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This article is about the ninth episode of Book Two: Spirits. For the character in "The Great Divide", see canyon guide.
"[Tenzin], stop being so stubborn. It's not your destiny. I think Jinora was meant to guide the Avatar."
Kya to Tenzin.

"The Guide" is the ninth episode of Book Two: Spirits of The Legend of Korra and the 21st episode of the overall series. It aired on Nickelodeon on November 1, 2013.


Korra seeks Tenzin's help to enter the Spirit World for the first time. However, their attempts prove to be futile until Jinora comes to Korra's aid. Meanwhile, Mako and Asami rekindle their relationship, though Mako's investigation into Varrick's affairs lead to the firebender's arrest.


At the Eastern Air Temple, Jinora plays with a number of dragonfly bunny spirits, one of which she has named Furry-FootTenzin arrives and tells her that everyone is waiting in the courtyard. Unable to see the spirits, he inquires if Jinora was playing with someone, to which she responds that she was merely playing with some imaginary friends. As Tenzin turns around, a dragonfly bunny spirit appears on his head, making Jinora laugh. The two return to a courtyard where Bumi is trying to convince Kya that he defeated an earthbender in a rock throwing contest, asserting that he has the trophy to prove it. Tenzin excitedly tells his family of the day ahead, noting that there are a lot of ancient sites for the family to visit, much to Ikki and Meelo's boredom.

At that moment, Korra arrives at the temple, much to everyone's surprise. Tenzin asks Korra why she was not in the Southern Water Tribe continuing her training, unaware of events occurring elsewhere due to his decision to stay out of touch with the outside world during the family's retreat. Korra outlines the events that have transpired since the family's departure from the South Pole, informing them of Unalaq's true nature, the outbreak of the Water Tribe Civil War, as well as her realization of the repercussions of opening the Southern spirit portal by meeting Wan, the first Avatar, while being unconscious at the Bhanti Village Temple. While everyone stares at her in shock, Tenzin comments that he knew something like that would happen, earning himself looks of disbelief from his siblings.

Korra tells Tenzin her plan

Korra tells Tenzin that she must close the Southern spirit portal from inside the Spirit World.

Tenzin and Korra go to a nearby garden, where they discuss Avatar Wan's imprisonment of Vaatu in the Spirit World and Unalaq's attempts to free him by having Korra open both spirit portals. Tenzin admits that he has always known about Unalaq's power-hungry nature but never realized how far he is willing to go in order to achieve more. Korra blames herself for her part in furthering Unalaq's intentions, to which Tenzin disagrees, asserting that it is all Unalaq's doing. He tells Korra that they must shift their focus to setting things right before Unalaq can inflict more damage. Aware that it would be difficult to close the portal in the South Pole due to Unalaq's army, Korra concludes that she must close the portal from within the Spirit World and tells Tenzin that she must find a way to enter the realm. Tenzin decides to help Korra enter the Spirit World.

Back in the South Pole, Desna and Eska enter the Spirit World through the Southern spirit portal along with their father, who tells them that they must help him open the Northern spirit portal, due to their failure to bring back Korra. Desna appears confused, stating that only the Avatar was capable of opening the portal. Unalaq tells his children that he believes there is another way, before beginning to make his way to the sealed portal.

Bolin realizes

Bolin realizes that Mako and Asami are back together.

In Republic City, Bolin hangs inverted for a scene in an upcoming mover. After a single take, the film crew heads out for a lunch break, leaving Bolin alone on set. Asami arrives, stating that Varrick invited her to watch some of the filming, and inquires if the mover was filming at the moment, confused over seeing the relatively empty set. Mako arrives and tells both Asami and Bolin that it was Varrick who masterminded the raid on Future Industries' warehouses, convinced that the business mogul wants Republic City to enter the war and have control over the businesses that would profit the most from the nation's involvement.

Asami and Bolin remain unconvinced, and Bolin asserts that his brother's claims are the exact reason he decided to move out of their apartment. Upon hearing this, Asami comforts Mako, prompting Bolin to conclude that the two have already rekindled their relationship, despite the fact that Mako broke up with Korra a mere week earlier. The two deny this accusation, and Mako tries to convince Asami and Bolin once more that Varrick is responsible for the attack of his own ships and the raid on Future Industries. He tells the two that the explosives Varrick uses in his movers are identical to the ones described by the captain of one of the ships ambushed at sea, and that the detonators used are identical to the one he found outside the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center just after it was bombed by the Agni Kai Triad, but they tell him that the explosives are the kind anyone could have gotten their hands on. Exasperated over Asami and Bolin's reluctance to accept the truth, Mako storms off, but is confronted by two of Varrick's guards before he can leave.

Back at the temple, Tenzin tells Korra that she is lucky, as the Eastern Air Temple is the most spiritual of all the air temples. He takes her to a garden near where Aang first met Guru Pathik. Tenzin and Korra make their first attempt to enter the Spirit World while the others watch. They are unsuccessful, which Tenzin attributes to Meelo's inability to ring the meditation bell at the proper intervals, prompting them to try something else. Meelo is upset over ringing the bell wrong, until Korra assures him that his performance was "just fine".

