Tor.com’s offices are here in the Flatiron Building in New York City, a distinctive architectural wedge. Seeing Korra face down Kuvira’s giant platinum Colossus in The Legend of Korra series finale from atop a sharp triangular building in Republic City was a fun coincidence, huh? Really makes you feel like you’re in the thick of it…but then, I felt the same way when they put the Daily Bugle in the Flatiron Building in Spider-Man. Hey, and J.K. Simmons, Tenzin’s voice actor, played J. Jonah Jameson. Weird.
I know I’m rambling, but I’m still filled with nervous energy from the cliched-but-truly stunning conclusion of the series, and trying not to use a spoilery image at the top of the post. The Legend of Korra ended with action and romance and most importantly of all, the series ended with Korra continuing the arc of the Avatar spirit, begun in Aang: towards greater compassion, greater empathy.
I’m going to go ahead and consider “Korasami” confirmed and canon. There is part of me that says: “oh, this is the Modern Family issue, give us the kiss, we got a kiss with Mako, didn’t we? Heck, we got the kiss with Aang and Katara!” I hear that. I feel that. But the next thought that popped into my head was “at least they seem to be going about starting a new relationship in a more mature fashion!” I mean, Korra just started getting over her trauma, Asami’s dad just died, they’ve both been part of an awkward love triangle in the past… frankly, riding off together into the sunset is the romantic ending I want. But let’s be clear: there’s nothing “friendship” about it. I wonder how much a “Korasami” fight was at the heart of The Legend of Korra’s difficulties with Nickelodeon?
Last season, last Book, ended with Korra crying in a wheelchair. This season, this series, ends with her hand in hand with Asami, going on walkabout in the Spirit World. To me, that’s even bigger than Avatar: the Last Airbender’s peace, as least as far as character arcs go. The Gaang were kids, and their story ends with a bow on it. It’s the Buffy: the Vampire Slayer ending. The Legend of Korra gives us the Angel ending. It doesn’t end, because life doesn’t end until you die. Korra’s story isn’t over, Korra’s growth isn’t over…and she choses to explore her future with Asami. She choses to grow with Asami. That sure sounds like love to me.
Watching Korra and the team go Skywalker and Dak against the AT-AT of Kuvira’s Colossus was so great. For a moment there I really thought they were going to bring it down with Bolin’s lavabending, Airbenders doing stunts,Meelo coming through in the clutch with the paint bomb plan, Korra pelting it with chunks of masonry, and the Beifongs and Bolin dropping a building on it. Everyone just going, as they say, HAM.
Nope; apparently the Colossus uses Palladium’s MDC rules and no amount of normal damage can really make more than a scratch. And, of course everything is made of platinum, which, looking into, could be plausible? I mean, assuming there was just oodles of platinum somewhere in the Earth Kingdom. Maybe in a secret tunnel. Or under a cabbage patch. It’s still really impressive to see our team, all grown up, paragons of their crafts, cutting lose on the Colossus. The Spirit Cannon is like trying to swat a housefly with a howitzer, but the collateral damage is extensive.
Meelo also gets the snatch to save Tenzin, as Ikki saves Jinora after they dodge for half damage and are knocked from the sky. I gotta tell you, between that and making a face at Kuvira—leading to a “why are you hitting yourself?” slap to the chrome dome—he did good this finale. Alright Pema, you’re right, if you raised that little fart machine, you can wrangle the crowds with Wu. Everyone gets in on the action this episode, even Tahno. Hiroshi Sato is back as predicted, and well, you didn’t really see him getting out of this alive, did you?
Once the two-seat set-up of the Hummingbird/Mosquito was clear, I had a pretty good idea of where that was going, and Varrick and Zhu Li’s use of Chekhov’s Ejector Seats crystalized it. Still, score a big point for reconciliation: if Asami hadn’t started to forgive her father, they never would have gotten inside the Colossus.
How great is it when Lin and Suyin disable the Colossus’s Spirit Gun? How awesome is it when Kuvira just rips the damn arm off? That kind of disproportionate response—that solves the problem, as it takes the Beifongs out of play—is why I like Kuvira as a villain. That’s her “by any means necessary” ethos, playing out on a personal scale, rather than a political one, for a change.
Remember last week when I waxed poetic about mecha interfaces? Well I didn’t know one key factor: the balls are meteoric iron! As gravy, Kuvira turns ’em into a whirling buzzsaw of metaldeath in her melee with Korra. The rest of the fights aren’t with scrubs, either; Kuvira’s elite suffer no Law of Inverse Ninjas problems, no Stormtrooper clumsiness Purple Death Star pits, zappy Saw Boss Mother Brain lookin’ Tesla core, ornithopters, plasma torches; all the high-tech gizmos you could ask for.
Speaking of personal ethos on a grand scale: I had wondered whether the Avatar learned over incarnations. If Aang’s struggles and lessons carried over into Korra’s spiritual fiber, if Roku’s life experiences informed Aang’s spiritual journey, and so forth. I think with this finale I say yes: Korra extends the open hand, not the closed fist, as Aang before her; Korra not only doesn’t kill Kuvira, she saves Kuvira. That’s better than most cinema Batmen. She sees herself in Kuvira, not just because it is true, but because Korra has learned empathy.
It isn’t just her, either: it’s Asami and Hiroshi, and Opal and Bolin, and Suyin and Batar Jr, and Mako and Kai…the list goes on and on. Heck, in the cluch Wu comes through and abolishes the monarchy, even!
It’s hard for a show about the chosen one who is the link between the spirit and the flesh not to get a little messiah complex at the end, and why not? They earned it. As did Korra. Seeing her with Kuvira, saying they are alike and shutting down Kuvira when she says the obligatory “I’m nothing like you!” That was a class act. You’ve come a long way, Avatar Korra. And we’ve all come a long way together; thanks for being such a great community to discuss this show with! It’s been great having a built in group of friends who want to pick apart each episode each week. I’ll see you around!
Mordicai Knode was completely wrong about reuniting Vaatu and Raava, okay, he admits it. Maybe in the comics, though! He definitely didn’t tear up at all when Iknik Blackstone Varrick and Zhu Li Moon get married! Keep in touch with him on Tumblr and Twitter.