Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Legend of Korra - First Season Finale Thoughts



After going over the notorious letdown that was the finale to "The Legend of Korra: Book One", I feel I gotta say this: I can't completely agree with all of the mass complaining over this storyline and its' finale that I've been seeing recently 'cause most of it reeks of a whining Unpleasable Fanbase.

- "The Equalists weren't morally ambiguous enough!" - Well, they're the antagonists: try as they might, it's kind of hard to make their side look justified over the side that the freaking Avatar is on.

"Amon being a bender cheapens his character!" - No, it doesn't. Noatak being a self-loathing bender (a bloodbender at that!) trying to rid the world of what he saw as a great corrupting evil due to his Freudian Excuse and backstory makes him very interesting and complex to me. Sure, he was wanting to take over Republic City and be the only bender in power, but he was also well intentioned from a certain standpoint: he wanted everyone to live as equals and for no one to suffer like he did.

"Korra learning airbending and the Avatar State were Dues Ex Machinas!" - Yeah, 'cause the Avatar series has NEVER had those before, and it's not like that second one was kind of a literal "hand of God" or anything. And what's really funny here is that the airbending thing DID have an explanation: it just wasn't stated. It was all in the spiritual subtext of this season's entire story and Korra's character arc. Think back to the chakras explained by Guru Pathik. Then think of the nature of chi and blood, and the bending/blocking of it. Then look back at this story, and suddenly it will all start to add up.   As for the Avatar State and the restoration of Korra's bending...yeah, they really could have flat-out explained it better rather than having Aang just show up, say a vague line, and then give her back her bending/open up her connection to her past lives: that sort of development needed a full extra episode. But I don't see what other ultimate resolution there could have been.

"This whole show is such a poor sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender! The cast is inferior, the 
pacing of the story is bad, barely anyone or anything developed, the whole thing was rushed and disappointing and awful! These characters suck, bring back the Gaang!" - First off, if you honestly went in expecting this to equal or surpass the first series (a three-season long epic animated masterpiece), then you were deluding yourselves. Secondly, said first series was a show with three 20-episode seasons. This is a 12 episode arc of the first season that could have been the whole series had a second book not been green-lit. Bryke didn't have alot of room for developing all the characters because much of the plot needed to be told particularly in the second half of this arc where the Equalists were a regular presence, and we should feel happy that there's going to be a continuation at all 'cause it means possible new development for plot points and characters who received little this book. Don't act like the show's over already! And also, if you want the Gaang back (even though their story has long been over), go read "The Promise" and see how you like THAT.


*Asami Sato rolls her eyes at all this.*

HOWEVER, there are two major quibbles I have. One is with Mako and the Makorra romantic pairing, which I agree with everyone about. I do not think Mako's the horrible person fans have made him out to be, but he has made terrible mistakes in his love life due to his misaimed White Knight complex. He got a lot less likable in the second half of the story due to being a macho douche who made so many schmuck moves that the narrative has failed to address (which I do NOT think was intentional on Bryke's part), and the romance itself reeks of two unprepared romantic partners getting Strangled By The Red String and had no business being shoved to the forefront so much when that time should have been used for better, more important things. Korra has bigger issues she needs to work out, she does not deserve an awful boyfriend like Mako, and they have no chemistry whatsoever. It was a total Romantic Plot Tumor, plain and simple, especially in these last episodes.

The other issue is (WAS) that we still have no idea when things from the original series that fans want to be addressed (Iroh's visit to the Spirit World, Koh the Face Stealer's return, Azula's future fate, and of course, Zuko's mother) will actually be addressed. This whole storyline (which again, could've just been a mini-series) has gone by and they've gone almost completely unmentioned. If Bryke really considers them unimportant and wants to leave them behind, then they shouldn't have included them in the first place only to leave them hanging. I mean, they got tired of hearing questions relating to Zuko's mom? Then you shouldn't have even had that scene where Zuko asks the question in such a dramatic fashion before leaving it unresolved, dumbasses!


*Ah, FINALLY! I can't wait for this to come out!*

Now if you thought I was harsh here, just wait until you see my entry on "The Amazing Spider-Man"!

Oh, and I have to show this, don't I?


* WOOOHOOOOOO! BEST DEATH EVAH!*

30 comments:

  1. See, I've always been more lenient of the lack of resolving Ursa's fate for one reason. One reason that's demostrated with Asami.

    Asami as of the ending of the season has nothing. Two members of the Krew stepped on her toes, no family or substancial relationship (by which I mean platonic) of anykind.

    Heck, due to lack of strengthen the friendship between the four teens, I don't see a possible friendship with Bolin being enough for her to really feel optimistic. And the preview for Book 2 shows that all she has going for her is a company that's failing because of her father.

    Now Zuko on the other hand, even without finding his only decent parent still had his Uncle and his girlfriend, plus a family in the Gaang. Even Toph without her resolution still had a family she could turn to.

    Can't say the same for Asami.

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    1. Asami's still friends with Mako, Bolin, and Korra in the end, and I think Korra and Bolin at least would be really good friends for her. Mako not as much after what he did, but I don't think he wasn't honest when he told Asami he "cared about her."

      From just the preview for Book 2, I'm pretty sure that it will deal with Korra and Mako falling from the high point they start at, while Asami and Bolin rise from the low point they start at. And Tenzin and Lin will continue to be awesome.

