Well that was a terrible blogging drought. Fixed now, thanks to The Legend of Korra‘s first season coming to an end and necessitating that I reflect on it.
After the phenomenal build-up in “Turning the Tides” I had some pretty high expectations for the finale. They weren’t entirely met, yet I’m still strangely satisfied. I suppose that’s because Korra’s strengths and weaknesses, both in terms of story and character, have been fairly consistent, so I knew what to expect.
The relationship stuff is better than what you’re going to find in a lot of animated fare, which is saying something considering how dreadful I find the Korra/Mako/Asami love triangle. I like Korra and certainly sympathize with Asami, so the two of them being interested in the same guy could have really worked if Mako weren’t the show’s weakest character by far. He’s, what? A kinda stoic, good-looking guy who neglects/cheats on his girlfriend. I have no further opinion, and I can’t really get why two much more compelling characters are so set on him. Emotionally, he’s an idiot, and that the show dedicated more time to whether he’ll end up with Korra than Airbender did with Aang and Katara is easily the biggest flaw in the series.
General Iroh worked fine. Dante Basco probably shouldn’t have returned to voice him (especially when he clearly has zero range) but he’s still the show’s best male firebending character.
Asami and her dad were, again, alright. I never found either of them fascinating enough to really carry too much of the series, but their relationship got the resolution it deserved.
And then there was the good stuff, what’s always been Korra’s greatest triumph: Amon and the equalists. The reveal that he was Tarrlok’s brother wasn’t shocking, per se, but it was also something I hadn’t guessed beforehand that made complete sense. That Amon was actually just the greatest bloodbender ever wasn’t as earth-shattering a revelation as I was hoping for, but it definitely fit. Good thing bloodbending is insanely cool.
His final confrontation with Korra and Mako was sublime. Taking Korra’s bending (that was shocking), dispatching the Lieutenant (who I actually hope wasn’t murdered; it’d be great to have him show up in some capacity next season), and Korra finally airbending was long overdue. I almost wish he’d fought a bit more after he was unmasked, but it made sense that he’d run after Korra shattered his facade.
That allowed for the best scene of the finale—and perhaps the entire season—when Tarrlok committed murder/suicide on Nickelodeon. Crazy, especially after all those equalist pilots parachuted to safety. It was beautiful.
Then things got wrapped up quickly. It was hugely apparent that twelve episodes is all that was originally commissioned, because there really couldn’t have been more finality to the last couple of minutes, with a potentially suicidal Korra finally connecting to her past lives and entering the Avatar State, complete with all her bending. A bit annoying that she can now give everyone’s bending back, but we’ll get to see more of Lin being awesome, so I can’t complain too much.
I really have no idea where they’ll take the series from here. Maybe out of Republic City? Hopefully they can come up with a great conflict, because the truly fantastic villain who more or less anchored the entire season just exploded.
I have faith. It wasn’t as great as The Last Airbender, but so far Korra has been quite a ride.