- This article is about the episode. For the game, see here.
|"Republic City needs its Avatar once again."|
|— Tenzin to Korra.|
"Welcome to Republic City" is the first episode of Book One: Air of The Legend of Korra and the first of the series. Along with "A Leaf in the Wind", it debuted online on March 24, 2012. It later aired on Nickelodeon on April 14, 2012, in the one-hour television premiere of the sequel series in general, followed immediately by "A Leaf in the Wind".
After Avatar Korra completes her firebending training, the Order of the White Lotus decides she is ready to start learning the last element, air, with Tenzin, Katara's son. However, when the airbender has to postpone training to his political duties in Republic City, Korra decides to run away there in order to find him and commence her training. Once there, the Avatar learns the reality of Republic City, and after defeating some gangsters who abused a man, she is detained for the destruction she had caused. Tenzin, after conversing with Lin Beifong, the Chief of Police, succeeds in freeing her and plans to send her back home. However, after Korra discusses her stay in the city, she convinces him to allow her to live on Air Temple Island and start the training.
After Aang and his friends brought the Hundred Year War to an end, the Avatar and Fire Lord Zuko transformed the Fire Nation colonies into the United Republic of Nations, a society where benders and nonbenders from all over the world would live together in peace and harmony, Republic City being its capital city. Avatar Aang accomplished many remarkable things in his life, but his time in this world came to an end, and thus the Avatar Cycle began anew.
In the Southern Water Tribe, the leader of the Order of the White Lotus and two other members walk in the snow toward a house. A man greets them at the entrance, saying that it is an honor they have come and thanks them. He opens the door, letting them inside to see his wife, who is sweeping the floor and welcomes them as well. The leader of the Order informs them about their failed searches in both the Northern and Southern Tribes, to which she answers that they should be happy to know their search has come to an end. The leader, incredulous, asks her what makes her so sure her daughter is the one. The woman calls Korra, who enters the room, earthbending a hole in the wall and demonstrating, to the surprise and amazement of the White Lotus, that she can control water, earth, and fire.
Thirteen years later, Avatar Korra is performing before the Order and her teachers, exhibiting firebending prowess; as the Avatar battles two men, Katara comments she is strong to which the leader of the Order adds that she lacks restraint. After finishing, Korra excitedly approaches the elders, and is told that they have not decided if she passed her firebending test yet; she has mastered the physical side of bending, but has completely ignored the spiritual side, and the Avatar must master both. Korra replies that it just does not come easily to her, claiming it is the reason she should start training with Tenzin. Katara agrees and the Order finally decides she can start training under the airbender's tutelage. At this announcement, Korra jumps and celebrates happily, but at the look of the masters, she corrects her reaction, thanks them for believing in her, and leaves. Korra quickly goes to share the good news with Naga, her polar bear dog and animal companion, and hugs her, prompting the creature to lick her face. After this, Korra decides to take Naga out for a stroll, but the tower guard stares at her doubtfully; however, after reassuring him that she will not be going far, he opens the gate, letting the Avatar ride on her pet, who runs off across the frozen landscape.
A flying bison lands in the Southern Tribe, carrying Tenzin, his wife Pema, and their three kids: Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo, who anxiously asks if they have arrived. The two girls dismount the bison on air scooters as Tenzin goes to greet his mother and tell her how happy he is to see her. He subsequently asks for her help as his son is biting his head. Katara chuckles and takes Meelo, who tries to escape her grasp, shouting, "Unhand me, strange woman!" His father tells him that she is his grandmother, and the boy somersaults over her head and lands behind her. Jinora stands in front of Katara, telling her that she has read everything about her old adventures and has been dying to ask what happened to Zuko's mother, to which the waterbending master says it is an incredible tale. However, before she can continue, Ikki interrupts, jumping in between the two and talking rapidly, asking many questions, annoying her sister.
Pema subsequently steps off the bison; Tenzin comes over to help, but his wife says she is not helpless, just pregnant. Katara salutes and hugs her, saying that the baby is strong and she sees another airbender in her future. Pema does not seem to like this, stating she would like a nice nonbender child like herself who does not blast wind in her face every five seconds. At that moment, Meelo asks his mother to watch as he claims to be a snowbender, blowing away a snow pile in which he had covered himself, splattering some in his mother's face in the process. Pema, shaking her head, asks Katara if Tenzin and his siblings were this crazy when they were kids, to which she answers that Kya and Bumi certainly were, but Tenzin had always been rather serious.
The airbending master notices Korra standing behind his mother and as she runs up to him, he notes with surprised satisfaction that she has grown big and strong and has become "quite the Avatar". Korra, glad Tenzin has arrived, tells him that she cannot wait to get started, though his expression instantly falls. Pema tells him he will have to tell her sooner or later, though before he can, Katara guesses that he is not staying, which Tenzin confirms, adding that he will return to Republic City the next morning. Korra, disappointed, insists that he is supposed to stay, but Tenzin apologizes and says her airbending training will have to wait.
