The Legend of Korra: Night of a Thousand Stars/Harmonic Convergence/Darkness Falls/Light In The Dark (2×11-14)
Synopsis: In the last four episodes of Book 2, the truth about Varrick comes to light and Team Avatar has to work together to stop Unalaq and Vaatu from bringing the world into a new age of darkness.
You know, for a season that started off so slow and so terribly, it certainly ended on an interesting high note that makes me wonder if it was created by the same people.
If you didn’t know, the episodes were set to air two by two over the space of two weeks. However, Korra Nation issued a challenge to the fans: get 10,000 notes on this blog in 12 hours and the final two episodes would go online at the same time as ’Night of a Thousand Stars’ and ‘Harmonic Convergence’.
Korra fans did it in less than two.
There are two hours of Korra goodness currently on Nickelodeon’s website. I’m partially relieved that I can one and done the finale and take a month off of recapping four shows a week before Archer comes back.
‘Night of a Thousand Stars’ is a Bolin-centric episode. That had me a little worried at first since Bolin has been a bit unsavory this season, but it actually turned out to be highly entertaining and a good stage setter for the last three episodes. It opens with Bolin visiting Mako in jail before going to the premiere of the last Nuktuk movie. Bolin spouts some stuff about how he’ll always love his brother, even if he is a criminal. Mako warns him that he fears that Varrick is going to attempt to do something at the premiere. Bolin blows him off and leaves Mako in his cell.
At the pro-bending arena, its been shifted to a giant movie theater as the brightest of Republic City show up for the premiere. Including President Raiko, whom Varrick is still hoping to influence. The movie starts in its hilarious terribleness, but Bolin seems sad and walks out before the end. Asami follows him and asks him what’s wrong. Bolin reveals that while he has enjoyed his fame, he misses being around his friends. Which I think ends up cleverly pointing out a weakness that this season has had: with Team Avatar scattered for most of the season, it ended up making it hard for the audience to root for them. That, and some of the characters were just dicks for most of the season.
As Bolin muses about life and friendship, he notices a boat under the arena. At this point, the audience has already seen a bunch of waterbenders dressed as Northern soldiers enter the arena and tie up Lu and Gang. It isn’t until Bolin finds them though that it’s revealed that they’re after the president.
The waterbenders enter the President’s box and tie up him and his wife, but Bolin enters in time to rescue him. This is actually a really brilliant scene, with Bolin showing off that he is indeed a skilled Earthbender by protecting the president, the actions of the fight replicating the actions in the mover, and Shiro Shinobi narrating the fight the entire time despite the fact it isn’t a pro-bending match. Just goes to show that you should never put a pro-bender in his own environment if you want to make it out intact.
Varrick and Zhu Li are arrested for the attempting kidnapping and everyone goes to face the press. However, this is the moment that Korra and Tenzin’s family fly back into the city to inform the president of Unalaq’s plan to free Vaatu and drown the world in darkness. Korra asks for his help again (with some Bolin meddling), but Raiko refuses. He believes that the Republic Forces will be needed more to protect the city from chaos, but whatever. Just know it’s all you when the South goes down in flames, Raiko.
Since Mako was proven to be right, he’s released from prison and exonerated of all charges. Chief Beifong tells him that he’ll make a great detective and Korra runs up to him to hug and kiss him. Wait… what?
Since Korra had her memory eaten by a dark spirit, she doesn’t remember everything that happened before the attack, including her breakup with Mako. Asami looks pissed and everyone else that knows just kind of looks at Mako about what he’s going to do. So he fakes it and says the fight they had wasn’t that bad. What a guy.
Still in need of some heavy equipment to take on the North before Harmonic Convergence, Team Avatar turns back to Varrick, who’s now in a cushy jail cell since he figured he’d end up in jail at some point. Man, I love that little weirdo so much. They do try to go off on Varrick for how he tried to start a war, but he does cleverly point out how he has helped most of them throughout the season. Which is… true. No, really. He’s not lying. As an apology, he gives the team the Zhu Li, his battleship that contains all the stock he stole from Asami, to take to the South. They set off, with Korra fearing for the life of her father. Mako assures her that her father will be okay.
Hahahahah… ha. Yeah. No.
While this was all happening, the Southern rebels attacked the Northern Army to drive them out of the city. It seemed to be working for a bit, but with the combined forces of Unalaq, his personal spirit army, and Desna and Eska, the rebels are easily defeated. Tonraq orders them to withdraw and faces his brother alone. He manages to stand his ground for a bit as they engage in an intense fight, but Unalaq gets the upper hand and defeats Tonraq, declaring that his daughter will be next.
