The Legend of Korra Season 3, Episode 11 ‘The Ultimatum’ Recap & Thoughts

The Earth Queen is dead. Chaos has erupted within the walls of Ba Sing Se. And Zaheer has an ultimatum for Korra that could determine the fate of the rebuilding Air Nation. Assigned the task of delivering the ultimatum, Mako and Bolin board an air ship and attempt to fly out of the city. “Oh, you think just because you dated Asami, you know how to fly this better than me?” After a few take-off mishaps, the brothers stop by their family’s apartment and offer to fly them out.

“I’m not going,” protests Grandma after a heartfelt delivery from Bolin. “Fine, you leave me no choice! We’re rolling out!” As the air ship flies over Ba Sing Se, the chaos throughout the city is distinctly visible. The riots, the fire – it’s so sad to see such disorder erupt within the walls. It truly showed how twisted of a vision Zaheer had for the world. “The natural order is disorder.” Yep, your vision certainly changed Ba Sing Se for the better, Zaheer. Now jump off a bridge and the world will change for the better. Wow, it works like magic!

Mako and Bolin fly over the Si Wong Desert in search of air ship wreckage, hoping to locate Korra and Asami. Their eventual discovery of air ship parts leads them to follow a trail back to the Misty Palms Oasis. It’s a bit surprising (and possibly unrealistic) that the trail remained visible for that long, but the brothers locate Korra and Asami nonetheless.

Bolin foaming over Zuko

Bolin foaming over Zuko

Lin, Zuko and Tonraq arrive as well, setting up yet another humorous Bolin scene. “Oh my gosh, it’s Lord Zuko! I can’t believe it! (squeals)” And of course, Grandma can’t help but steal the spotlight as well (she was hilarious throughout the episode). After watching her confuse Asami as the Avatar, and ask Mako why he isn’t dating either girl, you have to wonder whether or not Grandma was trying to start something all along.

Soon after, Mako informs Korra about the ultimatum: “Zaheer is headed to the Northern Air Temple as we speak. He said he’s going to wipe out the new Air Nation and everyone in it, unless you turn yourself over to him.”

Team Avatar travels back to Zaofu to communicate with the Northern Air Temple. Korra enters the Spirit World in hopes of finding Zaheer at Xai Bow’s grove, but finds… Uncle Iroh instead! “In the Spirit World, you always seem to find something you didn’t know you were looking for.” Iroh suggests seeking advice from his nephew, Lord Zuko. Before leaving for the Fire Nation to protect his daughter, Zuko tells Korra that Aang would do anything to protect the Air Nation.

Meanwhile, Mako and Bolin get through to the Air Temple via radio. Korra speaks to Tenzin, warning him of the Red Lotus’s eventual arrival – but it’s too late.

Tenzin vs. Zaheer

For the remainder of the episode, Korra and Team Avatar take a backseat. Zaheer orders Tenzin and the Airbenders to stay put while he awaits Korra’s arrival. Tenzin, however, simply won’t have it. He, Kya and Bumi attempt to fend off the Red Lotus while the rest of the Airbenders attempt a getaway. What would ensue as a result is arguable the most intense action sequence of the season (or series?): Tenzin vs. Zaheer, Kya vs. Ming-Hua and Bumi vs. Ghazan.

The fight between Tenzin and Zaheer was extremely one-sided. Tenzin pretty much owned Zaheer for the most, proving that Jinora can’t, in fact, do everything her father can do. We love you, Jinora, but your father is simply a beast. Kya had some trouble with Ming-Hua, but she managed to hold her own – until the armless Waterbender added several more arms to her arsenal. Dr. Octopus alert! The battle between Ghazan and Bumi was simply hysterical, unfortunately, Ghazan was able to fend off Bumi long enough to get a clear shot on both him and Kya. And this is when that battle simply became unfair.

While Tenzin had success against Zaheer in an awesome Airbender-Airbender battle, he was no match for the Red Lotus altogether. Although he still put up a good fight, Tenzin was eventually surrounded. “As long as I’m breathing it’s not over.” Zaheer and the Red Lotus continue to mercilessly beat Tenzin until the camera pans out.

This is definitely not a kid’s show.

Cliff-hanger.

Verdict:

“The Ultimatum” had everything you could want in an episode of Avatar: humor, advanced plot details and endless bending combat. Mako and Bolin’s Grandma stole the show in terms of humor, and the battle between Tenzin and Zaheer was priceless. It took some time, but we finally had a chance to see some real Airbender-Airbending combat.

