In the twelfth and final episode of the first season of The Legend of Korra, Korra tries to take down Amon. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Legend of Korra.
So close. SO CLOSE.
There is so much good stuff in this finale. I swear. I SWEAR THERE IS. We will discuss that first. Actually, wait, can we discuss how the name “Korra” appears three times within close proximity of one another in the intro, and the more I see it, the less it seems real? Anyway, let’s talk about the good before we get to the not-so-good.
- Oh god, THE ANIMATION. THE ANIMATION. It’s just so fantastic!
- Shit, those biplanes are so rad.
- I LOVE THAT KORRA WASTES NO TIME INTERRUPTING THE RALLY. Just story-wise, it allows the plot to flow much more rapidly. (I have a complaint about this very thing later.) By getting this pivotal moment out of the way, we get to see the much more personal fight between Korra, Amon, and Mako later in the episode.
- I was satisfied that the writers addressed the reality of Korra trying to “out” Amon: no one would believe her right off the bat. Without evidence, it does look like she’s just trying to disrupt things. That’s not to discount Korra’s idea. What else was she going to do???
- When Amon revealed that he had Tenzin and the kids, I knew shit could not get realer. I was wrong, of course, but my god, what a horrifying scene. There was no doubt in my mind at this point that Amon was a villain. As much as his anti-bender rhetoric spoke of a real social phenomenon in Republic City, he was going to publicly wipe out the last remaining airbenders. HE WAS GOING TO TAKE AWAY MEELO’S FARTBENDING. Nope. Nope. Done with you, Amon.
- Oh god, everything about Hiroshi and Asami’s conversation is just so incredible. Here we have a young woman who must reject her own father to fight for what’s right, and she does it without batting an eyelash. This would be a difficult situation for anyone to go through, but she’s committed to this cause, and I LOVE HER SO MUCH FOR THAT.
- FUCK YES, NAGA AND PABU ARE HEROES YESSSSS.
- NO, OKAY, SO ALL OF IROH’S SCENES ON THE BIPLANES ARE TOO PERFECT AND THRILLING FOR MY HEART TO HANDLE. Incredible animation, heartstopping writing, and IT’S JUST BRILLIANT. I truly love that this show can take bending to such an absurd physical level and it totally works. (At least for me, that is.)
- Oh, Tenzin, you are just incredible. His airbending on that stage is ridiculous.
- Okay, so Amon’s battle with Korra is everything that I have ever wanted this season. It’s brutal, it’s volatile, it’s emotional, and it is immensely satisfying to watch. I didn’t want the writers to ignore the fact that in many ways, Amon has the upper hand on Korra both mentally and physically. Plus, once you factor in Amon’s bloodbending, it makes him one of the more unbeatable villains I’ve seen. Which directly leads into my next point.
- Amon took Korra’s bending. Unfortunately, this is tied to one of my biggest complaints, but I must praise the writers for taking Korra to this point. (For like ten minutes, ugh.) It is a moment where you realize there’s no return, that Amon is one of the most fucked up, powerful villains in this entire fictional universe, and things are extremely messed up.
- Because of that, it makes Korra’s discovery of her airbending a beautiful, cathartic thing. If she’d just learned to do it with all her other elements, it wouldn’t have had such a powerful effect on me.
- THE EQUALIST MASK FALLING OFF AANG’S FACE. YES. So cheesy and yet SO PERFECT.
- omg NAGA TOOK DOWN THREE MECHA TANKS Naga you are my favorite YES.
- Hiroshi’s descent into the other antagonist isn’t subtle, but it’s fascinating to watch. By the time he faces off with Asami, I have no sympathy for him anymore. He’s actively trying to harm (or even kill) his own daughter over a political party that’s become rather terrible themselves. And my god, even after this, it still must have been surreal for her to electrocute her father. Again. Still, she does verify Bolin’s claim that he’s the worst father ever. Oh god, never has a single tear falling broken my heart quite like hers.
- THE LIEUTENANT SAW AMON BLOODBEND. YES. THIS IS A GOOD PLOT TWIST. Soâ€¦ he’s coming back, right?
