Because fans should be critical, too

Still Collecting My Thoughts On the Series Finale

I honestly don’t know how I feel (to be more direct, when it was all over, I didn’t feel anything). I’m going to watch it again very soon and then write my piece.

In the meantime, what did you all think? Satisfied? Blown away? Let down and hanging around? What even happened?

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32 responses

  1. I thought it was serviceable. I mean the first thing we need to ask ourselves is, what were our expectations? I expected alot of action, an end to korra’s arc, and a end for Kuvira. I never expected the ending to be as big or as grand as Avatars and I was fine with that. Honestly, it could have been 100 times worse, there was no crazy stuff that was out there and I feel it ended the best way it could have with what was setup beforehand. Each character seemed to have a moment of heroism, a time to shine and I liked that. I truly think this finale depended on how emotionally attached you already were to the characters and Republic City. If you weren’t then I could see the finale being underwhelming. Personally, I thought Korra’s scenes with Kuvira were the best scenes in the episode.

    December 19, 2014 at 2:04 pm

  2. Brian

    To get the final scene out of the way, I liked it, despite knowing that it was just shameless pandering to the fanbase. I feel guilty of liking it, but that’s how I honestly felt, both now and when it happened.

    That aside, I felt it was disappointing, and that was what I was expecting. There was no emotional investment in the characters, there were too many silly moments, it was too dramatic in such an insincere way and it tried to add dimension to a villain who was up until that point very one dimensional. The last scene was the only thing I had fond memories of, and even then, it’s purely a guilty pleasure.

    You hit the nail on the head. I felt nothing from the finale overall. I had low expectations from it, which were more or less met.

    December 19, 2014 at 2:07 pm

  3. There was also little moments of symbolism thrown in there as well. I liked the ending because I think the show was symbolizing the joining of modernism and spiritualism. Korra, who had become much more spiritually driven had joined Asami, who was more progress driven. I also noticed that Wu was the one to change the earth kingdoms political structure instead of Korra. I think that was making a point that Korra, who originally was wanting to be this monumental Avatar had excepted her place and she was content with that. She has her friends and is no longer in need to put her entire worth in being the avatar.

    December 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    • That’s a good point. I can’t say I really got that vibe from the show emotionally, but thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. I do, however, wish the show was more explicit about the friendship angle.

      December 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm

  4. If I could sum up my feelings and opinion towards the series finale in two words its, “That’s it.”

    I can’t say that I’m mad, because after four seasons of meandering around and underdevelopment, I don’t really care about most of the characters. But even if I did, I don’t see how the endings we got for these characters are supposed to fulfilling in anyway. If anything it didn’t feel like an ending, but more like it just stopped.

    The only genuine reaction I had was the sheer laughter I let out when I saw the most contrived and forced romantic pairing I’ve seen in this entire franchise happen literally at the last minute. No spoilers, but jeez and I thought Mako/Korra was underdeveloped.

    Aside from that I was just incredibly underwhelmed by this ending, as I just didn’t really know why I was supposed to care about this ending. I think this is mostly because LoK, whatever you think about it, never really had much of an ultimate endgoal. Every season, outside of small references, was isolated and self-contained from the others and thus I never really felt much gravity or impact while watching this finale. Compare that to the original series where the whole thing was building up to the final confrontation with Ozai.

    As much as I hated the endings to books 1 and 2, even they generated a reaction in me. A reaction of anger and disappointment, but at least it was something. Heck even the utterly insulting sequel bait ending of the M. Night film left more of an impact on me.

    As a whole I have to say that Legend of Korra will be remembered by as one of the biggest disappointments that I’ve ever experienced in my life. I mean I still watch Avatar:TLA to this day and I still enjoy it, flaws and all. As for Korra, I honestly have no desire or interest to see this series ever again.

    December 19, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    • Aside from that I was just incredibly underwhelmed by this ending, as I just didn’t really know why I was supposed to care about this ending. I think this is mostly because LoK, whatever you think about it, never really had much of an ultimate endgoal. Every season, outside of small references, was isolated and self-contained from the others and thus I never really felt much gravity or impact while watching this finale. Compare that to the original series where the whole thing was building up to the final confrontation with Ozai.

      This has definitely been one of the major problems of the series, and one that could have easily been rectified if they’d stuck to the idea in Book One that Korra needed to earn her Bending back, most likely through a spiritual journey. They could have still introduced a new villain and such, but at least it would…am I still complaining about the end of Book One?

