The stars had aligned for what could have been the best episode of the season thus far, and ‘A New Spiritual Age’ delivered without question. In some instances, the episode exceeded expectations mostly because it delivered in ways that no one could have seen coming. The inclusion of Wan Shi Tong, Professor Zei and Uncle Iroh were all throwbacks to the original series and they made ‘A New Spiritual Age’ one of the most memorable ‘Korra’ episodes to date.
The episode opens with the clip Nickelodeon released just a few days ago. Tenzin is worried sick about his daughter, as expected, and he decides to take the first watch to ensure that Korra and Jinora’s bodies are safe during their Spirit World journey. I initially expected ‘A New Spiritual Age’ to focus on the development of Tenzin and his sibling while also showing the Spirit World journey, but I’m glad the episode focused exclusively on Korra and Jinora.
Right from the get-go, Korra’s aggressive personality gets her into trouble with the Spirits. It results in Korra and Jinora being separated which allows the episode to cover a lot more ground than expected. Both Korra and Jinora’s side of the story were well done and they each included elements of throwback that were nice to see.
It’s all obviously opinion, but I thought the element of throwback included in Korra’s side of the story was a tad bit more exciting, and I think you know what I’m talking about.
While Jinora is lost in another part of the Spirit World, Korra finds herself in even more trouble with several more frightening Spirits. This was when the symbolism of the episode settled in: from there until the last few scenes of the episode, Korra is portrayed as a child to represent her inexperience and anxiety of being alone in the Spirit World.
Out of fear, Korra accidentally injures a dragon Spirit and carries it with her as she attempts to find a way out of the forest. As Korra travels, she sees a man with a lantern walking towards her way. The infamous Tsungi Horn score is played; Uncle Iroh returns to give guidance one last time.
Aside from the fact that this was nostalgic beyond belief, the inclusion of Uncle Iroh was a brilliant way to develop the spiritual side of Korra. Iroh teaches Korra how her emotions become her reality in the Spirit World; remaining positive is key.
Korra learns that sometimes solving someone else’s problems will end up being a resolution of her own. Korra sets out to return the baby Dragon to its nest, and with that, Iroh’s role in the episode concludes.
So it turns out Avatar Roku was correct after all, “Some friendships are so strong, they can even transcend lifetimes.”
While Korra’s role in the episode allowed her character to develop, Jinora’s role in the episode allowed the plot to progress tremendously.
While Korra is having tea with Uncle Iroh, Jinora is convinced that Korra is waiting for her at the Spirit Portals. She eventually finds her bunny Spirit friend, Furry Foot, who flies her to the Spirit Library. Jinora’s interaction with Wan Shi Tong was probably the most humorous moment out of any ‘Korra’ episode thus far.
Wan Shi Tong eventually lets Jinora in and the foxes help her find a book depicting the whereabouts of the Spirit Portals. It isn’t long before Unalaq shows up besides Wan Shi Tong to reveal that Jinora had been a victim of trickery.
That’s what I call a plot twist: unexpected, shocking and absolutely well done. What’s almost sickening is the fact that poor Jinora can’t even defend herself because she didn’t enter the Spirit World through one of the Spirit Portals.
When Korra returns the baby dragon Spirit to its nest, it combines with three other baby dragon Spirits to form the golden dragon Spirit we saw in the Book 2 trailer. Korra hops on the back of the dragon, returns to her teenage form and flies out to the Spirit Portals.
As she walks to close the Southern Portal, Vaatu tells Korra to reconsider if she ever wants to see Jinora again. After seeing the whole storyline between Vaatu, Raava and Wan play out, it was a bit ominous to see Vaatu having a conversation with Korra. It just had this eerie feel to it that made Vaatu seem genuinely scary.
Unalaq comes in and essentially threatens to take Jinora’s soul unless Korra opens the Northern Portal. Korra complies out of fear, but is quickly reminded how twisted Unalaq really is. Furry Feat, who now works for Unalaq, grabs Jinora and flies her away. Korra tries to save her but Unalaq attacks Korra and nearly takes her soul.
Fortunately for Korra, the golden dragon Spirit swoops in, knocks over Unalaq (which was hilarious) and saves Korra from losing her soul. Iroh truly is a wise man.
Korra awakens from the Spirit World and apologizes to Tenzin. When Tenzin sees that Jinora has not awoken from the Spirit World, he questions what happened to his daughter in a fearful manner and the episode ends.
This is what I’ve been waiting for from Book 2. This is what I expected from the start. I, personally, enjoyed ‘A New Spiritual Age’ more than ‘Beginnings – Part 1 & 2’ and I can’t wait to see how next week’s one hour special follows up.
The way this episode developed the plot so quickly was unexpected. The portrayal of Wan Shi Tong and his library was well done. And finally, the inclusion of Uncle Iroh and the development of Korra knocked it out of the park.
Bravo, Mike & Bryan. Bravo, indeed.