Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop Review

Every bit as entertaining as the previous books. With Vision in Silver, the world became darker and the danger more real. This review will be short.

The humans aren’t worth half the trouble they cause and don’t have the common sense to realise that they don’t make the decisions and are only alive because so far they weren’t important enough. That changed with Vision in Silver. The Humans Last and First Movement is gathering steam and supporters too stupid to realise that they’re just signing their own death warrants.

The Others and Cassandra Sangue get more and more interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing the Elders and also learning what the other Elementals look like, the Lake Elementals and Ocean and Atlantik.

That’s it for now.. Starting Marked in Flesh.

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Murder of Crows (The Others, #2) by Anne Bishop Review

I read Written in Blood a while back, pretty much as soon as it released and loved it so much that I decided to hold off reading the rest of the series till all the books had been released. Having read The Black Jewels trilogy, I knew I had made the smart decision considering just how intense Bishop‘s books tend to get. The idea of waiting for a whole year for the next book sounded painful. Anyway, I finally started reading Murder of Crows and I loved it so much, possibly even more than Written in Blood.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to start reading the next instalment. With The Others series, Bishop has created such a rich and complex world. The continent of Thaisia, Namid, the Others, the humans and so on. The characters were exceptionally well written and they are part of what made this book so enjoyable.

Bishop has a nasty habit of telling the readers what the bad guys are planning to do, not just in the form of prophecies but also via chapters which are from the antagonists’ POV. These are nothing short of maddening are the chief cause of nerves for the readers. Knowing what the bad guy is planning and also knowing that the protagonists aren’t aware is its own brand of torture.

Bishop also manages to interweave the heavy and tense portions with bits that are downright hilarious. I noticed this is the Black Jewels Trilogy. But she does it exceedingly well. The moments of levity don’t undermine the heavy and intense portions, but serve as a respite from all of that. A welcome one. And it also never feels jarring which is a testament of how well written these books are.

Between the Humans and the Others, I definitely prefer the Others. First there are so many types of Others, from the Gards who can shift, the Sanguinati, more commonly known as Vampires, the Elementals, the fierce forces of nature and elements (also among my favourite characters) and then there are some whose names have gotten lost through the ages. But Bishop gives each of them their own quirks depending on what they are.

I love the relationship between Simon and Meg and I love the way it’s developing. Their constant push and pull is engaging without getting repetitive or monotonous. They are also constantly growing and that presents its own set of challenges, which need to addressed from time to time. I also love the way the Courtyard adopted Meg and now treat her as one of their own. Chief among them, apart from Simon are Henry, Vlad, Erebus, Tess and the Elementals, especially Winter. They are protective of her, even telling off Simon when he’s not thinking straight.

I love that the big bad predator, the one everyone is petrified of is Tess, a woman and she is fierce. All the Elementals at the Lakeside Courtyard are also notably female. Bishop also doesn’t ‘de’power‘ her female characters in favour of making the male characters appear more powerful. She also writes female characters so well, always giving them dimensions, making them strong and powerful but not without vulnerabilities.

We also saw more of the other human pack, especially Merri Lee. I have a feeling that she may play a bigger role with regard to Meg’s prophecies. Her approach was better and she was more perceptive. I’d also like to see more of Nyx, we haven’t seen too much of her yet and I hope that changes with the next book. I am also curious how Jean will come into play in the upcoming books but I am convinced that she will play a significant role

Anyway, I’m off to read the next book, I’ve stayed away as long as I could..

Agents of Shield Season 4 Episode 19 Theories

AOS 4×19 – All The Madame’s Men
Daisy finds herself teamed up with an unlikely partner. Meanwhile, Aida prepares to put her ultimate end game into effect. 


Guest starring are Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Mallory Jansen as Madame Hydra/Aida, Jordan Rivera as Hope Mackenzie, David Weiss as serious man, Patrick Cavanaugh as Burrows, Zach McGowan as The Superior, David O’Hara as Alistair, Ben Cain as Hydra agent, Andy Comeau as Hydra doctor and Kavita Patil as Mrs. Lee.

We had the synopsis and now we have the teaser, let the speculation begin!

