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"The Calling" is the fourth episode of Book Four: Balance of The Legend of Korra and the 43rd of the overall series. It was released online on Nick.com and through the Nick app on October 24, 2014, and aired on Nicktoons on December 5, 2014.


Tenzin's children leave Air Temple Island in search of the still-missing Korra, while he stays in Republic City to deal with the "Kuvira issue". Surprisingly, Jinora has a difficult time locating Korra's spiritual energy, and the group's lack of progress causes tensions to run high between the siblings. After befriending a couple of soldiers who take her as captive, Ikki is saved by Meelo and Jinora, and they head to the swamp. Meanwhile, Korra is still having difficulty facing her past. Toph takes her to the banyan-grove tree, where Korra is able to locate the airbenders, who have been pulled into the swamp by vines. They reunite, and in Toph's home, Korra is finally able to remove the remaining mercury from her body and reconnect with the Avatar State.


Pema talking to Meelo

Pema explains to Meelo that sometimes things get smudged in the wild in order to get him to accept a sweet bun that had its happy face smeared.

On Air Temple Island, Meelo and Ikki are preparing Pepper; while Ikki is putting some of their luggage away on the flying bison's saddle, Meelo airbends two bags on the bison, one of which hits his sister in the face, prompting her to chase him. A worried Pema asks Tenzin if there is any way he can accompany them, and he explains that he cannot, since President Raiko, who has asked him to stay in the city, wants help finding a diplomatic solution for Kuvira's actions. Overhearing her parents' conversation, Ikki tries to ensure her mother that they will be fine, referring to Aang and his friends, who were about the same age as her and her siblings when they traveled the world. Reassuring herself that at least her children will not starve to death, Pema gives them a large bag of food to take on their journey. Meelo quickly rejects the provisions, however, declaring that they will have no need for them, as they are going to be living off the land. When Pema reveals that she has prepared his favorite snacks, sweet buns with happy faces, Meelo drops his attitude and accepts the food. Opening one of the wrapped sweet buns, however, he discovers that its happy face has been smudged and promptly declares it inedible. After Pema tells him that such things happen in the wild, Jinora loads the bag on Pepper's saddle. While Pema hugs Meelo and Ikki goodbye, Jinora embraces her father, who asks if she has been able to hone in on Korra's spiritual energy. While Jinora admits that she has not, she assures her father that once they are on their way, finding Korra will be easier and that they should be able to complete their mission within a few days. After hugging her mother goodbye, Jinora seats herself atop Pepper's head, taking the reins, while her siblings sit on the saddle. When Tenzin wishes them luck and reminds Meelo and Ikki that Jinora is in charge, Meelo denounces her authority and orders them all to move out. Jinora sighs resignedly at his antics and urges Pepper to take to the sky. Watching them depart, Tenzin hugs Pema in comfort.

Jinora telling her siblings off

Jinora tries to locate Korra's spiritual energy, but is constantly disturbed by her siblings.

The siblings make a stop at a mountaintop stupa near a village, where a desperate Meelo uses the opportunity to go to the bathroom. Jinora uses the time to attempt to find Korra again by meditating, though her concentration is broken by Ikki, who requests that she greet Korra for her. Mere seconds later, she interrupts again, wondering if Jinora has made contact yet. As Jinora grunts in annoyance, Ikki, who is frustrated by the wait, asks what is taking Jinora so long. Irritated by the interruptions, Jinora tells her younger sister that her talking is preventing her from concentrating and sends her off to play with the resident spirits before resuming her meditation. Ikki sighs in resignation and, upon Meelo's return, informs him that Jinora's "spirit-y powers are broken", rendering her unable to track down the Avatar. Jinora retorts that her powers are not broken, but that she simply needs time and silence to concentrate. Uninterested, Meelo announces that, while Jinora "pulls herself together", he and Poki will venture into the Earth Kingdom town nearby to ask about Korra. Ikki readily agrees with this idea, but Meelo tells her to be silent and minimizes her role in his operation to carrying a picture of Korra he has drawn. Looking at his lifelike portrait of the Avatar, Ikki comments that she never knew Meelo could draw, to which he replies that there are a lot of things she does not know about him.

