These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: The Legend of Korra
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Contested Sequel: Before Book One even finished, fans were already disputing over how the series compares to its predecessor.
Critical Dissonance: The show has been a critical darling amongst professional reviewers, but fan reception has been quite mixed, with pacing issues and frustrating story/characterization choices being particular points of contention.
Post second season though has oddly inverted it a bit. Season 3 was beloved by fans for addressing many issues of the last season, and Book 4 reception has been strongly positive while professional reviewers have been less positive as a whole.
Girl-Show Ghetto: Much attention was paid to averting this, with a creator interview noting that while Nickelodeon execs were gun shy at the prospect of Korra as a lead, a test-audience of boys "thought she was awesome."
Narm: One inherited from the first series - the term "Bender" gets thrown around a lot in this franchise, and if you are familiar at all with British slang, then it becomes very narmful. It's a derogatory British term for gay men. Which is also the reason why Avatar: The Last Airbender was renamed Avatar: The Legend of Aang in the UK.
After the show ran, some old ATLA fans came out to complain of how much this series isn't like the old show and therefore sucks. Despite Mike and Bryan hinting several times that they wanted to create something different from ATLA.
A number of people aren't happy about bending now involving a lot of generic-looking punches and kicks, rather than each type being based off a different martial art, as in the old show.
When a promotional poster distributed at ComicCon 2011 featured Korra with an Earthbender boy and a Firebender boy, Ho Yay Shipping began immediately. Later, during the panel for the show, it was revealed that the boys were siblings, and everyone not into Incest Yay Shipping jumped ship.
When all that was known about Meelo was that there was a character with his name, people thought he might be Korra's Love Interest. When he turned out to be a toddler, that thought died out completely.
Tenzin and Korra. They were the first two named characters and were paired up almost immediately in a Mentor Ship, until it was found out that Tenzin was a married man in his fifties with three kids. Not to mention Korra is the reincarnation of his father, adding a Parental Incest vibe to the pairing.
This happened over the course to Mako and Asami. Though ironically it was because of the fandom's ever growing distaste for Mako.
And Amon/Tarrlok had a brief bit of Foe Yay popularity before the reveal that they're brothers meaning that anyone who didn't like shipping brother/brother incest jumped ship (again).
He is a stoic and a focused athlete determined to win the prize money and protect his little brother at any cost. On the other hand, Fandom!Mako is an emotional crybaby tormented by his own good looks, obsessed with his beloved scarf, plagued by his raging Tsundere crush on Korra, and permanently tortured by the very thought of his worst enemy, Hasook. Some fans see Mako as a stoic and focused athlete who also demonstrates characteristics of emotional abuse, such as threatening to stop being friends with Korra if she didn't stop investigating Asami's father, and as such Fandom!Mako's abuse often escalates.
Due to his backstory, his charismatic personality and honorable behavior towards opponents who put up a good fight, he is seen as everything, from a Knight TemplarAnti-Villain, over a power hungry Charlatan taking advantage of oppression to an abused child lashing out at all bending for the actions of his abusive father.
On top of Amon de-bending the Avatar and making a living martyr out of her, the revelation that Korra is also the niece of the Northern Water Tribe's chief makes Amon's planned world revolution seem likely to be crushed by a massive counterattack. Insane it might well have been, given his backstory, potentially making the Equalist revolution history's grandest example of Suicide by Cop.
Upon seeing how the government of Republic City actually operates, with a ruling council based on the five extant nations tribes, the entire city is turning into this. Is the government of the city really so callously favoring benders? Does Republic City even have home rule?
Some Tahno fans wonder how much of his taunting was him being a Jerkass and how much was just, well, taunting opponents before a sports competition.
It was after the fandom mused on the difference between Aang—as a possible mentor for Korra in achieving the Avatar State—and Korra herself, that the realization that Roku and Kyoshi note the latter being one of the few Avatars to tell Aang flat-out to opt for killing, and considers what she did to her enemies such might've had ideological differences dawned, and now fandom interpretation of her penchant towards violence tends to be taken Up to Eleven.
Is the Republic City council corrupt and biased or are they just in extreme stress from the Equalist Revolt and bending crimes?
Pema, wife of Tenzin, mother of his four children - really the sweet, loving, nurturing Only Sane Woman who is obviously Tenzin's one true love, or a gold digging, home wrecking fangirl who took advantage of the rough patch Tenzin and his ex-girlfriend Lin Bei Fong were going through to bag the man of her dreams?
Word of God is that one of the reasons the relationship between Tenzin and Lin Bei Fong failed was because Tenzin really wanted to start a family and raise kids and Lin didn't - but was it just that Tenzin wanted a family, or was it that he needed a family? With the death of his father Avatar Aang it must have occurred to Tenzin that as the last Airbender it was now his responsibility to rebuild the Airbending nation, which included having children who could carry on the air bending genes, as the entire Avatar cycle would be thrown out of whack if one of the four elements were to be lost. And when it became clear that Lin wasn't willing to give Tenzin the children he needed he made the difficult but necessary choice of ending their relationship and moving on with Pema, who as we see in the present was more than happy to give him the family he desired, because the greater good demanded it, even though it broke Lin's heart and possibly broke his own in the process. And while Tenzin clearly loves Pema and their kids the possibility that having a family was as much a moral obligation to the world as a personal need casts a very different light on his family life.
Anticlimax Boss: Just as the conflict between Korra and Tarrlok breaks out into actual conflict to the point where Tarrlok crosses the Moral Event Horizon, proves to be a bloodbender with superior skill to Korra, then attacks and kidnaps her, he is captured and de-bended by Amon. This event turns out to be foreshadowing as Amon appears barely affected by Tarrlok's bloodbending. As it turns out, they've done this before.
Ass Pull: In the first season finale, Korra learning energybending from Aang. While the series had been hinting at her making contact with Aang for some time, as well as showing Aang using the Avatar State to nullify the very blood-bending techniques seen by Amon, passing it onto her at the last minute with little explanation tends to ruffle a lot of feathers. Also something base breaking, as a significant portion of the audience didn't have an issue with it.
Korra finally picking up airbending can be viewed as one. Despite learning techniques for the entire season, and the philosophies of using the least confrontational route to a conclusion (which were very important to Aang's comprehension of each style - he couldn't even earthbend until he learned to stand his ground), Korra airbends during a Violently Protective Girlfriend moment using a technique that implied she was still trying to access her firebending rather than airbending, showing no real change in character barring panic. We knew she'd learn eventually, but the timing made it seem very forced on the writers' part. It didn't help that, in spite of Aang's speech, she showed little growth at the beginning of the next season.
Badass Decay: The Lieutenant. In almost all of his appearances after his first episode, he has been the victim of many Epic Fails.
Mako, independent of the love triangle arc. Fans tend to either love him and his development as a character, or hate him and the plotlines surrounding him. There is no middle ground.
Bolin has also gotten some of this. People don't exactly dislike him, but are frustrated that he never gets to be anything but comic relief, even when the situation would naturally call for a dramatic tone (like his catching Mako and Korra kissing after going on a date with her).
Broken Base: The Book One finale split the fanbase in half, between those who loved it and can't wait for Book Two and those who were severely disappointed enough to not want to see Book Two. As the previous series had a series finale with much the same reaction, it would seem to be a series tradition.
The Love Triangle story arc. By extension, Asami turned into a Base Breaker as she was the initial complication to a Mako and Korra hookup, though this calmed down as the series progressed and it became far more clear that Asami wasn't going to turn out to be a villain for no reason. This led to Mako getting the brunt of hate due to his feelings for Korra while still in a relationship with Asami. For some, the said relationship did not appear to be resolved by the end of the first season, though he and Korra still confessed to each other and kissed as the happy ending. Which only made the Mako/Korra flame wars even hotter.
Whether/how much the Equalists terrorism was justifiable.
The return of Spirit Bending, taught to Korra in the last five minutes of the last episode. Some think it's a logical progression, others think it's an Ass Pull.
There's a pretty even split between people who liked the twist to Amon's identity, and people who think it would have been better if he'd just been exactly who he claimed to be.
Counterpart Comparison: It's been noted that Amon is quite similar to the Nolanverse version of Bane. Both are masked masterminds of Knight Templar organizations that attack a city filled with crime, and much of their quotes are similar. Compare Amon's "I am the solution" to Bane's "I'm Gotham's reckoning". Also, both characters invade a sports stadium and give an intimidating speech.
Poor Asami initially got hate for getting in the way of Makorra, although as mentioned below it soon reversed itself to the point that the opposite is far more common nowadays.
Pema's gotten some heat because, apparently, one is a "homewrecking whore" for being married to and having children with a person who used to date another character in the past, in the backstory. Some fans have even accused her of performing some sort of massive moral wrong for confessing her feelings even though this, and changing relationships, happens in real life frequently. This actually started for a few people with blaming her for Korra forcing a kiss on Mako, even though this was Korra's own misinterpretation of her advice, badly worded or not, and still ultimately Korra's own responsibility.
