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- Mako catching the triad goons. He uses firebending to melt the ice they used to trip him up, ramp jumped off a makeshift ramp, gives himself an extra boost with fire, firebent in mid air to force the goons' truck to crash, and sticks the landing. Then he caps it with a flawlessly delivered Bond One-Liner and the revelation that he's now a cop. Mako must have been grinding between seasons because he's reached a new level of badass.
- The battle with the Dark Spirit, which shrugged off everything everyone did to try and stop it, until Unalaq stepped in and calmed it down.
- Unalaq's calming of the spirit is awesome as well. As stated above, the Dark Spirit shrugged off everything that the rest of the team and Korra's family threw at it, even resisting fireblasts from Korra while in the Avatar State, and yet Unalaq alone was able to calm it simply through waterbending. The music playing while he exorcised the creature's anger also deserves a special mention for being hauntingly beautiful.
- Tonraq immediately going Papa Wolf on the spirit when it has Korra cornered, and demonstrating that Korra's kickass bending abilities aren't just due to her being the Avatar. It's not very effective, but damn if he's going to sit by and let some Eldritch Abomination go after his little girl.
- Speaking of the Dark Spirit, it is the first being in the entire series thus far to overwhelm the Avatar State, which says a lot considering that a Fire Comet powered Ozai couldn't manage to touch an Avatar once they reach that state.
- Azula technically is the first, but she did a sneak attack. The Dark Spirit is the first being to overwhelm the Avatar State in direct and open combat.
- There are mitigating factors though, namely Korra's Avatar State at this point seems more controlled but less powerful than Aang's (judging by the relative lack of destruction her attacks caused), and she does not create the elemental shield that protected Aang from everything Ozai tried to do. It may simply have been due to Korra's inexperience fighting spirits, as by the end of the season her Avatar State is able to match Vaatu (who should be far stronger than the dark spirits who serve him).
The Southern Lights
- Korra activating the spirit portal. This sequence really has to be seen to be believed. Korra activating the spirit portal unleashes said Southern Lights in a brilliant display of color and animation, complete with triumphant music. At the same time, the statue of what is implied to be the first Avatar lights up as Jinora looks with wide-eyed awe.
Civil War Part 1
- Korra shuts down a group of rebels with nothing but agile grace and well-placed air and water-bending all without invoking the Avatar State. With the way she used her normal fighting, one could swear she picked up a lot of techniques off the Equalists. She is officially a Lightning Bruiser. The animators deserve serious props for the bit where she fights a guy with his own belt.
- More importantly, she does so with little to no bending or brute force. Korra's still a hothead, as seen throughout these first few episodes, but the fact that she fought back with some restraint shows at least some Character Development since her fight with Tarrlok in "When Extremes Meet."
- Possibly the most directly awesome thing about this fight, however, is that she doesn't even seem to be particularly challenged by the battle. She's never more than momentarily inconvenienced by her enemies' attacks, and defeats them so handily that you could swear she's barely even trying. With Amon and the Equalists gone, there doesn't seem to be all that many human enemies who are a match for her.
- On a practical level , we can count Korra's persistence in at least attempting diplomacy in the face of what could easily turn into a civil war. She sounds like an entirely different person when speaking calmly to Unalaq and trying to make sense of things. Of course, trying a different approach may lead to trouble (Unalaq is quickly proving himself to be perhaps less well-intentioned than first appeared), but it's definitely Character Development for Korra.
Civil War Part 2
- Naga continues to be awesome by keeping pace with a car (when the driver is flooring it) and then swiping the door clean off in one blow.
- When threatening the judge, she even starts roaring like a lion!
- Korra Calling the Old Man Out after she learns the truth about Unalaq, pwning him in three moves in a combination of Fire, Water, and Airbending. Then she displaces the Northern Water Tribe fleet while riding on Varrick's airplane and with Asami's and Mako's help, saves her father and the rebels.
- What makes it really impressive is that Korra, despite having her parents threatened and knows what Unalaq did, shows restraint and doesn't use the Avatar State to brutalize her Uncle. In fact, the only time she uses it in this episode is to make an escape. Tranquil Fury indeed.
- Varrick shows how Crazy Awesome he truly is. He hides in a Platypus Bear mount to evade Unalaq's cops, and helps Korra, Asami, Mako, and Bolin rescue Korra's father. Oh, his giant ship also doubles as a speedboat and he carries a plane in it for 'just because' reasons!
- What does the team do when they realize the boat doesn't have enough space to allow a plane to take off? Firebender-Assisted Take-off.
- Even more awesome is Asami flying the plane in the first place. She's an Ace Pilot, and it was REALLY nice to see her Action Girl credentials when she took down the Northern Water Tribe guards once again.
- She even took out a guard by pulling him through a floor grate and electrocuting him, bringing back her stun gun Power Fist.