First up Ward:

 How can anyone think that he doesn’t care about Daisy/Skye. Look at the anguish on his face! His helplessness and the pain! I know this Skyeward is going nowhere but let me have my scraps, please. I loved Skyeward in season 1 and this is a taste of what it could been. A shade of what it could have been rather because Daisy is not in love with him but he clearly is. He is not the real world Ward, who hid his feelings. He loves Daisy and makes no bones about it. UGH!! This is more pain than I bargained for!
 A Mama May and Daughter Daisy team-up! Finally! HYDRA has no idea what they’re about to be hit by. May and Daisy on their own are formidable but as a team, they can lay waste to pretty much anyone and anything dumb enough to stand in their way. I can’t wait to see to lay waste to HYDRA on their way out.

I’m concerned that while Daisy does turn into an Inhuman, she doesn’t gain her usual power. Which might explain why both May and Daisy are using guns when she could have just ‘qauked’ their way out of the compound. I think half the episode will deal with their breakout while the other half will see them reunite with the rest of Shield.

And can you imagine Daisy’s reaction to seeing Trip!? They were partners and he was there when she went through the change, in the chamber. He died trying to protect her. Also May and Coulson will finally be on the same team. I’m curious to see how much Coulson remembers when it comes to May. In episode 18, he told her snap out of it and called her May when clearly they hadn’t met before. But I don’t think it really registered with him. On the other hand, there was a sense of familiarity when he was addressing her even when he didn’t know her.

 The only thing better than a May-Daisy and a Coulson-May team-up is a May-Coulson-Daisy team up! So many things to look forward to with this episode…

I think Ophelia gets hurt somehow when Daisy and May escape which would explain why Fitz is out for blood. His father, Alistair is just an all-around turd and he just really needs his ass kicked. I wonder what new game Ophelia is playing and can she die in the Framework or does it work differently with her.. Not sure, these are all questions we need answered.

Episode 20 doesn’t list Brett Dalton or BJ Britt as guest stars which is disappointing. But we do know that Alistair Fitz is in the episode. So I’m a little confused. I think the first part of the episode takes place at wherever the backdoor is which is why only the core team is listed. I’m guessing that Trip and Ward get them there and then work to distract HYDRA from their tails.

The synopsis mentions that not one everyone may want to leave the Framework and the usual suspect is Mack for obvious reasons. But what if, it’s not him but Fitz? What if his programming is so deeply ingrained that he doesn’t want to leave? Or he is so wracked with guilt that he doesn’t think that he deserves to wake up? It’s just that it’s too obvious for it to be Mack and I don’t trust things when they are so obvious when it comes to AoS, the writers love tearing out the audiences’ hearts and this would be the perfect way to do it.

I just want the writers to give us one moment between Daisy and Ward that isn’t marred by the past and the real-world Ward. Just a moment that brings full circle what they could have had and what it could have been, I am hoping the writers don’t turn him into a triple agent, that would suck and just be a rehash of season 1 and honestly, I think it would hurt the show and that’s the last thing they want.

There is also a possibility that either Daisy or Jemma go back to the real world to get some back-up maybe and the other person stays behind. It would make sense for Daisy to stay behind since she has powers now.

There is literally no information about episode 21 and 22. We don’t know the guest stars nor the synopsis. For all we know, they only make it out of the Framework in episode 21. I wish ABC released all the episodes at once so I could binge and put myself out of my misery.

I cannot wait to watch the remaining episodes!!!! Please renew this show already.. It is so good and deserves better.

Agents of Shield Season 4 Episode 18

Wow, this final arc is full of one sucker punch after another. We had a death in the previous episode and a big one in episode 18.

This is probably one of the best batch of episodes that AoS has ever had. It would be a shame if ABC did not renew it for another season at least.

This episode had some great moments. The most notable among them was this:

When Fitz and Ophelia are looking at Daisy through the glass and Fitz says, “Beaten to within an inch of her life, nevertheless she persisted.”Great nod AOS writers.

We met Fitz’s father, Alistair Fitz and he was every bit the tool that we expected him to be and he is a tool that AIDA has put in place to make sure that Fitz’s programming remains undamaged. There are verbal and tactile cues that she uses and they are easy to spot. It’s like Fitz has been conditioned, subconsciously, to seek out physical touch. He reaches out to both Ophelia and Alistair every time he gets agitated and immediately after that he seems more calm.

I hate seeing Daisy so beat up. This was fun to watch at all. And that scene where Fitz hit her… That was just wrong on so many counts! But there were interesting bits when she and AIDA were speaking. For one, the avatar speaking to her is AIDA, she puts on no pretense for once. Through their conversation, AIDA loses her composure twice.