Perhaps the biggest recipient, though, is Mako for folks who ship Korra with, well, anyone else. Given the psychotic shipping wars surrounding the series, the main character's primary (and victorious) Love Interest was never going to have a fun time of it, but after his insensitivity regarding the horribly messy Love Triangle between him, Korra, and Asami, he became Shipfic Enemy No.1.
Double Standard: Post episode nine, fans gave Mako all kinds of crap for his less-than-perfect behavior towards Asami, ignoring that just four episodes earlier, Korra was the one going after Mako and didn't seem to care that he'd be cheating on Asami.
While Tahno eventually became sympathetic, the fandom already got him a pair of leather pants when he was at his Jerkass prime. And then there's Amon. When the fandom isn't Rooting for the Empire, they're swooning over him for otherreasons.
The fact that Amon/Noatak had a horrible childhood does not excuse how he and by extension, Tarrlok treated others. The fandom promptly forgot horrible stuff like the attack on the whole Republic City, his depowering of Lin (that looked like an execution), him being willing to de-bend children who had done nothing wrong, and Tarrlok imposing indefinite detention upon the city's non-benders, among others, to swoon and/or cry all over them. Because Amon being beautiful all along and having a (admittedly real bad) backstory excuses his actions. And Tarrlok's heroic sacrifice does help alleviate things, but it doesn't erase it all either.
Tahno, much like Azula, was well-received by the fanbase despite taking plenty of cheap shots. The fact that he's a pretty boy with a surprisingly deep voice helped when it came to the fangirls (and probably more than a few fanboys).
Plenty, mainly concerning how Aang ultimately bit the dust and whether any other members of the old cast might still be alive.
Another example: who the hell is Lin's father?
Amon is an Epileptic Woodsman. No other character in the entire Avatar canon has incited so much theorizing. His entry on the series' WMG page has probably the most compelling AND outlandish theories on the series so far.
Mako/Korra was this in regards to Mako/Asami, but when Mako/Korra actually became canon, Bolin/Korra had a huge rise in Fan-Preferred Couple status, mainly due to Mako's Base Breaking actions.
Korra/Asami have an extremely large Les Yay following. Borders on Crack Pairing given their past history.
Iroh/Bolin quickly became a huge pairing, especially for those who felt that Bolin got snubbed in the romance department. The most popular Iroh/Bolin blog on Tumblr gained over 700 followers a mere three weeks after the Book One finale. It quickly became the series' most popular HoYay Pairing, perhaps next to Amon/Lieutenant.
For a man who supposedly hates the Avatar, Amon certainly has a lot of interesting interactions with her. During their first mutual meeting, he caresses Korra's face and leans in reaaaallll close, speaking to her in a low, seductive voice. He later performs a Villainous Rescue, saving her from Tarrlok, and as she runs there's a long slow-mo shot of their eyes meeting. He also seems to consider her a Worthy Opponent, warning his men not to underestimate her and setting out to capture her himself. Finally, in the Season Finale, after being unmasked, he throws one last look at Korra of debatable meaning before fleeing.
Tarrlok frequently pesters Korra to join his organization, even sending her very expensive gifts over and over "until you give in", and compliments her appearance at a dance. Then he kidnaps her, and while there is a legitimate reason given, there are certainly manyotherimplications. In episode 9 he makes a comment about how Korra ruined his plans and how now he's going to start a new life with Korra as his hostage.
You could also make a case for Mako and Tahno having some of this because of that sexy wink Mako sends Tahno during their Pro-Bending match. And whether it was intentional or not, the only other person who had gotten the sexy wink from Mako before Tahno was Mako's girlfriend Asami.
Hiroshi Sato saying to Mako: "So, I understand you're dirt poor." The Brutal Honesty is played for laughs at first, but "The Aftermath" reveals that Sato actually does hate Mako. It's especially harsh considering that Mako is a Firebender, and Sato lost his wife to a Firebender.
When Bolin at first thought that Tarrlok was a possible suitor for Korra, this moment was played for laughs when he at first offered to protect Korra but then went "oh, I like that better!" after realizing that Tarrlok was just an adult trying to get Korra on his task force. The rape-y overtones of Tarrlok bloodbending Korra, though, indicate that perhaps Bolin really did need to teach him a lesson.
One of the many puns with Amon's name made is "Amon a boat". Now look at his fate.
In The Revelation, when Amon removes the bending of the members of the Triads, he does it differently than Aang did, first touching the back of the neck and then the forehead. What's one of the chakras on the back of the neck called? The amon.
Korra's odd-looking method of swimming underwater? It's the fastest and most energy-efficient method of underwater propulsion possible for a human.
Hiroshi Sato was based onHenry Ford, head of the Ford Automobile Manufacturing Company. Another fun fact about Ford was that he was rumored to have supported the Nazis. Take this into account with Hiroshi's character.
Ikki's Death Glare at Tarrlok after noting his weirdness takes new light after Episode 8 when Tarrlok goes into outright villainy.
There were (and are) fans who believe Asami is associated with the Equalists. Then in Episode 8, Tarrlok tragically exploits her Non-Bender status (and her father's Equalist status) to accuse and arrest her.
In Episode 1 Lin wanted Korra out of Republic City for her destructive behavior. Then it actually happens in Episode 8.
Due to Episodes 8 and 9, many saw Tarrlok as worse than Amon and cheered for Amon to Kick the Son of a Bitch and take Tarrlok's bending away. Then in Episode 11 we learn that the two are brothers, and that Amon/Noatok is probably the worse of the two.
"And the Winner Is..." premiered in Canada on Saturday, July 21, the day after the Colorado Batman shootings. Watching a place of public entertainment for the masses getting assaulted, hearing people screaming in terror, becomes much more jarring than it simply happening on a Saturday morning cartoon in light of what just happened. It also feels uncomfortable to watch just after the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Remember back in "The Spirit of Competition", the love story that Jinora told Korra about ended with the main character committing suicide by jumping into a volcano. Now look at "Endgame", Korra is looking out at the edge of a tundra, dangerously close to jumping and committing suicide. Granted, she doesn't go through with it, but still.
He's Just Hiding: Despite being clearly shown to be in the middle of a large explosion, some fans are still convinced Amon and Tarrlok managed to survive. Word of God confirmed the death at a Comic-con panel held the same day as the finale.
How I Became Yours was ridiculed, among many other things, for depicting bloodbending without the Full Moon. Fast-forward to this series, and the ability of certain people to bloodbend without a Full Moon is a major plot point. The Answer? Yakone and his sons, Tarrlok and Amon, can. Ironically, the fact that this is supposed to be impossible is critical to the story as well, since Yakone was getting away with his criminal enterprise using his powers because nobody believed in his ability. He was caught because Sokka pointed out that he'd met several people in his travels who could break bending rules.
Not to mention that, in the end, the Firebender ended up choosing the Waterbender over his Badass Normal love interest (who rebels against the villains near the end).
In "Welcome to Republic City" Chief Beifong's "Eye Am Watching You gesture" is already funny. But instead of using her index finger and middle finger as most people do, she makes the gesture with her index finger and pinkie finger extended, and her middle fingers pressed against her palm - they same hand position Spider-Man uses to activate his web-shooters. Guess whose line-swinging acrobatics Lin goes on to emulate in "And The Winner Is..."?
The popular fan idea that the family-killing firebender is actually a waterbender named A. Firebender. Now think about the reveals in the Book One finale.
Another fan idea was that Bolin would learn metalbending and become a cop. Mako is a cop in Book 2.
A really minor one. In "And The Winner Is", the sponsor on the radio says that they were provided by Cabbage Corp and called them "The most trusted technological company in Republic City". Once the next episode rolls around on Sato's true alignment and the statement is true.
When Tarrlok demonstrates bloodbending to Amon in "Out of the Past", he says he's "never faced bending like mine". Well, he has; in fact, he is one of those benders!
Back when nothing of this show was known outside of the single piece of promotion it was given, people on this very site speculated that the series was going to go back to the time of spirit-bending and feature the first Avatar. While not exactly correct on the spirit-bending part, it was revealed in San Diego Comic-con 2013 that Book 2: Spirits will feature a secondary story following a young man named Wan, the first Avatar, whose goal is to reconcile the world of the living and the world of the spirits.