      Remember though, it's not just Zuko who needs his mother back: it's Azula too. I've long believed that Zuko had that in mind when he asked the question to Ozai, and the upcoming graphic novel series seems to reaffirm that. And even if Zuko would still have had a happy ending, that he even brought it out to the forefront and it was never resolved is still something that left us hanging. Asami's situation is bad, but it wasn't brought up in the end due to the focus being on Korra getting her happy ending. Ursa was mentioned by Zuko himself, in a dramatic fashion, and that is bound to raise people's desires to see that plot point resolved.

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    2. "Asami's still friends with Mako, Bolin, and Korra in the end, and I think Korra and Bolin at least would be really good friends for her."

      Meh. That would hold true if there was a strong attempt into molding the Krew into the strong, unbreakable family, but they really didn't come off as that.

      ""Mako not as much after what he did, but I don't think he wasn't honest when he told Asami he "cared about her.""

      Sad thing is I believe Mako was honest, but the apology seems like a last minute thing that Bryke tossed in so we'd worship him.

      And reading your response to Greg's review, I too agree that it seems like Mako was designed to be a good, honorable man who made a mistake and will grow from it. I'm kind of hoping at this point they'll redo the character and make him an intentional jerkass that will crash and burn.

      Besides, aside from the two-timing bit, saying she has Mako for a friend, not really uplifting. For all we know, if Asami and Korra had some conflict for whatever reason, I'd expect Mako to make some kind of threat to end their friendship (sound familiar?:-)).

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    3. "Meh. That would hold true if there was a strong attempt into molding the Krew into the strong, unbreakable family, but they really didn't come off as that."

      Blame that on unfortunate circumstances. Shorty after they even BECAME "the Krew", Tarlock had them arrested. And then when they got busted out, they learned that Korra was kidnapped and Mako flipped out about it, causing tension within the group. Simply put, they didn't have the time to become a family. Maybe next season they will.

      "Sad thing is I believe Mako was honest, but the apology seems like a last minute thing that Bryke tossed in so we'd worship him."

      You mean so that we'd forgive him and THEN worship him when they wanted us to? I think we were supposed to acknowledge that Mako made some mistakes, but the show didn't acknowledge it enough, nor did Mako ever have to DO anything to make up for those mistakes.

      "And reading your response to Greg's review, I too agree that it seems like Mako was designed to be a good, honorable man who made a mistake and will grow from it. I'm kind of hoping at this point they'll redo the character and make him an intentional jerkass that will crash and burn."

      I'm hoping he'll be both. They obviously can't have Korra and Mako as a couple for the next three seasons because what fun would that be? It took Aang and Katara the whole show to work out their feelings and hook up, and most teenage romances don't last anyway. So I hope next season makes him a jerkass, we see him crash and burn, we see him realize WHY he crashed and burned, and then see him REALLY grow from his mistakes and WORK to correct them, thus giving me and everyone else a new appreciation for him. There are three seasons ahead of us, so it's far from too late to save the character.

      "Besides, aside from the two-timing bit, saying she has Mako for a friend, not really uplifting. For all we know, if Asami and Korra had some conflict for whatever reason, I'd expect Mako to make some kind of threat to end their friendship (sound familiar?:-))."

      I said only Korra and Bolin would be GOOD friends to her, didn't I? ;)




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    4. Reposting this, because I'm an idiot with poor grammer:-(.

      1. Well, I'm still judging the season as it originally was. A single miniseries which they weren't expecting to go beyond. So for all intents and purposes the series ended without the Krew becoming a family.

      Though relating this to Asami's character in general, her outcome wouldn't really even be problematic had they deliberately intended for one Krew member to have a downer ending. But I can't help feel her lack of an optimistic outcome is an oversight more than anything.

      2. I have heard that Mako (paritally due to being a tribute to the former VA) is the creator's pet and is pretty much immune to deserving criticism.

      Just saying that had Sokka done any two-timing in the previous series, he'd likely be called out hard.

      Heck, you know how when Aang got out of control to find Appa in Book 2 and Katara calls him out on it?

      Well, that scene where Mako is ready to burn off the face of an Equalist goes unchallenged. Neither Lin, Tenzin, Bolin or Asami confront him on his near murder attempt.

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    5. 1. So why should we even call them the Krew if they're not anything of the sort?

      It's more because Bryke placed alot of things ahead of Asami in terms of importance.

      2. If Mako is the Creator's Pet due to sharing the name of the late VA Mako, then he should be turning over in his grave. Because the character is totally shallow.

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  2. Since it would be more on topic here at this point:
    "As for non-benders dedicated to the cause, what about the Lieutenant and Hiroshi Sato? And the Korra issue is more about Korra than it is Amon. (Though I must ask, do most fans really WANT to see Korra deal with the enemy any way besides punching and kicking the elements?)"

    Cause it seems like a logical choice for growth someone like Korra, when Aang who was a pacificist had to learn to deal with his problems head on. I mean if you switch the two around, Korra would likely have faired better than Aang against Ozai as she wouldn't have any hang ups about wasting him.

    In contrast, while Aang would seek to stop The Equalists, he'd actually take the time to wonder if they had a legit gripe.


    And as I touch on in Greg's blog, it doesn't feel like Korra's unlocking of Airbending was plausible considering how it played out. I mean for one, her lack of succeeding in anything outside of direct combat doesn't give me the impression that she let out her inner Airbender.

    Not to mention, the implication that she was able to bend Air because she was being unselfish or something, not buying it. She knew that Amon was moving in to Debend Mako, not kill him. And as far as she knew, her bending was completely gone. So what was she really risking?

