Earth, Fire Air, Water. So begins the end.

I was hesitant to see this episode for a while today. It was hard to believe that the day had finally come. I've been sick for the past 3 days, so I didn't really think I was mentally ready to start this today, but I thought I should best start now while the episode is still fresh in everyone's mind, and I do think I'm one of the first to do a serious review of this episode, which is cool

I was really surprised to see that this episode had no Korra for the majority of it. That was a wise move as it make the audience curious as to what had happened to her, especially when Tonraq showed p and said she wasn't with him. I'll touch more on her scene t the end, but that was a pretty brilliant move from a writing standpoint.

It was good to be back in Republic City. It was nice hearing the Dixieland music again, and seeing that the Spirit Wilds no longer a problem. If they go the way I think they will, and end the show in RC, I think it would be a nice bookend to the series. Or maybe they'll end it in Ba Sing Se to make it similar to ATLA's end.

I was very surprised to see at the spirit wilds had become integrated so well with the human parts of the city. Thanks to the unexpected time skip, they have a lot more opportunity for new stories. Honestly, when I heard this book would be called Balance, I thought the main conflict would b the balancing of humans and the spirits. But now that they've moved on from that off screen, and very well I might add, and the show should benefit from it immensely. I now know by Balance they meant the transformation of the Earth Kingdom government, and it's transition from monarchy to apparent dictatorship from Kuvira the Conqueror. And if the violence we saw in that little town was that bad, I can only wonder what's happening in Ba Sing Se right now.

As for the new changes and characters, Wu is of course annoying. I have a feeling he'll either die or be humbled by the end of the show. Interesting that he used the term 'dame' when referring to Asami. That kind of slang really fits well in Republic City. Nice to see a little more Varrick, too. Glad to see that his idea of a high-speed rail system we heard about in Book 3 worked as well as it did. I'm not a huge fan of the new Airbender uniforms. The flying squirrel design kind of bugs me since it's so radically different from ay traditional Air Nomad clothing. If they could incorporate a more robe-like design when not in use, I'd love it. But as it is, the black and grey skin-tight jumpsuits just don't feel like Avatar, you know? Kai's new voice is nice. Not sure if it's still the voice actor of Aang, though. I hope it is.

Kuvira is a brilliant villain. I'm not sure if what's she's doing has ever happened in our own history, but it's excellent for character like her. I'm not sure if she's really evil at heart, or if she's just trying to do what she feels is right for the EK, but in any case her lesser-of-two-evils approach of conquest will no doubt come to a head soon. Once she gets 100% of the EK, and she will, I can see her slipping into even more of a power hungry dictator, obsessed with control and willing to o anything to preserve order. I mean, was she not about to run over all those bandit's hands with a TRAIN? DAMN!!!! 0_0 That lady is vicious, and should prove to be quite a match for Korra. And while her supporter's frustrations with Wu is understandable, considering Kuvira is a much stronger leader, I think we can all see a little Red Lotus influence in there.

As for the romance aspect of things, and how i feel about certain ships, I think unless they do some really big changes really soon, I don't think Korra will end up with Mako. I think it would be more fitting for Korra to stay single, maybe forever. None of the characters we've seen, not even Asami, are really very good for her. I'd sooner the character stay single until she was ready than be unhappy with someone like Mako. Like Doug Walker said, the romance of Avatar is kinda it's weak spot. Best to be avoided altogether, if possible. Looks like Bopal isn't going anywhere either right now.

Judging by the new mechs, Future Industries has certainly been busy. I wonder if they're still being made of platinum? perhaps not so as to make them more useable to metalbenders. This is kinda out there, but I really hope Varrick finds a way to slim a mech down and make it fly, becoming sort of a 'Platinum Man'. A guy can dream, right? XD he's already a lot like Tony Stark.

The end scene surprised me. Korra certainly looks beaten down. That poison must have taken a lot out of her if she can't even beat a regular earthbender. I feel sorry for her. I want to know what happened to her. I hope the next episode explains what happened in this timeskip. Though I wonder, was this the same place Earth Rumble VI took place in?

A good first episode. I only wish they had more time. I hope that they can do as much as possible wit the remaining 12 episodes, and that the conclusion to this great franchise will make Korra finally worthy of the title of Avatar. Wishing you all the best, see ya later.