Holy Shit Quotient: Practically every episode since Episode 6. Episode 6 ended with a terrorist attack, Episode 7 ended with the reveal of the platinum Mini-Mecha and the outing of Hiroshi Sato as an Equalist, Episode 8 ended with the reveal of bloodbending still in the series, and Tarrlok being able to bloodbend; Episode 9 ended with Tarrlok getting his bloodbending removed, but Episode 10 really takes the cake. It involved Equalists attacking the city, attacking Air Temple Island, Lin Beifong getting her bending removed after saving Tenzin's family and taking down an airship by herself, and just when you thought it couldn't get any better, General Iroh II shows up at the end of the episode. Just how much better could it get? The finale will probably be phenomenal. It was. Tarrlok's murder-suicide was the icing on the cake.
The SDCC revelation that Mako and Bolin were siblings did not dissuade some fans from shipping them.
After the finale, Tarrlok and Noatak started getting shipped as well.
Internet Backdraft: Go to any forum or comment thread and make this observation: "Character A/Character B is the new Zutara!" It doesn't even matter which two characters you use, an argument will inevitably follow.
Tahno. He just looks so sad and hopeless in episode seven after his bending was taken away in episode six and that there is nothing anyone can do about it. It almost makes up for his douchey behavior from before.
Tarrlok is now one too. Beneath his exterior of a manipulative jerk, he was broken as the result of an abusive childhood, forced to bloodbend even though he didn't like inflicting pain on the animals who were on the receiving end, and witnessed his brother's start of darkness. He used to be a sweet kid.
Amon, when you learn his start of darkness from his childhood when he went by his original name Noatak.
Lin Beifong is depowered by Amon. That's practically screaming for a reset button of some kind. Similarly, Amon doing the same to Korra in the Book One finale. Both are fixed by the end of Book One.
Amon catches and threatens to de-bend Tenzin and his kids. Because the airbenders are the last of their kind and because the airbending kids are, well, kids, it would have been more surprising if it actually happened.
Magnificent Bastard: Amon. He lets Korra escape his meeting, knowing she's the perfect one to spread the message of his power. He refuses to take away her bending because that would just make her a martyr. And his greatest achievement is sending a threat to city hall to shut down the championship, knowing damn well they wouldn't listen. He then had his equalists sneak in right past the security guards by hiding their equipment and the bombs in their popcorn. And in the finale we find out that he puts really convincing makeup under his mask to look like a massive scar, just in case anyone called him a liar.
Shiro Shinobi has garnered this title by standing his ground during an Equalist attack, continuing to report what's going on in the exact same tone. He also used to report on bending criminals.
Lin Beifong. Like mother, like daughter. She was a fan favorite from the start. What really sealed the deal was when Amon attacked the stadium and, well, awesomeness ensued. Her heroic sacrifice has only further fueled this and ironically has also fueled her mother's memetic badassery.
Amon. Way before the series began airing, he was already considered awesome, and the fact that he's shrugged off such major issues as lightning, explosions, and even bloodbending powerful enough to cripple the Avatar just shows how much balls he has.
Korra, to an almost unbelievable level. Straight girls and gay guys galore have proclaimed themselves willing to cross the street for her, and many fans proudly identify as "Korrasexual". In fact, it's almost impossible to find a fan that doesn't consider Korra one of these. And it just gets more feverish and insane with every new piece of info. It helps that she's launched a ton of ships.
Asami, although judging by her design which is a cross between Princess Azula and Jun the huntress from the previous series, who were already Memetic Sex Goddesses in their own right, this was an inevitability.
Iroh II, almost immediately being shipped with everyone, alongside being voiced by Dante Basco, and being very handsome. Fans haven't exactly had a hard time warming up to him either.
Tenzin. People speculate about how good he must be to father four children in ten years and have Lin not get over him after all that time.
When we finally gets to see his face, Noatak. Tumblr is head over heels for this handsome man and his sideburns.
Mentor Ship: As the first named characters, Korra and Tenzin were paired sight unseen. Though piecemeal revelations about Tenzin's age and family life caused many to abandon the pairing, it still has it fans.
The crime lord of the Republic City, Yakone crosses this when he bloodbends the entire courtroom. If it's not the act itself, it's the sadistic glee he takes in it. And if he hadn't crossed it then, well, he definitely skipped across it in the flashback that came with the finale showing how he turned his own sons into his personal bloodbending instruments of revenge and power, and even had them bloodbend each other as a part of that training.
Amon and the Equalists launch a full scale assault on Republic City, capturing the entire council save Tenzin, bombing the streets, gassing Police HQ, trying to wipe out the only airbenders left, and ending with Amon depowering Lin Beifong.
Amon definitely crossed it in the finale if he hadn't already done so. The last element of his humanity goes out the window when we find out he had no qualms about debending his own brother to further his plans. And then he attempts to debend Tenzin's children. And then he tosses the Lieutenant, his most loyal follower, aside with no remorse when the Lieutenant finds out Amon's a bender.
Hiroshi Sato goes flying over the MEH when he abandons the only family connection that still made him somewhat sympathetic and tries to kill his own daughter, reasoning that "she can't be saved" because of her sympathy for benders. This, combined with joining the Equalists to eradicate bending after the death of his wife, and any atrocities he contributed to because of his weaponry, he nullifies the only Freudian Excuse he had going for him.
People's loved ones getting killed by firebenders in their backstories. The first time (Mako and Bolin's parents) was irony, the second time (allegedly Amon's family) was tragedy, and the third time (Sato's wife) was comedy. This gets a bit more tolerable when it turns out Amon's story is a lie.
Amon bloodbending the wolves in his backstory ended up looking rather silly. At least until you look at their eyes.
Never Live It Down: Mako will never live down the love triangle, and this is the entire reason he has such an angry and bitter Hatedom. A rare example where the guy in the triangle is taking all of the heat.
Cabbage Corporation, an automobile company that was founded by the fan-favorite Cabbage Merchant from the last series. As the owner is arrested and dragged away in one episode, he even yells "No! Not my Cabbage Corp!" much like his predecessor's "My cabbages!" whenever his cart was destroyed. They're even voiced by the same actor.
General Iroh skirts this due to having Zuko's voice actor, being Zuko's grandson, and bearing the name of his great-great uncle, an extremely popular character from the previous series. However, he's actually far more important to the finale's plot progression than just the fanservicey side of it.
Paranoia Fuel: Right before the terrorist attack in Episode 6, you see a bunch of random members of the arena's audience slowly and silently starting to reach into popcorn bags to pull out masks, bombs and/or electricity devices for the attack.
Periphery Demographic: Large and healthy. To put it in perspective, the 1-hour series premiere had a 1.01 million adults 18-49 rating out of its 4.5 million viewers, and another episode had almost 4.1 million total and a 1.13 adults 18-49 rating. One A18-49 ratings point is equal to about 1.28 million people, so "young" adults comprise about a third of the viewing audience. One interview with IGN had the creators state that they receive tons of emails of parents gleefully admitting they enjoy not only being able to watch a show with their children, but that they enjoy it themselves.
The creators themselves trolled the fanbase via Tumblr by suggesting the couple names were wrong, and it should instead be Koko, Kolin, and Mami for the current core couples.
Relationship Writing Fumble: Though this has become a lot better since Book 2 smoothed out this wrinkle in the storyline, Mako's breakup with Asami was not easily picked up by a lot of fans due to the language being more subtle and subdued. This naturally led to a lot of people understandably hating him if they missed the cues because to them it appeared that Mako was still dating Asami when he confessed his feelings to Korra and they hooked up in the final scenes.
For those who hated on Asami for creating conflict in the Makorra triangle, Asami's character growth in "The Aftermath" and in the finale skyrocketed her popularity.
The finale had a lot of fans pull a 180 on Tarrlok. He went from one of the most despised characters in the show to a Woobieonce we learned his back-story. Taking Amon out in a tragic and shockingly dark murder-suicide only helped.
Or, more appropriately, "Asami the Equalist". Some fans kept this up even when episode 7 of the only 12-episode Equalists story arc proves the exact opposite and the final episode of Book 1 only reaffirmed this as she openly defied the wishes of her father, who was an Equalist, to join him and attacked him instead. In the final episode, she beat the crap out of him and destroyed significant portions of his army.. She was even a popular suspect for Amon's identity for a while, though this was largely cleared up after events of "Out of the Past" made it impossible by showing them in two separate places.
Poor Pema just can't catch a break, what with "stealing" Tenzin from Lin. According to the fandom, she's an Equalist spy solely for this; nevermind the fact that her own children are airbenders, and nothing suggests that she's such a monster. Some people have gone as far as saying she hates her children, just because she expressed desire of having a non-bender like her.
Mako, who according to some of the more extreme fan perceptions isn't just a cheating cheater who cheats with whatever girl crosses his field of vision, but is also a budding abusive boyfriend.