      December 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm

  5. tox

    I actually think the ending was great given the set up. Korra’s arc in particular was nicely done, especially how it related back to the first half of the season. They actually opted not to make the finale Korra beating up on Kuvira. Do you (Marshall, and others) who lambasted the show for making Kuvira unlikable specifically so that Korra could beat her up in the finale without repercussion feel silly now? I loved the moments with Mako and Bolin. The third spirit portal was interesting I suppose. The music was fantastic.

    My primary issue with the finale was the actual setup was so incredibly weak that the finale didn’t come off as particularly inspiring. Kuvira seemed to have been set up to be un-redeemable specifically so that Korra forgiving her would work with the moral they were trying to present. Her character was beyond the line of forgiveness that the parallel Korra tried to draw between herself and Kuvira rung hollow: threatening a judge notwithstanding, Korra wouldn’t have created re-education camp for dissenters, attempted racial persecution, etc. They should have spent more time developing Kuvira’s motives so that the ending would have been more understandable. In theory, I like it. In practice, it came off as overly-mechanical, much like the finale as a whole. Similarly, the penultimate episode was basically them taking down a giant mecha suit. It wasn’t totally uninteresting, and I was fairly happy with the way they went about it. But at the end of the day, if they hadn’t introduced the giant mecha suit, they could have allocated their time towards humanizing Kuvira more, developing her relationship and parallel with Korra, etc. They wouldn’t have needed the arbitrary plasma saw or whatever that cut through the platinum (actually, everything with Hiroshi felt contrived to give the finale weight).

    The other issue I had was the ending fanservice, i.e. Korrasami. I never liked this ship, for the same reason something like Bolin and Asami never made for an actual pairing. There is zero romantic chemistry between them, bar maybe a single scene of Korra blushing after a compliment. Every moment before the finale could be an expression of a close friendship. I honestly would not be surprised if Bryan and Mike saw the fan support for Korrasami and added in that ending last second. It felt completely undeserved. I’d say this was always a weakness of TLoK but it was more prominent here as literally the ending scene.

    In any case, the ending was pretty good but dragged down by the mediocre season before it. There really were some great moments, but they just lacked the ultimate impact to make it a “WOW” series finale. I suppose that is a good summary of my opinion towards the show overall.

    December 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    • JMR

      Do you (Marshall, and others) who lambasted the show for making Kuvira unlikable specifically so that Korra could beat her up in the finale without repercussion feel silly now?

      Well now, you at least have to admit that the show hadn’t exactly done much before this point to suggest otherwise.

      December 19, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    • Altair's Accord

      Do you (Marshall, and others) who lambasted the show for making Kuvira unlikable specifically so that Korra could beat her up in the finale without repercussion feel silly now?

      No, because that’s exactly what happened. Korra beat the shit out of Kuvira while the latter was still in “crazy extremist” mode, and then conveniently switched to compassionate Avatar when Kuvira went “broken Azula” mode.

      And I really, really hate Kuvira’s last-minute sad backstory which was so blatantly meant to draw parallels with Azula, especially with her breakdown. Actually, I hate sad backstories in general – they are a lazy and cheap excuse to add faux depth and motivation to a villain. I hated it with Amon, and I hate it here.

      Actually, Korra’s sudden compassion was jarring when just a few moments prior, heck, as early as last episode, she was treating Kuvira like she was the Anti-Christ. Korra’s character in general seems to have gotten schizophrenic this season.

      December 20, 2014 at 5:22 am

    • I essentially agree with you, although I found this finale to be the worst of the bunch. I, too, wish we’d had more time with Kuvira. Maybe that missing episode would have solved all our problems.

      December 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    • tox

      @JMR,

      I’m not sure about that. I’ve noted this before, but people on this site tend to revel in their cynicism. Maybe you can argue the narrative hadn’t earned your trust. Still, if you’re going to be unabashed about your cynical take on the series, you might as well own up to being wrong, not as an ‘apology’ (used loosely) to the show but as a note of self-improvement as a pseudo-critic/ thinker (you should probably self-reflect if your predictions miss the mark so badly, since you’re fundamentally misunderstanding the storytelling mindset of the writers).

      @Altair’s Accord,

      To be clear, I wasn’t really praising the narrative. You’re right that Korra was treating Kuvira like the anti-Christ (because she was acting like it and needed to stop Kuvira in the mecha suit before anything else), but that’s not addressing the actual issue here. The argument people made before was that Kuvira was being portrayed specifically so the Korra could beat her down in the finale (with the implication that the audience would have a catharsis there). This clearly did not happen, since it was more or less a draw before the suit crashed and burned. As I wrote above, this fundamentally misunderstands the writers (all you need to do is take a look at the framing of Aang’s conflict in “Sozin’s Comet”), and considering most of the people here have intelligent posts, it’s likely a case of being overly-cynical. Nothing wrong with being called out when you (generic you) were so off the mark, yeah?

