Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Legend of Korra – Endgame

Part 1 review here.

While Korra has learnt the truth about Amon, Team Iroh assaults the airfield in order to stop the planes from attacking Bumi. Here, Iroh once again walks his troop’s right into a trap. When you know the enemy has harnessed electricity as weapons, and you see giant metal poles sticking out of the ground with no visible wires, realize that the best options are to go over or under the poles, not between them, because that’s how you end up shocked and in a prison cell. Come on man, you’re a general! 

After a prison break thanks to Naga, Asami gets to deal with her daddy issues aided by Bolin, and Iroh does his best Human Torch impersonation. Hiroshi Sato had truly been driven mad by the loss of his wife, so much so that even his daughter could not persuade him to change. It was a shame; the world could use a man of his genius. Meanwhile, Iroh used his fire-bending to fly, which was awesome, and really the first time all episode he looked in control. Watching him struggle to fly the first plane he took over was realistic, but I liked how he quickly adjusted himself to the cockpit and took out the remaining planes. It reflected well on his fast thinking and bold actions, but if he wants to truly earn the name Iroh he still has a lot of work to do.
Time to go all Wolverine on those planes
While all this is going on, Korra confronts Amon at his rally, revealing all the truth. It’s a good thing Amon has a mask otherwise everyone would have seen his shocked expression. But of course, in a room full of supporters, no one believed the young Avatar. The big surprise though was the reveal of Tenzin and his kids captured. It was shocking to see them gagged and bound to polls; Amon truly looked like a predator on the hunt. A quick fight ensues and we finally get to the main event, Amon Vs. Korra (and Mako).

This was not a long drawn out battle like when Aang fought the Fire Lord. It was much like Amon’s character, quick and decisive. Amon (and Yakone) might be the most powerful bender the series ever had. I expected him to subdue Korra and Mako quickly, but when he had Korra bent over, with his thumb placed on her forehead, I expected her to discover her Avatar State and take him out, much like Aang did with both the Fire Lord and Yakone. But I was genuinely surprised with his success. With her bending gone, Korra was backed into a corner, and this forced out her air-bending. This was a sink or swim moment for her, and she overcame her problems with force and confidence, exactly her style. 
Air Punch
With his blood-bending no longer affecting Korra completely, Amon gets forced to use water-bending to escape, in full view of his followers. Revealed for the liar he was, the Equalists movement is sure to collapse. Noatak had created such a strong and resolute character in Amon. He had gravitas, and with his mask, a distinctive look. Undoubtedly there are others within the group (like the Lieutenant) who could try to gather the remaining Equalists, but this reveal severely hurts the movement, and its people’s faith. A brief stop to pick up Tarrlok, and the brothers make their escape in a speed boat. It here we get the most touching and darkest moment this series (including the Last Airbender) has ever had. 

Noatak and Tarrlok clearly still loved each other immensely, with Noatak professing a desire to start anew. As the music lowered and we see Tarrlok pick up the shock glove and uncap the gas tank, telling Noatak “it’ll be just like the good old days”, I was feeling quite sad. Tarrlok’s character had so much growth over this season, and the sad truth is that no matter how far they went, they were always living in their father’s shadow. They never had a chance to be anything other than instruments of revenge, chasing shadows their entire life. With a single tear from Noatak, as if he knew what had to be done, Tarrlok commits the murder suicide by blowing up the boat. It was a fitting end to two of the best characters the Avatar universe has ever had.
Together again, for one last time
Back in the Southern Water Tribe, Katara fails to heal Korra. Severed from her bending other than air, Korra heads to the cliff to be alone. When Aang was believed to have been killed by Azula, he felt so isolated and like a failure. At his darkest moment, Avatar Roku (with moon spirit Yue) came to him to give him advice and comfort. The two of them helped Aang find peace with his failure, and this allowed Aang to ready himself to stop the war. This time it was Aang’s turn to provide the comfort (with a posse of past Avatars including Kyoshi!!!), and he did so by unlocking Korra’s bending. With her full connection to the Spirit world, she entered the Avatar State, and became a fully realized Avatar. With the ability to give back bending, we get the most significant moment of the episode; the return of Batlin (now my dreams of a Lin Beifong show can happen!). 
The Dark Knight Rises
Other notable moments include Mako and Korra officially professing their love for one another, Korra’s parents make a cameo appearance, and Korra Avatar Stating with Aang’s theme music in the background. This was a superb episode, and I can’t wait for more to come. Republic City is huge, and there must be plenty of stories left to tell (like dealing with the remaining Equalists and other gangs). But if Bryan and Michael decide to take the show on the road, that would be cool too. Either way, I can’t wait for more. What a perfect way to end Book 1. 
What, no glowing arrow tattoo?

1 comment:

  1. This was an excellent finish to the last season. Amon, a well-crafted antagonist and who appeared invincible till this episode, finds himself at a disadvantage and staring at defeat when he forces Korra to bring out all she has, when Amon tries to sap Mako's bending. This was a very special moment. It brought out Korra's fighting spirit which she was born with and airbending- which started her spiritual connection, both together! Amon was rightfully stumped to see that he was able to block only three elements while the fourth- air, remained preserved in Korra. In the end, Airbending proved to be a perfect weapon against Amon - who could easily dodge any other element attacks. Amon was facing airbending for the first time here and clearly he was overpowered by Korra. Amon was exposed in resurfacing to have a breath of oxygen and thus his entire anti-bender movement was diluted. What I don't understand is why there wasn't enough support for Korra and Mako at this juncture. Surely the Republic city had a big police or military force to be used at such times. It is hard to believe one man can de-bend such big magnitudes of people in such a short time so as to leave Tenzin and Avatar team no option but to pursue Amon alone; after asking help from Forces situated far away. But that is a minor point and can be overlooked.
    IMO the best scene was without doubt, the one in which Korra is so down and dejected that Aang is forced to visit her! I suspected the person who suddenly came and stood behind her was Aang and not Tenzin and I was correct. It was brave of the writers to go for traditional happy ending for the first season when they knew the series could be called mediocre because of that. Even though traditional, the ending was excellent! I will now present some points in favour of this ending. A major chunk of fans will complain about the differences of effort required for Aang and Korra in mastering the Avatar State.
    But they have to understand that Korra never had any problems with three elements at all. The only problem was her brash nature and lack of patience. As soon as she was humbled, shee was most open to spirituality and could summon Aang to seek his advice. Roku was a very capable Avatar, I am sure. Aang can be considered to be wiser than Roku as is natural with a progression of individuals having access to all previous ones' wisdom and capabilities. But Aang was one step ahead. He knew energybending, taught by the ancient lion turtle master himself. Basically Aang could transfer any knowledge in him faster and more effectively to anyone by manipulating energy. It is as simple as that. Why should a spiritual Korra who has mastered all elements take the hard way when Aang can teach her everything within seconds? There is nothing not to like here. Korra learnt quickly because Aang was awesome and could make her learn, simple!
    The moment Korra moved to the Avatar state was exhilarating and the glow was much anticipated!!!
    I have absolutely no idea what the next season will contain...!

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