And So Another Season of Korra Ends.
Thar be spoiler beyond this point. Don’t read, unless you don’t care.
So another season of Korra is down and we’ve got one more left. At this point, I have to ask, what’s next? I’m expecting to somehow be disappointed in some way. Don’t get me wrong, Korra has been a pretty fun show, and season 2 knocked the ball out of the park, but overall I think the show fails to live up to The Last Airbender.
Now, before you stone me to death, let me continue. The thing that I found stronger about TLAB was that it had an overlying story arc throughout the entire thing. The whole series dealt with one big overlying problem, basically Ozai’s overzealous warmongering. You had one big threat to the entire world, and as the series continued the tension continued to build.
I’m not calling TLAB perfect. There were several episodes in the first season that were superfluous. They were interesting in how they showed the world, but they didn’t all seem meaningful. The story didn’t really take off until you got to the north pole, and things went uphill from there. By the time you got to the actual fight between Aang and Ozai, it was clear that this was the big moment.
Each character really came alive. Some way more than others. For example, Zuko practically dominated half of the show. It was great to see how Aang finally came to realize his potential, or how Zuko finally came to respect himself.
With Korra, I think there was much to be desired when it came to the characters. I’m not saying that the characters are bad. Anyone who hates Bolin can’t possibly be human. If you hate Bolin, I officially reject your humanity. He’s such a wonderful character. A lot of them are really interesting, but I think they could have been handled better.
Amon and Tarrlok could have been much better used. They had to have had the most pointless deaths in either series. With Zhao it was appropriate. His character had a chance to build, and his arc came to an end at the end of the first season of TLAB. With Amon and Tarrlok, it was just a waste. A reason to like them was quickly shoehorned in and then they got blown up at the first moment of convenience.
I do not consider this to be the fault of the writers, though. The first season was intended to be the only season, and then it got cut down by a couple of episodes. The fault ultimately lies with powers that be at Nick or Viacom who had the strangest idea that Avatar wasn’t a ratings cow, despite three prior seasons that showed quite the contrary.
If Korra was given three seasons to begin with, I’m sure the writers would have figured out a much better way to handle Amon and Tarrlok without blowing them up as quickly as they could to conform to a strict schedule. Despite their crimes, I think both characters had a lot of room for growth. I, for one, would have loved to see them redeem themselves in some way.
With book two of Korra, I thought things would be better. You started with a slow build up until you realized Unalaq was trying to release Lord Satan and become the Anti-Christ. The season was pretty awesome, but the ending was far from satisfying. This time, the writers did have two seasons to work with, rather than one. The harmonic convergence could have been handled differently.
While I’m sure someone would argue with me that there wasn’t much time to deal with a dark Avatar due to the Harmonic Convergence, I think it would have been much more interesting if Vaatu would have actually come out the victor of the second season and plunged the whole world into eternal darkness. Ultimately, Unalaq and Vaatu are inferior to Ozai as worldwide threats due to a severe lack of longevity.
I think what bothers me the most is that with the Dark Avatar thing ended so quickly, I’m concerned that season three is either going to be inferior, or superior. In both cases, I think it would be pretty bad. If it’s inferior, then that means they’ve played their big card (Vaatu) too early. If it’s superior, then Vaatu might as well have been a big ball of hot air.
Granted that he’s supposed to be the spiritual incarnation of darkness and chaos, I would think that he would have been prioritized as the “final boss”.
Korra doesn’t lack direction. The direction for each season has been pretty solid, but I think what Korra really lacks is the sense of overall unity that the old cartoon had. Despite this, I do look forward to seeing what the final season has to offer.