Korra Season Finale
Legend of Korra
1 x 11: Skeletons in the Closet
1 x 12: Endgame
Full episodes available at Nick.com
Episode Summaries (from the Avatar Wiki)
1 x 11: “General Iroh, grandson of the now retired Fire Lord Zuko, joins in the war against the Equalists. Mako and Korra go to take down Amon while the rest of the group heads to the airfield launching the strike force that will wipe out Bumi’s fleet. Korra finds out that Amon is Tarrlok’s older brother Noatak, an unusually skilled and experienced waterbender and bloodbender. “
1 x 12: “Korra decides to take on Amon. She discovers that Amon captured Tenzin and his family. Amon baits her and succeeds in taking Korra’s bending, except for airbending, since she had not yet unlocked the fourth element. Aang and the other past Avatars appear to Korra when she finally unlocks her spirituality. Korra regains her bending, and is given the ability to heal Amon’s victims and restore their bending abilities as well. “
My Thoughts, Part 1: Um … so Skeletons in the Closet was one part cool airplanes, five parts not-so-great exposition. While I appreciated getting answers as to who Amon really was, the whole thing felt anticlimactic. Oh look, here’s Tarrlok, who will conveniently answer all of our questions in preparation for the next episode. And I just wasn’t feeling it. Amon is Tarrlok’s brother. Okay. But there wasn’t any real emotion to that revelation. Maybe it was too rushed, maybe there wasn’t enough groundwork, or maybe it’s just me.
I think a lot of my problem comes from Tarrlok, who got seriously shortchanged in the character development department. We’ve seen him as a total bastard in this show, and he was great there. But in the flashback he’s the kind-hearted, innocent kid. There’s no explanation for how or why he changed. It’s an Anakin Skywalker turning. Tarrlok could have been a much more tragic and powerful figure if his story had been better developed instead of infodumped.
Part 2: The final episode was stronger, but that’s not a terribly high bar to pass. My son was thrilled that his prediction about Korra getting her airbending and knocking Amon down was correct. Most of my own predictions were off the mark.
No Lin Beifong except at the very end? Boo!
I loved General Iroh vs. the squad of Equalist planes. I feel even worse for Asami, now that Korra and Mako have paired off. Why do the writers hate her so? Her fight with her father was the most emotional battle in the whole finale. Also, love for Bolin’s dramatic entrance and his criticism of Mr. Sato’s parenting.
Mako and Korra vs. Amon: When you’ve been told someone’s a bloodbender, wouldn’t it be smart to plan how to counter or combat that? I know Korra’s headstrong and impulsive, and I know they didn’t have much choice when they saw Tenzin and the kids had been captured, but still. I did like Mako managing to get off a lightning bolt in Amon’s face, though.
I had mixed feelings at first about Tarrlok blowing up the boat, presumably killing himself and Amon. (Most of the technology we’ve seen has been steam- or bender-powered. Have see seen any gasoline-type engines that would blow up like that?) But I think I like it. It captures Tarrlok’s pain at what his brother took from him, and gives his story a kind of redemption.
Love triangle resolution. Meh. Asami deserves better.
I really liked that Korra didn‘t connect with her spiritual side during the battle. Aang’s comment that it’s when we’re at our lowest that we’re most open to change made that part more meaningful. A lot of us suspected Korra would restore people’s bending, but it was still good to see.
Thoughts from the Seven-Year-Old: “I loved it! I loved the fact that, well, when Korra lost her bending in the end, Aang and all the other avatars, all the way to the first avatar, healed Korra! And then she healed the metalbender. I thought it was kind of surprising and weird that Amon was Tarrlok’s brother. I was like, ‘Whoa! Why did he blow up him and Amon?'” (I asked him what he thought about Mako and Korra being in love.) “It was kind of funny.”
Confused Newbie Says Huh? Firebenders can fly? Huh. Not sure exactly how that works, but it looks cool, if a bit too much like Iron Man.
