The Legend of Korra: The Last Stand
December 19, 2014 6:42 AM - Season 4, Episode 13 - Subscribe

In a last ditch effort to stop Kuvira and her metal colossus, Korra, Mako, Bolin, Suyin and Lin Beifong, infiltrate the mechanical titan with hopes to bring it down. Korra faces off against Kuvira in one world and then another, while Bolin admits how awesome Mako is, and the two sisters practice invasive surgery on the mech suit. Republic City is changed forever, and perhaps, so, too, American animation, by the incredible conclusion to the television series, Avatar: The Legend of Korra.

Wedding! Dancing! A trip to the Spirit World and two ships that sail into the sunset! A Wu without a Throne!

The Last Stand is available on and for purchase at online digital video retailers, such as Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Google Play.
posted by Atreides (68 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
They just...they did the thing.

(this kinda blurs both episode together, because I wrote it right after seeing both)

Fights right left and centre, all the elements you wanted to see, all the bending you wanted to see, crazy airbending shenanigans, fierce metalbending, the power of a river against a giant robot, lavabending and wallbending, and Mako's smooth firebending moves. The final destruction of the robot, and the gun, and creation of the spirit portal.

The power of family, with the Beifong sisters working together so effortlessly, Mako and Bolin kicking ass ("you don't need to prove you're awesome - you are awesome"), Meelo and Ikki saving Jinora and Tenzin, and the Satos, oh the Satos, breaking my heart all over again. Junior being redeemed and Kuvira asking for forgiveness...

Korra growing up. Korra realising that even when she hurts, she can't lash back out. That everything can't be solved with a punch. Korra becoming the Avatar we all knew she could be.

Wu showing that he can be a leader, with badgermoles! And singing! And more badgermoles! And democracy! But mostly badgermoles. Part of me feels bad for Pema, because she obviously has spent far too much time around small children (oh my god, seriously? The button game?). But at the same time, it's lovely to see her take charge in things.

Zhuli and Varrick being the partners we knew they could be - with their wedding! With Bolin officiating! And Pabu! I'm so delighted by that, and I see nothing but exciting Iron Man-esque adventures for them from now on.

(As an aside, did you see Ikki taking Huan out onto the dancefloor? Totally hanging out with Ryu and Huan at the Little Ba Sing Se mall.)

(Another aside, Tahno playing the trombone! And some of that swingin' jazz from the Book 1 soundtrack!)

And then...the ending.


I thought due South got it good when Fraser and Ray rode off together on a dogsled, seeking adventure. We have Korra and Asami going off into the spirit world together. Holding hands. Surrounded by light. With this music in the background.

I'm not tearing up. I'm at work. But I might watch it again tomorrow and have a good proper cry.

It was wonderful. It's been wonderful.

Thanks, everyone.
posted by Katemonkey at 6:48 AM on December 19, 2014 [7 favorites]

KORRASAMI FOREVER. Also, apparently the best way to get rid of side characters is to give them a musical career (Tahno, Prince Wu). Geez, Bryke, way to torture us all with that "king" stuff till the very end. Earth Republic, yeah!

Will Mako be the next Chief? Probably, but it would be nice if he wasn't FOREVER ALONE like Lin so I'm hoping he meets a nice girl.

Was Kuvira bending mercury at Korra??

Does every Avatar leave behind a string of demoralized, imprisoned enemies? I guess? Korra has certainly racked up her share. Also, Su, ease up. She surrendered. She knows she's "going to pay." Poor Jr. I hope he finds some kind of good life for himself.

But mostly: KORRASAMI, YA'LL.
posted by emjaybee at 6:48 AM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seriously, is there ANY other long-form television show that nailed the ending as perfectly as both Avatar and Korra have? Lost and Galactica can go suck it, this is how you tell a story. THIS.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:59 AM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Wait, wait, thought of something else.

Book 4 is Balance, right?

From what I can vaguely remember from the map, Republic City is pretty darn close to the Equator. So now there's a spirit portal there. A balance between the North Pole and the South Pole.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:38 AM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I was disappointed with Mako's season 4 arc, such as it was, but after the finale I feel better about it. I really liked his clip show realization that he needed to figure out who he was absent a relationship, and his finale sacrifice, doing the right thing for its own sake, really drove that home and in retrospect made it believable that his presence had been so transformative for Wu.

I like Mako and Korra as just friends and I'm glad the series ended on that note for them, but Korra's ending with Asami felt more rushed than the rest of the finale, which is really saying something. It's cool that it happened -- both Korra and Asami deserved to be happy, and the world at large deserves same sex relationships depicted in mass media -- but I wish the series had ended with her talking to Tenzin if that was the best they could do for Korra and Asami. Somebody please link me to bigots losing their shit so I can be gleeful thanks.

The "I needed to learn compassion" bit would have worked better had she not demonstrated compassion towards Tarrlok three seasons ago (he had to talk her out of breaking him out of his cell, remember?).

Like 1970s Antihero says, by the standards of multi-season TV shows this was a great ending, and maybe better than Avatar despite the final Agni Kai (Aang was so frustrating that I was rooting for Ozai), but compared to the ending to Korra's first season (when it was meant to be a standalone series) I think they tried to do too much too quickly this time. It was a hard dismount and they stuck the landing, but they wobbled.

