Community Opinion 14 – “Write About This Episode !”

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Airspeed Prime here again with another Community Opinion Post, this time it is number 14, still growing again in popularity so it is a bit sparce this week.

This months CO is a follow up to CO 10 Write About This Character. Again the format is that each persons episode was chosen by another member.

Community Opinion Title

Write About This Character !

Basically the idea is that each person has an episode chosen for them by another member to be write about.

In short it is a review of said episode, but very much focused on one’s own thought.

Lets get into the communities opinions.

Airspeed Prime (Super Moderator/Facebook Admin/ Podcast Main Host/ Popular Post Writer and some other things)

215 The Tales Of Ba Sing Se was chosen for me by Ricardo

I guess you all get a sneak peak at my review for 215 here. Not exactly, so I won’t be going as in depth.

The first thing to note about this episode is just that it was quite a risky episode for them to do at such a crucial point in the series (right in the middle of the series) if not just for the format of this episode, 6 mini episodes in one and really getting away from the extremely tense episode before, the start of the conspiracy plot which is probably the most tense of the whole series. We follow this up with what is a fairly light hearted for the most part episode, with some very emotional moments.

The Tale of Katara and Toph is I think a very important episode, the two fought in The Chase and we really get a chance to see them interact in a friendly way and get a bit of girl time together. It is nice to see the usually completely comfortable anywhere Toph, completely out of her comfort zone, as she struggles with adapting to getting her makeover. The big scene has to be how Toph reacts to the mean girls making fun of her in make up, she is hurt by it, which has such an impact because she is so strong as a character. Then when she and Katara both return the favour by sending them down the river we get an amazing scene between the two girls.

Katara: Those girls don’t know what they’re talking about.
Toph: It’s ok. One of the good things about being blind is I don’t have to waste my time worrying about appearances. I don’t care what I look like. I’m not looking for anyone’s approval. I know who I am.
Katara: That’s what I really admire about you, Toph. You’re so strong and confident and self assured. And I know it doesn’t matter, but… you’re really pretty.
Toph: I am?
Katara: Yeah. You are.
Toph: I’d return the compliment, but I have no idea what you look like.
Toph: Thank you, Katara

Do I even need to say how amazingly well written this scene is. How much of a compliment to Toph that Katara telling her she is pretty is, Toph’s confidence about herself and her sincere thanks to Katara. Stunning.

The Tale Of Iroh presents us a whole new side of Iroh as we get to see Iroh on his own for one of the only times in the series and with a focus on him even less. Seeing a normal day for him and how he helps everyone he meets in some way, it shows how much of a change he has made since his siege on the very city he is in. The key scene has to be when he goes to the trunk of a tree and pays tribute to his late Son Lu Ten on his birthday, it is such an emotional moment and just pulls on your heartstrings, you cannot help but feel for Iroh and how much he son means to him. Happy Birthday my son. If only I could have helped you. ” what a line, considering how much he helped everyone else even someone who was going to mug him.

The Tale Of Aang, there is not too much to this, but it is nice to see Aang happy to help other Animals even with Appa missing. Continuing to do his role despite his own emotions. We also see Aang do some stunning Earthbending as he creates the new animal enclosures.

The Tale of Sokka has to be one of the most cleverly written tales in all of Avatar, more or less every line is a Haiku. The Avatar equivalent of a rap battle and it is glorious, we see Sokka just get engrossed in his newfound skill of Haikus. Such a fun tale, using a fun character like Sokka.

The Tale of Zuko, is so funny, we see Zuko go on a date with Jin thanks to his Uncle. Jin in just a few minutes makes you love her as a character, she is so nice and bubbly, the contrast between her bubbly personality and Zuko’s struggle in a date situation is hilarious, mainly because he sees how nice she is and tries his best to make it a good date for her, we get to see a completely new side to Zuko, someone who cares about others feelings. The best part would be Zuko lying about being a juggler and even going as far as to try to juggle just for her. When a few minutes can make you ship JINKO, you know it is good, lol. Zuko’s line at the end “It was nice” tells you the whole story, he is happy and he is not in any way thinking of his honour or father.

