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K313 Venom Of The Red Lotus


Written By - Joshua Hamilton and Tim Hedrick Directed By - Melchior Zwyer Animated By -Studio Mir With this episode Book 3 Change has come to an end, we have our last finale that will lead into a new Book. In this case this episode does a nice job at setting up stuff for Book 4, The Red Lotus are still out there, the Air Nomads are now basically Jedi and Korra is in a wheelchair with a long time left to recover. This was an issue with the Book 1 finale, it didn't set up anything going into Book 2, Book 2 solved this by changing a lot that led to much of the plot in this book, so I enjoy that this Book once again gives us something to look forward to in book 4. That is just the end of the episode, the episode as an end to Book 3 Change is very good. A huge climactic battle between Korra and Zaheer, Mako and Bolin vs Ming-Hua and Ghazan round 2 and Jinora's return. It is not perfect though, the scale of The Red Lotus' ultimate plan not being as grand as it could have been and some of the final scenes with Zaheer are issues for me. Overall I prefer the Book 2 Spirits finale to this one, it is much more epic and a lot more character focused, not to take away from the strong moments in the Book 3 Finale. A key thing in this episode is that we at last get what the plan is now that the Red Lotus have Korra. They are using the poison to force Korra into the Avatar State at which point they will kill her and end the Avatar Cycle. The problem I have is that it just doesn't fell as big as the build up has made me think, this group has gone from wanting to kidnap a young Korra so she would grow up having their ideals to now just wanting to end the Avatar forever, I was left wondering when this switch in approach happened. This groups that has condoned Unalaq's actions in Book 2 have now decided to make a change in plan of their own. It just felt to similar to Book 2 to me, in essence this is what Unalaq and Vaatu wanted to do to Korra, defeat Raava for all time. Yes this is more targeting the Wan reincarnation cycle of a human born with the ability to bend all 4 elements like Wan, but the lack of uniqueness is clear to see, not helped by them basically forgetting their other plan of taking out the other world leaders. It just feels weird, kill the earth queen then target Korra and then the others. Why not kill all the world leaders, then even if you cannot defeat Korra she is left with a world in complete chaos that would be very difficult to bring back to balance. In addition to this the reason they did not just kill Korra was because she would just be reborn, but if they did just kill Korra they would have like 10+ years where they would have no Avatar coming after them, they could make the world a completely changed place while a new Avatar grows up. Make the world a place of Chaos then take out the next Avatar and end it forever. For a group that waited patiently in prison, their lack of patience led to their defeat. That said given that this did happen, I overall enjoyed the resulting fights and the positions that it has left Korra in with the poison. The poison itself gave us this dark and disturbing scene where Korra started to hallucinate and saw her Red Lotus captors as the villains of the past 2 Books: Amon, Unalaq and Vaatu, who all taunt her about how the Avatar is not needed any more. Which is fascinating with the position Korra is in at the end of the episode unable to actively be the Avatar, in Book 4 we will surely meet Korra dealing with the world moving on without its Avatar and her trying to adapt to it. I loved Korra showing her strength as she tried to resist the defence mechanism Avatar State activating, the Red Lotus were shocked at her inner strength here. When it finally was too much for her we see how much the Red Lotus underestimated the Avatar State, they overestimated their own bending and the sheer power the Avatar State has even diminished by poison. For a second I thought this initial breakout would lead to the death of Ghazan and Ming-Hua, I really thought that when Korra smashed Ming-Hua with a huge chunk of earth that she had killed her, either way the power shown here was immense. I loved seeing Korra use the Avatar State in this super powerful way for more or less the first time ever. This leads to a flying Zaheer vs Avatar State Korra. The best comparison fight is Aang vs Ozai in the Book 3 Fire finale, but almost reversed. This time the Airbender is our villain and the Avatar is the one using fire to fly around, a nice reversal. I love this fight, but the Aang, Ozai fight is better, there is something about the lack of cool bending that Zaheer does during the fight that takes from this fight and doesn't make it as epic as it could have been. Korra's bending is awesome, but Zaheer barely even uses his bending outside of flying and even when he does he just flies by Korra and knocks her into a wall or something. I get that this is to show the amount of injuries she sustains and that she is suffering from the poison, but it does take from the fight as a fight. Which leads me to the odd statement that I like this fight for where it leaves Korra as a character, it is a good fight, but I prefer so many other fights this book to it. One thing I do appreciate about this fight is that Korra is about to defeat Zaheer until the poison becomes to much to fight and this leaves her open for Zaheer to use the same ability he used to kill the Queen on Korra and he is about to kill her until Jinora and co intervene. Leading the fight to end with Zaheer trying to fly Korra out of the tornado as they are being sucked to the ground. I did love the despair on Zaheer's face as he sensed his imminent defeat, he was just meters away from escaping and killing Korra. He lets Korra go and she regains some strength allowing her to wrap her chain around his leg and send him flying hard into the ground defeating him for good. What happened next with Zaheer I had issue with, he thinks he sees Korra die and he starts to laugh maniacally and he suddenly turns into a raving madman, up until now he has been very calculating and calm, this sudden change made little sense to me. I would have much preferred that he never break from his even tone. I get what they were going for, the same as Ozai when he was defeated and he is weakened and trying to still be evil, but the problem here is that Zaheer did not get his bending taken away and he still turned into this lunatic who had to get a sock