I wait until a whole season is done before passing judgment – because a lot can happen in the last couple episodes. So, now that Book 2: Spirits is complete, I can let ‘er rip.
If Book 1 was Korra’s entry into the world, then Book 2 was meant to be Korra’s ‘coming of age’ tale. Korra has, regrettably, gotten a lot of irrational and baseless hate from some members of the fandom. It was somewhat true that her growth was a bit stunted in the first book. This season, however, she went through several major changes – personally and spiritually.
Book 2 introduced a ton of fascinating and important concepts to the Avatar universe. When it got something right, it really got something right. There were parts of Book 2 that were incredibly beautiful. Some of the best material in the entire Avatar franchise.
Most of the show’s problems – from character development to rushed storylines – can be traced back to the decision to have short, self-contained seasons. It makes the show like a plain cheese pizza. It’s enjoyable and satisfying enough… but it could have been so much more!
Book 2’s story had a massive scope. The original series focused on defeating a tyrannical warlord. Book 2 focused on a showdown between ancient spirits that occurs only once every 10,000 years – which, if the fight is lost, could result in the destruction of the entire world.
Coupled with all the complex themes that were introduced, Book 2 – by itself – really deserved to be fleshed out and split up over multiple seasons. If this had occurred, Legend of Korra could have been even better than the original series, given the higher stakes and mystical story.
Execution, unfortunately, nerfs the impact.
Lots more under the cut. Fair mix of compliments and critiques.