|"Let go of your attachment to who you think you are, and connect with your inner spirit."|
|— Tenzin to Korra.|
"Light in the Dark" is the 14th and final episode of Book Two: Spirits of The Legend of Korra, and the 26th episode of the overall series. It was released on Nick.com on November 16, 2013, and aired on Nickelodeon on November 22, 2013. It was paired with "Darkness Falls" on both platforms to form the second episode of a two-part season finale.
Having lost Raava, Korra has given up until Tenzin suggests she try connecting with her own spirit as a way to defeat Unalaq. While meditating in the Tree of Time, she is able to tap into the energy of the universe, creating a towering astral projection of herself. Using the spirit lights to travel to Republic City, she reignites her fight with Unalaq, who has besieged the city. After an intervention by Jinora's spirit, who brings Raava's residual light back into the world and reforms the light spirit within the Dark Avatar, Korra manages to extract Raava from him, before using his own spiritbending technique to dissipate the Dark Avatar. Korra returns to the Spirit World, where she uses the last of the energy from Harmonic Convergence to permanently merge with Raava once again, although the restoration of the Avatar Spirit fails to reconnect her with her past lives. Korra chooses to leave the spirit portals open, heralding the beginning of a new era in which spirits and mankind can coexist and move freely between the spirit and physical worlds.
As the metalbending police patrol the skies around Republic City in airships and the United Forces navy guards Yue Bay, the Dark Avatar, having grown into an immense dark spirit, splashes down in the water before them. Both forces attempt to combat Unalaq and Vaatu, but the monstrous spirit easily defeats both forces; advancing on the statue of Avatar Aang, he dislodges it from its base and topples it into the bay. He shoots down the airship carrying President Raiko and Lin Beifong with a massive energy blast; both of them escape the falling airship and watch from a rooftop as the towering spirit fills the parts of the city closest to him with large, destructive vines.
As the attack unfolds, Varrick exercises in his luxurious prison cell, as Zhu Li reads a book, listening to radio coverage of the attack. As he bends down, a number of vines burst through the wall of his cell; unfazed by the near miss, he walks over to the hole, places goggles over his eyes, and tells Zhu Li to "commence 'Operation Winged Freedom'". His assistant promptly puts on a glider pack; she jumps on Varrick's back, and Varrick leaps from the cell, yelling at Zhu Li to "do the thing" as Zhu Li opens the wings of the glider. They soar over the rooftops of the city, escaping together.
Meanwhile, Tenzin, Kya, and Bumi find Korra, Mako, and Bolin unresponsive and carry them back into the Spirit World, where Kya is able to heal them in a pool of spirit water. When they awaken, Korra reveals that Unalaq has destroyed Raava, severing her connection to her previous lives and effectively making her the last Avatar. While Korra grieves over her loss, Kya encourages Tenzin to help her. The airbender imparts to her the wisdom Aang shared with him: just as Aang showed Tenzin that he was more than just the son of Aang, Tenzin encourages Korra, telling her that she is more than just the counterpart of Raava. He states that she has power beyond the Avatar Spirit and urges her to follow him to the Tree of Time.
Inside the cavernous center of the tree, Tenzin explains that before it held Vaatu, it was used by the ancients, who would connect with the cosmic energy of the universe by meditating within it. Korra sees her memories projected by the tree, and Tenzin explains that the tree "remembers all". Tenzin explains to Korra that she is not defined by Raava, but by her "inner spirit", one of a strong and unyielding nature, as well as his ability to defends the helpless. As the tree projects visions of Avatar Wan, Tenzin uses him as an example: Wan was a normal person before fusing with Raava, but he became a legend because of his character, not because of Raava's influence. The two then see an image of Unalaq assaulting Republic City, and Tenzin encourages Korra to connect to the energy of the universe by bending the energy within herself. Korra thanks him for not giving up on her.
Korra spots memories of Raava explaining to Wan the nature of light and darkness — that one cannot exist without the other and that should either Vaatu or Raava be destroyed, either spirit would eventually be reborn inside the other. With this knowledge, Korra meditates and energybends her spirit out of her body to form a giant astral projection of herself and transports herself to Republic City using the spirit lights.
