The Legend of Korra: Enter the Void
August 22, 2014 6:41 AM - Season 3, Episode 12 - Subscribe

The first half of the Legend of Korra Book 3 season finale finds Team Avatar along with the Metal Clan on an airship sprinting north to save the newly reestablished Air Nomad nation and to stop the Red Lotus. Faced with the dilemma to surrender herself to Zaheer at the risk of the air benders safety versus an outright rescue attempt, Korra makes a decision that might change the fate of the world, and her own, forever. Also, Bolin and Mako's grandmother shames both Naga and Pabu.
posted by Atreides (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Bad dog and rat-thingy! I'm very disappointed in you two!"

You tell 'em, Grandma.

But, jeez, what a wild ride!

Bullet points in vague order of how the episode went:

1. P'Li and Zaheer's tender moment. P'Li's been rather one-dimensional, and it's good to actually have some development, even if it's very little.

2. These ridiculous teenagers all hugging each other. You dorks, I love you.


4. Ming-Hua's multiple-airbender trick. So freaking awesome.

5. Yay! Bolin lavabends! BO-LIN! BO-LIN! BO-LIN!

6. Poor baby sky bison! He can't carry all those people!

7. Suyin and Lin's moment of reconciliation. Aw, these two. Mom would be proud.

8. But Mom would totally be even prouder of how Suyin took care of P'Li. Hell yeah!

9. HE FUCKING FLIES. Oh my word, what. WHAT.

10. Korra chained up against the backdrop of the Red Lotus symbol, with the crystals all around. That is gorgeous and bleak and this is seriously a kids' show? What?

I do wonder why they had Guvira (Kuvira?) the Metal Bending Captain make it so clear as to who she was and where she was. She's probably going to play a major part in Season 4, but I don't know what.

Also, oh man, I am so glad that they released 12 and 13 together. Because if I had to wait another week? DEADER THAN P'LI.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:30 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fresh thoughts...

By the end of this episode, I was still unsure if Tenzin was going to live or not. Oof.

It was pretty great to see that the Red Lotus was composed of more than just our four villains, and likewise, it makes you wonder, how many more are there out there? Do they all necessarily abide by the same chaotic anarchy that Zaheer professed?

P'Li, talk about losing one's head. Owch! I thought it was great to see Suyin in armor, and I had no inclination that her breast plate would end up being used so creatively. I also appreciated the character development that we received and I immediately wondered, "Warlord? WHAT WARLORD?" Did I miss hear that in the line where she says that Zaheer rescued her from a warlord who wanted to use her as a personal weapon?

When Tonraq was blown off the cliff, I thought, "Oh, there's our death!" But no, it was merely a tease, not that I wanted him dead, but I had definitely assumed we were going to lose someone in our season finale episodes. Tonraq remains the champion of slow-mo action scenes, none the less.

BOLIN. Hurray! Someone had theorized that Bolin would pick up Lava Bending instead of metal bending, so kudos to you! Again, I was entirely ready to bite on Bolin disappearing in a wall of lava, albeit surprised, but it was done nicely.

Zaheer, entering the void. Well good for him. Should we have assumed then that P'Li was his last earthly attachment?

Ending the Avatar Cycle. I was a little disappointed that we jeopardized the existence of the Avatar, as in the role/abilities, again as in Book 2, though in different circumstances. It also makes sense, as well, as the baddie in Book 2 was a renegade member of the Red Lotus. Similar aims, but ultimately disagreement on how to get there. IRONY? IT WAS A WORLD LEADER WHO WAS A MEMBER OF THE RED LOTUS. Chew on that.

A lot of this episode had beautiful scenes, be it the mountains as the airship crossed them to the scene that Katemonkey mentioned, Korra strung up in chains in front of the Red Lotus symbol. Incredible.

Who knew Ming-hua liked playing with puppets? I was also surprised by this duplicity, but it reinforced that our bad guys are....bad. They throw poor Aiwei into the Valley of Lost Souls and they totally lie about honest dealing. I figured they wanted to reassert this point at the end so we would be on board for their defeat.
posted by Atreides at 7:58 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ooh! Forgot to mention, it was painfully obvious they were holding out the metal bender Guvira/Kuvira (I couldn't quite grasp it either), as if they were holding a sign up, "This character will matter in the future!" She was also, now that I realize it, the one from the newspaper article that Lin was reading earlier in the season. Another thing, could she be another daughter of Suyin's? Why the protectiveness?
posted by Atreides at 8:01 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Okay, now I want her to be Lin and Tenzin's daughter. The one that Lin never told him about. Because...why not? Let's get all soap opera in this.

And Zaheer totally rescued P'Li from a warlord. I wonder if that will come back in too, where the Air Nomads have to fight against other groups who like to keep benders to be their personal army.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:24 AM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Okay, now I want her to be Lin and Tenzin's daughter. The one that Lin never told him about. Because...why not? Let's get all soap opera in this.

Gah...that would be [Bolin's voice] Aaaaaaaawesome!

Thank you for confirming the warlord thing. My hearing isn't the best at times, so sometimes I hear things that just aren't there...or are, but I don't hear them.

