It was with much happiness and excitement that I reviewed my DVR listings and saw the one hour (2 episode) premier of The Legend of Korra: Book Two as one of the few golden nuggets waiting for me after returning home from a business trip. It’s no secret that I’ve been an avid fan of this franchise, starting with Avatar: The Last Airbender. Let’s do a brief recap: In Book One, Korra inherits the Avatar abilities after the passing of our beloved Aang. From the start, she was not the peaceful and gentle-natured herald we had come to know and love. She was brash, headstrong, rebellious and in some ways, uncivilized, however she had the same heart her predecessor had and wanted to be a force for good. Additionally, like Aang had a problem with bending fire initially, Korra had no understanding of how to access her air bending powers. Each Avatar struggles accessing the power that is most opposite their nature. So, the peaceful and tranquil Aang had problems accessing the destructive and fiery nature of the fire benders; Korra equally had trouble accessing the fluid and graceful nature of the air benders.
Led by the mysterious terrorist Amon, The Equalists were going to bring down Republic City (built by Aang) and bring down the rule over the non-bending humans by the benders that were undoubtedly more powerful and plentiful. Using a similar technique Aang used to depower Fire Lord Ozai, Amon is taking down the bending community and bringing Republic City to it’s knees. It’s now up to Korra and her band of friends to stop Amon from bringing down Republic City and destroying the bending populace is his wake.
Six months later, we find a fully air bending Korra still in training with Aang and Katara’s air bending son, Tenzin. However, a new threat has emerged. The spirits of the world are angry and spiteful. Some of the spirits have begun to attack towns and ships and there’s no clear reason why. What is clear though is that Korra, while fully able to tap into her Avatar state, hasn’t been able to reconnect with her past lives, nor is she prepared or skilled enough to defeat the spirits that are now wreaking havoc on the townships and waterways. This season, we are reintroduced to Korra’s parents, Tonraq and her mother, and introduced to her uncle, Unalaq – Chief of the Water Tribes and spiritual leader. Unalaq, has an understanding of the spiritual world and has skills that Korra needs to learn to fend off the invading spirits.
We are also introduced to Aang’s other two children; his eldest son Bumi and only daughter Kya. This is an interesting development, because with the introduction of these characters, we get a glimpse into what it was like to the children of the great and powerful Aang – and it isn’t how we expected it would be. We begin to understand that as loving and generous as Aang was as a child, he was much less so as an adult and parent. In fact, he was a bit of a neglectful father figure to the two eldest children. Bumi, the eldest, was born without bending powers and has spent his entire life trying to overcompensate for that lack of ability by being the most fearless and risk-taking person alive. Kya (a water bender) spent many years trying to find herself until finally going back home to the Southern Water Tribe to take care of their mother, Katara, after Aang dies. Tenzin (the youngest and air bender) however, was taught under the tutelage of the air bending Monks, adventured with his father and has fond memories of their father. Bumi and Kya do not as they only know their father to be dismissive, absent and completely oblivious to parental longing of his eldest two children. Tenzin can’t even comprehend this as this was the complete opposite attention he received from their father. Thus, this season tells another story that runs underneath the overarching story about who Aang became and the damaged and fractured fabric of his surviving family.
This season seems to have several storylines that are recurring narratives of the franchise and a few that are just more subtle. For one, the age old adage of the sins of the father revisiting the son seems to be a running theme in the franchise. We get to learn more about Korra’s family, secrets that were buried but have again resurfaced. As stated before, Aang’s family isn’t what we thought it was – in fact, neither is our idea of Aang and how his persona evolved. Korra’s journey into the spirit realm is sure to uncover even more secrets that have buried and are now haunted the lands. Ultimately, my guess is that we’re going to understand a fundamental truth about what it means to be the Avatar that maybe only the first Avatar, Wan, was aware of. Either way, we’re in for a few surprises this season and with the drought of quality animated series to watch this year I can’t wait to see what this series has in store for us viewers.
Korra is back, and the spirit world is itching for a fight. Let the adventure begin.
If you’re interested in purchasing The Legend of Korra: Book One. You can support the site by purchasing it here.