Book 2: Earth, Episode 15 - “Tales of Ba Sing Se”
All of the Ba Sing Se episodes were filled with political intrigue and adventure, but “Tales of Ba Sing Se” let us take a break from the through arc to spend time with the characters. The result is a classic episode with solid vignettes about Toph, Katara
, Aang and Zuko, Sokka in a hilarious poetry battle, Momo in a sadly sweet search, and of course, the astoundingly touching tale of Iroh
mourning his son, which also acted as an homage to his late voice actor, Mako.
Book 2: Earth, Episodes 19 and 20 - “The Guru” and “The Crossroads of Destiny”
Book 2 had a slow, steady build that came to a head in a controversial two-part finale. Often it is assumed that at the end of a season the good guys win, the bad guys lose, and life moves on. Not this time. In a game changing twist similar to the movie The Empire Strikes Back
, evil princess Azula took down Aang and took over Ba Sing Se, sending the heroes on the run and leaving Aang on the verge of death. This is on top of such awesomeness as Toph teaching herself metal bending – which brought cheers from my couch – and, of course, Zuko’s shocking betrayal of Iroh.
Book 3: Fire, Episode 2 - “The Headband”
After the season two finale I was hoping that the early episodes of Book 3 would be just as dark and heavy. The creators chose instead to go back to the old standby of fun stand alones. Though the tonal shift was a little jarring, that directional choice led to this fantastic riff on the movie Footloose
. Providing a peek into the day to day life of the Fire Nation, a healthy dose of Aang and Katara romance, and a wonderfully animated dance scene, this episode was all around entertaining. Plus, how can I not love an episode featuring Sokka wearing his fake beard?
Book 3: Fire, Episode 8 - “The Puppetmaster”
From the previews, “The Puppetmaster” seemed like a throwaway Halloween-themed episode, a sort of Avatar
meets Scooby Doo
thing. What “The Puppetmaster” proved to be was one of the darkest, most thought-provoking episodes of the series. Introducing the concept of blood bending and the righteously evil water bender Hama, the series showed just how far it would go with the potentially deadly bending powers. Katara was forced to blood bend to save her friends – and it’s likely that she will never be quite the same because of it.
Book 3: Fire, Episodes 10 and 11 - "The Day of Black Sun”
This was the episode we had been waiting for since the series began – Aang’s big face off with Fire Lord Ozai. The invasion of the Fire Nation during an eclipse, when fire bending powers would be nullified, seemed like a perfect plan – and the chase through to the palace proved to indeed be an action-packed spectacle. However, as always, Azula was few steps ahead. Though this episode marked another big loss for Aang, what it provided for viewers was an urgent need to see Aang succeed that will last until the series finale – and also gave us a big plot moment long in the making: Zuko turning his back on his father and running off to join the Avatar.
The choices here were hard. I can’t help but feel that there are a large number of fantastic episodes that I couldn’t fit in – and that there are even more episodes coming up that will blow us all away. Don’t forget that starting Monday, Nickelodeon will air a new episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender
every night leading up to the grand, two-hour finale on Saturday, July 19.
News also came out recently that there will be an Avatar
panel at one of pop culture’s biggest yearly events: San Diego Comic-Con. The panel will be held the evening of Friday, July 25 and will likely be just as fun and informative as the entertaining presentations given in previous years. BuddyTV will be at Comic-Con year reporting on all the cool news, so be here to read all about the going ons at the Avatar
panel, as well as panels for many of your other favorite TV shows.
- , BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Screen captures courtesy of AvatarSpirit.net)