Saturday morning marked the end of the first season of Avatar The Legend of Korra. It was a short run, 12 episodes. Avatar the Last Airbender ran for 24 episodes each of it’s three seasons. All in all it was pretty good. Korra started off the season in an entirely different direction than its predecessor with the young Avatar already three elements in on her path to full realization. Aside from the opening scene in episode one where she is a chubby little mad person busting through walls and slinging fire at everyone she is a young adult several years older than Aang was when he began his journey to realization.
70 years after the fall of Firelord Ozai the present is a much different place. With the combined efforts of every nation working together the world of the Avatar and benders has entered an industrial age. It is a steam punk mixture future machines and simple technologies. The three thriving nations still exist separately but they also coexist in the capitol city, Republic City. Korra arrived slash stowed away to Republic City to finish learning her airbending with the only airbending master alive, Aang and Katara’s son Tenzin. She somehow gets distracted along the way and that journey is what takes up the focus of the first season. She joins the sport, Pro Bending, and makes her friends the “new team Avatar”. Meanwhile a villain known as Amon, who leads the Equalist, who seek to remove the unbalence created by those who can bend the elements and those who can’t. Amon has the ability to take peoples bending away. The war he slowly builds up between the equalist and Republic City with the Avatar is the main plot.
It all comes to a culmination in the two part finale’. By this point Korra has formed a tight knit group made up of the two brothers Bolin and Mako, as well as Asami who is not a bender but a very adept master of hand to hand with a knack for understanding machines (her father turns out to be villainous co conspirator with the equalist and he happens to be the founder of future industries, the leading manufacturer of machines). Amon seems to be successful at every turn. He can’t be stopped, defeating every bender he approaches and taking their bending away. He defeats Toph’s daughter Lyn and takes her bending away. Zuko’s grandson Iroh is their last hope approaching from the sea with a naval fleet as Amon seems to have taken Republic City.
It all seems like a lot I know. That was one of the few faults I had with the finale’. It seemed rushed. If I didn’t know that animation is planned out for months and sometimes even years before it ever sees a flicker of light on your television screen, then I’d assume that the show had been cancelled four episodes back and they rushed a wrap up. Every question and every teaser was cinched off for this finale’ . So much that I don’t know how they’re going to approach season two. (spoiler alert) in the second part of the finale’ Amon takes Korra’s bending. Since the unrealized Avatar hadn’t unlocked her air bending yet Amon wasn’t able to take the ability from her and in the final hour she awakes the power with in and defeats Amon with Airbending.
Amon, who by now we know is the brother of counselman Tarlok, son of Yukone and a blood bender (he’s a lot as well. BLOOD BENDING! the most intense thing from this series). Counselman Tarlok unveils the whole sad tale when Korra and the gang find him held captive on air temple island. He and his brothers were forced into learning blood bending from their evil father and readied to avenge him against the Avatar. Amon ran away and Tarlok didn’t even know his brother was alive until now. Blood bending is how he is taking away people’s ability to bend. Rumors of some sort of fishy approach to all that and its shinanagans was suspected, it was a good explanation, since up until now we knew the Avatar to be the only person capable. When Amon stole people’s bending there was no glow, just a touch and it’s gone. His blood bending was also how he was able to defeat every bender he faced.
By the end though Korra taps into her spirit self and all her past lives who undo what Amon blocked. She is now a full on Avatar, capable of going into the Avatar state and master of four elements. Amon escapes with his brother Tarlok. In a touching final scene Amon (who’s real name is Noatok) says, “just like old times” a single tear rolls down his cheek and Tarlok unleashes a bolt of elctricity into their gas tank with an equalist glove causing their escape boat to explode. Back in Republic City Korra returns Lyn’s bending back to her, letting us know that Korra can undo all of Amon’s evil.
That was where I had issue. It was kind of like how in Doctor Who they solve problems with love in every other episode these days. Or when someone takes the shortcut of explanation and just says, magic. It was nice to have every issue resolved so you’re not left in some sort of Damon Lindeloff purgatory with a bunch of hopes and half answers. But not only does this leave us with no cliff hangers or ideas of what can happen in season two, but it completely closes off every urge to even continue watching the show. If you were a new fan and it was an alright show, you may forget about it entirely by next year. I just wonder how much beyond their original fan base will return with season two.
It was still a good show. General Iroh was awesome and displayed some sweet rocketeer like flyer bending to take out airplanes. The love triangle got a wrap up of sorts and Korra and Mako chose each other. I know this left Asami kind of a loose thread. There’s always Bolin. Also Iroh is in the show now, and girls thought cartoon Zuko was dreamy (it’s weird I know). The story arc itself was intense and interesting and excellent over all. The back story between Tarlok and Amon was reminiscent of Professor Snape’s tearful goodbye in the Deathly Hallows. Had they stretched it out for three seasons it may have had more of an impact. Still really good, even though it was complete. I guess that means we can only look forward to an even more intense second season. And whatever ghosts they pull up from the past will have to be that much more powerful. Plus they’ll be facing an Avatar who is fully trained and ready to rock. Can’t wait.
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