allchildren: appa is alarmed (⇩ ahem)
Amy Ponds of the 99% ([personal profile] allchildren) wrote2014-12-21 03:44 am

So You Want to Catch Up on Korra: a brief guide

As you may have heard, The Legend of Korra ended this week with a pretty exceptional move. I had stopped watching after hating the first season finale, but caught up a few months ago when I saw friends praising the improvements of season three. That meant I watched all of season four as it "aired" (Nick pulled the show from actual television broadcast several months ago, for reasons I now suspect had to do with the finale storyboards, and moved it all online) and got to experience this surprise ending unspoiled in the wee hours of Friday morning. Since then I've seen a lot of people asking if they should catch up because they too stopped watching during or after season one, and I am here to offer my opinion: YES! But not just for the finale. If your only interest is in Korrasami, tumblr's got you covered.

If you would actually like to watch and enjoy the show, here's what I recommend. IMHO, YMMV, &c.


SEASON ONE



If you haven't seen all or any of season one, you've probably heard lots of terrible things about it. I haven't rewatched it, but my 2.5 year old memories tell me it was neither as great nor as awful as it was variously cracked up to be. There are some good parts. I personally really enjoyed the pilot and some of the parts involving pro-bending and Lin. (I always enjoy parts involving Lin. If Avatar were a kpop group, Beifong would be my bias.) If you just want a taste and not to sit through too much love triangle bullshit and political WTF, I suggest watching:

1.1 - Welcome to Republic City - establishes character and sets the scene.
1.2 - A Leaf on the Wind - second half of two-part pilot; ditto.
1.6 - And the Winner Is... - very cool action episode; lots of Lin!

*** BONUS KORRASAMI WATCHING: 1.7 - The Aftermath - important Asami-related plots start here.

*** BONUS PLOT WATCHING: 1.10 - Turning the Tides - many things happen??? Lin is there!

This doesn't include the rest, because I don't remember it well enough for a fair evaluation; or the finale, because I hated it and the show pretty much pretends none of it ever happened afterwards. However, if you want to know what actually happens, the Amon plot ends in a rejected storyline from Dexter wherein two evil and traumatized bloodbending brothers die in a murder-suicide boat explosion, Korra loses her bending for like five minutes before having a convenient vision of Aang telling her to believe in herself and healing her, Asami's dad tries to kill her for being friends with benders before going to jail so she can take over Future Industries, and Mako dumps Asami for Korra.

Now let us never speak of this again.


SEASON TWO



As aforementioned, I only recently got around to watching this. I thought it averaged out to be pretty okay -- it certainly has some low points, but a lot happens and there's some really high highs as well. There's a must-watch two parter, relationships evolve, Aang and Katara's daughter Kya is introduced, Jinora gets major development, and the finale is rather reminiscent of "Siege of the North," which is one of my favorite episodes of ATLA so I can't hate it too much :) I would say there are a few different ways to watch depending on your level of tolerance for "pretty okay." If you're feeling impatient for greatness, simply skip ahead to the "Beginnings" two parter (2.7 and 2.8) and just keep going. If you're REALLY impatient or don't want to deal with any love triangle business or Eska/Bolin*, you can skip parts (or hell, all) of the back half of the season, but be warned that season three does not pretend none of this ever happened and the plot is fairly convoluted so you might be a little confused later on. If you'd rather pick and choose what to watch, see my ranked suggestions below.

* On the negative side, the Mako/Korra/Asami triangle continues, but also comes to a firm conclusion while being very clear that Mako is nobody's dream man. I am not a fan of Eska/Bolin and this is why: he dates her, discovers she is controlling and terrifying, and spends all season too afraid to dump her -- all of which is played for laughs. It doesn't get too heavy, and I know some good people who enjoyed this ship, so consider yourself lightly warned.

My ranking codes are as follows:
Regular text - neutral - may contain mediocrity, but watchable imo
Italic text - recommended at least for plot reasons
Bold text - highly recommended
Strikethrough - anti-rec

2.1 - Rebel Spirit
2.2 - The Southern Lights
2.3 - Civil Wars pt. 1 - in which Aang gets a posthumous character assassination. The only episode post-S1 I thoroughly advocate skipping unless you don't care about Aang in which case how did you even get here.
2.4 - Civil Wars pt. 2 - at least watch the scenes with baby sky bison. They're on Youtube!
2.5 - Peacekeepers
2.6 - The Sting - (downgrade to neutral if you really hate Mako)
2.7 - Beginnings, pt. 1 - Every ATLA fan should watch this...
2.8 - Beginnings, pt. 2 - ...even if you watch nothing else from the entire show.

2.9 - The Guide - Korra and Jinora adventures!
2.10 - A New Spiritual Age - Korra and Jinora adventures! with some lovely ATLA callbacks!!
2.11 - Night of a Thousand Stars
2.12 - Harmonic Convergence
2.13 - Darkness Falls - Finale, part one. I just want to point out that though mostly serious, this episode contains what is to me the show's single funniest gag.
2.14 - Light in the Dark - Finale, part two! Some gamechanging stuff, yo.

