In a thrilling two-part conclusion to the first season of The Legend of Korra, family is once again the central theme. As we uncover the nightmarish past lives of two brothers, Korra must learn to overcome defeat, as she is temporally stripped of her powers by the ever-charismatic Equalist leader, Amon. Aasami too must come to grips with her relationship with her father, as Hiroshi Sato continues his war campaign against the bending community. These two final chapters in the first book of Korra’s adventures were perhaps its darkest. Towards the end, I found myself losing hope that there would be a positive resolution, but maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s discuss the many intricate layers to “Skeletons in the Closet” and “Endgame.”
Like Bolin, I was curious as to how Hiroshi finds all this time to create new war machines, but I enjoyed the aerial battle, which reminded me of a scene out of a World War I film. General Iroh’s grandfather would have been proud of him, as he stood atop the eagles nest hurling fireballs at the oncoming Equalist air brigade. For many fans of the Avatar franchise, there is a division over Dante Basco’s return to the show. Do you find his voice to be a distraction, due to the fact that it sounds like Prince Zuko’s, or are you pleased with his reemergence? I enjoyed Basco’s performance in ATLA, and since Iroh is Zuko’s grandson, the similarities didn’t bother me. As the battle continued, I again found myself thinking about the clash of nature versus technology that I’ve written about in my previous reviews. Both are formidable weapons, but it’s still fascinating to watch Korra use her water bending techniques against fighter planes.
The Legend of Korra, like it’s predecessor, develops its heroes in a way that few shows can. When we first met Korra, she was headstrong, impulsive and lacked patience, which would lead her and those she loved into trouble. As the season progressed, especially in these last three episodes, Korra has matured drastically, and it was no surprise when she decided to confront Amon alone. I was glad that Mako chose to go with her, because even heroes need partners. When “Team Avatar” split up for their separate missions, I wondered if that would be the last time they’d all be together. Thankfully, it looks like we’ll have more time with the entire team in season two, but first let’s talk about Tarrlok’s encounter with Korra and Mako on Air Temple Island. The reason I said that family was the central theme of this episode, was due to Tarrlok’s haunting revelation about his brother Amon. After he told his woeful tale, Korra’s journey in this episode changed dramatically. The season finale was now about a story featuring two brothers, who had unfinished business. If Korra had defeated Amon, the emotional impact of his death would carry little meaning, next to a younger brother’s sacrifice to save Republic City. The scene on the motorboat gave me chills, as I realized that Tarrlok was not killing Amon out of hate or the need for revenge, but out of a brother’s love. The former Councilmen understood that his brother’s soul was tainted. It’s saddening to hear a tale about two brothers who decided to abandon their father’s ideals, only to have those same ideals haunt them for the rest of their lives.
I hope no one thinks I’m attempting to minimize Korra’s importance in this episode, it’s just that Tarrlok’s revelation was highly important in Amon’s downfall. Getting back to the subject of family, what a beautiful scene it was at Katara’s home when Korra walks out to see her family and friends gathered to give her support. Where Amon and Tarrlok had only fear and ambition in their youth, Korra is constantly surrounded by love and affection. As I stated in the beginning of this review, I thought the episode might end without a shred of hope, but it seems that Aang and the other former Avatars had a different plan. I’m curious to see what you all think, but I thought this was the perfect time for Korra to enter into the Avatar state. These final episodes were surrounded by brewing storms and haunting winds, yet in the end, hope, love and family prevailed to bring this exciting first season to a close. There is so much more to talk about, but that’s where you, the Think Hero community comes in. Share your thoughts with me on the season finale, as well as how you see the show progressing in the second season. I’ve appreciated all of your feedback this season, and I can’t wait until the premier of Book 2!
-David Griffin (Follow @griffinde on Twitter)