In town, Meelo asks an old woman, among others, if she has seen Korra, directing her attention to the drawing Ikki is holding. The woman has no eyes for the drawing, however, and merely comments that Meelo is "adorable". He tries to correct her, attempting to convince her that he is dangerous, but she pleasantly labels him "dangerously cute", pinches his cheeks, and leaves. Embarrassed, Meelo orders Ikki to forget the encounter, and the two siblings separate to cover more ground. Their search for the Avatar yields no results, and the three siblings move on to the next town, where a man wonders if they still even have an Avatar, apologizing for not having seen Korra.

Tuyen and Meelo

Meelo is instantly infatuated with Tuyen, whom he describes as the "love of [his] life".

During one of their searches, Meelo finds a young girl selling flowers to passersby. Soaring down from the roof he is on, he lands near her and asks if she can be trusted. Receiving a positive answer, he leans toward her in a conspiring manner and whispers that he is on a top-secret mission to locate the Avatar, inquiring if the girl has seen her. Although she has not, the girl is impressed by his quest, leading Meelo to brag about the many dangerous and crazy things he has encountered. He introduces himself and asks flirtatiously what he may call her besides "beautiful". As the girl introduces herself as Tuyen, Ikki interrupts them, chanting in a teasing manner that her brother has "found a girlfriend". Against his yelled requests for her to leave him alone, she approaches the two and tells Meelo that Jinora has been looking for him because they are moving on to the next town. Before Meelo leaves, Tuyen offers him a flower and wishes him good luck on his mission. Walking away, she caresses his head as she passes. Meelo momentarily stares after her with a love-struck expression before rounding on his sister, accusing her of chasing away the "love of [his] life".

The trio makes their way to a small fishing town, where they repeat their divide-and-search routine. As Meelo saunters past a fishing shop, he notices a picture of Korra hanging on its wall and excitedly calls for his sisters. An enthusiastic Ikki comes running but has her excitement crushed when Jinora realizes Meelo has only found a picture of Korra. Offended, Meelo defends himself by pointing out that it is something at least. The fishmonger notes that Korra came by about six months prior, and Meelo smugly turns to his sisters, saying that he has drummed up a "good old-fashioned lead". When the fishmonger tells the siblings that he does not know where Korra went after posing for the picture, Meelo rounds on his sisters, blaming them for not pulling their weight on the mission. As he storms off, Ikki asks Jinora if she remembers when Meelo was "nice and sweet", to which Jinora bluntly answers "no".

Bored Korra and relaxing Toph

With nothing concrete to do, Korra grows restless.

Two days after meeting Toph in the Foggy Swamp and doing nothing, Korra grows restless and asks Toph, who is relaxing, what their plan is for the day. When the elder hints that they will not be doing anything, Korra asks Toph to tell her how she taught Aang to earthbend. Toph dismisses the question, claiming there is no story beyond that she "threw some rocks at the Avatar, he got all whiny, and Sokka fell in a hole". Undeterred by the dissatisfying relay of the story, Korra asks to hear about how the old Team Avatar defeated the Fire Lord, exclaiming in excitement that it must have been epic. Toph sarcastically meets the Avatar's enthusiasm before once again relaying the story in a few sentences: "It was hot. I was on a blimp. And I think a giant turtle showed up." Unimpressed, Korra tells Toph she is terrible at storytelling, and Toph quickly retorts that Korra is terrible at listening to them. As Toph resumes her relaxing, closing her eyes, Korra sighs in resignation and starts tapping her foot on the ground. Irritated by the Avatar's restless action, the elderly earthbender raises the earth underneath Korra's feet, thwarting further tapping, and harshly tells her to stop making so much noise. Presenting the Avatar with an opportunity to do something, Toph sends Korra away to collect mushrooms for their dinner, giving her the necessary directions, as well as her preference for Korra to harvest "slimy ones", deeming them the tastiest.

