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This article is about the episode. For the group referring to the citizens of Zaofu, see Metal Clan.

"The Metal Clan" is the fifth episode of Book Three: Change of The Legend of Korra and the 31st of the overall series. It aired on Nickelodeon along with "In Harm's Way" on July 11, 2014.


Korra's search for new airbenders leads Team Avatar and Lin Beifong to the city of Zaofu, home of the Metal Clan. There, they meet Suyin, Lin's half-sister, whose daughter, Opal, has become an airbender. While Opal and Bolin form an instant connection, tensions quickly mount between Lin and Suyin, both of whom have not contacted the other in thirty years. Meanwhile, in Republic City, Zaheer infiltrates Air Temple Island in an attempt to uncover the Avatar's whereabouts, but he is eventually exposed by Kya and forced to flee.


Somewhere in the Earth Kingdom, Korra is playing fetch with Naga, launching the ball with her airbending, while Lin Beifong, Bolin, and Pabu watch. Annoyed over wasting time playing games, Lin declares that they should move on, as four dangerous criminals are still roaming free. Korra waves off the metalbender's worry, noting that her current location is unknown to anyone but the people present. Having retrieved the ball, Naga places it on the ground in front of Lin, prompting Korra to translate the gesture as a desire for Lin to throw it. Eyeing the saliva and grass-covered object, the Chief of Police refuses to play along. That moment, Mako and Asami arrive and inform them of a new airbender in the city of Zaofu, known as the home of the Metal Clan. Korra ask Lin if she knows of the place, and the latter becomes visibly uncomfortable, sidestepping the question by saying that she has not been. She emphasizes that she does not want Korra to go to Zaofu, and that it would ease her mind if Korra returned to Republic City. Korra apologizes to Lin, and states that, since Zaofu has a new airbender, she needs to go to Zaofu. As Team Avatar boards their airship, Naga begs the Chief of Police again to throw her ball by pushing the object closer toward her with her nose; an aggravated Lin uses her metal cable to puncture and deflate the toy, disappointing the polar bear dog.

Aiwei welcomes Korra and her party

Aiwei was at the airship dock to welcome Avatar Korra and her friends when they arrived at Zaofu.

The group flies to Zaofu and explore the city without Lin, who opts to remain inside the airship, and instructing the rest of the group not to reveal that she came with them. Aiwei greets Korra, Asami, Bolin, and Mako asks the four of them whether they were the entire group, to which Korra hastily responds yes. Per her request, Aiwei escorts Korra and her group to see the airbender in Zaofu.

While Ikki and Meelo introduce two new airbenders to Daw at Air Temple Island, Zaheer, completely shaved, enters and introduces himself as Yorru, claiming that he heard that the island is where new airbenders came to seek refuge.

Aiwei explains to Team Avatar the importance of Toph Beifong to the metal clan's culture, as her discovery of metalbending opened a new frontier for earthbenders and their abilities. He asserts that the citizens of Zaofu are encouraged to live up to their fullest potential, but regretfully tells Bolin that Toph stopped visiting the city after she left to wander the world in search of enlightenment. He escorts them to the airbender's mother, Suyin Beifong, whom they find in the middle of a dance rehearsal; the group is welcomed warmly, but Suyin suddenly begins interrogating them after she is informed by truth seer Aiwei that they lied about how many people were in their group. Korra relents and reveals that they came with the Republic City Chief of Police, much to Suyin's surprise and delight; she reveals herself to be Lin's sister.

Korra and Opal airbend

Korra begins Opal's airbending training in a pavilion in Zaofu.

Korra confronts Lin back in the airship along with Suyin, who criticizes her sister for not making any contact in thirty years. The two begin squabbling about family affairs, with Lin declaring that it was Suyin who separated the family. Suyin takes the group back to her estate and introduces them to her family, starting with her twin sons, Wei and Wing, who are preoccupied playing power disc, a metalbending game of their own invention. She proceeds to introduce them to Huan, a metalbending sculptor whom Bolin accidentally offends by mistakenly identifying one of his works. They meet Opal soon after, who expresses delight over meeting her aunt. Suyin urges the group to stay in Zaofu to train Opal, even easing Lin's concern over Korra's safety by assuring her sister that Zaofu is the safest city in the world. Opal and Korra begin training in airbending, with the latter remarking how talented Opal is.