- The reveal that Amon was lying about a lot more in his past than we realized was just so mindblowing. HIS SCAR WAS FAKE, HOLY SHIT. And while this is certainly an extremely violent episode, it’s the exposure of the truth that unravels Amon’s legacy.
- Okay, look, I know they both did horrific things, but there was a part of me that wanted Amon and Tarrlok to find happiness on their own, away from Republic City. Their past doesn’t excuse what they did in the present, but they were both manipulated by an abusive father, and they know this is why they’ve become who they are. I had hope that they might find a way to move past this history of theirs.
- Which is why that scene in the boat might very well me the most emotionally destructive thing in the entire Avatar universe. Nope, no, that is so heartbreaking and shocking and disturbing and HOW DID THIS GET APPROVED? Is it brilliant storytelling? Oh, yes, it absolutely is, so I’m glad it was there. Tarrlok probably knew that deep down, neither of them would find happiness. But as long as they were together (in death), they could do anything. Likeâ€¦ jesus fucking hell, too much. It’s too much for my heart to take.
- No, Katara, the very appearance of you is enough to hurt me. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
- COMMANDER BUMI, YES.
- I have my own feelings about the appearance of the Avatar State, and I’ll get to that in a second, but hearing “Aang’s Theme” nearly destroyed me. That line of music contains too many punches to my feelings.
- Taking Pema and Lin out of the action for the whole episode. BOO. BOO TO ALL OF YOU. Okay, Pema I at least understand because she just gave birth, but not one shot of her until the end? And Lin has no part in the final battle? BOO, I SAY.
- OKAY, WHEN DID ASAMI AND MAKO BREAK UP? When the fuck did that happen??? Because all of a sudden, Mako and Korra are just together, or they’re at least acting that way in front of anyone. Yeah, is there a deleted scene somewhere? Because I don’t accept Asami’s “talk” with Mako as a break-up. That’s the least believable break-up ever.
- Hi, I’m Bolin, I’m in this episode for like 90 seconds. BOO. BOO, I SAY.
- OKAY, TIME FOR AN EXTREMELY ANGRY RANT. Oh my god, I HATE THE ENDING TO THIS EPISODE. And I have had so much time to think about this, and I don’t like it at all. I watched this a second time, and the scene where Amon takes Korra’s bending is completely powerless now. It doesn’t matter! That risk, that point of no return, is totally worthless. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO YOUR OWN SHOW?
- You had an opportunity, and you threw it away! Michael Kors would be pissed at you.
- For real, your own writing just produced a new class of people, one that could be used to further examine the social divide between benders and non-benders, and you chose to completely ignore this entire subplot. Is even one person aside from Tenzin aware of the fact that the society in Republic City favors benders over non-benders? No? You’re just going to wish that whole subplot away?
- I can appreciate the idea that Korra, at her emotional low, connects with the Spirit World. It’s beautiful. I love it. But just giving her her powers back? Okay, okay, come on. It’s a deus ex Aang!
- “I’m so proud of you, Avatar Korra.” NO, SHE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING BESIDES GETTING REALLY SAD FOR LIKE THIRTY SECONDS. WHY ARE YOU PROUD OF THIS? IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE AT ALL.
- Oh, so all the benders who lost their powers just get it back. Right? Great. No consequences? Not even a hint to what’s going to happen to them? So is Korra going to give the bending back to the people she wants, or everyone?
- No, this is the worst. It’s so disappointing and emotionally boring. After so much awesome, everything just ends. And it made me think of how rushed this all felt. So what about pro-bending? Tahno? The council? Like, in hindsight, so much of this is just mashed together so that a story that should be at least twice as long is only twenty-four minutes long.
- BOO. BOO TO YOU.
So yeah. A generally great season, and one horrible, horrible ending. I’ve actually heard some neat headcanons/explanations for this ending, but it’s just not my taste. Oh god, so when does Book Two start? Is it just as long as this one? DISCUSS THESE THINGS WITH ME.
Here’s the last video, also commissioned by Ryan Lohner!