Trapped Ikki

Ikki is captured by two of Kuvira's soldiers, who believed she was there to spy on Earth Empire activities.

Meanwhile, the three airbenders have moved to yet another location. While Jinora meditates, Ikki asks Meelo where the food is, which their mother had packed for them, and he answers that he has thrown it in a river. Ikki berates Meelo, shouting the food was supposed to have lasted them for two weeks. Jinora interrupts them, asking to stay quiet so that she can meditate, and Meelo quickly agrees with Jinora, specifically telling Ikki to keep quiet. Exasperated by Meelo's actions and attitude, Ikki reiterates that he threw away all their food, to which he responds that from that moment on, they will hunt for their meals. Ikki reminds him they are vegetarians and that, as such, they do not hunt, but Meelo ignores her, saying that he and Poki will go find food. As Meelo and his ring-tailed winged lemur leave, Ikki screams in frustration and stalks off in the other direction on her own. Wandering through the forest, she does bitter imitations of her siblings, mocking Meelo's inappropriate flatulence and Jinora's aloofness. Airbending in frustration at the grass, she inadvertently scares a small sugar glider, which trembles in fear. As she tries to apologize, the animal drops the berry it is holding and scrambles up a tree branch, from which it glides away. Yelling after the retreating creature to wait as it forgot its breakfast, Ikki picks up the berry and glides after it. She quickly catches up and offers the sugar glider the berry, though it veers away from her. Her attention fixed on the retreating animal, Ikki hits a tree mid-flight and crashes to the ground at a clearing in the forest filled with stumps. Despite noticing she squashed the berry on her face in the process, her mood is instantly brightened when the sugar glider descends on her head and moves to her shoulder to begin licking the remains of the berry off her face, cementing their friendship. Abruptly, two soldiers from a nearby Earth Empire outpost tell her she is trespassing and order her to remain where she is. Ikki immediately breaks into a run, prompting one of the soldiers to attack her with his earthbending. Although his first two traps narrowly miss their target, his third attack latches on to Ikki's feet the moment she tries to take flight. Dragging her down to the ground, the soldier encases her arms as well, rendering her completely immobile.

Outpost soldiers

The outpost soldiers decide to kidnap Ikki and her siblings and take them to Kuvira.

After taking Ikki to their small headquarters, the two soldiers tie her to a chair and begin interrogating her, demanding to know if she is in the Earth Empire to spy on them. She frantically explains that she is traveling with her brother and sister on their first important mission: finding the Avatar. With tears in her eyes, she adds that her father, Tenzin, is counting on them to complete it and would be disappointed if they were to fail. The first soldier takes his partner aside for a moment to talk privately, telling him they should capture the three airbending children and bring them to Kuvira, in the hopes of getting a promotion and escaping their current, undesirable assignment. The other soldier agrees, and they return their attention to Ikki. They apologize for their harsh introduction and ask her politely to tell them the location of their campsite. Ikki wonders why they want to know, and they tell her that they would like to reunite her with her family. The second soldier elaborates, saying they could all sit down and have some macaroons, serving a plate of them in example. Recognizing the treats, Ikki asks in suspicion where he found them. The soldier enthusiastically answers that he found a large sack full of food by the river, and each of the treats comes with "a lovely handwritten note". Ikki shouts that her mom wrote the notes and claims the food to be destined for her and her siblings. The first soldier, running out of patience, demands to know where her siblings are, but Ikki answers that she does not care, as she has no desire to see them and would prefer to stay with the soldiers. Emphasizing her conviction, Ikki asks the second soldier to throw her a macaroon, which he does to the first soldier's deep displeasure.