I loved the resolution to the Varrick/Zhu Li story, I loved the Asami/Hiroshi reconciliation, I loved the cockpit fight, I loved that the giant mech gave so much of the cast of characters something to do, and I love every damn thing Suyin does both as a super-ninja and as a mom.
posted by OnSecondThought at 8:41 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

The animation was really good, especially the spirit bomb at the end. I'm glad they managed to give the finale the budget it deserved.

I'm also glad they managed to resolve the story organically, without resorting to anything you could call a "deus ex machina."
posted by Small Dollar at 12:07 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Entertaining finale to say the least. I'm relieved no one brought up Mako and Korra's prior relationship problems which I'm still trying to forget because Book 2 was disappointing and I'd rather not. Although, I'm glad Asami got better but her character arc never went anywhere other than meeting her father in jail and the final plan. OK maybe there's just too many side characters and not enough time which changed my POV too.

Prince Wu was ...OK. I liked the brother's fighting side by side again and along with all the airbenders (but I thought they were supposed to be neutral?). Varrick well, what can I say? He's just Varrick until the end. Sigh, Zhu Li is one amazing partner if she can tolerate him for that long even if he is a genius.

Kuvira is believeable? The exact word is escaping me atm but I think I understand how and why caused her to follow this plan. Yes, but it doesn't make her thinking correct but it's better than most villain's backstories in series which falls under Bad Childhood.

Final thoughts on Korra, who has been through quite a lot in the entirety, and I'm happy she can take a vacation finally.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 12:28 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

During the final scene I was literally screaming at my computer: DO THE THING !!!!

and then THEY DID THE THING !!!!

So I guess I liked the ending :-)
posted by Pendragon at 2:25 PM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

I am pretty satisfied with the ending. I think the fights were dynamic and fun and while I think Kuvira lost some depth as the season went along, she was still a satisfying and complex villain. I feel like she just got caught up in what she was doing to the point where she couldn't stop.

I liked seeing Mako and Bolin working together again. And Tenzin's whole family working together and the Beifong sisters ... there was definitely a huge current of families working with each other. That was cool. Family has always been an important aspect of this show, but it felt natural and earned.

But yay for Korra and Asami! I think some people are going to complain that it didn't go far enough, that they should've kissed, but the way I see it, they're not sure what they are to each other yet. Not completely, anyway. And after Korra's ups-and-downs with Mako and even Bolin, it was nice to see her go into something with some thoughtfulness. It didn't feel forced. It didn't feel like fanservice. It felt like a natural progression of the connection those two characters have. I'm into it.
posted by darksong at 2:27 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

That was an extremely satisfying ending!
posted by Arbac at 2:50 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

But yay for Korra and Asami! I think some people are going to complain that it didn't go far enough, that they should've kissed, but the way I see it, they're not sure what they are to each other yet. Not completely, anyway. And after Korra's ups-and-downs with Mako and even Bolin, it was nice to see her go into something with some thoughtfulness. It didn't feel forced. It didn't feel like fanservice. It felt like a natural progression of the connection those two characters have. I'm into it.

This echoes my feelings exactly.
OK, maybe with a little more Korrasami squee on my part. :D
brb, need to go make a tumblr and put screenshots all over it

posted by NMcCoy at 3:20 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've never seen a show nail the finale so perfectly. They even got Tahno and the goon cops from season 2 in there!
posted by Peccable at 4:13 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Actually, I always felt that the kiss at the end of Avatar TLA was forced, well, I found the whole romance kinda squicky. They were too young! Even like, three years older wouldn't have bothered me. I mean, yeah, ok, I get the crush Aang had, but hey, he'd been living with monks before he was frozen for 100 years, when's the last time he'd seen a pretty girl? And Katara was always amazing. I just wish they'd both been a little older so that I didn't cringe at the romance, because I really did cringe.

Basically, I wish the weirdly-adult romance bits of Aang and Katara had happened for Korra and Asami instead. I would still be ok with Aang and Katara growing up, having an adult relationship, etc. Just...not by the end of ATLA.

/end rant
posted by emjaybee at 4:21 PM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Actually, I always felt that the kiss at the end of Avatar TLA was forced, well, I found the whole romance kinda squicky.

I think part of the problem with this is a confounded sense of elapsed time. Aang and Katara feel and look 12/14 (to me, anyway) at the beginning of Book 1. They look and act 14/16 to me at the end of Book 3 -- and three years have elapsed for the viewers. Squint just a little to spot them some maturity as young people who've shouldered a considerable amount of responsibility, and they look a lot like high school sweethearts.

Except, of course, canon is that the events of ATLA happen within a single year. So Aang is 13 max, and 13 sure feels like a kid; many boys aren't even interested in girls at that point. :/
posted by weston at 5:13 PM on December 19, 2014

Aang did spend a century as a popsicle so while he may look young, that lost time took a toll on his body so he was probably long overdue in experiencing love.
posted by Seboshin at 1:52 AM on December 20, 2014

Thank you, Tumblr.

If I don't get a modern-day set series involving Ikki being a crazy old lady in wildly coloured flowing robes (because she's far too frail for the airsuits now), surrounded by art made by Huan and Ryu (who started collaborating on kinetic sculptures that focused on metal and air), and constantly taking her great-nieces and nephews out for wild adventures in the Earth Republic...

I'll just have to spend hours upon hours daydreaming about it.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:13 AM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Also, Su, ease up. She surrendered. She knows she's "going to pay."