“The Ultimatum” left off on quite the cliff-hanger with the torturing of Tenzin. Although it was brutal, it set-up the next week’s season finale perfectly. Who will save Tenzin? Will the Red Lotus capture Korra? How will Korra defeat the Red Lotus? We’re in for a real treat next Friday, but at the same time, I can’t believe Book 3 is already coming to a close.

More on this episode

  • Watch The Ultimatum online
  • Guest

    The progression in the series only goes on to show that book 4 will be a kick-ass story. Even though we have an entire book still left I cant help but hope that the creators do not let go of Avatar after Korra. It’d be interesting to see how the new Avatar accommodates in a more technological world or even the entire bending community for that matter.

    • Ariana Moreno

      or they could go back and we could see a story on an older avatar like Kyoshi!! XD some people want something from the past. i wouldn’t mind either way. avatar in general is one of the most creative master pieces anyone could air on tv.

    • Wyatt

      I still think Mike and Brian should leave the Avatar franchise to some of their most trusted colleagues like Joaquim Dos Santos and then go work on an entirely new project. Although, based on Mike and Bryan’s interviews, a Korra movie could be a possibility.

      • Ariana Moreno

        hopefully this time they stay away from shamalaya ding dong O.O (you know who i mean)

  • Korra Videos

    This episode left me shaking the entire time. The suspense of everything was just killing me. The fact that Zaheers motives for Korra are still unknown make me want to finally see the finale. I’m glad that they didn’t rush into that part. Also, it was great to see Iroh again, as he always gives great advice.

    I think the fighting scenes were great, the animation was beautiful, and Tenzin kicked ass against Zaheer. It left on a great cliff-hanger. I personally think this was the best episode yet. Great review, Keval

  • Korra Videos

    Basically, this was my reaction

    • Source: Avatarparallel

      Zuko’s face in the top picture:
      “Take me with you to see Uncle, in exchange let’s go on a life-changing field trip.”

      • Korra Videos

        Haha ikr, and the source was from me, I made the picture

        • Source: Avatarparallel

          I found it in this tumblr page:
          http://avatarparallels.tumblr.com/page/2
          I don’t know if that was an unauthorized repost or maybe you two were thinking the same thing.

          • Korra Videos

            Probably thinking the same thing. I made it on picstich haha

    • zdog

      As soon as Zuko got this look on his face I thought, “man that looks just like him!” I didn’t catch the vibe that old katara really looked or sounded like katara…but they nailed it with Zuko. I was trying to find a picture of the first time aang used the avatar state in season 1 on the boat, because it was what came to mind during this scene in ep. 11, but these conveyed the same idea.

      • Korra Videos

        I totally agree! Katara just doesn’t look like her younger self. They did a great job with Zuko.

    • PurplePlatypusBear

      That is EXACTLY what I thought! I was watching the episode with my family and I tried so hard not to squeal because THAT IS A ZUKO EXPRESSION STRAIGHT UP! I was grinning so hard because even though he is 87 he is still Zuko! He still has that slightly awkward bit in his personality and even though it isn’t as present anymore it is still there and this just makes me really really happy :).

  • Dman

    I loved the fight between Kya and Dr. Ming-Huatopus

    • Ariana Moreno

      i thought Kya would’ve done the octopus move too cause Katara did it in the crossroads of destiny. it would have been funny seeing two water octopus girls battling XD then we would have seen who could really do better at that bending move. :p i thought Katara would’ve taught Kya that one but oh well. still a good suspenseful fight to watch.

      • desertdude

        “Having been trained by her mother, Kya is proficient in the use of waterbending, particularly at the art of healing.”

        Kya specializes in healing, not fighting. Still, an octofight would’ve been pretty cool.

        • Ariana Moreno

          ohhhh okay. i didn’t actually know that detail! thanks! X) no wonder why she wasn’t as aggressive in her battle, but it’s still awesome that she tried at least :p

  • Rache

    I think that Nickelodeon should release the finale ASAP. That Zaheer for the People guy who leaked the episode before might do it again for the finale. (plus I seriously don’t feel like waiting another week)

  • Citizen of Zaofu

    Don’t forget that we were also left with the fact that Kai was the only airbender who escaped the temple… maybe he went off to meet Korra and the gang halfway to Zaofu? I wouldn’t put it past him to think of a plan to save Jinora and the other airbenders, after all, the kids in the avatar world can be a force to be reckoned with.

  • grape guy

    I hope zuko gets to see iroh in the spirit world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ifreke Umana

    What’s interesting is that in A:TLA when the Gaang went to the Northern Air Temple, we never saw what was in the sacred room before the inventor used it to create Fire Nation war balloons. I wonder if they’ll reveal it here.