shoved in his mouth to get him to shut up. Way to neuter your villain who has been so strong physically and ideal wise all book. Thankfully he was not a focus once he was defeated and the focus was on Korra. There was a lovely scene between Korra and Tonraq here, referencing the moment in K312 where they parted ways saying they would both be ok. This counter scene shows Korra that her father is still alive but also has Tonraq dealing with his daughter dying in his arms, it is a very emotional moment helped so much because we really know Tonraq as a character and know their father-daughter relationship well. This is when Jinora reveals that the poison is metallic and it is left to Su to save Korra, she scans Korra's body for metal and pulls the poison from her body saving her life. I know many think Su left some poison in and that is why Korra is still recovering at the end, the Suyin is Red Lotus theory. I personally think this is a misinterpretation of a look, people cite a close-up on her face when she is analysing Korra's body and she looks suddenly to the side as her being hesitant to heal Korra, when if you follow Su through the next scene you can see her eyes moving to the side is her settling on her plan to start at Korra's legs and pull the metal from her legs up through her mouth. Before I get to the end I will cover the other side plots. First up Mako and Bolin vs Ming-Hua and Ghazan round 2. I really enjoyed the build up for the rivalry between these duos. Badly beaten in the first fight, but the brothers have grown since then, while their opponents have remained the same. The difference between round 1 and 2 is how much the intensity has gone up, before it was all about capturing Korra and they were just in the way, now this is a fight to the death and that comes across well throughout the fight. Mako and Ming-Hua was the more even of the previous battles and I said in my review for that episode that I had a feeling that Mako would get the advantage if he used lightning, I so called it, but I did not expect the drama of this fight. Mako gets the advantage and she loses her water, she then dives down into a cave filled with water and Mako follows her down, I was so scarred for Mako when he hopped down and landed in water, I had my lightning prediction, but I was convinced he was dead, but with some quick thinking he suspends himself from some rocks and electrocutes Ming-Hua by hitting the water on the ground. What we don't know is if this killed her or Ghazan taking down the cave did, either way Mako got the win. Then it was Bolin vs Ghazan. I loved that the early exchanges were just earth and a bit of grappling, keeping the lavabending reveal back, after the even start Ghazan brings in the Lavabending knowing it won him their last fight. Bolin then reveals he too is a Lavabender, I loved that Ghazan wasn't concerned, just happy that he had a more worthy opponent. I also enjoyed that they played up Bolin's lack of experience with Lavabending and that he didn't just win because he had a new ability, he could hold his own better, but that he did need some help from Mako to defeat Ghazan. The two brothers going after Ghazan was a great moment, showing how great they work together. Ghazan's decision to commit suicide rather than be captured and go back to jail made sense given his previous comments about his prison experience, but it was still a powerful moment as he used his bending to collapse the cave on everyone with the brothers barely making it out alive. Still amazing that they have another suicide in this show. Last thing to mention before the epilogue scene is the Jinora/Airbender stuff. I liked getting to see Opal again, that she was involved in the plan to escape, but I really hope that she has a big role in Book 4, she has so much potential as a character especially with her relationship with Bolin. Mainly it is a lot of quick character reunions after the Red Lotus capture of the Air Temple, the key scene here is Jinora stepping up to lead the new airbenders in helping Korra. I loved the simplicity of what they did, they just did airbending 101 ba gua circle walking and together created a huge tornado to stop Zaheer, another great moment in a finale for Jinora. A great moment to show her leadership and mastery of her element, worthy of earning her her tattoos. They were not a huge part of the episode, but the key was definitely giving Jinora that moment where she stepped up with her father to injured to help. Now it is time to discuss THAT EPILOGUE, that 2 week epilogue. Combination celebration of Jinora and sadness of Korra being in a wheelchair and interesting roller coaster of emotions. Jinora gets one of the strongest moments in the series in terms of character development as she gets her airbending tattoos, taking her grandfathers record as the youngest master airbender ever. I cannot wait to see what she will be up to in Book 4, I really think she is going to be a full on main character now and she definitely deserves it. Add to that Tenzin changing some of the ideals of the new Air Nation, they will return to being nomadic, but they will effectively take on the role of the Avatar while Korra is recovering. A very interesting idea, I wonder how it will work in practise, will they be like Jedi Knights helping people. Then in contrast to that we have Korra in a wheelchair, she has yet to fully recover and everyone knows it will take a lot more time. It is a very sad way to end the book seeing our main character like this but also her own reaction to her situation, she seems depressed and for a person like her so used to being active this is one of the worst situations she could be in, unable to do her job as the Avatar. I liked how respectful everyone was to Korra, they all try to be positive about her situation and appreciative of her immense sacrifice for the Air Nation, even Raiko respects her now, but wow ending the book with the main character in a wheelchair crying at a happy celebration is crazy. I am just not sure how Book 4 is going to open, will the book be about Korra recovering or will we timeskip to her fully recovered but dealing with what has happened in her time away. That is a good position to be in, interest in where things are going, but not knowing the exact details. Overall a great way to end an excellent Book 3 Change. A very intense and emotional episode with some great epilogue moments leaving us with big questions going into Book 4. Look out for a podcast in a month or two where we will discuss Book 3 as a whole.