This tear is haunting, not because it is emotional, but because my understanding of the scope and damage of her trauma is likely just as small as hers. This tear represents all the unprocessed horrors, the scrambled emotions, and deep scars her consciousness has yet to even discover.
What makes this scene devastating is not that Korra sheds this tear, but the fact that neither she or I truly know the reason for why it is shed.
Yeah I’ve been seeing some analyses saying Korra is crying because of this or that, but truly, we are left unsure as viewers. Is Korra crying because she cannot currently fulfill her roles? Is she crying because she is sees her role being taken away by other people? Is she crying because Jinora reminds her of her past life? Is she crying because she doesn’t even know what her purpose is in life anymore?
We don’t know and that is the beauty behind this scene. There is no clear cause and effect, but we empathize with and validate that emotion, not knowing its exact reason. And that makes it all the more appealing; perhaps there is no one reason, perhaps it is a summation of reasons.
Regardless, we know it won’t be so easy for Korra to recover this time. The cause is not so easily taken care of when we are unsure of what it is. But, perhaps even more than any time before, we all want to see Korra triumph in the end and become a better person for it.