retsuko: (spoilers!)
[personal profile] retsuko
Before I get into the main part of what I want to say, a universal complaint: Attention, cable networks! If you take a beloved show with a devoted fanbase off the air unexpectedly and put the rest of the remaining episodes of the season on your website for viewing, please:

1) Make sure your website is easily navigated and loads properly on all browsers;
2) Load the episodes in a good enough resolution so that the beautiful animation work can, in fact, be seen on all browers and devices; and,
3) Make sure your website can handle the traffic so that the episodes don't crash halfway through and then refuse to reload at the point where they crashed last.

Dammit, Nick. I get that this show doesn't make bank the easy way that Spongebob does, and that it presents a marketing challenge, but you're losing out on a lot of money from older fans (who, historically, have a lot more to spend) and building your reputation as fan-unfriendly network, which hurts in the long run.

Ahem, now that I've gotten that out of my system: on to the spoiler-rific talk about the Legend of Korra Season 3 finale and episodes leading to it.

OMG OMG OMG.

Working roughly backwards:

1) That final image of Korra, and really, her face through the entire episode of "Venom of the Red Lotus": I haven't been so on the brink of tears over a TV show like this in a long time. How awful. On one hand, her strength and dignity are intact, but I think her spirit is as close to broken as it's ever been, and the only thing that's saving her from total despair is that her father didn't die. (BTW, epic side note: Korra fighting, at her father's side, despite being in chains, against a man who easily could kill a large group of the people she loves... DAMN.) And the implication that the Avatar cycle could be broken (although, of course, it wasn't at all, see point #2) and the twist on the title of the show becoming so clear sent shivers down my spine. But she did not give up, and she fought, and I think she would have won if she weren't fighting off the effects of the poison. I don't know whether to hug her, high-five her, or very gently hand her a cup of tea. If there was one scene that I could add on to this episode, it would be a meeting with a previous Avatar in the spirit world, if only to give her hope that she still has the power to effect positive change... except that I know we can't have that scene because of last season's finale. STILL. This is what I would write.

2) So, the baddies did have a plan, and all things considered, there was only a tiny part of it that wasn't good, and that's a miraculous surprise. Zaheer inspired the sort of loathing in me that I haven't felt since the first time I watched Rurouni Kenshin and got entirely sick of Shishio Makoto's creepy brand of psychosis and Enishi's what-the-fuck-ever of jealous vengeance. Anyway, I got so worked up about Zaheer during the final fight that Yebisu was treated to a string of very un-lady-like language about how I wanted him (Zaheer) to die. NO ONE DOES THAT TO MY GIRL KORRA OK. (Holy crap, I got all worked up again!) Ahem, anyway, it's a testament to the storytelling power of the show that I was that invested at all, and that the villains did seem like they had a plan that might actually work, since they got about half of it done for real.

2a) Although, seriously, they really thought they could kill Korra when she was in the Avatar state? Dudes, please.

2b) I loved (and loved to hate) all the villains, really, because they all seemed very scarily over-powered, and they all felt like real people. The dialogue between Mako, Bolin, Gazhan, and Ming-Wa in the back of the truck was just wonderful for all four characters, and it developed the villains perfectly as personalities, not just paper tigers. Also, thank you for asking, Bolin, because I had wondered that exact thing: what do you do in an elemental prison for 13 years?

3) I also love that this season saw the evolution of the Bei Fong sisters from not-talking-to-you distant relatives, to true allies. While I would have liked to see just one more scene where this developed a little further, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter, because when I saw the two of them working together during the final battle against Zaheer and P'Li, all was well and awesome with the world. It's my great hope for Season 4 that this plot line gets continued and developed further along.

4) One of the most awful images of this finale (besides those of Korra and the poison) was the destruction of the Northern Air Temple. In the first Avatar, we get hints of the genocide that the Fire Nation armies carried out; however, we never see actual destruction, just the aftermath and/or relics from the past. This time, though, we actually saw the air temple itself falling to pieces, melting and tearing itself down, and the image of Tenzin so beaten and bruised was like a metaphor for the place itself (or the two images were mirrors of each other, take your pick.) It's one thing to be sad for Aang and mourn the loss of a culture he once had, but it's another to see the fledging baby bird of that culture kicked out of its nest and then watch as the nest is torn apart. Gah. By the time we got to it, I didn't care that Bolin learned lavabending because THE ENTIRE PLACE WAS MELTING AROUND THEM IN A HIGHLY SYMBOLIC WAY and this was my expression: D:

5) Speaking of Bolin, Yebisu made the comment last night that Bolin was meant to be this show's version of Aang's childish tendencies. I think that's true, but more accurately, he's meant to be the hybrid of Aang's younger self and Sokka's fakey self-assurance. I'm not sure how much I like this, and I think the writers leaned almost entirely on him for comic relief, some of which worked (the part during "The Stakeout" with the crazy fans of Nyuk-tuk), and some of which didn't (his bird call scheme.)

6) I am still distracted by Mako's eyebrows. Highly, highly distracted. How do they even do that pointy thing on each side? WHY?

7) Asami proved herself in about a million different ways in these last few episodes, and I sincerely hope that she doesn't get shoved to the back of group again. For a White Hat character, she showed herself to be more than capable of holding her own, and took on a very great burden in caring for Korra.

8) YAY FOR JINORA. A lot has been made about how similar Jinora looks to Aang, and, well, he is her grandfather. ANYWAY YES YAY FOR HER! She certainly deserves all the praise and accolades, and I can't wait to see what kind of a master she grows to be.

Ahem. Yes, that is my dignified squee for the moment. What an amazing show. This season more than makes up for the lackluster plotlines in the previous seasons, and even they aren't that bad. But this season felt real, and the stakes were so GODDAMN HIGH that I had to remind myself to breathe throughout the final 45 minutes of the finale.

... So... Season 4? :D
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