Saturday, September 14, 2013

Legend of Korra (Episodes 11-12)

(Catch up on previous episodes here)

The final two episodes of Legend of Korra are among the best in the season, and bring the story to a beautifully written conclusion. After the invasion, the eleventh episode opens with Amon in charge of Republic City. Team Avatar has been living in an underground shanty town with the homeless, and other refugees from the city above. However, Korra and Mako have been disguising themselves as equalist soldiers in order to keep track of what's happening in the city, which mainly consists of Amon "cleansing" benders of their ability. These are remarkably powerful scenes that capture an authentic feel to living under siege, and the injustice of ethnic conflict.

When the United Forces finally arrive to liberate the city, it turns out to be a trap. The equalists have placed ship mines in the harbor. As the fleet is grounded, they come under attack from another of Mr. Sato's deadly inventions, a squad of World War I style bi-wing air planes. Korra leaps into the battle, and she's on top of her game, giving her best showing so far as the avatar. Eventually the enemy is simply too overwhelming, and she is forced to retreat back to the shanty town, this time with General Iroh. They raido the 2nd Fleet, under the command of Tenzin's brother (another of Aang's sons), warning him of the danger. 

Iroh leads Bolin and Asami to the equalist airfield in order to take out the runways and give the 2nd Fleet an advantage. Meanwhile, Korra and Mako go to Air Temple Island to face Amon. There they discover Tarrlok and learn that he's really Amon's brother. In a lengthy flashback, we see how their father Yokone raised them to get revenge on the Avatar for removing his bending. He trains his young sons to become ruthless bloodbenders, but the two brothers end up on very different paths. Armed with this information, Korra plans to expose Amon as a bender at his upcoming rally and cripple the revolution.

Once she gets to the rally, things don't go as planned. The people don't believe her, and then Amon tells them a different tale about a firebender killing his family. When he removes his mask, his face is scarred, suggesting his story is true. Then unveils a terrible surprise, having Tenzin and his children brought on stage, promising to rid the world of airbending once and for all. The sight of the children in distress is enough to cause Mako and Korra to risk everything and attack. Together, they manage to free Tenzin and chase Amon through the back halls of the arena.

On the other side of Republic City, Iroh and the others have found the airfield, only to fall prey to an electric fence that surrounds it. Mr. Sato visits his daughter in the base's jail, explaining that he overheard their radio message and that the planes are going to destroy the 2nd Fleet. When things look hopeless, they are saved by Naga, the polar dog. Together, Bolin, Asami, and Iroh manage to destroy the planes and rip up the airfield. Then we get the final fight between Asami and her father, ending with Mr. Sato being brought to justice.

Back at the arena, Amon has been able to take both Mako and Korra under his bloodbending power. In a shocking scene, he removes Korra's bending. The unthinkable has happend, Amon has defeated the Avatar. But then, just as he's about take Mako's bending, Korra is able to airbend. She goes after him, and though he escapes, he is forced to expose himself as a waterbender, thus destroying his support among the people. In the end, it is Tarrlok who brings an end to Amon, sacrificing himself in the process.

Though the war has been won, there is still the devastating defeat to deal with. Returning to the Southern Water Tribe, they do everything to try and restore Korra's bending without success. Korra is crushed and completely distraught. When she is at her absolute lowest, the spiritual realm opens to her. She meets all the previous Avatars, and it is Aang who returns her powers. In the final scene, we get to see Korra in the Avatar state for the first time, and she's totally bad-ass. I feel sorry for her enemies in season two.

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