      @Marshall,

      I can see where you’re coming from. If we’re comparing season finales, I just can’t see it as bad as Season 1, which had two deus ex machinae that undermined the two arcs Korra had to go through, while simultaneously destroying the message about the entire Equalist plotline and what otherwise would have been the best villain in the show. Like I wrote in the parent post, I don’t think the series finale really did anything bad (minus the pandering Korrasami ending), but the setup was so uninspiring everything fell flat. I highly doubt that extra time would have made a difference, since the writers were set on making Kuvira unlikable until the finale, to give Korra’s forgiveness of her some extra weight.

      December 20, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      • JMR

        I will admit and have admitted that I was wrong on this count. Whatever caveats or justifications I may have for believing as I did, that belief was ultimately wrong. However, I will say that, no, I do not feel “silly” for having believed as I did. I went over my reasons in depth for why I thought that the show would necessarily end in violence, and while ultimately my conclusion was wrong, I hold that given the information I had at the time my conclusion was entirely reasonable.

        And this is what you need to understand: people can be wrong for perfectly valid reasons. It’s only in your own smug self-righteousness that you think you can boil it all down to “cynicism”, a smug self-righteousness that absolutely oozed out of your comment.

        Believe you me, if I hadn’t taken a moment to step away from the keyboard, my response to you would have two words to the tune of “pluck yew”. That above is an achievement in patronizing condescension, and was entirely uncalled for. Maybe you need to self-reflect on your own “so above it all” attitude.

        The thing is, I don’t entirely disagree with your overall point. I think living an examined life is incredibly important, even down to what are, in the grand scheme of things, trivialities, such as opinions about a television show. After all, its often these trivialities that reflect and reveal a person’s broader attitudes.

        I have every intention of taking what I have experienced with this show and absorbing it into my overall approach to understanding and analyzing media. That you felt the need to come right out and talk to me like a disappointed father was entirely, unnecessarily toxic, and I think says something about your own attitudes towards others you may want to think about.

        December 20, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      • tox

        @JMR,

        My “self-righteous smugness” was a response to the sentiment of “Bryke is writing Kuvira as evil so that Korra could kick her ass in the finale and the audience would have a happy catharsis at the hero defeating the big bad,” as I wrote later in that exact post. In the context of that opinion, I don’t think my post is particularly self-righteous at all, and cynicism is the perfect descriptor, given the finale of the previous entry in the Avatar franchise specifically subverted the legitimacy of that specific violent catharsis (regardless of how effectively it was done). If that makes me “self-righteous” or “smug,” well so be it! I do think some of the cynicism that’s been on these threads (and not just re: Kuvira) is, to use your terminology, “toxic”—that’s an opinion I’ll stand by.

        There’s another, more important miscommunication here: if you re-read my response, you’ll note that I’m using the generic you: I even prefaced my statements with a “people on this site”! I have no idea what your personal reasons for your belief are, but if they don’t fall into that general category that I call cynicism, then I’m not really condescending to you. Frankly I wasn’t even aware YOU personally were one of the relevant critics until your latest comment! I thought you were just giving a cheeky response.

        Apologies for the confusion, but that’s where I stand. If you still think I’m asshole for my opinions in the first paragraph, that’s fine by me.

        December 21, 2014 at 6:20 am

      • Altair's Accord

        To be clear, I wasn’t really praising the narrative. You’re right that Korra was treating Kuvira like the anti-Christ (because she was acting like it and needed to stop Kuvira in the mecha suit before anything else), but that’s not addressing the actual issue here. The argument people made before was that Kuvira was being portrayed specifically so the Korra could beat her down in the finale (with the implication that the audience would have a catharsis there). This clearly did not happen, since it was more or less a draw before the suit crashed and burned. As I wrote above, this fundamentally misunderstands the writers (all you need to do is take a look at the framing of Aang’s conflict in “Sozin’s Comet”), and considering most of the people here have intelligent posts, it’s likely a case of being overly-cynical. Nothing wrong with being called out when you (generic you) were so off the mark, yeah?

        But Kuvira being portrayed as a crazy extremist was exactly what allowed Korra (as well as the other characters) to be so gung-ho about taking her down. If Kuvira was portrayed as somewhat more balanced, then Korra going after her with such vengeance wouldn’t have been accepted by the audience. As I said before, it’s only after Kuvira was effectively defeated (her mecha destroyed, looking very much roughened up, running away in desperation), that Korra turned saint to placate her.

