Why Legend of Korra Season 3 Is Its Best Season So Far — Nerd Girl Corner

20120505230717!The_Legend_of_Korra_opening_logoThe finale of Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra, Book 3: Change is officially online, and it quite possibly synched this season as being its best Season thus far and possibly in the entire franchise.

I will be the first person to admit, that Legend of Korra Book 2: Spirits (Season 2) left me seemingly underwhelmed, but this latest season has definitely raised the bar by meeting quite a few of my expectations and exceeding a few others. Let’s dig in:

Note: This article is filled with tons of spoilery goodness. Please read at your own discretion… or hop on to Black Girl Nerds for my spoiler-free version. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Korra’s screw up at the end of Season 2, which ultimately had me feeling like she was the world’s worst Avatar ever, actually made the perfect intro to what would be a great Season 3. Korra decision to let the spirits roam free has caused major infrastructure damage to Republic City, which has caused the President of RC to think of Korra as a nuisance. Her attempts are rectifying the problem are a lost cause and because she’s unable to call on her past Avatar lives for help, she’s officially screwed. In addition, the harmonic convergence led to one of this Season’s villain’s, the philosopher Zaheer, to become an air bender and he uses his new talent to its fullest extent to make for a sexy breakout.

Speaking of Zaheer’s breakout, one of the best things Book 3 has offered has been the insane bending. The breakout scenes for Ghazan (the lava-bending earth bender), Ming-Hua (the double-amputee water bender), P’Li (the combustion fire bender), and Zaheer were impeccable — between the matter in which they were imprisoned, to their manner of escape, this Season was a feast for the eyes.

Another beautiful theme that made this season better than the others, has to be the resurgence of  the core of the original Avatar. We got to see Team Avatar (Mako, Bolin, Korra, Asami, Tenzin, and Lin Beifong) travel to new locales across their fantastical world, helping others along the way, which brought back an essence that was lost in both Season 1 (Book: Air) and Season 2 (Book 2: Spirits) and made the show all the better for it. With Team Avatar’s travels, there were more complex battles to be won, and its these struggles are what gives Season 3 its edge.

Where as in Book 1: Air, the big bad was Amon, and “Spirits” the villain was Korra’s uncle, Unalaq, this season we had more than one forces working against Korra. The new ruler of the Earth Kingdom, the Earth Queen, is no friend to the Avatar and deems her an enemy against the state when Korra frees the air benders from her corrupt clutches. Additionally, Korra has to combat the newly-reformed Red Lotus, whose plan of anarchy looks like a harrowing reality in part to their ruthless methods. Reestablishing the air nomad society is another problem within itself — one that Korra tries to tackle and ultimately hands off to Tenzin — oh, and then there’s Korra’s inability to know what to do because, well, she has no real spiritual guidance.

Aside from the over-arching difficulties, there are the personal ones. Coupled with Korra’s problems, are Lin’s strained relationship with her sister, Suyin, Tenzin’s determination to make the air nomads great again, and Bolin’s need to unlock his untapped potential. The way in which each character handles their own internal struggle makes for great character development, and their interaction with the new (and old) characters this season makes the story even more rich.While the Red Lotus were clearly the villains to beat this season, they were somehow likable. The manner in which they attacked each of there fights against Team Avatar was amazing, and you couldn’t help but be astonished at their sheer determination and tact. Asami and Korra’s budding friendship does wonders for the feminine prowess on the show, and Jinora’s budding romance for street urchin-turned-air bender Kai brings a little light-heartedness to the intense situation.

With the light, comes the dark and this Season’s biggest edge over the others has to be its more adult themes and dark tones. The season touched on various political ideals, including the Red Lotus’s anarchist agenda to restore true balance to the world. In order to achieve their goal, the Red Lotus would have to snuff out the world leaders, including the Avatar, and in one scene we see them do just that. This is probably the first time we’d ever seen an on-screen murder on the show, and the manner in which it was done was both chilling and spellbinding.