First, when Daisy calls her the puppet master and then then, a little later, when she asks her what she gets out of all this. It makes me think that AIDA is completely convinced that what she’s done and doing is right. She’s not really doing anything wrong. She says as much. I think her end goal remains becoming more human, gaining the ability to feel. She doesn’t hate the others the way she does Radcliff.

Also glad to know that a backdoor does indeed exist and now Daisy knows where it is. I don’t see Radcliff surviving very long in the Framework. He did something that could be seen as redeeming and that is usually a sign that the character is not going to stick around for much longer.

Mack and Hope’s bond is so touching and heart-breaking at the same time. And Ward said that pertinent. Jemma claims that none of this real but it is real for May, Mace and Mack. Unlike Coulson, they have no memories of their lives outside the Framework. For Mack, his daughter and his love for her is very real, for Mace, his fight for justice and equality is real and it means something to him. This is a strange world which isn’t real and yet isn’t completely fake either.

A lot of people saw Mace’s sacrifice coming but that did not make it hurt any less. In the real world, he felt inadequate and like a fraud, but in the Framework, he was everything he wanted to be. And his end was fittingly heroic. It was well-earned death and one that didn’t feel cheap.

it also served as a wake up call for May. She’s not completely awake and I doubt she remembers anything from the real world. But what she witnesses, makes her pause and re-evaluate her allegiance to HYDRA. For instance, she was genuinely horrified when she saw that there were children in the building. At her heart, May is a protector and what she saw was in contrast to her core trait, that I think the dissonance started there and then got progressively worse.

Which brings me to the end of the episode, when AIDA comes to check-in on her hostages and she notices that Mace is dead.

Her expression implies confusion, like she can’t imagine how he died when he was in the perfect world. This is a clear sign that Madam HYDRA are two separate entities that sometimes converge but not always. If she is indeed Madam HYDRA, then there is no reason for her to be confused at his death especially when she was in the room when Fitz ordered the hit. I think Madam HYDRA is more autonomous than AIDA intended her to be. Could it be that Madam HYDRA becomes AIDA’s downfall. What if Ophelia has AIDA’s dream of becoming real but that’s where the similarities end and she is actually looking for a way out just like the team?

The epilogue shows us May talking to Daisy and then breaking a terrigenisis crystal in the room. That little smirk that Daisy gives May in return for her small smile was everything! I’ve missed their interactions and I hope we see some great moments between them. I don’t know whether Daisy’s powers will the same as they were in the real world or if they will be different. After all, there AIDA’s changed so much in the Framework, why not this as well.

I am also very pleased to be right about the whole ‘ teaming up with an unlikely partner’ I had a feeling that it would be May and it will indeed be her. I can’t wait to see the team all together once again. It has been so long.

Also Trip was back finally!!!! So happy to see him!!

Agents of Shield Season 4 Episodes 19 and 20 – Theories

AOS 4×19 – All The Madame’s Men
Daisy finds herself teamed up with an unlikely partner. Meanwhile, Aida prepares to put her ultimate end game into effect. 


Guest starring are Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Mallory Jansen as Madame Hydra/Aida, Jordan Rivera as Hope Mackenzie, David Weiss as serious man, Patrick Cavanaugh as Burrows, Zach McGowan as The Superior, David O’Hara as Alistair, Ben Cain as Hydra agent, Andy Comeau as Hydra doctor and Kavita Patil as Mrs. Lee. 


AOS 4×20 – Farewell, Cruel World
Daisy and Simmons race against the clock to get the team out of the Framework, but not everyone is ready to leave.



Guests: Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Mallory Jansen, Jordan Rivera, Briana Venskus, Maximilian Osinski, Patrick Cavanaugh, David O’Hara, Ricardo Walker, Rheagan Wallace, Richard Whiten

We have the synopsis for episodes 19 and 20. 19 states that Daisy will team up with an unlikely partner and while I hope that it’s Trip or Hunter, I’m not entirely convinced it will be either of them. For one, we still haven’t seen Trip or Hunter, there also hasn’t been any mention of them. They are either working for HYDRA or they are with Shield Resistance. Either way, they wont have enough time to set-up either of them as an unlikely partner. Also, notice, the synopsis says ‘partner’ and not ‘ally’.