On Air Temple Island, Meelo instructs the new airbenders to "be the leaf" and sends them to the training panels. All of the airbenders fail badly, until Zaheer effortlessly maneuvers his way through the airbending gates. When congratulated, Kya arrives and informs the airbenders that Tenzin has arrived at the Northern Air Temple and wants the rest of the airbenders in Republic City to join him. Zaheer inquires whether the Avatar would be at the temple, and Kya hesitantly answers him with a "no". Zaheer claims that unfortunate as he was looking forward to meeting her.

Varrick in Zaofu

Varrick reveals his recent partnership with Suyin Beifong to lead Zaofu's new technology division, with the primary goal of developing a high speed rail using magnets.

As Zaofu prepares to seal its buildings at night, Korra and her group dine with Suyin's family and meet her husband, Baatar, and eldest son, whom she introduces as the architect and engineer responsible for the city's development. When Lin claims that five kids are a nightmare, Suyin counters by saying they are a blessing, causing the former to remark that their mother said the same thing but never meant it. Opal and Bolin engage in conversation during dinner, with the former growing more attracted to the earthbender. Meanwhile, Suyin asks Korra how her search for airbenders has gone, to which the young Avatar replies that it has not been as successful as planned. She recalls the team's recent rescue of airbenders from Earth Queen Hou-Ting's custody, prompting Suyin to declare that the Queen's rule is outdated and needs to evolve alongside the changing nation. As Lin makes a bitter comment about Suyin's apparent expertise in global affairs, Varrick and Zhu Li enter the dining hall, much to Bolin's surprise and Asami and Mako's annoyance. Varrick asks Asami about how "their" company is doing, only for Asami to remind him that she regained full ownership because of Varrick's conspiracy to kidnap Raiko. The industrialist points out that, technically, he was not convicted; when Mako says it was because he escaped, the industrialist responds saying the universe saw fit to free him. Varrick declares that he looked up Suyin, pitched her some ideas, and went into business with her; he states that he is now the head of the matriarch's technology division, which primarily deals with the development of magnets and a high-speed rail. The mogul's presence angers Lin, who chastises her sister for harboring a criminal. Suyin remarks that a mistake should not define a person and asserts that people can change, using her former pirate chef as an example; Lin states that Suyin has not changed at all and storms off.

Su recounting her childhood

Suyin explains her complicated childhood to Korra, expressing regret over her strained relationship with Lin.

As they prepare for the night, Mako tells Bolin about Opal's apparent affection toward him, prompting the earthbender to consider her as a love interest. In her office, Suyin tells Korra that she created the city as a way to make her mark on the world. She reminisces about her past, saying that she and Lin competed for their mother's affection during their childhood, which strained their relationship. Although the two girls never knew their fathers and Toph gave the two all the freedom they wanted to discover their respective paths, Suyin reveals that she ultimately was disappointed by how her daughters chose to live their lives. The matriarch recounts that she left to travel the world at the age of sixteen, and that during her journey, she discovered that what she wanted was a family. She then purchased empty Earth Kingdom land, which she developed into Zaofu. Korra remarks that her life sounds perfect, but Suyin sadly remarks that, while she has always wanted Lin to be a part of it, she has given up any hope of reconciling with her.

In a courtyard, Bolin lamely attempts to flirt with Opal, who urges him not to try too hard and just be himself. As the two share a moment, Korra intervenes and asks Opal to talk to Lin, hoping that meeting her niece might calm her down.

Kya pulls Zaheer down

Kya attacks Zaheer after she figures out he is a wanted criminal.

