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"We've been double-crossed. We have to get off this ship."
Mako to Asami Sato.

"The Sting" is the sixth episode of Book Two: Spirits of The Legend of Korra and the 18th episode of the overall series. It aired on Nickelodeon on October 11, 2013.


When criminal activity threatens to put Future Industries out of business, Mako sets up a sting operation in an attempt to arrest the culprits. The plan backfires, however, as it drew them away from the company's warehouse when it was being robbed. Mako investigates further and discovers the true culprit.


A cargo ship is traveling south, when suddenly bombs are thrown on board. When the captain alerts the crew of the attack, waterbenders ambush the ship. The crew manages to escape, defeating the waterbenders whilst commenting that "Varrick [will] not be happy".

Outside the Southern spirit portal, Desna and Eska wait for their father, Unalaq. He emerges from the spirit portal, prompting Desna to question whether he was in the Spirit World. He brushes his son's question aside and asks his children the Avatar's whereabouts. Eska claims that she was in their grasp, until a dark spirit attacked her, while Desna comments that the dark spirits were out of control, leaving Unalaq disappointed. Eska says that the Avatar is dead.

In Republic City, Varrick is airing his propaganda film, The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South. The warm reception leads Varrick to declare Bolin a star, and announce that the movers will allow them to garner support against the Northern Water Tribe and eventually persuade President Raiko to aid the South in the Water Tribe Civil War. The success leads to Bolin comment on the major chemistry between him and Ginger, who instead tells him that their chemistry existed only on screen, before walking away. Meanwhile, Zhu Li tells Varrick that a shipment was captured, before he leaves the scene.

Questioning Mako's ideas

Mako attempts to convince Lin Beifong, Lu, and Gang that the Northern Water Tribe might not be responsible for all the attacks.

At the police headquarters, Asami is distraught at the attacks and worried of her company's future. Mako consoles her by telling her that Chief Lin Beifong was questioning the ship's captain. Inside the questioning room, Lu and Gang insist that the cargo theft was the work of the North, to Lin's agreement. When the captain of the ship mentioned that the bombs had no fuses but were rather remotely detonated, Mako linked it to the bombing of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center. Meanwhile, Varrick enters the room to console a worried Asami. Mako shows Lin and the captain the remote detonator and the bombing suspect, but the captain identifies neither of them. Mako suggests an operation to arrest the people responsible; however, his idea is shot down, as he is a rookie.

Outside the headquarters, Mako describes his operation to Asami: set up a bait ship and capture the perpetrators. He is, however, discouraged due to the lack of support from Beifong and states that he could be expelled if he were discovered to be working behind her back. With Asami's insistence, Mako decides to carry out the operation, with Varrick providing the ship.

Mako hiring the Triple Threats

With nowhere else to turn, Mako and Asami hire the Triple Threat Triad to help them.

Outside Future Industries, empty crates are loaded onto the ship. Mako mentions requiring extra manpower and Asami suggests Korra. He becomes uneasy at the suggestion and makes excuses about how the Avatar is unavailable to help them. Deciding to enlist his brother, he returns home and asks him, though Bolin refuses to help, recalling past instances where Mako refused to help him when he asked for it. As a last resort, Mako decided to rope in the Triple Threat Triad, with the promise of Korra restoring Shady Shin's bending and Asami providing the triad brand new, top-of-the-line vehicles.

On the ship, Mako and Asami have a conversation with a talkative Two Toed Ping. The conversation eventually turns to Mako dating the Avatar, which Mako uneasily brushed aside. When Ping could not stop talking, Mako mentioned that he broke up with Korra, to Asami's surprise and disbelief and the Triple Threats' humor and mocking.

Ginger annoyed

Bolin is left in confusion about the difference between Ginger the person and Ginger the character.

Meanwhile, Bolin is filming as Nuktuk and saving a captured Ginger who is close to death. Instead of following the script, Bolin began to ad lib, instead kissing Ginger, much to her disgust. Varrick criticized Bolin for not following the script, but soon changed his mind and followed Bolin's plan. Bolin flirted with Ginger, suggesting that she liked the kiss too, causing the disgusted girl to leave and state that she loved Nuktuk and not Bolin, despite the earthbender's plea and insistence.

Back at the ship, Ping revealed to Mako and Asami that his nickname, 'Two Toed', was due him having two extra toes. Mako was wondering why the attack had not occurred and decided to check on the other members. To his shock, he discovers that they were double-crossed: the Triple Threats were paid to keep Mako and Asami distracted. Mako told Asami of the triad's betrayal and both escaped on speedboats, with the Triple Threats pursuing them.

Asami kisses Mako

Finding comfort in Mako now that she has lost everything, Asami kisses him.

Both rush back to Future Industries, only to find the entire warehouse empty. Asami has given up, despite Mako's persistence. When Mako states that he has not given up on her, a touched Asami impulsively kisses him, only to snap out in shock and apologize. Shrugging off the awkward moment, Mako leaves to find evidence.

The next day, Mako threatens Ping, forcing him to reveal the person who hired the triad. Ping confesses that they were only approached by a middleman, who claimed that his boss would pay them to keep the duo distracted. Mako later approaches Bolin, wanting to question him about Varrick, but is ignored until he calls Bolin Nuktuk. The earthbender tells his brother that he has a pyrotechnics scene to act, before rushing off to scene. While filming, Mako noticed the explosions and asked the technician how the explosions were rigged. The technician replied that the explosions used a remote detonator, while showing Mako the remote, which was similar to the one used by the Agni Kai Triad during the bombing of the cultural center.

Mako suspects Varrick

Suspecting Varrick to be behind the attacks, Mako sets out to prove he is right.

Back at Future Industries, Mako enters Asami's office, announcing that he discovered the person who set them up. However, he soon realizes that Varrick has bought Future Industries' controlling interest, saving her company from bankruptcy once more. Asami asks him who the perpetrator was, which the firebender, knowing he would need more proof to accuse Varrick, replied that he was real close and he would fill her in later.

Korra washes up on a beach, waking to find three members of the Bhanti surrounding her. She defensively throws them aside with airbending, but drops to her knees in exhaustion. When the head sage tells her they are there to help her, the Avatar has no idea of her stated identity. The tribesman questions her further on how she ended up on the island, but Korra reveals that she has no memory of who she is or what has happened, before collapsing on the sand.


Production notes[]


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


Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar


  • When Mako received the remote from the pyrotechnics guy, the button on the remote is yellow instead of red.
  • When Ginger talks to Bolin after their kissing scene, her necklace changes color in the same scene.


  • The way Korra lies unconscious on the shore of Crescent Island mirrors how Aang lay unconscious in "The Awakening".
  • This episode is the first of The Legend of Korra to not focus on Korra, instead following Mako as the main protagonist.
  • This episode marks the first time that Tenzin and his family do not appear in Book Two.
  • The character of Evil Unalaq in Varrick's mover bears a resemblance to actor Ozai in The Boy in the Iceberg.
  • In the original storyboard for the scene with Bolin in the hot tub, he was shirtless.[1]
  • The moment where Mako eavesdrops on Shady Shin and Viper talking about the former's date prior to discussing their ulterior objective was added after the final animatic.[2]
  • The creators experienced some resistance from the network around the fact that Korra was not the main character of the episode's story, with the creators assuaging them by pointing out Korra being in the episode's final scene.[2]