Legend of Korra: Book 3, Episode 13, “Venom of the Red Lotus.”

Pretty fantastic end to Book 3. It’s hard to talk about everything, so in total unorganized fashion, here’s the things that struck me.

The animators are REALLY going for scary and painful faces for individuals who are dying this season. It’s almost a bit TOO anime’ish, if that’s an appropriate description. I really enjoyed Korra’s attempt to fight off the Avatar state to protect the Avatar Cycle. It’s the second time in this finale that she was willing to sacrifice herself for the better of the world, be it to save the air nomad nation or here, to save the very Avatar cycle.

The Red Lotus plan was a great call back to ATLA, as we hadn’t heard about the Avatar State’s major danger/flaw since Roku told Aang that if he died in the Avatar State, THAT WAS IT. The fact that the Red Lotus Society knew this was also a good reminder that it was originally a society that prized knowledge.

I definitely cheered for Asami having the chance to take down one of her benders in a fight. It was too bad that it wasn’t her who electrocuted Ming-Hua, particularly at the missed opportunity of having the “damsel” save “hero” Mako, but you take what you can get.

The fight between Mako and Ming-Hua and Ghazen and Bolin was great to watch, if not as exciting as last week’s Tenzin’s Air Dome of Badassery. AGAIN, I was tricked into starting to fear that Mako was going to go down when he found himself waist deep in water during the battle, but relief came when he hit upon a very obvious solution for an advanced fire bender. Azula would have been proud. It was disappointing that neither Ghazen or Ming-Huaa had the opportunity to mourn or recognize the passing of the other. A flicker of recognition of what Mako’s presence in the fight meant would have been great. My estimation that both he and her would give up/surrender/be captured was turned on its head by his decision to bring the mountain down on, well, his head.

It was a great moment, however, when the Red Lotus realized that the Avatar State was something far more powerful than they had expected. Excitement knows no bounds as Avatar State Korra unleashed hell on the Red Lotus and went out after Zaheer. As Tenzin watched from Oogie, for the final time, I momentarily wondered if he was going to somehow try to help her and die in the process. STOP MAKING ME FEEL THIS WAY, CREATORS. Thankfully, he didn’t, and what we got was a fantastic battle sequence of Zaheer doing his best to avoid a god-like being bring ruin down on him. The battle, and the battle ground, seemed very reminiscent to the fight between Aang and Firelord Ozai, with the exception that for the most part, the power difference was very real and the disparity great.

Jinora stepping up was great, even if it meant she wasn’t going to show off even more impressive spiritual powers. Her becoming a master forced sentimental eyewaters to build up and I had to complain to myself about dust in the air. Oofs. I do wonder how she’ll wear her hair next season…because these things are important!

Bolin shoving aside Suyin was so awesome. Someone needs to make a gif of that STAT. Putting the sock in Zaheer’s mouth, that wasn’t classic Bolin, it was totally Classic Sokka, but who’s complaining?

It wasn’t a major surprise that the Air Benders have opted to become the Avatar Force, in part due to the destruction of the Northern Air Temple. They literally had their home and their own earthly attachment removed from their lives, freeing them to be a part of the greater world. I don’t doubt that they won’t use the other air temples, but it’s ironically, a change that returns them to their roots as nomads.

Wheelchair bound Korra. This is something that I wanted so desperately for the end of Book 1, a Korra who has to deal with the serious things that happened to her. While she managed to get her bending back and fix everyone at the end of Book 1, I’m glad from a story and character development perspective, that we will get to see Korra address this challenge. In the same manner that Aang had to deal with his chakra being blocked and own philosophical problems, it’s going to be exciting to see Korra face this challenge in the final installment of the show. And yah, Korrasami sails defiantly into the dawn of a new season!

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