Well, Kuvira pretty much destroyed Republic City, tried to kill Su's entire family several times on that day alone, and did kill a few other people (all those poor sailors!). I think a bit of twisting the knife is in order.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:36 PM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

they're not sure what they are to each other yet. Not completely, anyway

I was reading through the korrasami tag on tumblr earlier, and I saw this idea a couple times. I think it's the right one. Their romantic relationship has developed very slowly compared to other pairings on the show, in subtle enough ways that some people legitimately missed it/didn't see it coming. That's partly due to the pressures of making a children's show on Nickelodeon, but also I think that Korra and Asami weren't looking for this either. The relationship crept up on them as much as it did much the audience, and I think they're taking it slowly and figuring it out one step at a time.

What does it mean to be queer in the world of Avatar? We can assume it exists, that Korra and Asami aren't unique, but we haven't seen it before and neither have those two. They don't have any role models to base their behavior on. They have to find it for themselves, and they will, but it's going to take time. A kiss would have been very satisfying, but wouldn't have actually reflected the state of their relationship.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 6:23 PM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm so HAPPY with the ending. I wish they'd had another episode/season/tenhundredcenturies to do more - that Kuvira and the resolution in the Spirit World had been a little deeper - but I'm just so HAPPY to have that final scene with Korra and Asami together. My son is laughing at me for bursting into happy tears at that final scene, but after the silly-sweetness of the wedding, that was just - yes. YES!
posted by viggorlijah at 8:13 PM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

I had to unfollow someone on Tumblr who is VERY ANGRY about the Korrasami thing, not because gayness=bad, but because they think it violated the story/plotting, and so on (so they said).

And I just shrug. How many conventional hero tales end with "...and then the beautiful princess who had barely had time to talk to him kissed him and swore her love?" So many. I mean, yes, it wasn't as smooth and organic as it should have been, I think because it wasn't planned from the beginning and also because of all the problems the series had with Nickelodeon. Part of me wonders if, rather than being "fanservice", Korrasami was partly created by the shit Nickelodeon put them through, and they followed a plot path they might not have if they didn't want to give Nick the middle finger so badly.

Which is how progress happens. Messily, unplanned, imperfect. I don't care. It was important and it needed to happen and this was as good a show as any for it to do so. It was a gift to those of us who put up with so much nonsense just to support a show we loved.

In retrospect so much of the problems I had with the show itself were first-draft-type problems, that could have been smoothed out if the writers had been given more time and support. So much was unresolved, or unexplained, or confusing about what happened to the various characters that was frustrating in a way ATLA wasn't.

In a perfect world, they could go back and write transitional episodes that made it flow, that made the relationships and plots feel more inevitable. With no clip shows.

I need some time, maybe a few months, and then I need to rewatch the entire series, to see if the same things bother me when I watch it all together.
posted by emjaybee at 9:13 PM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Korra's final scene with Mako is also interesting. It's not romantic, or even friendship really. He's declaring his loyalty to her, as a soldier to his commander.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 6:25 AM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I thought Korrasami was pretty well foreshadowed: the end of last season when was nursing an injured Korra, Korra writing only to Asami and not Mako or Bolin, Korra blushing when Asami compliments her new haircut, and in general, the amount of physical contact between the two of them.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:24 AM on December 21, 2014 [6 favorites]

For those who are interested, finally got my thoughts down concerning this episode! Hurray?

I put myself into a discussion black out (as much as possible), so I haven't read any, er, I shall be diving in promptly tomorrow! I look forward to 'em, huzzah!
posted by Atreides at 5:46 PM on December 21, 2014



This show was kind of exhausting for me because it was so awesome at depicting horrible suffering and I didn't really feel like "now you know about suffering" totally made me feel like -OK well that was worth it! YAY! I mean why did all the other people suffer then? Is it only the avatar who has a divine reason to suffer and everyone else it just happens do? And if there are all these spirits why do none other than rava feel like helping out? The spirits are all totally indifferent to suffering beings? I didn't expect all these questions answered-- it was a TOTALLY FREAKING AWESOME series all the same and since none of us in general really know the answers to these things, I think it did a good job of wish fulfillment of what the power of compassion could do if it really had the strength behind it that we wish it did (and I do think our dreams can drive manifestations in reality so.. dreaming big is good!)

I was still trying to cheer up and not really quite there because I was thinking, gosh it seems like being the only being who can bring harmony would be a terrible fate and she doesn't even have a life partner to look forward to like Aang... and where is aang why can't she talk to him/that part of herself,remember him yet still??!!!

I still feel like these show delved into dark waters that were more murky than could really bring a happy finish to myself emotionally- however, that is how life is sometimes and it seems perfect to do the show that way.

And I saw the asami vibes big time-- I was thinking about that but didn't think they would really do it. They were sitting and talking and I was like OMG in my heart they will go be lovers whatever the show does.. AND THEN THEY DID!!

Oh now I'm crying again. I love it.
posted by xarnop at 7:22 PM on December 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

So now that the story's concluded, I've been wondering if we need to

Specifically, hairstyles. They are very imporatant in the Avatar universe. Aang shaving his head was obviously a big deal to him in terms of his identity (as evidenced by his distress when it grew out while he was sick). Katara never lost her "hair loopies" and Sokka kept some form of wolf-tail his whole life. Toph has the same hairstyle now (except for one scene when it was down) as she did when she was 12. Lin and Su have the same hairstyles they did when they were younger. Zuko's hair was unkempt while he was "outcast" but went back to the traditional Firelord style once he was crowned, and stayed that way. Jinora modified her hairstyle slightly to show her tattoos. And so on.

