent in his camp, mocking her affiliation with Korra and asking her whether she is ready to serve the Earth Empire once again. Kuvira rejects his offer, telling him that she serves no-one, neither the Earth Empire nor the Avatar, and especially not him. Guan tells her that she has left him with no choice, and metalbends the tent wall to reveal Asami, Mako and Bolin bound, gagged, and hooked up to brainwashing machinery, with Dr. Sheng stood behind. Kuvira demands they be released as once, while Guan reminds her of the scientist and her close work with Kuvira's former fiancé.
Kuvira questions what the machinery is for, and Guan tells her it is how the Earth Empire will regain power. Sheng recounts how after Baatar Jr. left to become her second-in-command, she began researching more effective methods to re-educate prisoners, and that she discovered how the Dai Li had maintained order in Ba Sing Se for centuries by using enhanced indoctrination techniques. Kuvira retorts that she means brainwashing, which Sheng affirms, though elaborates that the Dai Li's methods were unreliable and that she experimented with magnetic waves to alter the brain. She combined modern technology with ancient techniques to dramatically increase effectiveness.
Guan notes that Sheng knows how to make a brainwashing stick, while the scientist tells Kuvira that before she could share her wonderful breakthrough, she surrendered. Kuvira tells Sheng that she would have shut her down, never having authorized such inhumane experiments. Sheng tells her not to act so naively, and that she demanded results from her followers and never cared how they achieved them. Kuvira protests, saying that she wanted those who had gone astray to be convinced by her strength and leadership, not by machinery. Guan tells her that she may change her opinion when she sees what he and Sheng have achieved in her absence.
Kuvira protests as Dr. Sheng proceeds to initiate the procedure. Asami glares at Kuvira, while the latter tells her that she did not mean any of this to happen. Guan tells Sheng to begin, and she presses a button on the console, the machinery humming as it activates. Within seconds, Asami, Mako, and Bolin wince and close their eyes, letting out long, muffled groans of pain, to Kuvira's horror.
In the Foggy Swamp, Korra, Wu, and Naga stand at the mouth of Toph's cave. Korra bends a flame in her hand to use as a torch, and she calls to Toph, who does not respond. Wu suggests she has moved on, but Korra tells him that she saw Toph through the vines. She asks Toph to come out once again as she is willing to wait as long as she needs, while Wu waits behind. To his left is a relief of a woman's face with closed eyes within the cave wall. The relief's eyes open, and Wu yelps in alarm, before an annoyed Toph emerges from the wall, having used her bending to hide within it. Korra grins and points to Toph, while the latter jokingly bemoans her "Avatar powers." Wu is relieved that Toph was not another vision, and Toph asks who he is. Korra introduces him as the king, and he bows to Toph in honor. Toph turns away and walks to the cooking fire, apologizing that she has never been a fan of the monarchy, which Wu understands. Toph bends her spark rocks to light the fire and hangs a kettle for her guests, asking what Korra wants. She responds asking if a friend cannot stop by to stay hello, but Toph asks for the real reason, knowing that she did not drag the Earth King out to the Foggy Swamp to enjoy her company. Toph and Korra sit down on the stone stools by the fire as Wu comes to join them. Korra asks if Toph has heard about Kuvira's surrender in Republic City, which Toph confirms, saying "good riddance." Wu raises that not everyone has surrendered.
