You can always trust an Avatar two part finale to be flashy, am I right? Really in terms of action, suspense, and an outright body count the combination of “Enter the Void” and “Venom of the Red Lotus” were right up there with the best the Avatar universe has to offer. We will recap the later half of the finale in a separate article, but for the here and now lets discuss “Enter the Void” and the ramifications it brings to the series. When we last left our heroes they were on their way to confront Zaheer and attempt to rescue the airbenders and for a large part of the episode the tension surrounding who was going to live and who would die was palpable, especially the matter of Tenzin’s fate after last week’s ending. Once Korra turned herself over to Zaheer and realized that she had been double crossed shit hit the fan and our usual three act story structure turned into a three act free for all brawl between the Red Lotus and Korra’s crew. Despite a large lack of actual story the episode manages to capitalize on all of the characters fights build up to a satisfying part one. So let’s dive in.
I will say right off the bat this is probably the hardest Avatar finale to review as so much of it was based around fight choreography and the actual fight on two separate fronts. The story wasn’t so much a vital component as a skeleton to showcase just how powerful and epic in scope the finale would be all around. Both battles had a solid ebb and flow with no one side holding a distinct advantage at any point in time, and the two v one fights really got the most out of the combatants involved. I just wish that at some point in this episode we had gotten some fleshing out of our villains. Unlike with Unalaq or Amon, Zaheer and his group were never given a true backstory for us to understand their motivations. We got a brief chat where P’Li said she was a soldier for a warlord, but that is something I would rather have seen displayed than merely talked about. At the end of the day our villains were just characters with cool powers rather than being in the Avatar tradition of being well rounded characters that just happen to have fun abilities.
As for the battles featured in “Enter the Void” man they were cool as all hell. The fights were all easily distinguishable and most of the different forms of bending had a relatively cool display. I have to say my personal favorite of the three fights was Tonraq and a shackled Korra vs Zaheer. Even with a serious handicap Korra was able to put up a fantastic challenge for Zaheer and for that to be coupled with Tonraq being a godamn tank made it even better. We have constantly been told how strong and powerful Tonraq is, but even in last season we only got glimpses of what a strong bender he truly is. To see him almost solo Zaheer and save the day all by himself was pretty rad. The fluidity of the choreography is what really grabbed me about this fight as the combination of airbender movements and waterbender movements allowed for a real physicality to the fights. Since Zaheer was never trained in airbender fighting techniques his style is so much more physical and it paired up really well with Tonraq’s full frontal fighting style.
On the other side of the Korra fight is P’Li vs the Beifong sisters and although this would like be awesome in many different variations the fight happened to be very rudimentary and serve only one purpose, have P’Li blow herself up. The fighting of this confrontation is very similar to many of the different combustion bending type battles we have seen before hand. Basically Lin and Suyin are force to wait patiently to have P’Li’s own bending backfire on her, and while that is all well and good these are Toph’s kids. We know they have the ability to get P’Li off her game and yet they decided a frontal assault is their best play. I just don’t know how Lin and Suyin would not use the echo location technique or something else to make the fight a little more exciting. Luckily the final blow so to speak is very satisfying as it allows for Zaheer to transcend his earthly connection and develop the technique to fly, allowing him to escape with the subdued Korra. It is weird that a villain manages to be the first airbender to control this technique in the show but it is such a cool moment that it partially makes up for the lackluster nature of P’Li’s fight.
The third and final confrontation that is featured in the episode is the rest of Team Korra’s escape from the Northern Air Temple. It was a little surprising while at the same time relieving to see Tenzin alive, albeit in really bad shape. I knew that there was no way it would be that easy to rescue all of the airbenders but I was terrified when they all dissolved to reveal Ming-Hua waiting to kill them. The confrontation between the two sides was short-lived as Ghazan decided to melt the temple with lava and leave Team Korra to die. Luckily for our heroes Tenzin had a backup way out and Bolin was able to stall the lava for a good period of time. Our heroes became backed against a wall and finally, after an entire season of buildup Bolin learned his secondary skill and became a lavabender. I was very excited when Bolin learned to lava bend as much like Ghazan he has a very laid back personality and the technique works well for him. As the team is able to meet up with Kai they looked on at the now in ruins Northern Air Temple. It was quite the site especially for Tenzin who had worked so hard to rebuild his nation only to see one of their homes burned to the ground. Once the team regroups with Kai they go off to rescue Korra who is finally in Zaheer’s clutches.
Overall this is a very strong episode that is missing some slow paced story elements. Wait till the finally. Ooh boy.
Final Grade B+
+Zaheer vs. Korra and Tonraq
+Zaheer “entering the void” and flying
+Bolin finally learning to lavabend
-P’Li vs Beifong sisters fight was lackluster
-No backstory for our villains
-For some reason the writers felt it was necessary to show us Pabu and Naga were just chilling. It was funny but out of place.
-You know for just figuring out how to fly Zaheer has really good control of his body while carrying another person.
-How did no one think Zaheer was going to have a trap at the Air Temple? Mako you should always ask to remove the hoods.