Book One ended with its final two chapters, 11- Skeleton in the Closet and 12- The Endgame, together in a one-hour season finale during the previous weekend. The entire fandom fell into a mad scramble, with the majority feeling disappointed, claiming the ending of the season to be “half-baked”, rushed or underwhelming.
Everyone I knew was on the edge of their seats waiting for Korra to go into Avatar State, just like how Aang did in ATLA during Siege of the North. However, if you’ve watched the finale already, you’d know that it never happened. Personally, I still can’t get over that ending. And it feels like I want to throw the television off the same cliff Korra was contemplating at.
I don’t intend to spoil people about the ending if they haven’t watched it yet, so let me warn you that the next things I am about to say will discuss the ending in its entirety. If you haven’t yet (which is unacceptable–you HAVE to watch it), go to avatarchapters.tv before you read on.
Now that you’ve done that,
DO YOU FEEL MY PAIN?
So many fans complained about that season finale, and almost every LoK blog out there criticized Bryke for it. But tumblr fandom blog polarbeardog and its followers blogged as a response to the bashing that everyone should be thankful for Nickelodeon even releasing a sequel to ATLA, and just savor every moment of it. Of course, this spurred an incredulous debate, sending a good number of disappointed fans off into the world of fan-fiction. Online writing community Figment.com changed its front page just yesterday to showcase the Legend of Korra fanfiction available in their library.
NOW THEN. Among the top things that ruined it would be Mako’s confession of love and being a general douchebag, and arguably even the Avatars coming in to save Korra at her lowest point–it didn’t make sense. And Tarlokk just blowing up the boat he and his brother were escaping in. Though we’re all relieved that our favorite Lin Beifong got her bending back, it really didn’t keep me completely satisfied.
And again, Mako, you ruined the ending.
A LONG NICKELODEON RANT YOU DON’T NEED TO READ:
I won’t complain about the story being rushed, because it is, and I’m pretty sure Bryke knew about that. They even admitted before that there were no filler episodes–which are, unfortunately, great for character development. CliqueClack, in a review by Julia Hash, sums up this argument quite nicely. You should go read it because I have no intention of reiterating her points.
We all have to understand that Nickelodeon can’t spend that much money for extra episodes. Having lost their team of writers for Spongebob Squarepants to Disney’s Phineas and Ferb series in the past years, and losing some of their best talents, and being unable to produce a decent Butch Hartman cartoon (I have a lot of heartbreaking feelings for Nickelodeon right now) I can imagine that Nick is on a steep descent. Imagine the cost of 20+ episodes–for them to bank on Korra would be a huge risk, one that Nickelodeon’s finances cannot take, especially without the reassurance that it would live up to the first series. Especially with the ATLA Live-Action Film being a flop in the fandom, if Nick Studios invested in that, I can imagine a good deal of money being lost.
Okay, so I’m basically assuming that Nickelodeon is keeping tight finances–it might not be true, so don’t take my word for it. But that’s how I see things. I don’t think Big Time Rush or Korra or Tuff Puppy are keeping them as stable as before. I don’t think Nickelodeon can take risks right now, and if what I’m thinking is true–well, then.
SO BASICALLY, that’s why I’m not complaining about how rushed everything is. Bryke gave me twelve episodes–I gladly took those twelve episodes.
NOW ABOUT THAT ENDING
We all know that Tarlokk killed off himself and his brother in the sea. But I have no reason to believe that he’s actually dead. Let’s all remember that Korra and the others never knew he died, and will most likely try to look for him or prepare for his return when the second season comes back up. It looks as if Bryke made the episode look pretty damn conclusive to surprise anyone. And if I’m right, then I’m sorry for ruining the surprise. Just please, if it does happen, take the liberty of imagining me saying “I told you so”.
One of the hints to this comes from the advertisement for the season finale. After having watched Chapter 10 Turning the Tides, they aired an ad for the season finale, saying, “Korra and Amon will go head-to-head for what is possibly the last time.” FOR WHAT IS POSSIBLY THE LAST TIME, and what is arguably a plot device.
Besides, what self-respecting writer would kill off such a brilliantly thought out antagonist? A blood-bender who doesn’t need to channel the power of the full moon, can control beings without even having to lift a finger–a bender who started a revolution against bending. THE MAN IS HITLER, believing his purpose to be justifiable, if not noble, and does it in the most totalitarian way possible. Although, Tarlokk might represent the coward half of Hitler who decided on dying instead.
But then Cersei Lannister-Baratheon almost took that position during Blackwater.
I really do think that Amon will return in one way or another, and Bryke just made it to seem like this arc of the story is dead. However, I think there’s someone bigger than Amon–someone above him. He’ll come back, but he’s not our main antagonist. He could even jump ship and turn into a good person, ala Zuko becoming an ally to Team Avatar.
TO NITPICK AT THE BAD WRITING
I did just say that I thought that horribly and unnaturally conclusive ending might mean for a surprise in season two. But why did they have to give Korra’s bending back?! WHY? Or at least, not in that way–not in a way where she just cries, a tear falls off a cliff and then, like magic, every Avatar reincarnation comes back to return her powers. What, is this Disney’s Tangled? You cry on Flynn Rider’s face and it makes everything better? “It is at our lowest point that we are open to the greatest change,” Aang said. BUT WE DIDN’T SEE KORRA IN HER LOWEST POINT, THAT’S MY PROBLEM, BRYKE.
I didn’t see her gather the lost benders, and talk to their families, and all of them coming together to think of a way to get by with their lives. I didn’t see her in danger of some sort, trying to protect herself solely by airbending when she couldn’t even master it. I didn’t see her run and fumble in the snow, crying in anger and frustration that she lost the only thing she dedicated her life to. I wanted her to scream in the pain of loss and know that no matter how much she called out for her bending, it wouldn’t come back. I wanted her to be so desperately lost, even spiritually, that she couldn’t get herself to talk to Aang–to feel forsaken and betrayed by her own past lives. I wanted Mako to try to hug her while she was in agony, or hold her back from running off, or try to get her to calm down after she’s been so angry at the world–but fail at it. I wanted Mako to ask himself what it is he can do for Korra, and I wanted him to realize that there isn’t anything at all.
I didn’t see her go home to visit her parents to tell them what happened. I didn’t see a point in her life when she felt so numb about not having her bending. I didn’t see her look at water and be unable to bend it, to look at her blue tribal clothes and rip it off and say, “I’m a water bender that can’t bend water.” If Aang was the last airbender, Korra’s last bending was air.
And then I wanted her to watch that water she no longer have no control over, and surrender to it.
And while she’s drowning, asphyxiated by the pressure of the water on her, I wanted her to enter the spirit world–because returning to that water, she was at peace. And I want her to find out for herself how she can come back.
Then she just will.
And that’s how I thought it should have gone, even if they just cut off the season with her losing the bending, and then start the next season with her spiritual journey to find it again.