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Avatar: The Legend of Korra – Book Four – Balance

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Spoilers, ho!

E01

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So… Kuvira… I had a feeling she wasn’t going to turn out to be Team Avatar material. And I had a feeling she was going to tear things apart from the inside out. She was too eager in her spotlight appearance in Book Three, rather, the spotlight appearance called too much attention to her so her offer to go along seemed to reek of ulterior motive. This is only the first episode, so my previous suspicion that she might be an undercover Red Lotus hasn’t been disproved, but she’s trying to unite people under her (and not a nation) and the red lotus were anarchists–against any sort of leadership or governing body–so it isn’t likely.

Beifong family drama still going, but now it’s trickled down to the current generation of siblings. I’m assuming the betrayal Opal spoke of is connected to Kuriva usurping Su’s command and and taking over her people and resources. Or something like that. However, the animosity seems to be coming from a more personal place because I don’t think Bolin and Opal’s brother would be working with Kuvira if she really did Su dirty. Or perhaps it’s one of those things where she really did stab Su in the back, but it can’t be completely proven, so it comes off looking like a difference of opinions and what should be water under the bridge after three years.

While I’m at it, It was strange to see Lin meekly or hesitantly delivering the bad news to Mako. Not that she shouldn’t care and ignore his feelings for the sake of duty and all that, but it was just a strange combination of mannerisms coming from her.

Even if there is some twist where Kuvira, her army, and her votaries turn out not to be the second coming of the Fire Nation (however conquering without noticeable destructive force, just threats and fearmongering), she still can’t be good if for no other reason than the fact that Bolin is following her. I don’t think I even have to explain this point.

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It’s been three years and Korra seems to be as selfish as ever. But now she’s glistening with the added sheen of deplorability. She continues to show people just how much their trust and concern means to her. Way to go!

Korra’s not back to fighting form yet. So, about that, zeusaurus and I were talking about the show and I told him that I didn’t think that Korra had mastered any of the elements. From what I saw, too many of her contemporaries were better than she was out of the avatar state. I’m not saying she was unskilled, but outside of the basics, personally, I think she battled like a mad dog. If you remove the fact that she was also being poisoned at the time, her final fight with Zaheer was very similar to how she usually fought: reckless, chaotic, and frenzied. It seemed purely on instinct, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Also, even though the avatar state is basically a power-up, I don’t think it was as powerful for her as it could have been because she didn’t have the historic/spiritual connection that the previous avatars did. And now shes even more of a mess. I was hoping that with the three-year jump, we would be skipping over her transformation and only seeing it in flashback or reference. Because I didn’t want the whole book to be about her renaissance with only a little bit at the end of her putting it in practice, but now that I see that she’s just as bad as she was, if not worse, I have very little hope for an avatar-worthy Korra arc.

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I don’t know if they’re even going to get into it, but I think it would be great to find out that the new glide suits were Jinora’s design.

E02

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How many more episodes until Korra learns? She is still exhibiting get-rich-quick behavior. She’s constantly scheming and it’s totally unbecoming of someone who was born into the avatar legacy–a legacy that she has done nothing but misunderstand and spit on since the beginning. I hope that these run-ins with people who expect sensational avatar awesomeness every time she shows up continues until she understands that it was the role she was trying to fulfill, but that that celebrity status is not what the avatar is all about. She needs to understand that daring-doer is far from being the primary role of the avatar.

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How many more episodes until Korra starts trusting people? How many more episodes until she realizes that she cannot do this on her own, that she’s not supposed to do it on her own? She says that people have been saying that they can help her or offering to help all this time, but it’s never worked. That’s BS; she would not have gotten anywhere without anyone’s help–help that she’s always quick to refuse, mind you. She’s completely dismissing her time with Katara and the efforts of everyone that cares about her. Regardless of who it is, she dismisses everyone’s help from the door and seems to only accept it because, hey, why not or just to shut them up. She starts out with zero faith, makes a half-arsed effort and then says, “see? I told you it wouldn’t work.” She never stops scheming long enough to fully consider why she’s not making progress or what type of progress she should actually be striving to make.

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She is her own worst enemy, so battling zombie Korra might do her some good.

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 I don’t know where they plan to go with her meeting Toph, but considering how Toph has always been an I don’t need anyone/I’ll do it myself kind of person, I hope Toph can express to her that there’s a difference between being self-sufficient and self-assured and being stupid. I think Toph is the perfect person to illustrate the pitfalls of the I, alone attitude that they share (however differently they manifested).

E03

  • Ha, Korra was rebuffed with a plank of earth! Toph isn’t having any of that sentimental stuff.
  • Well, I thought Kuvira’s true colors would take a little longer to show, but here we are.
  • Bolin is letting his longstanding envy of Mako get in the way of clear rational thought. I think he feels it’s the first time he’s in a better position than Mako and is holding onto it for dear life.

