In the middle of a blizzard during the night at the South Pole, three members of the Order of the White Lotus arrive at a house and are greeted by a man. He invites them in where his wife also greets them. They question whether or not their claim their daughter is really the Avatar is true or not. The wife assures them that their daughter is the true Avatar before asking Korra to come into the room. Korra bursts into the room and bends all the elements for the White Lotus members.
Time fast forwards to when Korra is a teenager, taking her Firebender test. The now elderly Katara is impressed with Korra's display, while the members of the White Lotus are not, saying she lacks restraint and the spiritual side of bending. Korra, after finishing her test says that the spiritual side doesn't come easy to her and that's why she should start training with Tenzin as soon as possible. Katara agrees, prompting the White Lotus members to allow Korra to begin her Airbending training. Following the good news Korra runs to see her pet Polar Dog Naga, and precedes to take Naga out for a run in the Southern Water Tribe wilderness.
That night, Aang and Katara's son Tenzin arrives at the South Pole with his wife Pema and their three children, Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo. After everyone says their hellos, Tenzin greets Korra and admires how strong she has gotten. However, he remarks that unfortunately his plant to move to the South Pole and teach her has been delayed as he is still needed in Republic City. Korra says that if Tenzin can't move to the South Pole she still just have to go with him to Republic City. Tenzin and the Order of the white Lotus forbid it, saying that she must stay where it is safe. Korra storms out of the room, and watches as Tenzin and his family leave.
Korra decides to sneak out of the South Pole, and is found and given a blessing by Katara, who says that it is time for the younger generation to make peace in the world. Korra says goodbye to her family, and sneaks onto a boat headed for Republic City. When they arrive they bolt off the boat and admire the city. Korra is naturally drawn to the statue of her predecessor, Aang. Korra sees Air Temple Island, the island Tenzin lives on and decides to head there immediately. However, Naga is hungry and begins searching for food.
With no money, Korra and Naga head to the city's park and go fishing. There they meet a man who lives in the park's bushes. However, their meeting is cut short when the police show up to stop Korra from fishing. While running away, Korra sees a small rally where a man is telling people to join a man named Amon and get rid of the Benders, who "oppress" the non-benders. Korra gets angry and defends Benders but no one agrees with her.
While trying to make her way to Air Temple Island, Korra stops and asks for directions. However, a group of thugs arrives on the scene and the woman who gave her directions tells her to hide. The thugs harass an old guy for money and threaten to burn his shop down. Korra refuses to stand by and proceeds to put the punks in their place. However, she has caused a lot of damage doing so. The police arrive and arrest the thugs, and also plan to arrest Korra for causing so much destruction. Korra tries to escape, but the police's airships eventually catch her and take her to the jail.
The police chief is upset with Korra for what she has done and plans to punish her severely, even knowing that she is the Avatar. Korra discovers that the police chief is Lin Beifong, the daughter of Toph Beifong, a friend of Avatar Aang. Lin does not care about her mother's friendship with the previous Avatar and does not plan to go easy on the new Avatar. Tenzin arrives and manages to convince Lin to drop all the charges if he pays for Korra's damages and makes sure she returns to the South Pole. Lin agrees and Tenzin escorts Korra out.
Korra tries to convince Tenzin to let her stay, but Tenzin insists she returns to the South Pole. As they travel to Air Temple Island, Tenzin rethinks the situation as he sees the statue of his father in Republic City's harbor. At Air Temple Island, the Order of the White Lotus is there to retrieve Korra. However, Tenzin changes his mind and agrees to let Korra stay with him. The next day Korra announces her arrive to the city and agrees to help the city become what Avatar Aang wanted it to be. Meanwhile, Amon has decided to change his plans now that the Avatar has arrived in Republic City earlier than expected.