        January 18, 2015 at 10:55 pm

  6. rosemon

    Didn’t feel much like a finale at all. As bland an episode as ever, but nothing laughably bad or offensive except for that last minute romance involving Varrick. I never understood why he was so popular to begin with. Going from under-appreciative sexist sleazebag (ex-girlfriend jokes, fat jokes, barking orders, etc.) to romance novel hero in the span of one episode was something I’d expect a little kid or an amateur fanfic writer to think up. Made worse by Varrick being one of many useless comic-relief jerks of LOK (like Wu, Bolin season 2), thus impossible to be emotionally invested in, at least in my eyes. It’s hard to say whether or not it was worse than Mako and Korra, though at least Varrick has more personality than Mako does, even if it is insufferable.

    December 19, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    • I will say that I’ve always liked Varrick (mostly for the performance of John Michael Higgins), but he only truly grew on me after Zhu Li “left” him, and he and Bolin had their little adventures together. I’m glad he and Zhu Li have their romance, but they really need their own show.

      December 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

  7. Grindal

    First off and most importantly, why wasn’t the final episode named ‘Avatar Korra’ instead of ‘The Last Stand’? Now onto the serious stuff.

    As much as I like many others on this site was against the introduction of the giant mecha-suit in the first place, I strongly advocate that this was the best Korra finale (but still not the best Book). After about five minutes of the benders fighting the giant mecha-suit I finally started to accept its existence in the avatar world, especially with how they showed Kuvira controlling much of it and stating that it was powered by spirit technology.

    The general execution of both episodes though is really what makes it stand tall. Initially I was a bit worried during the first two minutes or so with everyone just talking and explaining what they were going to do, but after that pretty much every character felt like an actual person stuck in this precarious situation (although maybe Hiroshi was a bit too phoned in, but I like what they were going for here). I think the best example was that for once I actually cared and felt the bond between Mako and Bolin as brothers, whilst Lin and Su in tandem just can’t go wrong. And for the first time in a Korra finale I actually feared for the lives of some of the characters and truly felt the tension of what was at stake.

    The fact that Kuvira was not just expunged like Unavatuu and the two had an actual conversation to resolve the issue at hand was the best decision of the entire finale. Admittedly this noble side of Kuvira could have been built up a bit more before this (missing episode anyone?) but the scene was largely effective and is what this show needed all along. I was actually shocked to see it take place in fact, because I did hastily judge that all non-violent conclusions had gone out the window with the introduction of the giant mecha-tank because I thought the finale would just be a big “boss fight” as Marshall put it.

    There’s much more I could elaborate on but I’ll try and focus on responding to other commenters so we can get a really good debate over this. All in all I think the best compliment I can give the finale is that is someone was brought into production after Episode 11 had been completed and was told to make the best final two episodes they could with everything else beforehand unchangeable, then what we got to see was probably about 95% there. For that I am happy (and relieved) to say that Korra – both the character and the show – was worth the investment

    N.B. Like or dislike Korrasami, it’s just not getting worked up over. Take it for what it is and remember that this idea that such decisions were dictated by the fandom are ridiculous since Book 4 was already in pre-production before Book 2 had come out.

    December 19, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    • The fact that Kuvira was not just expunged like Unavatuu and the two had an actual conversation to resolve the issue at hand was the best decision of the entire finale. Admittedly this noble side of Kuvira could have been built up a bit more before this (missing episode anyone?) but the scene was largely effective and is what this show needed all along.

      Agreed, 85%.

      December 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    • tox

      “this idea that such decisions were dictated by the fandom are ridiculous since Book 4 was already in pre-production before Book 2 had come out”

      I’m not sure that’s proof of much. I remember reading an interview post-Book 2 where DiMartino was talking about the horrible reaction to Makorra in Book 2, and he said because the fandom hated it so much, he was getting rid of some of the shipping (which explains how streamlined Season 3 was). While this doesn’t prove that the ending was tacked on to appease the fanbase, it suggests it’s possible that DiMartino and Konietzko would change the ending based on how the fanbase feels.

      Furthermore, that theory is slightly substantiated by the complete hearsay of a tumblr post of an animator (I believe) who said the entire ending was not the ending he originally saw. Tumblr took it to mean a kiss was censored, but I wouldn’t be surprised if originally there wasn’t that ending at all. Considering the last few lines were recorded a few weeks ago, and it wouldn’t cost that much more (relatively) to add in the 90 seconds of Korrasami at the end, it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.

      Basically, what I’m trying to say is I don’t want a tin foil hat! (Although even if my theory is wrong, that doesn’t mean the ending wasn’t still awful.)

      December 20, 2014 at 8:10 pm

  8. Clander

    I mostly stand with Tox on this one. I echo a lot of his sentiment but there are a few things I want to point out for my own sake.