As Korra walks through the Foggy Swamp, she experiences visions of her past enemies: Amon, taking away her bending; Unalaq, tearing Raava from her own spirit; and Zaheer and the Red Lotus, poisoning her. Debilitated by the visions, she stumbles and falls the ground in fear. She screams and frantically looks around though finds herself mentally back in the swamp. Despite being able to calm herself, she cannot bring herself to move out of the stream of water has run into during her hallucinations.

Annoyed Meelo and Jinora

Jinora grows annoyed with Meelo as he kept on insisting that finding Korra was solely his mission.

Jinora's meditation is interrupted when a groaning Meelo and Poki stumble and crawl back to the campsite, the boy holding a purple-stained sack with one hand and his stomach with the other. She asks if he is okay. Despite his purple-stained mouth and overall sickly appearance, Meelo tells her with some difficulty that he is "totally fine", adding that he hopes she is hungry as they have found some berries. Gagging, he offers the purple-stained bag to Jinora. As she examines its contents, Poki throws up a purple substance, and Meelo does the same seconds later. Jinora easily discerns that the berries are inedible, throwing the sack away, but Meelo weakly disagrees, noting that the berries are fine and that his condition is just caused by eating too many of them because they were delicious. She ignores him, asking if he saw Ikki while picking his poisonous berries, but Meelo's answer is negative. He asks if Ikki ran away, and when Jinora confirms, he angrily adds that the mission is getting worse by the day, as he now has to find the Avatar and Ikki. Angered by his outburst, Jinora reminds him that the mission is not his alone but something they are meant to complete as a family.

Ikki searches for Korra

Having befriended Kuvira's soldiers, Ikki enlists their help to track down Korra.

At the outpost, Ikki notes that it seems rather lonely at their station and asks where the other soldiers are. The first soldier refuses to answer, but the second one explains that his friend is upset that Kuvira took a large number of her troops to Zaofu while they were assigned to hold their post. The first soldier, frustrated, adds that the whole empire will finally be united after Zaofu falls, which will be celebrated with a party that they are now going to miss. Ikki sympathizes with the first soldier's feelings of being left out, telling them that her brother and sister also have the tendency to neglect her, giving their search for the Avatar, which they are supposed to complete together even though her siblings do not allow her to help, as an example. Hearing this, the second soldier suggests that they help her search instead. He shows her a map, asking her where they have looked for her. Ikki easily frees her arms from the rope tying her to the chair and points out on the map that they have been traveling down the west coast based on the only lead they have, which was given to them by a man who saw the Avatar six months prior. The first soldier tells her that Earth Empire troops are stationed all over the area and that any sightings of the Avatar would have been reported. Ikki asks about a large green area on the map. Identifying it as the Foggy Swamp, the first soldier disregards it, claiming that no one goes there. The second soldier tells Ikki not to be discouraged, deeming her to be a valuable member of the team with a big heart. Confident that she will find the Avatar, he moves to untie her from her chair, but before he can, Meelo blasts down the door of the outpost, and he and Jinora attack the two soldiers, throwing them against a wall with their airbending, which knocks them unconscious. As Meelo casually tells Ikki, "You're welcome", she exasperatedly asks them why they attacked the soldiers. Jinora, with slight irritation in her voice, answers that they are saving her, ordering her to come with them. Ikki, freeing herself from her bonds, explains that she already had everything under control: not only did she find their food, she also has an idea where Korra is. Surprised but excited, Jinora insists that they go, but Ikki, noting she has something to do first, apologizes to the two semi-conscious soldiers for her siblings' attack, thanks them for their conversation, and leaves them each a sweet bun while taking the rest of the food with her. As the three siblings exit the outpost, the sugar glider Ikki encountered before her capture soars after her and lands on her head.

Toph helping Korra

Toph helps Korra to realize that she needs to let go of her fears of her past enemies.