Overall Rating: It felt like they were trying too hard, and as a result some of the action was emotionally flat. The best parts were the quieter scenes: Tarrlok and Amon on the boat; Korra running off to be alone after Katara failed to restore her bending. Maybe the earlier episodes raised my expectations too much. The finale did tie up all of the loose ends and bring closure to the season, and there were good bits, but it often felt mechanical and by the numbers.
Predictions: Korra is the Avatar. The Big Bad is ash. I’ve got no idea where they’re going for season two. But I’m looking forward to finding out!
June 26, 2012 @ 9:54 am
I won’t say who or when but Firebenders using their bending to fly happens a few times in Avatar The Last Airbender. It’s all done in different ways so it’s very cool to watch.
I always saw Mako as a gold digger when he was with Asami so I don’t feel too bad for her not getting the guy. I think she’ll be fine because she’ll likely take over her father’s company. I’m just not really feeling the Mako/Korra love yet.
I was totally thinking Korra would reach the Avatar State during battle but when she didn’t I wasn’t mad because I too thought her connecting to her spiritual side after was much better.
And while I liked the backstory, Tarrlock’s infodump did halt the pacing of the episode.
Overall I enjoyed the finale and I’m looking forward to more as well.
Jim C. Hines
June 26, 2012 @ 10:01 am
Mako just doesn’t strike me as particularly attractive. He was arrogant and rude when we first met him, and while he’s had his good moments, watching him with Asami doesn’t make me see him as desirable boyfriend material. Honestly, Korra and Bolin had much more of a spark on their one date.
June 26, 2012 @ 10:28 am
Ahh, poor Bolin. He is seriously friend-zoned. Nice guy, was open with his feelings, perhaps a little too clingy, but the girl of his dreams prefers the edgier slightly jerky guy.
June 26, 2012 @ 11:01 am
Tarrlock’s infodump pulled me out of it a little. I was sure that Amon would be connected somehow to someone we’d already met, but that felt a bit forced. I’m right there with you on Tarrlock’s character, too. Not enough development. Too much telling, not enough showing.
As for the boat blowing up, a lot of the stuff build for Amon’s forces had to be handled by non-benders, and I don’t think the mecha suits and planes were steam-powered, so maybe something else? They were big on electricity, so it could have been that, and then the explosion was like a tranformer overloading? I’m grasping at straws. 🙂 Regardless, a part of me doesn’t trust that either or both of them are dead yet.
June 26, 2012 @ 11:50 am
ugh. This is tangential, so I won’t blame Jim for deleting it as off-topic. But for the record, it would be really nice if the whole concept of the “friend zone” would die in a fire.
It wouldn’t matter if Bolin was the nicest guy on the face of the weirdly-small, flat planet. That still wouldn’t obligate Korra to reciprocate his feelings. The whole narrative of the ‘nice guy’ and the ‘jerk’ is based on the idea that women are shallow, fickle airheads who take guys for granted and don’t know who’s best for us. The truth is that most guys that claim they got ‘friend zoned’ for being ‘too nice’ are actually giant a-holes who are unwilling to consider that a woman might have her own reasons for not wanting to date them. Entitlement is not attractive, and when you really look at it, it’s not ‘nice,’ either. Real nice guys respect that women are people with their own thoughts and feelings, not vending machines where you put friendship in and sex comes out.
Bringing it back around to Bolin, one of my favorite things about him is that he doesn’t blame Korra for not reciprocating his feelings. He told Asami when they were talking about the kiss that he was originally upset, but then he got over it. He may have been covering for his hurt feelings, but what he wasn’t doing was whining about how he was a ‘nice guy’ or knocking on Korra like she owed him something.
I thought Korra and Bolin were cute, too, but honestly I really liked that they had two people of the opposite sex hanging out and having fun together and it not meaning that they were destined soulmates.