    Personally the fight with the robot was probably the silliest fight sequence I have ever seen in anything. However the fights inside the robot were where the choreography was really on. That was an incredibly satisfying fight between Korra and Kuvira.

    Varrick marrying his assistant seems weird to me but mostly because I don’t think she should have been a character to be focused on for depth and development. However it’s not entirely damning to me.

    I actually quite liked the last few minutes. It really laid out how much Korra had truly changed. And that’s what shines brightest to me in this book. Korra for the better half of 3 seasons was the same person. She didn’t grow or develop. Her flaws were the point of reward from the show and no one cared. Finally though she had to change. She couldn’t stay the same. And she didn’t. By the end you can see Korra’s progress visually and spiritually. She is a stronger, more compassionate, more mature Avatar than ever before. I actually like Korra now.

    The new spirit portal makes no sense to me. Does anything having to do with spirits have any sort of flow of logic? Obviously not which just bugs me.

    December 19, 2014 at 8:51 pm

  9. I think the biggest flaw this show had was including too many characters. Instead of developing the characters that we had in meaningful ways in characterization, character development, and relationships it chose to focus more on the side characters. I think that hurt the narrative overall. When it came down to it FOCUS was what the series lacked. I think the show looks better in pieces than as a whole narrative.

    December 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    • When it came down to it FOCUS was what the series lacked. I think the show looks better in pieces than as a whole narrative.

      It does. And, unfortunately, this may be symptomatic of a lot of recent movies and shows.

      December 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm

  10. JMR

    I think the thing about this that sucks the most for me is that I can’t bring myself to love or hate this finale. It’s quite possibly the last episode of anything Avatar ever and it’s… it’s pretty alright.

    I’ll get the mecha out of the way. Seriously. Airplanes. Where were they? We see just how effective small, fast moving attackers are against the mecha. It’s just so convenient that everyone happened to take their forgetful pills on that one. I don’t want to spend too much time here, though. I’ve made my thoughts on the mecha pretty clear and they didn’t change.

    And I’ll admit, it’s a fair cop, I was wrong about the show ending with Korra beating up Kuvira. Though I’ll claim only half wrong, because the whole Spirit World thing only happens because Korra had been beating up Kuvira. So there’s that. Also, some others have said it and I’ll say it too, I do wish that we had seen something of the side of Kuvira that comes out at the end here previously. I do like the development, and I’ll explain why, but it does happen a bit suddenly.

    What I do have to congratulate Bryke on is finally dealing with something that has been a long time thorn in my side. You see, in my opinion one aspect of a good story, especially one that rubs shoulders with political ideologies as often as this one does, is that it takes a situation that at first seems very simple and slowly reveals the complexity behind it, showing us that behind the black and white curtain is a multifaceted and deep problem. LoK’s constant inversion of this, turning what seems at first like a complex and difficult problem into a black and white morality play, had caused me to lose any faith in their ability to pull off a morally ambiguous story, and was a constant source of disappointment in the show. While it’s not the most impressive example I’ve seen, it was pleasantly surprising not only to see Korra talk down Kuvira rather than beating her down, but for the show to still acknowledge that she had done some terrible things and needed to be punished.

    What I like even more is that this development mirror’s Korra’s own character development. Just as the show begins acknowledging some shades of gray, so too does Korra, realizing that she and Kuvira are not so different, that they’re both after the same thing, and using that to build empathy with her. It’s interesting because in this way Season 4 is very much the inverse of Season 1. Season 1 was all about plot and had very little time for character. Season 4 had all sorts of great character development tied to a lackluster (and often outright boring) plotline.

    Now, the topic on everyone’s minds: Korrasami. I’ll put it out there, I’m a total hippie pinko liberal, and so having something like even just a strongly implied lesbian relationship on a kid’s show is something I think is absolutely worthy of getting excited about. However, I do have to admit that I have reservations. As evidenced by the numerous complaints here about it being “fan service”, there is an unshakable suspicion that the entire thing is more about “lesbians are hot” than any consideration of social justice issues.

    A few miscellaneous thoughts:

    – I don’t like how this show seems to think that massive, comprehensive political change is something that kind of just happens. They already did it with Republic City, and now the Earth Kingdom is apparently getting a dose of Sudden Onset Democracy.

    -Hiroshi’s death was far too predictable. “Redemption Equals Death” strikes again.

    -Platinum is actually not a very hard metal. On the Moh’s scale its actually softer than standard iron. Stop acting like its some invincible super metal.

    December 19, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    • You always have the most insightful of comments. Great points.