The Tale of Momo finishes off the episode, a unique episode with NO DIALOGUE, yet Momo as a character perfectly carries the tale. They key is how much Momo cares for Appa and how good of friends the two are. We get some nice moments like Momo helping to two Pygmy Panthers who earlier tried to chase him and them returning the favour by leading Momo to a clue about Appa and giving this episode a bit of the main plot.

Overall this episode took a huge risk with the format and tone, but it worked, we got to see a lot of the biggest city in the world through these 6 tales that take place across the city. It gave us a sense of how big the city was and at the end of the season how big of a blow to the world the loss of Ba Sing Se in the war is.

Ricardo (Moderator)

306 The Avatar and The Firelord was chosen for Ricardo by Tracy

The Avatar and the Firelord is an unique episode, in that the story goes backwards to progress the story further.
Not only is the story clever and artful, but the way the story is told is also absolutely ingenious.
Both Zuko and Aang learn the history of their past, and we see the same story being told by two characters, which seemingly overlaps, allowing us to see two view points. A technique utilised many times, but one which we see most apparent in this episode.

The episode begins with Aang and Zuko both receiving a message from Roku and Iroh respectively, to learn about their past. Which later turns out to be their shared past.
I think the message was a risky move from Iroh’s part. My suspicion would be that Iroh had asked Ming to deliver the message to Zuko for him, and he knew that it would be read by prying eyes, thus concealed the actual important part of the message. As invisible ink becomes visible upon experiencing heat, Iroh probably expected Zuko to see the message at some point.
The Dragonbone Catacombs seems to be a place where they put the bones of the slayed dragons. Which to me seems very odd as they would kill them in the first place, as both Roku and Sozin had one. It’s like killing a kitten in our world. O.o

Earlier in the series we saw that Aang found it difficult to master earthbending, earth being air’s natural opposite and that Aang was the exact opposite of the stubborn type, preferring to approach things from different angles. This later went on to the birth of Republic City, as Aang saw that the world was evolving and he needed to adapt to the environment. Roku had said that waterbending was especially difficult for him, but I think this is not only because that water is fire’s natural opposite. But that Roku disliked change, and never considered the idea of it. This theory seems to be more solid when later in LOK, Korra found it difficult to learn airbending, since her characteristic is quite the opposite of an airbender and her attitude is quite head-on.

When Roku was announced as the Avatar, it made me think. What if Sozin had been announced as the Avatar instead? The Avatar must remain impartial, so that’ll create a real dilemma. :P
Roku’s Avatar training was similar to Korra’s in that there were final tests, and all seemed more epic and fun than Aang’s. Though this is due to Aang being tight on time, had to speed-learn the other elements. Aang had also skipped the final waterbending test and we only saw Katara performing it.

In the flashbacks, we saw that back when Sozin was young, he had taken account of every small detail and taken advantage of them. This was shown when Sozin noticed the tree root and used it to win against Roku. He was equally cunning in his elderly years, having taken advantage of Roku’s stumble and letting him die so he could go ahead with his previous plans.
I thought it was also interesting to see that spirits (or perhaps at least your past lives) can contact you in your dreams and also show you their memories. Kind of like a pensieve, except less painful. ;)
Another part of Sozin’s character was revealed when the throne room was destroyed. Sozin then later rebuilt it, but instead of the previous large and airy room, the new one was a lot darker and Sozin sat on the throne with a wall of fire before him. I guess Sozin has grown evil, without the Avatar to prevent things from getting out of hand and stop him.

We see Sozin’s heat redirection later when battling the volcano, totally solidifying the lava in just a few seconds. An ingenious method, and expands upon the philosophy of firebending in that it’s not just the manipulation of fire, but the manipulation of heat.
Roku saving Sozin from a fall is very similar to the time when it was the other way round at their 17th birthday party.
I think it’s sad to see that Roku was desperately trying to save his home village, yet after all his efforts, the village still ended up completely buried in ash.
It was interesting that there was lightning above the centre of the volcano.
Also interesting to note that the dragons did not do any firebending in this episode. Perhaps the creators had wanted to reveal it as a suprise 7 episodes later. But I reckon Fang could certainly have aided in some way.