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    1. I think her unlocking Airbending had something to due with chakras, particularly the love chakra, due to what she felt for Mako. Problem is that Bryke did a piss-poor job of showing that through the writing.

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    2. Ehh, I considered the Chakra theory at one point, but then some good debunking demonstrates that going with the first show's logic that Korra still shouldn't have Airbended: http://korracritique.tumblr.com/post/39800228109/lets-roast-mako-ive-been-seeing-this-theory

      And to finish my comments from yesterday, ultimately in order for her to function as an Airbender, she has to be able to solve some problems without punching and kicking, as such expecting that development is fair.


      Also, I never got around to making this comment before, but in regards to defending Korra getting Airbending and the Avatar State due to the previous show having Deus Ex Machinas as you put it:

      1. Yeah but for the most part, Aang still had to work to get as far as he did as far as victory and growth goes.

      2. Like some of the other problems regarding the first series, it's more forgivable the first time around since well it was their first series. But when was does another show or project, it's fair to expect them not to repeat certain mistakes (like the being vague as opposed to subtle about how the love interest feels about the main character or solving the conflicts by defeating the evil leader). It's the reason why some movie sequels or second seasons outdo the original. Usually the writers take the time learn what works and what didn't work.

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    3. I'll look at that later, though it's probably correct. -_-

      She does, but that development could come in the next season. She only JUST learned how to do it in this season, but she hasn't mastered it yet, nor is she able to "function" as a proper Airbender.

      1. Except for when he finally achieved the full Avatar State, of course. I'm sorry but as much as I loved the series finale, that was pure bullshit. He just gets lucky and gets a pointed rock to the back, and THAT'S what gives him the key to victory?

      2. If you or anyone else were expecting "Korra" to outdo the original, you were fooling yourselves. One should not EVER go in with those expectations, especially if the first series WAS so damn good.

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    4. 2. Let me put it this way. I didn't expect them to necessarily do a perfect job or outdo the previous series, but I expected them to at least avoid the mistakes they made the first time as opposed to not making mistakes at all.

      Example:
      As much as the triangle is a sore point, I give them leeway for making this mistake as it's the first time they tackled a love triangle.

      But given how the Aang and Katara pairing mostly seemed like a one sided thing, I'd think that they'd try to make it more apparent that Mako likes Korra.

      Or to be specific, there really is no conclusive hints in Episode 2-4 that Mako liked Korra. The only potential hints can be debunked on the grounds of:
      - Episode 2 has Mako looking outside at night which people take as him thinking about Korra, but he could have been looking outside for numerous reasons.

      - Episode 3 has that bit with Korra wearing his scarf, with the next episode establishing that he doesn't like to take it off, but considering that the importance of his scarf isn't brought up again, and he was concerned with trying to find/save Bolin at the time, I can't really find the scarf bit to be a conclusive hint.

      Yet the recap to Episode 5 flat out tells us "Mako likes Korra" when we were shown otherwise.


      Like I said, new mistakes are understandable, but old mistakes are a bit more problematic, especially when Bryke seems to dismiss criticism on the grounds "Haters gonna hate".

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    5. First off, Aang and Katara was not a one sided thing. Both parties grew to have strong feelings for each other as of the third season.

      Almost nothing about Makorra was well done. Shame since I can get behind the IDEA of these two characters as a couple (a hotheaded waterbender and a coolheaded firebender would seem ideal for each other!), but the execution fell terribly, TERRIBLY flat.

      Bryke probably dismisses that criticism because they've gotten nitpicks from such haters all the time, so now they sort of miss the constructive criticism when they see it 'cause they write it off as hate.

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    6. Don't get me wrong. Aang and Katara's relationship is/was a solid one, despite some mistakes on handling it.

      The big one is that while it wasn't onesided, it could easily come off as such due to most hints coming from Aang's side, whereas with Katara it comes off with her liking him as a friend or as she describes him, a cute little guy. That and there really should have been a transition to her rejecting his kiss in EIP and their mutual kiss at the end of Sozin's Comet.

      Don't get me wrong. I overlook it because unlike with Mako and how a majority of the time didn't seem to hold his friendship with Korra in regard, I don't second guess that Katara valued her friendship with Aang and respected him. I think a few more hints on her side and a better transition between their last two kisses would have been an improvement, but it's still a pairing I could get behind.

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    7. Overall, yeah. Not as good as Sokka/Suki IMO, but better than others like Zuko/Mai. Or Zutara. XD

      I know. We got two seasons of just Aang having a crush on Katara, and then Katara returning the feelings in the third season. Now I know why that was (almost losing Aang made Katara realize her feelings for him were stronger than she thought), but when the last time their romance was brought up before the end was that rejected kiss in EIP, then something got mishandled in the writing. The payoff of the last kiss was still great, but it could've been more meaningful then it was. Oh well.

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  3. Meant to get this off my chest after my last post, but I wanted to be able to word it as best as possible and don't worry. These will be my last couple posts on the subject for this blog entry.

    Now to address the show overall rather than just a few characters, I do have to object to the number of episodes being the reason for the show being as it is. There are movies which tend to feel much more well made despite the shorter time, as well as heck various first seasons of an animated show or OVAs.

