KORRASAMI!!!! That was the dankest of endings. What a great series. While "The Legend of Korra" wasn't as consistently good as "Avatar", I was still very entertained and loved getting more of this world. Sequel to the sequel, please?
[7.5/10] When I wrote about the finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender my thesis, in part, was that it was about how Aang stayed who he was no matter what. Even with the fate of the world on his shoulders, he couldn’t, or at least didn’t want to, bend his principles and take a life. As he always did, he found another way. The climax of the series served, in many ways, as a tribute to his steadfastness.
But Korra’s path has been different, and the best thing to say about the finale of The Legend of Korra, and the show as a whole, is that it’s been about growth. The Korra we leave beaming off to the spirit world is much different than the one we met blasting firebenders at the South Pole. She is a more understanding, more steady, more complex, and more compassionate Avatar than the headstrong youth who first bolted her way through Republic City.
The rub, and the thing that keeps “The Last Stand” from earning a higher rating, is TLoK reveals this through heaps and heaps of emotional exposition. An inevitable and almost unavoidable part of any finale involves a certain amount of signposting and summing things up, but TLoK’s goes overboard with it. Between a post-battle heart-to-heart with Kuvira to on-the-nose exchanges with Tenzin about hope, “The Last Stand” brings its hero to an interesting place in terms of both story and character, but lays the message of the change on too thick.
But hey, it delivers some damn cool action, so that earns it plenty of points too. Having the climactic battle feel genuinely epic, particularly after a fourth season where the good guys have already battled an energy-bending rabble rouser, a flying revolutionary, and the Anti-Avatar, it would be easy for the last big battle to fall short. Instead, “The Last Stand” delivers a final confrontation that matches the moment.
It features some cool set pieces that give everyone something to do. It’s a nice grace note to have the Beifong sisters working together and immobilizing the Colossus’s arm together. Plus, it gives Lin a chance to do some badass combat that looks like fencing as she takes on an Earth Empire guard. To the same end, watching another pair of siblings, Mako and Bolin, try to shut down the engine to the Colossus works both to service two characters who have an important relationship outside of the show’s protagonist, and to give them a goal that contributes to the larger project.
It also gives Mako a nice moment of self-sacrifice. It seemed unlikely, at best, that TLoK would actually kill him off, but it’s still a nice moment in the sun (so to speak) for one of the show’s main characters, giving his all and using his unique powers to help. Bolin’s assurances to Mako that he already thinks his brother is awesome was an amusing, and true-to-character way to bring the pair’s relationship to the fore.
Korra’s one-on-one with Kuvira met the heightened expectations as well. The designers and animators deserve great credit for this season. Although we’ve seen many metal-benders before, the way that Kuvira and her crew use chain links and swatches to disable and move around their enemies gives them a distinctive fighting style which makes combat against them seem fresh. Seeing Korra and Kuvira go toe-to-toe in the enclosed bridge of the Colossus made for an enclosed by expansive setting that prevents either from running away but gave each plenty of room to work.
The climax of their fight was the highlight of the episode. While the villain’s hail mary, semi-crazy attempt to get back at the hero is a cliché, and the spirit weapon conveniently being near where they feel is a bit contrived, the power and symbolism of the moment really clicked.
When Korra faces down the blast from the weapon, instead of being destroyed by it, she harnesses its power, saving Kuvira and channeling that energy into a new spirit portal. It’s a choice that carries wonderful symbolism, how Korra’s previously attack first, ask questions later mentality has evolved to where she uses her abilities to turn a weapon into a bridge, a mortal attack into a saving throw. The scene is scored perfectly, with Korra’s theme adding gravitas to such a spiritual, emotional moment that represents the peak of Korra’s arc in this season and perhaps the series.
The problem is then the series decides to write it all on the screen. I’ve genuinely enjoyed the parallels between Korra and Kuvira this season, but having them have a literal “we’re not so different you and I” conversation is just too much. The themes are solid -- the idea that Korra sees her own impulses in Kuvira, the notion of wanting to ensure you’re never vulnerable again -- but it’s all too blunt and too artless. Hell, we get the revelation that Kuvira is an orphan thrown in at the last minute as an explanation for her perspective, and it’s just the most tacked on psychological explanation for her behavior.
Then the show doubles down on it with Tenzin. Again, while I like the theme, having Korra outright say that she needed to learn what suffering was in order to be more compassionate, is just too direct. It’s delivering the literal message of the show in dialogue. The same goes for Tenzin saying he’s glad that Korra is more hopeful, or Mako saying he’d follow Korra into any battle. I like those ideas, but just depositing them into the story as announcements is too much.
It’s not all bad though. As I mentioned in the prior episode, Wu’s evolution into a reasonable leader has been an unexpected treat. The fact that he sees what happened to Kuvira and decides that the Earth Kingdom doesn’t need another monarch or dictator, but instead an elected representative, is one of the most striking political changes, and a third option the show and its predecessor has rarely seemed to consider.
Then there’s the final moments, where “The Last Stand” brings all the subtext between Korra and Asami this season to the fore, and suggest the beginning of a romantic relationship. Asami is often a cipher on this show, being given little to do in comparison to the rest of Team Avatar. But in Season 4 in particular, the series has hinted at a deeper connection between her and Korra. Ending the series on that note is a bold choice, and the heartwarming, lyrical sequence in which they beam off together is a wonderful way to go out.It’s just a shame that the rest of the finale cannot quite match the balance that sequence presents. Season 4, and the series as whole, took Korra on an incredible journey, but underlining the point of it all at the end cheapens the actions and decisions that led her there. Still, it’s been a hell of a journey, one filled with kinetic action, endearing characters, and most of all, a protagonist who grew and developed little by little as the series went on, until she became a stronger, more assured, and balanced Avatar. Some of Korra’s most engrossing growth happened this year, and whether it’s overdone or not, it’s lovely to see her walking off into the sunset, hand-in-hand with someone she loves, a changed, better person.
we poppin those bottles on korrasami's third anniversary
I’d like to make a note that AndrewBloom left a detailed review on every episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. They’re really in-depth and one of my favorite parts about watching both of these was seeing his commentary because he put a lot of effort into every analysis. It made my viewing experience a lot better. So hats off to you buddy!
I cant wait for the comic coming out this June. I need Korsami.
Good ending.I like how the vines automatically take over the destruction.
"I need to understand what suffering was, so I could become more compassionate to others; even peopl like Kuvira."
So much like Star Wars, from the trumpets in the fight scene, to the way Kuv's troops look, and the famaliar infiltration of a giant mechanical entity.
WOO GAY BIG WIN FOR THE WOMEN
I’m just glad this is over. This was such an underwhelming show. The main character sucked. The only good things were the side kicks & some of the smaller charters. What a waste of time.
Everyone was so amazing during the final battle, but Korra's fight with Kuvira and everything else post-explosion were so lame and underwhelming. Also Korra and Kuvira really are nothing alike. I really don't see Korra as a hero at all. Prince Wu's character arc in this one book really showed more development than that of Korra's throughout the whole series.
I wish Asami's character was developed beyond a love interest and powerful ally. I don't know what she's like at all. I really wanted to see more of her and her relationship with her dad.
This episode makes me sad, and it's not because the series has ended.
Great series. The very end is so forced though just to be edgy. “Let’s suddenly have Korra like girls.”