The legend continues I'm Jefimus and this is my top 20 favorite episodes of The Legend of Korra
20. After All These Years: “After All These Years” is a strong first episode for the final Book of the Korra series, and Korra isn’t even in the episode until the very end. Instead, the episode focuses on the other major characters after the three year time skip, and seeing where these character sets up a great foundation for Book 4.
19. Turning The Tide: It's no surprise that Lin Beifong is one of the show's most beloved characters. That's probably because of her unforgettable sacrifice in Book One's "Turning the Tides." Granted, Lin had proven herself multiple times before this episode (and many times after that, Raava knows), but it was her absolute devotion to Tenzin and his family in this episode that made her a truly remarkable character. "Turning the Tides" also Plus featured an awesome Team Avatar/mecha tank fight that still never gets old, as well as the scene with Tenzin's kids swooping in to save Lin from Amon's henchmen. ("Stay away from my dad's ex-girlfriend!")
18. A New Spiritual age: This was a huge episode for Korra, as she traveled to the Spirit World. Here, she regressed back into her little roly-poly self and teamed up with a wounded dragon bird of similar cuteness. From there, she met Iroh (yep, that Iroh!), whose sage-like words of wisdom gave Korra the motivation she needed to overcome her fear of the dark and find the light within. This episode was also a standout for Jinora, who learned about Harmonic Convergence in Wan Shi Tong's Spirit Library
17 The Battle of Zaofu: The Battle of Zaofu could have been a great mid-season finale for Book Four. It concluded a couple of major sub-plots and set up some new ones for the back-end of the season. Varrick made another major step as he becomes more Tony Stark and less Lex Luthor. The Metal Clan feud reached a major turning point. Last but not least, Korra failed to preserve Zaofu’s independence in a tense one-on-one with Kuvira.
16. The Ultimatum: "The Ultimatum" stands out for several reasons, but most fans will remember it for the harrowing fight between Tenzin and Zaheer, which marked the first (and last) air-on-air duel. Not only did this episode show Tenzin at his very best, but it also tapped into his unwavering loyalty to his people and to Korra.
15. Korra Alone: Boasting a title that is reminiscent of one of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s finest episodes (“Zuko Alone”), “Korra Alone” had a lot to live up to. Luckily, it more than excelled at demonstrating how beautifully the show could render such an introspective tale. After she was conspicuously missing from the premiere, we finally see what Korra has been doing in the three-year gap between the conclusion of Book Three and the beginning of Book Four. As it turns out, her near-death encounter with Zaheer left her more broken than anyone could have ever imagined. After a physical therapy-type stint at the Water Temple, a frustrated Korra takes off to parts unknown. Haunted by a dark vision of herself with glowing eyes, she begins seeking out highly self-destructive ways to move past her inner pain. In a series filled with shockingly complex storylines, “Korra Alone” is a relatively simple, but all too powerful story about a character’s struggle to overcome her inner demons.
14. Old Wounds: An episode primarily focused on the steely, no-nonsense Lin was no doubt always in the cards, especially given that she was the daughter of Last Airbender’s de facto Earth Master Toph. In the third season, the show finally decided to prod this well of familial discord, and ended up striking storytelling gold in the process. During an intense acupuncture session, Lin begins having flashbacks to the events that led to her estrangement from her sister, Suyin. What could very well have been a saccharine tangent from the main story instead becomes, in the hands of the Korra writers, a poignant and utterly relatable tale about the complexities of family.
13. The Original Airbenders: There were many intense episodes in Book 3, but this was not one of them. This was one of those episodes where you take a step back and get to see how the training of the Airbenders is going. Keep in mind, that this is the first time there is a huge gathering of Airbenders in 170 years. It is fun to see Tenzin try to push everyone to be an Air Nomad, but realizes that things aren’t going to be the way he pictured everything, and then having everyone come together when Kai and Jinora are captured. You also have baby bison which were cute. And the character moments were excellent. Just a lot of great moments.