      December 19, 2014 at 10:56 pm

  11. Altair's Accord

    I really hated Hiroshi’s death. It was basically a cheap way to wring an emotional reaction out of the audience without actually having to do something shocking. If they killed Mako, that would have been gutsy, and I would’ve applauded them for it. Killing Hiroshi, on the other hand, was cheap, and risk-free, since he was a character with barely any development, who had been absent for two seasons, and most of this one, and who’s only selling point is that he was Asami’s father. Not to mention it made the benders look like dicks as they just stood around and watched Kuvira’s mecha free herself from the ice (what, you couldn’t do that again?). And any emotional repercussions from this are rendered moot, since the show is now over, and we won’t see Asami going through her grieving period for some depth, and the only other way the show could have capitalized on this, by having Asami go into rage-mode against Kuvira, is skipped entirely, as Asami isn’t featured helping to disable the mecha. Actually, what was Asami’s job once Team Avatar got inside the mecha suit?

    Yeah, the episode was that forgettable.

    Platinum is ridiculously resilient in this show – after Team Avatar smashed a couple of buildings into it, Bolin created lava under it, blasting air into it, hitting it with lots and lots of objects, Kuvira’s mecha should have shown at least SOME SIGNS of being damaged. Instead, it’s like Superman’s invincibility in this show, except as JMR pointed out above, it’s not supposed to be that durable. If they wanted to have a super-metal to solve all of their inconvenient plot problems, they should have just made one up, instead of introducing platinum, and then basically turn it into something that has next to nothing in common with actual platinum. It’s just jarring.

    And the way the episode kept trying to avoid all the obvious ways to defeat the mecha was hilarious. Bury it in earth; have Bolin do what he did inside the mecha with the self-created plasma disk to the outer shell; attack the frigging cockpit, since the airbenders clearly had no trouble getting close to it, and smashing through glass shouldn’t be a problem; use airplanes to bomb the crap out of it; go into the Avatar State and bend an artificial tsunami into it to knock it over; instead of blasting it with lots of small air blasts, just combine powers to create a tornado like in the Book 3 finale; or just metalbend the heck out of it, since only the exterior is platinum, and not the interior, and last I checked, in the Avatar universe, physical obstacles do not stop you from bending things beyond said obstacles.

    But, I suppose that’s just nit-picking, so moving on.

    Gotta love Su’s hypocrisy in immediately forgiving Bataar Jr. and then condemning Kuvira like she was Public Enemy #1. Remind me again, what was the point of making Kuvira her adopted daughter, besides making Su look like a total bitch this season?

    And the Korrasami, good Lord…the dialog was so painfully on the nose during all of their interactions. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Makorra had more believable interactions than this.

    Yes. FUCKING MAKORRA WAS MORE BELIEVABLE THAN KORRASAMI. At least Mako and Korra occasionally had organic dialogue which felt natural. Korra and Asami do not even have that. It is sad.

    All in all?

    It’s over. That is all I can say.

    First time commenter, Marshall, like your blog. Good insights, keep it up.

    December 20, 2014 at 6:01 am

    • ItalianBaptist

      Did they seriously have Kuvira’s mech also made out of platinum? The same mech she was using metalbending to control just an episode earlier???

      See, they could have brought on some hilarious irony if it HADN’T been made of platinum (for that very reason) and Hiroshi of all people just walked in and pointed that out as a potential exploit. Twoulda been better than what actually happened with him.

      December 20, 2014 at 11:12 am

  12. Altair's Accord

    Also, one last thing – it really annoyed me that pretty much all of Kuvira’s soldiers/mooks are male. I don’t think I saw a single female in her army, or at least someone who looked female (since they were wearing masks). It made little sense to me.

    In fact, the last time I saw female mooks in this show was with the Equalists.

    And one last, LAST thing – while the show didn’t totally fail with the extremism sub-plot in this season, I wouldn’t heap accolades on Bryke for it. Fascist extremism is really, really easy to write into children’s shows, since freedom is pretty much universally considered a desired thing to have. Communist extremism, anarchist extremism? A bit more nuance is needed to adapt it to a children’s show. And they totally failed with theocratic extremism in Book 2 – mainly because there was none to be found. It was just the Avatar version of the Dark Lord Sauron wanting to conquer all Middle-Earth.

    Aaaand, lastly, they already did fascist extremism in Avatar: The Last Airbender, considering that the Fire Nation’s entire logic for launching the war was to bring their awesomeness to other countries and help them achieve it too. Or at least that’s what I remember from that episode with Roku and Sozin.

    December 20, 2014 at 6:13 am

    • daciio

      So I’m not the only one who always looks for female soldiers in the bad guy’s army, huh.