In Guan's camp, Sheng addresses Asami, Mako, and Bolin, unbound and ungagged, with half-closed eyes and dull expressions. She tells them to obey Commander Guan, that the Avatar is no longer their friend, and that Korra is their enemy, which they repeat. The three stand up and remove their helmets as Guan points to the restrained Kuvira and orders Mako to put her in the chair. Asami begins to open the platinum cell and Mako readies handcuffs, Asami taunting her by saying that Kuvira is finally getting her wish to be let out. Asami and Bolin restrain her arms while Mako moves to her with handcuffs, but she yanks her wrists away before he can slip the cuffs onto her and kicks out within Asami and Bolin's grip, hitting Mako and knocking him backward. She crouches down and rushes forward, causing Asami and Bolin's heads to knock into slam into each other. Seeing this, Guan bends metal strips of his shoulder pads at Kuvira to try to subdue her, ordering her to stand down. Kuvira bends the strips away, telling him that she may have surrendered to the Avatar, but she will not surrender to him. She metalbends the wall onto Guan, pinning him against the floor as Dr. Sheng flees and Mako struggles to get up behind her. He bends fire at Kuvira, which she dodges. Kuvira apologizes to the brainwashed members of Team Avatar as she uses her metalbending to trap them in the tent.
Kuvira flees the tent and escapes into Guan's camp, where his soldiers soon take notice of her. Running forward, Kuvira bends small pillars of earth to propel herself into the air just as a mecha suit tries to incinerate her with its flamethrower. She punches the ground upon landing, earthbending a larger pillar of earth that launches the mecha suit toward a pair of soldiers running after her. Guan then emerges from the tent with a snarl but sees no sight of Kuvira, his soldiers informing him that they lost sight of her. Guan tells them that she cannot have gotten far, and commands them to search the area. Soldiers rush off to find Kuvira, with jeeps driving out of the camp into the surrounding area. One jeep peels off from the others and drives into a deserted part of the mountains. The driving soldier brings the jeep to a stop and removes her helmet to reveal her identity as Kuvira, breathing a sigh of relief at her successful escape.
Back in Toph's cave, Korra asks her what she thinks of becoming a candidate, noting that "Governor Beifong" has a nice ring to it. Toph muses that Guan seems like a piece of work, and that she would love to put him in his place. Korra happily asks her if she will run, but Toph refuses, saying that Aang, Sokka, and Katara lived for politics, while she saw government as a giant pool of mud, where anyone who fell in was going to come out filthy. Korra pleads to Toph, saying that it makes her perfect for the job, as she tells it as it is and is incorruptible. Toph says she hates being around people, gesturing to the cave around them as emphasis and asks Korra why she thinks she wants to be of service to them. Korra asks if she does not want to make a positive change in her home state, and Toph responds that she hated growing up there. Wu seems defeated, and walking toward the entrance, wonders if Hou-Ting was right after all.
Inspired, Korra stops Wu and whispers into his ear. Toph asks what they are talking about, and Korra slyly claims she told Wu to ignore his swamp vision. Toph grows incredulous, saying that the swamp is very wise, and pulls Wu by the wrist back to the fire to sit and share his vision. Wu tells Toph about the Earth Queen and her doubting of his plan to democratize the Earth Kingdom. On Korra's prompting, he elaborates that Hou-Ting said that people do not want to change and that people would rather stick to what feels safe and secure to them rather than doing anything outside their comfort zone. Korra reminds Toph that she once told her that the swamp would teach one open to listening what they needed to learn, which Toph awkwardly acknowledges. Shoulders sagging at being defeated by her own words of wisdom, Toph gives in and agrees to run for governor. Wu gives her a hug, causing Korra to note that he is a hugger, prompting Toph to say that she gathered that.
In the mountains, night falls on Guan's camp, which Kuvira observes through a pair of binoculars from behind some rocks. Lowering the binoculars, she looks toward a radio on the jeep's passenger seat before sitting down, her back resting against the rocks, her expression uncertain. She says to herself that Suyin was there for her once. Kuvira remembers her past, where an eight-year-old version of herself sits in the back of a cart pulled by ostrich-horses. Her father tells her that she refuses to listen and that she has no discipline and no remorse for what she did. He tells her that a master metalbender has agreed to take Kuvira off her parents' hands, and leaves her by the gates of Zaofu, telling her that she hopes she can knock some sense into her and it is for her own good. The gates of Zaofu open to reveal a younger Suyin Beifong, who walks to Kuvira and introduces herself, telling her that she will be safe. The young Kuvira takes Suyin's hand, and in the present day, Kuvira hopes that Suyin will be there for her again.
