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Recap / The Legend Of Korra S 4 E 13 The Last Stand

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Definitely not the end you want to be looking down.
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While Korra and her comrades tear the Colossus apart from the inside, an increasingly desperate Kuvira resorts to a rash and catastrophic act.


Tropes:

  • Abdicate the Throne: Wu says that each state of the Earth Kingdom should govern itself independently and they should work together to elect their own leader, like Republic City does. Korra promises to help him make the transition as smooth as possible.
  • And the Adventure Continues:
    • Having seen her add "stanched a Fantastic Nuke mid-explosion and opened a new spirit portal" to her list of epic feats, Tenzin tells her that she's accomplished more in a few short years than most previous Avatars achieved in their entire lifetime. Korra confides in Tenzin that she feels she's just getting started.
    • The episode ends with Korra and Asami headed into the Spirit World to take a well-deserved vacation.
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  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Wu announces his plans to dissolve the monarchy, he preempts any speculation on his ulterior motives with this:
    Wu: Now I know what you're going to say; "I'm being lazy, I'm afraid of responsibility, I'm putting my singing career before my people." It's none of those things.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Continued from the previous episode, the heroes attack the Colossus from inside. The Beifong-sisters in particular really go to town on every (non-platinum) metal thing they can find after tearing out the ammo feed to the cannon, thus forcing Kuvira to tear the weapon arm off just to get rid of them. Meanwhile, Mako and Bolin take out the power core, and Korra takes on Kuvira in the head, prompting both to completely trash the control room in the ensuing fight.
  • Audible Gleam: At the moment the spirit portal stabilizes, right before the skyward beam issues forth.
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  • Back for the Finale: A lot of minor characters make minor appearances at Varrick and Zhu Li's wedding. For example, the band is formed of third tier antagonists and Hasook.
  • Bi the Way: The final moments of the episode reveal that implies as heavily as possible under Nickelodeon's Standards and Practices that Korra and Asami have become a couple, later confirmed via Word of Gay a few days later.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Bolin comes back and saves Mako from getting blown up by the power core's explosion.
    • Korra saves Kuvira from her own out of control weapon.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Varrick and Zhu Li get one at their wedding. Zhu Li dips Varrick for it.
  • Book-Ends:
    • On a meta scale for the Avatar-franchise itself: it begins and ends with a nonbender and waterbender out on a trip.
    • Both series end with the same word, "perfect".
    • The final shot of the episode is similar to the finale of the previous series: the camera approaches and pans up in the same way that it did for Aang and Katara's Big Damn Kiss, and a snippet from the same music plays as well.
    • Korra and Asami's first encounter was in dresses and both at the opposite ends of a love triangle. Their last is in dresses and about to have a Relationship Upgrade.
    • The series began with the Avatar coming out of a pillar of light and it ends with the Avatar entering a pillar of light.
    • A somber rendition of the credits music is used in the semifinal scene.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Bolin replaces "kiss the bride" with "do the thing".
  • Break the Haughty: Kuvira has come a long way for someone who once said that she always knew Korra was weak; by the end of the episode, she can barely walk, her entire army is dismantled, she has broken down over her abandonment as a child, and she's off to (most likely) spend the rest of her life in prison.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Mako fires a sustained burst of lightning into the spirit vine core to overload it. The feedback badly burns his arm and a stray arc from the core knocks him out, requiring Bolin to save him from the explosion. At the wedding, he's wearing a cast.
  • Call-Back:
    • Bolin brings up how the vines blow up if you mess with them too much, as Varrick demonstrated in "The Battle of Zaofu".
    • Korra mentions learning of Kuvira's past from Su, which happened in "Enemy at the Gates".
    • Korra realizes that her three years of recovery were necessary to teach her compassion. This also calls back to the original series. Before the "Beginnings" two-parter, it's been stated that the Avatar is human to learn human emotions and experiences, to be able to empathize with humans.
  • The Cameo:
    • The band is made up of Tahno on trombone, his fellow Wolfbats, Lu and Gang, Tarrlok's assistant, and Hasook.
    • The wedding itself is full of them, such as Ginger.
  • Cat Smile: Korra puts on a very mild one as Tenzin scampers off to stop Varrick from jumping off the tower in a glider suit.
  • Character Development:
    • Korra has gone from denying a villain's claims of being Not So Different to comparing herself to Kuvira and admitting that they're pretty similar in some ways.
    • Korra tells Tenzin that her three years of recovery helped teach her compassion.