Korra, too, started with a very distinctive 3-ponytail style from when she was a small child. She cut it, like Zuko, and for similar reasons, but there's no certainty now that she will grow it back. Some of the younger folks do seem to experiment more. Huan colors his hair (and so does Bolin's former costar). Meelo grew his hair out; will he shave when he gets his tats? Ikki modified hers slightly as she got older, still keeping elements of her childhood style. We already know that not every airbender shaves their head; in fact, most don't, and one even dyes his hair. Does this have significance in this world as as sign of change, or am I overthinking this plate of beans?
posted by emjaybee at 9:38 PM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

You are awesomely overthinking this.

I think it does have significance as a sign of chance - a technological change.

As it becomes easier to dye and change your hair, then it becomes more common to do such a thing. Huan obviously spends hours getting his Skrillex hair just right, Ryu tried it (while living in Zaofu shut up I can still believe), but obviously, his roots are growing out something fierce.

I bet Meelo is only growing his hair out just because he can then shave it when he gets his tattoos.
posted by Katemonkey at 6:08 AM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

You are definitely not wasting time over thinking it. The styles are reflective on their characters and purposefully so, they aren't just randomly chosen by the animators. One example is Zhu Li. She wears her hair up in virtually every frame we have of her except one, when she admits to Varrick how much she loves him. She literally let her hair down for that important moment.

Arguably, Jinora's graduation to master air bender represented a step into maturity, hence the more mature haircut. Meelo ceased being as infantile as he was in the earlier books, thus left the bald baby look behind to grow out a nice head of hair. Tenzin specifically identifies the bald head as the traditional and necessary look for men of the air nomad population and never deviates from it, which also reflects his character. The struggle with identity is exactly as you mentioned with Aang and his hair, it isn't a style, it literally is part of who and what he identifies with, particularly when he's the last of his kind. Incidentally, the guru who meets him in the air temple to help him understand the spirituality that underlines a lot of air bender belief...also has a bald head.

The foppish style of Tanoh of the Wolfbats is used to express his vanity, and obviously, the more professional and restrained hair styles of Mako, Asami and Bolin all represent their maturity after three years. The haircuts of Kuvira's men and Baatar, Jr., all reflect a desire to be of one identity with Kuvira's message.

You could write a paper on it. Seriously.

This show was kind of exhausting for me because it was so awesome at depicting horrible suffering and I didn't really feel like "now you know about suffering" totally made me feel like -OK well that was worth it! YAY! I mean why did all the other people suffer then? Is it only the avatar who has a divine reason to suffer and everyone else it just happens do?

Gawds, I meant to touch on this in my recap and completely forgot. Thank you for mentioning this! Korra's discussion with Tenzin about needing to have suffered so she could understand others had various echoes, be it Christianity or Buddhism. In Christianity, Christ suffered for humanity, so he could save them. The purpose being that God sent his son to be human so he could understand and identify with humanity. Korra was symbolically crucified at the end of Book 3 by the Red Lotus when she was hanged from the cavern walls and had metal driven into her limbs. She recovered then to bring salvation to the world (or at least stopped Kuvira). Now, I don't think the writers really intended to make that comparison (but you never know), but what I do think they intended to do was touch upon the Buddhist belief of Dukkha, or suffering. (I am not a Buddhist, so if there are more knowledgeable individuals on Buddhism, please step forward!)

Coincidentally, the guru who Aang met touches upon this philosophy of Dukkha. It's about recognizing that suffering exists, what the cause of the suffering is, the that suffering can be overcome, and how to overcome that suffering.

When Korra discusses how her suffering has helped her reach a place where she can reach others, it's as if she's emerged through this process and can now move on into the world, as she told Tenzin, to do so many more things, as a fully balanced person and Avatar.

Wu and the Badger Moles

Sweet kickback to the Cave of Two Lovers from the original series with the singing and the badgermoles. What's also awesome is the symbolism of Wu's relationship with the badger moles, which he's been kind of obsessed with forever, but now in real life, he's actually communicating with and being approved by them. As you may or may not recall, a giant badger mole decorates the throne to the Earth Kingdom, it's the symbol of royal power. Wu's actions and character in this entire b-plot of the finale has raised him to the point where he could be worthy of the throne and here, he has a throne of badger moles. It's also fantastic that his catchphrase, "Wu Down!" is now applicable to his planned action to step down from the throne.

If no one had yet to pick up on the comparison between Kuvira and Korra, and still haven't, then may God have mercy on your soul. I won't go into details (see the recap for sleep inducement), but in another Avatar finale, we have the protagonist and antagonist bathed blue and red light respectively. Both Avatars found a non-lethal way to stop their enemy and both heroes called upon a power that they only recently learned to do so.

Bolin whipping out the Ghazan flying lava blade move. Next up, Varrick's version of Krull!

A very cool thing someone pointed out on Reddit, both Korra and Aang are wearing necklaces with three feathers (or ornaments) hanging down from a large disc. If Bryke isn't setting everything up to specifically mirror the first finale, then this world is crazy. And of course, that leads into the Katara and Aang ending compared against Korra and Asami.

