Category Archives: The Legend Of Korra: Book Of Balance (S04)
And this is the last episode, THE last episode of this series. I’m not the biggest fan of this series but these last two seasons were great. It’s a bit sad to see this series end after it has finally found itself after two seasons but four seasons is already more than what I would have expected after having seen the first season. I’m certainly interested to see what the next project of Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, the creators of the Avatar-universe, will be. It certainly won’t be Avatar-related and it’s understandable. After all, they started with Avatar: The Last Airbender and then did a sequel of sorts to that. Who knows how their style will translate to a series of a different genre or maybe they will create a new universe for an adventure-like epic story.
The series is coming to a close… *sigh* Grant you, it’s not like I’m the biggest fan of what Legend Of Korra has done during its run. Especially Korra’s arc over the course of this series still feels like a trainwreck because of how underdeveloped it was until the third season and how the fourth season wasn’t radical enough in actually committing to the extreme developments at the end of the third season. Unless this finale is as good as the the one of the third season I still don’t see myself recommending this series. There are a lot of good things in this series but none so far are good enough to make me want to say to someone “Hey, you need to see those 30+-episodes of this show…!”. This show is still flawed but it has moments where it shines.
It’s a bit weird to think of how this series will end in a couple episodes. I mean, sure, Legend of Korra had four seasons but it certainly doesn’t feel like that. And in this instance, this isn’t a positive thing. As I have mentioned many times before it really comes down to the lack of decisive character-development for Korra. The main-character of this series just never developed in a way to stay interesting throughout the seasons. Even the drastic ending of the third season wasn’t enough to push the writers of this fourth season to get Korra to move forward. Like always, all the development this series has shown were babysteps. So why do I keep watching this series if I really don’t like the (lack of) character-development of its main-character? Well, it’s because of episodes like this one.
The pacing of Legend Of Korra is a real mixed bag. Sometimes I feel like the series should spend way more time on one thing and other time I feel like they should just move on already. I guess, that’s the problem with a series whose strength are its characters. The perception of such a story is bound to be very subjective as it relies heavily on how much you like the characters of the series. Just take the “Korra Alone”-Episode… Many loved that episode and yeah, it’s a great episode. But for me personally, I just didn’t like the direction of that character. There wasn’t enough commitment there for me. If you actually want to show Korra running around incognito in search of a new identity after she had lost most of her Avatar-prowess, I would want to see some radical changes to the traditional Avatar-formula. How about becoming a bender who incorporates technical gadgets into her bending? You know, stuff like that. But instead the arc has been for Korra to somehow return to her old state and her problem really just her lacking ability to be like her old self. Toph and (in this episode) Zaheer may talk about her having to move on but she’s still stuck in the past pretty much. This episode shows at least some progression in that regard and once again it uses its opportunities to focus on characters wisely.
It’s just a recap-episode, really. So, to describe it in one word: skippable.
That was certainly a weird, unexpected moment… Actually reddening the cheeks of Korra when she compliments Asami on her appearance? It never seemed like during the first and second season the writing actually tried to posit the idea of those two showing any interest in each other as romantical partners but here we are looking at this one rather defining moment… At this point they really have to go ahead and make it a “thing”. After all, there’s hardly enough time left to turn this into a “will they, won’t they”-routine. The series has to commit to this relationship or else such a moment just becomes ridiculously unnecessary.
Why is this series actually trying to be SO historical? It’s not like it’s an actual historical series – but this series is obsessed with having these historical references. And it wouldn’t be a bad thing – except this isn’t the kind of show to tackle the intricacies of dictatorship for example. Dictators are bad guys, done! Going down the path of “But maybe there’s a reason why dictators come to power in the first place and it would be prudent to investigate those reasons narratively and what it leads to…” is something for mature shows! I’m all for kids-shows tackling complex issues but you have to simplify it – from start to finish. You may argue that this series is better for having these more complex story-hooks but I feel like that’s just a waste of time if you don’t follow through with it. The simply approach would be to call dictators bad but the mature approach would be to question why dictators exist in the first place and this season raises that question definitely. It’s just that it doesn’t really seem concerned with offering good answers to this complex question. So far, this season really hasn’t inspired a lot of confidence in handling its topic in a meaningful way, though. And with this season failing to really turn Korra into an interesting character, things just go downhill from there.