Mako, for the portion who do not approve of his behavior and his lack of tact handling his romantic situation with Korra and Asami, as well as those who disapprove of his perceived lack of personality (beyond romantic tactlessness). It's gotten as far as him being blasted more than the actual antagonists and there's been daunting wishes for him to die, be written out, or remain alone for life as an outcome. Interestingly (and perhaps unsurprisingly), as Asami's popularity went up, his went down. His Scrappy status skyrocketed after the finale when he breaks free of Amon's bloodbending (the first one to do so) and finally hooked up with Korra when, for some, it wasn't actually clear that he'd broken up with Asami. While not everyone sees him this way, to say the man is polarizing is an understatement. The anger increased when he joined the police force in Book Two, as opposed to Bolin, who was a popular metalbender police candidate for fans.
Take That, Scrappy!: Mike, Bryan, and even David Faustino himself spend a lot of time in the DVD commentary mentioning how they're aware that people hate Mako.
Some supporters of Korra/Mako also pair Bolin/Asami and vice versa. And those who ship Korra/Bolin are likely to ship Mako/Asami. If two of these four characters are being shipped together, then chances are the other two form a second pairing as well.
Bolin/Korra and Asami/Iroh II have become shipmates for people who want to keep Mako out of the pairings all together.
Fans who ship Korra/Tahno also usually keep Mako with Asami, and Bolin usually just keeps his status as The Charmer.
Advance press revealed Korra's mentor Tenzin as Aang and Katara's son, canonically quashing persistant fan theories that Official Couple Katara and Aang's relationship dissolved in the timeframe between series.
The reveal that Tenzin and Lin used to date put a dent in Tokka shipping, and killed off the popular theory that Sokka was Lin's father. Even leaving aside the potential squick factor, first-cousins dating doesn't fly on American television.
Some rabid Zutara shippers resumed where the previous series left off well in advance of airing, with new conflicts actually touched off by the Ship Sinking above. Now that Nick.com revealed that Zuko's still alive, you can bet old!Zutara shipping will be in full force.
Mako/Korra and Bolin/Korra factions rapidly developed and began tearing into each other despite the lack of character descriptions. All the fandom needs are names and faces to launch a thousand battleships. And for worse, lots of shippers for both factions fall on creepy implications about either of the brothers "deserving" Korra's affections for this or that reason.
Mako/Korra found a new rival in Tahno/Korra, despite the fact that at the time Tahno had only spoken three words: "Go for it." That was all it took for some shippers to go crazy.
And of course, canon had to start in on it by introducing Asami and allowing Mako to have a relationship with her that got complicated. The level of combat is best illustrated by a fan of Bill Rinaldi's tumblr.
There's a surprising amount of Jinora/Skoochy fic. One is Tenzin's Cute Bookworm airbender daughter and the other's a street rat who trades information for money, and naturally they've never met; they just happen to be the only introduced characters in their age group.
Two lines into his character, before he even met any of the other major characters, General Iroh II/'insert character here' ships started picking up steam, and quickly.
Since he was introduced at the Book Two preview at SDCC, Verick has already started to be paired with Bolin, solely on the grounds that it was revealed that they had some sort of relationship. We don't even know what his personality is yet, beyond that he's kind of a playboy.
Signature Scene: Several. Korra's introductory scene in "A Leaf In The Wind", Amon's terrorist attack on the pro-bending arena in "And The Winner Is...", the first appearance of the BioShock-esque mechas in "The Aftermath", Amon's various de-bending scenes throughout the series, but none more so in "The Revelation" and his de-bending attempt on Tenzin and his family as well as Lin's de-bending in "Out Of The Past, and Amon and Tarrlok's suicide bombing in "The Endgame".
In "Turning the Tides" The Mech suits move slowly and awkwardly. A stark contrast from their other appearances.
"The Aftermath" has a scene during the race where if you look closely, the CG models for the characters look atrociously Off Model (Asami especially) and the opposing driver isn't even touching the steering wheel. The fact the sequence is otherwise well-done makes it all the more jarring.
Strangled by the Red String: Mako and Korra's promotion to Official Couple in the Book 1 finale. Rabid shipping aside, the Love Triangles between Mako, Korra, Bolin, and Asami felt rushed and underdeveloped to some, with complications resulting from and reasons for their attraction glossed over, told instead of shown, or quickly buried. The ambiguity of whether Mako and Asami broke up during Book One and whether or not Bolin was over Korra didn't help matters. With three more Books to set things aright, however, whether this applies in the long run or not is still up in the air.
Ugly Cute: Meelo. A direct quote from SDCC: "Strangely though, the more ugly he was the cuter he became." In fact, Meelo was originally going to be a good-looking cute kid, but the team fell in love with Ryu Ki-Hyun's uglier designs.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: The protestor at the start of the series. A number of fans seemed to not understand that Korra's failed retort of "You're oppressing yourself!" was a joke at her expense, and later felt bad for him when Korra actually did attack him during Episode 3 - ignoring that he was also shilling for someone that we learn is a violent and cruel person that was also holding people hostage. And this impression stays with them even when the guy is later shown to be okay with his.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Many fans were surprised to learn that the Council page (the person that delivered all those gifts from Tarrlok and outted Tarrlok as a bloodbender) is actually a man.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Amon's political agenda (There are people with special abilities who control society, using their powers to abuse and oppress those who don't have them, so this ability should be removed from the world) lends itself well to a whole host of issues, and class warfare in particular. Maybe it's about Capitalism, or Ethnic Minorities, or Apartheid, or Civil Rights, or Disarmament ('Gun Control'). Or maybe it's just a Space Whale Aesop.
The fandom only started to lighten up in the Asami hate when she showed herself as an Action GirlBadass Normal. And yet the moment she shows human reactions to the Love Triangle business, some people are quick to accuse her of being "nothing but Mako's Clingy Jealous Girl" (Despite how she mostly defies the CJG trope.)
Bolin. He lost his parents when he was six, and had to live on streets with Mako. In the series proper, he gets kidnapped and nearly loses his bending powers while trying to help his brother with earning money, gets electrocuted during his rescue, and can't sleep well for a week afterwards. Then, in episode 5, he gets emotionally crushed by two of the people closest to him, after which, in the course of a single match, he gets hit in the stomach hard enough to make him vomit, gets (unintentionally) fire-blasted in the back by his brother before getting knocked out of the ring, and finally gets a pretty nasty injury to the shoulder before getting knocked out of the ring again. To top it off Nickelodeon's website reveals that he has an inferiority complex in regards to his brother Mako — and it's justified in-series with Mako getting so much more serious screentime and attention with the ladies.
Seriously, it has to suck to find out that your dad was working with Amon this whole time. Made even worse by Asami's adamant defense of her father throughout the episode. Plus, Hiroshi is the only family she has left. The poor lady collapses into Mako's arms in the final scene. Then, she finds out her boyfriend may have a crush on Korra, whom she does care for a lot and considers a great girl. Then she finds out about the kiss. Then when she confronts him about it, he's so not good with people that he can't even be honest with her without blaming his brother for telling her, and later his "tunnel vision" is in action as well as his (somewhat understandable) care for Korra means that he's neglecting her emotionally. In the series finale, she even has to confront her father again as he is so blinded with rage that he tries to kill her. Oh, and Mako confesses his true feelings for Korra while Asami is off-screen, so who knows how she'll be by next series. On the upside, if the Book One finale is anything to go by, Asami tends to respond to emotional stress with lightning fists, so she's not really in danger of the emotional collapse most Woobies experience.
Iron Woobie: Her mother was killed by a Firebender when she was young, she discovered her father was an Equalist after spending a whole day defending him, has to turn on her father because she wanted to do the right thing and has to leave the comfortable life she has always known, she finds out that Korra has a crush on her boyfriend and he might reciprocate, she gets arrested because of her father, then has to see her well-intentioned-but-utterly-bad-with-people boyfriend go crazy trying to find Korra and neglect her; and when she confronts Mako about him responding to Korra's forceful kiss while Asami and him were dating, he doesn't really face her. Then, after having to fight her own father and help save the day, she and Mako are through. And despite all of this, she never lashes out or blames anyone except Mako (and when she does, she does NOT go the Clingy Jealous Girl route and makes genuinely good points), and still remains friends with everyone.
Adding onto this, according to the creator's comments from The Making of LOK, Asami was slowly realizing that she and Mako just wouldn't work out, even if she never said anything about it. They made her realistically react to a relationship falling apart, right down to the internal thoughts humans have when this happens to us... and she gets flak for it, in addition to everything else.
Korra herself slides into major Woobie territory on several occasions, notably at the end of episode 4, near all of episodes 8 and 9, and the finale when she temporarily loses all her bending save for airbending. It's really hard to watch her break down.
While people were able to brush off Eska's treatment of Bolin in the premiere as an Ice Queen meeting an adorkable guy, by the third episode a lot of people started seeing major abusive undertones in the ship and started jumping overboard. It helps that Bolin is canonically looking for a way to break up with her without getting frozen solid.