Jim C. Hines
June 26, 2012 @ 12:01 pm
I like this tangent, and I would love to see more awareness and stories that show men and women able to relate to each other in more than just sexual/romantic ways.
June 26, 2012 @ 1:00 pm
I too found Tarrlok’s infodump a huge drag-down of the pacing, and yeah, a bit more clarity about how Tarrlok got from ‘innocent younger brother’ to ‘asshole councillor of Republic City’ would have been nice. But I’m not sure where they could have worked that in, given that this story had way fewer episodes to play out than the longer seasons the preceding series got!
That last blowing up of the boat was great, though.
And while I do like Korra and Mako, I’m also somewhat disappointed that Asami’s left on the sidelines. I’m pleased that they DIDN’T have her pull a Woman Scorned stunt of any kind, and that Mako did apologize to her for their relationship falling part… but I’m hoping that Asami continues to be a strong character. And her fight with her father, along with Bolin yelling, “MR. SATO, YOU ARE A HORRIBLE FATHER!” was awesome. 🙂
It’d be rather sweet if Asami and Bolin eventually became a couple, I think. 🙂
June 26, 2012 @ 3:08 pm
I was honestly really disappointed with these two, and the info-dump was just the start of that disappointment. Having Korra suddenly reaching her spiritual side and being healed was done very poorly and it seemed rushed. (I also think the sudden airbending ability was kind of BS, too.)
It was a great idea to take Korra’s bending because she was so focused on it – but almost immediately giving it back to her did little to develop her character or talents at all. I wish that they’d left off on her still being unable to bend anything but air and using next season to have her really do some soul-searching, exploring her spiritual side, developing her air-bending, and gaining empathy for both non-benders and regular benders and the whole Equalist situation before she gets all of her power back. (I’m also kind of worried that they may just totally drop the Equalist plot instead of exploring the fall-out of it.)
The finale could have been great if they’d pushed some of its elements out to other episodes, or pushed some plot points into next season. But as it is, it’s just kind of a mess of rushed pacing and trying to do way too much at once. I’m only looking forward to a second season now because I’m hoping it’ll get better from here and they won’t rush the ending again.
June 26, 2012 @ 3:33 pm
From what I’ve read, LoK was originally only going to be the 12 episodes so that’s probably why we got everything all wrapped up this quickly. I’m hoping in season 2 we’ll see something more of Korra; she may have felt helpless for a little while but it will probably open her eyes to what non-benders are feeling and why they were ready to follow someone like Amon.
Jim C. Hines
June 26, 2012 @ 3:35 pm
That would make sense, if they felt rushed and uncertain at the end, so were struggling to wrap everything up one way or another. Disappointing, but I can understand where it came from.
June 27, 2012 @ 12:28 pm
I personally felt that the love triangle was the weakest element of this entire series. It felt forced AND tacked-on. There were a few good scenes related to it (Most of them centering around Bolin getting his heart crushed and how he handled it), but the rest of the time? It really eroded my enjoyment of the series.
Why is Mako’s declaration of love crammed in after Korra FINALLY contacting Aang? He’s unceremoniously dumped Asami… Yaaaaaay?
I desperately wanted the entire sub-plot to die out, instead it gets shoehorned into the final episode as if winning the heart of the boy was somehow the whole point. Most of my anger over the last two episodes centers on my frustration over the ham-handed way their relationships were handled.
July 2, 2012 @ 2:00 pm
I think there were quite a few things that were shoehorned or mismanaged. I do think that Korra wasn’t just going off to think, she was contemplating jumping off the cliff. The boy she loved declared his love for her, but she didn’t believe it, thinking he just loved her for what she was, the Avatar, not for herself. She did not feel worthy of love. If she couldn’t be the Avatar truly, then she was nothing, and maybe she should die so another, better Avatar could be born. I wish they had time to explore what clicked in her head- something did. Maybe just letting go of all she was clinging to so tightly.