Ranking The Legend of Korra Seasons: No. 3, 'Spirits'

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Last week, I stated why Book 4: Balance was the weakest of the Legend of Korra seasons. It was too expository and never showed us the extent of Kuvira's oppression.

It's time for part two of this analysis. Warning: There are spoilers for those who haven't watched the show but are interested in doing so.

Book 2 seamlessly added an origin story for the Avatar. This was done well, and "Beginnings" is the best episode of the season.

It gave the Avatar universe its own mythos, and the writers established that the franchise isn't just two cartoon series, but a living world with a complete history.

The introduction of Varrick also made the season enjoyable. He had a chaotic neutral alignment in the show--a crazed businessman out for his own profit.

The way his arc ended in the season fit his persona, and it showed that--even though he nearly plunged an entire nation into civil war--he was still likable.

It is this that puts Book 2 ahead of Balance on the hierarchy of Legend of Korra seasons. There are, however, flaws in Spirits that hinder its potential. In this case, it's Unulaq. Book 1: Air gave us Amon, who was mysterious and terrifying enough to rival Fire Lord Ozai as the kingpin evildoer in the Avatar universe.

Unulaq, despite the show's intentions, wasn't enigmatic: The writers tried to mystify his role at the beginning of the season. He first appeared to be Korra's new mentor who would help her better understand spirits--a task Tenzin couldn't fulfill.

But the writers didn't fool anybody; Unulaq had the long features of an archetypal Disney villain. He's the Jafar of the Avatar universe; his villainous nature was obvious, and his motivation was illogical.

He was upset by the fact that people had lost touch with spirits--a valid criticism due to the fact that Korra left the spirit portals open at the end of the season. But his method to fix that problem was questionable. His villainous nature was forced, and he quickly devolved into a cliche villain who just wanted to destroy the world for power. This worked for Fire Lord Ozai because he would have benefitted from his goals had he succeeded; he would have sat atop the world as the Phoenix King. But Unulaq had nothing to gain from his goals.

He would have ushered in a new age where there would be nothing but evil spirits. This clashed with what he preached throughout the season, which was balance.

Perhaps Vaatu corrupted him, and he lost sight of his original vision--becoming a pawn for the embodiment of darkness. If this was the case, the writers didn't make it clear enough.

Spirits fleshed out the Avatar universe in unprecedented ways. But it didn't give a good enough motive for the villain. Because of this, it earns the number three spot on the countdown.