Thu
Jul 22 2010 12:16pm

Avatar Giveaway! Plus, “The Avatar State” (episode 201)

Hey there, fellow benders. Welcome back for another exciting season of the Avatar: The Last Airbender Re-Watch. Things sure have changed around here. Our esteemed colleague John Joseph Adams has gone on to greener earth temples, and from now on, Jordan and I will be alternating episodes. We hope this will provide you with a streamlined reading experience, rather than the segmented op/eds we gave you in Season One.

Here’s another piece of good news before we get started. We’re going to have an Avatar Re-Watch Giveaway! Stay tuned for details later in the post.

Episode 2.01, “The Avatar State,” has drama, humor, a great baddie of the week, and more foreshadowing than you can shake a Joss Whedon at. All that and more, after the jump.

We begin with a dream. Or is it a recap? In quick succession we see several key scenes from season one of Avatar, moments when Aang entered the Avatar State. In each of these tableaus, Aang is a meek witness, dwarfed by the Aang-in-the-Avatar-State, who attacks Aang three times. Also, notice how each tableau represents a different element—first air, then fire, and finally water.

Aang wakes aboard a Northern Water Tribe ship in a cold sweat. Quick Mini-Spoiler: Be on the look out for a similar scene at the beginning of season three, on a very different boat. Aang goes topside for a breath of fresh air, and confides in Katara. Aang is scared of the Avatar State, and therefore, scared of himself.

The next morning, we get a classic hero’s journey scene with reformed sexist jerk Master Pakku doing his best imitation of Lady Galadriel. He gives Katara an amulet with spirit water and a box of waterbending scrolls to Aang. It seems like this box of scrolls is supposed to explain why Aang and Katara both become such skilled waterbenders over the course of Season Two, without any further training from a master. It may not be obvious now, but Katara’s water amulet is super important, and plays an important role in the climax of the season. It is almost as if the writers are dangling the amulet in front of the audience’s faces, saying “See? We know exactly where this show is going.” Their foresight is commendable.

The heroes are given their episode quest. Make a stop at a military base to meet with General Fong, and then continue on to Omashu, where everyone’s favorite lunatic King Bumi will begin Aang’s training.

And then we are whisked to a river town, where Iroh is enjoying the simple life and Zuko is grumbling about his honor. Iroh tries to cheer his nephew up without much success. Note the trees in this scene—bright pink with spring blossoms. Petals float on the gentle breeze. These are all signs that the season has changed. It is now Spring, the season of Earth.

Enter Princess Azula. Except for her daddy the Fire Lord, she may be the only character in the series who is pure evil. This girl is diabolical. She lies, bullies, manipulates, and she may be the most powerful bender we have seen on the show so far. Oh yeah, and she can shoot lightning out of her fingers. But she does have one weakness we can spot right away. She’s a perfectionist.

Back to Team Aang, where the gang receives a toasty warm welcome from Earth General Fong (voiced by Lost’s Daniel Dae Kim). He wants the Avatar to use the Avatar State to crush the Fire Nation and end the war right away, before Aang masters all four elements. His reasons seem noble enough. Good people are dying every day because of the war, and Aang could stop it if he used the Avatar State. But Aang doesn’t know how to invoke the state. Fong vows to help Aang learn to summon this awesome power.

The montage that follows, where Fong and the gang attempt to trick Aang into the Avatar State, serves to lighten the mood. Sokka with the head of Momo makes me smile every time I see it. The Red Bull tea Aang drinks feels like a very grown up joke for a Nickelodeon show, a little wink to the adult fans.

No time is wasted bringing Azula to the front of the main cast. She pops up everywhere. Her plan for luring Iroh and Zuko into her clutches seems to be “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” but it feels a bit contrived in this case. If she can sneak up on Zuko and The Dragon of the West so easily, why not just, I don’t know, throw some sort of flame-retardant bags over their heads and drag them back to the ship? One interesting point, when Zuko lashes out at his uncle for casting judgments on Ozai, his description of Iroh applies pretty much word-for-word for Zuko’s relationship with Azula. Perhaps history is repeating?

Aang wakes up from another Avatar-State dream, realizing that invoking the Avatar State is probably a bad idea. He confides in Sokka, but whatever he says cannot be heard over the many fans squeeing at Sokka with his hair down.

Aang tells General Fong he has decided not to induce the Avatar State because the only way to ensure success is to put Aang or someone he cares about in actual danger. But Fong was waiting for this. He knows what it takes to induce the Avatar State, and he is willing to do it for the good of his people. Fong and his soldiers attack Aang.

But it isn’t until Fong threatens to kill Katara that Aang enters the Avatar State. For a moment, Fong rejoices in his success. But like most mad scientists, the General gets more than he bargained for. Riding a massive tornado, Aang slams the ground, releasing shockwaves that send Earth soldiers flying. Buildings in the fort are heavily damaged by the blast. This incident is so traumatic, Aang has what could be considered an out of body experience. He enters the Spirit World, where Avatar Roku delivers some much-needed exposition.

Meanwhile, Zuko sees through Azula’s ruse to lure him back to the Fire Nation, thanks to one incompetent Fire Navy officer. My guess is this guy will be joining the ranks of Admiral Ozzel and Captain Needa sooner rather than later. More foreshadowing: Iroh redirects lightning for the second time. In this instance, he grabs Azula’s hand to deflect her finishing move and blows up a whole mountain with the channeled energy.

Zuko and Iroh escape, but now they are on the run from Azula and her troops. In a poignant epilogue, the uncle and nephew cut off their top knots, symbolizing perhaps an end, a shift and loyalty, or a new beginning. What do you think?

