For the most part, I was very happy with the ending. The feel was tense and emotional, the animation was great, the music was phenomenal, and I was happy with how most of the plots and subplots concluded. For the most part, I don't have much to say about it. There were a few things that I'm a bit confused or disappointed with though:
- Kuvira's surrender. Am I the only one who felt like this was really forced? Nothing Korra said seemed like it would turn someone from a ruthless militaristic dictator into someone with regret that hands themselves into custody. Granted there was probably additional conversation in the Spirit World that explains this. But it just felt so completely at-odds with Kuvira until then. Even injured with her mech in tatters after being defeated in one-on-one combat by the Avatar, she's still fighting, and still trying to kill Korra. Why does her disposition suddenly change so drastically just from a few words in a few short minutes(And even if there were additional things said, they couldn't have taken very long. It was clear not much time had passed in the Human World)? It's not like we haven't seen the Avatar try and save people, only to fail, before, right Zhao? Nor is it like we haven't seen the good guys kill people in this show, right P'Li? But suddenly Kuvira's remorseful?
- Speaking of Kuvira, what exactly was she planning to do if Korra hadn't walked right into that exact spot in front of the cannon? She can't bend it around, it's suspended on the vines. If Korra hadn't just happened to walk right in front of where the cannon was pointed, she was screwed.
- More Kuvira complaints, why didn't she use those nifty cuff thingies? Every metalbender restrains people masterfully with them. Kuvira did it to Korra before! Not once did she think to use them to grab Korra by the ankles and wrists, hold her prone, then take her out? She's smarter than that.
- Holy platinum! That entire mech is made out of platinum? Not just the top plating, its entire outer shell, including all the joints and other internal contents? I don't think that much platinum exists, unless it's about as common in the Avatar world as a regular metal is in this one. That is an absurd amount of one of the rarest materials on earth!
- Why couldn't the metalbending characters bend through the platinum? We know the metalbenders can bend the metals used inside of the giant mech. We also know that Su and Lin are both capable of sensing materials the same way Toph was able to see, and therefore they could see through the mech while it was on the ground, so they knew they could bend the internal metals. Why didn't they systematically take out its joints and render it a statue before capturing Kuvira?
- Speaking of illogical lacks of metalbending, I'm pretty sure those hummingbirds aren't platinum. That mech is full of metalbenders. Why at no point did Kuvira send some of them to bork up the things and solve everything?
- Varrick's proposal. Again, am I the only one who felt like this was forced? I was very happy with it - they're a cute couple, they clearly value each other, and they deserve a happy ending - but at the same time, Varrick has never shown the kind of valuing of Zhu Li that would make someone leap to proposing. He certainly misses her when she "betrays" him, but is that enough to make someone propose? I know people that express affection the same way as Varrick, with appreciation of usefulness and trust with tasks rather than saying "I love you" and being romantic and all that, I'm not saying he has to act like that. But it just feels out of nowhere that he goes from "Of course I saved you. You're my assistant, I need you to clean this up!"/"I accept your apology. Now go be a good assistant and get on the assembly line!" to "I love you. Marry me!"
- Speaking of romantic things that confuse me, the ending with Korra and Asami. I've already seen people being absurdly hostile on both sides of the argument with this, so before I get started, let me make clear that I don't really get into shipping much. People go crazy for it, and that's totally fine. Whatever you enjoy. Me personally, I rarely enjoy romantic subplots, especially fanmade romantic subplots, so I don't really care about shipping. I don't have a horse in this race, I'm not some bitter Mako-Korra shipper or something.
Now then, I'm not entirely sure what to make of that ending; on the one hand, books three and four felt like they were building to Korra and Asami having a closer relationship than the rest of Team Avatar, so that made sense, and my first conclusion from it was they were presenting the two of them as a couple, which I thought was cool! Plus certain countries, Russia and China coming to mind off the top of my head, have laws against showing homosexual relationships in children's television shows. Cutting out a fifth of the world's population is not a smart thing to do, especially given A. there's a chance it could get all of Nick in trouble, not just Avatar, and B. the martial arts and asian culture in Avatar are primarily off that of China, so I'd be willing to bet that it has a pretty strong following in China, at least as far as western cartoons go.
So, with that in-mind, while I don't think that's concrete proof that it was a homosexual relationship and they just couldn't show it outright, that can certainly be a valid argument for why they didn't have a kiss or an "I love you" or something. At the same time though, since the episode aired, when talking about it with the two friends I have who A. are also fans and B. would be represented by it(A lesbian woman and a bisexual woman), neither one of them felt that it was a relationship that went beyond being a very strong, sister-like friendship, and that if it was supposed to be a same-sex relationship, it wasn't a very good representation of one. My first impressions was it was supposed to be one, but if the two people I know who have firsthand experience in romantic relationships between two women don't think it was one, I'm inclined to take their word over mine on the subject.
Then there's the fact that I don't think Asami's exactly in a healthy state of mind to make a decision like that. In the space of 24 hours, she has been almost killed multiple times in multiple ways, watched her father be crushed right in front of her not even an hour after finally repairing their relationship and entering back into each other's lives, and probably has a large helping of survivor's guilt. All of this stuff swirling around in her head so soon after the fact cannot leave her in a healthy state of mind to handle interpersonal relationships, and as someone that's been in an emotionally abusive relationship where the abuse wasn't out of malice but out of a terrible misunderstanding of the relationship borne from psychological stress and trauma, I can't help but be very uncomfortable with the idea that, if it is a relationship, she's entering into it with all that unresolved damage mentally.
Again, my first impression was that they're a couple, and if you put a gun to my head, I'd tell you that I still think it is. But I don't think it's concrete, and nor am I positive it's a healthy relationship. Not because either character is a bad person, but because Asami would have so much psychological anguish from the events of the last few episodes. I don't have an issue with this as much as I do the fact that people are going crazy on both sides and attacking each other and being generally belligerent about it, and I mostly just want to give my two cents and try and make a plea for having a level head and being civil about it, even with opposing ships.
So, yeah. I had my issues - mostly with Kuvira - but overall I really liked it. Sad there's no book five coming, but better to end on a high note than push it further