    • Wu gets some more of this, especially with his decision to Abdicate the Throne. Considering that earlier in the season he was on the verge of a mental breakdown after Kuvira took control of the Earth Kingdom, it's safe to say that he's come a long way.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Su destroys the ammo feed system for the spirit cannon, and then she and Lin both tear apart the actuators for the cannon arm from the inside, making the gun impossible to aim even with any remaining chambered munition. To stop the Beifong-sisters from doing any more internal damage, Kuvira rips the whole arm off, and the cannon breaks off after hitting a building and goes tumbling into the Spirit Wilds. Kuvira then retreats there while fleeing from Korra after the rest of the Colossus is destroyed, and she finds the cannon, tangled in vines, setting up the climactic scene.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Vaatu mentioned how he was the one that created the Spirit Portals at the poles, and here Korra redirects the energy being released from the vines he created to make a new one.
    • Varrick's callouses are mentioned as part of his wedding vows.
    • The waiters are dressed as Nuktuk, Bolin's mover character.
    • Mako tells Wu that he heard how levelheaded the Prince was during the attack.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Kuvira anticipates the reactor override being used and disables it somehow, forcing Mako to overload it instead.
  • Dance Party Ending: A tamer example. The reception following Varrick and Zhu Li's wedding is this, though there's not much dancing from the main characters.
  • Deadly Disc: Bolin brings some earth along inside the Colossus since he can't metalbend. He makes use of it by turning it into a lava disc. It's first seen sawing open a sealed hatch to breach the engine room compartment.
  • Defeat Means Respect: Kuvira openly acknowledges Korra's power, admitting that she could never hope to match up to her, and submits herself to Lin's custody.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Asami teeters on the precipice when she and the others fear Korra might have died. Asami admits to Korra that she didn't believe she could handle losing both Korra and her father on the same day.
  • The Determinator: Korra lampshades in her Not So Different speech to Kuvira that they're both fierce and determined.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Kuvira tries to use the last round in the spirit vine cannon to kill Korra, but the spirit vines it's tangled in feed the weapon and send it out of control. She is nearly killed by her own weapon, not to mention almost taking out the rest of Republic City. Lucky for her, Korra steps in to block the blast, bending the energy into a new spirit portal.
    • During her Not So Different speech to Kuvira, Korra points out that they both can sometimes fall to in pursuit of goals.
  • Diving Save: The climax of Book 4 is Korra tanking the out-of-control spirit vine cannon as it was about to hit Kuvira.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Korra mentions how hard it was for Kuvira to be an orphan. Kuvira angrily retorts that she can't pretend to know what it felt because, as the Avatar, she's adored by millions of people—Korra elaborates and Kuvira gets the message.
  • Double Knockout: Korra gets a metal panel to the gut. Kuvira gets an airblast to the face. Both are sent into the bulkheads directly behind them. The Colossus's power core pops before the fight can conclude.
  • Dwindling Party: The battle against the Colossus slowly loses fighters to various problems. The airbenders were scattered by trying to distract the Colossus last episode with many of them injured, the non-benders had their hummingbird mecha-suits destroyed, Lin and Su were thrown out when Kuvira tore off the arm they were damaging, and Mako and Bolin were taken out of the fight when they destroyed the core. Only Korra remains in fighting form by the end.
  • Dynamic Entry: The fight between Korra and Kuvira starts with the Avatar entering the mecha's control room by smashing the hatch door off its hinges, before riding a fire jet from her feet in and taking out the two engineers there with an airbending enhanced split kick. The furor only intensifies in that fight from there until the core overload.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The payoff for the titanic effort to stop the spirit powered titan is as follows:
    • Kuvira finally surrenders and Republic City is saved.
    • Varrick and Zhu Li get married.
    • Korra and Asami make a Relationship Upgrade and take a well-deserved Spirit World vacation.
  • Easily Forgiven: Zig-zagged.
    • Korra doesn't really forgive Kuvira, but she sympathizes with her and points out that the two of them are pretty similar in some ways.
    • Kuvira tries apologizing to Su after being thoroughly broken, but is only met with a stern "You're going to answer for everything you've done."
    • Any hard feelings Asami maintained for her father are truly gone now, after 3 years and a heroic sacrifice (definitely not easy!).
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The episode title itself alludes to the show ending.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Kuvira can't believe that Korra would save her life after all Kuvira had done to her.
  • Failsafe Failure: Kuvira is Crazy-Prepared enough to somehow disengage the shutdown mechanism on the Colossus, thus keeping Bolin and Mako from deactivating it that way. However, she can't stop the cannon once it has fired a final time, but it was badly damaged by then.
  • Fantastic Nuke: When Kuvira fires the detached spirit cannon while it's tangled in the vines of the Spirit Wilds, the resulting chain reaction sets off a massive explosion which is only stopped from completely obliterating the city thanks to Korra bending all the energy into a new spirit portal. The blast still leaves a massive crater at the site of the portal, along with more spirit vines.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Jinora has this when she sees Asami putting her hand on Korra's shoulder, possibly suspecting that the two of them have feelings for each other.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • After the explosion, Asami can briefly be seen appearing broken at the implication that Korra might be dead. She can even been seen aimlessly walking in the background when the camera is focused on Tenzin.
