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Some Thoughts on the Korra Finale
"With great power comes great responsibility." - Benjamin Parker

My thoughts, as always, are wildly unorganized. Because they happen in my head, so.

This franchise has always earned its reputation for amazing animation, but this finale, particularly "Light in the Dark," really takes the cake and cuts it up and shares a slice with you.

Similarly, the music is still stellar.

Honestly, this season has been so hit-or-miss for me. Once Korra regained her memories of Wan & Raava & Vaatu, I went from feeling "meh" about Bolin's SUDDEN ASCENT AS THE FIRST IN-UNIVERSE MOVIE STAR OF THE ENTIRE AVATAR FRANCHISE to feeling utterly unable to care about any funny Bolin antics at all ever. As for Korra & Mako learning that sometimes happily ever after doesn't always last forever after, well, I was never that into them as a couple anyway. As for Mako & Asami accidentally getting back together, well, I don't care about teen love triangles nearly as much as Mike & Bryan, who APPARENTLY care about teen love triangles rather a lot. Frankly, Asami was my second-favorite character in season one, so it pissed me the fuck off to watch her be reduced to the middle of a love triangle. But I didn't actually care that much, because hello, crazy-important Avatar Spirit Magic going on, could we please maybe try to focus on that?

Just in case y'all are still not tired of hearing it, Robin McKinley's Sunshine is one of my favorite books because (before I really embraced the Elements of Harmony) it taught me everything I didn't know I already knew about why magic is important because it's a metaphor and how to use it as a metaphor to fight my depression . . .

. . . mostly because of this one really spartan scene where the mentor tells the hero, "It is the strength of the element in you that makes you more able to resist - and simultaneously embrace - its opposite. You are not consumed by the darkness because you are full of light."

Which I'm mentioning here because Korra is an exemplary example of someone being literally not consumed by the darkness because they are full of light (which is why the finale gave me ~the greatest storygasm ever in the entire history of my life~).

Also, she reminded me of why I like Buffy so much as a character. Which is nothing new for her, but the scene where she sits in the tree reminded me of that scene from the season two finale of Buffy's show where Angel taunts her, "No friends . . . no weapons . . . no hope. Take all that away, and what's left?"

And then three things happen in swift succession:
1. He tries to stab her with a sword.
2. She stops it with her bare hands (eyes closed, by the way) and says, "Me."
3. She kicks his ass.

I'm so so so glad they gave the Tree of Time this wonderful beautiful history beyond being Vaatu's prison. In the world of Sunshine, trees are impervious to dark magic.

So did anyone else notice that the first Avatar was a male Firebender, and the last Avatar was a female Waterbender?

So did anyone else notice that, in the season two finale of her show, Korra successfully connected with her inner spirit? Which Aang failed to do (twice) in the season two finale of his show?

Speaking of! A little more explanation about that whole inner spirit thing would have been helpful, since Guru Pathik made it sound like it was explicitly linked to the Avatar State when he explained it to Aang. But Korra was able to weaponize hers while she was technically not the Avatar at all anymore.

The explanation that we did get was . . . interesting. I always thought Korra (and Aang, Roku, etc.) was powerful because she's the Avatar, but Tenzin makes it sound like she's the Avatar because she's so powerful. And, if you think about their reasoning with Wan and all, but don't think about it too terribly hard, that actually makes perfect sense. Actually, it doesn't make sense, because magic doesn't have to make sense, and it isn't supposed to: Magic makes more than sense.

Remember in the season one finale, when Korra doesn't know her Airbending has been unlocked, so the only reason she uses it is to kick Amon's ass? That was amazing, but it wasn't quite as amazing as watching her throw such a mean punch as a fucking spirit.

Although I did do some mild flailing when she defeated Vaatunalaq and said, "Go in peace."

Korra should wear her hair down forever.

This finale was already making me literally cry like a bitch, but I completely lost it when she lost her connection to all of her past lives. Especially Aang, who would have been the biggest blow even if he hadn't been the first to go.

I'll be honest, I was fully expecting Jinora to die. Because it wouldn't be the first time Mike & Bryan have killed a child (Jet, anyone?) in the name of resolving a spiritual crisis (Yue, anyone?).

Aang couldn't connect to his inner spirit because he refused to let go of Katara. Korra connected with her inner spirit, and then peacefully broke up with Mako. Which is even more perfect because Katara is a female Waterbender & Mako is a male Firebender.

Speaking of Mako being a Firebender! Shortly before Korra finds the light in the dark, we got that beautiful scene with Mako, Tenzin, Kya, and then Bolin protecting the tree from the dark spirits by Bending their respective elements: Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. The Avatar cycle.

Korra's decision to leave the portals open is completely perfect for two separate reasons:
1. It's perfect because it was her decision. She did what she felt was right, not what she thought was right because it had been that way for the past ten thousand years. She didn't ask to be the Avatar, but she did the absolute best that she could with it. She's the most powerful person on the planet, and she changed the rules. I honestly could not be more proud. Because, really, here's another way to look at it: She didn't so much change the rules as she brought balance to the world. Which, according to the opening narration, is something that only the Avatar can do.
2. It's perfect because the entire franchise has had so many stories about humans & spirits failing to get along, and almost killing each other, because they don't understand each other. What if they do try to get along?

Speaking of! I won't be disappointed if this doesn't happen (because really, seeing Iroh - twice - was more than I ever knew I was afraid to hope for), but what if we get to see Koh again in season three? Or the Painted Lady? Or Hei Bai? Or Yue? WHAT IF?

Frankly, I don't think Aang could have done what Korra did. Because he had studied about spiritual matters so much more than her, and might know that what she did was supposed to be impossible. (Or maybe it only could've worked during Harmonic Convergence.)

That's what you get when you try to fuck with nature, ZHAO.

"Korra, this fight is not over. Vaatu cannot win. Do not give in to ten thousand years of darkness. You are the Avatar."


2013-11-23 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Korra should wear her hair down forever.


I'll be honest, I was fully expecting Jinora to die. Because it wouldn't be the first time Mike & Bryan have killed a child (Jet, anyone?) in the name of resolving a spiritual crisis (Yue, anyone?).

Megan (SIL) and I both thought that Jinora was going to have to die in order for Korra to regain her Avatar spirit. Or Jinora would stay in the Spirit World forever. Something.

I would LOVE to see some of the original spirits come back next season! Maybe not Koh, though, cuz he freaked me out hahah. But Hei Bei!


2013-11-24 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

I hope we get to see Koh again because he's so creepy.

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