Wow. Just, wow.
This season was a game changer for the entire series–not just Korra’s story, but Avatar: The Last Airbender too.
But first, let’s back up. Korra is the Avatar, perpetually reincarnated so that she can maintain balance in the world. And this season, we find out how the first Avatar–Wan–came to be. I didn’t see it coming, and I really liked it. I certainly wasn’t expecting this mischievous trickster as the founder of one of the most respected titles in the world. And I wasn’t expecting his origin story to be all about fixing a really serious mistake of his. It was fantastic.
And then we go back to Korra and see where she goes from there, and she’s changed by the knowledge of why she is what she is. Then she spends the rest of the season trying to stop this old enemy she didn’t even know she had before.
I always have to respect when a show threatens this big thing that the protagonists have to stop no matter what, and then the big moment comes when they assemble and they’re about to stop the thing that Cannot Be. And they fail.
And they keep fighting.
And in the last episodes of Korra, that moment comes when the unthinkable happens–and then it gets even worse. And then, it gets unthinkably worse. I did not see it coming, just how bad things would get.
There serious repercussions to this fight that Korra is going to have to live with.
And honestly, as the series was heading towards the close, I found myself hoping that something seriously game-changing would happen, instead of everything getting reset to the status quo. Korra was manipulated into making mistakes, and fixing her mistakes does make for a great parallel to Wan’s redemption story. But she’s our protagonist, and I want her to actually change things, instead of just setting them back up the way they were before she helped knock them down.
And–spoilers–the last moments of the season made me so happy. Because when I saw Wan’s story, the one thing that didn’t make sense to me was why separating the spirits and humans was a good decision. He essentially shut them out of their world. What for?
And in those last seconds before Korra was going to close the portal, when she stopped, and said, “what if bad guy was right about this?” I was like, YES! Thank you!
I’m really happy with this for a few reasons:
1. Because not everything Wan did was golden, and this is the big thing that didn’t add up. Why should the spirits have been kicked out of their world, their homes, so humans could live there?
2. After a season full of mishaps, Korra doesn’t just fix it all, she moves the world forward into the future. This was all good for something. There was a reason Unalaq could convince people that the spirit portal was worth opening in the first place, a reason why it didn’t sound like a terrible idea. If it wasn’t for the dark spirit trapped between worlds, it wouldn’t have been.
3. In the last post I made about Korra, I wrote that just because Unalaq is the bad guy, that doesn’t mean he’s automatically wrong about everything. And this season finale totally validates my point. When Unalaq goes crazy, his brother tells him “I know you have a strong rapport with the spirits, but don’t forget, you’re human.”
There was something really off about that statement, because it makes it seem like humans are being pitted against spirits in general, and not just one dark spirit. The idea that he should side with the humans because he’s human, and not because it’s actually the right thing to do, is jarring.
And then the show acknowledges this point and says, there’s a middle ground, and we need to find it.
So happy. So very happy.
Another cool thing–when Korra’s making her speech at the end of this season, telling everyone how the world has changed, I couldn’t help but flashback to her speech in season one to Republic City. Very different speeches, being made by very different Korras. She’s way more comfortable in her skin with this later speech than she was during that speech in season one, where she was posturing and self-conscious.
Watching Korra makes me very happy. One of the best, if not the best, shows of the season.