Roku’s village should have had a tradition similar to Makapu Village, of going up the mountain every year to see if the volcano will erupt. :P
The volcano was also a lot larger than the one that Aang had battled so surely someone should have realised the threat and made precautions.
This episode also just adds to the mystery around Iroh, since how did Iroh come to acquire the royal artifact, especially as it was buried under all that ash?
What’s even more unbelievable is how he managed to sneak it into his prison cell, behind a loose brick. O.o

We also get a glimpse into the Eastern Air Temple in this episode, as well as hearing Iroh’s second voice actor, Greg Baldwin in this episode, for the first time. Who I think does an excellent job at capturing the essence and emotion of Iroh. :)

Even in an episode, where the story is extremely serious, there was still room for some humour as Sokka proclaimed that there wasn’t any bathrooms in the Spirit World. Aang then continued to be in a seemingly uncomfortable and awkward position in the mortal world, but was in fact relaxed and riding on Fang in the Spirit World.
This is what I love about Avatar, and what makes it so great. It manages to balance plot advances and humour perfectly, and sometimes even has both together.

”Well, scientifically speaking…”
Oh, I love Sokka. :P

The music in this episode is also perfect, as usual. Capturing the mood of the various scenes, and it expresses what no words can.
Overall, this is a great episode with excellent writing by Elizabeth Ehasz. Another favourite of mine, along with all the other ones in Book 3. 8-)

AgentNebraska (Moderator)

303 The Painted Lady was chosen for AgentNebraska by myself

”The Painted Lady” is often an episode that doesn’t get as much love. I really think it depends on the person, seeing as this is basically a filler episode. I personally love filler episodes because of all the juicy facts (great for trivia, by the way) and information about the Avatar World that you get from them. This is one of those episodes that I used to hate (probably back when it came out, when I was around ten) but I’ve grown to love. This episode greatly shows Katara’s incessant and unfaltering drive toward helping people, Sokka’s response to this, and also the war’s effect on regular citizens. This episode was full of many different things, so I think I will address them individually.
Katara has always had that feeling that she needs to help everyone she can. This was shown in the very first episode, when she broke Aang out of the ice, explaining that she has to help him. Now, when the group arrives at this nondescript but somewhat suffering Fire Nation village, she feels that need to help them, despite the fact that they’re Fire Nation. The first thing she says when she gets on the island is, “Look at this place. It’s so sad. We have to do something to help,” which, of course, Sokka disagreed with. Katara, despite Sokka’s argument, still wanted to help these people, so she even pretended that Appa was sick, and then became The Painted Lady.
A lot of this episode deals with Sokka’s disapproval toward Katara wanting to help everyone, even these Fire Nation citizens. For instance, when they first get into town Sokka disagrees with her statement that she needs to help, and the next day, states that they already have someone watching over them. When he finally finds out about Katara, he is furious, and that is the main Katara-Sokka argument of the episode. This episode really helps explain their relationship, and it also resolves it right there, when Sokka says he won’t turn his back on her, because she needs him.
Aaand also the effects of the war. Now we already knew that the war had a great effect on the Water Tribes and the Earth Kingdom, but we hadn’t really seen any struggling Fire Nation citizens yet. This village is definitely suffering from the war, specifically that factory. The factory is polluting its waters so this once great fishing village can barely get their main food. Their fish usually end up being bad. Also, the factory has a lot of food there that they could easily share with the village, which they can obviously see is struggling. The factory is also taking all their medicine so they can’t heal their sick. I’m sure they’re doing much more but that’s all I can remember from the episode right now . This episode also really shows the effect that the war can have on regular citizens: even Fire Nation citizens. The neglect and mistreatment they’re getting is all stemming from the war, so they might not even approve of it.
So overall, a great filler episode. We mostly got personality conflict/development between Katara and Sokka, but also an update of the Fire Nation citizens and the war. The way this episode was handled, from new character introductions (Doc/Xu/Bushi) to character development and more, this episode really delivered.

