The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Agent Richard07, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Everyone but Tenzin backed Tarrlok's discriminatory laws against non-benders. In "The Voice in the Night," when Tarrlok proposed his anti-Equalist task force to the Council, he referred to "all us benders" while addressing them. In the following scene, Amon referred to the Council as "the bending oppressors." And apparently the "Republic Tour" feature on the interactive TLOK website confirms that all the councillors are benders, according to the Avatar Wiki.


    And that's the crux of the problem. Remember the backstory established in the first episode: Aang and his friends founded Republic City to be the bastion of unity and balance in the world, but in the 17 years since Aang's death, the city has lost its way and fallen out of balance, leading to widespread poverty, gang violence, the domination of benders at the expense of non-benders, etc. The fact that the current Council consists entirely of benders is a sign of how far things have fallen out of balance.
     
  2. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    There was gang violence in Aang's day too.

    The membership of the council is essentially random (apart from the Air Nomads, when the head of the family is able to take their seat) in terms of who is or isn't a bender, so the fact that all five were benders during this series isn't indicative of anything systemic (beyond that the governments in the Avatar-verse are autocratic, but that's not something at issue in the series, and there are a bunch of good reasons why that's almost certainly not going to come up).
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Everything's relative. Back then we had Yakone; today we have a proliferation of many gangs. Like I said, the first episode of the series made a point of showing Korra everything that was wrong in Republic City, including gang violence, in order to underline to her that it wasn't living up to Aang's vision.


    Says who? Yes, we know from the flashbacks that the Council isn't required to be all benders, and I'm sure the same is nominally true today, but given everything we've been shown about the intense bender/non-bender tensions in the city, it seems naive to think the all-bender composition of the current council is just a random coincidence rather than a symptom of the pervasive social injustice that's emerged since Aang's time.

    Given that the other three councillors were consistently just rubber stamps for Tarrlok, I'd assume it's likely that he manipulated things to put them into office. And he deliberately stirred up the bender/non-bender tensions to gain power, the same way that politicians often stir up ethnic tensions and fears to rally voters behind them. So he probably arranged to stack the Council with benders. Not systemic, no, but definitely a symptom of the social problems in the city, the problems that Tarrlok both exemplified and consciously exacerbated.
     
  4. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Do we have any idea how the council is even formed? Where do these council members come from? The original council is obvious; they're the founders of the city. But what happened after Aang and Company left? Is there an election? Does one person appoint them (like the President and his Cabinet)? Does a retiring councilmen appoint his replacement?

    There is a part of me that wishes this was more of an adult drama than a kid's cartoon. I would love to get into all these dirty details.
     
  5. Manticore

    Manticore Manticore, A moment ago Premium Member

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    I hadn't realized all of that; I concede the point. :)
     
  6. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    That was a really good finale.

    I'm disappointed Amon was just a blood bender who had nothing to do with the Spirits, though. I really wanted to see the Spirit World and Koh again. They did surprise me because once Tarrlok was revealed to not be Amon and he was too young to be Yakkone, I never considered there would be another member of that family involved.

    I would have appreciated a more specific explanation of how blood bending can become energy bending (which is something I recall theorizing a few days ago!).

    I really hope Iroh is a regular character now. He was so bad ass! Fall out an airplane? Oh no problem! Of course, in the old show, weren't fire-benders only able to fire-jet-fly under Sozin's Comet...?

    I was hoping that Season Two would have Korra only as an airbender on a spiritual quest to unlock her old powers. They should have run with that. Again, we could have seen the Spirit World, and she could try to connect with Aang. So that ending was uplifting and cool but also rushed.

    We finally saw Bumi! Hope to see more of him next year.

    I thought it was really odd that Tenzin's family was captured off screen after spending an entire episode making sure they escape. I thought they were imposters meant to lure Korra to the stage. That was some convenient/poor plotting.

    I really enjoyed seeing a big naval / aerial battle with bending use intermixed. I would have liked to have seen Korra being more of a contribution to the battle though, saving more battleships from torpedoes and so forth.

    I loved the scene where Tarrlok kills himself and Amon. It was a great end to their story. Amon was actually being nice and hopeful while his brother quietly kills them both behind his back. Great stuff. He better not survive the explosion!
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Maybe they would have given the chance, but apparently they'd already completed the writing and voice recording for the first 12 episodes by the time they got approval for another 14. So at the time they wrote episode 12, they didn't know if they'd get to do any more, so they had to give it a decisive ending, not a cliffhanger.
     
