This past Friday, Nickelodeon released the finale for their spin off of Avatar: The Last Airbender. This sequel series, The Legend of Korra, ended it’s 4th and final season with a stunning Television blow.
The 4th season started 3 years after the ending of Book 3. As we last left the series, the Earth Kingdom was in shambles, Jinora was appointed an Airbending Master, the Air Nation was reborn and retook their Nomadic roots, and Korra was suffering from depression after her battle with the red lotus, for a full recap on Season 3, check out NETV’s review here.
Now, 3 years later, and, as you would have expected, the world has changed quite a bit. Republic City has embraced the spirit vines and is now living in peace with the spirits. Asami has rebuilt Future Industries, as has help build a rail system. Mako, as a police officer, is assigned to be a body guard for their heir apparent to the Earth Kingdom, Prince Wu.
Since the Earth Kingdom was left in shambles, the United Republic asked Suyin to help rebuild it, when she declined, her assistant Kuvira agreed. Kuvia then left with Bataar Jr., Suyin’s oldest son, and a group of metal benders from Zaofu to help reunite the Earth Kingdom. Bolin, Varrick, and Zhu Li eventually join up to help them as well. As Kuvira reunites the Kingdom, the Air Nomads fly through Kingdom helping people wherever they can against the bandits that still plague the country side. In a particular town, called Yi, Kai and Opal appear and help capture a few bandits that have been robbing from the town. The mayor pleads with them asking for supplies since every time they try to bring supplies in, bandits rob it from them. At this point, Kuvira arrives on her train and offers to help, if the mayor agrees to pledge his loyalty to Kuvira and her army. At first he refuses, and since he does, Kuvira says that she will not give them any supplies. Kai and Opal fly out to pick up supplies for them, but when they are robbed by bandits, the mayor has no choice but to give into Kuvira’s demands.
As people flock to Republic City for Prince Wu’s coronation as the new Earth King, the group eagerly await Korra’s return, as they have not seen her since the Red Lotus incident, due to the need for her recovery in the south pole. When the ship arrives, Tonraq gets off and exclaims his surprise that Korra wasn’t already here, as she had left the Southern Tribe a while ago.
Meanwhile, Korra fights an Earth Bender in an underground ring. As she is quickly defeated and cleans up her wounds, she encounters a vision of herself in the avatar state from her fight with Zaheer. When she tries fighting it, she yells at it to leave her alone and stop appearing in front of her.
As it disappears, people around as her if she is alright. As she denies anything happens and begins to leave, the flashbacks begin of her past 3 years. After her battle with Zaheer, Korra is left wheelchair bound, she takes off for the South Pole to heal. She has trouble sleeping due to her recurring nightmares about her battle, and during the day, she has healing sessions with Katara. After 6 months she is able to walk but barely. She writes to Asami most of the time to confide her fears; about not being able to recover, and her inability to enter the avatar state, but due to fear, she ignores writing back to Mako and Bolin. A few months later, Tenzin shows up to see how Korra is doing. Korra, who is able to walk again, exclaims she is doing great and to prove it, enters into a firebending spare with some guards to show it. During the fight, she gets visions of Zaheer again and collapses to the ground before Tenzins stops the match and helps her. Tenzin tells her that she needs more time to recover, Korra annoyed that she can’t help the world recover, reluctantly agrees. Korra then tells her parents she is going to Republic City, but instead travels the world so she can recover on her own. She cuts her hair, disregards her water tribe garbs, and travels the Earth Kingdom in disguise. She keeps having visions of Zaheer and herself in the Avatar State the entire time.
Back in the present, she follows a dog (who could apparently see the vision of her in the avatar state as well) into a swamp. In this swamp, she sees and faces the avatar state vision again. She loses and hallucinates drowning in a pool of metal poison. When she wakes up she finds herself in a cave under the swamp as a figure hunches over a stew, when she asks what happen, the old women exclaims that she found Korra passed out in the mud. As Korra asks how the old lady how she knows her, she says she’d recognize the Avatar anywhere. Korra lights a flame in her hand as the old lady turns around. Korra exclaims its Toph, and Tophs states that it was “good to see you again Twinkle Toes”.
Meanwhile at the coronation of Prince Wu, Wu is upset because the grand idea he had for his coronation is not going to happen due to robbers stealing most of the ancient artifacts. Throughout the Earth Kingdom, Prince Wu loses supporters as Kuvira gains them. At the Coronation, Kuvira exclaims that she will not give up control of the Earth Kingdom like she originally promised because Wu is not fit to take over the Kingdom and instead, Kuvira will now lead the new Earth Empire.
