It hasn’t been a good year for series finales of long-running TV shows. Sons of Anarchy and True Blood, both of which were running on unearned borrowed time, ended with obvious symbolism and “horrible ending” replies, while Boardwalk Empire fared slightly better, though it too often concerned itself with things we already knew. But even if its competition wasn’t a pack of duds, I feel confident saying that The Legend of Korra would have the best finale in most years.
The subversive Avatar: The Last Airbender spinoff was way too good for Nickelodeon (which, ironically, often treated it like crap): Korra was smart, gorgeously animated, funny, philosophical, and featured some of the best fight scenes I’ve ever seen on television. It also dealt with adult themes: characters died on-screen and oh yeah, the show ended with the confirmation of a lesbian/bisexual relationship. I don’t remember that ever happening on CatDog.
Spoilers. Co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino explained the finale on his blog:
Our intention with the last scene was to make it as clear as possible that yes, Korra and Asami have romantic feelings for each other. The moment where they enter the spirit portal symbolizes their evolution from being friends to being a couple. Many news outlets, bloggers, and fans picked up on this and didn’t find it ambiguous. For the most part, it seems like the point of the scene was understood and additional commentary wasn’t really needed from Bryan [Konietzko] or me. But in case people were still questioning what happened in the last scene, I wanted to make a clear verbal statement to complement the show’s visual one. I get that not everyone will be happy with the way that the show ended. Rarely does a series finale of any show satisfy that show’s fans, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the positive articles and posts I’ve seen about Korra’s finale. (Via)
Bryan Konietzko added:
I have bragging rights as the first Korrasami shipper (I win!). As we wrote Book 1, before the audience had ever laid eyes on Korra and Asami, it was an idea I would kick around the writers’ room. At first we didn’t give it much weight, not because we think same-sex relationships are a joke, but because we never assumed it was something we would ever get away with depicting on an animated show for a kids network in this day and age.
We did it for all our queer friends, family, and colleagues. It is long overdue that our media (including children’s media) stops treating non-heterosexual people as nonexistent, or as something merely to be mocked. I’m only sorry it took us so long to have this kind of representation in one of our stories.
He also wrote about their back-and-forth with Nick about the ending.
We approached the network and while they were supportive there was a limit to how far we could go with it, as just about every article I read accurately deduced. It was originally written in the script over a year ago that Korra and Asami held hands as they walked into the spirit portal. We went back and forth on it in the storyboards, but later in the retake process I staged a revision where they turned towards each other, clasping both hands in a reverential manner, in a direct reference to Varrick and Zhu Li’s nuptial pose.
They’re here, it’s canon, get used to it.