In the Beifong Estate in Zaofu, Suyin sits in front of a radio set, speaking with Kuvira. She asks her what is going on, and remembers that Asami said she was bringing her to Zaofu. Asking where she is, Kuvira tells her that she is still in Gaoling and that they never left. Suyin accuses Kuvira of having done something to Asami and the others, which Kuvira denies. She tells Suyin that Guan and his rebels attacked the ship before they got off the ground, and captured and brainwashed Asami, Mako, and Bolin. Suyin asks rhetorically if Kuvira expects her to believe that they have truly been brainwashed, though Kuvira urgently tells her that she is telling the truth. She notes that Korra and Wu are away trying to find Toph and that she is alone, noting that although Suyin has every reason to hate her, she has no-one else to turn to, ending with a final plea.
Earth Empire soldiers and brainwashed Guan supporters stand outside Gaoling's town hall, rallying support for the Commander. Korra, Wu, and Toph ride into town on Naga, looking at the mass of supporters with concern. Korra hopes that they aren't too late, she and Wu noting that Guan has found many enthusiastic supporters. One Earth Empire soldier notifies another to alert the commander upon seeing Korra's party arrive.
Inside the voting room of the town hall, Mayor Rhee and Toph sit down as he reads the contents of a scroll aloud to her. Toph cuts him short, simply asking where she has to sign. Rhee points out the spot to her, and Korra takes her wrist to guide her in signing, congratulating her on officially being a candidate for governor of Gaoling, which Toph unenthusiastically cheers. She asks the mayor to be frank about her chances, to which he tells her that usually he would be confident of her changes, but remarks on the overnight surge in support for Guan.
When Korra, Toph, and Wu ride Naga through the streets, Pabu runs toward them. Korra queries why he is not with Bolin, and she is alerted by a jeep driving toward them with a disguised Kuvira. She orders Wu to stay put and informs Toph that she may need some backup. Kuvira tells Korra to come with her, and the Avatar refuses to follow one of Guan's lackeys. Kuvira denies being a lackey, removing her helmet to reveal her identity. Korra immediately turns hostile, walking to Kuvira while generating flames from her fists, asking where Asami, Mako, and Bolin are. Kuvira gets out of the jeep, holding up her hands in a gesture of peace, saying she will explain once they get off the road before they are spotted. Korra shoots flames from her fists to trap Kuvira in a ring of fire, though she swears that she did not harm them.
Korra asks where they are, and why she is wearing an Earth Empire military uniform. Kuvira tells her that Guan and his soldiers attacked the airship after Korra left, and brainwashed the other members of Team Avatar. Korra tells Kuvira not to lie to her, but the metalbender says that she is not lying, and asks Toph to verify it. Toph confirms that Kuvira is telling the truth, to Korra's surprise. Wu asks how she can know, and Kuvira explains that Toph is a truth-seer.
Toph notes the suspicious nature of Guan's supporters repeating the slogan over again, comparing it to Long Feng. Korra asks who he was, and Wu tells her that he served Wu's great-great grandfather Earth King Kuei, manipulating the king alongside the Dai Li so they could control Ba Sing Se and that Long Feng brainwashed anyone perceived to be a threat. Toph commends him on knowing his history and tells him to be glad he did not live through it. Korra raises what has happened to her friends, and Kuvira tells her that their minds are no longer their own, now following Guan's orders.
Asami, Mako, and Bolin are shown hidden behind a set of earthbent walls near the Future Industries airship. Guan peers at the airship over the top of the walls with binoculars, asking Team Avatar about them saying Korra would meet them here in the afternoon. Bolin affirms that it was the plan, and Guan is alerted by a soldier's voice on the radio. The commander asks for good news, and the soldier tells him that the Avatar passed through town on her way to the airfield, but Kuvira intercepted her. Guan asks where they are now.