WHEW. That was a lot. Thankfully, we're pretty much done. Not with the show, of course. But here's the rest of the guide:


SEASON THREE



Watch it. Legit great!!


SEASON FOUR



Watch it. Yes, including the clip show (totally secretly about Korrasami). Not quite as good as S3 overall, but still good and, as discussed before, goes out with a bang. Wink~*


If your network agrees with it, all of season four can currently be viewed in free high def on Nick's site. watchcartoononline.com or animeflavor.com may also be of help :)

P.S. By the way, this isn't the first episode guide I've made. Here's my Adventure Time episode guide, which is currently about 25 episodes behind, but for a show that has 178 episodes so far it could be worse (and should be updated very soon). It's a spreadsheet, but was designed to be used with filtered criteria, back when Google Docs still allowed "View as List". Now that Google Sheets is the status quo, it can be filtered in a slightly different way. Click on any of the top cells and then in the top navigation bar with all the icons, click on the funnel-shaped icon second from the right. This turns on filtering, so you can still select all Musicals that feature Marceline and have the list come up in four clicks. I'm not a regular nerd, I'm a cool nerd.

P.P.S. Semi-related to all of the above: I have a rather sedate and single-minded tumblr which is almost exclusively being used for my love of cartoons and illustration. I don't follow many people so as to keep my dash focused on the same kind of stuff I want to reblog, but feel free to follow if you like!

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woo
skygiants: Pemma from Legend of Korra, looking deeply unimpressed by the fact that she's covered in snow (thrilled)

[personal profile] skygiants 2014-12-21 03:02 pm (UTC)(link)
I found S2 overall more frustrating than S1, mostly because the good parts were so good! but the bad parts were SO BAD. My old roommate made a supercut of Season 2 that cut out pretty much all the Republic City parts and everything terrible related to Bolin/Eska and Bolin/Ginger, just so she could make our other roommate watch it without having to relive the parts that made us seethe in rage.

(SEASON THREE OVERALL IS SO GREAT THOUGH. I think my final ranking goes:
final two minutes of season four
season three
the rest of season four
those two Wan episodes and everything in about Jinora in season two
season one
the rest of season two)
skygiants: Rebecca from Fullmetal Alchemist waving and smirking (o hai)

[personal profile] skygiants 2014-12-23 03:40 am (UTC)(link)
I will ask her! :D
aberration: Pabu from LoK taking a nap next to an old-fashioned radio. (kashira kashira)

[personal profile] aberration 2014-12-23 05:34 am (UTC)(link)
Okay, so [personal profile] skygiants directed me to this and I want to make it clear that I don't consider my "supercut" necessarily an ideal. I cut out more than I think she's suggesting, as I pretty much went at it with a hacksaw, though I do actually think anyone who watches this version of it can pretty much pick up in season 3, even though the characters do occasionally reference back to it. But I considered Bolin/Eska outright abusive and thought the Republic City story line made Mako a Mary Sue (and I say that as someone who HATES that term) while making everyone else over-the-line OOC-ly stupid (especially as I still seethe over my feeling that a story that should have really been Asami's was taken from her and given to Mako), so... I am biased in these ways! But this is the s2 supercut, so to speak:

- Skip episodes 1-6.
- Watch episodes 7-8
- Watch an edited version of episode 9 "The Guide." This is really the only "supercut" style thing. I just edited this episode to cut out the Republic City stuff. Also, part of what makes this work is that Korra briefly recaps what happened in the previous episodes in this one.
- Watch episode 10.
- Skip episode 11.
- Watch episodes 12-14.

My roommate did seem to get through this without too many issues, and while there is a definite sense of "I'm not sure what they're referring to there" at points, I don't think any of them are especially important later on. The big things you miss are:

- Almost all of Varrick. I'm personally kind of resentful of Varrick for various reasons, even though I enjoyed him in the latter two seasons, so I didn't really have a problem with this (and I feel like... he's a guy who invents things and talks fast! You'll get it!), but really ymmv on that.
- The beginning of the Bolin/Eska romance. Personally I watched s2 this way and actually found them almost adorable when I could pretend that whole part that I felt was openly abusive and played for laughs wasn't there, but. Again, ymmv.
- "... I kind of started a civil war..." is all you'll get of that but I... don't care.
- How Mako and Korra broke up. Now that I've seen the whole series, I actually feel like this is more important, and if anything that I'm only salvaging the worst part of it with this. But I also feel like I would only think that from the perspective of knowing how it all ends - if your goal is for someone to want to keep watching so they get to season 3, I mean, I'd go ahead.

Anyway, if someone wants that edited version of episode 9, I can see what I can do about that? But yeah, otherwise it was generally more of a suggested episode list.