Makorra was sunk by this season's plotlines. The fact that they broke up TWICE and Mako and Asami started getting close again didn't help. And that's before we get into the normal Base Breaker aspects that Mako always has.
Accidental Innuendo: Wan says to Raava: "When you pass through me, I feel an incredible rush of power!"
Whether or not Aang was a bad parent (or Katara for that matter) - and whether or not Bumi and Kya are justified in their long standing resentment of Tenzin and their father.
Whether or not Korra's rough behavior toward Tonraq and Tenzin is justified. Was Tonraq just being overprotective because of all the close calls Korra had with Amon? Or was this behavior always part of his character and just never got shown?
Was he A Well-Intentioned Extremist who was willing to do anything for what's right, or were the spirits simply a tool for him to get massive power?
After Unalaq's death, Eska and Desna were more concerned about how to break it to their mother. This leads one to wonder about Unalaq's relationship with her. Does Unalaq love his wife, or does he simply disregard her like he did with Eska and Desna?
Did Ginger really have a change of heart when she declared Bolin her boyfriend or is she just saying that because now he's famous for saving the president and more "worthy" of her attentions?
A case has been made that Eska and Desna display signs of autism. The twins possess monotonous speech, a lack of empathy and emotional expression, and social awkwardness. Eska in particular displays difficulty regulating her emotions and reacting appropriately.
Given the rather... controversialnature of Bolin and Eska's relationship at the beginning of the season, there is some debate about just how sincere Bolin was being when he expressed sadness about their breakup in "Harmonic Convergence" and explained him running away from her up as being due to "commitment issues". Was he being wholly serious, and was never as averse to Eska's behaviour as he appeared? Or was he just using his newfound acting chops to manipulate Eska into releasing him and Mako, and only became serious about it when she kissed him and he got "caught up in the moment"? Either explanation has some supporters behind it.
Wan Shi Tong sided with Unalaq over Jinora. Why? Because Unalaq deceived him, or is he fully aware of and supportive of Unalaq's plans? Humans have abused his knowledge in the past and his library is in the Spirit World, so ten thousand years of darkness in the mortal one is meaningless. And he's immortal, so ten thousand years is peanuts even if the darkness affects the Spirit World too.
Ass Pull: Jinora showing up to save Korra with never before seen (or since mentioned) abilities right when Unavaatu was about to corrupt Korra, came entirely out of left field. Even Bryan Konietzko admitted that it was an Ass Pull.
Korra's rash attitude in the first half of the season caused a number of fights in the fandom.
Unalaq headed down this road immediately after his introduction. It lasted about two episodes, at which point he took a hard swerve off the road and into full-on villainy, as noted below.
The portrayal of Lin Bei Fong, who's accused of severe Took a Level in Dumbass as she becomes a completely stereotypical Da Chief whose only role is to make things harder for Mako. Granted, most of this is likely due to being Demoted to Extra compared to Book 1.
Whether or not Eska and Bolin's relationship is being played for laughs, shouldn't be played for laughs, should be played for laughs, is abusive on Eska's side, is bad, is good, etc.
Studio Pierrot's animation. When fans noticed that the switch to Studio Pierrot meant a drastic change in the nature of the animation, fans were split over their opinions of the new animators: some welcomed the change, citing the Scenery Porn, lack of Conspicuous CGI (Pierrot were a lot better at blending hand-drawn animation and CGI) and the noticeably better flow in many of the fight scenes - but many more noted that the characters looked stiff and unnatural, moved very little but their mouths during conversation, and were frequently Off Model. However, it must be noted that all of the arguments about better animation essentially stopped after Mir returned for the later episodes.
Complete Monster: Unalaq, Korra's Evil Uncle, is at first the Holier Than Thou leader of the Northern Water Tribe who is angry how the Southern tribe has lost its spirituality under his elder brother Tonraq. Upon the reappearance of Dark Spirits, Unalaq takes the chance to move in his armies to seize control of the Southern Tribe and has anyone who may oppose removed in a Kangaroo Court before Korra discovers he is the one behind the events that got her father exiled from his home tribe, allowing Unalaq takeover. He had gotten barbarians to attack his own home so Tonraq could awaken Dark Spirits to attack their tribe. Unalaq reveals himself as an opportunistic tyrant whose feelings for his own twin children can best be described as "uncaring" as when his son Desna is injured, almost fatally, Unalaq tells Desna's sister Eska to simply leave him to die as opening the Spirit World is more important. When he gets into the Spirit World, Unalaq forces Korra's cooperation by attacking and threatening to destroy the soul of Jinora, a little girl. When Korra caves in, Unalaq tries to destroy her soul anyways. Unalaq later assaults the Southern Water tribe and delivers a Curbstomp Battle to Tonraq, sparing his life solely so Tonraq can see Unalaq win completely. Unalaq reveals his true plan is to free Vaatu, the spirit of darkness and chaos, to fuse with him into a Dark Avatar in order to usher in ten thousand years of his own dark rule. After he succeeds in merging with Vaatu, Unalaq battles Korra and tears the spirit of light and order, Raava, out of her, brutally attempting to obliterate her. After returning to the material world, he instantly sets out to destroy Republic City and all within it, declaring his rule has begun.
Crack Pairing: A human and a spirit getting rather too friendly seems to spawn this an awful lot.
Waava (Wan/Raava) - the fact that their story plays an awful lot like a romance facilitates this, what with their initial Belligerent Sexual Tension, Raava coming across as Tsundere at times, and the final pronouncement that Wan and Raava will be together forever. Also, they fuse a lot.
Unalaq/Wan Shi Tong. Following "A New Spiritual Age", fans joked that the slightly bird-like appearance of Eska and Desna, plus Wan Shi Tong's insistence that Unalaq is a friend to the spirits, made the identity of the twins' mother self-evident.
Crazy Awesome: Varrick, the loud-mouthed Eccentric Millionaire, cemented this when he escaped past the Northern Water Tribe's blockade by disguising himself as a platypus-bear that pooped money, and maintaining this disguise (with the addition of a Nice Hat) while piloting his yacht. His outing as a villain did nothing to dampen this.
A dark spirit that Bumi pacifies with flute music has become rather popular with fans due to being utterly adorable.
Despite being a misanthropic Jerkass, Aye Aye Spirit is popular with fans for being a very funny character. Him naming Wan "Stinky" is considered one of the funniest moments in the series.
Varrick's assistant Zhu-Li is also rather popular with the fandom mainly for the fact she takes all of Varrick's craziness without even batting an eye.
Evil Is Cool: Varrick, surprisingly. The reveal that he was a villain ended up adding to the appeal of his character because of how much of a Magnificent Bastard it made him into.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Bosami (Bolin and Asami) got a massive boom this season with them showing chemistry in the opening episodes, and Eska's relationship with Bolin playing abuse for gags. The fans got so vocal with wanting it to happen the writers actually had to step in to shoot it down.
Bolin stopping a plot against President Raiko by Varrick, putting his arc to a close and putting Bolin through some needed Character Development.
Team Avatar being reunited and taking on Unalaq all by themselves.
More visits to the Spirit World and cameo appearances by past characters, including Iroh, Zhao, and Aang, while Tenzin goes through some Character Development as well.
Unalaq successfully releasing Vaatu from his prison and fusing with him to become a Dark Avatar, and then managing to rip apart Raava and destroy the spirit of every past Avatar. Vaatu is the greatest out of every enemy in both series, and his release heralded the end of the world!
Unavaatu then growing to giant size then began laying waste to Republic City, until an equally sized Korra powered by the energy of the universe puts a stop to him with the help of Jinora's spirit to power her up.
In a more meta example, this hit the fandom all the harder since all four episodes aired in the same night, with first two parter airing as normal on November 15th, 2013, while enough attention and demand allowed Nickelodeon to put up the last two episodes up on its website.
Idiot Plot: Large parts of this season rely on the heroes taking Unalaq and Varrick at their word and either completely missing or pointedly ignoring the negative effects of their actions until they are presented with ironclad proof of their villainy.
Internet Backdraft: After a series of mistakes and tough battles Korra has her past selves destroyed. Seemingly forever. To say that elements of the fandom felt she'd "let the side down" as it were, would be a massive understatement. It gets so bad that she is bashed more than Unalaq, the one who actually did it, with a grin on his face.
Love to Hate: Many fans noted that as much of a scumbag as he turned out to be, Varrick was just too damned likeable and fun to really hate.
Magnificent Bastard: Varrick reveals as one in "The Sting". He is revealed to have paid off the Triple Threat Triads in order to steal Future Industries equipment, then make a deal with Asami to become an even more powerful business man. He pulls this off complete with one of the best evil grins possible. Few expected that a Cloud Cuckoolander executive would pull off something like that, allowing the writers to hit us with one of the first legitimate curveballs of the season.