I’ve watched the season-premiere for Elementary’s third season yesterday and it was kinda frustrating to watch. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great episode for that show but the really frustrating thing was watching that episode handle a time-jump between seasons the way you’re supposed to handle such a dramatic shift. If you do something as drastic as a time-jump, there needs to be some serious change happening! And yet, in what way has this season actually developed its main-characters…? Korra’s weaker… as if we hadn’t seen that before in this series… Everybody in this series really just sort-of remained the same. Any changes that did happen mostly happened for plot-reasons. Mako didn’t become Wu’s bodyguard because he wanted to, Bolin just sort-of joined Kuvira because he was able to help people that way and Asami just did her thing like usual (without anyone in the universe really giving a shit). Meanwhile, Korra who was kinda forced to change immediately learned to become her old self again within a couple episodes of this season. Really, for being a season named ‘Book Of Change’ that third season didn’t have as much of an impact as you would’ve expected after the last episode of that third season. I really believe that this season should’ve been bolder with the way it has reintroduced its main-characters and how different those characters are.
Man, now that was a disappointment… I’m really… Sometimes I even wonder whether this series at any point had an idea what to do with Korra. I feel like this series can’t develop her character because it’s not clear to the writers who she would become after such a development. Or at least that’s how it seems to me as the series’ most serious changes to Korra’s character had always been undone later up to this point.
Okay, I don’t really know what else to write here as an introduction so let’s just continue with the ridiculous, overblown version of “What if Korra had lost her powers and had been treated like a Rocky-reference?”. So… the first season Korra had lost most of her phyiscal prowess but still she faced some arrogant pro-bending-champion and kicked his ass. Everybody loves her again! She even buys Tenzin a talking robot as a birthday-present! But it turns out, the tumultuous Earth-Kingdom has sent the incompetent Queen into an exile during a violent revolution and now the people rule! Naturally that makes the Earth-Union a big threat to the capitalistic Republic-City! Korra doesn’t want to get involved in politics but that’s when she talks with Bolin who doesn’t know what to do with his life after all the adventures he had with Korra. He wants to show the world that his time in the limelight isn’t over – and so he challenges one of the Earth-Unions strongest pro-benders, Lizard, to a fight! Korra is reluctant to get involved in this fight but then agrees to be on the sidelines to offer him advice during the breaks between rounds and whatnot. The fight is a disaster… Bolin gets destroyed! More than that – he dies! She blames herself for this and so she vows revenge. And with that she goes training in the spirit-world away from all of her friends and family. While that champion from the Earth-Union Lizard is basically training to become the first Cosmonaut of the Avatar-univers that also being pumped full of steroids, Korra does traditional, clean training to get herself in shape for the final big battle! And so in the end they face each other! And Korra has no chance against him. She’s not as strong, not as fast and not as experienced in pro-bending. And the crowd in that Earth-Union-stadium loves how Lizard is dominating the fight. But then round for round passes and Korra is not getting thrown off the plateau, round for round she gets pummelled and yet she never gives up! And that’s when the people from the Earth-Union start cheering for Korra instead of Lizard. Inspired by the audience Korra starts a comeback and slowly step by step pushes Lizard back and ultimately throws Lizard off the platform. The crowd cheers and even the politicians from the Earth-Union tear up at this display of perseverance and courage! And in the end Korra proclaims that this fight has shown her that change is possible for all people. everyone can become a better version of themselves tomorrow as long as they would strive for that! And with that the second season ends.