After a great back half of Book Two and a consistently entertaining Book Three, The Legend of Korra rounds out its’ story with a lacklustre book. Having said that, the final season does feature some awesome moments, some great character development and the solid action one has come to expect from Avatar. The problem is that it all feels hollow and misguided when the story finally comes to an end.
Whilst the initial time jump between Book Three and Book Four was jarring to begin with, it provided something new and interesting for Korra – a development that I greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, instead of using the time jump to drastically change characters and take that much-needed risk, The Legend of Korra simply forces characters apart and generates some attrition. I would be lying if I said that some of this attrition wasn’t enjoyable because it certainly was. But it felt extremely lazy and one-dimensional compare to what could have been.
ASSESSING THE CHARACTERS
Let’s take the main players of this Book and see how they measured up one at a time:
Korra: When Book One ended I was incredulous in my declaration that Korra is the worst Avatar ever. And whilst her heroic actions have raised her up quite a bit, she certainly isn’t all that likeable still. My problem with Korra is that she started off as ‘I’m the Avatar, you gotta deal with it’ and that’s how she ends the show. Sure, she has low moments and high moments throughout but she’s always been the Avatar. Seeing someone grow into the Avatar is far more interesting than seeing someone BE the Avatar. Hence why the character and the show felt hollow as a whole.
Mako: Much like Korra, Mako doesn’t develop all that much. He started off as the talk, dark and handsome bloke that Korra would end up with. And whilst I’m delighted that the show didn’t end with a rip-off Aang and Katara moment with Mako and Korra instead, Mako is still the same character as before. He has heroic moments that elevate his role in teh story for sure but he doesn’t have the depth that one would think a lead would have.
Bolin: Bolin is the highlight of the entire show and I’ve finally realised why. Bolin feels like he’s been plucked from the world of The Last Airbender and brought forward into this very teen Korra world. He’s funny when he needs to be. He’s serious when he needs to be. He’s involved with extremely cool action and his relationship with everyone just pops; from Korra to Opal to Varrick, Bolin had great chemistry with everyone.
Kuvira: Kuvira was thrown into the story very heavy-handedly in Book Three and you knew more was to come with the character. Well, it turns out that she’s the big bad of this season and she’s the worst one yet. Amon had the mystery and the intrigue to hang his hat on. Unalaq had the spirits and the immense power to hang his hat on. Zaheer was the most engaging one of all. And yes, Kuvira has the power but it all feels very forced. She’s so infuriating as a final villain. she could have served really well as a minor villain but as the final villain, Kuvira didn’t stack up.
Right, so that’s characters done. Let’s jump into specific episodes and deliver a single sentence review of each one before my final thoughts:
After All These Years: The show goes an interesting and jarring route with its’ heroes and villains … whether that’s a good thing, has yet to be decided.
Korra Alone: An interesting if repetitive PTSD one-shot that brings back an all time great.
The Coronation: Toph is as enjoyable to watch as ever whilst Kuvira positions herself as this season’s villain.
The Calling: A cute little romp with Tenzin’s children that brings Korra back and enamours the audience to Meelo.
Enemy at the Gates: A packed episode pits the two warring sides against each other whilst Asami gets some surprisingly profound development.
The Battle of Zaofu: As Korra’s PTSD strikes once again, the infuriatingly persuasive Kuvira takes Zaofu in a tense and funny episode.
Reunion: A middling episode sends Team Avatar after Wu whilst Bolin and Varrick provide the funnies.
Remembrances: An excruciatingly boring episode that retells old stories whilst zapping the energy out of this one … why oh why?!
Beyond the Wilds: Korra finds herself in a thought-provoking and interesting way whilst various plans are being plotted.
Operation Beifong: An extremely fun and fluid showdown between the Beifongs and Kuvira.
Kuvira’s Gambit: As a major game of politics breaks out in Republic City, a huge war is brewing on both emotional and literal fronts.
Day of the Colossus: A relentless action set piece with inventive animation and some genuinely funny moments … mainly via Varrick and Meelo.
The Last Stand: A lacklustre finale and conclusion that ticks all the tropes but doesn’t leave us satisfied or sore that the show has come to an end.
In the end, if I’m being brutally honest, The Legend of Korra isnt even half the show The Last Airbender was. The Last Airbender has heart and emotion in every single scene no matter what’s happening. It’s so damn likeable and watchable whilst Korra is something entirely different: it’s unlikeable more often than not. I would be lying if I didn’t express my love for Book Three and the second half of Book Two but Book One and Book Four didn’t warrant my attention. Having said that, this journey did give me characters like Bolin, Meelo, Tenzin and Boomi as well as another journey with Aang and his Avatar Team and that will always be enjoyable.
Up Next: … This is where our story ends … for now …