Having rewatched the Legend of Korra final recently, the thing that probably bothers me most is the constant complaint that the Korrasami relationship and in turn, ending shouldn’t have happened because it was rushed. Not because the relationship wasn’t rushed—it certainly was, especially when compared to relationships in The Last Air Bender—but because so much of the show was rushed, including many heterosexual relationships, and yet this relationship seems to be the only thing that catches fire for the show wide issue.
From the start this show was stuck in a rough spot. While Avatar was given three books from the start, and thus they were able to plot the characters and story accordingly, Korra was constantly trapped in a land of "maybe." Would they get another season? Would they be canceled? Would they need to stay TV friendly, or would they be moving online? These questions, and many like them, were often answered too late, and the show suffers for it.
Relationships were rushed, conflicts were wrapped up way too quickly, and development which could have benefited from a season or two of plotting and exploration was cut short because the creators had no way of knowing if they had that time to work with.
Korra’s first relationship was, in my opinion, considerably more rushed, forced, and underdeveloped than her final one. With Mako, they meet, fight, bond, get involved in a love triangle where Mako’s dating someone else, and get together in one season. We hardly even have time to get to know the two of them as individual characters, before we're rushing into their, will they won't they, relationship drama.
Yet, the biggest complaint we heard about that relationship was the cheating aspect. This is a reasonable reason to dislike the ship, of course, but while it went on there were only a few whispers about it being rushed.
Korra and Asami on the other hand, know each other for four years before they begin their relationship. They also have the benefit of being familiar, and well established characters to the audience, before they even get close to to romance sub plot.
Over four seasons we see them go from bickering rivals, to friends and finally more. Yes, they don’t spend much time together in season two, but in season three we get a lot of them together, and most importantly that time is used well to show a natural progression of their relationship and growing fondness for one another.
They support one another, fight, play together, and most importantly they actually talk to each other. While they don’t let the ‘I liked your boyfriend and he broke up with you for me’ issue control their relationship, they do address it, and in doing so are able to move past it without it hanging over them, or their relationships seeming unrealistic to the audience.
More than anyone else, Asami’s with Korra through most of the hell she goes through in season three, and when Korra has to go home to rehabilitate Asami’s willing to drop everything—her home, her business, her dream, her goals—and go to be with her.
This selfless devotion makes it believable that she’s the one person Korra consistently writes to while she’s away.
I hear the arguments now, and they aren't invalid. Their relationship shouldn’t have had a huge development over the time skip, but they’re hardly the only ones. Bolin and Opal—who only met in season three—got together over the time skip as well as Kai and Jinora, yet neither of these relationships were discredited for being rushed.
Yet Korra and Asami are.
It may just be me being cynical, but the fact that heterosexual relationships could be crafted and accepted over a season, while four seasons of a W|W couple knowing one another and getting closer through developing different types of relationships with one another, makes me wonder if the complaints have more to do with LGBT themes than a rushed story line.