Korrasami. I didn't need it to happen, I wasn't eagerly praying for it to happen, but it blew my mind when it did. I was just relieved she didn't end up with Mako. I join the thinkers in that I felt there was significantly enough of a pebbled path laid down to justify the end, especially given that Korra's earlier, other relationship was built almost entirely on a crush at first sight scenario. Is this result any less sincere?

I'm still coming to terms with the end of the show. It was a truly satisfying ending which is rare, as others have commented, especially in television.

Also, the very last (?) Republic City Dispatch podcast is officially up.
posted by Atreides at 7:39 AM on December 22, 2014 [6 favorites]

Korra's final scene with Mako is also interesting. It's not romantic, or even friendship really.

I think in that bit writers are really trying to make Mako more understandable and punctuate the end of his arc. He's been one of the less-loved protagonists ... he's been labelled wooden, empty, douchey, dorky, etc. And because he's not really an emotive character (except in short outbursts of frustration), it's really hard to tell if the charges are true.

For me, this plus the clips episode spells out what's been going on: the tension in his character has pretty much been between responsibility and ambition. Probably in no small part shaped by who he had to be as a literally hungry street urchin, and one who has a younger brother to watch out for, no less.

So when we meet him in Book 1, he's heavy on the hunger/ambition. The Avatar as a teammate and Asami as a romantic interest make a *lot* of (perhaps not consciously) calculated sense given that context. But Korra's reliability as a teammate, both in the ring and outside when he needs help recovering Bolin probably draw her inside his sense of responsibility/loyalty. And what really pushes him over the edge, despite his promising relationship with Asami, towards Korra? When Korra needs him.

So he dials back his ambitions a bit. "Avatar's Boyfriend" isn't pro-bending fame and industrial riches, but some modest fame plus the family-like Avatar support tribe. Police officer is a modest ambition and higher responsibility profession, too. But what breaks up his relationship with Korra? Blurry sense of responsibility: responsibility to keep Korra honest (when she just wants to get things done), responsibility to those he reports to as a public servant. And between the internal fact and Korra's bad habit of amping up the issue, they break up.

I think it's pretty clear going into Book 3 that really disorients him and he's a little lost. What does he fall back to? He wants to fall back to his job duties. But he's drawn back in by responsibility to the Avatar support tribe. Eventually to caretaking/responsibility for Wu. And there's really very little ambition in all of this by the end, so his closing words are essentially an expression of where he's ended up: at the form of responsibility/caretaking we might label as duty.

I hope he doesn't end there, but it's a good progression. We started with a Mako who had a tenuous place in the world and his ambition to overcome that could make him unreliable even when he didn't want to be. He found a place and a tribe and he's made valuable contributions there consistently. Not a bad place for a now experienced and talented young man to start something new.
posted by weston at 3:38 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Haha, 1970s Antihero, you beat me to it!

Hey, Atreides/all I was wondering; is the Korrasami thing big enough to be a Mefi post? It's kind of a big deal for a kid's show. Especially now that the creators have confirmed it.
posted by emjaybee at 5:34 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Up until now, I would have said Korrasami was clearly communicated, but not clearly defined. The creators have now reduced that particular ambiguity.
posted by weston at 5:45 PM on December 22, 2014

Yeah I'm debating on a fpp. Lord knows there's enough news about it now. But considering we want to do one on the 10 year anniversary...

Instead, it's nearly 4:30 in the morning, I don't know why I'm awake, but I've just had two show runners confirm a same-sex relationship for a MAIN CHARACTER ON AN AMERICAN CHILDREN'S TV SHOW, and I'm thinking of all the kids who are going to think of this as just NORMAL and they're not "best friends" or, God, "cousins" (Sailor Moon, I am so looking at you), and...

Yes. Of yes.

As an aside? My husband has only seen up to Book 2. Oh my God, keeping him spoiler free is KILLING ME.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:26 PM on December 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

Oh thank God. He just texted me going "Why has the internet exploded with Korrasami?" And let me spoil him.

posted by Katemonkey at 5:27 AM on December 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have been debating an FPP for Korrassami, myself. Now that Bryke have come out and posted two great comments on why they did what they did and how it happened, in addition to the numerous articles (I'd include Joanna Robinson's Vanity Fair piece, as it obviously got the seal of approval of Mike), I think it's perfect time for an FPP.

Speaking of those comments, they pretty much put anyone in denial in their place. Pureeeetty rad. Also, Varrick and Zhu-Li, wasn't planned!
posted by Atreides at 6:50 AM on December 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ohes, and we can time a FPP for the 10th anniversary of ATLA to coincide with the re-watch, perhaps hook some folks in that way. Ahem.
posted by Atreides at 6:51 AM on December 23, 2014

*cracks knuckles, gets to writing the Korrasami FPP*
posted by Katemonkey at 7:05 AM on December 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

Someone needs to make that FPP happen.

Forever this:
"But mostly: KORRASAMI, YA'LL."
posted by Fizz at 8:10 AM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Apparently someone did and I'm fine with that.

