Published on December 23rd, 2014 | by Lauren McPhee


The Legend of Korra – Day of the Colossus/The Last Stand Part 1

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After 52 episodes, The Legend of Korra is over. That number is both greater than we could have hoped, and less than we all would have wanted. Originally, only meant to be a one season mini-series, we ended up with four seasons: Air, Spirits, Change and Balance. If I could name the fifth season, I would call it Energy and it would answer all the questions we still have. Will Korra ever regain the connection with her past lives? What ever happened to Sokka? Did he have a family? What happened during Korra and Asami’s spirit world vacation? Although, it’s probably too much to hope for another animated series, we have the Avatar comics; it can’t be too much to ask that we get Korra comics too, can it? Please?

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Not that I’m dissatisfied by the conclusion or anything. I mean, did you see it? It was incredible! Day of the Colossus starts right after the end of Kuvira’s Gambit, after she has fired her spirit weapon on Asami’s factory. Thanks to Bolin, everyone gets out but the giant mecha-suit is still coming and all of the Hummingbird suits in the factory have been destroyed. Nonetheless, Team Avatar (which has grown quite a bit since the series’ beginning) is not going to let Kuvira take Republic City. With the prototype Hummingbirds at Asami’s office, the airbenders and the Beifongs, Team Avatar is going to take Kuvira’s mecha-suit down.

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With stakes at their highest and everyone already gathered together, the episode starts with tensions spiking from the very beginning. To add to things, the evacuation run by Wu and Pema is incomplete and a number of citizens are stranded at the train station. However, despite starting heavy, the episode never loses steam but rather perfectly balances action with respite, starting with the airbenders’ first attack on the mecha-suit. Using an idea from Milo, the airbenders fly balloons of paint into the glass of the cockpit; Avatar can always be relied on for coming up with ingenious solutions to problems, a trend started by Sokka in the original series.

Of the airbenders, Milo has been given a lot of attention this season, and since he is one of the creators’ favourites, that’s no surprise. The airbender kids are three of my favourites. And while at the beginning of the season, I hoped for more Jinora, I understand now how much had to be cut in order to tell the full story they intended, even without the clips episode eating up story time. Kai, a great character introduced in series three, didn’t even get a spoken line after the first episode. Still, I love the variety of airbender characters season three brought in; the whole concept really added to the history and mythology of the Avatar universe, so it was great to see the airbenders playing such an important role in the finale.

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Next up, we get a moment between Bataar Jr. and Su. Betrayed and injured by the woman he loved, his mother watches over him, listening and offering understanding as Bataar apologises for turning on his family. Despite everything he has done, Su is more than ready to forgive her son, comforting him through his anguish. It’s a touching moment, mirrored later on when Lin brings Hiroshi Sato from prison to help configure the Hummingbirds to break into the mecha-suit. These moments of forgiveness and reconciliations between family help to round up and bring closure at the end of a series marked by separation.

Also balancing the threat of catastrophe with optimism and selflessness, as Kuvira’s army nears the train station, Wu recruits two badger-moles from the city Zoo to continue the evacuation. His turn around from episode one, from a selfish Prince to a public hero, isn’t overwrought or forced. Last episode, Wu showed that he could be useful and sympathetic to the people of Republic City. In this episode, he becomes a leader and a hero together along with Pema, not due to their heroics, but rather their dedication and perseverance. I particularly love Pema’s sing-a-long to help keep the citizens’ spirits up, and Wu’s admittedly slightly cringe-worthy songs to the badger-moles.

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Coming into the last stretch of the episode, we get to see some incredible bending from Korra. Finally, she is back to her fiery, powerful self, only you can see an increase of restraint and control in her movements, evident of her growth over four seasons. Korra has always been strong, but after coming through personal adversity, she is also drawing on years of experience. This is also evident in the massive fight scenes. Aang’s final battle against Ozai was epic, explosive and significant, and Korra’s season finales have always shared those qualities to some degree but in Korra, we get new development. The scenes are even more intricate, inventive, purposeful and thought-out.

Watching Bolin, Lin and Su topple half a building is one of the most striking and powerful displays of bending I think we’ve seen. Similarly, the Hummingbirds are sleek and creative, the CGI and animation is clean, and it’s all evidence of the Avatar teams’ constant striving in technical innovation, design and support for non-benders in the series. But with Korra you don’t just get excellent storyboarding, animation and design, you get heart-wrenching emotional moments as well as Hiroshi sacrifices himself, saving Asami’s life in the process, in an attempt to save his beloved Republic City from Kuvira, and redeem himself in his daughter’s eyes. The episode ends with the weight of Asami’s loss and the chance that Hiroshi has brought them in breaking through the mecha-suits platinum armour.

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Lauren McPhee
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