Next week, the remaining 10 episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender will air each night, ending with what should be an explosive two-hour series finale on July 19. It has been over three years since Avatar: The Last Airbender began airing on Nickelodeon, and over time the show has grown from a deceptively simple kid’s adventure series to one of the best American animated series ever.
In honor of Avatar‘s impending series finale, we here at BuddyTV sat down and racked our brains to list our top 10 favorite Avatar episodes. The choices were tough, since nearly every episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender is packed with humor, action and heart – but even in a sea of awesomeness, some episodes rose to the top.
In order of air date, since I couldn’t possibly begin to rank them, here is the list of our top 10 favorite Avatar episodes so far.
Book 1: Water, Episode 3 – “The Southern Air Temple”
Though the first two episodes of Avatar provided a solid foundation for the series, it wasn’t until the third episode that the show revealed what the creators had up their sleeves. It took carefree Aang revisiting the temple in which he grew up and finding it destroyed for him – and us – to truly understand the travesties that have occurred in the hundred years he was away. This episode marked the first time Aang went into the Avatar state in a heartbreaking, emotional scene that set the stage for many heavy moments to come. On a lighter note, this episode also introduced Momo, and who doesn’t love Momo?
Book 1: Water, Episodes 19 and 20 – “Siege of the North”
While Book 1 was jam packed with solid standalone episodes, the first season finale was when Avatar showed us what it’s capable of. From the terrifically creepy scenes in the Spirit World with the face-stealer Koh, to the amazing siege from sea by the Fire Nation, to the gorgeous and emotionally charged fight between Zuko and Commander Zhao animated mostly in black and white, this finale was epic and full of amazing twists that would set all of the characters on new paths.
Book 2: Earth, Episode 6 – “The Blind Bandit”
The second season of Avatar began with a string of solid episodes, but I’m of the opinion that once this episode aired, Avatar began producing excellent episodes that lasted all season long. “The Blind Bandit” introduced audiences to Toph, someone who would become many viewers’ favorite character, in a parody of televised wrestling that was completely hilarious and showed the awesome power of earth bending. “The Blind Bandit” stands as one of Avatar‘s true classic episodes.
Book 2: Earth, Episode 7 – “Zuko Alone”
It’s a testament to the incredible writers behind Avatar that they could dedicate an entire episode solely to the first season’s villain and produce one of the most intriguing, emotional episodes of the series. “Zuko Alone” gave us a chance to see into Zuko’s head, to see what his past was like – and get glimpses of the truly manipulative evil that is Azula. A dusty episode tinged with sadness, “Zuko Alone” marked a major turn for how Avatar fans viewed the soon-to-be hero.
Book 2: Earth, Episode 11 – “The Desert”
I’m a huge fan of the entire middle section of Book 2, but this episode always stood out to me for showing Aang completely succumbing to his anger for the first time that we see. Losing Appa was a huge blow for Aang, and watching him desperately try to find his friend while filling up with more and more rage was heartbreaking to watch. An episode with an angry Aang and a desperate trek through a desolate desert could have been pretty heavy fare – luckily, Sokka was there to drink cactus juice and lighten the mood with his hilarious antics.