Also, I mentioned it over in that thread but I'll mention it again: the only thing that would make me squee even more is if they had held hands and gone into the spirit world on a polar bear dog.
posted by Fizz at 8:28 AM on December 24, 2014

%n: " I'm thinking of all the kids who are going to think of this as just NORMAL and they're not "best friends" or, God, "cousins" (Sailor Moon, I am so looking at you),"

My 7 year old boy, for one.
posted by signal at 8:32 AM on December 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

For the record, the FPP is here.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:03 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

So there's a new piece over at Comics Alliance, and it hits on some of the reasons I love Korra, flawed though it is:

It’s tempting to say that The Legend of Korra smashes these restrictions–but that implies a certain level of attention. Korra, rather, acts as though they don’t exist. Why couldn’t a single, grumpy, fifty-something policewoman be one of the major supporting characters in an all-ages fantasy tale? Why couldn’t the heroine be a dark-skinned, visibly muscular tomboy? Why couldn’t you create a fictional world with absolutely no white people in it? Why couldn’t that become one of the most celebrated television sagas of the last decade—something people of every age and background watch?

I wish so much that I had a show like this when I was little.

I don't have much else to say (KORRASAMI LIVES); I was going to quibble and nitpick, but really, I'm satisfied with the ending.

Also, Atreides, thank you for your wonderful posts and recaps, even though I wasn't able to post in all of them.
posted by supermassive at 5:27 PM on December 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'd kind of wandered away from Korra during the start of the second season because the Eska/Bolin thing was giving me all sorts of "isn't domestic violence hi-larious" vibes but kept an eye on the fandom. The latest fandom explosion made me actually go back and catch up all the way to the end because I wanted to see if the relationship between Asami and Korra was cannon or just really strong fannon. I could see it from their interaction I'd seen even that early, but was skeptical that Nickelodeon would ever allow anything but subtext. Frankly, except for the creators statements, the relationship still did have one foot in subtext and the other foot only hovering over text. But even strong subtext of two bisexual girls getting together as a natural thing is so much in the right direction, I'm happy.

Also, letting a friendship slowly bloom into a partnership is going to be so much healthier for Korra. Her impetuousness is half of what killed her relationship with Mako, and seems to be as deeply seated in her as Aangs tendency to flightiness (which clearly stuck with him into adulthood.) Even if a more passionate early relationship would be satisfying to the viewers, in character, its the gentle, thoughtful decisions that turn out well for her.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:43 PM on December 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Okay, so, because I am far too fond of soap opera plots, here is my epic Kuvira theory.

Kuvira is Lin and Tenzin's daughter. The only person who knows is Toph.

Kuvira is around Junior's age, so she would have been born while Aang was still around and Lin and Tenzin were still a couple.

Lin accidentally gets pregnant, but doesn't want to keep the baby, because she's working her way up the force, she can't deal with all the expectations that come with "continuing the airbender line", and she knows she's not cut out for motherhood.

She doesn't want this kid to grow up like she did. So she doesn't tell Tenzin. The only two people who know about the baby are Katara and Toph. She goes away "to visit her grandparents", and the baby girl is safely adopted away. Thankfully, both Toph and Katara can feel that the baby is an earthbender, so luck is on their side.

Lin goes back to work, but the relationship between her and Tenzin is totally frayed. And they kinda break up in that "we just drifted apart" way, but she still come over all the time to hang out.

Then Aang dies and Tenzin starts freaking out about his future and how he needs to have ALL THE AIRBABIES. That's when it's an argument like nothing else and it's over. Full stop. Tenzin meets Pema, Lin goes about her business, and no one mentions the baby.

Who is happily growing up in Zaofu. She knows she's adopted, but she doesn't know anything about her birth parents and it doesn't matter because her parents love her and everything is perfect. They discover she's a metalbender, and she starts taking lessons with Suyin.

Then there's an accident. And her parents are just...gone. And no one can explain why and no one can give her a reason and Su adopts her and raises her, but she knows she's a charity case and that if it wasn't for her metal bending, she'd be in the orphanage or with another family.

So the resentment builds. And she doesn't know her past. No one does. Except for Toph, who felt it through the banyan tree but won't say a word.

And that's my Kuvira theory.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:19 AM on December 26, 2014 [7 favorites]

Okay I'm just going to keep on posting all the ridiculous thoughts that are in my head here, because otherwise I'd have to post them to Reddit and they're still in the "oh my God I'm a straight man and this same-sex relationship has changed me forever" phase.

So downtown Republic City is gone, right? Does that include Little Ba Sing Se? Is the mall gone? Have we lost our food court, reasonably priced fashion, upscale boutiques, and the Royal Palace Number One Buffet?

Now where are Ikki and Ryu going to hang out?
posted by Katemonkey at 1:04 AM on December 30, 2014

Well, I should think a fair amount of the destroyed area had already been partially depopulated due to the vine problem. Some of those things had probably moved to the outskirts already.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:30 AM on December 30, 2014

Hm, if real life is any guide, most mall-like shopping centers were established away from downtown. It's possible Little Ba Sing Se survived!

In a weird, perfect world, Zaheer is allowed out on probation, but the only job he can find is working as the guy who makes the announcements over the mall's shopping intercom system, "Bosco's Buffett has now replenished the egg noodles, which were a favorite of Guru Laghima, someone you probably never heard of, who lived thousands of years ago..."
posted by Atreides at 8:51 AM on December 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

Don't forget that when they need the decorations changed, he's the best person to get to the high ceilings.

Release your earthly tethers, and stick that polar bear dog on top of the chandelier, will you?
posted by Katemonkey at 1:20 PM on December 30, 2014 [5 favorites]

So my husband has now seen all of Book 3, and I showed him the trailer for Book 4 last night.

He saw the human-sized mechas and said "This is going to be giant robots again, isn't it?"