In all, a great season premiere. The plot thickens, so to speak. And it’s only going to get thicker. But here is a question worthy of debate in the comments: the line of Avatar reincarnation goes Water, Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and so on. But Aang is the last airbender. So in four more generations, won’t the Avatar be gone for good anyway?


Now, we’re going to have a little giveaway for all our fans out there. A big thank you from us at Tor.com for supporting the Re-Watch.

Here are The Rules: To enter the giveaway, leave one comment—duplicates won’t count—on this post between now and noon EST, Monday, July 26. The winner will be chosen randomly. The giveaway is open to everyone everywhere. Please check your email Tuesday or Wednesday; if we don’t hear back from you by noon on Thursday, your prize will go to someone else.

And what’s the prize? This sweet Appa Plush. Behold its cuteness.


Attention First-Time Avatar Watchers: Our posts will be spoiler-free (except for the episode we’re discussing), but be aware that spoilers for future episodes may abound in the comment thread below. We wanted to keep the comment threads future-spoiler-free as well, but it will likely prove impossible and it would impede our ability to analyze the series in retrospect.


Matt London is an author and filmmaker who lives in New York City. He is a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, as well as a columnist for Tor.com, Lightspeed, and Realms of Fantasy. His fiction is forthcoming in the anthology The Living Dead 2. He holds a BFA in Film Production from New York University.

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206 comments
Qtip the Sixth
1. Qtip the Sixth
Ah, now we're getting good! I adore Season 2!
Kyle Day
3. gato
Woohoo! The rewatch is back!

And my wife would DIE of Appa-cute if this post happened to be the one selected for the win.
Qtip the Sixth
6. Rachel 00
That Appa plush is ridiculously cute.

"But Aang is the last airbender. So in four more generations, won’t the Avatar be gone for good anyway?"

Sounds like they are addressing this a bit in the Legend of Korra!
Qtip the Sixth
7. kanonei
I love me some Avatar! Yip yip!
Qtip the Sixth
8. Michail Velichansky
That Appa is WAY TOO CUTE. Must have! :D
Qtip the Sixth
9. Angelia Almos
One of the things I loved about this show was that not any particular nation was good or bad. They created characters from all of the nations that were good and bad, and even both. It makes for a much more interesting show and journey for all of our heroes.
Qtip the Sixth
10. Benjamin K Williams
Yay for rewatch.
Qtip the Sixth
11. noctowl
Appa, yip yip!
Qtip the Sixth
13. Dovile
Cute! Count me in!
Shay D.
14. shaydchara
OMG! *grabby hands* I covet your flying bison. ^_^

And hooray for awesome Uncle Iroh!
Qtip the Sixth
15. EM42
sokka with momos head was my favorite part of this episode
Qtip the Sixth
16. AngelaC
Enter me into the contest please :>
Qtip the Sixth
17. Von Berry
Ah, he is so cute.
Brook Freeman
18. longstrider
There has been much debate about the whole 'future air benders' issue in the fan community. Can a whole 'nation' be repopulated by half-bloods in just a couple hundred years? Hidden groups that we didn't see? What are the genetics of bending? Endless debates. I suspect that the just announced new series will have some answers.

Appa plushy is too cute. :-)
Qtip the Sixth
19. mirana
That plush is SO FLUFFY! ;)
Qtip the Sixth
21. Neenie
Delurking to celebrate the return of the rewatch!

Actually, my favorite part of the episode is Katara and Aang's argument about General Fong's plan, where Katara basically says that the toll on Aang of getting into the Avatar State (all the rage, pain, and fear) is not worth the uncontrolled results. It is a nice contrast to see someone thinking of Aang first versus Fong's insistence on getting Aang into the Avatar State regardless of the cost.

As far as the future airbenders thing, according to Bryke interviews for Korra that has been taken care of ;).
Qtip the Sixth
22. TheBar1
Hope I win. My kids would love that Appa.
Qtip the Sixth
23. GiveMePlushiePlz
Hooray for rewatch return!
Kerwin Miller
24. tamyrlink
i've asked the same question about the avatar cycle almost from the beginning.

i kno the avatar changes nations in the cycle but does the avatar also change sex? the last airbender avatar before ang was a woman...the next waterbender avatar (according to the new show) is a woman and the previous waterbender avatar was a man...

i loved all of the Azula parts. zuko was pipedreaming when he thought azula was there to welcome him back home.

and i absolutely loved iroh redirecting azula's lightning.

and i frakkin absolutely want this appa plush toY!
Beth Kee
25. Beaker719
Even if I don't get Appa, at least I got something. I usually just read your rewatch in my news feed and ignore the comments; I'm here because of the contest. But I hadn't heard about the new series until I read these comments :)
Qtip the Sixth
27. The Literary Omnivore
Yip yip!

One of things I love most about Avatar is the history of the Avatar and his previous incarnations- I think that's why I'm so excited about The Legend of Korra, because she will probably deal with Aang as a spirit mentor.
Matt Wright
28. matty42
I just got through the episodes that cover the arc of Appa's kidnapping. So sad, and touching. I LOVE this show! And the news about the new series? Awesome!
Qtip the Sixth
29. Plushell Baker
PLUSHIEEEEEE. Also, your articles are always so much fun to read. Plus, PLUSHIE.

