Drawing on the mythology from its predecessor, Legend of Korra: Season 2 derives further away from the over-arching plotline of Avatar: the Last Airbender and creates its own legacy with the origin story of the first Avatar, building upon an already intense mythology system with its own twist.
Struggling with her own spiritual side, Korra must embrace the core of her Avatar journey, and with dark cosmic forces looming on the horizon, she must contend with betrayal, growth and loss, with the fate of the universe dependant on her every action.
So, how does it live up?
With lore executed with a grace of an ‘info-dump,’ the unravelling of the origin story itself is stuffed into one condensed episode, occurring during a spiritual healing ceremony wherein Korra must retreat back into herself to look forward – all right alongside a series of peculiar sub-plots that do little but act as filler episodes…it’s a little difficult to say. Somehow they’ve managed to achieve a storyline that is consecutively entangled with incredible thematics and side stories that are vague at best, all whilst incorporating valuable, intricate character arcs that may just be the saving grace of this season.
Legacy, with all its thematic potential, is used to the fullest in this season. With Korra overshadowed by the spirituality of her predecessor, she struggles to live up to Aang’s legacy as the bridge between the Spirit World and her own, a burden that has been overarching since the previous season. Rather than having her change to become more like him, she discovers her own path, encompassing all her mistakes, flaws, and personal baggage in a mature transition to the Avatar she needs to become.
Tenzin, her air-bending (the element most associated with spirituality) mentor, is revealed to be unable to visit the Spirit World, due to his own penance; the roots of which are revealed to be his father’s legacy.
During his venture into the Fog of Lost Souls in Episode 13, in a moment of desperation not to lose his mind, reassures himself that he is Aang’s son. His view of himself is not as an individual, but as his father’s son.
The weight of Aang’s legacy is so strong that it is shown to have influenced Tenzin’s teaching methods in the previous season, where his main goal appeared to be turning Korra into a replica of his father, rather than personalizing her Avatar journey. Tenzin’s eventual re-connection to his own self after confronting the spirit of Aang is one of the most compelling scenes as of yet, and a testament to the depth of character that this series can execute.
Whilst the thematic components may have been obscured by the poor execution of the season itself, the plotline has revealed intricate details about the Avatar-verse and the lore of the Spirit World itself. Combined with the sheer depth of character development, a recognizable art style and fantastically execute fight scenes, whilst this season isn’t the best there ever was, it’s certainly setting the standard for the seasons to come.
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