Last week we had our first Korra-free episode basically where the episode basically focused on team Avatar without the Avatar, this episode is also relatively Korra free and focuses basically on the beginning of the Avatar universe and Avatar Wan.
We are introduced to Wan almost exactly like the first time we see Aladdin, he's running away from guards to find food for himself and his friends, I kept expecting him to start singing "One jump ahead of the breadline
One swing ahead of the sword" but nope, none of that. Still it was a very nice reminder and is used to highlight the good heart that the first Avatar has.
|"One day we'll eat like the Sultan... I mean the Chus"|
It seems the first Avatar was a firebender which is a little ironic considering how they are the least spiritual of the 4 nations, then again it could just be because of the Lion Turtle granting people elemental powers, at the beginning people could only "burrow" bending for some time it seemed, well not burrow I suppose but they would return their bending power after using it. This reminded me of a quote from the Last Airbender which Aang hears when he fights Ozai.
"In the era before the Avatar, we bent not the elements, but the energy within ourselves. To bend another's energy, your own spirit must be unbendable, or you will be corrupted and destroyed."
After stealing the element of fire and being banished by his village Wan goes and starts to slowly integrate with the Spirits, it's very interesting how the two worlds were once just one world but the two sides couldn't get along due to the lack of understanding, this is to show us just how important the Avatar is as he really is the only person who can communicate effectively with both sides.
Wan eventually earns the trust of the spirits and starts to understand them more, after learning that there are more Lion Turtles in the world he decides he wants to visit them all and see the world, along his journeys Wan meets the two most important spirits in his life.
This again reminded me of Aladdin and the two genies of Jaffar and the good Genie, same colour scheme here, honestly if you ever come across two sides, one of them blue and white and the other red and black, kinda easy to tell which one you should help, instead Wan is tricked by the evil spirit named Vatu to separate the two spirits and this causes Vatu to bring evil and choas into the world. The other spirit is called Raava tells Wan how badly he messed up and tries to go and capture Vaatu again
Left alone Wan visits the other Lion Turtles and picks up the second element, Air and this is how the elemental cycle begins, as the order Wan picks up the elements is the same order every avatar masters the elements. Sadly Wan cannot hold two elements at the same time and therefore must use Raava to sort of hold whichever elements he isn't using at the time to allow him to use multiple elements.
We see the early stages of the Avatar State when Raava inhabits Wan's body for a little while he is able to use all 4 elements, sadly though he can only contain Raava for a short while and she is weakening over time due to the spreading of evil in the world.
The art this episode is very unique and like nothing we have ever seen before on Avatar, it's incredibly simple and beautiful at the same time and I really enjoyed, Wan and Raava go to duel Vaatu in something called a Harmonic conversion, this battle takes place inbetween two portals located at the south and north pole, these are the same portals that Unalog wants to open. The action sequence in the fight between Wan and Vaatu is perhaps the best we've had this season, beautiful and epic it's worth re-watching multiple times.
Wan wins of course by permanently combining with Raava and sealing Vaatu, he then separates the Spirit world from the Material world and spends the rest of his life trying to bring peace to the world.
Despite sealing Vaatu the world still has evil in it, it's something we hear a lot that there can never be good without evil and darkness without light, in his last seconds of life Raava tells Wan she will always be with him and it's through this spirit transfer that the Avatar Cycle continues, every Avatar is actually a sort of symbiote with Raava and that is how they all share the same memories and ability to use the Avatar state, this explains a lot and it was just beautiful story telling overall. This is also why dying in the Avatar State ends the cycle, as in that state it's Raava who dies as well as the person containing her.
The episode ends with Korra regaining her memories and finding out that the next Harmonic Conversion is almost here and she must seal the portals before that happens.
This episode sure gave us a lot to think about for the future but a few things do seem quite likely to me.
1- It's clear that Vatu is being released somehow or at least the seal around him is weakening as it's mentioned a lot how the Spirits are going crazy and that is probably due to his influence spreading a lot.
2- Vatu will remember losing to the first Avatar and due to that he will posses a human and use him the same way Raava used Wan, my bet is it's going to be Unalog who gets possesed. This becomes somewhat more obvious when you remember the second episode this season and the Avatar that Jinora saw, notice the markings on him and how they seem to resemble Vatu.
3- Hopefully we'll see the fire nation royal family soon, I think Korra will still be going to the for help.
Wow was this an incredible episode, very similar to " The Avatar and the Firelord" which explains so much of the history and backstory of the Avatar world, Wan is such an awesome character and while it's sad we only had 2 episodes with him they were fantastic episodes that gave us a very story drive action packed hour and for that I give " The beginning" a 5 out of 5 and hope we somehow see Wan again.