    • Jinora's Fascinating Eyebrow (see Funny Background Event).
    • During the post-climax Group Hug, Asami appears to be resting her head on Korra's shoulder, which is made even harder to notice by how distant the shot is.
    • Tahno makes The Cameo as a musician at the wedding. Joining him are Tarrlok's assistant, Lu and Gang, Hasook, and the rest of the Wolfbats.
    • A lot of characters also make minor appearances in the panning shot of the guests.
  • Freudian Excuse: Korra deduces that Kuvira's Control Freak habits are a result of her being abandoned by her parents when she was a kid and how vulnerable she felt as result of it.
  • Funny Background Event: After Kuvira is defeated, Jinora can be seen giving a Fascinating Eyebrow to Asami putting a comforting hand on Korra's shoulder.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The writers managed to end a Nick show with a same-sex couple by not being too overt about it. It was less "getting" crap past the radar and more asking the radar operators for permission and getting it.
  • Grand Finale: For The Legend of Korra, and possibly the entire Avatar franchise.
  • Heel Realization: After the talk with Korra, Kuvira realizes her crimes and surrenders peacefully, partially out of gratitude for Korra saving her life.
  • Held Gaze: Korra and Asami exit the series gazing into each others' eyes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Attempted by Mako, who shorts out the Colossus' power core with his lightning despite Bolin's warning it will explode when he does it. Though he does try to make for the exit as he's doing it, a stray arc knocks him out. Bolin comes back after saving the engineers and drags him out before the entire thing explodes.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard:
    • At the start of their fight, Kuvira tries to attack Korra with the metallic meteorites from Zaofu. Korra simply redirects the attack right back at her.
    • Kuvira is nearly killed by her own spirit vine cannon after she is unable to shut it off following her attempt to kill Korra. Korra saves her.
  • Holding Hands: Korra and Asami walk into the spirit portal hand in hand, then turn to face each other and clasp both hands.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: The final shot of the series is Korra and Asami heading to the Spirit World on a vacation, holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes. It's about as blatant as a kid's show could possibly be. Word of God confirms this is intentional.
  • I Owe You My Life: Kuvira says that she owes the Avatar her life after she surrenders (and indeed, Korra had saved her twice).
  • Internal Homage: The last scene of the episode (and the series) takes obvious visual and musical inspiration from the final episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • Large Ham Title: Bolin gives Varrick's full name as "Sir Iknik Blackstone Varrick of the Southern Water Tribe, Master of the High Seas."
  • The Last Title: "The Last Stand", fitting because it's the last episode of the series.
  • Last Villain Stand: After the Colossus is totaled, Kuvira retreats into the Spirit Wilds and tries to kill Korra with the detached spirit vine cannon.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Kuvira tears the weapon arm from the Colossus after Su and Lin start tearing it apart from the inside. Since the cannon is useless now anyway, it's effective in getting the two out and keeping them from causing more damage.
  • Misery Builds Character: Korra expresses this sentiment to Tenzin, believing her long recovery has made her more compassionate.
  • Never My Fault: Kuvira tries to insist that none of the destruction would have happened if Republic City had just quietly surrendered. Korra quickly turns down that logic.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted and invoked. Averted in that the destruction caused by the Colossus and the attempts to stop it are not shied away from, but shown in their full, horrific glory — the cityscape is devastated by the fight, especially the Fantastic Nuke at the end. Invoked, in that the heroes evacuated the city, so while the buildings are destroyed, the people got out safely.
  • Not So Different: It's the hero using it while the villain initially denies it. Korra acknowledges this about her and Kuvira, citing their fierce determination and occasional tendency to not think things through as examples. She also relates her desire to feel in control after her poisoning at the hands of the Red Lotus to Kuvira's Control Freak tendencies and her dictatorial regime being a result of Kuvira's Parental Abandonment.
  • Not So Stoic: Kuvira is terrified when she loses control of the spirit gun. Later, she breaks down crying when she mentions how she had been rejected by her parents and didn't want to see her country receive the same treatment.
  • Oh, Crap!: Kuvira has such a horrifying realization when the Spirit Cannon won't stop firing and the beam is headed right for her.
  • Outrun the Fireball:
    • After Su tears apart the feed line to the cannon, the vine canisters fall down into the bottom of the arm and cook off, necessitating Su to dive out of the way of the ensuing blast back up the arm.
