‘The Legend of Korra’: (Finally) Redeems Itself

Published 10 months ago by

the legend of korra season 2 episode 7 korra wan The Legend of Korra: (Finally) Redeems Itself

[This is a review of The Legend of Korra Season 2 episodes 7 & 8. It contains SPOILERS.]

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Last week’s episode of The Legend of Korra sparked a heated debate about the validity of this season’s plot. Some claimed it to be the pinnacle of Book 2: Spirits, while others (including this reviewer), felt that The Last Airbender franchise was on a steady decline. Can this mid-season two-part epic sway doubters to believe again?

Simply put, the answer is most assuredly yes! Creator/executive producer Michael Dante DiMartino wrote a fantastic story for ‘Beginnings, part 1 and 2.’ The brilliant world-building imaginations that made Korra’s first season so magical are finally back on display, as we’re introduced to Wan (Steven Yeun), the first Avatar. With Korra still suffering from amnesia, a Fire Nation healer helps Korra rediscover who she truly is by having her look into the past.

When The Legend of Korra season 2 premiered, there were rumblings about how the quality of the animation had lessened. This was most likely due to budget cuts; however, ‘Beginnings, Part 1 and 2′ showed just how incredibly talented the animators are. Wan’s ancient world is a beautifully realized tapestry, full of interesting new characters that we’ll hopefully see again in future episodes.

the legend of korra season 2 episode 7 wan 2 The Legend of Korra: (Finally) Redeems Itself

Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) gives a superb voice-over performance as the Aladdin-esque Wan struggles to discover who he wants to be. He has his own group of friends, but like so many other soon-to-be heroes, he longs for something more. After receiving the ability to firebend and being banished from the lion-turtle city, Wan’s adventure sheds light on many of the mysteries we’ve been wanting answers to.

According to Raava, the spirits were never meant to exist alongside humans, but it was Vaatu who broke through, opening the portal and trying to cover the world in darkness. Does this mean Unalaq was in the spirit world trying to break Vaatu out of his imprisonment? What does Unalaq want with a dark spirit? There are other possibilities as well, due to the fact that most if not all of the spirits journeyed back into their realm after Wan became the first Avatar. Perhaps Unalaq is communicating with one of the good spirits? Probably not, but these new revelations do make his character more interesting.

the legend of korra season 2 episode 7 wan The Legend of Korra: (Finally) Redeems Itself

Discovering how humans first obtained the ability to bend was another fascinating storyline. Even before human tribes coexisted with one another, the airbenders were still a spiritual people, living in harmony with the spirits and nature, while some of the firebenders were on the more aggressive end of the spectrum. The question now becomes, what does this all have to do with Korra in her time? Will Vaatu be freed, or does Unalaq have other motives we don’t know about?

‘Beginnings, Part 1 and 2′ brought back the imaginative forces that make The Last Airbender series so special. It’s not about the action, but the discovery of new worlds and the visionary splendor that only DiMarino and Konietzko can dream up. Book 2: Spirits should have focused more on this excellent story, instead of civil wars, movie (mover) making, and business acquisitions. The writers have given us that childlike wonder that we should never let go of. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of a new and exciting journey as the season moves toward its finale.

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The Legend of Korra continues in two seeks on November 1st, 2013 with ‘The Guide’ @8:30pm on Nickelodeon.

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TAGS: the last airbender, the legend of korra

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  1. at the end of book 2 episode 8 – Begginings Part 2
    The firesage is AZULA…. has the same hair style and color of eyes, well her fire is red, maybe somethin’ changed it. I read the other reviews they said AZULA had an amnesia :)

  2. I do not know what you are talking about, but the first season of Korra was not so great either. And yes, these two episodes were pretty good (mostly because of the notable absence of every character in the show, none of which seem to be likable), but they are hardly original, being a sort of Prometheus story and retcon. The more they do this type of stuff, the more they poke holes in the reliability of the narrators. After all, we had been led all this time to believe that animals taught humans how to bend. And then there is that claim by Katara in the opening narration of The Last Airbender. She states that the Four Nations once lived in peace. However, the Beginning episodes contradict this, pretty much demonstrating that from the time of Raava until “now,” the nations were constantly in a state of hostility toward one another, kept in check only by the forceful intervention of the Avatar.

    Anyhow, I cannot wait until we get back to the naive, petulant, rebellious, power-abusing, and sexually confused buffoons that form the core cast of our show. (And these are understatements. I mean really, Bolin sexually assaults one of his cast members, Korra attempts to murder a justice of the law, and Asami is an incompetent war-profiteer. Woohoo.)

    • I agree completely. Korra is on her period every episode, her supposed love interest Mako is as flimsy as a cardboard cutout, and, yea…the core characters have been just sucking too much. I’ve been watching the episodes just for the story, not the characters. Thankfully, these two episodes brought the magic back. Would love to see more like these.

  3. Actually, I don’t think the lion turtles giving bending to people necessarily means there are plot holes. The people could still have learned to bend from the animals. The hunters who were given the power of fire were blown away at how well Wan used his fire. You could easily say he learned to fire bend from that dragon. He had the ability, but he really learned from the dragon.

    About the four nations living in peace, again, this is at LEAST almost 10,000 years after Wan’s story. There could have been periods of peace, but they eventually return to wars and chaos. I mean common, Roku wasn’t exactly living in peaceful times.

    Eveything else I completely agree with you Mike. I hate all the new bending age where the mix technology. I don’t care about any of the characters, their highschool relationships and all that. Haha, that’s true, Bolin totally sexually assaulted that chick. They should have ended Korra’s lame story and just started up a completely new series. How awesome would that be to see Wan going from city to city learning the new bending styles. The story was so rich with possibilities, I wanted to see it develop more. My only hope is that they could have a PROPER director come in and make an amazing movie about it. A series would be cool, but they kinda already ruined the ending.

    Ok ok, one more thing I wanted to add. I think the last airbender movie should have had Jacky Chan as uncle Iro, he would have been the PERFECT Iro.

    • I was okay with the technology bit. And I felt there was a lot of promise in Amon as a driver of what I thought was the show’s underlying conflict: Aren’t non-benders disenfranchised in a world where benders dominate all aspects of politics, culture, and economy?

      I mean, Amon brings up a lot of good points. Aren’t non-benders being oppressed? And how would you equalize the matter? Education, technology, political liberalization, and wealth, of course. And where would the Avatar fit in this brave new world, a world where the material has become so much more important than the material, much like our own world?

      I mean, pro-bending pretty much typifies this. Mako and Bolin undid everything those spirits and animals taught humans in a one minute training sequence. To bring it up now seems a bit weird.

      They squandered these opportunities.

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