As the ship approaches the South, Mako battles with how to tell Korra that they broke up. Being the little shit that he his, Bolin parrots the advice Mako gave him about Eska and tells him to just tell Korra the truth. Mako seems ready to do so, but chickens out when he sees Korra knock the head off a practice dummy that she’s pretending to be Unalaq. I guess Mako isn’t aware of the new, not a raging temper machine Korra, but whatever.
The team tries to craft a strategy for attacking the Northern blockade, which is a bit aggressive for Tenzin since he’s trying to save Jinora from being lost in the Spirit World forever. Bumi starts on one of his insane Jack Sparrow-esque war stories, but his baby brother refuses to listen to him. However, their discussion is brought to an end when Asami reveals she’s gotten a distress call from the South. Taking Oogi, they arrive at the South Pole to the rebel stronghold, where Senna tells Korra what has happened to her father after the attack on the city. Tenzin and company rush inside to Katara, asking her to help her grandchild. She notes that Jinora has been very strong to last as long as she has detached from her body, but doesn’t know how much longer she can hold on.
So with Tonraq captured, most of the rebel army injured and the spirit portal being more locked down than Fort Knox, Team Avatar is stuck on how to get into the portal without backup. Bumi starts going on about some weird story about attacking from above with a catapult he fashioned, and Tenzin immediately yells at him. However, Asami sees some potential in Bumi’s crazy story and suggests that they use Oogi and the plane from the Zhu Li to get past the army protecting the portal.
It almost works, but the army catches on and begins to attack Team Avatar. Asami is able to navigate the brothers to hitting the troops with fire and explosives in order to help Oogi get closer to the portal. However, Oogi is flanked by dark spirits, including one that knocks Bumi off of the air bison after he tries to fight it off. Not being able to fly after being wrapped in a dark spirit, Oogi crashes and knocks out Korra, Tenzin, and Kya in the process. Desna and Eska bring down the plane not too long after.
When Korra wakes up, she finds that she along with everyone else have been imprisoned in Unalaq’s tent along with Tonraq. Unalaq comes in and does what could be best described as a James Bond Villain speech. About how they won’t win, that they have “front row seats to the beginning of the new world order” and just general verbal villain masturbation showing how scary he is. Since he believes that the spirits should live as one with the humans and that the Avatar line has unfairly tipped the scales, he reveals his plan to merge with Vaatu and become a Dark Avatar during Harmonic Convergence. If that’s lost on anyone, he basically wants to be Satan. Then again, I doubt Satan would threaten to destroy the soul of a young girl. Satan’s more about irony than being a heartless asshole. He’s more like Maleficent, but without the pure desire to mess things up because screw you and your party, that’s why.
Tonraq missed the memo that you don’t try to reason with a Bond villain and points out that, hey, you won’t really be human anymore. Also, you have kids? Do you really want to do that? But he doesn’t listen. Why would he do that? That would require basic human empathy, which Unalaq has proven not to have.
As Unalaq leaves the twins (who were looking mighty skeptical of their father) to look after Team Avatar, we cut to Bumi digging himself out of the snow. The spirit that knocked him off Oogi is still there and being the kind of guy that he is, Bumi decides to punch it. Of course, that works out just as well as you’d expect. The only reason Bumi doesn’t die on the tundra is that he realizes that the spirit responds well to his flute. With Naga and Pabu finding Bumi, he gets the idea to raid the camp Team Avatar is being held at and pacify the spirits with his flute.
It goes exactly as well as you’d think.
He manages to successfully get into the camp by knocking out a guard and taking his clothes, but everything after that makes me think that Bumi is some sort of chaos bender. No one should be able to save everyone by breaking everything the way Bumi manages to do in this scene with a flute, a polar bear dog, a fire ferret and a mech, and yet here we are. Perhaps there is some truth to all of Bumi’s weird stories.
Korra tries to convince her cousins one more time to reconsider siding with their father, but they refuse and are then promptly knocked out by Naga once Bumi comes sliding into the tent. Korra sends Asami to take Oogi and her dad to see Katara, and the rest of the team heads to the portal. Tenzin, Kya, and Bumi are assigned to find Jinora and bring her back while Korra, Mako, and Bolin ready themselves to close the portal and face-off against Unalaq. Korra does make it to the Northern portal, but unfortunately, Harmonic Convergence begins before she can close it and Vaatu breaks free of his prison with a triumphant evil laugh as darkness begins to fall across the world.
