So the third season of The Legend of Korra ended last Friday and it was absolutely amazing. I’ve always loved the Avatar shows and after rewatching the entire Avatar: The Last Airbender series, I think I can safely say Korra: Book 3 has some of the very best episodes in the entire franchise. It features beautiful animation, has incredible characters and some of the best villains in TV right now. I wasn’t the biggest fan of how everything resolved itself at the end of Book 1 and I didn’t like Book 2 up until Beginnings. But this season was so strong from Episode 1 to the breathtaking season finale that it may be the best show I’ve seen all year. Without further ado, let’s review all of the awesome. SPOILERS ahead!
1. The Story
Korra has always done a good job of differentiating itself from AtlA. Following such a widely acclaimed and beloved series must have been a challenge but the writers have managed to create another set of interesting characters and have put them through situations that feel different to the original show. The cast of supporting characters is bigger and made up mostly of adults, the themes are darker and more political and the show mostly deals with season-long arcs.
This Book was mainly about the rebuilding of the Air Nation and the Red Lotus trying to capture the Avatar. Both storylines and several subplots came together in the two-part finale, which was both breathtaking and mind blowing. And although the final episodes were truly incredible, I can’t say I was disappointed by any of the previous episodes. Many of the action sequences were amongst the best in Korra history and the Red Lotus featured some of the coolest/creepiest benders we’ve seen.
2. The Characters
That brings me to the villains, who succeed Princess Azula as the scariest in Avatar. Zaheer and his gang are not only extremely powerful but also fascinating. The original show was pretty much black and white in terms of good and evil. Zuko, who has one of the best character arcs I’ve seen, was always in a gray zone but Avatar Aang was obviously the good guy and the Fire Nation were clearly bad. Korra prefers to give its villains compelling ideas (even Korra agreed with Unaloq about the portals) but makes sure their means are unacceptable. I don’t think anyone saw Ba Sing Se this season and thought to themselves “That seems like a cool system and fabulous way of living! Those Dai Li agents sure aren’t creepy at all!”. But then the Red Lotus goes and kills the Earth Queen and it’s not right.
So we’ve established Korra’s foes are awesome. But even better is Team Avatar and their allies. Bolin continues to make me laugh out loud every episode (“Maybe HE’S INVISIBLE!”), Lin and Tenzin both became even more complex and Jinora just keeps up being the best. But it was Asami who quickly climbed up my ranking of favorite characters. Instead of giving her some romantic entanglement, the writers decided to focus on her friendship with Korra and I suspect many of the Korrasami moments are amongst the fans’ favorites.
On the new character front, Suyin was half of the plot I enjoyed the most: The reconciliation of Toph’s daughters. Even though they faced some criticism last year when they implied Aang hadn’t been the best father, the writers didn’t care and showed us Toph had made mistakes too. I find this incredibly satisfying, since I tend to adore the characters of shows I love and come to think of them as perfect. But this reminded me I didn’t love Aang or Toph because they were perfect. I loved them because of their flaws as well as their strengths. Kai was also a nice addition but the best new characters were obviously the baby sky bison.
3. The Amazing Finale
All of the positive aspects of the show came together in the espectacular two-part finale that featured Bolin lavabending, the Beifong sisters making P’Li blow herself up, Zaheer freaking flying and Jinora becoming an airbending master. But honestly, in two episodes full of highlights, one of the best was when Korra enters the Avatar State and shows the Red Lotus what real power is. And they thought they could just end the cycle by using some puny chains.
But the thing I loved the most about this Book was that it didn’t try to end in a happily ever after. Although it wasn’t as dramatic as the AtlA: Book 2 finale, those last few scenes were heartbreaking. Jinora getting her tattoos was delightful but seeing the strong, feisty Avatar Korra broken like that was heartbreaking. The last thing we saw before the credits rolled was our beloved hero crying. Who knows in what state we’ll find her once Book 4 comes out?
All around, I thought this season of The Legend of Korra was outstanding. Too bad Nick disastrously decided to try some program-bending . I understand them taking it off the air due to content reasons (remember when P’Li BLEW HERSELF UP?) but their lack of marketing and general attitude was severely disappointing. Let’s hope they do better with the final season. Maybe they’ll give us some notice before airing the first episode so we can prepare some better coverage for our readers.
So, what did you think of Book 3? Who was your favorite Red Lotus member? (Mine was Ming-Hua, who is an armless waterbender voiced by Grey DeLisle, who used to terrify me as Azula in the original show.) Did you like seeing Lord Zuko? Do you think Korra will still be broken when we see her again? Wanna see some more baby sky bison?