Meanwhile, Zaheer rummages through Tenzin's office and discovers a locket bearing Guru Laghima's writing; as he reads the words aloud to himself, Ikki finds him there, and tells him that nobody is allowed inside the study, apart from her father. Zaheer tells her that he could not sleep and, upon Ikki's inquiring, informs her that the text he is reading is a poem by Guru Laghima, whom he calls the wisest airbender who ever lived. Before the conversation can continue, Kya enters the room and tells her niece to go to bed. After Ikki leaves, Kya questions Zaheer about his extensive knowledge of Air Nomad history, and how he was able to navigate the spinning gates like an expert, despite having only recently received airbending abilities. Zaheer defends his actions by noting that he has always admired Air Nomad culture, but after he claims to be from a small village in the north, Kya recognizes him for who he is. He attacks her, steals an airbender staff, and attempts to flee the temple. Kya gives chase, pulling Zaheer out of the air with a water tendril and engaging him directly in combat. Despite fierce opposition by her and two White Lotus sentries who rush to her aid, Zaheer manages to evade them and vanishes into the night.

Opal and Korra find a still-annoyed Lin in her quarters. Opal tells Lin that she is sorry the visit has been hard on her, acknowledging that she had heard many stories about Lin from her mother and Toph. She expresses sadness that Lin seems to want to avoid her. Opal continues by saying that, while her family can be "crazy and overwhelming" at times, it would mean a lot to her if her aunt wanted to be a part of it. Coldly, Lin interrupts Opal, ordering her to leave; Opal quickly apologizes again, believing she has said something out of place, but after Lin gives the order a second time, Opal runs from the room in tears. Korra furiously berates Lin for her callousness, but Lin retorts that Korra should prioritize fixing the world over her family's problems. Korra states that Suyin was right to believe that Lin would never change and would always be a lonely and bitter woman; as she leaves Lin alone in her room, the metalbender breaks down in tears.


Production notes[]


Main article: Transcript:The Metal Clan
Main article: Transcript:The Metal Clan (commentary)


Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar

Series continuity[]

  • Meelo tells the new airbenders to "be the leaf", which is the same advice he gave Korra during her airbending training in "A Leaf in the Wind".
  • Varrick inquires about the state of Future Industries, a company in which he purchased a controlling interest in "The Sting". However, Asami reveals that full ownership of the company returned to her after Varrick's involvement in the attempted kidnapping of President Raiko came to light in "Night of a Thousand Stars".
  • Bolin recalls his and Mako's lives as orphans, which were explored in Republic City Hustle.
  • While describing the type of girls to whom Bolin is attracted, Mako mentions a "dumb mover star" and a "psycho ice princess", referencing Ginger and Eska, respectively.
  • The book Opal is reading when Korra arrives is the same one Lu and Gang had in their drawers in "Peacekeepers".[1]

Character revelations[]

  • Lin Beifong has a half-sister, Suyin Beifong.
  • Toph Beifong decided to travel the world in search of enlightenment following her years serving as Chief of Police in Republic City.
  • Varrick is the head of Zaofu's new technology division.


  • At the end of the routine Suyin is practicing when Korra arrives, two of the dancers disappear.


  • The airship that was already docked in Zaofu is the same model that the Equalists used, differing only in coloration.
  • Among Suyin's collection of keepsakes are a dragon pipe identical to the one Sokka used in "Avatar Day", a Painted Lady statuette, and a mask used by sandbenders.
    • The photo on Suyin's desk depicts her son Huan as an infant.[2]
  • This episode was one of four to be leaked by the Mexican Nickelodeon website, MundoNick, on June 8, 2014.[3]
  • There is a picture of Kuvira on the newspaper that Lin is reading right before Korra and Opal come in.
  • Storyboarded by Natasha Wicke, the choreography for Suyin's dance rehearsal was originally going to use reference provided by Bryan Konietzko's wife, but an injury prevented her from doing so before the storyboards were sent to the animation studio.[2]
  • The courtyard in which Korra and Opal train in airbending, designed by Angela Sung, and colored by Emily Tetri and Konietzko, is a tribute to American painter Maxfield Parrish.[2]
  • A scene in which Ming-Hua shaves Zaheer's head with an ice razor in their Spirit Wilds hideout was cut from the final storyboard.[2]
  • The distorted theme that plays when Lin experiences emotional distress uses a metallophone.[2]