Okay, I’m going to cover what happens to the Cloudbabies first because it doesn’t spread out over two more episodes the way the fight against Vaatu does. The siblings head off into the woods to find Jinora, but they have no clue where to start. Bumi suggests using tracking, but Kya points out that there’s no way her spirit would have left footprints. Kya tries to meditate to find Jinora’s spiritual energy, but Bumi points out that there’s spiritual energy everywhere considering it’s the Spirit World and all! That is a thing that happens. Tenzin tells them both to can it and that they need to find a spirit guide who can show them where they need to go. He very kindly asks what appears to be a gentle star spirit hiding in a tree to be their guide, but it turns out to be a very angry angler-spider-scorpion played by Grey DeLisle and she chases them away.
After their encounter, the siblings get lost in the woods, going circles around a friendly spirit mushroom (also played by Grey DeLisle). Kya hears a noise in the woods, but it turns out to be Iroh and a Knowledge Seeker coming to help the three find their way out of the woods. They’re surprised to see Iroh in about forty years. This is already heartbreaking enough to know that Aang’s kids knew Iroh. When you consider the fact that Tenzin is 52 years old in this book, though, it’s even more emotionally damaging to realize that Iroh was there for much of their childhood. Not just the early years before passing on. OH GOD.
Tenzin is grateful for his help, but says that they need to find Jinora before they can leave the woods. Iroh frowns and gives them a cryptic warning about only being found by lost souls and disappears before giving them more information. The kids are confused, but Tenzin suddenly realizes what their old friend means. He takes his siblings back to the tree with the angry angler-spider-scorpion and antagonizes the spirit. She captures the three of them and throws them into the Fog of Lost Souls, a spirit entity that serves as a prison for humans who enter and get lost in the Spirit World and causes them to go insane by infecting their mind and dredging up terrible memories and insecurities. Kya wonders how long someone can be trapped there, and right on cue comes Admiral Zhao.
If it’s been a while since you watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zhao was the Fire Nation admiral who lead the siege of the Northern Water Tribe, killed the Tui the Moon Spirit and was subsequently dragged into the Spirit World by La the Ocean Spirit after Aang combined with him to create a giant spirit fish that destroyed the Fire Navy and Princess Yue sacrificed herself to become the new Moon Spirit.
…Wow, it’s when I type stuff like that out I realize how crazy this franchise must seem to the uninitiated.
Still, Aang was twelve when this happened. It was in the last year of the war when it did. So to answer your question, Kya, you can be trapped in there for 70+ years.
Zhao has clearly gone insane, proclaiming himself to be “Zhao the Conqueror” and “The Moonslayer” and declaring his intentions to defeat Aang. Seeing Tenzin, he mistakes him for his father and declares that the will be defeated. Kya gets the admiral away from her brother and the siblings tie themselves together so they won’t get lost. Which doesn’t last long before Bumi freaks out about being surrounded by cannibals and Kya forgetting she has a family and refusing to be tied down. I feel like these tie back to something in their past (especially with Kya always trying to find herself before coming back to live with Katara), but now’s not the time to think about that as they untie themselves from Tenzin and run away. Tenzin tries to airbend the fog away to find them, but that doesn’t work at all.
Tenzin almost succumbs to the fog with his own insecurities over upholding the Air Nomad legacy. Before he can though, Aang appears. Whether it’s a vision or the spirit of his father is unknown, but Tenzin apologizes for failing him, but Aang tells him to stop worrying about being a reflection of him and just be himself. Well, a bit more eloquently cause it’s Aang. Tenzin realizes this and begins to chant “I am Tenzin” over and over again, which manages to clear the fog long enough to find his daughter and his siblings and escape before it reappears. Yay clearing up daddy issues! I kind of wish Kya and Bumi had been allowed the same luxury, but whatever. Everyone is out, alive, and happy to see each other.
Until Jinora realizes something is wrong still and tells her father she can’t leave just yet because she needs to help Korra. She gives a butterfly spirit to her family to help guide them out of the Spirit World and disappears.
OKAY. Back to the main plot. Which is mostly just awesome looking fight scenes at this point, which is not terrible cause Studio Mir does it well.
