Welcome back to Favorites Week, where I’m talking about my favorite episodes of some of my favorite shows. Today, we’re talking Avatar: The Last Airbender. I achieved very little balance here, picking mostly episodes from Book 2. If you haven’t watched this show, I highly recommend you do! Yes, it’s animated and yes, it was on Nickelodeon, but while certainly child-appropriate, this is not just a kids’ show! Whatever you do, do not judge it by the live action movie which has almost nothing to do with this fantastic series. I could go on and go, but let’s skip to the episodes, shall we?
The Cave of the Two Lovers
Looking for a passage to the earth city of Omashu, Team Avatar meets up with a vagabond group of minstrels who spin a tale of two lovers separated by a mountain and a secret tunnel than connects them. Thankfully, these hippies accompany Aang, Katara, and Sokka through said passage providing a hilarious soundtrack to quell the badgermoles. The comic relief in this episode is fantastic, and the cave itself showcases the beauty of the world of Avatar.
The Blind Bandit
This is the first episode in which we actually see one of my favorite characters, Toph. She does appear as an apparition in “The Swamp” which very near made this list instead of this episode. The reason why this won out is two-fold. Firstly, this is the first time we see her in action as the amazing earthbender she is. Seeing her in action, learning that Aang’s earthbending master is a tiny blind girl, is awe-inspiring. Secondly, The Boulder is in this episode. A play on wrestler The Rock, who I also love, The Boulder amuses me in the best way possible.
This episode shows initial weakness in my girl Toph– the loose sand makes her truly blind as she uses vibrations of the earth to see, and she’s just lost Appa to sandbenders, infuriating Aang. It’s a tough time for Team Avatar, but the audience gets to enjoy some absolute Sokka craziness and he hallucinates from drinking cactus juice– clip above! Iroh, my other favorite character, gets the chance to prove his worth in this episode at the Pai Sho table, introducing The Order of the White Lotus. There are so many hints that this man has had a rich past, and here we see the value in his experiences.
Tales of Ba Sing Se
Taking a break from the typical episodic format, Tales of Ba Sing Se presents us with several small stories of our characters, now inhabiting that titular city. Though not all of the tales are important or grand in nature, there is one that is particularly gripping: Iroh’s. It’s an incredibly sad and touching story of remembrance for his departed son, Lu Ten. Because I love Iroh so much, this touching piece of character development makes this episode very special.
The Firebending Masters
Okay, finally out of Book 2! This episode occurs once Zuko has joined Team Avatar– something I was waiting to happen for so long! Zuko in all his teenage angst actually has a heart (raised by his awesome uncle Iroh) and wants to teach Aang firebending. When he finds that rage once fueled him and cannot any longer, the two seek the source of firebending: dragons! Once again, we’re treated to something visually stunning as we watch Aang and Zuko literally dance with dragons.
Love Avatar: the Last Airbender? Let me know what your favorite episodes are!