Meanwhile, Wu proclaims that the situation is a disaster and that Guan would steal the election and brainwash the entire kingdom in the process. He despairs that it is all his fault and that he should have never asked Korra to come. Kuvira tells him that he could not have known this would happen, and Wu tells the group that he knows how he can make things right. He plans to call off the election, and Toph tells him that it is a great idea as she never wanted to run in the first place. Korra is unsure if this is the best strategy, but Wu confidently proclaims that it is perfect, as Guan is unable to steal the election if there is not one being held. Kuvira remarks that Wu is making a good point, and the king thanks her, excusing himself from the others and planning to return to the city hall and issue his decree to the mayor. Kuvira tells him not to, as none of them would get out of Gaoling without being brainwashed once Guan knew what they were up to. Korra asks what Kuvira would have them do, as Asami, Mako, and Bolin are in danger.
Kuvira looks to the sky, telling them that they can regroup in Zaofu and get reinforcements there. Wu inquires about Zaofu, and Kuvira points to an approaching Metal Clan airship in the distance. She tells the group that she radioed Suyin, who agreed to pick them up after some convincing.
Aboard the airship, Opal says that she does not understand why her mother did not send Metal Clan soldiers to collect Kuvira, asking how Suyin could still have a soft spot for her after all the anguish she put the family through. Suyin curtly dismisses the point, telling her that it was important she do it herself and this is not the time to discuss it, and orders the pilot to bring them down as she walks away. The airship lands in front of the group, lowering its gangway and opening its backdoors to reveal Suyin, Opal, Wei, and Wing stood at the top. Kuvira warmly greets Suyin, though Toph interrupts the group's reunion as she feels the ground rumble, informing them that Guan's army has found them and they need to escape.
Korra's party heads onto the airship, Toph leading them and warmly approached by her daughter and grandchildren, all of whom are happy to see her. Toph notes she wished it was under better circumstances. Suyin notices Korra hesitating to board the ship, and the Avatar tells her to go, as she is not leaving without Asami, Mako, and Bolin. Guan's forces arrive and head toward the ship. Kuvira tells Korra that they could possibly learn how to reverse Sheng's magnetic brainwashing process in Zaofu, but Korra is resolute that she will not abandon her friends to a madman. Kuvira accepts this, telling the Avatar that she will help to get her friends back, with Suyin and Toph offering to support Korra too. Toph tells Wu to wait in the ship, as things will begin to get ugly.
On the ground, a jeep containing Asami, Mako, and Bolin parks at the center of Guan's army's formation. He tells the three that the Avatar is their enemy, and orders her to be brought to him. The brainwashed members accept the order, stepping out of the jeep and readying their respective weapons, a fire dagger, an electric glove, and a lava shuriken. Once ready, they advance to Korra and the others ahead of the rest of Guan's forces. Guan remarks that the fight should be fun to watch.
Korra, Kuvira, and the Beifongs stand at the gangway, Wei cracking his knuckles and Wing flexing his arms, while Korra and Opal call out to their brainwashed partners, trying to get them to reason with the brainwashing. Kuvira tells them that reasoning with them is pointless, and Korra notes that they have to play defense. Toph notes that she can take them out easily, but Opal cautions her from doing so as she does not want them to be hurt.
Korra plans for her and Opal to steer their brainwashed friends toward Suyin, Wing and Wei, so they can wrap them up with metal cables and take them to the ship, while Toph and Kuvira are to be ready in case Guan's soldiers make a move. Asami, Mako, and Bolin charge toward Korra, Mako firebending, and Bolin launching his lava shuriken. Korra deflects both attacks with airbending while moving to the left, Opal rushing to the right. The airbenders enact their plan to airbend curved blasts of wind at Mako, Asami, and Bolin, while Bolin bends rocks at Suyin, which she deflects, and Mako firebends at Wing, who blocks the attack with an earth barrier. As the air blasts reach the group, they are slammed into each other, and Suyin and the twins shoot out metal cables, wrapping them around the three and binding them together.