Unalaq is ready to merge with Vaatu, but Korra manages to successfully knock his ass out of the Spirit World and tells Mako and Bolin to make sure he doesn’t get back in. Which they manage to do so for a while despite the constant barrage from Unalaq. However, he uses the twins to distract the brothers and sneak back into the Spirit World. Which is where Korra was holding her own against Vaatu pretty decently and nearly manages to get Vaatu back inside the tree, but then Unalaq shows up and frees his dark master by attacking Korra. The brothers rush back into the Spirit World to help Korra, but the twins trap them in ice and leave Korra helpless to stop Unalaq as he merges with Vaatu and becomes worse than Satan.
Korra is not going to take it lying down though and she chases Unalaq out into the material world to challenge him head on and stop him from plunging the world into darkness. He almost wins and crushes Korra in a fissure, but Raava is there to remind Korra of who she is and Korra comes back swinging. YEAH GIRL. BATHE IN HIS BLOOD. YOU GOT THE TOUCH.
Back in the Spirit World, Mako is trying to reason with the twins, but they refuse since they’re still convinced that their father is right. Bolin starts to cry, admits that he’s still in love with Eska, and is sorry that they couldn’t make it work. Part of me wants to believe that this shouldn’t have worked at all, but Eska kisses Bolin and lets the brothers go. Mako compliments Bolin’s acting as they run to help Korra, but Bolin’s expression hints that it wasn’t a lie. Which I’m just in such disbelief of considering how Eska treated Bolin, but you know what. I’m not Bolin. I can’t judge too much. Love is weird.
The two go to help Korra, but she’s currently overwhelmed by the fact that in the process of trying to subdue Unalaq, Vaatu reached out of Unalaq’s body, into Korra’s and RIPPED OUT RAAVA FROM HER BODY.
Of course, I can barely recover from how terrible that is before Unalaq starts walloping Raava and destroys her, cutting Korra off from her past lives.
Yep. That’s right. Unalaq has killed the light spirit. I wasn’t kidding when I said he’s officially worse than Satan.
While you drown in the feels, Unalaq turns into a giant dark spirit thing thanks to Vaatu (which will henceforth be ‘Unaatu’) and declares a new dark age in time for his kids to see his new form. He then transports himself away to Republic City where he begins wrecking up the place (including knocking over the statue of Aang as Pema, Ikki, and Meelo watch on from Air Temple Island) despite the Republic Forces’ best effort to take him out. During this attack, part of the prison is destroyed, allowing Varrick and Zhu Li to escape. I guess there is a future in this show for my third favorite eccentric millionaire character.
Also, Lin Beifong gets in her seasonal moment of awesome by rescuing the president. Because Beifong, that’s why.
Team Avatar is knocked out when the Cloudbabies find them. They drag them back into the Spirit World, where Kya heals them up with Spirit Water. Korra is upset when she awakes and reveals to everyone what happened with Raava, which makes her the last Avatar. Kya encourages Tenzin to be there for Korra and he goes to her side, explaining to her about Vaatu’s prison. It turns out that it’s a tree known as The Tree of Time, which records all of history. Before the portals were closed, people would meditate in the tree to connect with the cosmic. Tenzin encourages Korra to do the same, reminding her that she wasn’t just Raava. She is very much herself too, and she could get things done before she even knew about the light spirit.
Taking Tenzin’s advice, Korra begins to meditate and is reminded of Raava’s words to Wan about how neither she nor Vaatu can really be destroyed. They are simply reborn in the other. She then connects to her own cosmic spirit much like Aang did in ‘The Guru,’ but instead of running away, she marches forward, causing her spirit to grow giant and blue, leave her body and rush to Republic City to face off against Unaatu. The brothers are a bit weirded out, but I’m sure the Cloudbabies are mostly unfazed. They grew up hearing about all the weirdness that went into defeating Fire Lord Ozai. Giant astral projection is nothing compared to Aang learning energybending from a Lionturtle and Iroh leading an army of old men to taking back Ba Sing Se.
Of course, they don’t have much time to be disturbed before dark spirits start rushing towards the tree to destroy Korra’s body. Team Avatar and the Cloudbabies help protect Korra, but Bolin is nearly taken out in the process. However, he’s then saved by Eska as her and her brother come to help their cousin. Well, I’m surprised it took them this long to defect, but it’s weirdly sweet.
