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Korra’s Fight for ‘Legend’ Status

| Monday, September 22, 2014

WEB_legend of korraEmily Danaher
This week, we watched season one of “The Legend of Korra.” This season takes protagonist Avatar Korra from her home in the Southern Water Tribe and introduces her to the big, bustling, industrialized metropolis of Republic City. Here, Korra struggles to finish her air elemental training amidst a metropolis full of growing discontent. From taking down organized crime to competing in professional sports competitions, Korra and her friends Bolin, Makin and Asami discover all the wonders and dangers Republic City has to offer. The dangers of the City reach their apex in the two-part season finale.

The first episode of the finale, “Skeletons in the Closet,” begins with Korra and her friends in a desperate situation: the fall of Republic City to Amon’s Equalist regime. Exiled to an underground cavern, Korra is terrified of what the future has to offer. She soon finds out as the United Forces, the last defense against Amon’s revolutionaries, send their full naval armada to Republic City.

This setup grants us the first of several unprecedented, exciting action sequences. In addition to this, “The Legend of Korra” uses the scene to continue building on the themes surrounding the struggle between bending and technology, as Amon has prepared World-War-I-styled warplanes to take down the United Forces’ armada. General Iroh of the United Forces suffers a great defeat. In the second part of the finale, “Endgame,” Iroh aggressively responds, launching a surprise attack on the warplanes and asserting the power of good over evil. This scene is also the first time we really get a chance to see his firebending in action, and it is immediately apparent that his style is similar to his grandfather, Zuko, from “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” He even has the same voice actor. Hopefully, the show will give us an opportunity in later seasons to catch up with Iroh.

This episode also affords us a chance to look closer into Amon’s background, thanks to Tarlock. Through Tarlock’s eyes, we see the growth of a caring, young man into this twisted, numb shell of a man. It is revealed that Amon’s father is Yakone, Avatar Aang’s most challenging enemy, in the same way that Amon is Korra’s most challenging foe yet. The show’s producers do an excellent job tying generations and stories together like this, and Aang and Korra’s similarities are further explored in later seasons.

The season ends right back where it started, at the South Pole. After her failure to protect her elemental abilities, Korra is emotionally devastated. It would have been interesting to explore a universe in which this broken Avatar does not have access to the majority of her powers, but fortunately for Korra, viewers do not have to worry about that, mostly because this was intended to be a mini-series. As Korra stares off a cliff, considering suicide as a means to refresh the Avatar Cycle and allow for an Avatar with access to all of the elements, the show gives us one of the most beautiful and satisfying scenes to date. Avatar Aang appears beside Korra, along with all of Korra’s previous incarnations, as Korra has finally connected with her spiritual side. He helps her recover Korra elemental powers, and then she uses this ability to restore justice to all those who suffered under Amon. This finale parallels the end of its predecessor “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” in which Avatar Aang learns how to disconnect a person’s tuning with the elements. At her most desperate and lowest point, Korra triumphs and overcomes difficulties, unlike Amon. Korra is definitely going to need all of these powers for next season, which delves into the complexities of the Spirit World.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Jimmy Kemper

Scene writer, Economics major, and Seinfeld enthusiast

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