Vaatu was shown from his first scene to be very unpleasant, but he crosses the line when he corrupts all of Wan's spirit friends, forcing them into conflict with Wan's human friends, which results in the deaths of all the humans.
We all knew that Unalaq was a bad guy. However, he crosses the line when he threatens to snuff out Jinora's soul to get Korra to open the Northern Portal; when Korra does so, Unalaq then attempts to erase her soul anyway!
Varrick deliberately bankrupting Asami in order to absorb Future Industries. It's the moment he went from "lovable crazy guy" to "hideously evil scumbag that happens to be entertaining".
In the same episode, Vaatu laughing. While Jonathan Adams otherwise provided an excellent performance, that laughter couldn't possibly be any more forced, almost to the level of that other laughter. The fact that it happens imediately before Korra's face makes one wonder if the universe conspired to make that scene silly.
Unalaq's constant flip-flopping over whether he needs Korra to open the northern spirit portal. It's almost like we're watching a war in the writers' room over which way the story should go.
One-Scene Wonder: Zhao and the friendly "Innocent Spirit" that dances to Bumi's flute music.
One True Threesome: EskaXBolinXDesna; it helps that Bolin already has a sizable amount of Yaoi fan-fics and that Desna is almost indistinguishable from Eska.
The Untwist: Many fans called Unalaq being a villain directly after the season premiere, though they were also relieved that it at least only took a couple more episodes to get to the reveal, rather than the whole season (though there were also plenty of folks who think the show still wasted too much time on it and doing so made Korra look like an idiot).
The Woobie: This was not a good season for our heroine. Korra found out her Uncle was an evil little bugger that only wanted her dad gone, had to leave her hometown behind during an occupation by a far more powerful force, been refused help at every turn, broken up with her boyfriend over him informing his superiors of an attempt to undermine them, and had to find a way to stop the Dark Spirits from flooding into the physical world and causing a total imbalance. On top of that, due to both outside manipulation and growing frustration with her circumstances, she was also irritable and more likely to snap at people that could have helped her through it.
Iron Woobie: Becomes this thanks to her vision of Wan's life and Iroh's advice.
Asami Sato once again suffers very much, having her company bankrupt, having her supposed business partner screw her over, trying to rekindle her relationship with Mako only for he to end up in jail and for Korra being amensiac about their break up...
Wan himself, who started off in mistreated poverty, tried to do right for everyone, only to get kicked off into the Spirit Wilds, where he suffers from hunger and lack of sleep (albeit hilariously). After he manages to win the spirits over and travels the world, he once again tries to treat everyone equally and fairly, only to free an abomination of darkness into the world and get verbally abused by Raava. He then gets to see and feel the entire world collapse because of his mistake, and even after he locks away Vaatu, he never finds rest, being compelled to act as the force of harmony and peace for the rest of his days. He dies in the middle of a battle, weary, torn down and losing his faith in humanity. Overall, he only managed to enjoy a good and peaceful life for two years.
Raava herself, too. Imagine having to be worried across your entire life that an abomination will emerge from your chest and kill everyone. Her two appearances weren't also very kind to her: first being burned by Wan's firebending, then diminishing in size and power because her counterpart got more powerful - all the while developing bromantic feelings and appreciation for the very man that caused that - then fusing with that man and saving the world, only to see him lose hope in humanity and eventually die, then being a silent voice to all of his reincarnations for the next 10,000 years, none of which are aware of their past life's bond with her, and then being violently ripped off from Korra and beaten into oblivion by a deranged psychopath, resulting in Wan's absolute death. Probably the one lovecraftian horror that truly deserves a hug.
Just like Aang, Toph is questioned about being a good mother or not to her two daughters. Said daughters are from two different men, both of them unknown to either daughter, which is part of the controversy.
Did Toph actually resign from her position as chief of police out of guilt for what she did to protect Suyin as Lin claims, or was it an entirely unrelated matter simply relating to her growing old and ready to retire a hero as Su claims? On one hand, Lin was actually present when it happened and probably has insight into their mother's feelings on it that Su doesn't; on the other, Su says she talked the matter over with Toph years later without Lin being there. Whether the accusation is true, or just spiteful, petty guilt-slinging on Lin's part is largely left up to the viewer to decide.
Relating to Tenzin's need for a family in book one and Lin's lack of interest in having a family, could it be that her lack of desire to have children could have stemmed from her own less than ideal relationship with her mother? Or did she feel that her very high risk job as a Metalbending Police Officer simply didn't lend itself to family life? Was she afraid that if she and Tenzin had children that he might play favorites with them the way his father Aang did with him and his own siblings (assuming the kids would have been split between Airbenders and Earthbenders)? Or was she just plain uncomfortable around kids for whatever reason? All of the above? None of the above?
The final shot of Korra in the last episode is a sure fuel for this. Is she crying from happiness, or from grief? Or both?
After the revelation that P'Li was rescued by Zaheer from being a warlord's killing machine, several fans have expressed the opinion that Zaheer simply used her for the same purpose, duping her. However, since her death is what triggers his ability to fly, which requires severing all earthly attachments, by all accounts he did truly love her.
Was Ming-Hua always Ax-Crazy? Or did spending 13 years in a Tailor-Made Prison take a major toll on her sanity? Also, was she a truly believer of the Red Lotus' cause, or only used it as an excuse to channeling her sadistic and Ax-Crazy behavior?
The residual messy emotions of the Love Triangle from the previous two Books are cleared up in just a few lines between Korra and Asami, after which we can finally just move on from the whole mess.
One of the biggest criticisms of Book 1 was its Deus ex Machina ending where the disability Korra was left with got magically solved in the last minute. That's very much not the case this time.
One of the criticisms about Bolin's character is that, as purely an Earthbender (contrasting Asami's engineering/piloting skills and Mako's pragmatism and lightningbending), he was Overshadowed by Awesome and did not contribute much to Team Avatar beyond comedic value (a role he shared with Bumi most of this season). This was Lampshaded several times throughout Book 3, as Bolin struggled to learn metalbending while Korra excelled at it. Bolin then becomes the second non-Avatar in the world to learn lavabending, and the only practitioner by the end of the season.
A complex character, who's successfully made amends for the mistakes of her past, or a Smug SnakeKarma Houdini criminal who was far too Easily Forgiven? On top of that - was the whole sibling rivalry between her and Lin and their eventual reconciliation in Old Wounds actually good for Lin's character development, or just pointless filler vilifying and degrading Lin in order to build up Suyin and drive home an obnoxious moral? Adding to this is her contribution to the now recurring theme of the Gaang making mistakes in their parenting. Then the fact that Lin couldn't even hit Suyin during their fight just pissed some fans off even more - granted Lin was weakened but some felt that she should have managed at least one hit. And also that, apparently, the only 'noteworthy' thing she does in their fight is to get up over and over again, despite how often Suyin hits her.
Plot revelations in Book 3's second half have split the fanbase on Suyin even further. Much like Asami in Book 1, there's big debate about whether she's secretly a villain, or at least tied to the Red Lotus. And also like Asami, she's completely with the good guys.
Kai. While he was universally The Scrappy from the get-go, some feel that he's been rescued from the heap, others think that he's just favored by the writers. Similarly, some think his influence on Jinora is helpful, benefiting her characterization, while others think that he's a negative influence.
Much like how it did after the reveal that Aang played favorites with his kids, even if accidentally, the fandom has exploded in argument after it was said that Toph had two daughters from two different men, both unknown even to Su and Lin. Some have become angry calling Toph a horrible role model for kids, a slut and even accuse the writers of trying to ruin everything good about the old series. Others don't really care and are quick to point out that the details of Toph's relationships are unknown. Others still are happy with the revelation, since it's not often that half-siblings appear in western animation, and some even calling it empowering. And let's not even get started on whether she was a good mother or not.
Whether the show lets Suyin off too easily for her criminal past, including scarring her sister's face (though it was an accident and she was immediately regretful). However, it's stated that Suyin tried for years to fix their relationship by sending her letters, only for Lin to ignore her at best and act like a jerk to Opal for no justifiable reason (though she apologizes later).
Does Zaheer's actual motivations makes him the complex, morally grey antagonist that Bryke has been meaning to use for the series, or does he follow in Unalaq's and Amon's footsteps, as being a childishly simplistic bad guy? Note Although, it's worth to note that debates in the fanbase about Amon's moral ambiguity still continue even after his death. However, as of "The Ultimatum", he and his group have definitely become divisive. After enjoying almost an entire season of praise for being complex villains, parts of the fanbase plunged the Red Lotus into the Hate Sink corner after threatening genocide on the Northern Air Temple and beating the crap out of Tenzin unfairly. The finale seems to leave it at a midway point: they're definitely bad guys in how they go about their goal, but their goal is still reasonable from a certain point of view, they have some lines they don't cross (for all their threats, they do not kill Tenzin or the other airbenders when they have the chance, which ends up being Zaheer's downfall), and they retain humanizing qualities to the very end. And Zaheer in particular was not seeking any real power for himself, changing the world for everyone really WAS his desire.
