Avatar: The Legend of Korra is a sequel series to 2005-2008 TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender. The last episode of Book 1 of The Legend of Korra proved that creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko still had their finger on the pulse, delivering a truly outstanding finale episode.
After the fall of Republic City in the previous episode Korra, Mako, Asami and Bolin are forced to hide underground for fear of being discovered by Amon and the Equalists. However, it seemed that the tide was turning (or being bent- waterbending pun anyone?) in the Avatar’s favour when General Iroh of the United Forces arrives. But Amon, in usual fashion, has predicted their arrival, stalling their forces and bombarding them jet fighters which decimate the United Forces fleet. This defeat prompts Korra, with the aid Mako, to take the fight to Amon at his celebratory presentation. While Korra and Mako are undercover, Bolin and Asami with the aid of General Iroh attempt to sabotage the airstrip of Jet Fighters. However they are captured by Asami’s father, Hiroshi Sato. While this occurs, Korra and Mako discover Tarlok who tells them about who Amon really is. Korra and Mako proceed to openly confront Amon and are forced to fight him when Amon reveals that he has captured Tenzin and his family. The ensuing fight reveals more about Amon’s character but Korra manages is to fight Amon, forcing him to flee. Asami, Bolin and Iroh are saved suprisingly by Naga, Korra’s Polar Dog.
The rest of the article contains major spoilers about the finale episode.
Avatar Korra has, up to this point, has had very mixed emotions and relations between the other central characters, notably brother Mako and Bolin. Early in the series you could have been fooled into thinking that Korra loved Bolin. However any doubt is quickly erased in the last moments of the finale episode with an utterance of “I love you too” from Korra to Mako. Korra’s constant flitting between the two brothers seems insincere and it seems that they Korra-Mako has had very little time to develop into anything meaningful. It took all 60 episodes of The Last Airbender before Aang and Katarra became a couple- but perhaps DiMartino and Konietzko have something in store for this unlikely pairing in the next Book.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this episode was the reveal of Amon’s backstory. It transpires that Tarlok, who kidnapped Korra two episodes prior, is Amon’s brother and that Amon is in fact a water bender born in the Northern Water Tribe. Yakone, Republic City’s most notorious criminal moved to the tribe after Avatar Aang took away his bending. There he raised a family with two sons, Amon, whose real name is Noatok, and Tarlok. In reality though his sons were intended to be his instruments of revenge against the Avatar and instructed them in the ways of blood bending. However despite this interesting backstory it was not explained is how Amon is able to remove a person’s bending, unless it can be done via blood bending. The two brothers escape but as they sail into the sunset Tarlok, perhaps in an attempt to reconcile himself and the crimes he committed, electrocutes the engine of the boat causing it to explode seemingly killing them both. Although marketed as, this is not a simple children’s show.
Another part of this episode that was somewhat overdue was Korra’s airbending. Despite being able to bend earth, fire and water airbending always alluded her until after Amon took her bending away. In a moment of emotion Korra flees the group and cries after being told by an elderly Katarra that her links to the other elements have been severed. When, in her lowest, worst state, Korra is visited by all of her previous lives, led by Avatar Aang. Those who watched The Last Airbender can appreciate this apparition perhaps more than those who didn’t, as well the appearance of Katarra. Aang restores Korra’s bending and she enters the Avatar State where she restores the bending of Lin Beifong, who was captured protecting Tnezin and his family (in vain).
While this episode was truly astounding, answering all those questions that been raised during the previous episodes, there were some aspects I didn’t wholly agree with. Aside from the fictitious relationships between some of the characters, while I enjoyed the return of the voice acting of Dante Basco who both voiced Zuko in The Last Airbender as well General Iroh in The Legend of Korra. While it makes sense to keep Basco as Iroh is a direct descendent of Zuko, the voice doesn’t fit Iroh’s character who looks a lot older than he sounds. Similarly, it felt that Tarlok became instantly absolved of his crimes due to his tragic childhood despite his disturbing actions against Korra in previous episodes.
However these minor issues are overshadowed when watching this truly epic finale of the first Book as you become entangled and emotionally invested in the events taking place, all accompanied by a beautiful score. While it is a shame the series has come to an end, the confirmation of a second series (although when in unknown) ought to keep fans interested long after this fantastic finale.