Suyin orders the brainwashed members of Team Avatar to be taken onto the ship, but Guan tells Korra's party that they will not be taking them anywhere, swiping down and causing the cables to snap. Guan calls his forces to move in, while Suyin and Kuvira rush next to Toph, already standing in the army's path. As one, the three women crouch down and punch the ground with both fists, causing large columns of earth to burst out from the ground beneath Guan's troops, sending several of them flying.
Meanwhile, Opal fights with Bolin, telling him to stop as he propels rocks toward her. She deflects the first rock with her bending, but the second strikes her near her left shoulder, causing her to grunt in pain before collapsing unconscious. Wei and Wing are alerted by their sister's distress, while Wu's guards find him while dressed in Earth Empire uniforms, telling him to come with them. The brainwashed guards grab Wu, and he screams as Pabu jumps off his shoulder.
On the ground, Asami lunges at Korra with her electric glove. Korra tells her to stop and dodges to the left before the glove can make contact, causing the nonbender to stumble forward, losing her balance. Seeing her chance, Korra bends earth cuffs around Asami's feet, telling her girlfriend to forgive her as she is trapped in her place. Korra bends a lump of stone around the glove, pulling it to the ground and forcing Asami to crouch with its weight. Asami orders to be let go, while Korra looks for Mako and Bolin, though becomes alarmed upon seeing what they are doing.
Suyin, Toph, and Kuvira are shown hiding behind a stone wall as Mako and a group of mecha suits blast at them with firebending and flamethrowers, as Wei and Wing carry an unconscious Opal back to the airship. Mako orders Bolin and another earthbender to bring down the earth wall, which allow the flames to pass through. Kuvira dives out of the way, and Suyin tackles her mother to the ground to protect her. As Korra jumps in to shield them from the flames with airbending, Suyin guides Toph toward the airship and orders Kuvira to grab Asami so the group can escape the enemy's superior numbers. Korra is uncertain, noting that the soldiers kidnapped Wu, and Mako and Bolin are still brainwashed but Suyin states that they will have to come back for them.
Suyin gets Toph on board the airship as Kuvira leads Asami up the gangway behind her, Korra continuing to hold back the flames until she can retreat onto the airship at last, which takes off as Guan's soldiers continue to attack to no effect, flying away into the distance. Guan watches it leave, as the captain and another of Wu's guards approach him from behind, gripping the king with his arms. When they inform the commander that they captured the king, he notes that the day is not a total defeat.
Aboard the Metal Clan airship, Korra locks Asami inside a platinum pod, as her brainwashed girlfriend glares at her. She apologizes for having to do this, and that she is sorry about what Guan did to her. Asami rebuffs Korra's statements, telling her not to pretend she cares, and that she is the enemy. Korra sadly tells her that she does not know what she is saying and that those are Guan's words.
Elsewhere, Wing asks their mother aside if she wants them to restrain Kuvira. Suyin tells the twins to leave her be, and that she is not the flight risk, and Wei hopes that she is right. Toph and Opal rest on a bench nearby, the airbender's head laying in her grandmother's lap, while Korra approaches Kuvira, asking her about the possibility to counter the brainwashing. Kuvira tells her that she got a good look at Sheng's setup, but that she will need Baatar Jr.'s help to reverse-engineer the device.
Back at the reeducation camp, Guan orders his forces to prepare a new subject. Mako and Bolin place a wired helmet on Wu's head and place a gag on his mouth as he gives off a muffled scream, binding his arms to his sides while sitting him down in a chair in preparation for his brainwashing. The pair stand to attention on either side of Wu as Dr. Sheng begins operating the machinery, Guan watching on and telling her to begin.
- Main article: Transcript:Ruins of the Empire Part Two
- When Wu is describing who Long Feng was for Korra, he refers to Kuei as his "great-great grandfather" while Kuei is actually just his "great grandfather" according to the already established family tree.