    Digimon Adventures infact was originally suppose to end on Episode 13 with an alternate ending of Gennai sending the kids home after the defeat Devimon. Yeah if that was all, it's certainly best show of the year, but it's decent for the amount of episodes. Heck, we have 7 kids, 7 partner Digimon, Leomon, Ogremon and Devimon yet they all get adequate screen time, as mentioned, the story isn't the most compelling, but it doesn't have nearly as many problems dragging it down.

    And frankly, things could have been trimmed or changed to compensate for the shorter run:
    - The Lin/Tenzin pairing: Hinted at in Episode 5 and any tension they've had was wrapped up quickly next episode. It's not seriously acknowledged afterwards aside from a couple moments in Episode 11. Lin's interaction with Tenzin in Episode 1 could be chalked down to her just being strict while on the job. As such, the backstory could have been removed without any damage to the storyline.

    - Okay, now I certainly didn't need to see Korra ending the season without most of her elements, but the time spent on the moments of drama could have been spent on other moments of the plot that were rushed (like the oppression angle). As such, I'd probably have avoided having Korra debent to begin with.

    - The Spirit of Competition: Mako and Korra's kiss didn't result in any serious consequences for them. No apology from Korra and a half-assed one from Mako. It probably won't be acknowledge again. So maybe just remove the kiss and better still, change the episode around entirely. Now the big problem with Makorra taking this episode as an example is that we're frequently told that Mako likes Korra without really showing anything from his end beforehand. Unlike Aang and Katara who had a solid friendship, Mako and Korra's friendship felt hollow. As such Episode 5 could have been spent setting up for the final round, while deepening the friendship between The Fire Ferrets and Asami too.

    Anyway, that's all for this post. My next and last post will touch on my reasons for the expectations.

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    1. Now yes I said last time I expected TLoK to be better. But not in a "blow me out the water", but to have less holes (glaring mostly) in the story.

      Good writers tend to be confident in their work, while acknowledging that they aren't perfect. I mean using Mako's handling as an example, Bryan and Mike blew off criticism mainly as "haters going to hate". If the character gets better later on I'd expect it to be from some of the writers they bring aboard since Bryan and Mike don't see anything wrong with him.

      Not to mention, with or without the rest of their team, I do think at the very least Bryan and Mike should have at least learned from the mistakes they made last time since learning from criticism is a source of improvement. For one thing The Equalists no longer being a problem because their leader was unmasked/defeated is a variation on The Fire Nation being behind Zuko 100% just because Ozai was defeated (remember, the comics weren't being done yet).

      More importantly? The first four episodes of TLoK.

      Don't get me wrong, they aren't perfect. For one, we could have seen more examples of oppression being done that wasn't just a criminal stealing from a shopkeeper. Heck, Korra threatening the protester simply because he was annoying her is somewhat of an example.

      But regardless, Episodes 1-4 tend to be a solid setup for the show. Some of the complaints had towards 5-12 are nonexistant:
      - Amon's status as a morally ambiguous villain worked a little better. Yeah Bolin definitely was innocent, but since he was associating with a known criminal, it's easy to see why he'd be a target (compared to a bunch of children who did nothing to be targeted). And unlike Korra, he even dealt with a problem to the city by debending the aforementioned criminal, Lightning Bolt Zolt.

      - The romance while present didn't dominate the other moments thus far.

      - Ok, this is Mako heavy, but it bears mentioning:
      -- He comes off a little more balanced. He isn't as jerky as he is later, plus we see his better side as a guy looking after his brother. Seems like he might develop into a decent character.
      -- Relating to that, he comes off as his own character and not just Korra's soon to be boyfriend, and we don't really get the creator's pet vibe at this time.
      -- The Makorra interaction in Episode 3 is actually promising as a bit of bonding time. If we got more of this, rather than nonstop tension it would make their hook up feel organic.
      -- The later episodes even if you overlook his moral failings tend to be inconsistency after inconsistency. But for now, there's a rhyme and reason for what he does.

      And this is all on the subject. I hope I made a better argument this time around.

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    2. Okay, bring it on. I'll see what I agree with or not.

      First off, the number of episodes is why the season's PLOT turned out the way it did for the most part. Or at least half of the season's plot. Remember, episode 1 was arriving in Republic City and setting everything up. Episode 2 was about airbending training, pro-bending, and meeting Mako and Bolin. Episode 3 was the proper introduction to Amon and the Equalists and expanded on the Fire Ferret's dynamics. Episode 4 introduced Tarrlok, Asami, Hiroshi, and (posthumously) Yakone, and built up the Korra VS Amon conflict. Episode 5 went into the pro-bending tournament and included a bunch of love triangle drama. Episode 6 finally started to develop Lin Bei Fong, concluded the tournament, and had the Equalists' launching a public terrorist attack. At the end of that episode "Republic City was at war", which meant the next half of the season would be all Equalist storyline, non-stop. So they had to throw all this shit (Hiroshi's outing as an Equalist, Asami joining the team, Lin quitting the force and Saicon replacing her, Team Avatar being formed, Team Avatar being broken apart, Tarrlok being a villain, the bloodbending reveal, the Yakone story, more relationship drama, the Equalists big attack on the city, Amon taking over, all the twists and turns in the finale which had to end with Korra unlocking her final spiritual chakra in order for Aang to come and give her back her bending/full Avatar State power, and she'd hook up with Mako too for some arbitrary reason.) Really, it was hard for Bryke and the rest to do all that in 6 episodes without some things feeling rushed or forced.