E04

  • Milo’s eyebrow game is strong.
  • Korra, impatient as ever. But I think I’m supposed to sense a difference in this aspect of her recovery, and though I do, I won’t commit to this feeling until I see some evidence that she isn’t taking it as a band-aid when she should be seeing it as the first dose of a remedy.

E05

  • What is this? Has Korra finally seen the light? To actually acknowledge that the way she used to do things is wrong is a huge step in so many ways. Although, I think she should have told Tenzen that she was taking his kids to a possible war zone. They’re capable, but still.
  • Milo is annoying.
  • What’s Zhu Li up to?

E06

  • Koora still has no battle strategy. She may no longer be pure instinct and aggression, but she doesn’t know how to think in a fight.
  • Again I ask, what is Zhu Li up to? Destroying things from the inside out, I suppose.

E07

  • Bumi!
  • Even Bolin has better strategy than Korra.
  • The tree! Man, she’s asking for it. Toph isn’t going to like that one bit.

E08

  • Truer words! Seriously.

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  • Wait! What is Mako talking about? The only way Korra could show him what it means to put other before himself is by being an example of what not to do.
  • The recap episode?
  • I don’t get Korra and Asami’s friendship. Not that they can’t be friends, but they’ve never really talked about their past. How do you build the kind of trust the show wants me to believe they have if they can’t clear the air. This isn’t the kind of thing that can happen off-screen if I am to be convinced that they have this bond.
  • I don’t like this episode. They are trying too hard to convince me that Korra’s changed and matured. You can’t tell me she came a long way when this “maturity” is only a recent thing. Essentially, everything changed in the blink of an eye. I’m calling chicanery.

E09

  • Still blaming people for her incompetence. There’s doubt in everything she does. She doubts herself, she doubts other people. She doesn’t believe in anything. The whole series has been people trying to convince her of one thing or another and her, in more ways than one, saying “no.”
  • You Can’t Do That on Television

E10

  • YaY, Toph!
  • That slight against Bolin’s thinking was unnecessary.
  • Toph can’t apologize.
  • Zhu Li, yup.
  • Su’s impromptu armor!
  • I guess that’s as close to an actual “I’m sorry” as you’re going to get from Toph.

E11

  • Zhu Li!
  • If that’s love, I don’t want any part it.
  • This episode was kind of boring.

E12

  • I must say, the super mecha is very pretty, beautiful, even.
  • No one else but Zhu Li would appreciate that.
  • Platinum bending?
  • Just regular metal on the inside, I guess.

E13

  • I love seeing Lin fight.
  • Everyone’s resolving their differences.
  • Korra can wield the elements, but she has very little style and creativity when using them. No finesse, just kitchen sink tactics. Granted, there were a few times when she used her head, but they were few and far between. As far as bending/battling goes, Asami would have done a much better job and looked fabulous doing it.
  • Mako burned his hand.
  • A new portal?
  • I guess so.
  • Kuvira’s surrender is lame. Anticlimactic.
  • Yeah, she transformed it. She screwed up a lot.
  • Wait, they are about to go off on vacation when the city is about to embark on a renaissance? Don’t they have a responsibility to the city? Especially Korra? Nope. Nope. Nope.

I’ve never been so disappointed with a finale until this very moment. Why go off with Asami? I don’t buy their bond. The show served it up, but it was like, in preparation, they used a cold stick of butter in a recipe that called for it to be clarified. Just lame, lame, lame. I can’t even articulate how pointless this show turned out to be. The show as a concept was good, but how is it that it took four seasons for Korra to stop tripping over her shoelaces and learn how to tie them in just enough time to warp speed to the finish line?

No.

And there’s no way to fix it. I can’t say, “it would have been better if…” because that would require going back to the beginning.

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Finale

If someone could just show me when Korra and Asami cleared the air about Mako and how Korra betrayed her trust–the kind of trust reserved for people you don’t know well, but just have an expectation that they’ll be a decent human being–and kissed Mako when she knew that something was going on between Mako and Asami. If I could just see that; if I could just see the times when she had with Asami the kind of direct conversations she had with Mako about their relationship working and then not working, if I could just see that in regards to Korra apologizing for kissing Mako when she knew he was involved with Asami in a more than platonic way and then Asami forgiving her, then I could buy it. I would be able to buy the bond the show’s been trying to convince me of.

And don’t show me the glossed over conversation in the car where the kiss was “revealed.” Asami and Korra are both very direct people when it comes to expressing their opinions. If Korra can have a direct conversation on multiple occasions with Mako, the Great Evader, then it shouldn’t be a problem for Korra to have that kind of reconciliatory discussion to foster the establishment of an actual friendship with Asami.

The establishment of trust is the only thing I need to be somewhat as happy as the rest of the fans. It won’t make up for Korra’s lack of development, but it will be one less thing for me to hold against the show.

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