For that reason, I have a feeling that it will be May. The Framework has set her up to be the third in command, she hates the Inhumans and probably also hates Daisy now that she knows that not only did she betray HYDRA but that she’s also a potential Inhuman. With episode 18, I guess we’ll see some interaction between May and Daisy which will cause her to question her existence. She also has a fight with Mace after getting juiced up and we don’t yet know whether the effects are permanent or temporary. It could be that something happens during the fight that causes her to wake up partially. Maybe she sees Coulson? Who knows, but I suspect that the “unlikely partner” is May.

The ultimate game could be a whole host of things. Madam HYDRA is AIDA in the Framework, she knows who’s where and what they’re doing. That’s why I was a little surprised when she didn’t immediately figure out that Daisy and Jemma had hacked in. I’m sure that their very presence created ripples of chaos in her carefully laid out plans. But that aside, since she knows pretty much everything, she could have set up contingencies in the event that someone wakes up and tries to leave the Framework. But it says AIDA and not Madam Hydra, could the ‘ultimate plan’ be something that comes into play in the real world, like the Daisy Fleet? This doesn’t seem too likely, since we probably won’t see the real world before episode 20.

I don’t think we’ll see Ward betray Daisy and company because we’ve already had that once. I think it’s more likely that the some members of the team will unwittingly do AIDA’s bidding, like some subconscious programming. Fitz will be a part of this ultimate endgame and another key player might be Mace. With Fitz, we know that he’s been ‘programmed’ to protect Ophelia, HYDRA and the Framework. Mace might just turn out to be her smoking gun. The leader of the Inhuman Resistance who’s been selling out Inhumans and potential Inhumans. Another candidate is Mack. Any threat to Hope basically guarantees his assistance and co-operation as we already saw in episode 17. But it seems unlikely for that very reason.

With regard to episode 20, Farewell, Cruel World, this is where the team will finally manage to get out of the Framework, but it will be towards the end of the episode. This leads me to think that AIDA’s endgame didn’t work or the team managed to beat it. Getting out of the Framework will mean that those who were fully immersed in this world, may not want to get back to the real world.

I don’t really see May or Coulson wanting to live in the Framework. May is too practical a person and in fact, she maybe more at peace now that she knows that she made the right decision when she killed that Inhuman girl. Coulson will be more sure of his place in Shield and how instrumental he is within it. He’s the one who brought the team together and without him, it’s just not the same. He’s the catalyst.

That leaves Mack and Mace. Mack is the one I see having the most problems, He finally has his daughter back. He may not want to lose her a second time. Mace may not want to leave because he finally has a purpose here, something he lacks in the real world and that pinches him.

Either way Daisy and Jemma have their hands full. With May, it will probably be Daisy and/or Coulson who finally get through to her. I just really want a scene between May and Daisy and remembering what they mean to each other. Maybe have Daisy say that May was the mother she always needed? And with regard to Fitz, it will probably be Jemma. But especially with Fitz, I think things will get worse before they better. Expect him to be more cruel and ruthless in his pursuit to stick to his altered memories before he starts to realise that the his Framework ‘life’ is a lie.

Agents of Shield Season 4 Episode 17

The Framework episodes are turning out to be a real roller-coaster ride. The character changes they’ve incorporated are nothing short of troubling. With each episode the stakes get higher.

Last week Daisy met Coulson and he finally recognized her. Although, that doesn’t mean he remembers his old life. He only remembers fragments and even those are disjointed. Then there was the bit about the Hydra soap which was just priceless.

Also, Daisy’s reaction was amazing. I loved the part where it took her a moment to realize what he had said.

In other news, Ward is still helping out Daisy and Jemma and clearly doesn’t have all the information about them. It is also abundantly clear that he cares about Daisy. I have a love-hate reaction to this bit. I love that Ward is back and he’s a nice guy but hate that it’s not actually happening. In the real world, he’s very much dead. Feel like I’m being cheated. Anyway, he warns Daisy that HYDRA is coming for Coulson and thanks to that intel, Daisy and Jemma are able to escape with him.

While Daisy and Jemma get all of Coulson’s stuff so they can leave, they realize that Holden Radcliff is also in the Framework and he is the one person who can get them out. They just need to find out where he is and with that objective, Daisy goes back into the belly of the beast.

Next, we meet Mack and Hope and you can tell that it’s going to be very hard on him when he has to leave the Framework and lose his daughter all over again. I like their dynamic, Mack is the definition of the cool dad and I love that he calls her ‘Spark Plug’.

