The Legend of Korra: “The Last Stand” Book 4 and Series Finale Review

I was honestly speechless as I watched the final scenes of The Legend of Korra. This is a beautiful finale. The only true end for what the show has been setting up since the beginning. The air waves feel a little emptier now, but with a series ender this wholly satisfying, this goodbye stings a little less.

But before we get to what made the ending magnificent, let’s focus on the action. Korra, Mako, Bolin, Lin, and Suyin plan inside the colossus. The Beifong sisters are to take out the weapon in the arm, while Mako and Bolin go after the main power source. That leaves Korra to face Kuvira. Alone.

Lin and Suyin work so well as a team, and I’m glad they play such an integral part in this final fight. Suyin destroys the weapon while Lin fights off a guard. They then take out the entire arm, forcing Kuvira to detach it and throw it elsewhere in the city, with the canon landing in the nearby spirit wilds.

Meanwhile, Mako and Bolin’s fight with two henchmen was dirty. Bolin’s lavabending here was awesome, but it’s Mako who stole the show by killing the colossus’ power source with lightning, and almost himself. But Bolin refuses to let his brother die, saving him in the last minute as the whole suit snaps in half due to the explosion.

But before that, Korra and Kuvira’s final duel in the head was really physical and awesome. Korra punching through the metal hatch was a great start, but some liquid metalbending added to the craziness. When the suit crashes, Kuvira appears to be injured, but she’s not quite ready to give up. Korra chases her in the spirit wilds where Kuvira makes a last ditch effort to destroy the Avatar with her weapon. But of course Kuvira loses control of the weapon, and just when it points at herself, Korra jumps in with the Avatar State to save her. A massive explosion surprisingly gives way to a new spirit portal, Jeremy Zuckerman’s score knocking all of this out of the park.

Korra and Kuvira then wake up in the Spirit World. The fighting is over. They kind of just sit in the grass and talk. This is the conversation Korra never gets to have with her enemies that she’s always needed to have. Amon got away, only to be killed by his brother. Unalaq unceremoniously died when Korra and Raava vanquished Vaatu. Korra was pretty out of it when Zaheer was apprehended. Of course, Book 4 did give us a meeting between Korra and Zaheer, but this was truly effective stuff. Korra appealing to Kuvira’s humanity to achieve peace feels like the natural end to Korra’s arc since she burst through a wall and yelled, “I’m the Avatar and you gotta deal with it!” She and Kuvira aren’t all that different, and once they both realize that, Kuvira agrees to surrender. It’s a sad but suitably quiet end for the Great Uniter, with Suyin promising that she will pay for her crimes.

Another note about how Kuvira’s defeat was handled: Korra didn’t have any help. Among got away, Jinora brought Raava at the last moment, and the airbenders saved her from Zaheer. Korra finally defeated a villain all on her own, and she did so by talking to her, imploring reason, and balancing her out. This is something the writers struggled with even in Avatar: The Last Airbender, but they finally gave us the most rewarding ending to a season in both series.

Now it’s time for some joyful resolutions. Bolin officiates Varrick and Zhu Li’s wedding! The vows were hysterical and they both did the thing! Perfect.

Prince Wu has officially become king. His first act? He’s going to oversee the transition of the Earth Kingdom from a monarchy to a republic and then resign to pursue his singing career. Less of him this season would have been nice, but this is the best end for this character.

Korra and Mako have an appropriately platonic final conversation. I was so worried when they approached each other that it would be Book 1 all over again. “I’ll always have your back,” was the way these two friends left it. Good enough for me.

Then comes the final conversation between Tenzin and the Avatar. This was where light tears got a little heavier. This mentor and his mentee both grew so much over the series. Their final moments with us felt precious.

The last person Korra speaks to is Asami. It had to be. Since the beginning of Book 3, these two have found a new dynamic that has felt natural from the onset. They can joke around together as well as they fight together. The writers have seemingly always had a “let’s see where this goes” approach to their relationship. As their scenes in Book 4 grew more intimate, fans started to suspect there might be a little more than friendship. Choosing to be alone instead of dancing at the wedding, Asami tells Korra she could really use a vacation. Korra suggest they go together to the Spirit World, just the two of them. They walk to the new portal, and their hands meet. Their eyes lock onto each other as they fade away into the portal, almost matching the closing shot of Aang and Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender, just without the kiss. But it is most certainly implied.

To get the obvious out of the way, a female LGBT lead in an American action series/kids show is unheard of. It’s simply groundbreaking, there’s no other way to say it.

But what’s truly magical about this implied union, is that it doesn’t feel like the writers are trying to be progressive for the sake of being progressive. Much like dating itself, you see what works, and Korra and Asami worked. That much was clear at the start of Book 3. It didn’t matter that they were two women, it just worked. The development was natural, getting more obvious the closer we came to the end, and their series-closing moment was just the right amount that we got it without a big cliche kiss moment.

This is a significant and important approach to LGBT relationships on TV. It’s about being open and in touch with yourself. It’s not edgy. It’s an LGBT romance treating itself like any other romance. For that, the creators are to be applauded. Very few shows go gay without patting themselves on the back for going gay. This was tasteful. The perfect balance, if you will.

So this marks the end of The Legend of Korra and the Avatarverse as we know it. What a ride. The Last Stand was a perfect sendoff for the series. After everything Nickelodeon has done to this series, its audience is sadly limited. So I have a favor to ask. Show your kids. Then this series and its groundbreaking ideals can live on forever. Thanks to the creators for this beautiful show. It won’t be forgotten. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

One Response to The Legend of Korra: “The Last Stand” Book 4 and Series Finale Review

  1. Jah says:

    could not have said it any better. two-thumbs up for the production team of LOK.:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *