3. Lake Laogai
Truth be told, not a lot of this episode sticks out to me. I know the Gaang is still searching for Appa. I know they haven’t spoken to the Earth King yet. Why did I rank it so high?
I really wanted to like Jet when he was first introduced. I enjoy his episodes because of his interactions with other characters–especially Sokka and Zuko–but I could never get used to his extremist ideas and unpleasant personality. He’s no Zuko, but something about him appealed to 18-year-old me.
I thought it was interesting when he tried to take down Zuko. Here someone who’s technically a good guy tries to hurt the villain, and I find myself rooting for the villain. Then the Dai Li brainwash Jet and I switch allegiances yet again.
I was so excited when Jet helped the Gaang find Appa. Just as he redeemed himself, Long Feng killed him.
Though he doesn’t die on-screen, Jet’s death scene is memorable for two reasons:
- Long Shot talks. That trope where a voiceless character unexpectedly breaks their silence? Can’t get enough of it. To hear Long Shot take charge of a hopeless situation was a nice note in an otherwise sad episode.
- Jet tells the group he’ll be fine and Toph drops the saddest callback I’ve ever heard and have trouble telling my friends about without having chest pains:
It that wasn’t sad enough, Longshot and Pipsqueak never show up again. Chances are they’re dead, too.
2. Sozin’s Comet Parts 1-4
There have been some really bad series finales in the last few years.
Either a show tries to wrap up too many things and comes off as trite and overdone, or it wraps up nothing and cuts off in the middle of a song with a fade-to-black.
In “Avatar”‘s case, the four-part series finale was perfect. I tried to judge which of the four parts I liked best, but couldn’t; all of them have moments that stand out.
It helps that each of them ramped up the feels to an amazing degree. Some memorable moments:
- Zuko reunites with Iroh while I bawl my eyes out
- Sokka, Suki, and Toph take out the Fire Nation airship fleet in a legitimately tense, perfectly-paced sequence
- While dueling his sister, Zuko takes a bolt of lightning meant for Katara. Katara screams Zuko’s name and then is prevented from helping him FOR A QUARTER OF AN EPISODE.
I even like the supposed deus ex machina of Aang removing the Fire Lord’s bending. As was mentioned in “Bitter Work,” Aang believed there was always another way. Even when all his past lives told him murder was the only option, he remained convinced that he could make a different choice. I felt this was consistent with his character.
My one nitpick? It’s small. I don’t like the last shot.
I don’t hate Kataang. I’m fine with their love story and I’m satisfied with the show’s resulting vision. I don’t love “Avatar” any less.
All that being said, I still ship Zutara and part of me will always be disappointed that they didn’t end up together.
I’m not saying it would have worked better than the actual ending; I’m just saying it would have worked.