The whole AIDA and Fitz relationship is just vomit-inducing. It is murky as hell plus raises issues of consent which make it even more troubling. I think it is clear that AIDA has made some drastic changes to Fitz’s personality. Unlike the others, for whom she fixed a regret. I think she did way more fix a regret for Fitz. While, his cold demeanor can be attributed to cruel father, add to that, the absence of Simmons, that’s not all. I’ve already mentioned that i think he’s been programmed and this week, I feel that even more strongly because she’s told him about the other side. Of course, it could be that she’s selling that reality as a virtual one, or that it takes place in another dimension or what have you. But he clearly knows about and considers it a threat to AIDA and therefore something to be eliminated.

AIDA shows him Jemma’s photograph waiting to see his reaction and there isn’t any hint of recognition on his face.

Daisy finally gets her hands on Radcliff’s location and just as she and Ward are about to leave HYDRA, they are stopped by May. She convinces Ward to go on without her and give the information to Jemma. For a moment, it looks like May is about to arrest Daisy but instead leads her to a conference where Fitz is giving a briefing about hunting down Jemma. I loved that Ward was immediately willing to fight May and the HYRDA goons. Not for one second did he consider leaving Daisy behind.

We finally meet the leader of the resistance, Mace, the leader of Shield. I love his new suit, it looks like it’s taken its fair share of hits. Also love the stars on his gauntlets, they remind me of Captain America’s shield for some reason. Also, I enjoyed the dynamic shift between him and Coulson, where Mace is the experienced agent and Coulson is sort of the new kid on the block.

Instead of sending Daisy and May after Jemma, they are sent to arrest Mack and Hope. You can tell that when May is questioning Mack and he says that he’ll do anything to save Hope, that things are about to get screwed.

Ward and Jemma share a tense moment on the quinjet, on their way to Radcliff. I can understand her anger at the real Ward, but this Ward is not the same guy and her constant belittling of him is starting to get on my nerves. This guy put his life on the line to protect them and is continuing to do so and Jemma is so passive aggressive, constantly implying that he’s the one who’s not trustworthy. She needs to understand that while these people might be just code, they think they’re real and her constant unwillingness to see that is just mean and cruel to them.

We get a moment between Daisy and Hope and you can immediately tell how important Hope is to Mack. See, Daisy knows that she’s just code as well, but her way of handling is way more humane and kind. Also, when Daisy promised her that she would protect her father, I knew things were about to go horribly wrong.

Daisy goes to speak to Mack and he calls her Daisy and says that he remembers but falters when she mentions Yo-Yo. This was one of the best moments in the entire episode and Chloe Bennet was awesome. Her relief that he recognizes her and then horror when she sees that he actually tricked her into revealing her identity was so well acted.

We finally meet Radcliff, on an island and he seems to be living a quiet life, away from Shield and HYDRA. He still insists that he had the best intentions and that he only wanted to help people but that his ideas were twisted into something ugly.  Jemma is finally starting to get through to him when they are interrupted by Madam HYDRA and Fitz, the only thing missing in their entry was Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars.

Mack and Hope’s happy reunion is marred by the HYDRA goons dragging a visibly beaten and nearly-unconscious Daisy. When May thanks Mack for his services, you can see that Hope is troubled and confused because Daisy was nice and kind to her.

The exchange between Radcliff and Fitz was fraught with tension and kudos to Iain De Caestecker for how brilliantly he played this cold and cruel Fitz (more on him later) He kills Agnes for no reason other than to prove Radcliff wrong. Jemma, Coulson and Ward were meanwhile watching all this happen and when Ward is about to take out Fitz, Jemma stops him by telling him that he’s been brainwashed and that she loves him and would lose him forever if Ward killed him now. And you can see that Ward really connects to the part where she talks about how much she loves Fitz, because he feels the same for Skye. Fitz sees Jemma once more here and while he does pause, there is still no glimmer of recognition on his face, he calmly leaves, leaving the Shield team to return empty handed.

Mack finds his way to the Shield base and informs those present that Skye has been taken by HYDRA is not in the best condition. And the horror and helplessness on Ward’s face says it all.

When Fitz comes to see Daisy, she looks even worse than before. She tries to reach out to Fitz but can’t. He calmly informs her that he had her blood tested again and knows that she’s an Inhuman. He plans on torturing her and when she tells him that ‘he doesn’t want to do this’ his smile is especially diabolical when he tells her that she doesn’t know him at all.

