Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Old School Lane's Top 10 Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes

To conclude my discussion of Avatar: The Last Airbender, it's time to show you my top 10 all time favorite episodes of this series. Out of all the top 10s that I've done throughout this Nickelodeon tribute, this was the hardest. There were so many amazing episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, that I have to cut out some really good ones in order to make it just to 10. However, I think I found the ones that I felt had the most action, humor, and emotion to make me watch over and over again. There are spoilers to those who haven't seen the show or these episodes yet, so if you have yet to see them, go watch the show and come back to this list when you're done. With that said, here are my top 10 Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes.

10. The Avatar and the Firelord

In this episode, Zuko finds a letter talking about finding out his defeat of his great grandfather. Confused as he knows that his great grandfather Firelord Sozin died naturally in his sleep in an old age, he goes into the archives to read about his story. Meanwhile, Aang is visited by his past Avatar Roku and tells him the story about how he and Sozen were at one point best friends. That is until their responsibilities of Avatar and Firelord respectively were coming into fruition and their paths led to different conclusions on how they want to keep peace in the world. Sozen wants to take over the Water Tribe, Air Nomads, and the Earth Kingdom so that they can experience the same peace and lifestyle they're living, while Roku tells Sozen to leave them be so that the world can maintain balance. Afterwards, their friendship was over and they became mortal enemies.

This is a great explanation on how the 100 year old war from the Fire Nation started and how the past lives of Roku and Sozen connect with Aang and Zuko. There's also a twist at the end that I dare not spoil, but let's just say that it would lead Zuko to decide on where his priorities should be. Overall, it's a great episode.

9. The Southern Raiders

In this episode, Zuko is getting along with Aang, Sokka, and Toph after joining the group. However, Katara still doesn't trust him. Sokka explains that she had a terrible experience with the Fire Nation ever since a group of Fire Benders led by a general killed her mother. Zuko realizes that the group were the Southern Raiders and tells Katara on who the general was. Katara asks Zuko to take her to him so that she could have revenge on the general. With that said, Katara and Zuko search around to find the general and take him down once and for all.

This is a thrilling, tense, and gripping episode filled with stealth, emotion, and action. It also teaches the audience that revenge is a terrible burden and that violence doesn't solve anything, despite the hurt and suffering a person goes through, and forgiveness. That's something that kids' shows rarely teach about and it was nice to show that.

8. The Storm

In this episode, Aang, Katara, and Sokka enter a marketplace in a fishing village to buy food after running out. They hear an old couple arguing about a possible storm coming despite the weather being perfect. The old man finds out that Aang is the Avatar and is angry that he left the world when people needed him the most. Aang runs away having a secret that he has yet to tell Katara about. Finally, he tells Katara about his past. Meanwhile, the soldiers who assist Zuko on capturing the Avatar feel unappreciated and are tired of Zuko pushing them around. Iroh then tells the story about Zuko's past.

This was the first time that we see the connection of Aang and Zuko and how similar they are. The episode shows the different stories very well and it would later carry on the relationship throughout the rest of series. Such as our next entry.

7. The Blue Spirit

This episode continues after "The Storm". Sokka and Katara get sick and Aang has to find a cure for them. While venturing out, Admirable Zhao hires talented archers to capture Aang. Eventually, they do. All of a sudden, a mysterious being known as The Blue Spirit rescues Aang and together, they fight the Fire Nation soldiers. Around the end, it was revealed that The Blue Spirit was Zuko in disguise. Aang talks to Zuko that they could be friends since Aang's former best friend was from the Fire Nation. However, Zuko refuses and Aang eventually finds the cure for Sokka and Katara.

This episode has good humor, great atmosphere, good action, and a nice continuation after the previous one.

6. The Tales of Ba Sing Se

This episode tells the stories of Aang, Katara and Toph, Sokka, Zuko, Iroh, and Momo in the city of Ba Sing Se. Aang helps a petting zoo by increasing the land and building a new one, Katara and Toph spend time together getting makeovers and having a spa treatment, Sokka enters a haiku club and challenges the leader of the group, Zuko goes on a date with a girl from the city, Iroh walks around the city and interacts with the people, and Momo searches for Appa. While it doesn't really continue the story, it's really nice to see the characters relax and do various things. Then of course, there's Iroh's tale in which the ending is one of the saddest moments in Nickelodeon history. Nonetheless, they're all great to see.

