Legend of Korra: Chapters 13 and 14

Legend of Korra
2 x 13: Darkness Falls
2 x 14: Light in the Dark

Full episodes available at Nick.com.

Spoilers Ahead…

Episode Summary (from the Avatar Wiki): Korra cannot prevent Vaatu and Unalaq from merging and forming the Dark Avatar, and the two Avatars subsequently lock into a battle for the fate of the world. Vaatu manages to extract Raava from Korra’s body, and destroys the Light Spirit, effectively severing Raava’s connection to the past Avatars. Meanwhile in the Spirit World, Bumi, Kya, and Tenzin manage to track down and save Jinora’s spirit from the Fog of Lost Souls. However, before they can return, Jinora senses that Korra is in trouble and leaves her family in order to help.

Tenzin urges Korra to connect with her own spirit in order to defeat Unalaq. While meditating in the Tree of Time, she manages to tap into the energy of the universe and astrally projects herself, instigating a fight with Unalaq at Republic City. After an intervention by Jinora’s spirit, who brings Raava’s residual light back into the world and illuminates her within the Dark Avatar, Korra manages to extract Raava from him, before using his own purification technique to dissipate the Dark Avatar Spirit. She returns to the Spirit World, where she uses the last energy of the Harmonic Convergence to permanently merge with Raava again, though the connection to the past Avatars cannot be restored. Korra leaves both spirit portals open, ushering the world into a new era where spirits and mankind can coexist.

Bonus points to everyone who gets the Voltron reference in that pic…

Jinora: I said last week, “In my dream world, the finale is all about Jinora, who rescues herself (instead of being turned into a convenient hostage, one who’s lost any agency she used to have in the story), and then shows up to kick Unalaq’s ass with her natural spiritbending abilities.” Okay, so it didn’t work out exactly like that, but Jinora still played a pivotal role in helping Korra beat UnaVaatu. I’m not entirely sure how that worked, but it was nifty, and I’m really hoping we see more of her character and development in book three.

UnaVaatu: Light and dark can’t exist without each other. So, um, what exactly happened to Unalaq and Vaatu at the end there? Is nobody the slightest bit worried or curious?

Raava: I liked that the last of Raava survived within Vaatu himself. Which makes me wonder if the last of Vaatu now exists within Raava, and by extension, within Korra. That could make for some interesting future stories. Does Korra have the potential power of both spirits within her now?

Change: Book three of Legend of Korra will be titled “Change,” and I think that works. Korra has lost her connection to her previous lives, and the spirit and human worlds are once again joined the way they were 10,000 years ago. I’ll give the show props for taking some risks with the ending, and being willing to shake up the status quo. We’ve seen how much the world has changed since Aang’s time; I’m actually looking forward to seeing how the return of the spirits affects things.

And yes, watching all of Korra’s past lives vanish in flames … how do the kids say it these days? It gave me ALL THE FEELS. Also, knocking down Aang’s statue? Not cool, UnaVaatu. Not cool.

Asami: Also known as Sir Not Appearing in This Film. Sigh. Come on, writers! How awesome would it have been to see Asami show up in that final battle, piloting a big ol’ Jaeger?

Korra: From a storytelling perspective, I thought Korra’s despair when she thought she was the last Avatar, followed by the revelation that she was also the first of a new chain of Avatars, worked well. But I’m still left wondering what it was I just saw. We had a series of battles between Korra and Unalaq, which she finally won … but why did she win? What did she learn? How did she change and grow as a character? Where did the strength to win really come from? It was just fight-lose, fight-lose, fight-lose, fight-win-yay!

I wish we had gotten more of Tenzin teaching her to get in touch with her own spirit, to let herself be who she truly was … and more of Jinora and what she brought to the party … things we could have spent more time on with earlier episodes. At the same time, Korra was changed at the end. She was calm and mature about breaking up with Mako. She trusted her own instincts about the spirit gates. I guess at this point I just hope the writers don’t lose that growth when they start book three.

Romantic Triangle: This seems to be done for the moment. Good. And I really hope Mako and Asami don’t get back together again. She deserves better than to keep being his second choice.

In an interview, Bryan Konietzko (one of the creators) said:

They get completely angry when we have fun with the teen romance stuff … Fans are more interested in imagining relationships between a myriad of pairings. But they’re profoundly disinterested in seeing any of those things manifest themselves on the show. So who knows, whatever. Mike and I as writers, we wrote it the way we found it to be entertaining, and that struck a chord with some, but maybe not with some others.

I think he’s missing the point. It’s not that people are anti-relationship or anti-romance. It’s that people get frustrated when it’s done badly. What Konietzko describes as “having fun” with teen romance comes off as shallow and painful and manipulative, whether it’s Bolin’s assault on Ginger or Korra’s violent blow-up at the police station. There was so little genuine affection or love this season. I’d be happy to see relationships in Book Three, but I’d like them to be done well.

Bolin: Wait, now he loves Eska? Oy.

In some ways, I kind of liked seeing both of them admit there was some real feeling beneath their ridiculous played-for-laughs relationship. If they had gone there from the beginning, that might even have been a relationship I could get behind. Instead, I’m left thinking Bolin’s an idiot, and Eska and Desna are still a bit too sociopathic for my liking.

Tenzin: I was happy for him and where he ended up at the end of this season. After trying so hard to be his father, it’s his knowledge and study that allows him to find and rescue Jinora.

Varrick: Oh look, he and Zhu Li escaped from prison. Yawn.

Book Two was probably the rockiest season of Avatar/Korra I’ve seen. There were some awesome episodes (Beginnings) and some great moments, but there were so many problems, too. Hollow characterization. Ridiculous and offensive treatment of female characters. Uneven pacing.

It sounds like books three and four are both planned out. I’ll definitely be watching, but while I’ll be hoping for awesomeness, my expectations are significantly lower 🙁