Weirdly, it wouldn't let me use "Mishell Baker," as apparently I am an impostor impinging upon the identity of Mishell Baker. Or something.
Qtip the Sixth
30. David RS
Who made this Fong guy a general anyway? Mo-ron.
Qtip the Sixth
32. MountainMan
The daughter will love this.
Joe Viramontes
33. CowboyFunk
Well Aang is the last Airbender, but if Jedi family trees have taught us anything these special traits are passed down through the family so it stands to reason as long as Aang has some children the Avatar Airbender line has a chance of surviving. Or if the Airbenders are realy all gone at that point I would assume it would just skip to the next in the cycle.

I sure hope we meet a Katara/Aang offspring cus that would be just awesome.

I just started watching this show a month ago (I guess I was living under a rock during its peak) and its fantastic. I went through all 3 seasons in just a few weeks. I know there are mixed feeling about the new series but I am personally stoked. I had no faith in serious American cartoons this day and age until I watched this series.
Joe Viramontes
35. CowboyFunk
Oh...and I have no kids, no wife and no sick grandmas who would love an Appa plus. I want it all for MYSELF! MWHAHAHA.

ok...sorry about that...hehe. Im better now.
Qtip the Sixth
37. The Saddling Saint
I just finished watching the series today and I loved it! It blew me away. It was way better than I first expected, and even when I fell in love with it, it still got better and better.

Also, that Appa Plush is sweet.
Qtip the Sixth
38. Corvus corax
I'm rewatching with my boyfriend in order to turn him into a fanboy. Bwa ha ha!
Jason Ramboz
39. jramboz
Is it just me, or does Azula suddenly stop using lightning halfway through the season? She starts as lightning, but at some point I remember noticing that she just uses blue fire instead.

Maybe it's because of what we later find out about the mental state lightning bending requries? Doesn't seem exactly like Azula's mindset.
Matt London
40. MattLondon
@24 ::pushes up glasses:: Actually, the Avatar before Aang was a man, the firebender Roku. His Jedi blue glowie makes an appearance in this episode. (I usually hate commenters that correct people like this, so please consider a friendly comment. Thanks for reading!)
Matt London
41. MattLondon
@25 News of the new series is very exciting! Check out Tor.com's coverage here:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/07/new-avatar-the-last-airbender-series
Matt London
43. MattLondon
@30 Maybe I'm just partial to Fong because he is voiced by an actor I like, but I think it's great to see a general who cares about his soldiers. Let this be a lesson to any writers out there. If you give your villain a noble goal, he will instantly be more sympathetic, and so much more interesting.
Chris H-C
44. scriptedfate
I just finished watching the entire series, and am eagerly awaiting future rewatch posts! (And, if my luck is good, an Appa Plushie!)
Mitchell Downs
45. Beamish
The resolution of this Avatar state partially foreshadows the much quieter and more mature de-escalation against the Sand Benders.

The Red Bull Tea might be a bit above 9-10 year olds - but the show matures quite a bit over its three year arc. The stories get darker and the stakes more severe in every epsiode: Back in Episode One Aang was concerned with Penguin Sledding and now he is trying to control a rage-ignited power that can destroy cities.
Qtip the Sixth
46. Carapace
Oh, what a wonderful plush! It's really captured the Appa-ness of him.

I don't think Aang being last Airbender implies that there won't be any more Avatars after him; maybe when the cycle goes back around to Air, it'll skip a generation, or maybe start up something new. Wood? Metal?
Eric Wyatt
47. SunDriedRainbow
What's a good way to get people to comment on your post?

OFFER AN ADORABLE PLUSHIE

OMG SO CUUUUUUUTE

Relevantly, I don't know if I'd consider the introduction of the spirit water specifically praiseworthy. Yes, the attention to the small details is one of the things this show does well, but the spirit water is not (oh god so not) a small thing, and would have been a major ass pull if it had suddenly been introduced.

Katara: OH AANG YOU ARE DYING
Aaag: *bleh*
Katara: oh, snap, I have this amulet of spirit water HOW CONVENIENT

Yeah. I guess to me, it's more of a mandatory thing that the amulet had to have been introduced, and if it HADN'T been the show would have been weakened quite a lot.
Andrew Willett
48. AndrewWillett
I figure if Avatar Aang was able to use spirit-bending to remove someone's bending ability, he might eventually also come up with a way to instill airbending in a community he feels is worthy of carrying on the tradition.

Appa! Yip yip!
Qtip the Sixth
49. Cathy72
Oh Appa plushie come home with us.

And on comment 34, Nicktoons just announced a new series set 70 years in the future where the new Avatar would be meeting Aang's son.
Qtip the Sixth
50. GBrell
It has never been clear to me how bending is inherited. If it's matrilineal, then Zuko and Azula shouldn't be benders as there is no evidence that Zuko's mom is a bender (and Aang would be the last airbender). If it's patrilineal, then Katara shouldn't be a bender (as Hakoda doesn't seem to be a bender).

Assuming it's both, what happens when two different benders have kids? (a situation I don't remember EVER happening in the series) Beyond the fact that this could lead to a kids show seriously addressing interracial marriage, it seems safe to assume that one of the bending heritages must prevail (otherwise you could get a quasi-avatar in two generations).

This is further complicated by the fact that different nations seem to have much different frequency of benders. The Southern water tribe has essentially no benders (even at its best, very few), while the fire nation army seems to be entirely composed of firebenders. The earth nation has enough that they have earth bending schools with no entrance requirements (and Toph can earthbend even though neither of her parents seem able to). If bending is something that can be learned, why the heck wouldn't EVERYONE learn it. Can you imagine a more useful skill for a farmer than earthbending?