Kya suspects

Kya begins to suspect that Jinora is hiding something.

The two attempt to enter the Spirit World for a second time, this time on top of a cliff carved with the face of an Air Nomad. They are unsuccessful again, which Tenzin attributes to too much smoke coming from the incenses that Kya is burning. He tells his sister that she must be burning them incorrectly before storming off to find another location, ignoring Kya's annoyed protests that she merely followed his instructions. On the way, Jinora sees a number of dragonfly bunny spirits floating around Korra's head, before flying off deep into the wilderness, away from the temple grounds. Jinora calls for Furry-Foot and the other spirits to come back, prompting Kya to ask her what she is chasing. The young airbender assures her aunt that it is nothing, before running off to catch up to Korra and her father, which makes Kya suspect that her niece is hiding something.

Tenzin takes Korra to a hall of statues and the two begin to meditate underneath a large sculpture of Avatar Yangchen. Tenzin urges Korra to focus and feel the energy of the universe and blames her for interrupting his meditation, despite having been the one to initiate the conversation. Puzzled by her mentor's unusual behavior, Korra asks Tenzin what is going on, to which he responds that nothing is feeling right. Korra reminds Tenzin that there is little time to waste and asks the airbender to do what he did back when he first entered the Spirit World. Tenzin reluctantly reveals that he has never been to the Spirit World, much to everyone's surprise. Korra and Pema express their disbelief, with the latter recalling the days her husband spent meditating in the temple. Tenzin admits that those were all failed attempts and labels his inability to enter the Spirit World his greatest shortcoming as an airbender, spiritual leader, and son of Aang. Bumi laughs, welcoming his brother to the "I Disappoint Dad Club".

When Kya asks how he plans to help Korra cross over into the Spirit World if he has never done so himself, Tenzin announces that he can still help Korra due to his years of studying the way of ancient spiritual leaders and asks Korra to trust him. However, Kya muses that there might be another way and asks Jinora if there is something she wants to tell Korra. Confused, Tenzin claims Jinora is too young and untrained to be knowledgeable of spiritual matters, though Jinora tells her father that she might know where Korra needs to go and, after he asks her how she would know that, admits that her spirit friends showed her. To prove her point, she calls upon them to reveal themselves, noting that it is all right for them to do so. At that moment, a number of dragonfly bunny spirits appear, much to everyone's amazement. The spirits begin to fly away from the temple grounds, with Korra resolving to follow them despite Tenzin's reluctance. When Tenzin inquires as to how long she has been able to communicate with the spirits, Jinora reveals that she is unsure, as she has always been able to do it.

Eska tends to Desna

Eska is concerned for her brother, who was wounded by an energy discharge from the spirit portal.

Back in the Spirit World, Desna and Eska express the futility of attempting to open the Northern portal, asserting that the spirits have already tried to do so for ten thousand years. Unalaq reasons that by entering the Spirit World through the portal, they have brought along with them the ability to bend. The three begin to use waterbending to try and open the portal, which eventually unleashes several bolts of energy in response. The resulting discharge wounds Desna, much to Eska's concern. Unalaq asserts that opening the portal is more important than tending to Desna, prompting Eska to leave the Spirit World to escort her brother to a healer. Nevertheless, Unalaq continues to assault the portal with a torrent of water, to no avail.

In Republic City, Mako is taken to Varrick. The business magnate tells Mako that he has heard of the young officer's investigations regarding the ambush of ships headed to the South. He tells Mako that the world can be a dangerous place and offers the firebender a place on his security escort, suggesting to Mako that he needed him on his side to "protect" Asami and Bolin. Despite Varrick's subtle threats, Mako declines the offer and leaves.

Tenzin and his family make their way down into the wilderness surrounding the mountains near the Eastern Air Temple on Oogi. Bumi names one of the dragonfly bunny spirits "Bum-Ju" as a shortened name for "Bumi Junior", much to Tenzin's indifference. Jinora suggests that her father is angry at her, which Kya dismisses, reassuring her niece that Tenzin's pride is "simply bruised", as he is incapable of seeing spirits. Korra adds that Jinora's ability is a natural gift and tells her that she is lucky. Jinora replies by saying that Korra is luckier, as she was able to meet the first Avatar. Korra expresses how amazing it was to see how the Avatar came into existence, recalling how Wan fused with Raava to create the Avatar Spirit. Jinora concludes that the Avatar is partially a spirit and comes to understand that the wooden carving she saw in the Southern Air Temple sanctuary was a depiction of Wan and Raava. She reveals that she was drawn to the statue during the winter solstice, the day when Korra opened the Southern spirit portal.

Spiritual cleansing

Tenzin performs a spiritual cleansing ritual on an ancient airbender meditation circle.

