Share & Connect
Nickelodeon’s ‘The Legend of Korra’, the sequel series ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’, premiered its hour-long season one finale Saturday, June 23, 2012 with the two-part epic, “Skeletons in the Closet” and “Endgame.”
Major spoilers ahead for the finale as well as the entire first season.
Seventy years after Aang and his friends defeated Fire Lord Ozai, Korra (Janet Varney) is the newest Avatar and is training in Republic City to master airbending with Aang’s son, Tenzin (J.K. Simmons). She is also friends with Mako (David Faustino), a Firebender, and his brother Bolin (P.J. Byrne), an Earthbender. The three play on a team, the Fire Ferrets, in a competition known as pro-bending. Right now, Korra and her friends are embroiled in a struggle with Amon (Steve Blum), leader of the Equalists, who has developed the ability to remove a person’s bending permanently. He wants to conquer Republic City and destroy everyone’s bending abilities.
In the previous episode, Amon declared war on Republic City and began attacking its citizens with airships. Tenzin took his family away from Air Temple Island while Lin Bei Fong (Mindy Sterling) fended off their pursuers, losing her bending ability in a selfless act to save them. Korra and her friends have been hiding underground in a colony for the homeless as they await the arrival of reinforcements led by General Iroh (Dante Basco), grandson of Zuko.
General Iroh’s battleships reach the city but the airships have been replaced with airplanes, which easily dominate the battlefield. Korra intervenes and manages to destroy the fleet, but she and Mako learn that there are more of them on the way. General Iroh sends word to his brother Bumi to send more troops while Korra and Mako head up into the city to take Amon head on at a rally.
While waiting to confront Amon, Korra and Mako find Tarrlok (Dee Bradley Baker) imprisoned. He reveals that Amon is actually his brother, formerly known as Noatak. They had been raised by the evil bloodbender Yakone to become bloodbenders as well, but as he continued forcing the two brothers to bloodbend, Noatak became angry and resentful of them both. He snapped and ran away from home while Tarrlok grew up alone, thinking his brother had died in a snowstorm.
Korra and Mako attend the Equalist rally and tell Amon’s followers that he is actually a waterbender, but no one believes them. Amon reveals that he has captured Tenzin and his family and Korra and Mako rescue them.
Meanwhile, Bolin, Asami (Seychelle Gabriel), and General Iroh head to the airfield to destroy the remaining airplanes in Amon’s army. With some difficulty, they are able to tear up the airfield and Asami defeats her father, who had been working for Amon.
Amon chases Korra and Mako through the pro-bending arena and after a vicious fight, he removes Korra’s bending. Mako manages to injure him and tries to get the both of them to safety, but Amon corners him and just as he tries to take Mako’s bending, Korra unleashes her airbending. He falls into the water outside around his followers and in his enraged state, he exposes his waterbending. Most of his followers give up on the cause and he lets Tarrlok out of his prison and escapes. While fleeing Republic City, Tarrlok explodes the boat, presumably killing them both because they have nowhere left to go.
Korra is taken back to the Air Temple to be examined and Katara admits that she cannot restore her bending. Korra is heartbroken and Mako tries to console her, revealing that he is in love with her. Korra runs off alone and in her despair, she contacts Aang in the Avatar state and he is able to restore her bending. She and Mako admit their love for each other and the season ends there.
The finale is a heart-stopping ride, to say the least. Every scene has a deep emotional impact on the characters as well as the audience. It is by far one of the most adult-oriented episodes as well because it deals with child abuse, war, and an onscreen murder-suicide, which may cause some parents dismay as they watch with their children. However, because these issues are handled with exceptional care and expert writing, the finale ends up being one of the most powerful in the show’s history.
Furthermore, while Mako has been receiving heavy criticism from the fans for his actions in the season so far, his utter devotion to Korra in the finale is simply amazing. He fights his hardest to stop Amon, and even when he fails, he still manages to save Korra, nearly dying trying to get her to safety. If nothing else, his sacrifice and love for Korra deepen the bond between them more than words can say.
While the finale is excellent, the biggest flaw is the last minute restoration of Korra’s bending. This problem is largely due to time constraints and episode limits. Because the first season is only twelve episodes long, the writers have had to condense the story and rush the ending in order to resolve the lingering problem with Korra. Some fans have been waiting all season long to see Korra reach the Avatar state and converse with her other reincarnations, and so some feel cheated that they did not get to fully enjoy it. Plus, Korra’s restoration happens in less than a minute so it feels like a cop out as she didn’t have a long time to deal with only being able to airbend.
Still, even with its problems, the season finale of Korra is a magnificent ending to an already stellar show. Season two has already been written and is currently being animated, set for a release sometime in 2013.