Korra arrives in Republic City where she begins the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny with Unaatu. She has the upper hand for the bit as she subdues Unaatu and searches for Raava. Which causes him to laugh and insist that the light spirit will not be found. The tide appears to shift as Unaatu gets the upper hand and tries to corrupt Korra the way he tried to do a few episodes, but on a much larger and scarier scale. Cause… y’know… the whole world is at stake right now and if Korra dies, we all die. However, in the prettiest deus ex machina I’ve seen since Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Jinora’s spirit descends in a bright light and release an orb of light into the body of Unaatu. Korra realizes this is Raava and immediately jumps on freeing her from Unaatu. How did Jinora find Raava? Who cares! Everyone gets to live through Harmonic Convergence!
Except for Unaatu, of course.
Using the spiritbending technique Unalaq taught her, Korra purifies Unaatu and tells them to go in peace as the giant spirit human hybrid dissolves in flakes of light. Raava tells Korra that they don’t have much time before the end of Harmonic Convergence and that they need to get back to the Spirit World to merge before it’s over. Korra, Raava and Jinora transport back, which causes the spirits pursuing Team Avatar to turn light and stop their attack. Jinora tells her dad that she’ll see him soon and finally returns to her body, much to the relief of her grandmother. With a smile, she then tells Katara, Asami and Korra’s parents that Korra managed to save the world.
Korra merges with Raava, starting the Avatar Cycle anew. It seems as if her connection to her past lives is completely severed with this new start, but I’m interested to see if it stays that way before the series ends. But that might be wishful thinking cause I desperately want more connections between Korra and Kyoshi, but hey, you can’t always get what you want. It’s kind of surprising that they would hard reboot the Avatar Cycle like that, but I’m curious to see what happens in the next book. Among other things, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Korra apologizes to her cousins over the death of their father, but they just shrug it off and admit that, hey, their dad was kind of a dick and they won’t miss him that much. Bolin asks Eska to move with him to Republic City since he can’t handle long distance, but she declines, saying that her and her brother have to go back to the North. Probably to rule it since they’re next in line. Does it go to Desna automatically since he’s the man, do they elect for it, or will the Northern Tribe be in such fear of them that they just let the both of them have it? Either way, Eska says her goodbyes to Bolin in a very Eska way, closing the book on one of the stranger couples this franchise has had. At least I hope so.
As Korra prepares herself to close the portals again, she has a thought and wonders out loud to Tenzin if Unalaq was right and Wan was wrong about the separation between Spirits and humans. This is emphasized by Bumi being reunited and adorable with Bumju in the foreground. Tenzin tells her that he’ll support her in whatever decision she makes.
The next day in the material world, Mako finally gets the guts to talk to Korra about their break up, but she tells them that she knows. While she was in the Tree of Time, the memory came back in full. Mako admits that he regrets the fight and kind of wishes he could of forgotten it too. Korra then does something that completely surprised me considering how much the show tried to convince us to root for the two of them: she tells him that the two of them just don’t work and that they’re breaking up for good. She kisses him one last time and they admit that they’ll always love each other. It’s surprisingly mature for the both of them considering, but they have had a lot of character growth. I do hope it will last. And that maybe he won’t get back with Asami either? Hey, I can dream.
Bolin comforts his brother with a hug, and I’ll admit, it’s pretty sweet. Glad to see them being less at odds.
Korra addresses the Southern Water Tribe in front of the palace to declare an end to the civil war, that the South is finally its own independent nation, and that Tonraq has been selected to be the new chief. Huzzah!
She then proceeds to drop the biggest bombshell of the episode: In a decision to forge ahead with a new path, Korra has decided to keep the Spirit portals open. Humans can enter the Spirit World and Spirits roam throughout the material world. The role of the Avatar is no longer as a bridge, but as a leader towards peace and balance. She admits that she’s felt a shift in energy and that nothing will be the same as the world heads towards a new age. Book 2 then proceeds to close on a shot of Spirits flying above the palace.
And that’s Book 2! It was certainly rough at the beginning, but it came out strong in the end and has shifted the world of Avatar in unexpected ways. What kind of shifts will happen now that Spirits and humans are living together? Will Vaatu be reborn through the Avatar later in the line? Will we see more of Iroh now that humans can enter the Spirit world? What will Korra do without guidance from her past lives? Is that even going to last. Who knows when Book 3 (which is appropriately titled ‘Change’) will come out, but I’ll be damned if there wasn’t at least a fantastic lead in to it.
Well, the second half of this season, at least. With the clunky political intrigue and the obnoxiousness of the Korra/Mako relationship, the first half makes me downgrade the season as a whole to three stars, but it did have a near perfect finish between ‘Beginnings’ and now. Let’s hope that momentum exists going into this next season.