SERIES FINALE: LEGEND OF KORRA EPISODES 13 & 14
_The Legend of Korra’s _two-episode
finale, The Day of the Colossus and The Last Stand, brought an excellent
ending to the animated series, showing that—given
time—a show can go through some rough times and still come out as a wonderful
experience. Having survived the blast from Kuvira’s giant robot, Korra and the
gang mount their final opposition to the mechanical monstrosity, and the series
wraps up with a few unexpected developments. Spoilers ahoy.
When you need to give
proper due to so many well-loved characters, an all-out fight against what
effectively boils down to one opponent is a tricky choice. But it’s a nice
contrast from the previous season’s finale where the main characters each had
their own personal fights, and the minds behind Korra handled it fantastically.
It didn’t feel like any of the characters were there just to fill the ranks; everyone
from Bolin to Milo got a chance to show off their individual talents—even the
normally ineffectual Prince Wu gets a chance to shine. It’s very easy for a
show to get lost in the chaos of trying to involve each character or to shove
everyone aside in favor of the lead—which I’ve seen done plenty of times before—so
I’m impressed that everyone was well-utilized in such an organic way.
Though it’s a smaller segment of the show timewise, the
portion of the finale that has garnered the most attention is undoubtedly after
the fight, where Korra and Asami are shown heading off
hand-in-implied-romantic-hand into the spirit world. With word-of-god putting
everyone’s questions to rest, there’s not
much room left to discuss what those longing gazes mean—we’re simply left to
judge the culmination of the wild ride that is Avatar shipping as a whole..
I‘m not about to give the show free points for being
progressive, but I do think it’s worth mentioning regardless. As far as I’m
aware, this really is one of the first western children’s shows to have a main
character in a same-sex relationship. Touchy networks afraid of rampaging soccer-moms
are probably the reason that most of us were left wondering if we had forgotten
to take off our shipping goggles—instead of seeing a kiss or a more blatant
declaration of feelings—but the creators managed to get their message across
all the same.
So how does Korrasami rate as far as storytelling goes? By
my book, well enough. It’s certainly not the greatest love story ever told
(that’s Toradora, if you were
wondering), but it’s a believable development. Not only did plenty of season 4
scenes make me wonder if that was the direction they were heading (or at least teasing,
as this particular group of writers is wont to do), but the seeds of the
relationship were pretty blatantly planted back in season 3. It’s reasonable
enough to believe that the two would develop feelings for each other not only
through their mutual support onscreen but through the three years of contact in letters,
too. The creators have been accused of pandering to a certain crowd, but even
if that was their intention—and I don’t really think it was—it was executed in
a way that felt natural and didn’t take anything away from the show.
As great as this finale was, it is
impossible not to compare it to the incomparable finale of Korra’s predecessor, The Last
Airbender. And when I look at the franchise’s legacy, I find that I do have
some gripes about the end of Korra.
Unlike the fight with Ozai, taking down Kuvira only felt like they were
fighting the endboss of a single season and not like they were really wrapping
up the series as a whole. On the scale of things, it certainly felt like there
was more at stake with Vatu as the opposition back in season 2.
In fact, with
the lack of any major overarching threats or problems, the show doesn’t really
feel like it’s bookended in any way at all; most of the character issues presented in the beginning
of the show reached their conclusions long before this season began. In
my opinion, Korra would have
benefitted from something that tied it all together as a complete product. As
it is, it feels like four separate stories all with their own themes and arcs.
This isn’t really in itself a sin, and it prevents the fantastic later seasons
from getting bogged down by some of the show’s earlier mistakes, but I think
this separation prevents Korra from
being all it really could be.
Of course this is likely the result of the show’s production history and not
the intent of the creators,
and there’s not much the studio could have done to prevent it.
Whatever excuses they have, it ends up hurting the show overall in my mind. Also, while Korra’s final
episodes were visually more than adequate, there was nothing that really took
my breath away like Zuko and Azula’s final Agni Kai.
When I zoom out and evaluate the entire series from
beginning to end, I have to say that Korra
had somewhat of a rough start. While I enjoyed the first two seasons, pacing
was awkward and the villains of both seasons left something to be desired. I
have plenty of bad things to say about how things were handled early on, but
the music and animation quality has always been topnotch, and Korra herself has
been a great protagonist. What’s more,
it seemed that the crew behind the show figured out what they were doing by the
time the fantastic season 3 rolled around, and they kept going strong through
the end of the show.
All in all, while I don’t feel it exceeded its predecessor, The Legend of Korra is more than a
worthwhile show and a wonderful example of western animation, worthy of a place
on the shelf next to its older brother.
The Day of the Colossus and The Last Stand: 10/10
Avatar: The Legend of Korra: 8/10
-Edward (Left Knee of A7)
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