  • Sucker-Punched192

    I wouldn’t believe it if they kill Tenzin. I am already scared for what Korra might do if she finds out, if they do. I know its going to be on.

    • Mako

      1) in the new clip from episode 12, korra, Bolin, tonraq,Lin,su,mako,Asami, and some metal clan guards are o an airship and Korra is staring out the window looking depressed. But no one else was. So I don’t know…

      • Mako

        Oh and 2) if Tenzin dies, who’s gonna give Jinora her airbending tattoos?

  • Legama

    Now everything makes sense…

    • grrm reaper

      A Song of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air.

  • Guest

    I’m going to take a nap.

  • george

    Cliff-hanger…hehe…he

  • george

    I’m pleased.

  • Erin

    I hope in this season (or the next) we get a zuko/iroh reunion. From Zuko’s reaction its clear he had no idea that his uncle had retired to the spirit world and is in fact alive. Tears will be shed, and not all of them animated.

    • Korra Videos

      Just the look on his face(like the picture I posted) brought on nostalgic feelings. I would love a zuko/iron reunion

      • Erin

        Right? I feel choked up just thinking about it.

  • Erin

    Nick posted a clip from the finale on their website , called the”plan of attack”. This finale is gonna be good.
    http://www.nick.com/videos/clip/korra-212-clip.html

  • ZukoFire%%%

    When Azula shot Aang full of lightning, he died, and Katara used the spirit water to refuse Raava and Aang, as shown when his tattoos lit-up. (I love that scene now that I know more about the true Avatar spirit.) But if anyone remembers the online comics bridging books two and three, Aang was in the spirit world and had to reunite with his past Avatar’s in order to be the Avatar again. Aang was also trapped in the spirit world and had to “escape”, but maybe Korra can go into the spirit world to find them again.

    That does, however, base on the past lives merely being separated from Raava. To me the fire looked like they were being transformed into spirit dust and lost to the ethers, but Jinora was able to find Raava’s spirit dust, so maybe the avatar’s past lives coalesced somewhere.

    • Rache

      She’ll probably get it back in book 4.

  • tj

    I kinda wish korra didn’t tell zuko about iroh so she could take him into the spirit world in a future episode as a surprise to have them meet again.

    • tj

      And you know how when korra got emotional in the spirit world and reverted back to toddler age? I hope when zuko sees his uncle again he reverts back to the teenager zuko that we know and love. I think it would make it that much more heartwarming.

      • razorstar90

        OMG that would be AMAZING

  • Ariana Moreno

    i am just so thankful that we get this kind of entertainment. it’s amazing what the entire avatar series has become, and how it has brought people together. i am proud of Bryke. i’m also proud of Korra X). There are pros and cons with aspects of both of the shows, but they still beat all the other ones out there by far. <3 long live the avatar franchise.

  • Lena27

    Prediction for either next episode or the one after that: After the entire thing with the Red Lotus attacking the airbenders ends (got no idea how) we see Zuko coming home to the Fire Nation and we will meet Zuko’s daughter (and maybe Mai and Zuko’s son).This introduction will be necessary bc the Red Lotus will later target Zuko’s daughter and either she will end up dying, forcing the terrible burden of being a grieving parent on Zuko, or Zuko will be killed/injured. With benders like the Red Lotus, its very possible. He was defeated by some of the members earlier this season at the Northern water tribe so it could definitely happen again. He’s clearly an old man now and as much as I don’t want to, I could see him being overpowered/killed.
    Of course Korra will somehow factor in here–maybe she will show up with others to help the Fire Lord (like she ends up, im guessing, coming to the airbenders aid next episode).

  • Ariana Moreno

    I feel like Su is off the hook now :D

  • Ariana Moreno

    frick i can’t handle waiting another full week for the finale O.O bring it now dagnabit!!

    • ALance

      Well if Nick is smart and cares for the show they air the finale early, like on Monday, in order to decrease the risk of Zaheer for the People leaking it early which would mess up their viewer stats.

      But no, Nick isn’t smart and they obviously don’t care about Korra one bit.

      • Ariana Moreno

        sadly you are right :/

  • Ariana Moreno

    am i the only one who wants to see either Tenzin or Korra rip the air out of Zaheer’s lungs? XD

    • ALance

      Well I know what I don’t wanna see, and that is Zaheer doing this to Tenzin or Korra.

      • Ariana Moreno

        haha too shay :p

  • tonymaster

    what if tenzin dies? 8=(

  • ALance

    I wonder how far Unalaq and the RL would have gotten with their plans if Kyoshi were the current Avatar instead of Korra xD

    • Ariana Moreno

      i wonder what you’re saying :D is that an insult to Korra? haha

      • ALance

        Not at all lol

        From what we know andh ave seen of Kyoshi, I just get the feeling that Unalaq wouldn’t have gotten as far as he did, and neither would the RL.