But what ultimately synched Season 3 as the best Season of the franchise has the be the bitter-sweet two-episode Season 3 finale (“Enter the Void”/”Venom of the Red Lotus”). After Tenzin endures a cruel beating by the Red Lotus, most of the hope is lost by our Team Avatar, even after they create a bonafide plan to recapture the air nomads out of the Red Lotus’ possession and take down the crew. It’s at this point, that much like the epic four-part series finale of Avatar (Book 3: Fire, “Sozin’s Comet”), each of the members of Team Avatar squares off with the Red Lotus in a do-or-die battle. Relationships are mended, untapped potential is realized, there’s bending galore, another gruesome on-screen death, and Team Avatar makes out in the last second, but there are dire repercussions that make the show more human than it has ever been before. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but for some of the characters, there’s tons of lingering doubt.

Whereas last season, when I watched each new episode out of routine, this season I watched longing to know what was going to happen next, and literally putting my hands over my eyes for fear that Korra and her team were going to fall ten steps back. This time there was an added element to it that made it all worth my incessant fangirling over the trailer worth every second of it. I wanted to cry. In the same way that I wanted to cry when watching Avatar come to an end, but this time, it was different. The aftermath touched me to the core as there was much to rejoice over as much as there was much to be uncertain of. I felt invested in Korra. She had redeemed herself in more ways that one and for the first time since ever seeing Korra, I wanted to thank her for doing her best.

My only gripe would have to be the fact that we didn’t get more of a backstory for the members of the Red Lotus, but for their short tenure, they definitely left their mark.

It wouldn’t be fair to me to leave out the artwork and artistry in writing as a contributing factor to this season, so I must add that all of it accounted for this season being great. For that, I thank creators, Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko for really pushing the envelope this season. I commend them, thank them for making riveting animated TV, and its my sincerest hope that they continue to astound us again on Legend of Korra Book 4.

For a review of Legend of Korra Book 3: Change finale “Enter the Void”/”Venom of the Red Lotus” read what Complex had to say

Did you watch the Legend of Korra Book 3: Change finale? What did you think? Let’s talk about it in the comments or chat on Twitter

What I’m Diggin’ and What You Should Be Diggin’ Too: ’90s Girl Groups [Music Edition]

‘Alo ladies and gents! I’m back at it again, and this time I’m taking you down memory lane. That’s right, we’re taking a trip to the musical time of the ’90s.

Now, I understand that some of you were just wee babies in the early ’90s, or some of you were too young to comprehend the greatness that was happening at the time because you were busy working on your Kindergarten finger paint masterpieces, but guess what? The ’90s is one of my favorite decades when it comes to music. The talent was OFF THE CHARTS, with people actually hitting high notes and not using that blasphemous auto-tune nonsense to make things sound better.

Furthermore, female girl groups were still all the rage in the ’90s before silly shows like Popstars and Making the Band made a mockery of them with the infusion of reality TV. And as of late, I’ve been feeling pretty nostalgic for music of my youth, what with a lot of the ladies growing older and turning to reality TV for relevancy. Sigh.

So, who made the cut for me? I have to say this was really hard because there’s sooooooo many good groups out there. But, being that this is a short listicle (so I won’t run off at the mouth), I turned up the following:

Total

What I Love About Them: When I first heard Total, it was at the height of Bad Boys Records, when the Notorious B.I.G. was running things, Puff Daddy was holding it all together. The year was 1995 and the song was “Can’t You See.” Biggie did the intro with his unforgettable rap (the first one I was probably allowed to listen to), and the video featured the three singers — Kima, Keisha, and Pam — dancing on a smoky roof top. These women had (what is now called) swag and you had to have swag if you were rolling with Puffy and Biggie. This is what I loved most about them. Their swagger and ability to turn hard hip-hop beats into a foundation for their melodious vocals definitely made them a staple in the ’90s and if they weren’t featured on a rapper’s single (see: L.L. Cool J’s “Loungin’/Who Do U Love?”), they had rappers with serious flow on their hits. 

Like most things of the ’90s, the ladies weren’t able to sustain their place in hip hop with the wave of pop music and solo artists flooding in, but they totally left a mark.

Tracks to Listen to: “Can’t You See,” “Kissing You,” “What About Us,” “Trippin,” “Sittin’ Home” 

Brownstone

What I Love About Them: If you figure that these ladies were signed to Michael Jackson’s MJJ record label, then you know that there’s some serious talent behind them. With Nikki Gilbert murdering almost every song with her lead vocals, Maxee Maxwell dropping super-high notes all over the place, and Mimi Doby coming in the clutch to blend out their seriously amazing harmonies, it was truly a tragedy to see the group fade into a somewhat obscurity after only a few years (and a switch up in the lineup). 