5. The Boiling Rock Parts 1 and 2

In this episode, Sokka regrets not helping his father and the adults who stayed behind after they were captured by the Fire Nation. Zuko hypothesizes that they might be held in an Alcatraz like prison known as The Boiling Rock where the building is surrounded by boiling water caused by a nearby volcano. Together Sokka and Zuko break into the prison to see if the adults were put in prison there. It's exciting, thrilling, gripping, and humorous at the same time and it sort of reminds me of the show Prison Break. The ending foreshadows the mental state of Azula that would carry on later in the series.

 4. The Blind Bandit

In this episode, Aang continues to search for an Earthbending teacher who waits and listens as oppose to attacking head on. While Aang enters a competitive Earthbending tournament, he sees a young 12-year-old girl simply known as The Blind Bandit defeating all the other competitors. She does a very unique Earthbending style that involves with waiting and attacking their weak points. With this, Aang wins the tournament by Airbending and wins the belt and prize money. He doesn't care about that and is more interested in talking to the girl. He finds out that her name is Toph Bei Fong and that she lives in a mansion with her overprotecting parents who are unaware of her wandering outside the grounds of their home. Later on, she reveals who she truly is to her parents and eventually runs away to join Aang, Katara, and Sokka to teach Aang Earthbending.

 This episode introduces the character of Toph, who would become many people's favorite character, and it has great humor, action, and a nice direction to the development in the story.

3. The Puppetmaster

This is the darkest episode of the series and has become a fan favorite. In this episode, Aang, Katara, Toph, and Sokka are telling scary stories to each other when an old woman appears and takes them in. While settling in the town, they hear rumors about people disappearing at night whenever the full moon appears. While Aang, Sokka, and Toph try to find out more information about the disappearances, Katara learns about advanced waterbending techniques from the old woman who reveals to herself that she's a Southern Tribe Waterbender. Later on, the episode becomes extremely creepy as the culprit is revealed and it introduces the darkest element of waterbending in the series, bloodbending. Bloodbending involves with controlling the water from inside a person to make them manipulate their movements. It also has a very bittersweet ending.

2. The Day of Black Sun Part 1 and 2

While there were epic episodes involving fighting the Fire Nation like "Siege of the North" and "Crossroads of Destiny", I feel that this was put very well with the story and the planning on how to use the solar eclipse to their advantage. The episode involves gathering people such as Haru and his father, The Duke and Pipsqueak, the Swamp benders, The Boulder and the Hippo, and Hakoda and Bato in this battle to take down the Fire Nation at the source. Some of the things they do is beyond clever and the action was very excellent. However, it was revealed that the Fire Nation already knew that they were going to be attacked thanks to Azula and now it's a fight to getting everyone out before the sun comes back.

There were some great reveals such as more information on Zuko's mom, the capture of Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors, and many more. It's such a well put together episode and while the ending is somber, everything else was great!

1. Sozin's Comet Part 1, 2, 3, and 4

Yes, I know. These are the final 4 episodes of the show. I get it. But I can't help it. These episodes were beyond amazing and I couldn't see them other than #1. It's funny, it's serious, it's action packed, it's emotional, it's everything that an ending to a TV series should be. These episodes involve with the comet approaching and Aang and his friends preparing for a large scale plan to take down the Fire Nation. It was stated by his friends and the Avatar's past lives that Aang has to kill Fire Lord Ozai to maintain peace in the world. However, Aang wants to find another nonviolent way to do it, but can't think of anything. There are so many things going on in these 4 episodes; Aang making his way to a mysterious island without knowing how, Azula going crazy after Ozai leaves her to watch over the Fire Nation, Ozai destroying the Earth Kingdom with his powerful enhanced firebending, Zuko getting back with his uncle after betraying him, the final battle between Aang and Ozai, and many more.

With the exception of not revealing the whereabouts of Zuko's mother, everything about this series finale was perfect. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Koneitzko knew from the beginning that the show was going to have a beginning, middle, and ending and no continuation after it was over. They worked extremely hard on getting it done and you can tell when seeing it. The animation, music, action, and characters were great and the ending is the most satisfying in Nickelodeon history. You watch it and say, "Man, what an epic and conclusive ending". That's why, in my opinion, is #1.

What are your favorite episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender? Post it in the comments below. That's all for now. Tune in next time as we review the Nicktoon Catscratch. 

 Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading!


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