Special shout out to Mallory Jensen who was amazing AIDA. She was manipulative and yet so believable. She was great in this episode.

The promo for next week shows us only one shot of Daisy with Fitz and I think it’s from before the torture because she looks more of less the same. We also learn that HYDRA has their own super-soldier serum which May takes to fight Mace. We don’t yet know whether it’s permanent or temporary like the one Mace used to take in the real world.

I’m really not looking forward to watching Daisy go through more pain and unless Ward manages to rescue her or she can reach May, it doesn’t look like she’ll be rescuing herself.

As for how May called her Daisy Johnson, I think AIDA finally realized who could have helped Jemma within HYDRA. She knows that the only two people who hadn’t been scanned were Daisy and Jemma so logically, if Jemma logged into the Framework, then so did Daisy. Also, if you recall, AIDA specifically asks for her to join the op. It was a set-up since the beginning since AIDA knew that she would have soft-spot for Mack considering that they were partners.

Now, as to why Fitz killed Agnes, even when AIDA didn’t really want him to… I think that it’s going to be hardest for Fitz to recall his real life because of the level of changes that AIDA has made for him. The more people try to tell him that he’s not like this, that he’s better, the more strongly he’ll cling to the Framework version of himself. Pretty much everything about this Fitz is disturbing but nothing compares to his casual cruelty. He shoots Agnes and just moves on and then his encounter with Daisy, where again, he’s unaffected. He could be talking about the weather for all that it mattered to him. The only time, he has a strong reaction is when he’s with AIDA, she’s the only one who can get some kind of a reaction from him.

Also, is it possible that AIDA is stuck in the Framework like the rest of the people? Is that what she has Fitz working on? She mentions that when he completes him project, then she can go to other world and destroy it once and for all. It could be that she blocked her own exit so that no one else can escape either and this project, once complete, would allow access to her alone.

As for Skyeward, I don’t really see it go anywhere because while Ward loves her, Daisy doesn’t love him. She barely trusts him and her priority is getting her friends out of the Framework. I think Ward will assist in that endeavour but that’s about it. I would love to see more between them but it doesn’t seem too likely, especially now, that she’s in HYDRA’s clutches. It depends on how long before she either escapes or is rescued. I hope I’m wrong about this, I hope that Ward is finally given the narrative arc he should have had.

 

On Korra – Finale Thoughts

Note: I posted this review/incoherent ramblings on Tumblr, reposting it here now… Brace yourselves, this is a long one…

When I saw the season finale it completely blew me away!! I knew that since this was the series finale, things would certainly build to crescendo and boy did they ever! The series finale was epic and I couldn’t have been happier with the way things ended. I can’t even begin to sum up all the random thoughts buzzing in my head, but I will try. I have a sinking feeling that a lot of this will read like incoherent babble.

I love this show and seeing its end was a bittersweet moment. I love it for the stunning animation, superb storytelling and its extraordinary characters and I want to especially want to thank Bryke for never short changing the viewers, for always staying true to their characters and the story sometimes even at the cost of possibly annoying the general fandom. And finally for being brave enough to give us Korrasami when it would have been so much easier to give us just another run of the mill heterosexual couple (even though it wasn’t an especially healthy relationship to begin with (yes I am looking at you Mako.)

Through the course of the season, things were a little slow to build up. Sure there were some amazing action sequences, most featured Kuvira, but there was more than enough heart which was what we really needed at this point. Three years later, everyone has grown up and they seem to have moved on in their respective lives, everyone except Korra, who is stuck in the Southern Water Tribe, trying to recover from the severe injuries she sustained while fighting Zaheer. She keeps hitting a wall and finally decides to strike out on her own.

Let’s talk about the krew. In the time that Korra was absent from Republic City, the rest of the group seems to have drifted apart. Mako is a detective but when we meet him, he’s playing bodyguard to the heir of the Earth Kingdom, Prince Wu. Bolin has joined Kuvira and while she has good intentions, her methods are dictatorial from the very beginning. And finally Asami, she’s rebuilt Future Industries and has become one of the top inventors in Republic City. They are doing well individually. It was very obvious that Korra was the glue that bound them together and without her they all just lost touch with each other. It was a pleasure to see all of them together once again and how easily they fell into the old rhythm, fighting, bickering but throughout it all, always having each other’s backs. I really missed that old camaraderie in the initial part of the season.