        • Ariana Moreno

          Korra is gonna take care of it all. you just wait and see haha XD

          • ALance

            Oh I know she is :)

    • Korrava

      Kyoshi is so overrated in my opinion. We know absolutely nothing about her besides the Chin the Conquerer stuff

      • Ariana Moreno

        i have to agree with ya X) cause i have no knowledge about her either but everyone claims that she’s all that haha

        • Korrava

          She seems cool but I don’t have any other opinion about her but cool. I would love to see a prequel show about her if Bryke ever come back to the Avatar Universe.

          • Ariana Moreno

            she’d be my first choice too. of course because strong female characters are the best in this series, and that is something they are known for :p

          • Korrava

            Then again I don’t think Nick wants another Avatar series after Korra since they’re blaming us for their bad ratings when it was all of their stupidity and incompetence.

          • ALance

            It’s just that, even though Korra is kinda aggressive and for the direct approach, I don’t think she’d just kill someone like that, whereas with Kyoshi I get the feeling she wouldn’t hesitate to put a permanent stop to someone if need be.

          • Korrava

            Your point? Two different Avatars. Two different approaches. Killing is never the answer.

          • ALance

            My point is that Unalaq would have been beaten long before he could have completed his plan to free Vaatu, same with the RL. Well that’s what I think anyway, but we’ll neevr know.

          • ALance

            However, Korra hasn’t had any opportunity to fight the RL yet anyway. With Zaheer in the SW they didn’t have their bending, and with the Metal Clan she was sedated.

            She’ll set thjem straight in the finale xD

          • Ariana Moreno

            even as aggressive as Korra was, she didn’t kill anyone. Aang didn’t either. The avatars are probably all known for refusing to murder people. XD

          • ALance

            yeah that’s what I said, too, that Korra wouldn’t just kill.

          • Ariana Moreno

            oh okay. it would bring the world into chaos and out of balance if any of them did. they would defeat the point of being around if they did kill anyone :D

          • Ariana Moreno

            that’s very true. plus bryke said they were taking a break after this anyway. screw nickelodeon -.- they don’t know what’s good for them

      • Guest

        Kyoshi is the Boba Fett of Avatar.

  • henry

    I was wondering who people might think would win in a duel of Ming-Hua vs Unalaq. They are both quit powerful but my guess would be Unalaq. Who do you think would win? I’d love to here your thoughts.

    • ALance

      How about Ozai vs Unalaq/Ming-Hua/Ghazan/Zaheer.

      • henry

        That would be hard to call but my guess would be Ozai or Unalaq.

    • Lena27

      Ming Hua all the way. Unless you’re talking about Vaatunalaq (i like that name better)

  • Mako

    Did Tenzin just… die?
    Ya know, it was really unclear.

  • Mako

    I was going through my pictures today to delete some cause I’m running out of space and all the ones that had Tenzin in them I refused to delete.

  • Mako

    GUYS. GUYS. WHAT IF TENZIN DIES AND ZUKO SINGS LEAVES FROM THE VINE TO MAKE EVERYONE FEEL BETTER. GUYS.

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  • WaterTribe

    I think Korra is going to finally put an end to the RL, if you think about it Korra hasn’t been shown doing any major fighting at all this season. I know when that happens it’s because the end battle is going to be epic! We’ll have to see, but I know it’ll be good.

  • Eiree

    From http://zaheerforthepeople.tumblr.com

    “The nature of my work has involved many journeys into the spirit world. According to tradition I have always left my physical body guarded by a close friend in the Order. This ancient tradition – spiritual journeyer paired with physical observer – is as old as the age of the Avatar. It is ostensibly to ensure my body’s physical safety. The true purpose of the practice is to guard against a much more sinister threat. While my spirit is on its journey, an ambitious spirit may seek habitation within my body.

    A rogue spirit moves through unwilling flesh like venom. Ancient records show that victims of possession exhibit signs of delirium when they awaken, as the foreign spirit attempts to assert control over the body. My guardian in the physical world watches for these signs. In the event of my possession, I must be prevented from deceiving my fellows within the Order, or all we are working for might be lost. My physical body must be destroyed. It is critical, therefore, that my guardians be chosen such that they know me personally, yet would have no compunctions against ending me for the greater good. Only the most fanatical members of the Order are entrusted with such a task. A young acolyte from the north with an interest in airbender philosophy is proving to be a promising candidate.

    —The Journals of Xai Bau”