  8. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Azula did the fire jets a few times. We never saw her "fly" with them, but she's used them both on the ground and while hanging from things.
     
  9. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Leaving Korra without powers would have been as decisive an ending as any. It just wouldn't have been happy.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think it would've been decisive, because it would've raised more questions than it answered -- like, will Korra ever access her spiritual side? Or if she's not the Avatar anymore, what happens to the Avatar cycle? Who will restore balance to Republic City, or the world, if there's no Avatar? Anything that leaves so much unresolved is, by definition, not decisive.
     
  11. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Well, we don't know how the last few minutes of the episode would have worked out. Maybe Aang would have still made contact. Maybe he could have explained things away without restoring her powers. I could see it working out that way and still feeling like an ending. It would have simply depended on how the last few scenes played out.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't see why they would've chosen to go that way if they hadn't gotten a second season. This isn't Battlestar Galactica or The Sopranos or something. They weren't going to give the series a (possible) ending that would leave the kids in the audience sad and hopeless. (Heck, even Galactica had a moderately upbeat ending.) If they'd known in advance that they'd get a second season, they might well have left Korra without most of her bending as a cliffhanger; but given the need to craft something that could work as a series finale, it's entirely understandable why they didn't go there.

    For that matter, they might not have chosen that ending even with the knowledge that they'd get a second season, because we've already seen a series about an Avatar trying to master each element in turn, and they don't want to repeat themselves. I can't blame them for setting up a second season that lets us, at last, see the ongoing adventures of a fully realized Avatar rather than one in training.
     
  13. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I completely understand why they went the route they did. I'm just saying it would have been interesting the other way. Korra already had the elements mastered; she wouldn't be trying to master them again. She'd be trying to get them back, possibly by journeying into the spirit world.

    Again, I know they weren't aware that they were getting a second season...and I get that it's a show for kids...I'm just saying it could have been another way to go.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Sure, it could've been, and it was the first possibility that occurred to me while I was watching. But given the circumstances under which the season was written, there's simply no realistic way that it ever would've been.
     
  15. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    Over the last few days, I was wondering if they could have made changes to the final episode to make it more open-ended after the second season was greenlit.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It would've cost more money if they had. The animation probably hadn't been done yet, but the last couple of minutes would've had to be re-scripted, re-storyboarded, and re-voiced, and all that would have to be paid for.

    And as I said, I'm not sure they would've changed it even if they could. I mean, they were probably hoping for the opportunity to do more, so they would've planned from the start to have an ending that could work either as a series finale or as a point to build a second season from. So I think the ending we got is the one they wanted, not the one they settled for.
     
  17. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    And that's why realism is boring. ;)
     
  18. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    <<Or if she's not the Avatar anymore, what happens to the Avatar cycle? >>

    Faith becomes the primary ;)
     
  19. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Just because she loses her ability to bend doesn't mean she stops being the Avatar, I'm sure. Or at least, I'm sure the Avatar cycle would continue as normal after her death.
     
  20. Takeru

    Takeru Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The finale wasn't that great, I didn't like how they turned Amon into an idiot who did some very visible waterbending in front of tons of people and I did not like that he used bloodbending to take bending away, I think that takes away a lot of the spiritual side of bending. What did he do exactly, stop the flow of the blood to the brain's bending center?
    I would have preferred if they had given him some spiritual ability, they didn't have to use Koh or explain every little detail. He still could have been a waterbender (who they tricked into revealing his abilities publicly) but with some special abilities.

    A spiritual reason would have also made more sense to explain how Korra could get her bending back quickly. I would have slightly reordered the events at the end, Korra should have unlocked the avatar state by herself, that could have reversed Amon's bending blocking and only after that would Aang have shown up to teach her energybending to restore the other victims' bending.

    Aang just showing up in the last minute pretty much saying "You're now spiritual, here's the avatar state, your bending and energybending ... bye!" was bad writing and the show being planned as a mini series is not an excuse, it makes it worse! If you plan your entire story for 12 episodes it should be paced better! The final scene would have been acceptable if Nickelodeon had cut the episode order down to 12 and Bryan and Mike had to scramble to make a satisfying finale, but that wasn't the case.

    There were a lot of good things about the finale, but Amon's sudden stupidity and Aang as an avatar ex machina were awful.
     

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