Now some people love The Legend of Korra, others detest it, but the verdict on the most recent 2-Part Episode, Beginnings, seems to be unanimous: This is something we’ve been waiting for, for a very long time.
After about a minute of Korra not knowing who she is, this episode is quick to get to the point, that we are finally going to see Wan, the first Avatar ever.
The “flashback” to The Avatar’s First Life takes up a good 90% of the 2-parter, which is great because many of us were expecting a lot of intercutting between this story and what the other characters are doing.
Wan is a young man, I’d guess about 20, who is tired of being a commoner living under fear of the upper class Aristocracy. So he takes matters into his own hands and borrows Fire Bending from a Lion Turtle to stage a Coup De Grace. After learning what Wan did, the Lion Turtle banished Wan to the spirit forest letting him keep Fire.
Wan eventually makes friends with the spirits, is given the other three elements (which no human has ever been given), and fuses with the Great Spirit of Light to create The Avatar State and Spirit Bending to seal away the Great Spirit of Dark.
So yeah, Wan’s a badass, we got his life story in about 40 minutes, and he is easily one of the best characters in the franchise.
My ONLY issue with Beginnings is that now we have a discontinuity. In “Avatar Book Three” we are told that before the Avatar existed, people would use Spirit Bending as their primary weapon, yet no one in this episode did so, and Wan is heavily implied to have invented the technique.
That one small issue aside, I rank Beginnings as the best episode in The Legend of Korra both Book One AND Book Two so far.
I would even go as far as to call it on-par with some of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s best episodes, up there with The Blue Spirit, The Crossroads of Destiny, Zuko Alone, and Sokka’s Master.
I give this episode a 9.5/10.