12. When Extremes Meet: “When Extremes Meet” may not be the most sophisticated of Korra stories, nor is it the most action-packed. What it does represent—for me, at least—is the moment the show properly clicked into place. After the first half of the season was spent mostly focused on the team’s pro-bending sports career, and the soap-opera-worthy love (rectangle?) between Korra, Mako, Asami and Bolin, this episode really dives into the meat of the central story as well as the political complications it brings about. Naturally, in a world divided into those with powers and those without, the benders run the risk of using their abilities to rule over the non-benders. When the not-so-benevolent Tarrlok ends up ordering the arrest of a group of non-bending protestors, Korra finds herself in the middle of a delicate situation. While they certainly must sniff out potential threats to the government, where does one step over the line into civil rights violations? Add in the revelation that Tarrlok has mastered the seemingly illegal skill of blood-bending, and the whole episode presents one hell of a curve in the direction of the show.
11. Civil Wars: I was a little nervous about the creators setting up Unalaq as a new villain. Thankfully, "Civil Wars: Part 1" gave us a little more insight into Unalaq's motives. He offers to protect the southern portal and have Korra open its northern counterpart. Varrick, whose business suffers from Unalaq's blockade, begins a revolt. Korra prevents an abduction of Unalaq by Southern rebels. As she tries to reconcile with her mother, Senna, and Tonraq, Unalaq appears to arrest them for conspiring to assassinate him. Of Course Korra learns that Unalaq staged the trial and wanted her father and mother and int order to rid himself of a rival. With the help of her friends and Varrick, Korra frees Tonraq and other condemned rebels from prison, and Bolin from a forced marriage to Unalaq's daughter Eska. Part 1" did an excellent job of setting up the conflict between the Northern and Southern Water Tribes, while also adding personal stakes for Korra with her parents. Meanwhile, Tenzin, Kya and Bumi stole the show this week, as they set off on their own adventure and recalled past memories of their father Aang. The rest of team Avatar was also put to good use this week, as was Varrick in a bear costume, which... yeah, awesome.
10. Operation: Beifongs: This once stuck out to me for many reasons SomewhereWe Got to see Toph again and Toph who is one of my favorite characters from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and as a Swamp hag. Here Toph comes to help Lin, Opal, and Bolin rescue Suyin and the rest of the family. It is very clear that Toph’s priority is her family. There were many awesome elements, Bolin redeeming himself by helping the family, Opal showing her love to him in return by helping him rescuing Shu-Lee, Lin forgiving her mother Toph, the fight between Kuvira and Suyin. This was a great episode.
9. Beyond The Wilds: This episode pretty much abated worries from fans that the show would rely on recovery arc cliches for Korra. In a refreshing take, Zaheer plays therapist to Korra. He helps her recover but only because their interests align. This action is in line with his philosophy and, therefore, not out-of-character. Beyond the Wilds is an excellent reminder of why Zaheer is such a great character. He traverses that line between black and white but still manages to technically remain a “villain”. All this makes the Korra-Zaheer character dynamic even more interesting. The writers should take a bow.
8. The Revelation: The reason this episode is on the list because of the awesome designs of Republic City at night. It really stuck out as we jumped ahead in the Avatar franchise and were given a new story, it was cool to see this somewhat old fashioned city with steampunk elements. Ever since I saw the concept art of the show when they introduced it, I was just in awe with Republic City, this was one city I was looking forward to exploring, and they did a lot of it. Plus we are introduced to one of the show’s iconic villains, probably my favorite villain of the show (tied between him and Zaheer).
7. Beginnings: I guarantee that anyone that makes their top 10 lists of best Korra episodes, and this will for sure be on their, and there are several reasons why this is such a standout episode (well it’s a two parter, and I am cheating for combining the two). The animation and designs in these episodes are beautiful, and truly stand out from all the other episodes in the series, which helps set a difference between the two times. It also gives us the origin story on the Avatar, and how it all started, and why one was needed. A lot of people will say that Book 2 was the weakest of all the seasons of Legend of Korra, but all will agree that this was the best episode of the season. This was a truly profound episode. While I do have another episode on the season that is higher than this, but there is a reason for me that it was higher, and again it was a personal reason, or two.
