OK, so, I gotta give the show credit for something: it actually depicted an unexpected political philosophy correctly.
I don’t much expect a good explanation for and defense of anarchy on a kid’s show. It just, well, doesn’t happen. Far too many people simply assume anarchy is just running around and breaking things. It isn’t. And therein may lie the problem.
So, here’s the deal: Korra, Bolin, Mako, and Asami manage to follow Aiwei to a village in the desert that looks kinda familiar. Lots of spirits hanging around, along with lots of wanted posters for our heroes because the Earth Queen decided to be petty.
That actually leads to a bit of humor where the boys sneak into the village to look around while the girls and Naga wait outside. There are some shady people following them until it turns out they’re not bounty hunters but fans looking to get an autograph from Bolin. That also helps Mako get them a hotel room across from the one Aiwei set up shop in, and eventually the group realizes Aiwei went into the spirit world to talk to Zaheer, explaining how Zaheer knew Korra was hanging with the Metal Clan. Korra can go into the spirit world herself where she sees Zaheer toss Aiwei’s spirit into the Fog of Lost Souls, but by then she reveals herself and the two…talk.
See, Zaheer was a member of the White Lotus, but they didn’t do things he liked, so he formed a splinter group with Unalaq (of course) and his three buddies called the Red Lotus, and they believe in, well, anarchy. As in there’s no reason for order enforced by others, especially governments, and he wants greater connection to the spirit world. Korra can’t even argue too much with that because she’s had problems with the Earth Queen and the Republic City government, plus she did leave the portals to the spirit world open for some reason. But she isn’t cool with overthrowing people.
Then again, Zaheer used all this to get some of his people to go trap Korra and her friends while she’s distracted. Mako figures that out and goes with Bolin to hold off the benders while Asami and Naga run for the hills.
Considering how often Mako and Bolin utterly fail to defeat any evil benders, we can see how this will go even as Bolin is somewhat impressed by the lavabender.
But Zaheer’s explanation is basically political anarchy, a philosophy that doesn’t say just go out and break things, only that any form of government is unnecessary. Plenty of people falsely assume the former, and even though Zaheer is probably leaning closer to chaos, he’s not necessarily doing what he’s doing for personal power or even because he’s just evil. He’s a lot more complex a bad guy than that, and that’s something I have always appreciated about the shows set in this universe…you know, aside from how straight-up evil Unalaq was, but even Zaheer notes the guy was a snake who went down the wrong path. Zaheer didn’t want a Dark Avatar.
OK, he wants NO Avatars, but that’s a different problem.
As for other different problems, Korra, Asami, and Naga are captured at the end of the episode…by the Earth Queen.
This probably won’t go well for somebody, but I did see Korra trussed up like Hannibal Lecter, so draw your own conclusions.