Team Jinora rejoice! I mean, listen. From the very first season I was a big fan of Jinora, and how can you not be? I mean, odds are if you are reading this site you too are a fan of fantasy books with dragons in them, just like Jinora. When the previews for Book Two started airing, we started seeing her in the spirit world and well…yes please! It has taken us all season to get here, but finally we get to see Jinora in her element, winning the day, with crime and politics, family reconciliation and strife, and make-outs fraught with emotional peril along the way. All that and a creepy version of The Little Prince’s baobab tree, too.
Well, even more than before I think this season is going to end with Korra fusing with Vaatu as Wan did with Raava, bringing the two spirits back together. We see that an active Vaatu is actually pulling the strings this season—why and how he came to work with Unalaq and whether Varrick is a conspirator or an opportunist aside for now—as well as Korra using the spirit song technique to calm and transform spirits. As before, I want to remind everyone that Wan’s statue at the Southern Air Temple had the markings of both Vaatu and Raava on it. I think we can expect to see Unalaq’s technique in the finale, against Vaatu, but with Korra seeing farther than anyone and realizing that Vaatu and Raava need to be brought back together, rather than that Vaatu should be re-imprisoned or destroyed.
Really, Korra has already been a tremendously enlightened Avatar. Maybe she’s not psychologically there yet, and she’s certainly not done growing up, but check the score board. She brought knowledge of the first Avatar back—and told the scholarly minded, so they could place it in the record. Tenzin has studied his whole life to make contact with the spirit world, and remember what a mess Aang made of his first encounter there? Korra does have a dark side—a dark, frustrating, stubborn and foolish side—as well as a brighter side—a talented, brave, charismatic, stubborn and foolish side—which make her a good candidate for a “think outside the box” solution…just like Aang found.
On Unalaq being a bad guy…it really is starting to look that way unambiguously. Working for Vaatu, even that could be explained away—“I thought the world needed to be restored to balance!” or whatever—but the bad dad stuff, that is pretty kiss of death. I mean, I still hold out hope for a big family reunion? But maybe it will be the reverse of the Fire Nation’s kids; maybe Eska and Densa will turn against their father and their reconciliation with their uncle Tonraq will be the kernel of the reunification. It is hard to say, but it looks like we’re coming up on the end game.
Or you know—he could become the Anti-Avatar. I just doubt it.
Tenzin’s got a watershed moment, fueled by disappointment. Is it just me or did it seem like he wasn’t just being jealous or stubborn but was also in part afraid for Jinora? I thought it was going to be revealed in dialogue but it wasn’t, but that was my initial reading of the situation; not just that Tenzin was frustrated with his own inability to astral project, but also that sending his ten-year-old daughter into the dangerous and unknown spirit world is…well, scary.
I think there is still a big role for Tenzin to play—that he’ll end up visiting the spirit world after all, to rescue Korra and Jinora, or that he’ll be needed to protect their bodies in the physical world, or pull a Xander and the yellow crayon, what have you—besides the guy who saved the day by making a thorough itinerary. Jinora is in the exclusive club that only Uncle Iroh is in— people who can see spirits unaided—but Tenzin is sort of the Sokka of The Legend of Korra so be prepared for him to save the day. I’m not sure how but we should just ask Kya, who seeks to have it all figured out. Or Romance Detective Bolin. “Hm, these two seem weirdly lovey-dovey…” Nice work, Bolin!
Actually come to think of it; I just realized what a disadvantage Korra will have when she confronts Unalaq. After all, she won’t be able to bend. Unalaq is physically in the spirit world, and we do have it definitively established that being there in person lets you control the elements—it’s why Wan was able to bend. Korra is going in the old fashioned way; maybe we see her in previews confronting Wan Shi Tong because she’s trying to recruit a spirit army?
So in this book we’ve seen Water Tribe spirit techniques, like the calming song; we’ve seen Fire Nation crystal spirit caves (speaking as an aside, that un-named Fire Sage lady and the theory she’s Azula…well, Azula has experience with crystal caves, doesn’t she?), we’ve seen Air Nomad spirit projection meditations, all of which means that the question of “advanced airbending” remains unresolved; it seems every nation of benders has a spiritual tradition. Not that we need to have it resolved or need to have it resolved now; I’m just inclined to always be curious. Where did Guru Pathik come from? This is the Air Temple Aang met him at, but culturally and linguistically he’s distinct from the Air Nomads…so what is his story? I thought we might meet more Air Acolytes, styled Air Gurus, perhaps, but the mystery remains…