What this leads to is the fact that if Aang and Katara have one kid, he/she may/may not be an airbender (though he appears to be) and then his/her kids may/may not be airbenders since they'd have to intermingle to add genetic diversity. Aang's genes (the airbending ones) would either be diluted massively within two-three generations or the whole group would be inbred (yey! swampbenders).

If airbenders are actually going to continue to exist, there'd probably need to be another group of airbenders, which since they're nomads doesn't seem so unlikely.

And I want that plushie.
Qtip the Sixth
51. Sihaya
In for a penny, in for a plush.
Qtip the Sixth
52. Brenda H.
Awww Appa is so cute!

Have to admit, looking back they really started building up for the future in this episode and it makes me even more excited for what's coming up next!
Qtip the Sixth
53. Ryvius
@40: That wasn't what he said. Rather he said that the previous water avatar was a man and the previous air avatar was a woman. Since there are an even number of elements to rotate on an in element basis there will have to be a repeat where the cycle restarts at fire to water. So fire to water will always be the same gender while all the other elemental transisitions will have different genders. IE Avatar Kiyoshi to Avatar Roku.
Qtip the Sixth
54. Ryvius
@40: That wasn't what he said. Rather he said that the previous water avatar was a man and the previous air avatar was a woman. Since there are an even number of elements to rotate on an in element basis there will have to be a repeat where the cycle restarts at fire to water. So fire to air will always be the same gender while all the other elemental transisitions will have different genders. IE Avatar Kiyoshi to Avatar Roku.
Lee Guille
55. LeeG
Super cute! It might even distract my GF from her never ending search for a Catbus plushie!

Stoked for the new series!
Qtip the Sixth
56. Hollia
I just recently began reading these. The season one recaps were wonderful--looking forward to season two.

Azula quickly became one of my favorite characters. She's just so awful. You said that you thought it was a bit contrived with the way Azula planned to capture her brother, but I am not so sure. Azula may be a Firebending prodigy, but she is still a 14 year old girl. She's proud, manipulative, and she likes to gloat. Sure, she could have easily captured her brother, but that's not as fun as toying with him.

I think, as other commentators have mentioned, the problem Airbenders and the cycle will be addressed in the upcoming miniseries. Another theory I like is the idea of a group of Airbenders that went into hiding, or the possibility of Airbenders simply returning among spiritual populations, such as in the community that took over on of the temples. There are a lot of ways the writers can work with the story, so it will be exciting to see what they'll do with their new characters.
Qtip the Sixth
57. Lingeorge
He is really cute and needs to live on my desk!
Dan Guy
58. danguyf
The kids and I started watching Avatar for the first time several weeks ago. We're half was through Book 3 now! They love it and so do I. I'm so glad this show was made, that I found out about it, and that Netflix is streaming it.
Qtip the Sixth
59. Ketherian
Long time lurker and fan of the Avatar re-watch posts. Thanks for bringing up such good memories. I saw the series as it aired, and re-watched it as it came out on DVD. Reading your recaps keeps making me want to go back and watch it one more time.

So in four more generations, won’t the Avatar be gone for good anyway?

I always wondered about that.
I suppose Ang's power could breed true in his offspring. If that kept up for a few generations, there'd be a small (and growing) population of the nearly lost tribe. Otherwise maybe the Avatar would skip being an air bender if there were no air benders born into that generation.

Hrm.
Qtip the Sixth
60. ICptJackSparrow
How is it that this show, may well be one of the most well written and well executed shows ever on television?

I'm a grown man and started watching this show with my daughter at the behest of a friend only this past year.

Upon completing the entire series I can say that not only did my daughter enjoy it, but I enjoyed it, quite possibly more than any series I've ever watched.

Now, of course there's question of the airbender lines existence after Aang, and perhaps The Legend of Zorra will address this. But I think that there must be some airbenders left, for the fire nation to have eradicated an entire race would be a stretch, some must have escaped them, and I think that is where the hope lies for the future of the airbenders.

I'd be more concerned as to whether or not more Sky Bison exist, since they are the true first airbenders, does the ability for new airbenders to exist die if that species dies? Especially if any new airbenders are born who will they learn from, since most bending was learned from the original benders, fire=dragons, water=moon & ocean (or their spiritual incarnations), earth=badger moles and air=sky bison. Yes, I think that if the airbenders could possibly have survived, hopefully they would've too. I suppose it's all in the writers hands now.
Dean Tucker
61. StoryCottage
After reading your blog, my kids and I started watching the entire series (Yeah streaming on NetFlix!) Incredible! Up there with Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited in storytelling. My family would die for an Appa.
Qtip the Sixth
62. Alden Ash
Enjoyed the series, disliked the movie, looking forward to the follow up series, coveting the plush.
Qtip the Sixth
63. Dr. Tuka
Finally recognition for the true star of the series - who was woefully shortchanged in the disappointing movie! Yip-Yip!!
Qtip the Sixth
64. Kevin Faulk
Of all the contests that Tor has ever held, this is the one that I would want most to win. My wife and I have been looking for an Appa plush for our son for a long time.....
Qtip the Sixth
67. Dawn the Glass Beadmaker
oh, wow, I'm in serious like here.
Qtip the Sixth
68. Bethanyfig
APPA! At least one plus to the avatar hype is that the Appa plushy is available again....
Qtip the Sixth
69. DRickard
That'd make a neat (if weird) Christmas present for my niece--pick me!
Qtip the Sixth
70. Doug M.
My little girl needs that plush. Needs it.

A point not discussed: this ep answers a perfectly reasonable question that a lot of fans were asking at the end of Season One. ("If Aang can turn into Frogzilla at will, why doesn't he just head for the Fire Nation capital city and end the war with one stroke?")


