The Legend of Korra Season 3 Episode 3 ‘The Earth Queen’ Recap & Thoughts

When Team Avatar manages to recruit just one airbender throughout their Earth Kingdom travels, they decide to try their luck in the great city of Ba Sing Se. Interestingly enough, Ba Sing Se was where Mako and Bolin’s father grew up until he decided to leave the city and fulfill his own desires. Upon arriving in Ba Sing Se, Korra splits from the group and meets with the Earth Queen. Korra notifies the Earth Queen about her suspicion of airbenders lurking throughout the city and asks for guidance to go about searching for them. Unfortunately for Korra, the Earth Queen isn’t as willing to help unless Korra does a deed for her.

The Earth Queen asks Korra to stop a group of Barbarians from stealing a royal tax shipment. The Earth Queen explains that the Barbarians have been responsible for the theft of numerous royal tax shipments in the past – but they must be stopped this time around. Korra agrees to carry out the task and seeks the help of Asami to aid her throughout the quest. This mini subplot – brought about by the Earth Queen – results in some much-sought-after action from the duo of Korra and Asami. The pair made the Barbarians look like amateurs, and I almost felt bad for the Barbarians because it was obvious they had no idea they were getting into a fight with the Avatar.

After the Barbarians endured a heavy beat-down, they retreated and told Korra that she was fighting for the wrong side. The Barbarians explained that the Earth Queen was stealing money from the residents of Ba Sing Se. Korra remained un-phased by the accusation, suggesting that she partially believed them.

The Earth Queen

Back in Team Avatar’s Ba Sing Se apartment, Mako and Bolin notice that Kai – their newest airbender recruit – is missing. The brothers agree to go look for Kai and quickly find him conning a local Ba Sing Se resident. Mako and Bolin chase after Kai, but eventually fall for his trickery. The two brothers end up on a one-way train ride to the lower city – a poverty-filled sector of Ba Sing Se. While traversing through the lower city, Mako and Bolin have a run-in with a man and his son who turn out to be their uncle and cousin.

Mako and Bolin’s uncle take them back to his house so the two brothers can meet the rest of their family. Interestingly enough, Mako and Bolin’s family lives in the same complex Zuko and Uncle Iroh lived in during their stay in Ba Sing Se.

Same apartment. 70 years later.

Mako and Bolin are introduced to their grandmother and the three have a heart-warming moment together when they gaze at a picture of Mako and Bolin (as babies) with their parents. The heart-warming moment amplifies itself when Mako gives his scarf to his grandmother.

How adorable!

Back at the Earth Queen’s palace, the Earth Queen thanks Korra for carrying out the quest but notifies her that the Dai Li was unable to locate any airbenders throughout the city. Korra becomes upset and re-assures the Earth Queen that there are airbenders in Ba Sing Se. The Earth Queen asks for Korra to be escorted out, but she angrily leaves out of her own will.

Meanwhile, Zuko and Tonraq make their episode debut when they confront Eska and Desna in the Northern Watertribe. They ask to see a prisoner being held in the vicinity – presumably the one Zaheer is attempting to break out. The four enter an elevator to make their way down to the prisoner’s cell. Zuko informs the group that the prisoner is a firebender who can create explosions through her mind.

“Ironically, I hired a guy with a similar ability to kill the Avatar myself once… Didn’t work.”

Gotta love awkward Zuko!

The prisoner is seen enclosed in cell surrounded by an icy fortress. Although her face isn’t revealed, she has a very Azula-esque feel to her – especially her voice.

In the lower city, Mako and Bolin continue conversing with their family. They eventually get a tip from their cousin that the Earth Queen is kidnapping airbenders and running experiments on them. The tip is confirmed when we see Kai taken captive by two Dai Li agents and enclosed in a room full of other airbenders.

“You now live to serve the Earth Queen.”


The re-introduction of Ba Sing Se was nostalgic moment, but it was hardly the nostalgia that was responsible for carrying this episode. Each individual subplot held its own and they culminated to create an episode that flourished at every angle. Witnessing the duo of Korra and Asami was as exciting as I could’ve imagined. Meeting Mako and Bolin’s family surely gave my heart a tug, and it was a moment that was reminiscent of so many throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The introduction of Sparky-Sparky Boom Ma’m left much to be desired and the cliff hanger involving Kai, the Dai Li and the Earth Queen will make this Fourth of July weekend without Avatar difficult. The writers have seriously stepped up their game this season in ways I didn’t anticipate.