6. The Metal Clan: There are many locations in the Avatar world that I would love to visit if I ever got to explore it, and one of those locations would be Zaofu. The design of the city was awesome. And some of the ideas of the government were really cool in my mind, a place where everyone is encouraged to reach their potential, and expand their talents. We were also introduced to Lin’s sister and her family. It is a toss up between this episode and the next, where we learn of the feud between Lin and Suyin. But the introduction of Zaofu made this one really stand out a hair more, and the image of Korra and Opal training together with the sunset behind them was breathtaking. However, it is a bit of a cheat since I would group this episode with the next. Also, this is the first time we see Zaheer without the hair, and that threw me off, when he comes to Air Temple Island, he seems very humble, and you kind of figure that something isn’t right. Here is a little interesting trivia, we also get our first shot of Kuvira before we are formally introduced to her in the Book 3 finale (go back to the dance rehearsal scene and you will see her). Overall a great episode for me, and the next too.
5. Out of the Past: Aang returns! After several episodes of witnessing only brief flashes of some kind of trial scene involving an older, bearded Aang, Korra is finally able (through meditation) to view a portion of the previous Avatar’s past—one that seems to hold relevance to her current situation. To be clear, if this episode were merely an excuse to see middle-aged versions of the characters we knew and loved from Last Airbender, it still would be one I loved (hearing that Toph continued to call Aang “twinkle toes” even in old age is a particularly nice touch). When you then include the amount of humor and story-building on display, it becomes something far more substantial than mere fan service.
4. Skeletons in the Closet/Endgame: Originally, the Book One finale was going to be the end of The Legend of Korra. This was before the show was picked up as an ongoing series. Certainly, there’s a sense of finality to the whole proceeding—as if the writers suspected this might be the one chance they had to tell this story, and wanted to get in as much as possible. Shockingly, the episode never ends up feeling cluttered; every character is given their proper moment, and the story plays out with the heightened, epic feel that any great finale should have. The only ding I have against this episode comes at the very end, when a (take a drink) deus ex machina ends up abruptly resolving a major character beat. Other than that, however, this two-parter set a great precedent for finales in the brief history of the series.
3. Darkness Falls/A Light in The Darkness: Out of the first three Korra season finales, “Darkness Falls/Light in the Dark” stands as, by far, the most problematic. But, dear God, if it isn’t ambitious. After the season’s (quite dull) villain Unalaq ends up melding with the evil spirit Vaatu to become a Dark Avatar, all hope seems to be lost. Not only that, the leveled-up antagonist manages to almost completely demolish the good spirit Raava, thus severing Korra’s connection with past Avatars. In response, Korra harnesses some major internal mumbo-jumbo, and grows into a giant, blue version of herself. Yes, the amount of deus ex machina in this story is utterly absurd—even by Korra standards. Yet, between boasting some of the most jaw-dropping, creative animation of the series, and ending the wobbly Season Two on a truly epic note, this two-parter more than earns a spot on the list.
2. Day Of The Colossus/The Last Stand: As sad as it is to see Korra leave the air, the show’s two-part series finale is just about the most perfect note to go out on. Not only is it an enthralling hour-long action extravaganza, but it works as a succinct summation of the emotional arc its characters have undergone over the past few years. What really cements its place in the hall of great series finales, however, is the show’s final act, which beautifully subverts the pat “romantic pairing” resolution in favor of servicing a more unorthodox relationship that has been subtly developing right under audiences’ noses. Not only did these last moments work as the last bold statement on Korra’s feminist leanings, but it no doubt made quite a few people on Tumblr squeal with delight.
1. Enter the Void/Venom Of The Red Lotus: This is it. This two-part episode is one of a handful that made The Legend of Korra truly legendary. Why? Because it is emotional, action-packed, perfectly animated, scored beautifully, and almost every minute of this episode is intense and will leave you both emotionally fulfilled and emotionally drained. Korra decides to give herself up to the Red Lotus to save the Air Nation, but ends up fighting Zaheer after a double cross. Fights between various heroes and villains take place, with Korra and Tonraq’s battle against Zaheer being a notable highlight. The camera work during their battle is stunning and fun to watch. “Venom of the Red Lotus” has its share of touching moments and a memorable, bittersweet ending, making it one of the best finales in the entire franchise.
Welcome to Republic City
A Leaf in the Wind
And The Winner Is....
Long Live The Queen