Doug M.
Adam McLain
71. WrittenOnTheStars
I'm kind of split with the Azula capturing Zuko thing.

Yes, she could have just bagged Zuko and that's probably what a lot of people would have done if they were pure evil - but, not bagging her brother, kind of shows a little sense of honor...or, maybe, just fun manipulating people.

Of course, it could just be for plot - we needed to show Azula more so instead of showing her moving in and bagging them, we have her speaking to them.

I for one don't think bagging is part of Azula's character. She likes to feel in control of the person she's with and so, by manipulating them, she's in control.

That's just my two cents :)
Qtip the Sixth
72. ataylor
I'm a grandma that is just now learning about Avatar: The Last Airbender and leaving a comment for the first time, because of Appa Plush.
Qtip the Sixth
73. Cibby
I absolutely adore this series. I can't quite recall another show with such winning streaks of episodes as Avatar 2.6 through 2.14 and 3.10 through... well, all the way to the end. Winning this Appa plushie would be just awesome! :)

Looking forward to your reading of 2.7 - "Zuko Alone" - which I rewatched recently and was blown away at how not-for-children it is, with all its meanings between the lines.
Yubin Kim
74. shdwfeather
Oh my god, that plush is adorable and I would love to own one.

Completely excited for the new series. ;)
John Fitzingo
75. Xandar01
Looking forward to the new series. Last Airbender and the cycle, if Aang is having kids, he won't be the last air bender for long.
Qtip the Sixth
76. Fenric25
Glad to see the Avatar re-watch thread is back, one of my favorite things on Tor.com. Lots of comments this time, too-everyone must really want that plushie Appa. My wife would certainly love to have it-she even tried making one once before she was distracted by her other knitting and crocheting projects. Here's hoping we win, no offense to anyone else...

Also-loved this episode, full of fun little moments. My favorite bits are Sokka with Momo's head and when Iroh redirects Azula's lightning and tosses her overboard. Can't wait for the next post-and for Legend of Korra to arrive next year, too...
Qtip the Sixth
77. Stefan Llewellyn Smith
Count me in. I still haven't worked whether to take my 6-year old son to the movie version. The reviews are all appalling, but the visual effects might be fun and he might enjoy it.

To get back to the point, good episode.
Qtip the Sixth
78. Chaotic Good
I like it...

Also, to join the debate: Bending might be recessive. :) That would explain it.
David C
79. Malkier
Sure why not? Gotta support the Avatar love!
Kevin Persiko
80. lanistheman
"Master Pakku doing his best imitation of Lady Galadriel."

Great comparison. I did chuckle a little when Pakku got to Sokka and instead of giving him a gift says "Sokka take care son"
David Rodriguez
82. strakul
I love season 2, especially Zuko's character development.
Also: Appa!
David Enyeart
83. blink62051
Love Avatar. Love the re-watches. Love Appa.
Qtip the Sixth
84. logankstewart
Season 2 was great, like that Appa plush. Yip yip!
Qtip the Sixth
85. T'Amara
I'd love that Appa plushie, and I'm old enough to be a grandmother, albet one that can break bricks with her bare hands...

Very much enjoying the series recap, and chuckling over everyone's comments. Azula is the worst possible thing, a crazy POWERFUL teenage girl, and she's as cruel as a cat. Definitely plays with her brother, among others. And General Fong was a dope.

New series - WOOOOOOO!

T'Amara, proud member of Iroh's Harem
Qtip the Sixth
86. tbgh
So happy the rewatch is starting back up. And the plushy looks SO FLUFFY!!
Qtip the Sixth
87. 7of9
Really? General Fong is voiced by Daniel Dae Kim? Doesn't sound like him. Although, I do hear it every so often during his scenes. Neat!

Random thoughts:

- The 2 aunts, Lo and Li, always came off as creepy (good) to me in their first few appearances. They become more comedic though by the third season. Not sure how I feel about this since I liked the doubled-voice-finishing-each-other's-sentences-vaguely-mystic feel about them that we see here.

- Love the signature chime that goes off every time Azula is shown.

- Love that you get to see more of Iroh being a badass. He takes care of those 2 lines of soldiers on his own. Gives his character so much more depth.

- The redirecting lightning thing seems way more intentional now, as opposed to the accident it came off as in Season 1's "The Storm." That stuck out to me, especially when you see him teaching Zuko how to do it later. If he had the technique down all that time, why make it look like he was surprised that he did it in Season 1? Not unless it's part of his disguise as a lazy, old fool.

- Can I just say how absolutely in love with Azula I am? She's the best villain. So ruthless, deadly, and a badass warrior. And unrelenting: we'll see that in another episode this season "The Chase."

- Roku's reveal to Aang in the spirit world is so cool. Maybe because it's the first time we get to see past Avatars in action (is that right?) and how powerful they can be.

- When I first watched this, I remember thinking, "Wow, earth kicks air's ass." Just call up a rock wall to block whatever blast is coming at you. Interesting to think of the elements in a super simplified way like rock paper scissors.
Matt London
88. MattLondon
@73 Cibby, if you're stoked for "Zuko Alone," imagine how I feel! Can. Not. Wait.