FireSageGuntur (Moderator)

112 The Stormwas chosen for FireSageGuntur by AgentNebraska

For this review, I was confused because this episode reveals so much that it was hard to compact, so I decided to split it into three parts: Aang’s crisis, Zuko’s crisis, and miscellaneous Avatar awesomeness. Here it goes:

Aang’s Crisis:
This episode begins with a short nightmare Aang had while sleeping. Now, he has had nightmares other times in the series, but this one was the most important out of them all. It demonstrates many things that are previously not shown in the series. It shows how dependent others are on him as both the avatar and as a friend with the repeated phrase ”We need you Aang”. It shows the guilt he feels for leaving his people when Gyatso asks him: ”Why did you disappear?” It even shows early remnants of fear of Ozai with an image of him flashing just before the nightmare is over. And when this nightmare ends and Team Avatar awakens, Aang is troubled, a feeling that will not cease until the end of the episode.
When Team Avatar realizes they have no money and Sokka goes to a fisherman for a job, Katara and Aang are confronted by him. He accuses Aang of turning his back on the world. As Katara defends Aang, his feeling of guilt becomes paramount and he runs away. This is when we as viewers finally get to see what really happened 100 years ago.
Throughout his tale to Katara, Aang goes through many emotional stages. First anger at the monks, then guilt for running away and finally sadness for his people. At the end of his story, Katara and Aang are told that Sokka and the fisherman are stuck out at sea in a storm. They go to find them, saving their lives and passing by Zuko and his ship on the way back. At the end of the episode, Aang concludes that he is ”done dwelling on the past.” This shows Aang’s strength and adaptability and is a perfect resolution to the episode.

Zuko’s crisis:
Throughout the first half of season one, we wonder about Zuko’s scar. When we finally find out the truth in this episode, the story is masterfully told. After Lieutenant Jee and Zuko feud and Iroh stops the fighting, Jee and the crew grow tired of Zuko’s command. When Jee makes a comment about who Zuko really is, Iroh overhears him and tells the story. The crew sees Zuko in a new light after finding out it was Ozai who scarred Zuko.
During this time, it can only be assumed that Zuko thinks about his life as well because when the ship is struck by the same storm Sokka is stuck in, he puts his crew over his quest. He sees the Avatar and just lets him go to save his crew, something he never would have done previously. And the conclusion to the emotional day is Zuko solemnly apologizing to his uncle, something that resonates as true, earnest, and rare, and deserves recognition.

Miscellaneous Avatar Awesomeness (Overview):
Overall, this is an excellent episode, one of the best in book 1. It does wonders with character development and actually has a bit of symbolism as well. The storm’s ferocity is directly proportional to the amount of turmoil and emotions both stories are experiencing (Aang and Zuko). Finally, at the end, the storm subsides as the conflicts are resolved.

Our Communities Thoughts

Sadly Tracy did not send me her own opinion on time. But like the previous CO done in this style it worked well, we got members writing about a randomly chosen episodes. Another excellent Community Opinion.

I will be requesting Opinions for Community Opinion 15 at the start of September so keep an eye out on the forums for when the request goes out.

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By:

My name is Morgan Bannon, I am a 22 Year old Male from Ireland and I am the Site Super Moderator. I have watched and been a fan of Avatar since it premiered. I am also a news post writer for the site and host the site's podcast, The Avatar Online Podcast. My strength as an Avatar fan would be just a good knowledge of Avatar Canon and characters.

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Comments - 11 Posts

  1. Ricardo Said: Comment by Ricardo on August 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
     

    @airspeed Great write up. I hope you enjoyed that episode. 🙂
    It’s one of my favourites. I love every single tale, and each one is unique.

