Verdict: Problematic as fuck in many, many ways.
Korra feels like she is nothing without her bending. She can’t accept Mako’s (half-assed as it is) love because she defines herself totally by her bending. Without it, by her standards, she’s not worthy of love.
And instead of addressing this and showing Korra that she is in fact a full person even without her bending, they totally play into it and reinforce her feelings of inferiority! She is only able to accept Mako’s declaration of love when she feels she is worthy, which can only happen when they’ve given her back her bending.
Yes, Korra was given her bending back. She was totally robbed of the chance to make herself stronger and to actually make a connection with the spiritual realm. We didn’t see her attempting to make that connection. And writers? It’s not being at your lowest point that makes you stronger. It’s climbing your way out of your lowest point. It’s healing that makes you stronger.
Korra was interrupted in the middle of crying, in the middle of working things out, in the middle of beginning to heal herself.
Being broken doesn’t automatically make you stronger. Overcoming. Loving yourself. Radical self-love. Learning that you can lean on family/friends. The process of surviving. The process of healing. Korra was totally robbed of the chance to heal. She didn’t get a chance to work out her issues regarding her self-worth.
Korra literally feels as though she is not the Avatar without the ability to bend, and just giving her her bending back without addressing those issues is reinforcing that complex.
This is important. The loss of her bending also showed us a ton of emotional complexes and trauma that Korra has surrounding her bending. And Korra also needs to heal and learn from *that*. She never got the chance to come to terms with herself, and to learn who she is outside of being a powerful bender.
She was literally taken by surprise by the fact that she was able to get in touch with Aang, because she wasn’t attempting to. She didn’t try to get into the Avatar State, she didn’t struggle with her inner demons (which are totally real and totally exist!). She was just given her bending back, which sure, solves the problem of not being able to bend, but does not at all heal the emotional complexes that Korra has regarding herself and her bending.
On a less serious note, I also have pretty serious problems with Makorra. Mako needed to break it off with Asami a long time ago. Like, an episode and a half ago. Not breaking it off with Asami? Telling her you still care without being totally honest about how you feel about Korra? Dick move.
Also, I have seen no evidence, no evidence at all that Mako and Korra are in love with each other outside of these grandiose declarations they’ve made that almost seem to come out of the fucking blue.
Think back to ATLA. The relationship between Katara and Aang was beautifully developed, even though we practically knew they’d be endgame from the beginning of Episode 1.
Here? We’re basically told that Mako and Korra love each other, although I’m pretty sure we have never actually just seen them enjoying spending time with each other. Korra and Bolin have more of a solid basis for a relationship, being that they play and laugh and seem to actually enjoy each others company. Hell, Korra and Asami have more of a solid basis for a relationship.
And this isn’t even touching on how I feel about the Equalists. The Equalists have a totally legitimate complaint. Very small example: the Council contains no non-benders. Non-benders have no political representation, although I’m pretty sure that a very large proportion (possibly even the majority) of people in the Avatar universe are nonbenders. (I mean, there are 4 airbenders. Four.)
But that’s another post. This is just my ranty feels about LoK finale, and how I feel it failed in a very few key, crucial ways.
When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change.
#as much as i adore aang’s beauty #this is not how to do writing#so she just became a fully realized avatar without doing anything to earn it#besides feeling sad about her bending? #no that’s bullshit #look at all the shit aang went through to get to that point #he had to explicitly deal with every emotional block #he had to give up katara #and he had to believe so strongly in his convictions to the point where he overpowered all the past avatars #he gained the power of energybending because he had a pure heart and didn’t want to take someone’s life #he went through a whole god damn process #this just felt so cheap #and korra deserves a better story than this