'The Legend of Korra' Season 3, episode 11 recap: 'The Ultimatum' gets handed down

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Here are the wild events of "The Legend of Korra" Season 3, episode 11, "The Ultimatum."

The broken city

Mako and Bolin commandeer an airship from the chaos of Ba Sing Se and head out of the city to deliver Zaheer's message to Korra. On the way out, the brothers rescue their extended family from the wreckage of the Lower Ring -- though Bolin has to carry their reluctant Grandma Yin out over his shoulder. After combing the desert in the airship, Mako and Bolin find Pabu and Naga -- oh, and Korra and Asami -- at the Misty Palms Oasis. Bolin fanboys over meeting Zuko, and Grandma Yin wants Mako to marry everybody.
   

A deadly promise

Finally, Mako delivers Zaheer's urgent ultimatum to Korra: Zaheer is heading for the Northern Air Temple, and unless Korra turns herself over, he will wipe out the budding Air Nation. Distraught, Korra and the group head to Zaofu and try unsuccessfully to warn Tenzin by radio. They know they are too late to intercept the Red Lotus, so Korra attempts to find Zaheer in the Spirit World. Instead, she comes across Uncle Iroh, who notes that in the Spirit World, one often finds things they didn't know they were looking for. Korra unburdens herself to Iroh - she is deeply upset that she can no longer discuss her problems with Aang. Iroh recommends that she ask advice from Zuko.

Communication makes it happen

Korra speaks with Zuko as he leaves to protect the Fire Lord -- his daughter -- from the murderously anarchist Red Lotus. He tells her that Aang would be overjoyed that Korra has resurrected the Air Nation - and "he would have sacrificed anything to protect it." Korra is afraid to give herself up, but Zuko reminds her that she must also keep herself safe for the sake of the world ... and then almost has a stroke when Korra mentions that she totally chats with Iroh all the time in the Spirit World. Just then, Bolin makes contact with the Northern Air Temple, though communication with Meelo is frustrating. Korra orders Meelo to get Tenzin, and then tells Tenzin to evacuate the Temple. "It's too late," Tenzin says softly, watching an airship descend outside. "He's here."
 

Choices

In spite of their circling doom, Tenzin attempts to hustle the airbenders out of the temple; unfortunately, the entire group is rapidly apprehended by Ming-Hua, Ghazan, and Zaheer. The airbenders are pooled in the center of the temple, where Zaheer informs them that if Korra cooperates, they will all leave unharmed. "I will never let you get to Korra," Tenzin promises. Zaheer sneers that he doesn't have a choice. "Yes, I do," Tenzin says.
 

No way out

Tenzin attacks the three Red Lotus members, yelling at Bumi and Kya to help him. As all hell breaks loose, he orders Jinora and the other airbenders to the sky bison - while trying to avoid P'Li, who is watching ominously from above in the airship. Unfortunately, P'Li is mind-blasting every inch between the airbenders and the bison. Kai sets his face and races out to distract the firebender on his glider. He is blown out of the air, and the bison are frightened away by another blast from P'Li, who we are really starting to loathe at the moment.
 

Holding on, letting go

As Tenzin fights Zaheer around the perimeter of the Air Temple, Kya fends off Ming-Hua's vicious attacks and manages to plow her off a balcony - but Ming-Hua rises up unfazed, a waterbending octopus. Bumi valiantly attempts to distract Ghazan. He manages to hop on his back, but winds up back-to-back with Kya. The siblings are forced off the terrace, dangling from a window. As P'Li rounds the building in the airship, Kya orders her brother to let go. The two tumble brutally down the mountain, and land hard on a narrow ledge.
 

Still breathing

Tenzin is left to fight Zaheer, Ming-Hua, and Ghazan by himself. Bruised and broken, he staggers to his feet. "Give up," Zaheer says. "It's over." "As long as I'm breathing," Tenzin gasps, "It's not over." He raises his arms to face the brutal elements again.
 

It's okay, kids!

But hey, at least Kai's alive. He finds himself licked awake by a baby bison, and flies away on its back. So that's nice.

How are you handling the events of "The Ultimatum"?

Photo/Video credit: Nickelodeon