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Avatar 3.12-3.15

Avatar 3.12-3.15 published on

Spoilers:

– 3.12 –

Zuko’s magnificent dorkistry is magnificent enough to take away from the Western Air Temple itself. Which is too bad, because it is the most awesome setting in the show, and this show has had a lot of awesome settings. This is the sort of place you live in if you laugh at gravity. That first shot gave me actual vertigo, which animation doesn’t manage much.

I appreciate how they’re animating Zuko’s movements now, how he’s kind of subtly awkward and tentative and open. It’s not glaringly obvious, but then you see him stomping around in a very stiff and closed-off way in the flashbacks, and then Aang being Aang and bouncing and sprawling all over the place.

“I mean, what was I thinking? Telling them I sent an assassin after them? Why didn’t I just say Azula did that? They would have believed that!” Yeah, I think the “maybe they’ll like me if I lie” attitude there might come back to haunt him.

Oh, Toph. She talks about “messed up families!” “My feet got burned.” Passive voice! “I wish I could have worked on them sooner.” “Yeah, me too.” Regrets panicking and running when Zuko offered to help her! I wonder what percentage of this is common sense, and what percentage is the desire to present him to Iroh at some point?

(Where the heck did Iroh go, anyway? Probably the Lotus Tile dudes, I guess. I kept expecting him to show up and offer to train Aang himself, at which everyone would go “oh, awesome! Why didn’t we think of that before!” And Zuko would fall off a cliff in anguish.)

I think Haru’s voice actor changed midway through the episode.

I can’t think of that guy as anything but Sparky Boom-Boom Man. That third-eye thing’s got to be based on some sort of chakra thing – I guess Sokka “blocked” it, making him go boom. I’m gonna assume Azula was also paying him, and he wasn’t just totally bonkers.

I don’t like how Aang and Zuko’s Bonding Thing is that they’ve both accidentally set fire to girls and then angsted about it. I do like Katara’s reaction to Aang saying that. I also like how she totally puts scare-quotes around “destiny,” which no one else, particularly Aang, seems to be doing. (I can’t remember – do Roku and the like ever actually talk about “destiny,” or is this a purely human-being-type reaction to Avatarity?)

Katara’s attitudes are totally comprehensible and, judging by his “I should have lied” bit, probably justified. There’s no way she’s not going to go at him at some point. I bet he’ll be her first blood-bending target. In my head, what happens is this: Zuko doesn’t know that Toph can detect lies. So, when he screws up – and he will screw up, or at least come close enough that everyone thinks he did, I will not abide it otherwise – he does it in front of her. And she won’t tell anyone right off, and has to angst for a while about what to do about it, and then tells just Katara. And then Katara goes off alone to blood-bend him. And he thinks she’s finally coming to make friends and looks up with his Awkwardest Puppy face and says something of great dorkistry, and she goes I WARNED YOU and makes ice-claws at him. I would be happy with any combination of Aang/Toph/Sokka/Iroh/Appa showing up to rescue him, there’s so much angst potential. Also, I’m a terrible person.

– 3.13 –

I love Toph’s flashback. She has good relations with giant, slavering monsters. They understand one another perfectly.

“Appa’s right, Zuko! In our group, typically we start out our missions with a more upbeat attitude!” *mutter, mutter* “Don’t worry! You’ll get the hang of it!”

NO. HE WON’T.

AANG: Wait… what exactly is that?

ZUKO: It’s some kind of mystical gemstone!

YOUR POWERS OF PERCEPTION ARE ASTONISHING ZUKO

“I’m just very suspicious of giant glowing gems sitting on pedestals!”

Because – when Zuko is the only other person there – you are the smart one, Aang.

“I don’t normally play this card, but… I’m the Avatar.”

He doesn’t normally play that card because people usually play it for him. Zuko didn’t! Annnd he immediately introduced himself as a prince. He’s not all that great at remembering he’s supposed to be here to help Aang: “Get some fire off one of those warriors! Stop cheating off me!”

And he also needs to just give up and acknowledge he has no dignity left: “What about this situation makes you think they want us to dance?!”

“Now that you have learned the secrets, and you know about our tribe’s existence, we have no choice but to imprison you here forever!… Just kidding! But seriously, don’t tell anyone.”

Really, the secret technique doesn’t look any different from the usual firebending stuff. I guess Aang’s just happy he doesn’t have to learn to be constantly emo to become a firebender.

– 3.14 –

Zuko actually did learn to make tea that doesn’t make people sick! Aww. That’s how you know Iroh got to him.

This episode has so many lovely lines.

SOKKA: Fine! I’m gonna rescue my dad! You happy now?

ZUKO: I’m never happy.

I love how you can tell when Sokka stopped writing the note and Zuko started because it switches over to complete sentences. Also, Zuko leaving Aang homework. Also, if Zuko were any other character, I’d assume he made up the term “hot-squat.” As it is, he will have no idea that it’s funny until someone points it out to him, after which point he will forevermore have to hunch his shoulders and mumble when he says it.

I love everything about Zuko and Sokka’s awkward girl-related conversation. Especially,

SOKKA: That gloomy girl who sighs a lot!?

ZUKO: *dreamy expression, sigh* Yeah…

And,

SOKKA: …My first girlfriend turned into the moon.

ZUKO: That’s rough, buddy.

Chit Sang has way more body-mass than Zuko. He should’ve been the one they stuck in the freezer.

Sokka. Don’t take strategy advice from Zuko.

I can’t tell Sokka’s dad apart from that other Water Tribe guy.

– 3.15 –

Zuko’s gotten way better at lying. Sokka’s only gotten marginally better. But it works! He just steamrollers people. Zuko can’t successfully use that strategy.

Suki needed more to do, and also more lines. The all-of-a-sudden-capturing-the-warden-by-herself sounded to me like someone saying this: “Oops, we’ve got this prison-break story going on, and we’ve got this girl who we’ve been talking up as a great warrior and who’s been a prisoner the longest – and she hasn’t been involved in any of the strategy sessions. Better have her do something big!”

Zuko and Mei utterly fail at having any kind of useful conversation, to no one’s real surprise. They’re Zuko and Mei! They’re not big on that. If he’d told her to her face he was leaving on an insane treasonous quest, she’d have pinned him to something and brooded at him until the danger was safely past, or at least tried – I wonder if they’re both aware of that? She only helped here because his life was in immediate danger. I don’t think she would have done anything if she’d felt he was only facing imprisonment or something.

Also, Azula barely verbally abused Zuko at all, and didn’t say anything at all to Sokka. Neither did Ty Lee. Azula’s ranting at Mei and Ty Lee was also sub-par as Azula Craziness goes. In general, except for Mei, the girls just didn’t get enough dialog. Maybe the writers wore themselves out on the last episode’s concentrated awesomeness.

I hope Mei and Ty Lee are able to break themselves out. I don’t want them having to be rescued. I guess Iroh would be the one to do it, since Zuko – unlike Sokka – apparently decided to cut his losses and go on without Mei. (They also apparently forgot Chit Sang’s girlfriend and guy friend.)

I’m assuming Sokka and Katara’s dad and those other guys take off in the airship for some reason – maybe to free Teo’s dad to reverse-engineer it? There’s just too many dudes there now. I suspect Suki ends up going with them, and I can’t decide whether or not I’m okay with that. I hope Azula doesn’t blow up the temple in a rage when she gets there and finds it empty, the temple’s way too awesome.