Korra S3 was amazing. It was action packed, had interesting new characters, good comedy, no stupid romance subplots and ended on a surprisingly poignant note that will have serious ramifications for the future. It was a great season that is easily on par with ATLA when it was at it’s best.
And I never thought I’d praise Korra after the just ok first season and absolutely abysmal second season. At first I wondered, is season three only good because of the previous seasons being bad? But no. Long before it ended I knew that wasn’t the case. It’s just great on it’s own.
(That being said, a few people have asked (in the midst of my overflowing praise for this season) if it’s possible to watch just this one and not the other two? Well, I suppose so, huh? You might miss out on a few details and the scene in the last episode where Korra faces her past might mean less to you. But would the season have as big an impact if you hadn’t stuck with these characters through the awfulness before this? I do have to wonder.)
On top of things like Bolin being funny and not a douchebag any more, the abundance of awesome fight scenes or the addition of Suyin as another great character (and while Kai wasn’t the best, he got less annoying as time went on), there were two very specific things that made this season so great.
One was the lack of stupid romantic plotlines. Sure Bolin and jinora had ones but whatever. But those are piddlywinks compared to the awfulness of Makorra. There were a few hugs that lingered too long but god don’t go down that road again. Just don’t. Wanna roll up a newspaper and smack them with it. Don’t do that. Bad.
More Asami and Korra being besties like there was tons of in this season? Good, great. More of that. Shoo, Mako. You’re not wanted here.
Secondly, world travelling. One of the things I missed most from ATLA was travelling the world and seeing different places. Season one in Republic City was alright but season two in a different locale for the whole season was pretty boring. This one saw the gang going all over the place and it was muchly appreciated.
Another big thing was good villains. Damn good villains who were cool, charismatic and almost sympathetic. Of course anarchy is the thing whiny babies indulge in so it was hard not to roll my eyes at some things he blabbed about but some brought up the Amon conundrum where they make valid points about equality and fairness. Where they aren’t entirely wrong, that the current world doesn’t benefit all equally. The way they go about it, of course, isn’t the best but hey at least they had different methods.
With episodes like that episode twelve and the one where they take the air temple and it seemed like Tenzin could really die, I was so on the edge of my seat. It was unbelievably dire. They were effective villains in all sorts of ways and I’m sorry to see them go. Though lava and water had(although I’ve played enough video games to know she should be dead) such ambiguous deaths that I wouldn’t be THAT surprised if they showed up to break Zaheer out next season.
And that ending. That goddamn ending. The whole last episode was one overwhelming ride what with Korra fighting the poison, seeing her past enemies (I was so excited when Amon appeared because the similarities between the two were undeniable) and then going berserk. When the AMAZING fight wrapped up with most of the Red Lotus crew was dead and Zaheer was captured, I worried things would go back to the status quo. I had wanted the Red Lotus to carry on for another season, to not be wrapped up as easily as past villains had been. Status quo would return until the next bad guys showed up!
I hadn’t expected what lie in store for us though. At the end of the episode we find Korra and on top of being (temporarily?) wheelchair bound she’s suffering from some serious (though understandable) side effects from the whole experience. She’s a miserable looking shell of her former self. She’s got post traumatic stress disorder and it’s portrayed, understandably as it should be, completely heartbreaking.
Seeing the once brash and loud girl turn into this was so hard to watch. I think I even cried a lil bit during Jinora’s unveiling. The final goddamn shot of the season is Korra watching, her expression staying the same even as tears run down her face and then whoop, credits rolling. I couldn’t believe it. I had to check to see if anything was after the credits but of course there was not. That’s it.
And what if that’s it? What if they don’t get a season four like they were supposed to? The series ends with the idea of Jinora and the airbenders bringing order back to the world, helping those who have lost their way while Korra is left beaten and defeated, unable to walk and unable to even face the world.
I never expected that. I never expected such a poignant portrayal of the main character suffering a serious, crippling mental illness like this. Not from this show anyways. I mean, it’s a kid show. So eventually she’ll overcome her demons and get better, right? I just hope that isn’t just handed to them. That there’s actual struggle to her recovery.
And it’s a valid thing to worry about with this series. Will season four, if it gets one that is, blow it all off and have her cleaned up within two episodes? God forbid it’s a result of Mako and the idiot baby romance returns.
But no, maybe season four will be good and will focus on her rebirth and recovery alongside the rebirth and recovery of the world. At this point, with Korra in her current state, I don’t want them chasing down or running from another big bad. Maybe others can be up to action and all that good stuff but I want to see Korra heal, to find herself and recover from the trauma she endured. To find out that her fists and power can’t get her out of this.
But at this point, all we can do is hope and pray that maybe season four will be as good as this season.