Later, Suyin tries to convince Kuvira, who is newly engaged to Bataar Jr., to stop the madness and hand back control to Wu. Kuvira declines and calls Suyin weak for not trying to reunite the Kingdom first. Mako and Bolin get in a fight as Bolin supports Kuvira since he has seen all the good she has done. Kuvira tells her people they are going to take the last Earth Kingdom state that has not pledged allegiance to her yet; Zaofu. Tenzin then tasks his children, Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo to search for Korra.
The three of them search the Kingdom for quite some time, with their only lead being some merchant who had seen Korra arrive. Meanwhile Mako stays with Wu while he visits Ba Sing Se, Wu is clearly upset and starts yelling at some Kuvira supporters who in turn attack him. Mako defends him and tells him stop acting like a brat, and that was a big reason nobody wanted to follow him. In the swamp, Toph spars with Korra to help her overcome her block, Toph is having fun with saying its been a while since she got to beat down the avatar. As Korra tries to figure out whats happening, Toph says she can’t fight probably due to the pieces of metal poison that are still in her. Korra states that Suyin got them all out, but Toph says that her kids never really picked up Metal Bending as well as she’d hoped. Toph tries to get the poison out of her, but her body reacts with visions and Tophs tells her that she won’t be able to get the poison out because Korra doesn’t want her to. Korra says that she does want it out, but Toph exclaims that if she did, she wouldn’t be resisting so much. Toph brings Korra to the center of the swamp and has her meditate, since the swamp is spiritually charged. Korra, is having trouble until Toph says that she shouldn’t be afraid of her past enemies, because they were all simply trying to make a better world, albeit being extreme about it. Amon wanted equality, Unalaq freed the spirits, and Zaheer wanted freedom for everyone. As she comes to term with it, Jinora senses her spirit and flies to her with her siblings. Toph then helps Korra metalbend the remaining poison out of her body, Korra then goes into the Avatar State.
Kuvira and her army then arrive at Zaofu and try to open negotiations, but Suyin refuses to hand over the city to her. Korra appears and talks to Suyin who wants Kuvira gone. Korra agrees to go talk to her, when she goes, Suyin then takes her twin sons, Wing and Wei to go take out Kuvira at night. As Korra talks to Kuvira, Kuvira tells Korra she wants to settle this peacefully, so Korra goes to tell Suyin only to find out that they all ready left to take out Kuvira. As Suyin and her sons try to take out Kuvira, they get captured and then advance on Zaofu. Korra takes a stand against Kuvira and challenges her to a one on one fight for Zaofu. In the fight, Kuvira gets the better of Korra until she enters the Avatar State. When Korra is about to finish off Kuvira, she gets another vision of herself from her fight with Zaheer and collapses, as Kuvira tries to finish her off, Korra is rescued by Opal and the other Air Benders who fly her off to Republic City. Kuvira then takes Zaofu and imprisons the rest of Suyin’s family.
Back in Republic City, Korra informs everyone of what has happened in Zaofu. Opal wants to go rescue her family, but it proves difficult due to Republic City’s reluctance to get involved. Meanwhile, Korra is reunited with Mako and Asami after 3 years, and although there is tension, the attempted kidnapping of Wu by Kuvira supporters brings them back together.
Rewind a little bit back to the time where Korra was still in the swamp, Varrick and Zhu Li were helping Kuvira make a new source of energy from the spirit vines. When the tests keep failing, Kuvira tells him to complete work on the weapon. Varrick calls her crazy and states he will not be involved in the construction of a super weapon, until Kuvira threatens his life and he continues work. Bolin realizes how crazy Kuvira is and helps Varrick and Zhu Li escape. When they are caught, Zhu Li pledges her loyalty to Kuvira and Bolin and Varrick get sent to continue work on the super weapon. They fake their deaths with the explosion of the weapon and flee back to Republic City. Back in the present, Kuvia and her army are in the foggy swamp cutting up spirit vines to use for her weapon.
In Republic City, people are being kidnapped by the spirit vines because the spirits are angry at what Kuvira is doing. As Korra tries to free them, but fails. Meanwhile Bolin and Varrick show up in the City and warns everyone of the weapon Kuvira is creating. Korra then tries to help them again, but keeps getting stopped by her visions of Zaheer and her past self. She then decides the best way to get past this is to face Zaheer in prison. As she tries she realizes she is still afraid of him and states she will never be the same. Zaheer, who is upset at the state of the world by his doing, agrees to help Korra get past her block and enter the spirit world. He succeeds and she enters the spirit world, reunites with Raava and frees everyone from the vines. Opal and Lin decide to go save their family, and Bolin, who is still trying to get into Opals good books after everything that happened, agrees to help.