And can I just say what a pleasure it was to see Toph! And she hadn’t changed a bit.

When Korra realised that staying at home wasn’t helping her, she decided to leave to see if she could figure things out on her own. She needed someone like Toph to knock some sense into her head. Toph’s tough love approach was exactly what Korra needed. Maybe she didn’t even realise that while she told herself that she needed time alone to get better, she was actually hiding from the world because it was easier this way than to get out again and risk getting hurt all over again. Zaheer’s attack really shook Korra in a way that none of the previous attacks did. Perhaps it was because it was the closest she ever came to truly dying and having the Avatar cycle end with her. But whatever it was, she was still carrying her old wounds. She didn’t even know that pieces of the poison were still in her body. Toph made her realise in her own signature way that unless Korra let go of her past, she would never be able to face her future and it worked. Korra’s not especially a gentle/soft person so she needs some tough handling occasionally. Toph was definitely a favourite in ATLA and I was very happy that she hadn’t mellowed with age and that she was just cranky and abrasive as always.

Now, onto the other characters. Let’s start with my least favourite: Mako. I never really warmed up to Mako. He was a bit of a jerk from the very beginning. I don’t even want to get into all the relationship stuff he had going on with Korra and Asami. Of all the characters in the show, I cared about him least. In the final season and in the finale, he improved but as far as character growth goes, I don’t think he grew all that much. But I was glad to see that he and Korra remained friends and there was no more romantic tension between them. I was dreading that they might get together in the end, and in any other mainstream show, they definitely would have. But this is BRYKE’s show and they do things differently. Korra and Mako were a bad fit and they brought out the worst each other. It was an unhealthy relationship and I was glad to see it end. Both Korra and Mako had reached a place where they did love each other but it was purely platonic.

Bolin was a bit more problematic this season, at least in the beginning. When we meet him, he has already joined Kuvira but it is also glaringly obvious that she is not what she claims to be. He joins her so he can help the Earth Kingdom people but he remains blind to Kuvira’s tactics even when they’re right in front of him. He was infuriating and there were times when I wanted to shake him in the hopes that perhaps that would knock some sense into him. I was glad when he finally ripped off his blinkers and set about correcting his mistakes, notably among them his relationship with Opal. Sure, he’s older but he’s still the lovable Bolin we all fell in love in the very first second we saw him. And I was happy to see him back with the krew once more. It was also a pleasure to see Mako and Bolin work together and openly display brotherly love.

I always liked Asami but in the third and fourth season I loved her. When she was introduced in the first season, I thought she would probably end up being a vamp and a possible rival to Korra for Mako’s affections. But she ended up being so much more than that. She was an inventor, rebuilt her company through sheer dint of hard work and still managed to help save the world and the Avatar. All in a day’s work for Asami Sato. I liked that she resolved her issues with her father and found it in her heart to forgive him. I think everyone knew what was going to happen with Hiroshi the minute we saw him but it was still nice that they could enjoy some father-daughter time. She was perhaps the most balanced character on the show. I love Asami!

I know that a lot of people really liked Kuvira and when the season started I liked her as well. She was an excellent villain, someone who knows exactly what she wants and does not compromise. She was fighting for a noble cause, to bring stability to the Earth Nation, which was in shambles following the assassination of the Earth Queen. She sought to make it a nation of unparalleled power. But somewhere along the way, she became exactly like the Earth queen, a tyrant, a dictator. Someone who doesn’t tolerate dissent of any kind and any ruler who can’t take disagreements and criticism is headed down the wrong path. But I also felt that she was more than a little naïve and delusional in her vision of a united Earth Kingdom. She actually expected people to simply surrender to her and swear loyalty to her and she was genuinely shocked when they didn’t. What she says to Korra in the Spirit World is indicative of this. She acted like it was everyone else’s fault for not surrendering to her, like they had somehow wronged her. In the end, she seemed like someone who had lost touch with reality and lived in her own little world. I was grateful that Su wasn’t too impressed with her apology at the end; it was too little too late.