    • Averted when the out-of-control spirit vine cannon explodes. Everyone in range of that one simply dives into the nearest refuge for cover.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: as an Internal Homage to the previous series, the camera pans up the two character towards the top of the portal.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kuvira still has some pretty serious issues about being abandoned by her parents, which she projected onto the lawless Earth Kingdom in her quest to protect it.
  • Phlebotinum Overload:
    • Mako fires a sustained burst of lightning into the spirit vine reactor to overload it. Mercifully, this only blows the Colossus in half rather than nuking the city (presumably the shell of the Colossus contained the majority of the blast).
    • Kuvira destroys much of Republic City when she tries firing the spirit cannon while it's tied up in the vines of the Spirit Wilds. It would have been worse if not for Korra's bending.
  • Purple Prose: Much like his letters to Korra back in "Korra Alone", Bolin hams it up for his role as the marriage officiant.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • It turns out that a Humongous Mecha as big as the Colossus is mostly hollow, save for the framework.
    • In a similar example, the Colossus's spirit vine power core is the size of a house, which makes sense when you consider that something that big must need a lot of power to function.
    • Korra and Wu's conversation indicates they expect the plan to change the government from being a Monarchy to a Democracy will not be a simple task. However, they are planning on working together to make it possible.
  • Recoil Boost: When the spirit ray cannon starts to overload, Newton's Third Law kicks in, and the cannon starts swinging about like an out-of-control wave-motion fire hose.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Confirmed (by the creators) between Korra and Asami.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The Book that is called Balance ends with the ten-thousand year old reincarnated soul of a magic being that is able to bend all four elements clasping hands with a non-bending individual that is nevertheless an inventor and industrialist and them walking together into the unknown future.
    • When Korra and Kuvira are plunged into the Spirit World, Korra has a vision mirroring that of the one in "Beginnings", with two versions of herself facing each other — purple on the left and blue on the right. In this case, Korra is the one in blue, while the one in purple morphs into Kuvira. This is both a clever shout out to spiritual traditions of the "left hand path" and "right hand path", and also quite suggestive of the fact that Korra finally overcame all her fetters and flaws, and is now a truly fulfilled Avatar.
  • Save the Villain: Twice. Korra drags Kuvira from the wreckage of the Colossus and for which is rewarded with a rock to the face, then she later saves her from the out-of-control spirit vine cannon. Kuvira surrenders after that one, acknowledging that she owes Korra her life.
  • Ship Sinking: Mako and Korra meet one last time to mutually acknowledge their status as True Companions, burying any hint of their romance together.
  • Ship Tease:
    • The final shot of the series has Asami and Korra holding hands and gazing affectionately into each other's eyes, all in front of the gorgeous golden backdrop of the new spirit portal. Just to drive it further home, the score that plays takes obvious cues from The Avatar's Love, the final musical cue of the first series — which, of course, played over Aang and Katara's Big Damn Kiss. This was later confirmed by the creators as an intentional indication that the two had become a couple.
    • Mako and Korra get a lesser one as Mako tells Korra he'll follow her into battle anywhere.
    • At the wedding, Ikki dances with a less-than-enthusiastic Huan.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: After the two end up in the Spirit World, Korra convinces Kuvira to stand down.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: When It looked like Korra might have died after the explosion caused by Kuvira's weapon, Asami appears to be broken. Luckily Korra survived, so she recovers.
  • Villainous Breakdown: As the Colossus starts to fall apart, Kuvira slowly loses her cool and becomes increasingly frantic in her attempts to kill Korra. It comes to a head when she tries to use the detached spirit vine cannon against Korra, which nearly destroys the entire city in the process.
  • Wartime Wedding: Varrick and Zhu Li marry after the battle against Kuvira. It's lampshaded when Bolin states that their love bloomed out of the destruction caused by Kuvira. Conversations at the wedding itself serve to give characters closure.
  • What Does She See in Him?: As part of his speech during their wedding, Bolin lampshades the "at times inexplicable" bond between Varrick and Zhu Li, and later calls it "the longest of long shots". That one earns a glare from Varrick.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kuvira orders her army to stand down, but what happens between then and the wedding is glossed over. Power has apparently been turned over to Wu, but no mention is made of what was done with the army. Baatar Jr.'s fate likewise goes unmentioned (though it's possible that he was sent back to Zaofu).
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kuvira's true nature as a dictator is sympathetic. Her primary goal was to make sure her people were safe. Kuvira equated Suyin's refusal to step in and wrangle the anarchy left after the regicide in Ba Sing Se with the intentional abandonment by Kuvira's own Abusive Parents. Things snowballed into the out-of-hand situation she's now in.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: At one point in the fight between Korra and Kuvira, Korra gets Kuvira in a leg hold and throws her.

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