As the three of them arrive at Zaofu, Toph shows up behind them and tells them that they have been moved. They four of them then move to a prison/base of operations of Kuvira’s where they see the giant weapon she is developing. They move below ground and find the family in a suspended prison. As Lin saves them, Bataar Sr.’s screams from the fall alert the guards who sounds the alarm of the escape. Above ground, Kuvira tests the Cannon Bataar Jr. and Zhu Li have been working on, on an abandoned town. When the cannon keeps malfunctioning, Kuvira figures out that Zhu Li only pledged her loyalty to her to mess with her plans. Kuvira then ties her up in the town and has Bataar Jr. fix the weapon. Bolin sees what happens and goes to help her with Opal. Meanwhile, Suyin, Lin, and the twins go to stop the cannon. As Kuvira fires on the town, she misfires due to the Bei Fong family’s interference. As they fight her, Toph shows up and helps them escape, before heading back to her swamp.
Kuvira tells her follows her that she plans to take over the United Republic since it was originally Earth Empire territory. As they march towards Republic City, Zhu Li tells Republic City of Kuvira’s impending attack, President Raiko then orders the city to evacuate. Wu, who is starting the mature agrees to help the city evacuate peacefully. As they prepare, Korra goes to intercept the weapon they have before realizing that Korra has attached the weapon to a giant mecha suit they is currently marching towards the city.
Korra flies back to Republic City to inform them of what’s coming. As the United Forces prepare for an attack, the Forces arrive early. Kuvira radios President Raiko to surrender or face her weapons fury. She then demonstrates the weapon, wiping out the United Forces fleet. Raiko agrees to surrender, not wanted anyone else to die. Korra meanwhile start looking for a way to take down the weapon. They kidnap Bataar Jr. who is on his way to talk about the terms of surrender with Raiko. Bataar Jr. refuses to turn against his fiance, even disowning his family. When Korra threatens to never let him see Kuvira again, he agrees to talk to Kuvira and ask her to back off. When the airship arrives without Bataar Jr., Kuvira asks what is going on before getting a radio transmission from Bataar Jr. explaining what happened and asking her to stop. Kuvira then locates the location of the transmission and blasts it with her weapon bidding farewell to Bataar Jr. Lin goes to find survivors.
The group survives thanks to Bolin keeping the debris from falling on them. As they get out, Asami and Varrick agree to finish working on some prototype “hummingbird” suits that were designed to keep the mecha suit from Republic city. Korra and the rest of the group head out to hold off the suit to the best of their ability. They managed to knock it down a few times, but cannot put a dent in the suit. Even the metal benders are powerless because the suit is made of platinum.
Back at the lab, Lin brings Hiroshi Sato, Asami’s father, from jail to help with the suit’s and create plasma cutters on the humming bird suits so they can cut through the platinum. Asami and her father bury the hatchet and begin working. As they finish up the suits, Varrick and Zhu Li release a electromagnetic pulse to disable the small suits. As the hummingbird suits are finished, Varrick proposes to Zhu Li and they take off. The start trying to cut through the platinum, but as Kuvira realizes what they are doing, starts trying to destroy the suits. She fires her laser which destroys the wing of Varrick and Zhu Li’s shared suit, they press the eject button and escape. Korra then uses the water from river to freeze the suit in place. Asami and Hiroshi’s suit lands on the leg and begins cutting it. Kuvira sees this and starts trying to break the ice. As she does and tries to crush the suit, Asami tells Hiroshi to hurry up. When she finally breaks the ice and swings full force at the suit, Hiroshi pushes Asami’s eject button and gets killed by Kuvira, but succeeds in breaking into the suit. Korra, Mako, Bolin, Lin, and Suyin head into the suit. Korra heads for Kuvira and Mako and Bolin go to stop the Suit’s power source and Lin and Suyin go to disable the cannon. Lin and Suyin succeed before starting to destroy the inside of the arm. Kuvira rips off the arm and cannon and send it flying towards the spirit vines. Korra then break into the control room and starts fighting Kuvira.
