Posted by: markfender | August 26, 2014

Korra Season 3

If you are not watching The Legend of Korra, you are wrong.

The-Legend-of-Korra-Book-3-Finale-5-1024x409After the lackluster second season, I was hesitant about new Korra. But, the way that they left the world left me intrigued enough to watch the third season. And it improved 110%. With the changes to the spirit world after season two, new airbenders are created. So, Team Avatar begins to travel the world, recruiting them into a new air nation. Along the way, they run into the Earth Queen and Lin’s remaining family (which presents her troubling childhood and Toph’s unconventional legacy). And, of course, new villains: the Red Lotus, a group dedicated to killing the Avatar and ending the cycle.

Zaheer, the leader of the Red Lotus, is the one mistep in this season. He’s played by Henry Rollins, which makes perfect sense if you consider the type of character he is. Unfortunately, Henry Rollins is not a very good voice actor. As a character who gives a lot of speeches, Rollins just can’t deliver them with any believability. There were a few times this season I stopped paying attention to what he was saying, based purely on his cadence. He has a few moments of decent acting, but it’s mostly speeches and he’s just doesn’t inflect enough to make them memorable (It’s easy for me to dismiss his recent anti-suicide blowhard attitude when I imagine it being read with Zaheer’s cadence…then I just tune out halfway through and don’t pay attention).

The other fail this season was not the show’s fault, but Nickelodeon’s weird scheduling. Announced two weeks prior to initially airing, there was barely any publicity. Then, they showed at least two episodes a week (if not more), hurrying through the relatively short season. And then, the final four episodes were online only. What the hell, Nickelodeon? I mean, I’m invested, so I’ll track it down in whatever channel you make it available. But they seem really resolute in killing the show off.

However, despite these small failings, the show returned in grand form this season. And the finale was suitably epic. Everyone got their Moment of Awesome (although poor Asame’s Moment seemed a little bit lackluster compared to some of the others) and I mean “everyone.” Even minor characters who weren’t even identified with names got moments of glory. All the subplots were wrapped up in the final action scenes, showing a great devotion to the craft of storytelling. And the action was suitably awesome.

For instance, the Lin/Suyin fight against P’Li was a seriously OH SHIT moment. That’s some Game of Thrones level death right there, and it was on an American kid’s cartoon. Okay, granted, the camera cut away at the moment of death, but it doesn’t take a genius to see what was happening (and to sorta be repulsed by it). That’s only one of the first of several great moments, however. Korra’s Avatar-state just proves again why the Avatar is bad news. Hearkening back to the excellent third season finale of Avatar: the Last Airbender, Korra’s avatar-state is pretty much what I hope to see from the next Superman movie. Throughout this season, Zaheer and the Red Lotus have been one step ahead of Team Avatar, but even they screw up when planning for Korra’s power.

This season hits the heights of the best of the entire Avatar Cycle (We’re calling both series the Avatar Cycle, right?) and pushes past those boundaries. Despite Aang’s power, he was ultimately a pacifist. Korra is not. She unlocked all the elements at a relatively young age. She’s a ridiculous powerhouse of ‘bending and she demonstrates it to full effect in the finale.

They do a good job of setting up for another season (in whatever form Nickelodeon decides to show it in), which is good. I can always go for more Korra. But, honestly, I’d be just as happy if the show ended after this season. It was pitch perfect. It was awesome. Watch it.

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