So in this article I wanna take a closer look at the seasons of Korra. Going to go from best to worst here that’s why I’m starting on Book 2. Book 2 had a lot going for it but it lacks the conclusion and more detailed approach. Spoilers ahead btw. Also if you want a recap overall you can check it out here.
So a big mistake from this season is cutting off Korra from the other Avatars and showing us the First Avatar all in the same season. I mean other shows do this and I find it as a bad short cut. You set up something only to kill it off later in the same season no less. Also it seemed like it was filler since it didn’t matter at the end. Yeah it was nice seeing how the Avatar came to be but they didn’t give us enough time to appreciate it.
Next we have the villain problem Unalaq who lacked any kind of development and became a cliche towards the end. So your master plan is to destroy the world then what? At that point he was just a puppet for the Dark Spirit so why doesn’t the Dark spirit get more screen time? At least we can understand it since Unalaq is still a human who still has wants and needs. Like he started a civil war, if he just wanted to destroy everything why do all this work? Why unite the tribes? Just go and connect with the Dark Spirit. No one would have noticed, Korra doesn’t even know about it until Unalaq tells her about the spirit world.
And lastly that ending, shooting chest lasers at each other in a giant monster battle. Couldn’t have guested that was how it was going to end with all the set up about spirit world boils down to a monster fight in a city. There is no set up for this. They don’t ever do this again either. Korra could have went big for Book 4 since she was literally fighting a robot but she doesn’t because I guess the writers forgot she could do that. Instead everyone stayed normal sized and took down the robot from inside.
My biggest criticism is that this season doesn’t really connect with the other seasons. This season feels like it was tonally different and had a very different agenda.
So how would I change it? Well I would make this book one instead of book two. Which it seemed like they were going to do anyways from the info about how they wrote the books and from writer’s interviews. The Amon seemed like they just threw together a vague villain with no connections to anyone at the last moment. At least the other villains had some sort of connection to the main cast and had some motivation to why they did what they did.
It seemed like Unalaq could have been the over arching villain for both books but it seemed that the writers wanted to make book one a stand alone story. Which is fine but from a show based on multiple seasons it seemed short sighted. Like were they a risk from being cancelled just from book one? What was the hurry to make and end the first villain in the first book. And the fact that they were both water benders with a brother seemed like the writers had them as the same person until someone decided they should split them up.
The civil war scenes should have been expanded. They pretty much drop this sub plot right as they introduced it. I honestly couldn’t remember this happened unless you rewatch it. It didn’t seem to matter in the scheme of things. I know that it was kind of Unalaq’s scheme of getting Korra to trust him but why kill his brother? What’s with the writers increasing fetish with Fratricide? Now that I think about it with the exception of Book 3 all of them had bad sibling relationships.
Make the spirits do more, so why does only the evil spirits seem to care and the good spirits just kind of have a meh attitude? Are the writers saying that Unalaq was able to form an alliance with Spirits better than the Avatar? Like we were shown the spirits giving a crap in the flashback with Avatar Wan. I guess they don’t care and would rather help Unalaq’s plan of destroying the world. And it seems like the writers realized this mistake in book 4 where the spirits did something but seemed to not care again when Kuvira was conquering the city. Do they think Kuvira was going to leave the spirit world alone after finding out that they could weaponize the trees? No. It’s more likely that she would go in with her robots and see if she could do more with other stuff.
I guess this is an overall revision but make the fire nation do something. I know that they were the big bad in the last show but it seemed like the writers forgot they could help. And it would be a great irony for the fire nation to show up on the shores of the water tribe free them. It’s not like they signed a non aggression pact or anything they still have weapons and an army. Also they could have helped more in Book 4. I know we got that scene where the Firelord Izumi doesn't want to be in another war but what do you think Kuvira would do if she wins? Wouldn’t this be like when Firelord Ozai taking over and you could stop it before it gets out of hand?
But hey I still thought it was fun to watch and they did a few good points. Pro bending I liked how they continued it but seemed like they dropped it too soon towards the end. Getting to know the first Avatar was great just wished they didn’t immediately cut off the link. Introducing Aangs other kids was great and how they interacted gave new perspective on how Aang was a father. I do like how the world changed in the end of the season. It gave the actions some weight behind them. That Korra really does affect her surroundings and how the city will deal with it.
While the showrunners and writers introduced a lot of great things it seemed like they couldn’t close them well. They bring up great points but they don’t get explored enough. I mean it may be because of other factors and the short run time they have to play around with but it seemed like they couldn’t capitalize on the endings. It seemed like they were always worried about being cancelled. It seemed like the show could only go to one extreme, like it was always about ending the world. They showed the nuances of a decision where it didn’t make sense.