Episode Fourteen: “Light in the Dark”
The Republic’s finest ships and zeppelins are circling the city. General Iroh, sultry-toned leader of the United Forces, sits in wait, wondering what kind of enemy he’s about to deal with. In flies UnaVaatu, decimating the ports of Republic City with Spirit Vines of Evil.
Tenzin’s family, safely holed up in an undisclosed location, are watching the action via telescope. “Monster attack!” declares Meelo, resident Fart Bender. Varrick and Zhu Li take this opportunity to break out of jail. Once again, Varrick commands: “Zhu Li! Do the thing!” This time, she jumps onto his back, and they fly the coop on a glider.
While UnaVaatu is trashing the place like a rock star in a hotel room, we cut to Korra, Mako, and Bolin unconscious in the snow. Suddenly, I remember that they’re just kids, tasked with such huge responsibility, and my heart breaks into a million pieces.
Kya brings the three back to life with her master water healing, and Korra fills them in on what happened in the spirit world. All her past lives are gone. The Avatar cycle is over. “I’m the last Avatar. I’m so sorry, Tenzin.”
Tenzin, proving once again to be an amazing male role model for viewers of all ages, admits that he was flawed and had spiritual growth to do. “Let go of what you think you have to be.” He tells Korra that Raava is not what makes her special, but rather her own spirit.
He takes her to the Tree of Time: the roots are thought to bind the spirit and physical worlds together. (One moment of squee here: Korra AIRBENDED into the tree, meaning she still has her skills!)
Inside the Tree of Time, Korra sees all her memories. She has always been strong, unyielding, and fearless, and if she can just reconnect to her own pure spirit, she can still take on UnaVaatu. “Don’t bend the elements, but the energy within yourself.”
Korra gives Tenzin one last hug before her battle. “Thank you for not giving up on me.” And someone must have been cutting some onions during this scene, because the tears just poured out of me.
Korra starts to meditate in the Tree of Time. She sees Wan, and remembers Raava’s lesson on how dark cannot fully destroy light, and light cannot do the same to the dark. They will always coexist. “Find the light in the darkness…” Korra wanders into a beautiful rendition of the pitch-black of space, and finds it. The light looks like her.
She enters the celestial Korra Ball, and her gigantic crystal-blue spirit emerges like Dr. Manhattan, hurtling towards what surely will be the throwdown of not just the century, but the next 10,000 years.
Meelo spots her first, announcing, “Korra’s back! And she’s a blue giant!”
UnaVaatu and Spirit Korra duke it out WWE-style, with chest laser wrestling and body slams into cliffs. Korra initially has the upper hand, but UnaVaatu electroshocks her and starts to spirit-bend her, entwining her in magenta nastiness.
Suddenly, a star falls from the sky. It is Jinora, beatific and beautiful, and she gives Korra a boost of spiritual CPR. Newly energized, Korra finds Raava inside UnaVaatu and pulls her out. Now it’s her turn to spirit-bend Unalaq, in golden light. He dissolves into a thousand golden stars. “Go in peace.”
Korra reunites with her body and also fuses with Raava again. Harmonic Convergence is now over. A brown-skinned girl saves the world, and it was glorious.
Jinora also reunites with her body and wakes up to see her Gran Gran, Asami, and Korra’s parents. “Don’t worry, everyone’s all right. Korra saved the world.”
Korra walks over to her cousins, Eska and Dezna, and offers her condolences.
Korra: “I’m sorry about your father. I couldn’t save him.”
Eska: “It seems like Cousin Korra is under the impression we are saddened by our father’s demise.”
Dezna: “I will not miss him at all. In the end, our father became a deplorable man.”
Eska bids Bolin goodbye as well. It turns out their love did not rebloom after all. “Eternal darkness was upon us. I became caught up in the moment. But, you will always hold a special place in the organ that pumps my blood. I will remember you fondly, my little Turtle Duck.”
Korra starts to close the Spirit Portals, but decides not to. What if humans and spirits were not meant to live apart? Tenzin now defers to her judgement. “There is nothing else I can teach you. You are the Avatar. Whatever your decision, I support you.”
Mako admits he broke up with Korra. She knows already, because she saw the memory in the tree. When she asks him why he didn’t tell her the truth in the first place, he said he didn’t want to hurt her all over again, and confesses that maybe part of him wanted them to be together again. However, Korra earns my undying respect when she replies: “This? Us? Doesn’t work. It’s over. For real this time.” They share one last kiss.
Now it’s press conference time for the Avatar! “The war of the water tribes is over.” Korra’s father Tonraq is named the new chief of the newly-liberated Southern Water Tribe.
The Avatar is no longer the bridge between the spirit and the physical world, although she will still guide the world toward peace and balance. She feels a shift in planet’s energy. “We are entering a new age.” The camera pans to show spirit animals swimming in the sky above the crowd.
Fade to black.
- The graphics were superlative, and the music was spectacular. The Legend of Korra is singlehandedly saving the reputation of American animation. You can quote me on that.
- My favorite Easter egg was seeing Lin Beifong saving the president like a gender-bent Spider-Man, the president clutching onto her like Mary Jane. If she ever gets her own spin-off show, I will die a happy woman.
- Bolin’s best goth girlfriend pickup line ever: “Eska! I love you! Let’s face the end of the world together!” Eska swoons, “You’re so romantic.”
- Tenzin giving Jinora the freedom to choose to stay in the spirit world (and ultimately save the physical world) and Pema cheering her daughter on while holding baby Rohan wins them Parents of the Year in my book.
- The creators have announced that Book 3’s title will be “Change.”
“It’s all about Korra dealing with the change of the world in this point in time. At the end of Book 2 she says it’s a new era. And it really is and we’re going to show how Harmonic Convergence and her battle with Unalaq and Vaatu kind of shifted the world a bit.” — Michael DiMartino
I can’t believe this season is over!
- NOC Recaps The Legend of Korra: When the Isht Goes Down… (thenerdsofcolor.org)