My absolute favourite character in the series is obviously Korra. In the beginning, she was headstrong, reckless, quick to anger but as the series progressed, all of these traits started getting chipped off. Unlike Aang, who always had a more peaceful disposition, Korra was the exact opposite. Her default approach was fight first, ask questions later which often landed her in a heap of trouble. When Book 4 begins, Korra is in a dark place, not only can she not move her lower body; she also can’t feel Raava or enter the Avatar state. She has always been so secure in her identity as the Avatar and she suddenly found herself in a world where she wondered if she was even required any more. I loved Korra because despite all the knocks that life dealt her, she always found the courage and strength to get up and keep fighting. Even with the Red Lotus venom running in her body, she still managed to fight Zaheer and with the help of the Airbenders, she brought him down. But this season was more about her learning to see her opponent, not simply as evil but as someone who has very human desires. With Toph’s help she begins to see all her past adversaries in a new light. Amon wanted to live in a world of equality, Tarrlok wanted to unite the human and the spirit world and Zaheer, wanted freedom. These were very reasonable pursuits, noble even, which were corrupted because the method to attain these ideals was deeply flawed.  In the finale, I wanted Korra to enter the Avatar state and teach Kuvira a lesson and the Korra of old would have done precisely that. She would have entered the Avatar state and defeated Kuvira but it would have been a hollow victory because she would have had to kill Kuvira, nothing less than that would do. This wiser and more mature Korra chose to fight Kuvira one on one (in the finale) and the only time she entered the Avatar state was when Kuvira was about to die at the hands of the weapon she created. This marks a significant shift in Korra’s modus operandi. She sympathised with Kuvira and even understood her pain and the motivation behind her actions. She also had a deeper understanding of Kuvira because of how similar the two of them were, they were both strong-willed, stubborn, fierce and determined. Korra reached a stage where she could recognise that and not be in denial, the way Kuvira was. I am glad to see just how far Korra has come and how much she accomplished in such a short period of time. Do I like her better than Aang? Definitely. Plus I loved the new hair.

There were the usual recurring characters; Varric and Zhu Li, Tenzin, Bumi, Jinora, Opal, Su, Wei and Wen, Ikki, Meelo and Lin Beifong. Opal was a little more prominent along with her family this time since they were involved in the main struggle with Kuvira and it was nice to see the entire Beifong family as one cohesive unit, with the absence of Bataar Jr. I cannot even begin to tell you how annoying he was. I wanted him to get blasted to bits. He was wilfully ignorant and it took Kuvira firing her super weapon at him for him to come to his senses. He was easily the dullest person in the entire season. Ignoring him, the entire Beifong family is really kick ass. Lin was amazing as usual and I realised that we’ve never seen Lin outside of her uniform and so it was a pleasant surprise to see her in civilian clothing. It was good look on her.

Varrick and Zhu Li were among the key characters this season and it seemed that Varrick finally developed a conscience. He was funny and irreverent as always and definitely one the few characters who lightened the mood. I was happy that Zhu Li finally stood up for herself and demanded that Varrick treat her better. And the icing on the cake was when they got married.

Let’s talk about the other big relationship this season: Korra and Asami. Wow! I was shipping these two but I thought it was very unlikely that we would get it considering that Korra is a mainstream show and they normally shy away from anything that even remotely veers away from the norm. So it made me ridiculously happy to see these two walk into the spirit world hand in hand. And even better when Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko confirmed this on their respective Tumblr pages. For those of you crying false, I can’t see who else Korra could possibly end up with. Her relationship with Mako was clearly unhealthy and her short-lived relationship with Bolin was never going to set sail. Asami was someone whom Korra came to rely on, both to unburden herself and also for moral support. There are also plenty of people saying that this relationship is forced and there weren’t any signs. Well, there were signs as early as season 3 when they got close and didn’t let their friendship get awkward despite everything that happened with Mako. And you only had to look at their interaction in the final season to see that there was more than simple friendship blooming between these two. It was very gratifying to see them come together. I only wish that it had been a little more overt, was it too much to hope for a kiss, somehow I feel like these characters have been a little short changed.

But that one complaint notwithstanding, I was very happy with the way Korra ended. It resolved most of the pressing issues and also left us with the clear impression that Korra’s adventures are far from over. Most importantly, I am most thrilled about Korrasami and the way the creators handled that (perhaps it was a little too subtle) I am hoping that we will learn more about their adventure in the form of graphic novels. I am saddened that this series has come to an end. The way it was going, I could have continued watching it. But I guess all good things come to an end and Korra was no different and rather than see this amazing show suffer from bad writing and plots stretched too thin, I’m glad it ended with a bang and left us clamouring for more. What better way to end this truly extraordinary series….