      With Digimon Adventure: you mean NOT best show of the year. And I'm so glad the series got renewed for more episodes to air or else they wouldn't have been able to tell the story they were clearly wanting to tell since the movie with Tai and Kari with Koromon and Parrotmon premiered in theaters before the show even began.

      I agree with the Tenzin/Lin pairing. I would've rather they'd been just friends who'd drifted apart rather than ex-lovers. By making them ex-lovers, it just brought more shippiness in, not to mention always made Pema look like a presumptuous bitch.

      I will always feel like they should have had Korra meet Aang's spirit in Episode 9, and he could tell her the Yakone backstory, which would feel like a more satisfying payoff to those visions then just Korra meditating and them coming to her. Aang would then disappear after warning Korra about the danger Yakone's son currently poses. Korra would take that as meaning Tarrlok, and when she made that call when Tarrlok came back, he'd confirm it true. BUT the twist would be that Aang was actually talking about Amon, Yakone's other son. Then in the finale, Korra would conciously call on Aang when she's depressed. Aang would ask her what she intends to do with her life now that she's no longer the Avatar, and Korra would resolve to keep living as an airbending waterbender from now on, following the way of the Avatar even without all the elements. Then Aang would be like "Congragulations, Korra. You passed the test!" and he'd give her back her bending and unlock the Avatar State. Kind of a dick move on his part, but at least it would allow Korra herself to grow up and make a resolve to do something while ignorant of Aang's ability to give back the Avatar power, rather than Aang just coming the f**k out of nowhere and giving her back her power out of pity.

      Agreed. "The Spirit Of Competition" was the worst episode of the season, followed closely by "Turning The Tides". The extensive shippiness in those episodes needed to go so that more important things could recieve focus and development.

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    3. "Be better" than what? Then "Avatar: The Last Airbender?" Or better than it ended up being?

      It does baffle me how Bryke can find nothing wrong with Mako. They seem to realize the mistakes he makes but they brush them off because either "People make mistakes. It's for drama and conflict!" or "Korra is Mako's destined soulmate, Asami's wrong for him, so it's alright for him to cheat on Asami." The big problem is that Mako doesn't really pay for his mistakes, nor does he learn from them. It's everyone else that suffers for what he does. Compare that to Zuko, who clearly hurt himself as much as he hurt others with his mistakes, and actually learned from them and made an effort to get better. Mako does not do this because the narrative does not treat him as someone who needs to learn better.

      First of all, I do not get where this "The Fire Nation being behind Zuko 100%" thing comes from. At all. There were a select group of people from THREE nations at Zuko's coronation. It wasn't like the entire Fire Nation gathered there to cheer for him and Aang bringing peace. I always assumed there'd be Ozai loyalists who would hate how Zuko was changing things and there'd be further conflict down the road. (Zuko even says "the road ahead of us will be hard" after all). But they just didn't SHOW this on-screen because that would kill the whole happy ending. It'd be even worse than showing us the "where is my mother?" bit, which was already a flaw in the ending as it is. Imagine if before the end celebration is "Star Wars", we saw a bunch of Imperial loyalists fleeing and plotting to bring the Empire back to power? No, you can't do that or the ending is satisfying. Which is why Bryke kept the focus on where it belonged: on Aang and Zuko's uplifting moment of starting on uniting the world together.

      Also, the Equalists never said they "gave up" because Korra was telling the truth about Amon being a bender. If anything, I'd expect them to hate benders EVEN MORE after being jerked around by one like that. Anti-bending revolutionists could still be out there, and someone like Hiroshi Sato might try to sieze control of that faction of people. If it turns out that the Equalists are just dropped with no explanation, THEN I'll call foul.

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    4. Hmmm, the first four episodes. Usually it's the first two that recieve the most praise because they premiered at the same time and gave people such high hopes for the show. On the oppression subject, yes the protestor flat out said "the Avatar is oppressing me!" when that happened.

      I agree that episodes 1-4 were the strongest. I think that after the fourth episode finished bringing things into the main cast/plot (Asami, Hiroshi, Tarrlok, Yakone), Bryke started forcing in their bullshit into the remainder of the season. The reason those first four episodes felt stronger than the rest is because they were primarily dedicated to setting things up, while the next episodes were all about taking all the set-up plot points and characters in the direction Bryke saw fit. And that direction wasn't an entirely good one. Bringing in the concepts was great to watch. The execution that followed...ehhhh.

      I think Amon was handled well as a morally ambiguous mysterious villain the whole way through. (By "a bunch of children", do you mean the airbender kids? They, along with Tenzin, were the only airbenders. That's reason enough for Amon to target them so that he can destroy airbending for good.)

      Yeah, as much as I love Asami, I think the romance went south the moment she ran Mako over with her moped and Mako decided he had the hots for her. The previous episode could've been the start of something good between him and Korra, but nope!

      And SO agree with the thing about Mako. In episodes 2, 3, and 4 I liked him best, though I liked him fine in episode 6 and episode 8 too. I never really liked him, but I found him okay. And my impression of him from those early episodes is why I can't hate him, even if the show made me not like him.

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    5. Since you didn't seem bother by my posting, I'll give some responses right now then.

      1. Oh I don't think that Digimon Adventures would be the best, but there certainly wouldn't be any real problems other than it ending too soon.