I’m hungry for more!

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  • Apspiderboy

    I guess some people forgot to take their laundry back inside after 70 years.

    • crystalline


    • Rache

      haha I noticed that too!

    • Raavatar

      maybe they just recycled this scene and added some new details! HAHA! Totally forgotten the laundry! lol

  • poki

    Nick has confirmed that both episodes 4 and 5 will be aired on July 11.

    • Erin

      Aww…This season is going by too quickly!!

    • Link9150

      It’s kind of bitter-sweet. Bryke worked so hard to just throw out everything at once, but at the same time I get to enjoy one hell of a season much quicker.

    • Raavatar

      I wish the leaks didn’t came out! As much as I hate late releases, I also don’t like the release of the episodes too quickly because it means Korra will end soon! Aww! If ever, I hope Bryke will make another series, even if not Avatar, just a series that has the same feel and universe… :(

  • macmile

    am i the only one that thought that the prison that ming hua was in was not right for her considering that she is a waterbender and her cell was placed over boiling lava which was steaming and that she could have used the water in the steam to break out if she wanted to.

    • Emanuel

      TRUE!!! That place was filled with water steam!!

    • isaykatsman

      Hmmm….. I think her ability to bend may have been weakened because of the fact that she was put in such a hot place (much like Combustion Woman’s ability to bend fire was useless in the harsh cold she was placed in). She probably just needed a larger source of water (provided by Zaheer) to fully exploit her bending abilities and break out.

    • Erin

      I don’t think that was water steam since lava doesn’t produce steam. I think it was just the heat coming off from the lava. So in reality her prison was extremely dry and hot.

    • U.S.Replubic City

      That wasn’t water steam. The moleculs of boiling earth and water are different. Lava is earth at extremely heats. It contains different moleculs and the steam is I guess sulfur. And isaykatsman if her ability was weakened why could she still waterbend in a place like that?

    • djdkd

      she could always just blood bend

  • Sibis

    1. Surprise. Korra got played again.

    2. Kyoshi’s work of keeping the monarch in power and the created Dai Li still haunts the Earth Kingdom to that day.

    3. Earth Queen wants to take Republic City back. I wouldn’t be surprised if she took advantage of RC mixed up with the WT civil war and attacked it during Book 2.

  • Derrick

    The two week wait will be absolutely dreadful. I was not expecting to like this book so much but the writing has really stepped up. This episode left me on the edge of my seat and I can’t wait to see how Kai will get himself out of this one. I have a feeling that this experience will be the one that gets him on the right path because it was his thievery that got him into this mess in the first place.

  • Zuzu

    Just out of curiosity, When do the Book 3 ratings get released. I really want to see how many people watched the premiere. I mean Book 1 got many people because it aired in the mornings, but book 2 dropped by a at least 33 percent, in terms of viewers mainly because of the long off season and the change in time slots. Very curious about how Book 3 went. The good thing is that Korra will be eligible for a prime time Emmy, book 2 and 3. Hope Book 3 gets at least 3 mill plus for ratings.

    • Legama

      I think it will get medium-high ratins (higher that Book 2’s). Medium because advertising week was short, but high because it was highly expexted, plus leaks, plus keeping same timeslote as the last season and having a much shorter offseason. Korra will win the Emmy this year, Im almost sure of it :)

    • Korra2000

      I’m wondering about this, too.. Hopefully it won’t be low. TLOK is a popular series. If you compare the views of the trailer of Book 3 with clips of other shows, you’ll see a big, very big, difference. Over one million people watched the trailer. Nickelodeon just has to give more attention to Korra. TLOK has potential like any other show. I really hope for Bryke & Co. that this season will be successfull.

      • Zuzu

        read my new post. you’ll be saddened.

  • george

    I love how they’ve been releasing LoK in big chunks since the last few episodes of Book 2. I think it’s the best way to watch the show, and heaven help me, I don’t have the self-control to wait until Book 3 comes out on DVD.