And I coughed and did not say a word, because I knew he was thinking robot suits and not GIANT FUCKING ROBOT OF DOOOOOOOOOM and I really don't want to spoil that surprise for him.

(And I did so well with Book 3 too! I didn't even make Guru Laghima jokes, and let him think Tenzin was totally on a death watch, and all he knew was that the Earth Queen died, so everything just blew him away.

With Book 4, he knows it ends with Korra and Asami walking off into the sunset and that Varrick and Zhu Li get married, but I'm trying very hard to not spoil anything else.)
posted by Katemonkey at 1:15 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I envy him, but not you. It must be hard to contain the squeeee!
posted by Atreides at 6:59 AM on January 14, 2015

Yeah, I'm going to keep posting in here.

I'm loving how the Korrasami fandom are repeating a lot of the tropes I used to see in Buffy Willow/Tara fandom. Holy smokes, so much of the same sort of thing.

So many mystical pregnancies! I don't know why Asami always has to be the one to carry the spirit world babies, but do I mind? Nope. It's ridiculous and delightful.

I love how much polite almost-gen there is. With light kissing and blushing and touching of hair. The only problem is that while there's all this "Kama Sutra of hand holding" stuff going on, all the delightfully filthy well-written stuff isn't being written.

And I don't know if I love it, except maybe as a "I knew this would happen again, I am always right and I have been in too many fandoms for far far far too long", but the whole "I am a straight man who has just discovered that fictional lesbian relationships aren't just like the ones I see in pornography and I love them soooooooo much, they are so much more above me and my filthy depraved male ways..." It's interesting to see it again.

I really didn't think we'd ever get "lesbians are a higher form of being" again, but then I didn't count on a reincarnated master of the elements falling in love with her best friend, did I?

Thank God the series ended before they got a cat.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:17 AM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

They already have a dog (who apparently was not invited to the Spirit World).

So has your husband been kind of affected in noticing hints or build ups between Korra and Asami based on his knowledge of the end result?

I'll confess, I was never a big fan of Willow and Tara. I just loved the relationship between Willow and Oz and at the time, thought the conversion to lesbian came fairly out of no where (discounting evil/Mirror world Willow)....oi, that sounds familiar now, doesn't it? If a Buffy rewatch starts, I think I'll definitely watch it with fresh eyes to see if I was just blind to more hints being dropped.

In other news...erm, which would be helpful to folks who complete their watch of the Last Stand, it seems that Jeremy Zuckerman is hinting that soundtracks might be on the way.
posted by Atreides at 7:27 AM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Soundtracks? ♥ ♥ ♥

Honestly, I've been a Korra/Asami girl since Book 1, because that's how I roll and if there's an opportunity for homoerotic subtext, I don't just run with it, I dive off the cliff with it in my arms as all of canon explodes around me.

So the husband is so used to me taking every interaction they have as proof of their True Love that I don't think he can't not notice hints. It just means that, occasionally, he makes the jokes before I get a chance to.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:36 AM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

So we're all caught up now. There were tears shed, there were gasps, there was a giant fucking robot, and now we're just sad that there's no more Korra to watch.

Except, obviously, when we start discussing Book 2 of ATLA here, we'll start watching that. Again.

(Book 1 was watched before we started Book 2 of LOK, since I wanted to make sure he got the full Northern Water Tribe experience.)
posted by Katemonkey at 3:05 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

The soundtrack always deserves ♥

Meanwhile, here is something I can't stop thinking about. Surnames.

So we know that the Earth Kingdom/Empire/Republic uses surnames. This is obvious due to Beifongs. And Zhuli is probably Earth Kingdom as well, with the surname Moon.

The Satos look like they might be Fire Nation, but they might also be old colonials who have blended with Earth Kingdom traditions.

And now with Ignik Blackstone Varrick, we know that the Southern Water Tribe has surnames.

So how do surnames work in this universe? Does Korra have a surname? What's Mako & Bolin's? (Since, obviously, they have a very large Earth Kingdom family) Do Aang's kids have surnames? I'm guessing Aang didn't, because it seems like the Air Nomads would let go of the earthly tethers of their ancestors, but Katara and Sokka must have, and that would mean those kids do.

What about Fire Nation royalty? I'm guessing not, because Iroh II is known as General Iroh, but could it be that everyone is just calling him General Iroh because they grew up calling him Prince Iroh?

This is hurting my brain and I'm going to spend forever keeping track of people's names until I figure it out. And it could have all been prevented by just not giving Varrick a first and middle name. Dammit.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:06 AM on January 20, 2015

I've tried not to wrestle with surnames. Seriously, it makes my head hurt.

I do think with the Satos, they are supposed to be descended from Colonials and it's implied that Asami's mother may have been Earth Kingdom. (I THINK THIS IS TRUE - But I'm down four hours of sleep and a pint of blood).

I think the answers you're looking for depend a lot on some of the cultures our characters are based around. Obviously, in a city of millions like Republic City, people would be encouraged to get a last name if only to avoid a phone book with thousands of Wus with nothing to differentiate between them. We could argue that prior to the greater urbanization on going in the world of the Avatar, surnames were not simply that important to adopt because they were just not needed for day to day life. With the exception of Ba Sing Se, there really were no great cities where surnames would have a need to pop out of no where.