Tracks to Listen to: If You Love Me,” “I Can’t Tell You Why,” “Grapevyne,” ” 5 Miles to Empty

SWV

What I Love About Them: Let’s be serious: there isn’t a person that you know who doesn’t know the lyrics to SWV’s classic hit, “Weak.” Why? Because as timeless as things get, that song is definitely it. Their name really explains it all: Sisters With Voices. SWV was the group with the feel-good hits. They had a song for when you were sad, when you were happy, when you wanted to get it on (and told your man what to do, he he), and for when you just wanted to jam in the summer, sitting on your stoop on a cool night. Unfortunately tension between the members grew to such a pitch, that they had to just call it quits, but the ladies are making the rounds on the nostalgia circuit and are attempting a comeback (all on reality TV, of course). 

Tracks to Listen to: “Weak,” “Anything,” “Downtown,” “Rain,” “Can We,” “If Only You Knew

En Vogue

What I Love About Them: You can’t talk about girl groups of the ’90s and not mention En Vogue. Let’s face it, En Vogue was the Destiny’s Child of the early ’90s except for the small fact that each lady could (and did) sing lead vocals at any and almost every chance they could. Granted, there were some disparities when it came to certain songs, but the fact of the matter is that these ladies killed — no, murdered every single track they released. It was quite possibly impossible for En Vogue to sound bad. The harmonies, the solos, the hooks, the choruses, the music was just so well executed that these ladies deserve a place not only in best girl group of the ’90s, but of all time. 

Sadly, the ladies couldn’t all get along. It got to the point where they actually split up and created different En Vogue groups (much like how there  were like 10 Temptation groups). Truly a sad demise to such a great group. Hopefully the women will one day realize that their talent is too great to waste on squabbling. 

Tracks to Listen to: Hold On,” “My Lovin’ (Never Gonna Get It),” “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” “Don’t Let Go,” “Free Your Mind

Honorable Mentions…

TLC

What I Love About Them: They were the highest selling girl group of all time. How could they not make the cut, right? They weren’t at all about showing off vocal acrobatics, but they had tons of energy and their songs were usually fun. If anything, they were socially conscious speaking on any and everything from safe sex, STDs, risky living, body image, and personal relationships. I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of much of the music they were pushing out when the 2000’s came around, and things weren’t at all the same when Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes died, but you can’t deny that these girls were all the rage in their hayday. 

Tracks to Listen to:Baby-Baby-Baby,” “What About Your Friends,””Creep” “Waterfalls,” “Diggin’ on You” “

Xscape

What I Love About Them: Surprise! T.I.’s wife Tiny actually sang before jumping on the reality TV bandwagon, and she did it well. Along with fellow bandmate-turned-reality star Kandi Burruss, and two other members (LaTocha and Tamika Scott), Tiny made some great music. While LaTocha usually took the lead on the vocals (because she had the major pipes in the group), the other guys definitely added flavor to their Atlanta-based group and picked up a few Grammy Awards for it. Unfortunately, the “Girl Group Curse” hit these ladies hard with tension between singing lead and rumors splitting them apart for good. But they definitely gave tons of songs to chill to in the ’90s and was featured on one of my favorite ’90s MC Lyte hits (“Keep On Keepin’ On)

Tracks to Listen to: My Little Secret,” “Feels So Good,” “Understanding,” “Who Can I Run To,” “Softest Place on Earth” 

Zhane

What I Love About Them: Here was two women… killing it with the vibes. Their music was always something to just bump to or vibe with and with minimal production. Their harmonies are some of the best I’ve listened too, and the best way to describe their sound was “chill.”  To this day, I can’t hear “Hey Mr. D.J.” without jamming out. 

Tracks to Listen to: Hey Mr. D.J.” “Groove Thang,” “Sending My Love,” “Shame

Now, of course there were other notable groups of the ’90s — Jade (“Don’t Walk Away“), The Braxtons (“So Many Ways“), 702 (“Steelo”), and eventually Destiny’s Child (“No No No“) to say the least. I think it’s safe to say that the ’90s definitely delivered when it came to collective female vocals. Sadly a great deal of these groups couldn’t stand the test of time, but thank goodness we have their music to keep us going!

Feeling my list of my ’90s Girl Groups? Talk about it in the comments or let’s chat about it on Twitter