  • george

    Zuko’s voice sounds strangely like his father’s. I wonder if this was on purpose.

  • Legama

    Book 3 continues as flawless as ever. I think the Earth Queen, will play a major role as a main villain, even a dangerous one, that must be taken care of. What do you think?

    • Korra2000

      Hmm, maybe.. But I can’t take her so serious since she’s just an old bad woman who is alergic of animals. xD If she wouldn’t have the Dai Li/so much power, she couldn’t be dangerous. And to be honest, I think we haven’t seen all enemies of this season yet. Remember the picture Bryan posted on his tumblr of three men? You could see Korra on their chests..

      • Legama

        I think that was Zaheer.

        • Korra2000

          I hope not.. But if so, I think I know when this will happen and how it could come to this.. yeah, I don’t want to spoiler but now I’m kind of sad..

  • Raavatar

    Ba Sing Se is surrounded by idiots! I am talking to you Earth queen and your moronic Dai Lee agents!

  • MJ

    Anyone know what is up with Season 3 on iTunes? I normally buy the season passes, ‘cuz I don’t have (or want) cable TV… but it seems that Nick has pulled seasons 1 & 2, and there’s no entry for season 3. This fan is feeling pretty frustrated… thx.

  • Spade

    The Korrasami bonding over the past 3 episodes has definitely been pleasing to see since, even leading up to the season finale of Bk. 2, their relationship has been rocky. Mako’s involvement with both of them didn’t help, but that’s all behind us now. Tenzin’s airbender pitch made arguably the best gif in the series so far. Not only by his lack of salesmanship skills, but by how ripped he is. Wow. Let’s see how he rebounds when he does finally get his crop of airbenders as shown via the 1st trailer. GL T man!

    • Sibis

      The Air Bender recruitment showed about how out of touch Korra and Tenzin was with other people.

  • Spade

    Anyone have any guess as to who the hostage that Ghazan is carrying is? What a good bunch of bad people for this series.

    • Korra2000

      I think it’s Korra.. But if it’s really her, then I’m (extremly) curious how they could defeat her. We all know that Korra is a strong character. But on the other hand, it wouldn’t be a wonder since it’s night and noone could have expected an attack.

      • Sibis

        Korra hasn’t beaten the likes of Amon and Unalaq/Dark Avatar without some help. She’s stronger than generic bender/nonbender fodder, just not queen of the mountain.

      • U.S.Replubic City

        Well Zuko said and that they can take out ANY bender if they are alone BUT in this picture they are together and he also said that they can destroy the world if they’re together. Maybe Korra hadn’t much time to get into the Avatar state or anything so it can be possible that they surprise attacked her. But we’ll see

    • portio

      I think this picture of Mako and Bolin is them trying to fight the villains and get Korra (or whoever it is) back. In Both pictures, the background matches.

    • Legama

      I think is someone we havent been introduced to.

  • raj

    Did anyone else notice that mako and bolin’s grandma has the same name as the girl zuko saw when he stayed at Ba Sing Se…

  • EpicAvatarGerber

    Reaction to the Earth Queen:

    Before leaks and episodes: Hmm… I bet the Earth queen will be very pretty and young! (Goes and writes up chapter for fanfiction)

    Leaks and episodes now: Uh… um… er, she is NOT that very pretty… (Deletes chapter and re-writes it)

    Ya, i’ma FanFiction writer, thou I don’t include love triangles… I just splat on either a canon or non-existing ship, plus i’m quite getting popular…

    ;_; which I didn’t want…

  • Ariana Moreno

    slim chance of this happening probably, but it would be nice to see Zuko’s daughter! It would be sweet if maybe Korra met her and got her support in the conflicts to come somehow. just a thought :p

  • Ariana Moreno

    so, i thought more about how Bumi is an air bender now, and I realized that i still like him better as a non bender. I liked Bumi as a non bender because that made him unique. To me that is what made his character special, because he was still a strong person who was capable, even without an element to bend. It made you feel for him more emotionally as well. I liked that about Bumi because he was like the “sokka” in lok. He was still a strong character without bending. This quality in Bumi made him stand out in his own way between him and his siblings Tenzin and Kya. Am i the only one that thinks he is better off as a non bender? I just feel like now, he’s like everyone else and his uniqueness isn’t as obvious.