To prep for my re-watch, you can watch Akira Kurosawa's "Yojimbo." The plots are not very similar, but it is full of visual cues. Season Two is basically Zuko's Ronin season with tons of subtle references to Musashi Miyamoto, Kurosawa's samurai films, Lone Wolf and Cub, and many other works.
Aaron Fuegi
89. aarondf
Can't Aang have kids in the meantime?
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90. Beth Cato
That Appa plushie is beyond adorable.
Matt London
91. MattLondon
@76 I can't get enough of fire soldiers getting knocked overboard. It kept reminding me of the climactic boat fight in Batman: The Series: The Movie. BIFF! POW! SPLOOSH!
Chris LeBlanc
92. subnetmask255x4
Azula is just crazy. Bagging Zuko and Iroh may have been easy, but she wants to punish them. She is just screwing with them the whole time. She wanted to build Zuko's hope up, and then see the look on his face when she crushed it.

Oh well, still hoping for that plush.
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93. Appa Lover
Wonderful Episode!
Lucas Vollmer
94. aspeo
Glad to see this re-watch is back for season 2! I really enjoy these episode recaps :)
natalie wilkie
96. tesla314
Thanks for doing these recaps, they're really interesting. By luck, you started them the week after I'd finished watching the series. The recap has helped with the "wait, who was that guy?" confusion that seems to inevitably comes with series finales.

That's an adorable recreation of Appa!
Richard Caywood
97. rcaywood
Stefan (#77), We decided not to take our 6 year old who love Avatar to see the movie, mostly because of the scene of at the end where Admiral Zhou dies. they show him drowning in the film, where in the cartoon he jsut disappears under the water and is never seen again.

Yea for the recaps again!!! Of course it I get the plush Appa, it will have to go the the 4 month old to cuddle with.
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98. Rush-That-Speaks
I'm only halfway through Season Two, but I love it so far, and I watched Season One and the first half of Season Two in like two days, yay Netflix streaming.

Which should hopefully explain why this comment isn't replying to anything-- I haven't read any of the other comments for fear of spoilers.
Simon Southey-Davis
99. Glyph
Oh yeah, Azula... the scheming little bundle of rage I love to hate. Absolutely brilliant villain - the build-up through the season to ***SPOILER*** her masterstroke in the final arc... She's that best form of long-term antagonist, the frighteningly cold, calculating evil bastich. She gives me chills, never mind the Gaang.

It's been mentioned upthread, but I came to the same conclusion regarding Azula's reason for the manipulative trap: because it would hurt more. To twist the knife, just because she could.

Brilliant.
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100. DrewT
Azula is one of the best villains I've read about. It's almost too bad that she ended up becoming completely insane by the end of the series, because she was delightfully awful in her meanness! I think that if an Airbender is not available, the reincarnation might simply skip over to the next element immediately but who knows!?
Zayne Forehand
101. ShiningArmor
It's funny what a major motion picture and a plush giveaway can do for the forums. I think the average responses on season 1 was under 20 and now I'm 101.

*spoilers below*
I don't know that I realized before how much foreshadowing for future events is in here. Most importantly to me is the spirit water and backstory/rules for the Avatar State. I know that specifically sparked some debate in between seasons 2 and 3 about whether Aang was actually dead before the spirit water or if he was in the Avatar state or just getting there when he was blasted by Azula and whether the Avatar line was broken. Clearly the new series settles that but it was an interesting debate at the time.
*spoilers end*

That Appa plush is awesome. Now if only they had one for Foo Foo Cuddly Poops and I'd be ecstatic. Looking forward to another season of Avatar re-watching. See hopefully most of you next week.
Alex McKee
102. mckale
I found Azula to be a very worthy villain for season 2. I'm excited for more perspective on what makes her so evil.
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103. draken
OMG! I would so love to have this, it would make for the best birthday gift ever :)
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104. Cibby
@101 ShiningArmor: Oh my God, a Foo Foo Cuddly Poops plush! That's the best idea ever! :D
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105. terenewen
I've always enjoyed reading your guys' recaps. I'm excited to hear what you have to say about season 2~!

And oh my god, that Appa plush is so friggin' cute.
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106. Jittlers Jinx
I second this Foo Foo Cuddly Poops plushie idea! That'd be the most adorablest plush ever! Though I dunno, Appa is a good rival!

Season 2 of Avatar is so awesome. Every time I rewatch I can't wait for Toph to get into the show. Oh, how I love the blind humor. Seriously, they always forget she's blind! Her character is so great. And the seasons just get better and better as they go on.

I'm so, so, so excited to hear about The Legend of Korra! 2011 seems so far away! I wonder if we'll get to see some of our old characters? I'm guessing we'll get to see Aang at least, if Korra can talk to past Avatar's like him. Or if we'll see any others since the people in the Avatar world seem to live for a pretty long time. Oh, man! So excited!
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107. sparkatito
I'm glad to be experiencing the Last Airbender through the cartoon, and with you guys, rather than through the mostly-panned-movie.

Appa!!
Daniel Goss
108. Beren
My kids would love this . . . If I ever let them touch it.

Appa is the best character in the series anyway.
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109. ericfromabeno
I always found the avatar state intriguing. The past-life avatar exposition that usually accompanied it, giving hints about avatar history and the nature of being an avatar, was partly what interested me, but also the concept that the power of the avatar came with a dehumanizing effect, at least for Aang. I still don't quite understand why that was. Did earlier avatar incarnations suffer the same "flaw"? or did they achieve a "constant" avatar state in the way that other benders are constantly capable of bending? And why can there be only one avatar? The origin of each type of bender was linked to a special "bending creature"... I hope the new Avatar series, if it sees the light of day, will show us a bit more of how the avatar state came to be, and answers some of my questions about it. I also hope I win the Appa plushie.
Max Moseley
110. mmoseley
This episode, in my opinion, introduces Azula in a very effective way. It shows off her decisiveness and her amazing evil brilliantly.

