If it's crap ... We'll tell you
So here we are, the final chapter in the opening set of episodes to what has been an exceedingly great series so far. And with so many storylines built up, the team had a big task on their hands to deliver in this double-feature finale. And I am happy to report that they have not only done so, but surpassed even their own expectations. Let's first have a quick look at how these two episodes pan out. And as always, I'll keep the main spoilers outside of the main review, but they might pop up in the comments. So take heed Spilleos.
Amon has now seized control over the Capital and is using public rallies to increase his grip over the people, with the promise that any attack upon the City will be defeated. He continues in removing the Bending powers from his captives, while Hiroshi Sato continues to develop new weapons for the Equalist forces. Meanwhile, Korra and the team find solitude in an underground refugee camp, as they await the arrival of the United Forces fleet, led by General Iroh.
As they sail into shore the next morning however, they ride right into a trap, including submersed mined in the water and an air assault by the Equalists. The fleet is decimated and Iroh manages to escape with the aid of Korra. As they begin to plan a new set of tactics including a second fleet arriving shortly, Korra decides that she has had enough of hiding from Amon, and plans to finally confront him at the next rally. Mako insists to go with her, while the rest plan separate assaults upon the Airfield in order to assist the incoming reinforcements.
Mako and Korra manage to sneak into the rally in Equalist uniforms, where they find Tarrlok imprisoned. He is regretful for his actions against the City and Korra, and tells her the tale of Amon's origins. The truth from this helps Korra to plan a means to take down Amon. It is within the second episode where all this sets off the grand finale. Split between the assault upon the airfleet and struggles of all included, and Korra's confrontation with Amon. Of which the truth is almost more astounding than the mystery, and could spell the end for the Avatar....
That is as far as I can go sadly without ruining this fantastic finale for you, as the double-feature is split into the setup, and the big battle. Both of which are dealt with and covered with a very impressive level of storytelling, and keeping you on the edge of your seat. For the team, this really is their last chance of taking down the Equalists before Amon takes absolute control. And for Korra, it is her time to finally face her enemy as the Avatar, even though the risks are greater than even she can imagine.
Everyone has their role to play and their own arc that is satisfying on all counts. From Asami to Mako, Iroh to Tarrlok and Amon, the manner in which each character ties in to the events is extremely exciting and always keeps you guessing. It feels more like a series finale than anything else, all the tension and scale being delivered is just astonishing. And of course the animation team were well up to the challenge, with some incredible action sequences that would put some movies to shame in comparison.
And of course, we hear about the true Amon, and to the commenters last week, you were right. He has far more layers and complexity than has been illustrated so far, and the back-story about him is just fascinating. He is no longer a villain, but rather, a villain of circumstances around him that he had no control over. A classic tale yes, but still really goes towards the AAA-rating feel of this finale. Nothing is clear-cut or transparent, and yet the descriptions are definitive in answering all the mysteries of the past ten episodes. (Or at least, the majority of them)
What will strike most people the hardest however, is how dark this finale is, it doesn't hold anything back when it comes to the atmospheric scenes throughout. Just the early sequence of Amon taking away the Bending of the inhabitants of Air Temple Island will be enough to give you a bit of a gut-punch, and it only increases in intensity from there. It really does push the limits of the age-rating placed upon the show, and I admire that a lot. The writers clearly were being as ambitious as they could, and told the story just as they envisioned it without anything cut out. Whenever there isn't a heavy action scene, there are significant character revelations or moments of real tension that took me back several times.
I won't say much about the specifics, but the ending wraps up everything extremely well, with every story and situation reaching a believable and satisfying end. Even the fact that some elements were left unconcluded is not an issue as it will no doubt lead into the next set of episodes. Despite the emotions of the ending, it has doubt and danger hanging in the air, which is far better than the usual airy-fairy stuff we're usually treated to. As for my previous predictions.... I was only slightly right on them, the writers kept their surprises well hidden.
Strangely, there aren't many problems I have to declare on both episodes, in fact the only one that might be a case for some people happens at the end, you probably know the one I'm on about. And although it does leave one issue unanswered, it really was the logical conclusion after everything we've seen with.... them. I'll say no more but; the story certainly isn't closed on that so I was pretty happy with it.
All in all.... what more can I say? This was a fucking amazing end to what has been a spectacular set of opening episodes. All the issues I had just kind of fade into the gray against how solid these two episodes performed. They're exciting, tense, dark, emotional, and at times, even shocking. And I loved every moment of it; the fact that this will be amazing to fans of every age speaks wonders for what the team have created. Against the immense pressure and expectations, they have totally delivered, and I await with eager anticipation for the new series to begin. And you should be too.
Thanks for reading! ^__^