  • Zuzu

    My recent post was about the premiere ratings. Unfortunately it has received 1.5 million views. Below average in comparison with most Nick shows. However Korra has the most quality over every other show on Nickelodeon, but that doesn’t affect things at all, at the end of the day it is the views which count, not the quality of the show. Obviously Nick didn’t even market this show properly, it just seems that they want to get rid of it as soon as possible! And because of these “flop” ratings, potentially we might not even see a new avatar series in the future.

    To take a look at this from a marketing perspective, LoK is a below average show in terms of viewers, it’s not the show it use to be when it first aired, it caught 4.5 million viewers! and that news is famous everywhere. and Book 1 averaged around 3.8 million viewers which is a above average rating quality, optimistically many of us thought that these numbers would continue to possibly increase or stay near the 3.8 line, however Book 2 premiere with 2.6 million viewers. This is actually below average when compared to shows like Sanjay and Craig, Victorious, Sam and Cat etc. These shows get at least 4 million views. But how does a show which averaged around 3.8 million viewers, start to fall down. Well, two suggested reasons are that one, the 15 month long hiatus and two the change in time slots, which had the most greatest effect on these ratings! A show which usually runs during the day is now late at 8PM. It is clearly evident that Nick would be better off, if they continued with their normal time slots, which grabbed the most views. Nick also changed the time slots around when book 2 was airing.
    Optimistically and truthfully Book 3 had the best premiere in terms of quantity, but didn’t reach its full potentials in terms of ratings. 1.5 MILLION views is below average, especially for a premiere. Nick shall take the blame for this. 1 week of advertising, really! Many have said the leaks brought together the fandom, which it did but not many people no of the existence of these leaks, and people have suggested that this was a marketing tactic, Well it’s not. I as an Avatar and Korra fan am truly upset by this viewers ratings, mainly because Nick just wants to get rid of the show. I hope they don’t just air episodes in clumps! As stated before this will lower our chance of getting another Avatar based series. For such a good show, which is Nickelodeons most qualitative show, receives a low quantitative rating. Clearly you can see the potential this show has! Can reach 6 million if worked on properly. But Nick doesn’t give a shit and it just seems they want to end the avatar fandom for good and the Avatar franchise. How saddening is this. One way we can make this show get the viewers is if Nick changes the time slots, which is highly unlikely. What do we do!?
    After much research into Nickelodeons show ratings all that can be said is that Korra is slowly losing its ratings and this is due to Nick not marketing the FUCKING show. How hard is it for Nick to put a 45 seconds commercial for at least a FUCKING month. Nick was due to premiere LoK ages ago, they had everything sitting on the bench basically, but didn’t realise until Mundo Nick leaked 4 episodes. If that didn’t happen i wouldn’t be surprised if it aired in January 2015! Book 3 was due to premiere in May, ok fair enough they didn’t want it to premiere for some reason, but they could’ve marketed the Book 3 from then. Could we not have reached a better rating?! Korra is on the brink of lower ratings and this is in comparison to Nicks other shows, which gets reruns and gets the marketing needed. Nick doesn’t give a shit about Korra, really they FUCKING don’t. Sanjay and Craig is a good example of a shit show which gets a high rating, I repeat a PIECE OF SHIT SHOW WHICH HAS LOW QUALITY RATINGS gets at least 3.2-3.5 million views on average. WTF. the quality reviews of that show is horrendous and gets the viewers with its crude humor. The other shows i mentioned have received 6 million views, why not Korra. Clearly it is Nicks fault because a quality show should get a high rating.
    The bottom line is, is that we might not see much Korra in the future if views don’t go back up to the high 3.5 mill mark.

    • Zuzu

      I hope these ratings go up to the 2.5 million mark, and that Book 4 is properly marketed so it can reach its true potential.
      Also is the reruns of the Korra book 3 premiere next Friday add to the Book 3 ratings.

    • Guest

      Book 3 is at the 1.5 mill mark, currently.

    • Zuzu

      I take back what i said about the leaks because the drop in views from episode 1-2 to 3 was 300,000, mostly due to the leaks, but that doesn’t stop people from enjoying the episode in english

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