The Legend of Korra

The Legend of Korra Review: “Enter the Void” and “Venom of the Red Lotus”

The ending of a television season is always a bittersweet occasion. Just last week, Wilfred ended its fourth and final season. Even though I am always happy to see a season end on a strong note, I’m always filled with sadness that I need to wait for the next season or, in the case of Wilfred, that I will never get new episodes at all. We arrive at the former with The Legend of Korra. The final two episodes of season 3 “Enter the Void” and “Venom of the Red Lotus” prove to be a bittersweet ending indeed.

The one major element that I enjoyed this season was having a set of villains not so much bogged down with destroying the world as with freeing it in a strange, anarchistic way. Will this result in chaos? Most likely, but it’s not that they intentionally want people to hurt or destroy one another, they simply want everyone to be on more even ground. Zaheer and his gang of ruffians, P’li, Ming Hua, Ghazan are all deliberately simple people. They have simple motives and simple plans for getting what they want.

After a series of failed attempts to capture the Avatar, Zaheer finally has the leverage he deems needed. Holding the air nation under siege with the threat of wiping out nearly all the people Korra holds dear, she decides to do the heroic, Avatar thing and turn herself over. Unfortunately for heroes in animated adventures, goals are not so easily attained and spoken truces or dealings tend to fall apart more often than not. Given that this trade is happening in the first of the two final episodes, it’s not a major shock to see an episode heavily focused on action opposed to a lot of story progression or dialogue. Nearly the entire episode takes place on collapsing Air Temple Island as different battles are waged.

Luckily, Tenzin wasn’t killed in the last episode. Instead, he got a severe beating and wound up helping a trapped Asami, Mako and Bolin make an escape from the Temple. One thing I noticed this season was that even though the villains themselves were composed in a relaxed manner, this season was one of the darkest in the show’s history, resulting in multiple deaths like The Earth Queen and one I won’t reveal here in this episode. I don’t know if this is going to be a continuing trend for the fourth and final season but I am enjoying the deeper, more adult-oriented aspects. I read somewhere that part of the reason Korra switched to online streaming instead of television is that the show was getting too intense for some of the younger viewers. Lets face it, Zaheer’s technique for suffocating foes is about as dark as the show has gotten since blood bending.

As far as the title of this first episode goes, Zaheer learns an awe inspiring new ability that hasn’t been seen on the show before. This is the ability to fly, without the use of a glider. Apparently, only one other air bender in history has mastered this power and it gives Zaheer and unyielding advantage come the finale. As the air benders remain trapped and with Korra overwhelmed by Zaheer, the season finale “Venom of the Red Lotus” picks up right where “Enter the Void” left off.

I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed in some aspects of “Venom of the Red Lotus”  though it was less with the episode and more with the show itself. When a show creates such interesting villains and only has 13 episodes at 20 minutes a piece to tell the story, things can get a little underdeveloped. It would be optimum for a show like Legend of Korra to get more episodes per season. This would give us more time to spend, not only with the new characters introduced each year, but also the stories themselves. Despite being a great season, I do feel that Zaheer and his gang wound up underutilized. They made a couple of attempts to kidnap Korra and in the last couple episodes they got more inventive using leverage but overall the season could have used some more buildup and intrigue towards the final showdown.

The final episode was still a great one. Korra is finally captured and contained by Zaheer and company. Their plan is to poison her with a sort of platinum concoction that sets her into The Avatar state. This doesn’t seem like the most well thought out plan considering how strong Korra becomes when she is The Avatar, but the plan makes sense in that all their goal is to kill the Avatar, and the only way to do that is to fight her.

As with any show like Legend of Korra most people will probably be able to predict the overall outcome between Korra and Zaheer. It’s not like Nickelodeon is going to do something like kill off its main heroine. What I liked about the ending, however, is that it did offer up a bit of ambiguity as to where the fourth and final season may go. As it’s occurred to people I’m sure, The Red Lotus probably isn’t contained to just four highly dangerous criminals. If it stands as a counterbalance to The White Lotus, logic would dictate it has more than a handful of backers. My best guess is that a master plan is somewhere in the works within The Red Lotus, and now that Korra has been weakened due to the poison, this would be the ideal time for a larger group to strike. Not to mention the small fact that Zaheer is still alive, which means he has the capacity to return during the last season.

The Legend of Korra season 4 had some great episodes, and a couple of minor fillers. Even with the issues I had, this may be my favorite season of the show thus far. What makes me most happy however is the fact that Legend of Korra as a whole has been living up to and in some way surpassing its brilliant predecessor. That well be Korra’s greatest accomplishment. She manages to bring a new story to the mythos while forging her own distinct path. It also gives me faith that if the show continues on with a third series, that it will likewise look to improve and add as opposed to retread. This is a great show people! One that people of all ages should be experiencing!

 

“Enter the Void”:  B+

“Venom of the Red Lotus”:  A-

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