      There are some in Battle at Zaofu (they are all masked, but you can see they are female by looking at their chests) but other than that they are mostly male.

      There were two in Operation Beifong, and it’s easier to recognize them because they are not using masks. There’s also a female scientist.

      That’s pretty much it, unless you take into account those female Kuvira followers who threw pies at Wu in the first episode, attacked Mako and Wu again in The Coronation, and then battled against the Krew in Reunion.

      I’m not implying there’s some kind of sexist ideology behind the staff of the show, I just love looking at all these little details because I have nothing else to do.

      December 20, 2014 at 12:26 pm

  13. ItalianBaptist

    Still have yet to see the last few episodes – looking forward to it I suppose. The only thing I can really say right now from reading the synopses on Avatar Wiki is that I kinda just want to pretend book 4 never happened, mostly due to the jarring redesigns (“frumpy” Asami, official-looking Mako and Bolin, dem airbender outfits) and some of the most painful dialogue scenes since the Unalaxposition of Book 2.

    I’ve also been reading articles by the mainstream media talking about how “subversive” and “progressive” the final scene was. It makes me wonder, though, if they actually watched the whole show or paid attention to the fandom – most likely not. If they saw it as essentially appealing to the people on know your meme yelling “NOW KISS!”, would they really hail it as groundbreaking or chide it for being exploitative and degrading as to what a relationship really means? Based on what I’m reading from the comments here, it just seems like another attempt to throw the fans a bone, because I too hadn’t seen ANYTHING beforehand that would imply that they were anything more than just friends.

    December 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

  14. JMR

    @tox (also, Marshall, is there a way to get the reply button to stop disappearing after a certain amount of time?)

    First of all, I’d like to apologize for losing my temper. Please understand that that is not something that happens easily or often. Rather than getting angry, a more perfect me would have first asked for clarification, as pure text communication is famous for losing many of the cues (tone, body language) that help in interpreting someone’s intentions. However, please also understand that from my end, I’m not inside your head and so I don’t know exactly what you mean and that because of this, certain parts of your comment read to me as insulting and provocative in a way you apparently did not intend. After all, “people on this site” includes me, so the “generic you” doesn’t really come through, and so I can’t really help but read them as referring to me if not specifically, then as a part of that group.

    Two points that really set me off, and that I’d like clarification on:

    1) I’m sorry, but I can’t figure out a way to read being called a “psuedo-critic/thinker” that isn’t insulting. I’d very much like to be enlightened on this point, as it is what really got me riled up to begin with.

    2) The whole parenthetical at the end, there. To steal a quote from countless teenagers, you don’t know me, man. As I think I have now made clear, self-reflection, self-inspection, and self-criticism are incredibly important to me, and so your feeling the need to spell it out like that came across as presumptuous and patronizing.

    Now, on to the point about cynicism. My problem isn’t that you use it, but how you use it, as a broad brush to paint any criticism of the show you deem “illegitimate”. Many of us here (myself included) are “refugees” so to speak from fan sites where even the most tame criticism will get you dog piled and shouted down by angry fans. Unfortunately, the same sort of “circle-jerk” mentality that makes the fan sites so closed off to criticism can also seep its way in here, as we pat each other on the back for “seeing through the bullshit, man.” So I understand where the sentiment comes from.

    However, I would urge that rather than assuming some blanket cynical malaise, you engage with them and try to understand their point of view. Some may have very valid reasons for feeling the way they do, and those that don’t, well, you just may be able to change their minds.

    For instance, you note that there is precedent for the show rejecting the idea of allowing the audience to revel in the “violent catharsis” of the hero beating the snot out of the final villain, like the end boss of a video game. I would like to point out, though, that there is precedent going in the other direction. Let’s take LoK’s first season. In the very second episode of the show, Tenzin chastises Korra at the pro-bending arena for her lack of understanding that “being the Avatar is about more than fighting”. What better antagonists for her to learn this lesson with than the Equalists, a group of disaffected people with legitimate complaints about the way they’re treated in society who have turned to violent extremism?

    Of course, Season 1’s flubbing of the resolution of this plot line is quite famous. Rather than having to reach any sort of understanding of these people or why they feel the way they do, Korra is allowed to defeat them by shoving Amon out a window and into the water, where, in drowning desperation, he waterbends and reveals his true identity. Somehow, that he lied about being a bender also means that he was lying about everything, and so the Equalists all promptly bugger off, rarely to be mentioned again.

    So the question here became, which Bryke would we get at the end of LoK? The Bryke of Sozin’s Comet, writing an (admittedly haphazard) ending that turned away from a violent ultimate conclusion? Or the Bryke of “Endgame”, allowing violence to solve a complicated issue and sweeping away the difficult questions that it raised?