Mako and Bolin take down the guards around the power source, but the shut down feature doesn’t work. So Mako decides to shoot it with lightning to try and get it to explode. Bolin disagrees but Mako tells him to leave so he can do it. Mako shoots it with lighting and the vines start shooting energy out, knocking out Mako. Bolin saves him before the core of the suit explodes sending Korra and Kuvira tumbling down. Kuvira runs off into the spirit wilds as Korra chases her. When she finds her, Kuvira is atop the spirit weapon which she fires at Korra. Since the weapon is wrapped in spirit vines, Kuvira is unable to control it, and Korra is forced to step in and protect Kuvira from the blast. The weapon explodes and the blast takes up most of the city before shooting into the sky.
As the blast fades, Tenzin sees that a new spirit portal has opened from the blast of highly concentrated spirit energy. Korra confronts Kuvira in the spirit world and tells her she understands why Kuvira was doing the things she was but enough was enough.
Back in the physical world, everyone is searching for Korra and Kuvira before they appear from the spirit portal. Kuvira surrenders and says she will face the consequences without question.
Later, a few weeks later, Varrick and Zhu Li are getting married. At the following reception, Wu tells Mako that he is abolishing the monarchy in the Earth Kingdom and setting it up as a republic. Korra agrees with this and tells Wu he will help her out. Mako then tells Korra he will always have her back. As Tenzin stand by the water and talk, she tells him that she had to go through everything she did so that she would be able to understand Kuvira and help her. Tenzin tells Korra how proud of her he is, because she has already helped the world change more in her short time as Avatar then most Avatar’s do in their life time. Asami shows up and tells Tenzin that Varrick is going to jump off the tower with an airbender glider suit. Tenzin runs off to stop him as Asami and Korra sit and talk. Asami tells Korra that she is glad she is ok, because she doesn’t think that she could bear losing her and her father in the same day. Korra and Asami agree to take a vacation together into the spirit world. As they arrive at the portal a while later, they hold hands as they enter the portal together holding hands and looking at each other as they head for the spirit world.
Thus ends Book 4 and The Legend of Korra
The Legend of Korra which started off as simply a sequel series off of The Last Airbender, became a full fledged series in its own right. Not many series can create a new series that compels new fans while keeping old fans as well, but Legend of Korra managed to do it.
One of the most positive notes of this series was how it evolved with it’s fans. The Last Airbender was much more a child friendly show, but as it progressed it slowly became more dark. With the beginning of Korra, the series was already much darker then it had started but it never stopped. With the first on screen deaths of Amon and Tarrlok, the series became the question of whether it was PC enough to keep on Nickelodeon. Of course it never stopped, and with Book 3, the series was taken off the air to stream exclusively online. The company stated it was because online view were better but you know…
The topics also were ones that were rarely, if ever, covered in a children’s cartoon. Book 4 dealt a lot with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Korra took almost the entire season to be able to fight again, dealing with hallucinations, lack of peaceful sleep and doubt about what she did was right.
The finale of the series though is what has people talking, as it alludes to a romantic relationship between Korra and Asami. And although the creator have not confirmed anything, many believe that this is exactly what they were going for. This leads Korra down a very progressive path as far as children’s shows go.
In regards to Book 4, Korra was a slight bit of let down compared to Book 3. The previous season was full of suspenseful action and comedy to made it one of the best of the series. This left a tall order for book 4, that was not quite met. Now while it was very nice of them to take on PTSD and other current hot button issues, the comedy and action that this series was known for, while present, was lacking in comparison to the previous season. Now I should beat down on this season too much, this season was with out a doubt on par with most Avatar season, but due to book 3 being such an overwhelming success, this season did not come across as well done.
The world that was created with these two series was a stunning and well thought out success. The fact that every fighting style you see in the show is based off some form of chine martial arts and that every move they do is actual techniques just goes to show you how much effort was put in
Earth Bending=Hung Gar
Fire Bending=Northern Xiolin Kung fu
Air Bending= Bag Wa
Water Bending= Tai Chi
The origins stories of the world was just as fascinating as the world itself, the story of Wan the first avatar was one of the most creative and intriguing stories ever written, and yet somehow it was condensed into a single hour. Many lesson came from this 7 season story as well, though I could not hope to write them all out here, just go watch the series if you want all of them
In conclusion, both The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra were awe inspiring and so original. They are the type of stories that come across once or twice in a lifetime and the kind that stick with you until the end.
Legend of Korra, Book 4; Writer’s Rating: 8.4/10
Legend of Korra series; Writers Rating: 9.5/10
Written by Geoff