Draco in Leather Pants: Zaheer's gang, but Ghazan especially. The White Lotus actually got demonized by portions of the fandom for having the gall to keep the violent and dangerous criminals locked up.
Opal is very popular. Her pleasant design, kind attitude, and her surprisingly powerful Be Your Self conversations to Bolin made her very well liked by fans.
Epileptic Trees: Kuvira (the Metalbender that saved Tonraq and introduced herself afterword) is theorized to be a Chekhov's Gunman (with the common theory being that she's The Mole for the Red Lotus). This is based upon her random introduction late in the season, and the fact that it would seem odd that they called Zelda Williams in for only a few lines.
Evil Is Cool: Zaheer, Ghazan, Ming-Hua, and P'Li instantly got popularity rivaling Amon's thanks to their being introduced making Tai Lung-esque prison breaks. Zaheer in particular is getting interest for being an evil airbender, a first for the series. It's even lampshaded in-universe during their first encounter with the Krew:
Bolin: That guy's lava-bending! That's awesome... (notices everyone looking at him)... ly bad for us.
Fandom Rivalry: Korra "lost" to Every Witch Way when it got yanked from the schedule and banished to online while Every Witch, which is more representative of the typical Nick demographic, is still airing on TV. For similar reasons, a number of fans are now upset with Spongebob Square Pants for being Adored by the Network years after its heyday whereas Korra is getting Screwed by the Network. Not helped at all by the last televised Korra episode being immediately followed by a Spongebob rerun. Still more fans are liable to bite your head off if you ask them their opinion about any other animated show on Nick (special mention going to Sanjay And Craig and Breadwinners who they will say isn't "real" animated entertainment, and even TMNT isn't exempt from this) while fans of said animated shows just think they're butthurt crybabies.
The revelation of an evil secret society with an undisclosed number of unrevealed members.
The Red Lotus's original plans, as stated by Zaheer in "The Stakeout", raises the possibility of creating an alternate universe where they were successful in kidnapping Korra and training her as their own.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Korra/Asami was a borderline Crack Ship in Books 1 and 2, but after their interactions in Book 3 the ship suddenly exploded in popularity to the point that many fans a consider them viable candidate for a Relationship Upgrade by the end of the season.
Meelo's comments in the first two episodes about wanting the new airbenders to be his army and bow to him becomes less funny after the end of the third episode, where the Dai Li are kidnapping the new airbenders in order to force them to serve as the Earth Queen's new airbender army.
When Mako originally doesn't plan to join Team Avatar in rebuilding the Air Nation, Bolin attempts to convince him to come along by suggesting the possibility they may meet their long-lost grandmother, who would be so heartbroken by Mako's absence that she would weep big grandma tears and then die. In episode three, they do meet their long-lost family, including their grandmother, who is heartbroken when she discovers Mako and Bolin's parents are dead.
Growing the Beard: General opinion amongst fans is that Book 3 is a massive improvement over the previous two Books, which were highly divisive.
The riots and the descent into chaos in Ba Sing Se have become more jarring to watch after almost two weeks of violent clashes between heavily armed local police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, when Michael Brown was shot dead on a street on August 9, 2014.
The presence of both Henry Rollins and Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin) in the season is quite uncomfortable when the week of the finale saw Rollins write an editorial where he viciously attacks suicide, calling anyone who does it worthless in his eyes.
Frequent comparisons between Book 3 and The Dark Knight Rises, after the finale revealed that Korra, much like Batman in said film, is heavily traumatised, depressed, and disabled after her last battle. Incidentally, LOK also shares this similarity with Iron Man 3.
It was commonly predicted that Book Three would air in June. Come early June, four episodes from Nick's Mexican affiliate were leaked, and in what may or may not be a coincidence, Nick quickly threw out a preview trailer then announced a June 27 airdate a little more than a week after that.
In the original show, Toph once suggested doing acupuncture on Aang to relieve his stress about facing the Firelord. Her own daughter ends up getting it done on her due to her own stress.
In their TV spots for Book 3, Nick went out of their way to emphasize that the episodes were only available on their channel and that you could not watch them onlineNote Legally, anyways. (no doubt a nod to the four leaked episodes). Then they abruptly pulled the show from the air and moved it to a weekly release on their website.
In the original series, Azula complained in a fit of paranoia that an assassin could have easily taken her out before her Dai Li agents could come to her aid. Looks like she had legitimate concerns, after all, seeing what happened to the Earth Queen.
This season does not buck the trend of being compared to superhero movies, as Book 3, like Book 1, has drawn comparisons to The Dark Knight Rises. Come Episode 10, and you have parallels between Zaheer and Bane after Zaheer announces to the entire city of Ba Sing Se for people to take it back, like how Bane did the same for Gotham. They also both happen to be Bald of Evil anarchist revolutionaries.
The latter half of Book 3 could be compared to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, featuring a splinter faction of a group originally dedicated to peace and order trying to throw the world into chaos (the "natural order"). The ends of both also point out that aside from the prior immediate threat, there are still operatives and cells around the world to continue posing a threat.
Thistrollfic written way back in the Book 3 spoiler period shows P'li's head exploding. Flash forward to "Enter The Void" and, well... Also features Zaheer asphyxiating to death, something that he does to other characters in the final episodes.
Turns out Toph wasn't being out of turn comparing Aang to a girl: his granddaughter Jinora ends up with a striking resemblance to Aang after she shaves her head and gets her Airbending Master tattoos. And, no, not as a gender-bent version of Aang—she actually does look exactly like Aang. It's even funnier when you realize how much Aang complained about being played by a girl by the Ember Island Players. The universe just wouldn't let him live it down.
In the original series, a four-person group led by an airbender enters the Earth King's palace and offers its assistance. The Evil Chancellor states that they're part of an anarchist cell that aims to destroy the Earth Kingdom government. 70 years later, another four-person group led by an airbender enters the Earth Queen's palace and offers its assistance. This time, they really are part of an anarchist cell.
The way people started to realize how the defining moments of the season 2 and 3 finales are paralleling the defining scenes from the original series finales. In The Last Airbender, Book 1 has Aang become a large water creature that forces the Fire Nation to retreat. In the next Book, Ba Sing Se is taken over by Azula and Aang is badly wounded in the Avatar State when Azula shoots him in the back with lightning. In The Legend of Korra, Book 2 ends with Korra pulling a similar trick to beat Unalaq. In Book 3, the Red Lotus kills the Earth Queen late in the season, throwing Ba Sing Se into chaos, then nearly kill Korra in the Avatar State by poisoning her. At least if Book 4 plays out in the same pattern, Korra will finally get a happy ending.
"Long Live The Queen" has Queen Hou-Ting's death, notably a pretty graphic death that happened on screen. And this was done by an airbender, who are usually thought to be peaceful and pacifist. Needless to say, it was pretty breathtaking. It is followed up by Ghazan managing to tear down the inner wall of Ba Sing Se just on his own, sending all of Ba Sing Se into chaos. Finally, you have Korra and Asami getting chased by a monstrous sand shark.
"The Ultimatum" amps it up big time. First, the entirety of Ba Sing Se is in flames. The whole city has descended into absolute chaos. Second, it turns out that Zaheer and his gang are now at the Northern Air Temple, threatening to wipe out the new Air Nation just to get to Korra, and when Tenzin rightfully defies them and fights them off, he suffers a great beatdown and is on the verge of death, ending on a chilling cliffhanger.
"Enter the Void" continues the intensity. You have the death of P'Li, Bolin learning how to lavabend in a true Die or Fly moment, and Zaheer unlocking the secret of weightlessness and learning how to fly.
"Venom of the Red Lotus" finishes this Book off with the deaths of Ghazan and Ming Hua, Zaheer nearly killing Korra in the Avatar State after poisoning her, Jinora thinks of a plan to save Korra: by getting the other airbenders to form a tornado to get Korra and Zaheer out of the sky, and by the end of the episode she earns her Airbending Tattoos, becoming the spitting image of a young Aang, her grandfather, and it ends with a devastated and incapacitated Korra, and the threat of the Red Lotus being very real, with agents all over the world still out there somewhere, and the Earth Kingdom having fallen.
Lin Beifong could be seen as being this. She always had some Jerkass tendencies, but when one learns about how her younger sister Suyin got away with breaking the law and scarring her face and then add that to the already known fact that Tenzin broke her heart years earlier when he chose the much younger Pema over her simply because she didn't want a family (and you really can't blame her after seeing what kind of home she grew up in, though honestly considering the responsibility Tenzin had, you can't really blame him either), and now Lin has to watch them enjoy their happy endings while she's gotten nothing in return for all her hard work as a Metalbending Police Officer, it's hard not to feel a little bad for her.