I'm curious about Zhu Li Moon, as I assumed she was also Water Tribe, too. Then again, Varrick's background, having a farm (What? Where are the water tribe farms?) is something not within our normal understanding of the people he's from. It's entirely possible that maybe Varrick is much more a creation of himself than of his people and so we can ignore his last name (and middle last name). Were there any occasions where Sokka was formally addressed with regard to his relationship to his father?

For the most part with the Water Tribes, I kind of suspected it was generally, "Katara of the Southern Water Tribe" or "Tonraq of the Northern Water Tribe."

As is, it seems that surnames, at least in ATLA, existed to a degree to confer a level of eliteness or power on the family who had them.
posted by Atreides at 9:03 AM on January 20, 2015

But if if if Korra doesn't have a surname, then how can it be the Sato-[Name] family with all the adopted babies?????

This is obviously important. And they would totally double-barrel that.
posted by Katemonkey at 9:21 AM on January 20, 2015

The babies just take the Sato name, except when they're in the Water Tribes, where they're known as "Korra's kids" or "X son of Korra the Avatar or Y daughter of Korra the Avatar."

Actually, is there a reference given to Tenzin being addressed as the son of Aang or the son of the Avatar?
posted by Atreides at 9:24 AM on January 20, 2015

Finally got around to finishing this, another in my series of uneducated frame analysis!
posted by Atreides at 4:47 PM on February 28, 2015

We've all see this, yes? (Awww)
posted by dinty_moore at 10:30 AM on March 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

And as if it can't get better, the artist is donating the proceeds of the limited print run to an LGBTQ suicide prevention hotline.

I rarely wish I lived in California, but the inability to attend this gallery exhibition and to meet a lot of the folks involved with both Avatar and Korra, it's killing me. Hopefully some MeFite can make it.
posted by Atreides at 2:04 PM on March 5, 2015

Okay, seriously, that picture fucking broke me today.

I was minding my business, not paying attention to anything Avatar-related, because I had work, and I knew I'd be hitting it hard during lunch for "The King of Omashu", but I was wearing my turtleduck t-shirt, and my coworker (who I am slowly getting into Avatar) was wondering what it was.

So I went looking for a good photo, and the first hit on Google was "Bryan's Turtle-duck Date Night".


What is this?



Then it was nothing but "The Legend of Korra" and resting my hand against my chest and feeling the occasional tear well up and dammit I should still not be feeling this way, this show has ruined me for all other shows.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:10 PM on March 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah, you know what? I am totally posting this here.

posted by Katemonkey at 1:11 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by Atreides at 2:44 PM on July 10, 2015

The Legend of Korra: Deliberately Deconstructed
When The Legend of Korra finished, late last year, I was left with the strange sense that I had watched a show completely, and deliberately, dismantle itself. Much was made of that final iconic shot of Korra and Asami leaving for the Spirit World, in what was, honestly, the queerest “platonic” moment I’ve seen on television since Xena managed to stage a PG-rated dance-orgy. It was (to its credit) both obvious and unavoidable, but it was also the capstone to a much wider-ranging set of choices designed to destabilise accepted narratives. This would be worthy of exploration under any circumstance, but I feel it is particularly fascinating given how much of it appears to be in direct reaction to the events of Book One: Air. While I’ve seen countless shows begin with promise, only to fall foul of hegemonic expectations, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one begin carelessly and then spend three seasons systematically and critically dismantling its initial premise.

Here are ten thousand words explaining why I think that.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:42 AM on August 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

OK so I am very late to the party but I did finish watching this along with Avatar: The Last Airbender in a couple of weeks.

I don't know if they totally stuck the landing, given the importance of the Spirit World in Books 2 and 3, I really expected more of a presence in Book 4. Like the spirits don't even seem bothered that Kuvira is using their energy as gasoline, they still want to stay neutral. But they do come back when Korra rips a third portal open, so there's at least that. (Also I suppose they didn't want to go back to the "Bumi somehow wins a great victory with nothing but a butter knife and a flute" well, but how did they not at least have him take out half the army with nothing but a turtle duck and a bucket of mayonnaise.)

I really liked Varrick and Zhu Li doing the thing, though we never did hear about how Varrick was kidnapped for the circus. (How can you ever stay mad at this character when he drops lines like that? YOU CAN'T.)

The wedding also showed how this season was totally lacking in Naga and Pabu action, but since we got the Best Vacation to the Spirit World Ever I guess a lot of sins can be forgiven.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:37 PM on November 1, 2020

It's nearly seven years later, I've watched both Avatar series for the first time and I want to comment on two statements originally from Comic Alliance quoted by supermassive above.

Why couldn’t a single, grumpy, fifty-something policewoman be one of the major supporting characters in an all-ages fantasy tale? Well, in real life, single or not, grumpy fifty-something women are often some of the most effective, impressive and useful people around, in both a life support and a running everything in the background kind of way. That's my experience anyway.

Why couldn’t the heroine be a dark-skinned, visibly muscular tomboy? I was struck by the drawings of Korra. Her physique is clearly portrayed. Again, in real life, one knows young women with this physique but I can't think of another visual media heroine who is portrayed like this. On the whole, like grumpy, no-nonesense competent fifty-something women, visibly athletic young heroines aren't a thing in media fiction. Two days ago Emma Raducanu won the US Open at the age of 18. That's the physique. Korra could have been modelled on her.
posted by glasseyes at 7:52 AM on September 13, 2021

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