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SEASON FINALE REVIEW: Legend of Korra 3×13 “Venom of the Red Lotus”

Well, that was quite the way to go out in my honest opinion, and make no doubt Legend of Korra definitely went out with a bang this season. “Venom of the Red Lotus” was really the much stronger half of the season finale and in occasional Avatar fashion managed to not end on an entirely happy note. When we last left our hero she was about to have poison forced into her body and Zaheer finally explained why they wanted the Avatar. It was not to train her and bring her over to their side as we previously thought but rather to force her into the Avatar State and kill her, thus ending the Avatar Cycle. As far as evil plans go this one was rather well thought out and the use of a metallic poison rather was a unique twist on the formula. So just how did our hero make it out of this? Let’s dive in and find out.

First off, bravo to whoever decided that once the poison entreated Korra’s body that she would begin tripping balls because that was terrifying. I mean there have been some pretty disturbing scenes this season, but that quickly moved towards the top of the list with how much it has seemed to effect Korra’s psyche. That has sadly been the one element that has not been touched on about Korra’s personality, as with how many near death experiences she has had she could be suffering from some form of PTSD. Having Korra hallucinate Amon, Unalaq, and Vaatu as they attempted to persuade her to stop struggling was a master stroke. Over the course of the series Korra has managed to develop into a more intelligent and well rounded character, but the path she has taken was not without peril. By showing us that Korra’s foes are entrenched somewhere in her psyche it helps to show that she has not entirely been able to move past those traumatic experiences. I really hope in season four we see Korra confront this fear as it has become a core element of her character since Season One.

Once those hallucinations stopped and Korra was forced into the Avatar State it became HULK SMASH time with Korra going full on berserker mode for the first time in the series. This may possibly be one of the best action scenes in the entire history of Avatar as Korra and Zaheer went blow for blow while swooping across the landscape. Previously, Korra had demonstrated a certain amount of control so to see her be in angry Avatar mode for the first time was awesome. She was literally tearing up mountains and shooting off water bullets like there was no tomorrow, while Zaheer pile drove her into a mountain and kept trying to break her body in half. It is always amazing just how much the villains underestimate the sheer strength that an Avatar gains while in the Avatar State. You would think by now they would have been better prepared for the raw power that Korra was going to unleash.Korra unfortunately was at a handicap as the poison was coursing through her body, but luckily Jinora led the new airbenders to create a giant tornado which manage to stop Zaheer from sucking all of the air out of Korra’s body. Watching Korra land the final blow and drag Zaheer’s ass down to earth was so unbelievably satisfying. Major kudos to everyone involved as that fight was absolutely insane.

The best part of all of this was that Korra vs Zaheer was not the only amazing fight we got as Mako and Bolin went for round two against Ghazan and Ming Hua. The Mako and Ming Hua fight was a bit underwhelming, but when Ming Hua unleashed the tentacles and forced Mako to finally use lighting it was so amazingly gratifying. I am shocked that Mako has not used lightning as often as he should, as he could have easily taken down Ming Hua a while ago but seemingly chose not to. The main event however, and I honestly can’t believe I get to write these words, was Bolin and Ghazan’s lava fight. Yes, there was a full on lava fight and it was as awesome as you would expect a lava fight to be. Everything from Bolin revealing to Ghazan that he could lavabend, to Ghazan’s eventual suicide by lava was amazing. It was everything a high-class earthbender fight should be and easily made up for the Suyin and Lin vs P’Li fight in the first half. I really can’t wait to see how Bolin evolves his techniques and fighting style next season as he can finally be on par with Mako in terms of bending.

After all is said and done we were thrown two weeks in to the future where a wheelchair bound Korra is being prepared for a big day, Jinora’s coronation as an airbending master. This scene was both absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. It is clear to everyone that Korra is not only physically scarred from her battle with the Red Lotus but also psychologically. Tenzin realizes this and swears to Korra that while she is recuperating the new Air Nation will roam the world aiming to protect it in the ideals of the Avatar. While this is a nice sentiment it does seem like from the brief moment we got that Korra does not know how to feel about everything. It is clear that in Book Four Korra will have to fight her mental handicaps in order to become the Avatar she is destined to be, but just how much damage has been done to her psyche remains unknown. The reveal of Master Jinora was beautiful and it is clear that Aang’s dream of rebuilding his people has been realized, the music throughout the entire scene was a great mixture of jovial notes that ended on a somber sting which really helped to seal the season. Make no doubt, this was a victory for Korra, but the cost may indeed have been to high as the final shot depicted a crying, seemingly broken hero.

So that is it for Book Three. Where we go from here only the writers know but damn if it was not a great ride.

 

Final Grade A

Season Grade A-

 

+Korra vs Zaheer

+LAVA FIGHT

+Master Jinora

+Hallucinations

+Our broken hero

 

Extra Thoughts

-Katara oddly absent from the one of the biggest days for her family. The hell that is not cool.

-Asami did not get a whole lot to do, but damn that guard takedown was freakin sweet

-That Bolin wink when he lavabends at Ghazan= the best. Also Bolin putting a sock in Zaheer.

-One more great Bolin moment, when he pushed Suyin out of the way after Opal was saved. Hilarious.

-I guess I was wrong about Suyin being a bad guy. I admit fault.

-Seriously if there was one more episode this season I would have killed for some villain backstory. They felt underdeveloped in the end

About the author

Scott Swartz