Toph finds Korra sitting alone on an arched tree root and asks her if she has her dinner. Korra answers negatively, explaining that the Swamp made her see visions of her enemies hurting her. To Korra's displeasure, Toph says she thought something like that might happen, leading Korra to ask if Toph intended to torment her with those visions, calling her a twisted old lady. Sitting down beside the Avatar, Toph's voice mellows as she explains that she knows that Korra wants to get better. Similarly, she continues, the Swamp desires the same; it senses that Korra is out of balance and will teach her what she needs to learn if she is open to listening. The Avatar indicates that she is willing to try, and Toph asks her why she believes she saw visions of her past enemies attacking her. Korra conjectures, unsure, that she may have seen them because of the suffering they inflicted on her and others. Toph states that Korra is carrying her enemies with her the same way she carries the poison, refusing to let go of it, and asks her if she has ever considered that there were things to learn from her enemies. Ignoring Korra's skepticism, Toph proceeds to state what her enemies sought to achieve: Amon wanted equality for all, Unalaq brought back the spirits to the physical world, and Zaheer believed in freedom, but she concluded that they were all out of balance, which led them to take their ideologies to the point of extremism. Korra wonders why they are haunting her and Toph tells her that she needs to face her fears, as she cannot deal with future threats if she is still occupied with those of her past. When Korra asks how she can move on, Toph, sighing that Avatars need a lot of hand-holding, orders her to follow her to the banyan-grove tree.

As they fly over the Foggy Swamp, Ikki explains to her siblings that her captors mentioned there were no troops stationed there and that she believes Korra might have come to a spiritual place like the Foggy Swamp to heal. Meditating for a brief moment, Jinora agrees that there is an enormous amount of spiritual activity in the swamp, but she still does not feel Korra. Against Ikki's insistence that they look around, Jinora and Meelo decide to move on to search somewhere else. As Jinora turns Pepper around, a number of vines grab suddenly grab the bison, pulling them down into the swamp. After freeing Pepper from the vegetation, Meelo wonders why the vines attacked them, and Ikki answers that they want them to stay, reinforcing her belief that Korra is close by. Again, Jinora is skeptical, as she is still unable to sense Korra, and an irritated Ikki retorts that Jinora has failed to sense Korra anywhere. She groans in frustration when Meelo announces that the next time he goes on a mission, it will be "boys only".

As Korra and Toph reach the banyan-grove tree, Korra comments on the beauty of the tree and its surroundings. Toph explains that the roots of the tree spread out for miles in every direction, connecting the entire swamp. Korra's problem, she says, is that she has been disconnected for too long, from the people who love her and from herself. Korra kneels down and touches the tree. Focusing, she manages to form a connection with her surroundings, which manifests itself in a golden light that starts from her hand in contact with the tree and soon snakes through the swamp, reaching the arguing airbenders.

Ikki, Jinora, and Meelo

Despite their differences during their quest, Ikki, Jinora, and Meelo agreed with each other that they had only found Korra due to working together as a team.

The sudden, new connection is instantly felt by Jinora, who excitedly tells her siblings she knows where Korra is. Equally excited, Korra tells Toph she saw the airbenders, and Toph drily responds that she hopes they have come to take Korra away from her. Pepper races through the swamp in the direction of the banyan-grove tree, and as they near their destination, the airbenders bridge the remaining distance by themselves with their wingsuits. As Korra brushes away her tears, the four are locked in an embrace. Teary-eyed, Ikki tells Korra that she missed her very much, and Korra tells them she has missed them, too. She asks them how they found her, and Ikki says Jinora sensed her energy, to which Jinora adds that they would never have been there without Ikki, and Ikki clarifies that she would not have found those soldiers if it was not for Meelo, who tells Korra it was a team effort. As Ikki compliments Korra's new haircut, Toph hawks, and Korra introduces the three airbenders as Aang and Katara's grandchildren. Toph tells them their grandfather was a "pain in [her] butt", and Meelo quickly identifies the "cranky, old, blind" woman as Toph, much to Toph's amusement. Jinora tells Korra she needs to come home, explaining that Kuvira has taken over the Earth Kingdom. Ikki adds that Korra has to stop her. Korra is hesitant, saying she is not the Avatar she used to be, citing her inability to enter the Avatar State as an example, but the children plead with her to return, as the world needs her back.