      2. Still standing by 12 episodes not being a liability. Big example? Have Asami being brought into the show as Korra's first gal pal (Some close to her own age as opposed to Ikki and Jinora), and doing away with the love triangle. As such, The Spirit of Competition would be retooled into a friendship centered episode between the four teens (As well as Korra and Mako actually enjoying each other's company)

      And as such, the time spent on the drama and the kiss wouldn't happen, thus leaving some time for other story elements overall to be dealt with.

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    6. 3. The problem is that as far as Zuko's coronation goes is that we've seen of the Fire Nation and their stance on both FLs. Fire Sage Shyu (from the Winter Solstice), Jeong Jeong (including his followers), Piandao, Iroh and Zuko were the only citizens of The Fire Nation to oppose Ozai. Not really enough to suggest that Zuko would have some stable support.

      And prior to becoming Fire Lord, Zuko (and his Uncle) were deemed traitors of the Fire Nation. Yeah, you could probably explain that they were told of the Fire Lord's plan of genocide, but who would tell them that they'd believe? Aang's an enemy of the Fire Nation, and Zuko is a traitor to the throne.

      4. Well, I'd say the thing that makes Amon more evil is that he made a show out of the four Airbenders about to be debent. Given that they aren't guilty of oppression, I'd at least expect Amon to be conflicted as opposed to getting a thrill out of it (he didn't even attempt to rationlize debending them).

      5. I think the thing that really makes it easier for people to hate on Mako is that even when you ignore his unlikability, you still find /muchanything enjoyable about him, nor does the character make sense. Rather than a coherent and gradual change throughout the Book, any changes he goes through are without rhyme or reason:

      A. He seems to be surprised to find that Bolin likes Korra at the beginning of Episode 5, yet he shows awareness of the fact during his search for him in Episode 3 when going to Air Temple Island (The lovebird is probably making a house call)

      B. Aside from his ultimatum in Episode 7 being unsettling, it seems pretty odd that he considers her to be the most selfless person he ever met, but still can think her to be petty enough to ruin a man's career for her own love life.

      C. Even ignoring him nearing burning an Equalist during his freak out, Mako's reaction to Korra being gone really is rediculous.

      Prior to The Desert in ATLA, Aang and Appa have had a much more developed friendship. Heck, aside from Bumi, Appa is the only friend that Aang has left from before the iceburg. While it doesn't make his action less bad, I find it entirely believeable for him to flip out like that.

      Or heck, like I said before, the rarity of romantic hints on Katara's side make the extent of her feelings seem more platonic/familial. Yet, their friendship was developed enough that I can buy that she's close to him enough make a death threat to Zuko.

      D. Not to mention that while it's inexcusable at any rate, Zuko's actions and Sokka's sexism was well explained when you look at their backstories. Sokka for instance wanted to become a manly man, and as such let some sterotypical notions regarding gender cloud his thinking.

      But growing up in the streets prompts a person to two-time? Maybe if they went with the idea that Mako was a gold digger.

      E. Yeah, I'm sure that Bryan and Mike rationalize Mako's behavior in Episode 10 with him being confused, but his dialogue near the end of Episode 12 contradicts that (acknowledging that he realized that he loved her, after she was kidnapped by Tarrlok).

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    7. 1. I know. I was just correcting your typo.

      2. I agree there that "The Spirit of Competition" should've been a different episode entirely, and that they should've began developing Asami and her relationship with the other main characters soon after her introduction rather than waiting for the Equalist story arc to overtake the show when her father gets exposed as a bad guy.

      3. Eh, I'm willing to accept that there were more people (possibly closely tied to Shyu, Jeong Jeong, Piando, and Iroh) who didn't like the way things were and would be willing to get behind Zuko as Fire Lord. And that some Fire Nation citizens would accept him as Fire Lord without question just because he's Ozai's son. They probably would've accepted a crazy Azula as Fire Lord for the same reason. Sure Azula wasn't a traitor, but Zuko's also royalty and one-time heir to the throne. If the Fire Sages deemed him acceptable for being crowned Fire Lord, he's Fire Lord.

      4. Amon was an extremist. He made it clear from the start that he wasn't out to just get rid of openly oppressive benders: he was out to get rid of ALL bending. If someone, even a child, had bending power, they were a potential oppressor in his eyes. And seeing as Tenzin and his family were the only Airbenders, de-bending them would get rid of an entire bending element. One less tool for oppression to worry about.

      5. Yeah, Mako's a tool. He does whatever the writing demands of him, rather than having a coherent characterization. That makes it even worse when he starts making mistakes and being a dick about it, since we don't know him well enough to understand where he's coming from.

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    8. Well we seem to be in perfect agreement then on 1 and 5, so:

      2. Ok, you don't seem to disagree, but I figured I should still back up my view a little better on the whether the episode count matter before I table this one.

      But yeah, Mako definitely got no development and while Bolin comes off arguably as a better character, still underdeveloped. In contrast, Mai and Ty Lee got a lot out of their screentime in their debut. We get a decent grasp on their personlities, Mai's background and their relationship with Azula in that small amount of time.

      Asami didn't appear until Episode 4, yet still got a decent character arc, with the only real problem is that her loss is glossed over.

      Heck, Tarrlok appeared in only 7 episodes and even then not to the same amount of time that the Bending Bros did (heck his only moment in Episode 7 was to recap Episode 6) and still had a better story with a more fleshed out relationship with his brother.

      I mean Book 3 of ATLA is a pretty good example of how they didn't use all of their time wisely. Arguements can be made that some of the early stuff could have been compressed to move to DOBS sooner, and leaving room for other things.