The crazy thing is that for Zaheer to have rescued her, it means its before the Red Lotus was obviously put in prison. So 13 plus years ago. Right, so I doubt Zaheer rescued her and the next day, she joined the Red Lotus and tried to kidnap Korra, so there's even more years. Thus, it had to happened when Korra was very little or under the last few years of Aang's life. Which means that somewhere in the world, there was enough chaos that the four organized political entities, Water Tribes, Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom, weren't strong enough to keep some dude from declaring himself a warlord and turning girls into combustion soldiers.
posted by Atreides at 8:58 AM on August 22, 2014

Hooooooooooooly shit that was some lazy writing. Possibly the worst deus ex machina in Avatar history, and that's saying something. So seeing his girlfriend die, a relationship established in a single scene in one of the first episodes and only mentioned again now, gave him the ability to fly? First of all, just because she dies doesn't mean he loses his attachment to her.... AND WHY DOES IT MAKE HIM FLY? FLY? And are we really to think that some evil maniac could reach spiritual enlightenment in the first place? Could they just not think of a better way to end the season than lazily giving him more superpowers? At least Bolin was already an earthbender when he figured out lavabending. Flight was just pulled out of the writer's ass.
posted by catwash at 6:04 PM on August 22, 2014

I dunno, the flight aspect of the air bender guru's teachings have been dropped periodically throughout the entire season, or at least enough that his obsession with it was well established. Likewise, the guru who was training Aang in ATLA about his chakras completely expected Aang to drop his attachment to Katara at the flip of the switch. It's not to say that P'Li's love was a fifty ton anchor of attachment, but perhaps her existence was the last tenuous thread which stood between him and complete detachment. There were subtle hints about their relationship earlier, such as when they were traveling to Ba Sing Se with Mako and Bolin, note it was her and Zaheer who sat together in the front.

For flying, reflect back to the episode with Wan when he meets the original air nomads and they essentially flew on little clouds. It isn't a foreign idea to air bending, and a number of bending techniques used in the show are done with virtually little to no physical movement, such as the fire breath, or even the water arms, which exist statically once summoned.
posted by Atreides at 6:45 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

No, the flying thing was hinted at from the beginning of the season, as an airbender power. And Zaheer was already an airbender (and studied it before he got the power) and maniacal types with obsessions are obvious candidates to try to master an extreme skill.

Zaheer made out with P'li when they rescued her. It was clear they had a relationship. And apparently he could "feel" when she died, so it was partly spiritual.

I mean, you could try to parse out the theology/beliefs of fictional airbenders and whether having no one you were close to would actually allow you to perform miraculous feats, but for this show, it's doesn't seem out of place.

It would be nice if the new airbenders contemplated whether this technique could be learned by all, without having to sever all emotional attachments, but that may not be something they allow to take up any time in the final season.

I mean, we haven't met Zuko's daughter yet, ya'll. Or Toph! I've also been on Katara Deathwatch since season 1. Lots could happen.
posted by emjaybee at 6:51 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I mean, we haven't met Zuko's daughter yet, ya'll. Or Toph! I've also been on Katara Deathwatch since season 1. Lots could happen.

Fire Nation has to be next on our global Avatar tour. I figure part of Book 4 will have to resolve the chaos going on in Ba Sing Se (Bolin for Prez!). Toph, I totally concur, there's no way they talk her up so much, and not have her appear. And Katara deathwatch?! You're cold as ice. -_-
posted by Atreides at 6:56 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, laziest deus ex machina in Avatar history was the end of season one of Korra, where she got her Avatar powers back simply by wanting them enough.

The flight thing has been foreshadowed in ways all season, ever since we found out Zaheer was an airbending otaku early on.

Also, this finale was awesome, and I have no difficulty understanding why they decided that maybe broadcasting on a children's network was less than ideal. We're getting into latter-day Harry Potter territory here, and I'm totally digging it.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:04 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

That's exactly my point: that airbenders could learn flight and Zahir's relationship to Pli were subtly mentioned once or twice. You could easily forget about both, and the fact that they were connected wasn't mentioned until the end. For that matter, we were never lead to believe that Zahir was religious. Knowledgeable about airbenders and "Guru Laghima" sure, but he never seemed pious or spiritual, and I don't think anyone would argue wanting to plunge the world into anarchy and killing leaders is a sign of a religious man.

My point is, at the end of the day someone sat down and wrote this. The only reason Zahir was able to fly at that moment was to evade the characters who were coming to get him, and make the inevitable fight with Korra more difficult for her and more exciting for the audience. Perhaps if they built Zahir up as struggling with giving up his earthly attachments and growing more powerful it would have made sense, but it felt to me like they were just throwing superpowers at him to make him more of a threat.
posted by catwash at 7:14 PM on August 22, 2014

(Two years later...) For me, the bigger stumbling block in the path to plausibility is the fact that Zaheer lucked into being an airbender in the first place. It'd be one thing if all the new benders had been those who craved the freedom it represented, or something along those lines, but instead we have Zaheer and Bumi, but then also a bunch of folks who didn't necessarily want to be airbenders at all.

With that bit of convenience lampshaded by Zaheer as his omen of "cosmic approval" or whatever, the actual unlocking flight part didn't bother me: it closely parallels other new developments like (something in the next episode - redacted due to spoiler) and Toph's metalbending revelation. If you're going to give an airbender this power, it makes sense to do it during a crisis when he would otherwise be at his moment of apotheosis.

I just wish I could buy the airbending awakening in the first place.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 11:41 AM on February 22, 2017

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