The Legend of Korra: “A New Spiritual Age” Book 2 Episode 10

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More spirits, and a ton of well placed Last Airbender callbacks, make for one of the best episodes of the season.

Book 2 hasn’t really lived up to Book 1, but with A New Spiritual Age it is showing potential to still become a celebrated addition to the Avatar canon.

Korra and Jinora journey into the Spirit World to close the portals and prevent the Harmonic Convergence. After a few chance encounters with spirits the pair get separated.

Korra, lost in the spirit woods reverts to a child like state (I think many of us would agree she’s been acting like a child all season, so this was fitting).

Jinora has an easier time, traveling to a certain library us Last Airbender fans will remember, complete with Wan Shi Tong, the great owl spirit who knows 10,000 things. You have to love Jinora showing him up on how a radio works though. If you remember how the classic Airbender episode The Library went, Wan Shi Tong doesn’t exactly consider the Avatar his ally, sinking the library into the desert after Aang’s visit. So it was fairly obvious when Unalaq showed up and took Jinora.

Meanwhile, Korra, still a child, comes across another familiar face, Iroh. No, not General Iroh who saved Republic City with the United Forces. The man he’s named after, the Dragon of the West. True to the character, the writers wonderfully had the wisest Airbender character transfer to the Spirit World once his “work was done” in the human world. As chipper and wise as ever, Iroh manages to council Korra just as he did Zuko for all those seasons (he even plays Pai Sho!). And boy does Korra need help.

Taking an injured dragon bird to the top of a mountain to help it grow into a full-grown spirit. Along the way, Korra must be positive to turn the spirits around her to her side. From the beginning, Korra has been a fighter, but to connect to the Spirit World she needs to learn the ways of peace. This as excellent character work for Korra, possibly the most significant and rewarding in both Book 1 and 2.

The dragon bird takes Korra to the portals, where she is of course confronted by Unalaq. Thank Raava he explained that because he entered from the physical world he can bend in the Spirit World. Major plot-hole, avoided. But Korra of course can’t bend, leaving Unalaq to show off a terrifying new technique. The same bending he uses on the spirits he uses on Jinora, claiming it will destroy her soul. Ouch. Unalaq now seems more powerful than ever, but he may just be a pawn for Vaatu’s much deeper, darker plan.

Korra is saved at the last second by her new dragon bird companion, but Unalaq still has Jinora, a fact Korra has to face when she wakes up in the physical world to a worried Tenzin.

This good-natured, fantastical episode of brilliant character development took a dark turn fast. It was incredibly smart writing that lead to such a wonderful half hour of The Legend of Korra. Now that we are heading into the end of the season (four episodes over the next two weeks to close Book 2), we are getting a more focused season. Let’s hope it continues and Book 2 goes out on as big of a bang as Book 1. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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