    Iroh seems to help everyone he meets regardless of the situation. Like you said how he helped Tycho even though he was mugging him, and he also helped Toph when she was alone.
    “Such a kind man.” 😉

    Reply

    Ricardo Reply:

    This trait that Iroh has, of helping people seems to be one in quite a few of the main characters (at least the protagonists :P), as @agentnebraska said: “Katara has always had that feeling that she needs to help everyone she can. This was shown in the very first episode, when she broke Aang out of the ice, explaining that she has to help him.”
    I think it teaches a life lesson in that one should always be kind and helpful to one’s friends, and to strangers. For you never know who would end up as your friend (as Toph ended up as Iroh’s friend).

    Reply

  2. Ricardo Said: Comment by Ricardo on August 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
     

    @agentnebraska Sozin’s original vision of the Fire Nation expanding it’s borders to me seemed as a good idea and that Sozin in the beginning genuinely believed he could help the other nations.
    However, like you said, the Fire Nation ended up just destroying all the nations, even its own as countless people die fighting in the war and as you said, they even prioritised a war factory over an entire village.

    It’s unbelievable, how do the other Fire Nation citizens not see this? Or perhaps they do and are too scared to speak or act out for fear of Ozai’s wrath. 😛

    I think the odd thing was that The Painted Lady existed the whole time, but didn’t do anything (or at least nothing visible) to help the village.

    Reply

    momo2009 Reply:

    we don’t know the rule of the spirit world that much. Are the spirits bound by some rule/laws to not interfere in the material world. Beside isn’t it the avatar to do that stuff, it like you break something and expect a great being to help you fix it. I just think the spirits all there for guidance not to fix human mess.

    Sozin idea was interesting, but i don’t think he was the only one to come up with that. But so far he the closest to succeed.

    Reply

    Ricardo Reply:

    The Painted Lady must have helped the village or visited it in the past as the villagers know about her. Perhaps during a solstice, when the two worlds are closest together, can The Painted Lady help the village? Since that’s when Hei Bai could get revenge on the people for this forest. 😛

    Though it still won’t explain it fully, since Jang Hui has been suffering for many years.

    I wouldn’t call it succeeding, unless his original plan was to obliterate all the other nations… Perhaps Azulon and Ozai warped his idea.

    Reply

    momo2009 Reply:

    he wanted to unify the world under one goverment. Which might bring world peace or stability. But the cost of doing so was to be the conquest of all other nations, which is to hard of a price to pay. And as the war dragged on his view went from spread a unify goverment to more of a fire nation outright conquest. And ozai went a little of the edge.

    but the united republic might someday be able to do what he couldn’t. I want to see that happen in a series, cause the question, drama would be so cool. We don’t need the avatar anymore cause the whole world is under one goverment. 😛

  3. Ricardo Said: Comment by Ricardo on August 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
     

    @firesageguntur Nice review! I agree there were three separate storms raging on in the episode (Aang’s, Zuko’s, and the weather). An episode name that is a pun. 😉

    I thought it was funny that Sokka was paid for his efforts, in fish.
    So many times throughout the series, a fish comes into contact with Sokka… 😛

    Reply

  4. Airspeed Prime Said: Comment by Airspeed Prime on August 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
     

    Nice to see someone else give The Painted Lady the respect it deserves as an episode. One of my personal favourites, the characterisation for Katara is amazing.

    Reply

    momo2009 Reply:

    i agree it show an aspect of the enemy that we hadn’t see before. 😛

    nothing is white and black. That why i love the united republic, a compromise that saved the world. 😛

    Reply

  5. Hyriu 85 Said: Comment by Hyriu 85 on August 31, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink
     

    I really enjoyed reading this a lot it gives different peoples point of veiws as to what they saw in an episode and it helps me to understand the Avatar world better by hearing other peoples opinions on episodes. For example i never thought of Roku finding waterbending challenging because he didn’t like change which waterbending is all about and that help expand Roku’s personality for me so thank you all.

    Reply

    Troy Reply:

    I like how Roku learnt to use his oppenents energy against them by being hit, then hitting back really hard.

    Reply

 

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