And Appa is awesome.
Tranylle Simmons
112. tranylle
My husband and I are addicted to this show now. It would be awesome to have our own Appa :)
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113. the Dormouse
OMG APPA APPA APPA.

...

Yeah, that's all I've got. APPA.
Evan Jensen
114. eoghanacht
I used your screenshot to doublecheck the Avatar lineage system with the water bender in the new series. Very silly of me, but I wondered.

Appa!
Mike Foster
116. zephyrkey
This was a great starter episode for the new season. Just enough re-cap to bring anyone else new up to speed, more new character exposition then you can shake a stick at, and some awesome moments all around.

Also, Appa = really cute!
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118. Bea Chan
How can you not love an Appa plushie?? WANTS!!
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121. Finny
Love this episode, love the rewatch, love the show, and love the Appa plushie!
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122. Glenn S Smith
Enjoying the Re-Watch. My family usually catches one or two episodes each weeknight.
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123. JS Neo
This cartoon is sooo awesome..!! I want appa!!
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124. Solarbird
APPA PLUSHIE! YIPYIP!!
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126. RHS2042
Will leave comments for plushie!
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127. Sitka
Appa!

During the avatar "extras" re-watch, in the season 1 ep "the Storm", one of the popups stated that all peeps born to the Air Nomads were airbenders; unlike the other nations, where you didn't necessarily need bender-parents to be a bender (re: Katara and Toph, with neither of their parents being benders or Piandao, whose parents were both fire benders yet he was a non-bender).

In the description of Legend of Korra, it is said that Katara's and Aang's son, Tenzin, teaches Korra how to airbend (see the interview with Bryke in WSJ Speakeasy blog). I think it is pretty safe to say airbending continues in the future. But what about APPA!
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129. esotaria
THE REWATCH IS BACK! You have no idea how many times I've refreshed the Tor.com page, waiting for this. I love seeing all the little details that people notice.
Ryan
130. Rorpheo
I tried to post a comment earlier on how cool the Appa Plush was, but I was blocked??!!!
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131. spinaret
re: Appa plushie

I want to go to there.
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132. zenspinner
Ooh yay commenting contests! Love them. Last year at a guess-your-age-and-weight booth I won a (very cheaply made) Zuko for my son. It'd be fun to have an Appa for him to ride (Zuko, not my son, who's a bit too big for that now).

And I do really love these rewatches. Someday I'll have to get the box set of this series, but right now I can't afford it, so this is nice until then.
Valerie Valdes
133. lastsyllable
Were we not supposed to squee over the hair? My error.

I can't wait to do my own rewatch before the new series starts. It will be interesting to see which old characters make appearances, if any, and what unanswered questions might be resolved.
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134. Colanut
Yip Yip for Appa plush.
Jeff P
135. Fiver
I was once an airbending apprentice
My talent was close to momentus
But I blew a door shut
On my Master's left foot
Now I'm an oral hygenist
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136. A.Schezar
I loved stuffed animals (even imaginary ones!)
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137. Serraphina
Woot! super awesome Plushie.
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138. RFFD
Having just finished the series last week a plushie Appa is the second thing I've been wanting most (the first is a real life Momo to be my friend/pet).

As the Ember Island Players would say: Avatar State Yip Yip!
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139. Logan MacRae
Entering the contest.
William Alexander
140. willalex
WANT.

The creators apparently tossed around the idea that Appa is both female and pregnant (with a reeeeeeeally long gestation period), and that her litter of bison repopulates the species. Hope so. Still worried about Momo.
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142. nycahi
Bison groan on high
Fills the sky 'round scary house
Oops! Lurch opens door
M A
144. maa83
Avatar and plushies= awesome sauce
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145. negativeq
Yip Yip!
That Appa plushie will be mine!
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146. Neale Carter
I've really enjoyed these recaps. Looking forward to more. And, yes, I too hope for the Appa plush for my dear wife.
Cathy Mullican
149. nolly
I started watching because I saw someone's plush Appa at a con.
Ian Gazzotti
150. Atrus
I don't watch Avatar but that plush is cute!
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151. Euby
Oh how my grandson (and his parents) would love Appa!
They are serious Avatarians.
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153. Momma-a-tar-a-tor!
My birthday is coming up and all I really want is "Appa"! Love Appa, Love Katara! Why in every tale there are two boys and a girl? Is that a commentary on how male-female relations should be? Two boys for every girl? I like that. Now, I know he's her brother, let's use Star Wars as the example. Can't wait to see this Season. I am only through Season 1.
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154. Marina_Bonomi
Got interested in the series by reading about the (awful) movie, now I can't wait to get hold of the series on DVD.
And that plush is seriously curte, to top it all. :-)
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155. Marina_Bonomi
That was 'cute' of course.
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156. TommyO
It's a great a show, but I don't the logic behind the Avatar being gone for good in 4 more generations. It's early, so maybe I'm still fogged in.
Rob S
157. RobSS
Can I use it to get to work or do you need a permit

LOL
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158. Cass Buscher
I would love the plushy
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159. laotsekung
re: the no more airbenders question:
I think even if there are no more air benders, Aang is not the last ever. His success in defeating the fire nation would lead to many seeking him out to become air benders under his tutelage. Admittedly this presumes they can, but no where does it specifically state that only a member of a set nation can bend that nations element. So a member of the fire nation could be an earth bender, and consequently join the Earth Nation. Or not. Just a thought. Also I recall, possibly erroneously, a few hints that air benders do still exist, or at least decendents of the Air Nation.
Sam Abramovich
161. abramovs
I know people who would love that doll!
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162. rubydog
I would love to win!
Please enter me.
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163. SuperPenguin
I've only watched the first season, but this makes me want to put season 2 on the Netflix queue. Also, the plush Appa is adorable.
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164. Jettoki
I just finished watching Avatar Season 3 with my girlfriend, and we both loved it. I also picked up the art book, which I recommend to everyone.
YouDont NeedToKnow
165. necrosage2005
I love the full series and think that the Appa plush is adorable!
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167. Raikha
Wait, something important was happening in that scene where Sokka has his hair down? Really?
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171. Zapf
Appa is one of my three favorite characters in Avatar. I would love to have an Appa plushie.

