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This is an unapologetic look at the plot holes created by "Beginnings" parts 1 & 2. By decree of Neo, no one is obligated to defend any item on this list.
If you feel something is in error, it's up to you to make a case for it in the comments. (Since the blog is old as shit, the comments closed ages ago, but I suppose you could hit me up on my Talk Page if you really feel like it). If I your answer makes logical sense without assumptions or the creation of new holes, then I will strike that item from the list, with the appropriate explanation. If not, I will just ignore it. If you want to suggest a plot hole, feel free to do that as well. This list is not necessarily comprehensive & is likely to be updated several times.
3/22/16: Since this is linked to in my Genetics of Bending FAQ, which still gets circulated a lot, I thought this page was in DRASTIC need of an update. A lot of things I was mad about when the episode originally aired have had at least implied answers since then. They're not perfect, but I'm more willing to forgive them now, & more importantly if I'm going to keep tossing these out I want them to have accurate information.
Part 1: Fu-sion-HA!
The big one, how did Rava & Wan fuse? It was explained by this episode itself that a Spirit who possesses a human for too long kills the human. To resolve this, they just throw in some thing about touching the Harmonic Convergence that explains absolutely nothing at all. They failed to adequately resolve a problem that they unnecessarily introduced in this episode in the first place.
Okay, so ignoring how the fusion started, where did it go? In other words, why hasn't this Rava spirit ever conferred knowledge unto the Avatar before? Think of how much easier Aang's job would have been if Rava had told him how his Avatar powers worked, which she should be able to do, because he got them from her.
Related, how does any of this information get forgotten in the first place? As an Avatar gains experience, it becomes easier for them to access their past lives. Why would the Avatars not explore their origins in seeking enlightenment & mastery of their powers?
Part 2: Plotbending
How can the Avatar Energybend? This is the one thing that's completely glossed over, & we never get an explanation for. Was Aang the FIRST Avatar who could Energybend? Did Wan get this power, & it just wasn't shown? I don't know, because it wasn't explained.I'm going to say that either they can do it because Raava can, or Aang was the first, with Avatar Extras suggesting the former.
How did Bending become heritable if it's given to you by a magic turtle? No other instance of the power conferred by Energybending has become heritable. Aang's kids do not have Energybending, despite a Lion Turtle giving him that power, & an Avatar's kids will not develop the power to Bend multiple elements, despite the fact that Wan obtained that power from Lion Turtles. Additionally, when Aang removed Yakone's Bending via Energybending, Yakone was still able to have waterbending children, proving that Energybending did not affect his ability to pass on waterbending to his children, only his individual ability to perform it. This is a hole regardless of whether you believe it's passed on "through the spirit," whatever that means, or through genetics.
- It should be noted that Mike gave me some vague answer about the Lion Turtles having a more powerful ability than Aang that more completely seals or unseals chi. It's a very weak explanation, but it technically resolves the question. The Lion Turtles are just more flexible with what they can do via Energybending. Still check out the other blog, though, as it ties into this one.
How did the dragons, sky bison, etc. develop Bending? Did they have it before the Lion Turtles? Did the Lion Turtles somehow give it to them? Did they get it from Wan in exchange for teaching him their moves? This question is impossible to answer because so much of the origins of Bending has been altered that we can't know which remains the same.
The Dragons etc. no longer teach Bending. This is not a claim that I have ever made or endorsed, but I've seen it so often that I should probably pre-empt requests for it. The episode makes a distinction between "Moving" an element, possessing the power given by the Lion Turtle, & "Bending" an element, using it like one of the animal masters. It may be weak, but it is not technically a plothole.
How can Wan Bend in the Spirit World? Much like the claim above, I've never stated that this was a plot hole, or endorsed any claim that it was, but want to pre-empt requests for it. It is strongly implied that Wan can Bend in the Spirit World because he actually physically enters it with his own body.
Part 3: Plot holes created in ATLA/LoK
Why would the Avatar State reopen the portal if it's such a bad thing? Someone had to open it, either Korra herself, or one of her past lives. Korra didn't know how to open it, so that just leaves one of her past lives. Why would they do this, why would Rava allow it to happen, if she knows it's such a bad thing?I think Venom of the Red Lotus shows that the Avatar State is also influenced by sheer instinct.
Where did the
Fire Sages Bhanti get the water that is obviously lemur-man's magic healing water? In the North, we know why the Spirit Oasis has its power: It houses Tui & La. The Fire Sages didn't have this when we last met them. How did they get it?
- I suspect that this one might be answered within the comics, just for the record.
Why don't Aang or Korra give people, such as the Air Acolytes, Bending? Are they unable to, or simply unwilling? Why would either be the case?
Part 4: Miscellaneous
If Rava was an omnipotent Spirit, then why are there several Spirits more powerful than the Avatar State? Tui & La could each command the whole ocean. Additionally, minor Dark Spirits have defeated Korra in her Avatar State. As mentioned by Water Spout, we probably were not meant to take "all-powerful" literally.
Part 5: Minor Holes
Why were the Spirits coming into the human world in the first place, & why were they so acquiescent to leave? If they were willing to fight for the land, you would think they had a good reason to cross over, one that wouldn't just be glossed over like that.
- I moved this one over from Miscellaneous because there aren't enough reasons to completely dismiss it, but there are enough to come up with some plausible answers, & it doesn't have that great of an effect on the story either way.
So, if Rava is part of the Avatar, then why doesn't the Avatar possess the ability to fire blasts of energy as Vatu & presumably Rava can?One of the few things in here explained by the finale is that the Avatar has to go into some kind of special Spirit Form in order to do this. Of course, the episode doesn't fully explain the conditions for doing this, so...well, that's a subject for another blog, anyway. One that I have no interest in, because it is unanimously accepted that the finale was flawed.
Why doesn't the Avatar gain Rava's tentacles? Note, every other time that a Spirit possesses a human, they begin to take on characteristics of that Spirit. That's why the Avatar is able to Bend multiple elements at once--because Rava could hold multiple elements at once.
- I moved this from Fu-Sion-HA!, but it still personally annoys me like a Major Plot Hole would, for flubbing up a concept that was introduced in the same episode.