[This is a review of The Legend of Korra season 3 finale. There will be SPOILERS.]
How do you put something into words that literally takes your breath away? When you think of an "epic conclusion" to a celebrated franchise, one need look no further than The Legend of Korra two-part season 3 (Book 3: Change) finale.
'Enter the Void' and 'Venom of the Red Lotus' climbed the pedestals of the greatest episodes in ATLA franchise history next to the earth-shattering four-part 'Sozin's Comet' masterpiece, which aired over six years ago. If creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were desperately trying to outdo their own brilliance, then they've succeeded with flying colors. So, what's all the fuss about?
The first half-hour focuses on family, which is an aspect of ATLA that makes this series so enduring. The moments with Tonraq and Korra fighting side-by-side against Zaheer were choreographed in dazzling fashion, even leaving us with a moment of suspense as to the fate of Korra's father after he was knocked off a cliff. The Beifong sisters too had their moment to shine, as Lin willingly puts herself in danger in order to distract the deadly P'Li from hitting her mark.
Many of you (this reviewer included) were hoping to see the return of Toph by season's end, but the decision to leave her out was a good move on the part of the writers. The sisters needed to make peace with one another apart from their absent mother. Lin's confession of love for Suyin solidified their relationship moving forward. Perhaps next season we'll see the fearsome metal bender return?
Alright, so let's break down what everyone has been talking about - Zaheer vs. Korra! It's possible that thousands of jaws dropped as the now favorite villain of the ATLA franchise took flight for the first time. Even Tenzin looked shocked, as Zaheer accomplished something only one other airbender in history had (that we know of). Like a schooled Jedi Knight, or even a sinister Sith Lord, Zaheer's melodic reciting of "Enter the void, empty and become wind" is something fans of the series won't soon forget.
Did anyone find Korra's fighting style (while in the Avatar State) similar to Fire Lord Ozai's at the end of Book 3: Fire? Korra's use of fire as a kind of jet propulsion system was thrilling to behold. Sure, this is not the first time we've been exposed to this kind of action sequence, but the way it was beautifully captured rivaled anything on television, or even film. What's even crazier is that Zaheer almost won; granted he did poison her, so she wasn't at her best.
While the battle between Korra and Zaheer will clearly be the talk of this excellent season, the questions raised by the end of the finale should keep fans guessing until season 4 (hopefully) premieres next year.
First off, it was great seeing Zaheer alive, as The Legend of Korra has now broken it's two-season streak of wrapping everything up nicely at the end. There were moments of joy, like witnessing Jinora's promotion to airbending master. Also, her newly shaved head and tattoos made her look eerily like her grandfather.
Hopefully, Jinora won't be used in future episodes as a "get out of jail free card" every time Team Avatar is in danger. Her leadership at the end was impressive, though, as she informed her fellow airbenders that their power is great when they work together.
Korra's conclusion to this season was filled with much less pomp and circumstance. Her teary-eyed stare as the credits began rolling was haunting. What is our fearsome heroine going through? Tenzin seems to think all she needs is rest, but is she truly broken from her fight with Zaheer? Any theories as to what state of mind we'll find Korra in at the start of next season? After such a great victory, it was saddening to see Korra looking so defeated and melancholy.
It appears that the Red Lotus will be the focus of next season. Many of our questions have been left unanswered, but surely DiMartino and Konietzko will provide these answers in future episodes. Perhaps some of the older characters, like Toph, Zuko and even Katara will have more of an impact? Only time will tell.
Now that season 3 has ended, where do you rank this latest outing in the ATLA franchise? Was this the best season yet, or does Korra still have a long way to go before she lives up to the legacy of the original Team Avatar? Stay tuned to see what happens next.
The Legend of Korra will continue next year.