- Korra interrogating the judge Batman-style, using Naga to get answers.
- Considering the fact that threatening a judge is a very serious crime, this is pretty brave.
- Mako breaking up with Korra. She was absolutely refusing to see his side of the issue, and he ultimately did what was best for both of them, even though it clearly hurt them both.
- Korra gets props for this too, actually. Despite what Lin assumes, Korra didn't flip Mako's desk because he broke up with her, but because she considers his actions a betrayal to her and her family. When he breaks up with her, she immediately stops fighting and leaves. Considering how badly Korra reacts to being hurt, and how wild her temper is, it could have gone a lot worse.
- Meelo taming every lemur at the Southern Air Temple, turning them into his personal Blue Angels.
- Note that he did this at the age of five and had no help.
- Mako being a cop. Not only does he use his Firebending skills to lessen the impact of the blast on the Southern Water Tribe cultural center, he starts his investigation of the case immediately. He soon identifies (with Bolin's help, of course) the perpetrator of the bombing as a member of the Agni Kais. Between this and President Raiko's glowing comments about Mako putting away dozens of bending Triad members, it's pretty clear that Mako is pretty damn effective at his job.
- Last but not least, Korra's fight against Eska and Desna, and pretty soon after, a Dark Spirit.
- Varrick strikes up two reasonable, if morally grey solutions to assisting the Southern Water Tribe in seconds and then ends his "idea storm" with an impressive flip and sticking the landing.
- That and a blind arrow shot on target is always impressive.
- Asami expands her Badass Driver credentials to boats with the chase back to Republic City.
- Back in episode 1, Viper's showing wasn't the best, since he was up against the avatar on dry land. Here out on the open ocean augmented by a nighttime waterbending boost, he's incredibly effective, managing to corner Asami, and overpowering Mako. The fact he can waterbend gives off the implications he managed to escape from the Equalists during their takeover last season too.
- Varrick's reveal as a Magnificent Bastard is one for both the writers' and the character. 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.
- This despite epic amounts of foreshadowing.
- Plus it retroactively improves the reveal of Unalaq as a villain, which many saw as The Un-Twist. While we were all focused on how he was clearly evil, Varrick was slipped right by us.
- When a teenaged boy meets Korra in her memories and introduces himself as Wan, the very first Avatar, who lived 10,000 years before Korra. Basically the Avatar Cycle was first established by him in ancient times and the episode describes how the Avatar came to be.
- Wan using the things he ran into the previous night to outwit the hunters.
- Wan surviving in the Spirit Wilds and befriending every spirit there. That is both badass and heartwarming.
- Wan learning from the dragons, becoming the first firebender instead of just a guy who can throw fire.
- Wan truly becoming the Avatar and bonding with Raava as the original ''Avatar'' theme builds in the background, then entering the Avatar State and sealing Vaatu using all four elements in the spirit realm. It's easily one of the most impressive displays of bending in the entire franchise. The awesomeness of the scene is sealed with Raava's triumphant line:Raava: We are bonded forever!
- What makes it even more awesome is that Wan doesn't have the bonus of being at the end of a chain, where it is known Avatars get even stronger with more past lives lived. Wan, who shouldn't be that powerful, was on the winning end of the battle with Vaatu for a good deal and even more so when fused.
- The first Avatar was initially a non bender. Wan was resourceful enough to actually acquire the four bending arts and master them in one year.
- Wan surviving for many years despite apparently frequent battles, trying to make up for his mistakes.
- The writers should be praised for making simple things, such as the return of the Dancing Dragon and Aang's Sphere of Destruction, give you chills.
- And for the fact that, despite 'Beginnings' being Wan's history told over a mere two episodes, the final fight with Vaatu still manages to feel rather like the end of a long journey and development for Wan and Raava. In the context of how Korra lost her memories, and how she has to be reminded of who she is, the flashback could have come across as a vehicle to get her back on track. Instead, it's a story all of its own.
- Plus the praise the episodes have gotten as one of the absolute highlights of the entire franchise. Even people who dislike the rest of Book 2 love them.
A New Spiritual Age
- Korra is trapped among hostile spirits and even turns into a child, so all seems lost...until a familiar figure appears. The Dragon of the West is back!
- Korra Exploiting her status as Fisher King in the Spirit World, willing three hostile spirits back to their good side, while still a child.
- And she doesn't even do it as the Avatar. She just calmly states to these dogs (these pants-shittingly horrifying giant dogs, to boot), that she's taking the bird home, as the clouds disperse to reveal the sun behind her. It shows how she's realised her worth as a person in her own right.
- The restoration of the Dragon-Bird is downright beautiful. One moment, there's four little chicks in a nest; the next, they've fused into a massive, majestic phoenix-like bird. Which then lets Korra ride it.
- The Dragon-Bird gets another one at the end of the episode, rescuing Korra from her murderous uncle. And by "rescuing", we mean "swooping in and sending Unalaq flying with a well-aimed tail smack."