    I think it would have been perfectly valid to argue in either direction.

    December 21, 2014 at 11:43 am

    • tox

      Hey JMR,

      Apologies for the untimely response. I don’t actually use a real email on this site for various reasons, so I didn’t realize you posted this message. I’ll just post a few responses to things that I think make the gist of the discussion.

      1) Yeah, I had hoped my post got this across, but I understood your response. Text is incredibly unclear and I didn’t bother proofreading enough to make sure the tone of the post came off as expected. Hence the apology for the miscommunication.

      2) Err, “pseudo-critic/thinker” is another case of bad communication on my part. I don’t really mean pseudo-critic as an insult but rather a descriptor (and pet name) I have for people on sites like this blog, the AV club, etc. who aren’t professional critics but attempt the same type of criticism. I meant to soften that made up phrase by adding “thinker” (positively connoted) but I’m gonna guess you interpreted that as “pseudo-thinker” which just made things worse.

      3) The parenthetical, while not intended at you specifically, was definitely as condescending as you interpreted it to be. I’d like to distance myself from it, as it was obviously borne from some degree of frustration with this site: I assumed this was a place of discussion (as I, too, was frustrated with fan sites) but I found most of the discussion to be as assuming and shallow as those on sites like /r/thelastairbender or whatever. Still, that’s not an excuse for what I wrote there so I get why you’d be offended.

      4) You make a good point about Amon, and believe me when I say ‘Endgame’ bothers me as much as you, if not more. And you’re right, I should have tried (and will try in the future) to be more understanding of why people hold their viewpoints. But I still think it’s such a selective read of the show: Season 2 had Korra apologize to the twins for basically killing their father, and Season 3 had Korra deal with the raw brutality of a violent resolution (continued in Season 4), with an explicit visual allusion to Sozin’s Comet.

      So what should I think when people seem so self-assured that “Trust me, Bryke is just trying to set up Korra kicking Kuvira’s ass in the finale” when, at best, there’s a 50/50 or so coin flip as you stated (Sozin’s Comet vs Endgame)? Combining their assurance in this prediction with my issues with the general negativity of the site (as stated in #3), I can’t help but to think cynical is a very apt term, even as I think over my position right now. I agree with what you say about engaging why they feel that way, but for me it’s not the opinion at all: it’s the presentation of that opinion especially when put in greater context of their other posts/ the culture of this site as a whole, and that leads me to think it’s not an unfair label.

      January 13, 2015 at 5:33 am

      • JMR

        Fair enough, though again, I can’t say that I entirely agree. There are some people on here that I even I honestly have to wonder sometimes why they continued watching the show. I’ve found a good rule of thumb for myself is to ask myself whether there’s anything the show could do that would change my opinion of it (and it has to be something reasonable and specific, no “change everything”). If not, I change the channel.

        I would argue though that rather than cynicism, many of the people here are falling victim to our old friend cognitive dissonance, the very same you can generally find in fans as well.

        When we look at fans, what we often see is someone who, due to the quality of the show, as well as various reasons of personal taste, has come to the conclusion that the show is “good” (again, what this means is difficult to assess as it means a lot of different things to different people). As soon as they make this assessment of the show, their mind will set into attempting to justify and reinforce that opinion at every turn, downplaying the shows weaknesses and emphasizing its strengths, often to the point of spinning slip ups into triumphs. I’ve run into one particular uber-fan, who I swear, if one of the episodes had turned out to be nothing but 22 minutes of Meelo’s ass farting on the audience would jump immediately onto the nearest fansite forums to declare it a “Brilliant masterwork of surrealist humor”.

        So where does that leave us critics? Doing the same thing, just upside down. The people here are those who, again, for many different often personal reasons, have to come to the conclusion that the show is “bad” (or “not as good as everyone says”, a distinction that often in practice has no difference as far as how we think of the show). The critic tends to emphasize the show’s weaknesses and downplay its strengths, and again can go to the point of twisting strengths into weaknesses.

        In both cases, many of us seek out places online where we feel they can reliably find others who share (and thus validate) our opinions, usually looking also for someone who we see as being more articulate and forceful in stating their opinions than we are ourselves. Both sides, though, are seeking exactly the same thing: being told by other people that we’re right. It contributes to the toxic, “circle jerk”-y nature of both fan sites and critic sites, as both sides try to shut out any information and opinions that don’t jive with our preconceived view of the show.

        All that to say, I don’t think the attitude on this site is always good, but I don’t think it’s outside of the norm or unexpected for what the site is, one of the few safe havens for Legend of Korra critics.

        February 8, 2015 at 4:24 pm

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