Thoughts on Legend of Korra – Season 1

I have been trying very hard to will these thoughts away by trying to tell me that I should let go because its just a kid’s show. Then I start rewatching the episode on iTunes and I get riled up again to the point of wanting to punch something. So here I am at 11 p.m., at my desk and dozing off, and willing myself to write out my thoughts on Korra instead of stewing on them. Of course, the entry is primarily on the last episode and is full of spoilers. You have been warned.

When I first started to watch Legend of Korra, I was super excited. We were getting a dark skinned female hero who had an attitude and wasn’t afraid to pick a fight! Who WOULDN’T like that!? I love the Avatar series because of they have a largely asian cast and female characters you won’t find on many other series. As the series progressed, however, I began to notice that Korra’s development as a character was hardly as interesting as the people around her- the minor characters. Even the other main character, Mako, is a fucking douche and dickwad next to the other people in the series who have very minimal screen time.

Let me start of by saying that Korra’s splash into the scene was great. She was strong physically and mentally, and was actually rather proud of her abilities. She didn’t mind at all she was the Avatar and seemed to boast about it often. Then as we progressed we saw she had vulnerabilities, was unsure, and was rightly scared of the single character that could take away her identity and pride as the Avatar. She sometimes showed wisdom but it was also overshadowed by her recklessness and pride. The qualities were great for many episodes, but the spiritual progression was lacking largely until the later episodes and seemed rushed at the very end.

Yes, she was upset because her bending was taken away. No one could blame her for that. It was largely her identity and it was the reason she felt she could get away with many things; she was the damn Avatar and if you didn’t like it then you just had to deal with it. But at the very last few minutes of the show, it seemed like a huge damn cop out to have Aang appear and suddenly give her the power to restore people’s bending. Although he explained the sudden spiritual connection due in part because of her utter depression and feeling of lack of self worth, I still couldn’t help but feel that her adventure as an Avatar is doing nothing for that huge ego. She found her abilities at a very young age, was trained, and admitted to never wanting anything because she was given these things due in part because of who she is. She didn’t really go through the huge bout of struggling that Aang had gone through, especially when he had to consider alternative ways of dealing with the Phoenix King Ozai. Aang went on a journey speaking with past selves and then with the lion turtle to understand the options and reasons for those options that lay before him. Korra? She was handed things on that damn silver platter and by Aang no less.

Then there is the romance or sorry excuse of a romance. This is something I am utterly baffled by. Pema spoke of how she became romantically intwined with Tenzin, Tenzin spoke of his past relationship with Lin and Pema, and fucking Tarrlok commited murder and suicide at the end of End Game. So why was the relationship with Mako and Asami and Korra treated like such shit? The last kissing scene made me feel uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but despise Mako and Korra because they were ignoring that huge elephant in the room: Mako is still technically with Asami. They hadn’t broken up or anything, and yet Korra and Mako kept making lovey-dovey eyes at each other and even went as far as confessing their feelings and kissing. What. the. fuck. I get teenagers are immature, but what Mako is doing? Is something I don’t see many teenagers doing. And even then, it is still a douche thing to do. To see Korra say he like him despite knowing what he is doing is just something that makes me feel sick. Here is this strong young lady sucking the fact of a spineless worm who couldn’t get the balls to own up to what he did and to properly end things with his current girlfriend before going off to stalk and makeout with his teammate.

Other parts of the series also hit on important parts of history such as segregation, unjust imprisonment of people, and a few others but were understandably not delved into as deeply as other aspects of the story. But given that relationships were playing an important theme into the series, it seems so damn odd that the Korra/Asami/Mako relationship was handled the way it was. I mean, someone fucking committed suicide and murder. SUICIDE AND MURDER. In a damn kid’s show! Yet the romantic relationship stemming from Mako seemed to be largely treated like shit for reasons I can’t even fanthom. Even Iroh and Sato seemed far more interesting than the piece of shit Mako and Korra had become.

I’m just glad for one thing: Asami stuck to her guns. Even though her boyfriend is a dick, she knew that what her father was doing was wrong. She didn’t join him to be spiteful and bitter, but worked with Bolin, Iroh, Naga, and Pabu to take down the Equalists and her father. I was worried that she would join her father, and was ecstatic to see I was wrong and that she is far classier and better than I initially gave her credit for.

I have to stay though, I am curious as to what they will do for season 2. It seemed like it ended with 12 more episodes left to go for season 2… which is confusing given that those 12 episodes could have really been used as excellent filler in further developing the main characters that, in the end, became nothing more than minor characters overshadowed by characters such as Lin, Meelo, Iroh, Tarrlok, and Amon/Noatak.

But if there was one huge positve thing: at least the adults were really awesome in this series than they were in the previous one. Granted General Iroh (the first) and the previous reincarnations of the Avatars were pretty darn awesome, it seems like Legend of Korra is awesome because of the large cast of adults who kick serious ass.

Oh well. Now I am done. Time to go sleep!

 

One thought on “Thoughts on Legend of Korra – Season 1

  1. I am so glad you wrote this! I have had mixed feelings about the series too; however, based on what I’ve read in various places and what I’ve seen myself, I still don’t have a firm grasp on how I felt about the Legend of Korra. Overall, I liked the series. Korra was a strong, female character and a Waterbender!!!! She was rough around the edges, but also vulnerable at times. However, this addresses the nexus of the problem with LoK. The 12 episode format heavily limited the amount of character development which was one of the essential elements that made The Last Airbender so stellar.

    When I initially heard they were developing the Legend of Korra and heard they had a 12-20 something episode limit, I was surprised. How would the writers be able to tell a compelling story while still delving into the individual histories of the characters? This is essentially why LoK felt so hollow and rushed at times. It’s more forgivable to gloss over characters than it is to leave a story unfinished, but with how epic the Last Airbender was in combining both, LoK left much to be desired. From what I’ve read on BG, the creators were given a limit on episodes which would be extended based on demand/success of the series. So essentially, it sounds like they wrote to tell one story with the assumption that there might not be a chance to finish it later (or something along those lines…)

    I could drone on and on (and on…) for ages about what I dis/liked about the series. The story was interesting and I liked that they addressed the non-benders which was something they didn’t really touch on in the Last Airbender; however, it was very rushed due to the episode limit. The greatest flaw and disappointment is the character development though. Many characters ended up being very one-dimensional other than a few details sprinkled here and there. Bolin was comedic relief. That’s all. Asami was a love rival and driven to stop her father. That’s all… (though I liked Asami and applaud her for not turning on her moron of a ex-boyfriend ). Bei Fong was amazing! Korra was rough and insecure. However, the lack of episodes devoted to solely character development (which was common in the first series) really hurt this series.

    Overall, I enjoyed LoK for what it is. The fights were intense. Amon’s identity was a surprise (why Waterbenders… WHY?!) but they didn’t really leave hints. However, I hope the next chapter will expand the characters while still carrying a compelling story.

    Link to the BG forum; it’s actually interesting: https://www.bluegartr.com/threads/103190-Avatar-The-Legend-of-Korra