- Jinora, a ten-year old, depowered girl, has more courage in her than Unalaq, a middle-aged man in his element.
- We see her give Unalaq a brilliant Shut Up, Hannibal! in the Spirit Library, also a CMOH as we see just how much she loves her dad:Unalaq: I can't believe Tenzin sent his daughter here instead of coming himself. What kind of a father is he?
Jinora: Better than you.
- And when Unalaq threatens to destroy her soul if Korra doesn't open the Northern Portal, Jinora yells "Don't do it!" At the age of ten she is willing to die rather than let other people suffer from Unalaq's schemes.
- We see her give Unalaq a brilliant Shut Up, Hannibal! in the Spirit Library, also a CMOH as we see just how much she loves her dad:
Night of a Thousand Stars
- Bolin versus the Water Tribe kidnappers. For bonus points, his actions closely mirror that of his movie counterpart.
- It's great to see the comic relief/delegated to the sidelines Bolin finally get to show off his fantastic earthbending and be a hero on and off the big screen.
- Tonraq and Unalaq fight. It's closer than a lot of people probably thought it would be. Tonraq nearly punches his brother right in the face at one point, but Unalaq ultimately defeats him.
- The sound design is to be commended here. Normally Water bending fights have more of a flow or precision to them, using sharp ice or well controlled water flows in their actions. This fight opts for Tonraq audibly breaking through various ice structures, crunch and all, granting the fight a ferocity unexpected of a water bender, but wholly fitting to the battle unfolding.
- Varrick is captured and Mako gets to be a detective!
- The raid on the Southern Water Tribe Spirit Portal It failed, but not before these choice moments:
- Bolin and Mako devastating the encampment with bombs and flames when they only had a single plane. Asami's piloting skills, dodging massive blocks of ice, bordered on prescience.
- Eska and Desna managing to get them down when everyone else failed.
- Bumi sacrificing himself to help get rid of a Dark Spirit, followed up by accidentally devastating the entire encampment and rescuing the captured team with Naga.
- The best part has to be at the end Bumi gets ejected out of one of the Mecha Tanks, causing him to go sliding straight into Eska and Desna from behind and completely knocking them over. Then when they try to attack him from behind, Naga slams both of them into the ground!
- Bumi calming down one of the spirits with music!
- Bumi unleashed an incredible barrage of jabs followed by one hell of an uppercut. It didn't quite work, but the uppercut visibly MADE THE SPIRIT FLINCH!
- Mako and Bolin versus Unalaq.
- Korra gets off to a magnificent start during the battle against Vaatu and her uncle. Just as Vaatu is swooping down to fuse with Unalaq, Korra invokes the Avatar State, blasts Vaatu back with fire, then grabs Unalaq with air, flinging him back into the material world.
- During the ensuing fight against Vaatu, Korra very nearly manages to seal him like Wan did. "I'M LOCKING YOU AWAY FOR ANOTHER TEN THOUSAND YEARS, VAATU!" By itself, this line is awesome, but with the Power Echoes effect of the avatar state and the visual, it's even more awesome.
- Korra versus Vaatu. All of it. It's like a classic Kaiju battle, if those kaiju were spirits that could bend elements.
- Tenzin managing to realize that he's more than just Aang's son and breaking free of the fog's effects, rescuing his siblings and Jinora in the process.
- Just as Korra is close to defeat and everything is about to black out, Raava speaks to Korra telepathically, motivating Korra not to give up and that she is the Avatar. Korra, in her Avatar state, rises out to the chasm that Unalaq nearly crushes her with, and turns the fight to her favor. Even better, the theme from the original series starts playing after Korra's rise.Korra: YOU CANNOT WIN.
Light in the Dark
- Varrick escapes prison on a hang glider.Varrick: [Zhu Li!] Do...the thing!
- Korra soulbending a giant version of herself. She and an enlarged Dark Avatar then face off in Republic City's harbor.
- Their Beam-O-War with their Chest Blasters was one of the high points of this fight. Korra completely overpowered and delivered a well deserved beatdown on Unalaq! She only lost the advantage when she tried to pull out Raava, but still she nearly sent Unalaq flying through a mountain. The form she used is just as powerful, if not moreso than the Avatar State! Keep in mind that Raava had nothing to do with it. This was all Korra.
- Korra defeating the Dark Avatar with Unalaq's own spiritual technique.
- Korra and Raava re-merging.
- Jinora appearing during Unalaq and Korra's fight to help Korra end Unalaq once and for all.
- At a Southern Water Tribe conference, Korra declares the Southern Water Tribe independent and her father is appointed the new Southern Water Tribe Chief. Korra also decides to keep the portals open between the Spirit and the Human world in hopes that the humans and spirits can co-exist, while she strives to guide the world towards peace and balance.