Back in Republic City, Unavaatu continues to lay waste, until Korra's spirit suddenly appears in the sky, slamming directly into him and hurling him backward in the bay. He rises from the water and unleashes an energy blast; however, Korra summons a beam of her own and overpowers him, blasting him back again. Finally, Unavaatu tries to subdue Korra with his tendrils, but Korra turns his weapon against him, using them to reel him in even closer; stunning him with a blow under the chin, she picks him up, throws him into a nearby mountain, and pins him down. Korra frantically searches for Raava inside his body, but she finds nothing; becoming disheartened, Unavaatu entangles her with his tendrils, proclaiming that the light spirit is gone, and strikes her with a close-ranged energy blast.
In the Spirit World, a horde of dark spirits advance toward the Tree of Time. Mako realizes that they have come for Korra's defenseless body, and Team Avatar attempts to repel them. As a dark spirit catches Bolin by the leg and begins to drag him away, it is destroyed by Desna and Eska, who have come to aid them, with Desna remarking, "I am so done with spirits."
Unavaatu, having stunned Korra with another energy blast, begins corrupting Korra's spirit using spiritbending. As the dark energy nearly engulfs her, a bright light falls from the sky, prompting Unavaatu to stop momentarily. Ikki, watching the battle from Air Temple Island with her mother and brother, peers through a telescope to see that the light is Jinora. Pema, taking the telescope to be sure, loudly cheers for her to be careful. The spiritual projection of Jinora holds a small orb of gathered spiritual energy, and as Vaatu watches, she releases it, showering her surroundings in a brilliant glow. Shielding his eyes, Unavaatu's concentration breaks, freeing Korra's spirit, and a small orb of light appears deep inside Unavaatu.
Korra, realizing that it is Raava, beats Unalaq into submission and rips the light spirit from his chest, weakening him; while he is staggered, Korra spiritbends Unavaatu. With a final cry of despair, the Dark Avatar is defeated, and his form disintegrates into a cloud of golden energy. Raava, now freed, warns Korra that Harmonic Convergence is almost over and that they must reunite before it ends. Korra's spirit gathers Raava and Jinora in her hands and leaves Republic City by jumping up toward the spirit lights, heading back to the Spirit World.
Meanwhile, Team Avatar, even with the help of Eska and Desna, are pushed back by the frenzied dark spirits into the Tree of Time in a desperate attempt to protect Korra's still-unconscious body. In a flash of light, Korra's astral projection appears from the overlapped spirit portals, dissipating the spirits as she lands on them. Korra's projection releases Raava and Jinora, and the young airbender's spirit floats toward her father, stating that she will see him again soon before dissipating. Jinora's spirit returns to her physical body, and she finds herself in the Southern Water Tribe compound with Katara, Asami, Tonraq, and Senna; she informs them that their allies are safe and that Korra has saved the world.
Korra's projection dissipates as well, and when her spirit has completely returned to her body, Korra emerges from the Tree of Time. Raava floats by Korra, prompting the Avatar to jump on, and they rise to meet the overlapping spirit portals. Seconds before the portals separate, Korra touches the energy beam, merging herself and Raava to recreate the Avatar Spirit. The spirit lights covering the planet disappear as Korra lowers herself to the ground. Her friends run to her, congratulating her on her success, and Korra apologizes to Desna and Eska for failing to save their father. To her surprise, her cousins state that they will not miss their father due to his misdeeds, calling him a "deplorable man" but wonders how they will explain it to their mother. Bolin joins the twins, inviting Eska to move to Republic City to be with him. When Eska refuses, he decides that Desna could join them, too, but the Water Tribe princess declines again, explaining that she and her brother must return home. She tells Bolin that he "will always hold a special place in the organ that pumps [her] blood" and says goodbye to her "turtle duck".
As Tenzin and Korra walk to the Northern portal, the former asks the Avatar if she has had her connection to her past lives restored. Korra sadly concludes that she believes that link to be gone forever. As she moves to close the portal, she hesitates, wondering if Unalaq had been right to believe that humans and spirits needed to live together. When she asks Tenzin for his thoughts on the matter, Tenzin expresses his faith in Korra's own judgment, telling her that, as the Avatar, she has the power and ability to decide for herself.
Back in Wolf Cove, Korra and Mako talk privately at the Southern palace. He confesses the truth about their fight, and Korra admits that being in the Tree of Time brought that part of her memory back to her, though wonders why he had lied in the first place. Mako explains that he kept the fight a secret because he did not want to hurt her again and that he wished it had never happened. She replies that they have different goals in their lives and that their relationship will never work. They share one final kiss and express that they will always love each other.