      Now I do like The Painted Lady, but the things done in it like demonstrating how the FN aren't all monsters or how Katara believes in helping others have been done in episodes with more of a point. So take it out or retool it (more on that for 3.).

      3. Maybe, but I still feel some implications could have been given that not everyone was happy with Ozai on the throne. Take W.I.T.C.H. Season 1 (before Weisman came aboard). It ends with the younger sister of Phobos being accepted on the throne, and it works. The show establishes that people hated him, but followed out of fear, so naturally a new ruler was welcomed. Something along that line would have made things more believable.

      Granted it's pretty small, but going with my comment on The Painted Lady (which was inspired by a Zutara AU no less), have it occur Post DOBS. Rework it to having Zuko (along with Katara, then Aang) being the one to help the village. As such, despite being declared a traitor, you have a group of Fire Nation citizen (besides the ones mentioned already) being more inclined to support him as Fire Lord.

      4. I still feel that there were better ways to execute or set up the moment. Take Bolin as an example of his first intended victim. You could easily spin it off as seeing Bolin associating with a criminal and being guilty by association.

      Specifically Tenzin and his children can be viewed by some to be treated like royalty (having their own island) simply because they are Air Benders, while the Non Bending (presumably) Acolytes are merely serving them.

      But the way it's done seems like the writers trying to stress that he's evil.

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    9. 2. Mako and Bolin are both undeveloped. Bolin is essentially Sokka without any other facets to his character but comic relief. And I know Asami would have to be introduced in episode 4, but I was frusterated at how they just dropped her into the role of Mako's shallow background love interest for the next two episodes, then we get to know more about her character in the exact same episode her father betrays her and she leaves him to join the good guys. Bad placing, in my opinion. If we had seen her more interesting side before that, the twist with her and her father would've hit harder. And I'm in complete agreement about Tarrlok.

      Also, I didn't really like "The Painted Lady." I felt it was the only real dud episode of that season, basically just recycling "Imprisoned" but making Katara look more like a Mary Sue than she ought to. The only saving grace was the multiple personality hat guy.

      3. That sort of thing could have been done in "The Headband" and "The Painted Lady." I wonder why they chose not to ellaborate on the people who hate things under Ozai's rule. Your re-working of "The Painted Lady" sounds like it could've been a good opportunity.

      4. His whole takeover of Republic City, de-bending Lin Bei Fong and then preparing to do the same with several benders already stressed that he was evil, or at least an extremist. As did his backstory for that matter. I really saw nothing wrong with how he was willing to de-bend Tenzin and his kids. I would be more focused on how a HUGE crowd was cheering for this man and his children to be de-bended without any shocked or doubtful reactions, or how it's never explained how they even were captured, and how Lin's sacrifice was completely undone. Amon was the least of the moment's problems.

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  4. OK, yeah, this is well over a year old but I had to comment on this:

    "Well, they're the antagonists: try as they might, it's kind of hard to make their side look justified over the side that the freaking Avatar is on."

    No! No, no no! Being "the freaking Avatar" does not give Korra an omnipotent morality licence, nor does it mean any side she's on is justified solely because she's on it. That's Insane Ozai Logic!

    Thinking about it, I realize that ideally, Korra's side SHOULD have ended up as being in the wrong. The Equalists SHOULD have been justified despite being the antagonists! The heroes are on the wrong side and the villains are on the right one.

    That would have not only been deep and interesting, but it would have led to a more satisfactory conclusion: Korra becomes more spiritually attuned and WILLINGLY let's Amon take her bending, in front of the whole Equalist rally. She and Amon then fight hand-to-hand, and Korra starts besting him. Amon breaks down in rage and resorts to bloodbending her, exposing himself as a bender. Now at last the positions are reversed: the Avatar is on the right side and is the symbol of balance and equality as she should be, and the villain has become the very definition of an oppressive bender.

    God, that would have been awesome! But no, we get Makorra defeating Amon instead. UGH!

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    1. Not saying that it did: only that, in execution, it would be very difficult to make the antagonists appear valid and in the right when the opposition has someone who's not only the protagonist of this series, but is technically the protagonist of the previous series: the Avatar. We spent an entire series building up how great the Avatar is and how he/she is the only one who can keep balance in the world, so then forcing us to side against the Avatar's next incarnation in the sequel would be like "BUT YOU JUST..!!!"

      So no, I don't think the heroes on "the wrong side" and the villains on "the right one" would be good either: that would still be black and white, but in the opposite way. Ideally, the Equalists would be on the wrong side for the right reasons, and the heroes are on the right side but come to realize that it might be for the wrong reasons, so they try to take another option to settle the crisis.

      That would have been an awesome conclusion, but if Korra's bending had to be taken, how do you work in her mastery of airbending? (Which she should have learned back in Tarrlok's box, BTW) I'd say she should've been forced to master the airbending style AFTER her airbending was taken (irony!), and then somehow gained the Avatar State to defeat Amon. Then later she'd get her bending back through the Aang idea I mentioned above, which would only work if she'd previously met Aang, again, when locked up in Tarrlok's box.

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    2. I respectively disagree. In the past series AND the graphic novel trilogy being released at the same time as Korra, it was shown that the Avatar isn't always great and sometimes fails to keep balance in the world with Roku, whose fuck-ups helped cause the very conflict Aang had to resolve. "The Promise" very blatantly had us side against Aang's past incarnation, so I don't see why siding against his next one is a stretch. The Avatar may be one spiritual essence, but they're still different people with their own ups and downs. This should have been about an Avatar who had a lot of downs who ended up going up. Instead, she kept going down until Aang hoisted her back up and then some. Sigh!

