After a ho-hum Freshmen season and an abysmal Sophmore run, The Legend of Korra S3 has been the closest to the The Last Airbender that Avatar has seen in years.
It’s exciting. It’s impactful. And most importantly it keeps the cringe-worthy romantic mishaps of kid’s television’s worst love triangle to a bare minimum.
Episode 11 debuted on Nick.com two weeks after a myriad of executive decisions and poor planning saw the series yanked off of Nickelodeon’s Friday night line-up and off the air, apparently for good. However series creators vow the show will not only finish out the entirety of its season online, but season 4 will return as well. In what forms is unknown.
‘Ultimatum’ is the highlight of the season, and in my opinion the entire series. Pitting the revolutionary Red Lotus team against Avatar Aang’s trio of kids, the episode provides well choreographed action and stakes for the audience to care about. It’s the most sense this world and its characters have made without the original cast being front and center.
In the past the series has tried to convey an overall theme of a world coping with new ideals and technologies while grappling with leadership from a nearly all-powerful super entity in the background, but it has arguably never managed to make it this interesting to watch. Zaheer and his cast of misfit expert Benders are a great change of pace from the antagonists of the past.
The mystery surrounding their goals don’t interfere with the believability of their actions. The audience may not know what they want, but they know that they’ll apparently do anything possible to attain it.
The irony is not lost on me that the best episodes of this series are when the namesake is most absent. When the new Avatar is in the background, my interest tends to rise. The Avatar Wan two-parter last season was a highlight amidst a rather dire showing, and the entirety of the new regular cast was MIA in that.
Prior to this season we knew Katara was still kicking, but this one gave us recurring appearances of former Firelord Zuko and a name drop of Toph Beifong. We also learned that the Southern Water Tribe was graced by the leadership of the number one Chief Sokka as well!
This series hasn’t been perfect, and the circumstances around its handling by Nickelodeon have been far from ideal, but finally this season has allowed me to be less critical and just enjoy the ride. It’s not Avatar Aang. It’s not even Avatar Plop Plop (a fan-fictional baby Avatar that a friend of mine made up before seeing Wan last year). But we can only hope whatever new lease on life the show has found online keeps it afloat long enough for us to get more material of this caliber.
One way to ensure that is to show support. I don’t believe watching the show on Nick.com with Adblock turned off will do much, but purchasing episodes or DVD/Blu-ray of this season on Amazon sure will.
Do it for Aang!