Korra bends mercury

Letting go of the trauma of her past, Korra is able to bend the mercury out of her body, relieving her mental block.

Korra, Toph, and the children return to Toph's abode underneath a tree, where Korra announces that she is ready. However, Toph tells Korra she will not bend the poison out of her; Korra will have to do it on her own. When Korra prepares to do so, Toph instructs her to close her eyes, clear her mind, and keep her composure. Focussing her energy, she finds the metal and starts to move it through her body. Due to a renewed onslaught of crippling visions, Korra loses her concentration, but Toph reassures her that the fight she witnessed was over and she needs to release her fear. Korra resumes her position and with repeated movements, successfully draws out the remaining mercury from her body through her skin pores, bending the substance down her arms and off her fingertips to coalesce into a single globule hanging in the air. Bending it to Toph, who safely seals the mercury away in a hollow stone orb and congratulates her, Korra enters the Avatar State, much to the excitement of the young airbenders. Korra, commenting that she feels much lighter, thanks Toph for her help and requests permission to embrace the earthbender, to which Toph begrudgingly agrees, saying that Korra has earned it. Korra and Tenzin's children mount Pepper and bid Toph farewell as she returns to her house, pleased to once again have peace and quiet.


Production notes[]


Main article: Transcript:The Calling
Main article: Transcript:The Calling (commentary)


Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar

Series continuity[]

Character revelations[]

  • Meelo is a skilled artist, able to make detailed and lifelike portraits of people, such as Korra.
  • Jinora was chosen by Pepper as a companion.


  • When the sugar glider starts licking the food off Ikki's face after she crash-landed, the membranes of her wingsuit are folded, although she never snapped them shut. When she starts running from the two outpost soldiers, they are out again, but are folded back in when she is trapped inside an earth mouth.
  • While Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo embrace Korra, the membranes of their wingsuits are still deployed, but when they pull back, the wings are folded against their bodies.


  • Ikki distracting Jinora by talking while the latter is meditating is similar to how Aang was not able to cross over to the Spirit World due to Katara and Yue's talking distracting him.[1]
  • Meelo's portrait of Korra was directly based on a drawing supervising producer Ki Hyun Ryu drew while attending a production meeting.[2]
  • Aang saw Toph for the first time in form of a vision in the swamp,[3] which is the place where Toph ends up living.
  • Korra's visions in the swamp, seeing a new one each time she turned around, was inspired by the "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite" sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey.[2]
  • Originally, after her siblings had knocked the two outpost soldiers out, Ikki would have written and left a note to her captors, with the moment being cut for dragging the pacing of the scene, in addition to Ikki's behavior being seen as too morbid.[2]
  • There are several similarities between the time Team Avatar flew over the swamp in "The Swamp" and when the airbending children did so:
    • A member of each team, namely Aang and Ikki, wanted to head down to the swamp with the other two members, Sokka/Katara and Jinora/Meelo respectively, disagreeing.
    • When trying to resume their journey, both Appa and Pepper get pulled down into the swamp.
    • When asked about the swamp, both Aang and Ikki reasoned that the swamp wanted them to land there.
  • Several background elements in the episode were introduced by the production crew's storyboard team while developing the final animatic:
    • The looped animation of the small spirits knocking each other off a tower near the stupa the airbender kids were camped by was initially developed by storyboard artist Hyun Joo Song, with supervising producer Lauren Montgomery developing the cycled animation.[2]
    • Hyun Joo also drew the moment where Meelo landed beside Tuyen by dropping down to the ground from the rooftops with his wingsuit.[2]
    • As well, the storyboarding team introduced the comedic beat of Ikki not being securely fastened to her chair while being interrogated by the outpost soldiers, allowing her to easily move her arms and body within and out of her bindings.[2]