By Josh Axelrod
Of the two series finales I watched this week, there’s really no question about which one provided the more satisfying ending. “The Newsroom” had kind of a blah finale, which I already wrote about in detail. “Legend of Korra,” on the other hand, closed out Book Four on a strong and kind of shocking note. I’ll give “Korra” the series retrospective it deserves some other time, but for now let’s just dive into the satisfying and action-packed two-part finale.
“Day of the Colossus” began with Bolin digging out everyone in the building Kuvira shot with her spirit cannon. There were no casualties, though Bataar Jr. was knocked unconscious. While Bolin decided it might be best to just give Kuvira Republic City for now and come back later, Korra decided she had to end things that day. Everyone went to Asami’s shop to see if they could make the few remaining flying mech suits operational.
Pema and Wu were still trying to evacuate the city, but Kuvira’s army destroyed the train tracks. Quick summary of this subplot: Wu sang to a bunch of badger moles and got them to dig a tunnel out of Republic City, and then used them to beat up some of Kuvira’s men. Wu actually went out on a pretty useful note, which might be the most surprising development of all.
Team Avatar began its first assault on Kuvira’s giant mech suit. Milo and the airbenders used paint-filled balloons to hinder Kuvira’s eyesight. Lin used the opportunity to try to metalbend into the suit, but it was made of platinum so she couldn’t do anything. Despite some fancy lavabending from Bolin and metalbending from Ming and Wei, Kuvira overpowered them and forced a retreat.
Back at Asami’s shop, she and Varrick continued to work out the kinks in the flying mech suits. Bataar Jr. woke up and apologized to Su for betraying her, and she forgave him. Varrick came really, really close to telling Zhu Li how he felt about her, but was interrupted. He used the same electromagnetic pulse from earlier this season to take out Kuvira’s ground troops, but it had no effect on Kuvira’s mech suit. Varrick told Zhu Li to do the thing, but as she put it, “I’m afraid there are no more things to do.”
Well, almost no more things. It turned out Lin had broken Hiroshi Sato (Asami’s father) out of prison to help take down Kuvira. He said Future Industries had plasma saws which could cut through platinum. Asami and Varrick got to work immediately attaching them to the flying mechs.
The second assault on Kuvira’s suit began with Korra acting as a distraction, airbending through the streets of Republic City with Kuvira’s spirit cannon trained on her. The airbenders joined in, and Tenzin had to save Jinora from a close call with the blast. Ikki and Milo had to save both of them. The earth/metalbenders used the distraction to attack Kuvira with A FREAKING BUILDING, which buried her temporarily.
Asami had a quick moment of bonding with her father where they said “I love you” to each other. More importantly, VARRICK PROPOSED TO ZHU LI. “Will you do the thing for the rest of our lives?” he asked. Of course she said yes, and they finally kissed.
The flying mech suits finally joined the fight and began sawing holes in Kuvira’s armor. They were basically giant flying mosquitos, which Kuvira kept trying to swat. Varrick’s suit was hit, and he and Zhu Li escaped in a parachute. Asami and Hiroshi succeeded in making a hole, but Kuvira was able to swat their mech. Asami got out, but Hiroshi was squished. Asami’s cries were heartbreaking.
“The Last Stand” kicked off with Korra, Mako, Bolin, Lin, and Su inside Kuvira’s mech suit. Mako and Bolin went to take care of the suit’s power source, Su and Lin jumped to the arm to disable the spirit cannon, and Korra headed for Kuvira herself.
Mako and Bolin reached the chamber where the spirit vines powering the suit were. They were attacked by two metalbending soldiers. Su and Lin reached the spirit cannon and were also attacked, but made quick work of their opponents. Su destroyed all the cannisters containing spirit vines. Kuvira lost her connection with the cannon and, realizing it was useless now, removed the entire arm and threw it away. Su and Lin were fine.
Korra began a pretty visually awesome fight with Kuvira. Without the poison or her own self doubts, Korra was able to give her a real test this time.
Mako and Bolin finally dispatched their opponents and tried to disable the power source, but couldn’t. Mako decided he was going to make the vines explode with his lightning. Bolin told him it wasn’t worth risking his life, but Mako wouldn’t budge. They exchanged a quick brotherly hug before Mako zapped the vines. The vines zapped him back, knocking him unconscious. But he succeeded in destabilizing them.
Korra continued her fight with Kuvira, which devolved into wrestling. The two were basically at a stalemate. The vines finally exploded, cutting the mech in half. Every important person escaped, including Mako with the help of Bolin. This was kind of disappointing because Mako sacrificing his life was the most noble way the character could’ve ended his journey. I’m not upset he survived, but it might have added a little more emotional oomph to everything.
Kuvira, separated from her suit, ran into the spirit wilds with Korra in pursuit. Korra ran into a clearing with Kuvira’s spirit cannon pointed right after. The cannon went out of control, and was about to kill Kuvira before Korra stepped in the way. The spirit energy she created while holding off the blast took out a huge chunk of Republic City and opened up a spirit portal which sucked in Korra and Kuvira.
“I see a lot of myself in you,” Korra told Kuvira. Kuvira said she was only trying to help the Earth Kingdom to make sure what happened to her as a child (abandonment) would never happen to them. She wanted to take away both her fear and that of the entire Earth Kingdom. Korra sympathized, and the two exited the spirit portal where everyone was waiting for them.
The spirits returned to Republic City as well in a sign that balance had been achieved again. Kuvira told her army to stand down and said she’ll accept whatever punishment Team Avatar deemed fit for her. She apologized to Su for the anguish she had caused her family, and Su said she’ll pay for all of her crimes.
Cut to Varrick and Zhu Li’s wedding, with Bolin officiating! “You may now do the thing,” said Bolin as the two kiss. SO GREAT.
At the reception, Mako told Wu how proud he was of the way he handled the evacuation. Wu, who clearly matured a bit since we first met him, said he wanted to get rid of the monarchy in the Earth Kingdom and instead have elected leaders. And he didn’t even ruin it by saying something stupid or singing! Go Wu!
Korra and Mako had a cute moment where Korra thanked him for his help in taking down Kuvira. Mako told her he would always have her back no matter how crazy things got. I fully expected them to kiss, but they didn’t. Hold that thought.
Korra snuck away from the party, and Tenzin joined her. He told her that Reiko was going to announce plans to rebuild and expand Republic City. Korra said she bet Aang never imagined a spirit portal in the middle of Republic City, and Tenzin comforted her in yet another cute student/master moment between them. Korra told him she understood now why she had to go through the poison ordeal. “I needed to understand what true suffering was so I could be more compassionate to others,” she said.
Asami interrupted them, and she and Korra sat together. A tear was shed over Asami’s father, and she said she just needed a vacation after everything that happened. Korra agreed, and the two decided to travel into the spirit world. The final shot was of Korra and Asami in the spirit portal, holding hands and staring longingly into each other’s eyes.
Okay, I’m going to fanboy out for a second. KORRASAMI ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I WASN’T CRAZY WHEN KORRA BLUSHED AT ASAMI COMPLIMENTING HER HAIR A FEW EPISODES AGO. NICKELODEON WENT FOR IT WITH A SAME SEX COUPLE. THIS IS MONUMENTAL PEOPLE!!!
Okay, done. Like I said, I’ll get more into “Korra” as a series when I have time to process all of this. But the series finale did everything a series finale should. Every character had a big, emotional moment. The action never ceased to amaze. And, most importantly, there was one big shock at the end. #TeamKorrasami4Ever