To some extent, the Red Lotus gang. There is no denying that these are ruthless people, but they have spent 13 years in inhumane conditions. Particularly poignant for Ghazan, who kills himself as so to avoid being imprisoned again.
P'Li after we learn her life story. She is one of the more ruthless members of the Red Lotus, but her whole life has been about being controlled and never even being given a chance to live a normal life. She was raised to be a warlord's killing machine until she was rescued by Zaheer who despite genuinely loving her, turned her into an anarchist. Unalaq then talked her into an act that got her locked up for 13 years in a prison cell that basically acted like a meat locker. Finally, she got the most graphic death of the Red Lotus.
Zaheer gives himself a spot at the end of the season. Even though he spent a whole season as the main villain and almost killing Korra, he still lost his best friends and his lover and will now be locked up in prison again, that even if he deserves to be locked up again is probably a Fate Worse than Death.
Who honestly expected Kai would really fall to his death?
"The Ultimatum" ends with Tenzin getting a prison-style beat down from the Red Lotus. A Gory Discretion Shot seems to hint at his death - but Tenzin is the narrator of the intro. Dramatically appropriate as it would be, are they going to really kill someone so integral to the series, whose voice we have to hear at least two episodes more, without even A Day in the Limelight?
The Earth Queen crossed this a while ago in her treatment of her citizens, but with the revelation that she hires poachers to capture Air Bison for steaks, and that she possibly killed and ate her father's bear, there probably isn't any redemption for her. As if extorting her own citizens wasn't enough.
Same goes for her poachers—they are willing to cage and treat nosy children like animals and have no qualms turning them over to the Earth Queen.
Zaheer crossed it in "The Ultimatum", where he takes the newly reborn Air Nation hostage, which includes a mother and children, just to force Korra to surrender to him, even indicating that he's willing to kill them if that's what it takes. It's hard to tell if he's bluffing or not, since he doesn't kill Tenzin but does goes back on his word and keeps the airbenders as hostages anyway. This leads into him poisoning Korra so he can force her into the Avatar State then murder her so the Avatar can never be reborn in the world, then having the gall to laugh about his apparent success in front of her father.
Amon, Unalaq, and Vaatu in the season finale, even if they were just hallucinations.
Uncle Iroh's brief appearance in the Spirit World.
Varrick and the water twins have very brief, but memorable, scenes that were borderline Filler; almost as if they were shoehorned in at the last minute due to their Ensemble Darkhorse status from the second season.
Kai's Character Development in "In Harm's Way" goes a long way toward redeeming his outright Jerkass behavior from the previous two episodes, showing him trying his best to help the other captive airbenders, even at his own expense. It's rounded off in "Original Airbenders", where despite some less serious mischief, he demonstrates that he's a good person. While he still is reviled by some, this turned him into a Base Breaker rather than the universally hated Scrappy he was previously.
After Lin suffered from being in a plot that many fans felt required her to hold the Idiot Ball and being Out of Focus during Book 2, she now gets more focus than ever before, bouncing back to being just as engaging as when we first met her, if not more so.
Though still not a fan favorite, it is worth to mention that Mako did not anger the fans in this season, with some coming around to actually like him.
Relationship Writing Fumble: P'Li is in love with Zaheer because he "saved her from becoming that warlord's weapon." So in love that she became a weapon for the Red Lotus.
President Raiko. Blames all the problems on Korra instead of working with her, uses her as a scapegoat when his poll ratings drop, and finally expels her from the city despite her saving it from Amon and Unalaq. He welcomes her back at the end of the season, but he seems less concerned for her than for what they'll do without her.
The Woobie: Kai. Even if he started out as a bit of a Jerkass Woobie, he easily made the transition to this over the course of Book 3. First, he was kidnapped by the Dai Li and forced to endure Training from Hell to be part of her army, gets kidnapped again along with Jinora by the bison poachers, nearly dies trying to give the rest of the airbenders an opening to escape the Red Lotus, and all of this while is experienced by a kid no older than Jinora.
Wheelchair Woobie: Korra ends up in a wheelchair at the end of the season finale. She just has not been having a good time at all in these past two episodes. Everyone keeps saying that she will get better, and just needs time to recuperate, but she does not seem to believe it. This finale also establishes a pattern of season finales having her face trauma of some kind, as well as an overall theme of the Avatar itself no longer being needed. No wonder she is kind of broken at this point.
Kuvira. Well-Intentioned Extremist and Knight Templar genuinely wanting to unite the shattered Earth Kingdom, or ambitious conqueror who strong arms Earth Kingdom nations to unite them all under her tyrannical rule?
Avatar State Korra: Is it simply a hallucination brought about by her PTSD, a forceful guide leading her toward her destiny, or somehow both?
Toph. As wise as she is could she have projected her own reasons for being in the swamp onto Korra as well? Is she perhaps jaded rather than just enlightened? Note she does not directly answer Korra when asked why she cut ties with the rest of the world. Instead she notes that she can keep track of what goes on just fine via the tree roots, but ignores that while this lets her connect to others, all her loved ones including her daughters apparently don't have any idea where she is or if she's even alive. Has she really decided she just wants to be left alone the rest of her life, much as she pointed out that the swamp was the perfect place for that?
Prince Wu. Some see him as a flat Royal Brat, some feel he's got more depth than that, some think he's not a good foil for Kuvira because he's too much of an idiot, and some just object to how much screen time his subplot got in "The Coronation" while others feel it was necessary for Character Development.
Toph's treatment of Korra in "The Coronation" has proven rather divisive. Some see it as wrong that Toph is essentially having fun at Korra's expense and ragging on her when she's both physically and mentally been through hell the past three years. Others have pointed out that, however mean-spirited it may seem, Korra actually seems to responds fairly well to it, and she helps Korra get closer to the root of her problem than any of her other mentors have managed. It's also pointed out that Toph's behavior may round out next episode, as the series tends to work in two-episode segments. Add to that Toph behaved in a similarly tough fashion when training Aang in Earthbending.
Fans were quickly divided as to whether the next season being released barely a month after the last is a good thing or not.
The current Fire Lord got a lot of initial flak from some for looking very "plain", "bookish", and generally unimposing when we finally saw her, although this reaction was quickly beaten down by others pointing out how there is no good reason for a woman probably well over sixty (General Iroh, her son, is confirmed to be 40) to be a bombshell, and that we should all wait to see more than a half-second snap-shot of her attending Prince Wu's coronation before anyone can rightfully call her "boring". Her supporters are further divided, in which some wish to see her as a ruthless tactician to face off against Kuvira, and others want to see her as someone who is intelligent and politically savvy, as the series's previous female leaders have all be physically strong benders, rather then owing to any diplomatic skill, and think the contrast would be appealing.
The three year Time Skip is made even more jarring by having just two months between seasons.
At the height of Mako hatedom during the gap between Books 1 and 2, some jokingly wished that there would be a "Mako Alone" episode in order to get him as far away from Team Avatar as possible. Come episode 2, and there was such an episode, just with a different member of the Krew!
Many fans predicted that Aang would still be proudly doing his marble trick as an adult. Then in "Korra Alone", a proud seafood-seller shows off his photo of Aang performing this trick with two sushi rolls, with the same manic smile that he had when he was 12.
In the previous season there were many fan theories on Suyin being secretly evil and either in league with the Red Lotus or secretly plotting to seize power herself. This season has Kuvira claiming that one of the reasons that spurred her takeover was Suyin's refusal take control of the fractured Earth Kingdom after Hou-Ting's fall.
Holy Shit Quotient: The trailer has already reduced a majority of the fandom to a nervous wreck due to the three year time skip, the airbender gliding suits, Korra and the Krew aged up, Kuvira being a badass, and Toph being teased at the end.
Jerkass Woobie: Prince Wu becomes one toward the end of "The Coronation".
Memetic Sex God: Kuvira is extremely attractive to many a fan. Like Korra before her, she is good-looking and a spectacular fighter. There is also a fair dose of Evil Is Sexy in there.
The Untwist: Kuvira being the antagonist of Book 4 was so obvious from her short appearance in "Enter the Void" that pretty much everyone saw it coming. She didn't do anything villainous — to the contrary, she saved Tonraq's life — but her ominous music and odd introduction were quite unsubtle.
The Woobie: Korra starts the season as one. She may have recovered physically, but she has completely cut herself off from her friends and even her identity, traveling the world in a desperate attempt to reconnect to Raava after losing touch with her following the battle with Zaheer. The only contact she maintains is occasional letters to her father, claiming to be doing fine in Republic City.
alternative title(s): The Last Airbender Legend Of Korra