That night, Tenzin, Korra, and the White Lotus leader are having dinner. The Avatar repeatedly asks when her airbending training will commence, but the airbender states that he has responsibilities in Republic City as one of its leaders, where the situation is very unstable. Korra suggests returning to Republic City with him to learn the art there, though the White Lotus leader refuses, emphasizing that the city is too hazardous for her and they need to keep her safe while she completes her training as per Aang's instructions. Displeased, Korra subsequently leaves the room.
The following morning, Tenzin and his family say goodbye to Katara, who is saddened by their departure. From a cliff, Korra and Naga watch them leave on Oogi; as she follows their departure, her expression changes from sad to determined. That night, Korra visits Naga's stable and begins to saddle her polar bear dog. As she is finishing up, Katara comments that it is a nice night for an escape, startling Korra. Korra starts to explain that she has to leave in order to find her own path as the Avatar. Katara understands and adds that the time of her generation has passed, reminding Korra that Sokka and "many of" her friends have since passed away. She states that it is now the duty of Korra's generation to maintain peace and balance in the world. Noting that she believes Korra will make a great Avatar, the two share a hug and say their goodbyes. Korra subsequently uses her bending to tunnel a path away from the compound via which she and Naga escape undetected. After saying goodbye to her parents as well, she and Naga stow away in the cargo hold of a steamship headed for Republic City.
Korra wakes to the sounds of scraping metal and excitedly deduces that they have arrived at the city. Waking up Naga, they dash out of the ship once its door opens. Upon arriving in the open, they are amazed at the city's vastness. Korra looks up at Aang's statue across Yue Bay in astonishment and spots their destination: Air Temple Island. However, when Korra asks Naga if she is ready for a swim, her pet, hungry, starts looking for food instead. Bumping into some people along the way, Korra apologizes for any inconvenience her pet was causing until the former arrives at a food stand. After the Avatar realizes she does not have any yuans, and is therefore unable to purchase any food, she catches fish from the pond of a park and fries them with her firebending. A hobo promptly appears from a bush and asks her for one. The Avatar grants his request and, surprised at the man's lifestyle, comments how different she thought Republic City was, to which the vagabond says that she still has a lot to learn. A guard of the park yells at them for having caught fish, an action that was prohibited. Korra rides away on Naga and passes by a protester and a crowd of listeners. The advocate tells people about the Equalist revolt and tries to persuade people to join the movement. When Korra hears this and his remarks against benders, she disagrees, saying that bending is "the coolest thing ever". When she admits that she would like to knock him off the stage with her waterbending, the man wins the crowd's support and Korra leaves, vexed.
When asking for directions to Air Temple Island, the Avatar encounters the Triple Threat Triad as they abuse a phonograph vendor. She challenges them, to which the gangsters accept mockingly. To the surprise of the three men and the shop owners watching the fight, she defeats them with waterbending, earthbending, and firebending. After this, Metalbending Police Force officers arrive and arrest not only the gang, but a surprised Korra for destruction of private and city property, and after a brief chase, take her to the police headquarters, where she is interrogated by a displeased Chief Lin Beifong. Korra tries talking to Chief Beifong, telling her that her past life and Lin's mother were friends and saved the world together, but Beifong dismisses those comments as "ancient history". Tenzin enters the scene and, although he manages to persuade Lin to drop all charges against Korra, with him covering all the damages, she makes it very clear that she will keep an eye on the young Avatar.
At an animal pound, Korra tries to convince Tenzin to allow her to stay. She argues that Katara agreed that her destiny was in Republic City, much to the airbender's displeasure. She proceeds to say that being cooped up in the Southern Water Tribe was not helping her become a better Avatar and that she has now realized that the city needs not only him, but its Avatar as well. The airbender is at a loss for a counterargument. An officer, holding Naga on a leash, catches their attention, asking if this polar bear dog belongs to her.
While traveling on his boat to Air Temple Island, Tenzin looks solemnly toward the giant statue of his father, Avatar Aang. Upon docking with the island, where the White Lotus was already waiting for Korra to arrive, his kids enthusiastically greet Korra and ask if she is going to stay. Korra sadly admits that she has to leave and moves toward the ship, ready to go back to the Southern Water Tribe. Before she can board it, Tenzin stops her, admitting that she is right; since Aang's death, Republic City has fallen out of balance and Tenzin believed that by putting off her training he would be upholding his legacy. However, now he realizes that Korra is Aang's legacy and allows her stay in Republic City and commence her airbending training, much to the Avatar's excitement, who proceeds to lift her master and his children into a group hug. The Avatar's stay on the island is publicly announced in a press conference in front of Republic City's government hall, during which she states that "Avatar Aang meant for this city to be the center of peace and balance in the world," and that she would strive to obtain that goal.