Korra delivers a speech in front of her countrymen, announcing that the Water Tribe Civil War has officially ended and declares that the Southern Water Tribe is now independent from the North, but that the tribes will remain allies. She continues to say that the Council of Elders has voted Tonraq to be the tribe's new chief and that she has left both portals open so humans and spirits can live harmoniously. She asserts that though she renounces the Avatar's status as the bridge between spirits and humanity, she will continue to use Raava's light spirit to bring peace and balance. She ends her speech by stating that the shift in the planet's energy due to the Harmonic Convergence has ushered the world into a new age, as spirits of various forms and colors roam the skies above.
- Written by:
- Directed by:
- Janet Varney - Korra
- David Faustino - Mako
- P. J. Byrne - Bolin
- J. K. Simmons - Tenzin
- Adrian LaTourelle:
- Seychelle Gabriel - Asami
- Jeff Bennett - Radio broadcaster
- Richard Riehle - Bumi
- Aubrey Plaza - Eska
- Aaron Himelstein - Desna
- Lisa Edelstein - Kya
- John Michael Higgins - Varrick
- Mindy Sterling - Beifong
- Kiernan Shipka - Jinora
- Also starring:
- Korra's vision of her spiritual self in space is the same as Aang had when he was opening his chakras in order to gain control over the Avatar State in "The Guru".
- Tenzin telling Korra to bend not the elements, but her own energy, mirrors the advice that the lion turtle gave Aang in "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang".
- Bolin's declaration of love to Eska after she saves him from a dark spirit mirrors his declaration to Mako upon being saved from an Equalist in "The Revelation", right down to his hand gestures.
- Korra's speech to the Southern Water Tribe about her role as the Avatar mirrors Wan's at the end of "Beginnings, Part 2".
- When Bumi carries Mako and Bolin through the spirit portal, Mako's gloves disappear.
- While Korra is meditating inside the Tree of Time, her position changes.
- On November 15, 2013, Korra Nation challenged fans to reblog a short video posted by Janet Varney on their Tumblr ten thousand times within twelve hours of its posting; if they did so, "Light in the Dark" and "Darkness Falls" would be available on Nick.com at midnight that same night. The task was completed by Korra fans within two hours, thus prompting the unlocking of the episodes.
- The large-scale battle between Korra's astral projection and the Dark Avatar evokes movies such as Clash of the Titans, Pacific Rim, and Godzilla.
- The section of the theme "Jinora's Light" that plays as Korra meditates and forms her astral projection is itself a variation on the short piece that plays at the beginning of Azula and Zuko's Agni Kai during "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno".
- When Mako, Tenzin, Kya, and Bolin are trying to ward off the frenzied spirits, they bend the elements in the order in which they appear in the Avatar Cycle: fire (lightning), air, water, and earth, respectively.
- This is the first episode of The Legend of Korra in which Katara appears without any lines and the second overall after "Appa's Lost Days".
- The title is a callback to Unalaq's advice to Korra in "The Southern Lights" on how to open the Southern spirit portal.
- When animating the shot of Korra flying through the spirit lights, Studio Mir based it off provided visual reference from the "Star Gate" sequence in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- The clash in light and color between UnaVaatu and Korra's energy beams was a visual callback to the individual fights Aang and Zuko had with Ozai and Azula respectively in the series finale for Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Given the vague nature of Mako and Asami's breakup in "Skeletons in the Closet", the creators decided to have Korra and Mako's breakup be more definitive in its delivery.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Dos Santos, Joaquim & Zuckerman, Jeremy (July 1, 2014). "Light in the Dark" commentary. Book Two: Spirits Blu-ray.
- Korra Nation on Tumblr (November 15, 2013). Here's our big news, straight from Janet Varney!. Tumblr. Retrieved on November 17, 2013.
- Bryan Konietzko on Tumblr (November 15, 2013). Well, that escalated quickly.. Tumblr. Retrieved on November 15, 2013.
- Christopher John Farley (November 15, 2013). 'Legend of Korra' Creators Talk About Book 2 'Spirits' Finale and Book 3 'Change'. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved on November 28, 2013.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Dos Santos, Joaquim & Zuckerman, Jeremy (December 2, 2014). "Venom of the Red Lotus" commentary. Book Three: Change Blu-ray.
- Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (May 26, 2006). "The Chase". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.