The Legend Of Korra season 3 episode 11 review: The Ultimatum

Review Kaci Ferrell 17 Aug 2014 - 18:52

Can The Legend Of Korra maintain its current momentum? Kaci is hopeful...

This review contains spoilers.

3.11 The Ultimatum

This week's episode of The Legend Of Korra is almost unbearably bleak. That's not to say it wasn't good, because it was, but after a week full of relentlessly bad news here in the US, the final scenes of this episode didn't exactly cheer me up. But then, in a way, I wouldn't want it to — this show is at its best when it's being realistic about political and socioeconomic conflicts; as the news has proven to us this week, those conflicts tend to be pretty grim.

The episode primarily concerns itself with Zaheer's continued attempts to make Korra give herself to him. He does this by taking the airbenders hostage and threatening to wipe out the air nomads forever. Something that really got to me in these scenes was the thought that if Tenzin were to die, an entire culture would die forever. Aang was the only original airbender left, and he passed what he could onto Tenzin. I'm sure Tenzin has taught his children all that he could, but the fact remains that even his eldest is still quite young. There are still entire parts of their history that Tenzin wouldn't have had time to pass on yet, or parts that he might've been waiting to share until they were older. If he were to die, then all that would be left is a shadow of the air nomads, a pale imitation of what once was.

The weight of that sat heavily on me as he and his siblings fought against the Red Lotus, especially in the final scene when he reminds them that it's not over as long as he draws breath. He was talking about the fight, but it's the air nation, too. And although I don't want to admit it, the fact that the camera panned away after his pronouncement genuinely concerns me that the show might've just killed off the last airbending master. The air nation might live on through his children and the new benders, but they have been forever cut off from their culture and their history.

Elsewhere, Korra visits the spirit world and meets Iroh again, which is really the only moment of the entire episode that I felt able to smile freely and take comfort. It provides us the opportunity to once again be reminded that Aang and Zuko became lifelong best friends after the war, as well as the revelation that Zuko has a daughter. I desperately hope we'll get to meet her at some point. I would love to see Zuko as a parent, considering his relationship with his own father; it would be nice to see how he struck a balance between the way his father treated him and the way his father treated Azula.

This was a very well-written and paced episode of the show. Legend Of Korra has hit a stride lately and is showing no signs of slowing down. I love the risks the writers are taken, even if they are unbelievably sad at times. Here's hoping they keep this momentum going through to the finale.

Read Kaci's review of the previous episode, Long Live The Queen, here.

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