Heh. Classic Appa.
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172. claudia freitas
Ah, I had left a comment before but seems it disapeared! So here it goes again.

I'm still learning about Avatar but the plush helps.
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173. Writing Dad
Appa is awesome!! The movie didn't do him credit, he looked kinda monsterish!
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174. William Snedden
I LOVE this series...plus, plush toys are WIN!
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175. missallen
I dream of riding Appa -- what's not to love about a 6-legged bison/beaver cross? Gimme some Yip-Yip love!
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176. hapax
I hear all the Azula love, but imho, this was the season that Iroh really started to shine.

Plus, Toph!

(and I never have luck with contests, but that is one adorable plushie)
Jennifer B
177. JennB
Funny, I just watched this episode last night. We finished Season 1 and had an extra 1/2 hour before bed. I am really enjoying this series. Glad my brother told me I had to check it out. :-)
More Avatar tonight!
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178. The Saturn
OMG IT'S A CUTE APPA PLUSHIE!!
Emily Lind
179. Malana
Appa plushie is completely adorable.
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180. JoyBug
haha, "more foreshadowing than you can shake a Joss Whedon at" totally cracked me up; great job! Also, yay for Appa!!
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182. nofrigatelikeabook
yay! The rewatch is back! Azula is an amazing villain. I love how she emotionally eviscerates people. Her "never even part of the game" speech to Long Feng is awesome.
nick de vera
183. ZoneSeek
Oh great Dragon Turtle, heed my prayers. My girlfriend really wants that Appa plushie.
Madeline Ferwerda
184. MadelineF
I tried to read the comment thread, but it was too long...
Rajeev Singh
185. ambitionLab
One of the things I was really curious about with the movie was how they would render Appa. I was bummed when I saw screen-shots of him (wouldn't touch the movie with a 39.5ft pole)... They made him look a bit like a giant, furry insect.

Plush suits him better than CGI.
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186. Ninix
OMG! That Appa plushie is sooo cute!!!

Love avatar, love the site! Keep on the great work guys!
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187. Daniel Morrell
been netflixing the series, not bad so far
A Hood
189. Cyrrha
Come on randomness- I want that Appa! Love love love this series...
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192. Steph.Ellis
The Appa plush is so cute! I would love to win this!
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194. terrible_t
Flame retardant bags. Heh.

Somehow I don't see The Dragon of the West being restrained by anything as mundane as that. Pfft. Really. Iroh is way too awesome for that. XD
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195. Eric_in_Rio
A friend turned me on to Avatar, so I hope she gets the Appa - she totally deserves it!
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196. musicaxx3
I love Avatar. I've watched it from beginning to end :D
I especially love this episode.
That Appa plushie is so cute! Yip-yip! :3
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197. blazenight#1
This magnificent beast would make one very loyal,loving, and dedicated Avatar fan very grateful!
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199. avatar kuruk
I love Avatar!
Adam Bodestyne
201. thanners
This episode was a really strong start to the second season. Glad it pretty much kept up the awesomeness that was built to in the first season, and just kept going.

I'd been watching the series, and after finishing season one, commented about how great I was finding it. A friend told me, "and season one was the worst season!" I don't know whether "worst" is the right word for it, it certainly did just keep getting more awesome.

Also, while I had noted all the visual cues for the change in season, I somehow don't think that it really clicked for me. Now when I mentally pull up scenes from various episodes, the season progression is suddenly obvious. How did I not notice it before? (c:
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202. Bourgeon
This Appa plushie is utterly adorable.

And now... back to my re-watching of season 3 of Avatar! XD
Rose
203. RoseKing
Sweet, Appa's even cuter in plushie form :)
Matt London
204. MattLondon
@180 Flattery will get you everywhere. Thanks for the kind words.

@194 Ditto.
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205. Rowanmdm
YEAH! I have been waiting for the return of the Re-Watch for what feels like ages.

Also, I really, REALLY want the Appa plushie :)
Danger Mouse
206. Danger Mouse
Thanks for starting this up again.
In the hiatus I managed to watch the whole series again. Ah, what a happy time that was.
And awesome Appa Plush. My son (not me, of course) really hopes this comment is chosen.
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207. JPop
APPA! *hearts and stars*. So much love. I've been looking for one of these every since I fell for A:TLB...

Loving the re-watch, guys! and trying very, very hard not to read your summaries ahead of my watching. I'm almost caught up!
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208. Alex123
The top knot is a symbol of their connection with the fire nation. Their cutting it off represts their rejection/exile from the fire nation. Note Jeong-Jeong has also cut his off. This is actually from Japanese culture.
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209. MJ.McGrath
Had so much fun reading the past season, and catching up with all the things I loved about this series. I agree that Sokka is a character that grows on you, as a guy with a boomerang trying to do the best he can in the world.

I agree that something they never dealt with properly in the series was what happens when the avator cycle reaches air again. Also a whole civilisation couldn't be made up of monks, where were the ordinary air nomads?

Appa so00 cute!!!

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