Mark Links Stuff
– You can follow me onÂ TwitterÂ andÂ FacebookÂ for any updates and live commentary on upcoming reviews Iâ€™m writing.
– If youâ€™d like to support what Iâ€™m doing, you can click the little Donate button in the right sidebar,Â buy eBooks on MarkDoesStuff, or purchase physical books onÂ Lulu.com.
-Â Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixÂ JUST CAME OUT.Â Itâ€™s $4.99, itâ€™s very long, and it is overflowing with feelings.
-Â You can purchase your very own Mark Reads OR Mark Watches video for just $25, and I will read ANYTHING you want, OR I will record myself watching any upcoming episode for Mark Watches. There is a complete list of all claimed episodes/chapters at the link!
– Mark Reads is now on YouTube, and you can watch all my videosÂ right here!Â
– I am now putting Mark Watches videos on Vimeo as well (theyâ€™re all located here) to avoid copyright issues Iâ€™m having on YouTube. This also means that all videos CANNOT have audio from the show in them, or I risk losing my YouTube AND Vimeo account and then no one gets videos. So for now, this is the solution to this problem.
I completely agree with everything you’ve said!
And the next season has 14 episodes, (and they’ll be two more seasons after it) it may or may not air in April 2013.
I’m not even sorry. In fact, this review will contain sporadic, senseless and out of place Lieumon (acceptable for all audiences) fanart just because I want to/can.
I am glad that you are so committed with your no-spoiler policy and expect your readers to respect you and keep you in the dark. I’m a user of AvatarSpirit.Net (ASN from now on) and I think what–not “ruined” but “spoilt” many of the surprises were the discussions we had after each episode. People would start speculating up to the point that no theory was discarded. I am not one to discuss episodes on the site, but I do remember a few times I did and would read the occassional post about Tarrlok perhaps being Amon’s brother because he might be a waterbender/bloodbender. Either way, I read that and thought it a possibility and when it happened on the show, fuck, I was excited alright, but I am sure I didn’t have that initial super shock because it had already been implanted in my mind. The dangers of fandom.
We also got into a srs bsns discussion over Lieutenant’s last line: “I dedicated my life for you” which, I admit, caught my eye because to me it seemed like an odd way to phrase your dedication to a cause. Unless of course this was a ‘V of Vendetta’ kinda situation where Amon is an idea, not a person, and this Lieutenant was meaning ‘you’ as in ‘you, the physical representation of the cause I dedicated my life to’ instead of ‘you, my love’. I obviously went for the latter. Because how could I not? This ship sails on its own ocean made by the shippers tears.
And onto Tarrlok and Noatak’s ending… Dear Koh. Amon was, from the beginning of the show, my favorite character. The terrible things he did HAD to be coming from a difficult background on his part. He is not evil just because. That was the mistake the writers did on A:TLA by giving Ozai no motivations or reasons to be what he is. Azula was a marvelous villain and she definitely surpassed her father in that aspect. No. I knew the main villain of LOK had to have REASONS to be such a bending bigot.
And I was damn right. Both Amon and Tarrlok were characters I loved to hate and when they hit me in the face with their back story I was blown away. It was sad, which is what I love in every story, and it was just absolutely perfect and personally relatable. Lovely here, lovely there, lovely everywhere. I just wanted them to sit down and have a tea party with rainbows and balloons and just forget about Korra for a moment because Noatak and Tarrlok were reunited and nothing in this world was more important than that.
And then boom. Boom my heart. Boom my hopes for them to re-start. Boom everything. Boom the tea party with the balloons. I cried for 5 days. 5. Everytime the thought of that scene came up. Everytime I saw a drawing of Tarrlok/Noatak. Everytime anything remotely reminded me of it. Waterfalls. And then this fucking happens and I lose it again.
To me, the brothers’ backstory is what saved the season and made me forget about many disappointment throughout. I even choose to omit the very last scenes because to me, Korra’s first season ended in the brothers’ death.
And that is all I wanna address because if I start with General Iroh II’s utter amazingness then this review will never fucking end. Loved the reviews as always, Mark.