      And you'd still always be siding with Korra personally over Amon, but it would still be so much more interesting if a point was made in-universe that Amon has become the symbol of good that the Avatar used to be and still should be, and that a major part of the conclusion is the Avatar taking that mantle back and exposing Amon as a hypocritical fraud.

      "On the wrong side for the right reasons" and "On the right side for the wrong reasons" was more what I was trying to get across: the Equalists' villainous methods are wrong, but the cause they're fighting for is the right one. Tenzin and co. fight the noble way, but it's for a cause they really shouldn't be fighting for.

      Yes, exactly what you said, that's how it should have gone down. And then we wouldn't have gotten the controversial last act of the final episode at all, since she wouldn't have needed Aang to come and give her the Avatar State and all her bending back.

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    3. It's not about the Avatar always being in the right: it's about the Avatar being seen as the bad guy or "the problem", which people seemed to expect the story to do. Amon and the Equalists claims of all bending being bad, all benders being corrupt and oppressive, and the Avatar being bad for the world for being the embodying spirit of bending are as problematic as Team Plasma's claims of Pokemon training being wrong. (Though the Equalists are as much Team Galactic as they are Plasma, really.) We were shown through three whole seasons of the last series that bending could do good things, that there were good benders who fought the oppressive ones (mostly Firebenders), that benders and nonbenders could get along together (oh boy, oh boy!) and that the Avatar, even if not flawless, was needed for the world to be in balance. The Equalists' problems arose solely because of the perverted system in Republic City, and even then their only legit gripes would be with the council rulings and the opportunities that benders get as opposed to nonbenders. (The bending triads don't count since they're fucking criminals: they oppress everyone, even other benders.) That's why I find fans expectations for Korra to, instead of arguing her own views and going "you're oppressing yourselves!", quickly become sensitive and aware of nonbender issues and be called out on her spoiled, entitled nature all the time to be silly. Those are things she should have gradually come to terms with during her spiritual growth, but when dealing with the Equalists (EQUALISTS, not nonbenders in general), it's clear who we should side with. Korra IS the Avatar, and we DO gotta deal with it!

      Agreed that Korra's arc was botched and that Aang only hoisted her back up and then some, which made for a false happy ending if their ever was one. I think that becoming the symbol of good that the Avatar should be in-universe WAS what Amon was doing, but that just didn't get explored the right way, especially in the book's latter half where Amon and the Equalists were purely "the bad guys."

      Exactly. The Equalists, like the self righteous evil teams of Pokemon, come from an ideal that's clearly right and valid, but their methods are unarguably wrong. The good guys were fighting to keep peace and solve the problem, but had to realize that such a problem wouldn't go away just by beating the bad guys. And yet that's exactly what seems to have happened in the series. The bad guys got beaten, the city's at peace, and the council's been abolished so that a nonbender president is elected instead, so everything's better? All problems solved? Yay?

      Only if she did indeed unlock the Avatar State to beat Amon, but that might be seen as a Dues Ex Machina as well. But it might've been for the best because then the last act would be dedicated to sorting out the problem in Republic City, rather than concluding this "spiritual anatomy of a bender" story that Bryke was really interested in telling.

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    4. To elaborate on the Equalists ambiguity matter, remember the Lieutenant's line "there's no place for you anymore" towards Mako and Bolin? If we had ever delved into what that guy's story was and why he'd feel in a way that would make him say such a thing, would we sympathize? Hell yes. Would we agree? Hell no, because that is an extreme statement. Even better, Hiroshi Sato. We sympathize with him and understand why he feels the way he does...but then he says to Asami "You are assisting the very people who took your mother away!", even though her bender friends had NOTHING to do with that. It was just ONE FIREBENDER. But Hiroshi's hate for benders is so strong that he's made himself think that all benders are out to kill his happiness, so he wants to destroy them all. That's tragic, but there's no ambiguity about his stance: he is wrong, wrong, WRONG. And Amon...it would one thing if this were a manipulative, charismatic cult leader driven by family/brother issues who wanted to bring down a system that's shown to be corrupt, unfair, and favorable towards one group, and was thus seen as evil for this even though there was no evidence of this and more evidence to the contrary. (And who ended up iced and fucking broken for it!!!) Amon was seen as evil because he was leading the Equalists in extreme actions that only made things worse in the city. Some critics try to write it off as "ah, getting your bending taken away isn't the worst thing that could happen, it's not the end of the world, crybabies!", but no, in the context of this universe, Amon's de-bending is a terrible thing. It's a violation of people's very existence: a forced removal of something they were born with. It's like if someone was forcibly using mutation antidote on mutants without their consent or any ethical debate on the matter. It's not right, and it furthers the problem of the oppressed becoming the oppressors. This sort of role reversal changes nothing: it'd only end up like "Animal Farm." This is why it's hard to make these antagonists look justified over the Avatar. The Avatar is meant to restore balance, and while Korra did not do a good job at doing this, neither were the Equalists. Both sides were fighting oppression with oppression, and as bad as Korra's oppressive ways are, most of the trouble comes from implications that weren't thought of rather than blatant extremism and terrorism, so she was still the lesser of the two evils.

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    5. 30 comments for this one. Amon must be a popular guy...

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