After landing, the dragonfly bunny spirits lead Korra, Tenzin, Bumi, Kya, and Jinora to an ancient airbender meditation circle, which had remained unused and covered in overgrowth for the past century. Jinora immediately senses unusually strong spiritual energy within the circle. Tenzin resolves to perform a spiritual cleansing, which would help strengthen the site's connection to the Spirit World. He bends smoke from an incense around the site, which immediately causes the dragonfly bunny spirits to leave. Suddenly, a colony of dark spirits in the likeness of bats appears from underground and begins to attack the group.

Korra and Tenzin initially attempt to ward them off with bending, but are unsuccessful. Despite not having been capable of successfully performing the technique, Korra attempts to calm the spirits using spiritbending. She successfully performs the technique, and the spirits begin to disappear in a flash of bright light. As the light dissipates, the vines and overgrowth covering the meditation circle begin to disappear.

Tenzin tells Korra how far she has come in her training. She states that although Unalaq had misguided intentions, he is more than knowledgeable in spiritual affairs. Tenzin expresses inadequacy as a spiritual guide, as he has been unable to guide Korra into the Spirit World while Unalaq had already taught her how to transform dark spirits into light spirits. Korra tells Tenzin that all of Unalaq's guidance has been for his own benefit, whereas Tenzin has always looked out for her well-being. She apologizes to Tenzin for dismissing him as her mentor and tells him that she needs him now more than ever. The two reconcile, and Tenzin begins another attempt to enter the Spirit World.

Mako and Asami kiss in the apartment

Mako and Asami share a brief kiss in his apartment.

In Republic City, Asami goes to Mako's apartment to make sure that he was fine, due to the fact that he was extremely agitated earlier in the day. Asami convinces Mako to take a night off and have dinner at Kwong's Cuisine, where they had their first date, and the two exchange in a brief kiss before being interrupted by Chief Lin Beifong, Lu, and Gang. After the two detectives tell Mako that members of the Triple Threat Triad identified him as an accomplice, he admits to hiring the triad to help conduct a sting operation.

Lin tells Mako that the Triple Threats told the police that he helped in the raid of Future Industries' warehouses, and that she must follow up on the lead despite the triad's lack of credibility. After searching his apartment, the two detectives find a pile of yuans and explosives hidden in Mako's closet and proceed to arrest him. Asami tells the detectives that the ordeal is a misunderstanding, and they tell her that Mako is nothing more than a "crooked cop" who used her for his benefit. Mako denies the accusations, and once again tries to convince Asami that it is Varrick who is responsible for the theft of her production line, though Lu and Gang do not believe him.

Korra and Jinora meditating

With Jinora's guidance, Korra manages to meditate into the Spirit World.

Back in the Eastern Air Temple, Tenzin becomes increasingly frustrated over his inability to enter the Spirit World. Kya tells Tenzin that it is not his destiny to guide the Avatar and urges him to allow Jinora to try. He refuses, asserting that Jinora is not ready for the dangers of the Spirit World. Korra tells him once again that they are running out of time, and Jinora reassures her dad that she could guide the Avatar into the Spirit World and remain out of harm. Tenzin concedes and accepts that he might never have the connection to spirits like he always wanted. He tells Korra to go with Jinora into the Spirit World and states that he will remain to watch over their bodies alongside Bumi and Kya. Soon after meditating, Korra briefly enters the Avatar State, before entering the Spirit World with Jinora.

Vaatu and Unalaq

Unalaq apologizes to Vaatu.

In the place where the two realms meet, Unalaq apologizes to an imprisoned Vaatu for failing him, believing the Avatar to be dead. The spirit tells him that he has not failed him yet, as the Avatar still lives. When inquired as to how he knows, Vaatu reveals that although his connection to Raava had been severed, he can still feel her presence. With this knowledge, Unalaq resolves to find the Avatar, to which Vaatu replies that she will find him instead. He reveals that Korra has just entered the Spirit World, much to Unalaq's surprise.


Production notes[]


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

Character revelations []

  • Jinora has the ability to see spirits in the mortal realm.
  • Tenzin has never successfully entered the Spirit World.
  • Unalaq has been working to free Vaatu from his imprisonment in the Spirit World.
  • Mako and Asami have secretly rekindled their romantic relationship.

Series continuity[]

  • The garden in the Eastern Air Temple where Tenzin and Korra attempt to enter the Spirit World was near the place where Aang first met Pathik in "The Guru".
  • To aid Korra in entering the Spirit World, Tenzin took her to meditate beneath the statue of Avatar Yangchen in the Eastern Air Temple, where Pathik also took Aang to unlock his sound chakra.
  • Jinora realizes that the wooden carving she was drawn to in "The Southern Lights" is a depiction of Wan and Raava.
  • Korra successfully pacifies numerous dark spirits using her uncle's waterbending technique.
  • Tenzin resumes his role as Korra's spiritual mentor, after he was dismissed by Korra in "Rebel Spirit". However, his inability to transcend the mortal realm leads to Jinora becoming Korra's guide into the Spirit World.


  • After the dark spirits appear, the incense holder disappears.