In a distant location, Amon and some of his men are listening to Avatar Korra's speech. As the broadcast finishes and the Lieutenant turns the radio off, Amon ominously states the Avatar's arrival calls for an acceleration in their plans.
- Also starring:
- Maria Bamford - Pema
- Kiernan Shipka - Jinora
- Darcy Rose Byrnes - Ikki
- Logan Wells - Meelo
- Richard Epcar:
- Cora Baker - 4 year-old Korra
- Lance Henriksen - Lieutenant
- Carlos Alazraqui:
- Stephen Root:
- Dee Bradley Baker:
- Additional voices:
- Main article: Transcript:Welcome to Republic City
- Main article: Transcript:Welcome to Republic City (commentary)
- Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar
- When Tenzin, Pema, and their children arrive in the Southern Water Tribe, Jinora and Ikki dismount their bison via an airbending technique known as the air scooter, a move invented by their paternal grandfather, Avatar Aang.
- At the end of the episode, Jinora and Ikki come gliding in using traditional Air Nomad gliders.
- The way Katara discovered Korra leaving the Southern Water Tribe is similar to the way Kanna discovered Katara and Sokka leaving in the second episode of the original series. In both cases, a young person is leaving, somehow affecting the Avatar, and the elder lets them go.
- When Korra arrives in Republic City and sees the great statue of Avatar Aang for the first time, she stares at it just like Aang stared at the statue of Avatar Roku at the Southern Air Temple.
- A schematic for a mecha tank can be seen on the wall during the Lieutenant's conversation with Amon at the end of the episode.
- Jinora refers to Katara by the name "Gran Gran", which is the term that Sokka and Katara used to refer to Kanna.
- When talking to Katara, Jinora asks what happened to Zuko's mother.
- During Korra's firebending test, she bounces off a firebender without facial hair, but in the next shot, he has a mustache.
- When Tenzin arrives at the South Pole, one of the clasps that connect Katara's hair loopies to the frontal part of her hair (the one on the "sunny side") is white and the other one is blue. Although this could be due to the lighting in that scene, the other one also turns white when she says, "You're not staying, are you?" When she says, "Kya and Bumi certainly were, but Tenzin has always been rather serious," the clasp that connects her hair loopies with the back of her hair also turns white, but just for one frame.
- Tenzin has light brown eyes in his first scene, but has light gray eyes in the following scene.
- When Jinora asks about Zuko's mother, Katara's eyes are two different shades of blue.
- When Tenzin, Korra, and the White Lotus leader discuss Korra's airbending training, Korra's chopsticks initially have differently colored ends. In the following shot, they do not. Later, they again have differently colored ends.
- When a policeman calls on Korra to stop fishing, Korra is holding a fish in her right hand and calls for Naga. However, in the next shot, the fish disappears.
- When the Triple Threat Triad is threatening Mr. Chung, Korra is not standing behind them. However, when she starts talking and they turn around, she is standing behind them.
- Korra wears an armband on her right arm only, but when she is about to kick Viper's head, she is wearing an armband on her left arm, too.
- When the Triple Threat Triad is trying to run away in their Satomobile, Korra earthbends a rock column up. However, in the next shot, the rock column disappears.
- When Lin points at Korra, she has six fingers.
- In at least two scenes, Katara has brown eyebrows, and in the rest, she has white ones. However, she was also seen with brown eyebrows in "Endgame", suggesting that the goof was the presence of white eyebrows rather than brown.
- Air Temple Island is the same uninhabited island visited by Aang and Katara in 102 AG when they wanted to escape the overcrowded Cranefish Town.
- This is the only episode of The Legend of Korra to have a different opening sequence, depicting the original Team Avatar seventy years prior. This opening also marks the only appearance of Suki in The Legend of Korra.
- This episode, together with "A Leaf in the Wind", has the highest viewership of Book One.
- This episode was originally supposed to feature a fight scene with Amon in the initial part of the story. On the network's advice, the scene was later cut to slow the episode's pacing and provide the audience more time to be introduced to the new setting and characters.
- The Triple Threats attacked Korra in the order of the Avatar Cycle, minus air; Viper (water), Mushi (earth), and Two Toed Ping (fire).
- 'The Legend of Korra' to unlock this Saturday. Korra Nation on Tumblr (March 21, 2012). Retrieved on March 21, 2012.
- Image of Lin with six fingers. Tumblr (June 21, 2012). Retrieved on June 21, 2012.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hicks, Faith Erin (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Hill, Ryan (colorist). Imbalance Part One (December 18, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.
- Calculated from the numbers given and referenced in a rating chart, considering both the two-part premiere and finale as one episode each.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan & Varney, Janet (July 9, 2013). "Welcome to Republic City" commentary. Book One: Air Blu-ray.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Dos Santos, Joaquim & Blum, Steve (July 9, 2013). "The Revelation" commentary. Book One: Air Blu-ray.