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Avatar Book 3, Disc 1 – spoiler-free reaction post - A Sorta Fairytale
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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Sat, Jan. 3rd, 2009 06:06 pm
Avatar Book 3, Disc 1 – spoiler-free reaction post

This disc has audio commentary on chapters 4 and 5. Info from the commentary tracks will be marked with a "C".


Chapter 1: The Awakening

Finally! The kiss that launched 1000 raging fangirls. The first Mai/Zuko kiss.

Sokka: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 3
Aang: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 1
Katara: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 1
Suki: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 1
Yue: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 2
Zuko: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 2
Jin: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1
Mai: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1

I really like Aang with hair. (Katara says she likes it, too!) It actually makes him look older somehow. It makes the hurt/comfort scenes with Katara actually seem hot instead of squicky.

Under Li and Lo's narration of the fall of Ba Sing Se, we see Iroh's former employer with Jin in the shop behind him (maybe with her new boyfriend?) in one shot and baby Hope's family in another, watching the Fire Nation armies march in. Nice continuity there.

It seems Azula decides to give Zuko credit for killing the Avatar after she sees the doubt in his eyes when she talks to him at the turtle duck pond. I wonder what Ozai would have done—how he would have acted toward Zuko—if it hadn't been for that?

There's an interesting parallel between the scene where Aang explains himself to Katara, and the scene between Ozai and Zuko. Aang says, "I need to redeem myself. I need my honor back." It shifts to the next scene with a similar close up on Zuko's face now instead of Aang's. Later, Ozai tells Zuko, "You have redeemed yourself, my son." But it's clear Zuko is not satisfied.

I like how you can see the pain in Zuko's face when Ozai mentions his "traitorous uncle".

It's cool that the animators went to the trouble to distinguish what Azula looks like in the middle of the night vs. other times we see her. You can tell she's not wearing makeup in the bedtime scene.


Chapter 2: The Headband

Katara's Fire Nation clothes are so cute. Can't wait to see orcapotter cosplay this. :)

My brother (watching with me) says, "I love Aang. He's just friends with everybody."

Aang's artwork of Ozai out of noodles cracks me up. It's too true-to-life—it brings back childhood memories for me, anyway.

This episode shows how the Fire Nation teaches its children revisionist history (making the massacre of the Air Nomads sound like a battle) and otherwise brainwashes its youth. I sense shades of Nazi Germany here.

In an earlier commentary, I teased at the inconsistency of having Fire Nation people on Zuko's ship dancing during one of Iroh's music nights. But in watching this episode, I see that the no dancing policy applies specifically to young people, so I suppose it's not really a Flint.

I love Aang's Ba Gua moves against the bully Hide in this episode. It's very similar to what he did to Zuko when he was first captured in season 1.

This episode has the second Maiko kiss. Zuko might edge Sokka out of the lead soon, at the rate he's going. :D

Sokka: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 3
Aang: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 1
Katara: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 1
Suki: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 1
Yue: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 2
Zuko: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 3
Jin: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1
Mai: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 2

And we also get one of the best Katara-->Aang hints in this episode. She seems jealous when he dances with On Ji, then blushes when he says to her "It's just you and me right now." Not to mention, she seems pretty turned on by the dancing. Or maybe that's just the heat. ;)

I like the "I am Spartacus" strategy the school kids have for protecting Aang.

Aang's suave dancing wins him another cheek kiss from Katara:

Sokka: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 3
Aang: Cheek kisses: 3, Lip kisses: 1
Katara: Cheek kisses: 3, Lip kisses: 1
Suki: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 1
Yue: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 2
Zuko: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 3
Jin: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1
Mai: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 2


Chapter 3: The Painted Lady

The dying, polluted town in this episode depresses me. :(

I don’t really get the joke with the guy who keeps saying he has a different name and insists the other guy is his "brother". It's just…not that funny.

I think someday I'd like to cosplay Painted Lady!Katara.

Sokka: "You need me, and I will never turn my back on you." w00t, bro-sis <3!

Katara must have an enormous amount of trust for Aang, to stand calmly in front of a blast of fire and wait for his airbending to lift her out of harm's way.

I like the twist at the end of this episode: Katara was really the Painted Lady's agent all along. As someone who believes that a gracious God does watch over us—and that most of the time, people are his hands and feet—the scene where Katara receives the Painted Lady's blessing resonates with me.


Chapter 4: Sokka's Master

Commentary track:
Bryan Konietzko – Co-Creator
Michael Dante DiMartino – Co-Creator
Sifu Kisu – Martial Arts Consultant

C: Piandao is actually modeled after Sifu Kisu. They joke about this throughout the commentary. He is voiced by Robert Patrick, aka that scary liquid metal guy from Terminator 2.

C: This episode won two "Annie" awards.

Watching the scenes of Iroh acting foolish around his captors, my brother tells me that POWs are trained to act crazy (and even to make themselves become a little crazy) in order to resist interrogations. This also reminds me of the story of King David in I Samuel 21 acting crazy when he was at the mercy of King Achish of Gath.

C: The commentators mention this technique as well, and cite The Art of War as its source. There's some good commentary on Uncle Iroh's character here, too—sorry it's too much to transcribe.

So this is the episode where Sokka has a bout of feeling like The Zeppo. I suppose it was inevitable at some point. (I was kind of surprised it took this long, actually. You gotta hand it to the boy for being self-confident.)

C: The three main swords that are in this episode (the one Sokka sees in the shop that leads him to Piandao, Piandao's sword, and Sokka's space sword) are all modeled after real swords from Kisu's collection.

So there's a little more Tohp-->Sokka in this episode, when Toph blushes at his return. And you know what? I'm kinda leaning toward Tokka lately. I know, I know, I almost never ship non-canon, and I usually scoff at statements such as, "[Canon pair] are young. Who knows how long it will last?" But I've honestly found myself thinking lately, "Sokka had an eye for so many different girls in the series. What's to say he'll stay with Suki for very long?" Hee.

C: There's some great discussion on the criteria Piandao used to select Sokka as his student—the importance of character over skill.

I've seen one or two people mention the early reference to lion turtles in "The Library", but there's another one in this episode. Piandao tells Sokka, "I saw a heart as strong as a lion turtle."


Chapter 5: The Beach

Commentary track:
Bryan Konietzko – Co-Creator
Joaquim Dos Santos – Director
Katie Mattila – Writer

I love this episode! 80s movie tribute FTW!

Who are Lo and Li? I always assumed they were part of the royal family—like, maybe Zuko and Azula's aunts or something. But I guess it never really says, does it?

C: Lo and Li's house is reminiscent of the Witch's office in Spirited Away.

I think it's also a bit like Umbridge's office.

C: After making this episode, the creators learned that the volleyball-like game the kids play on the beach (where they kick the ball over the net) is actually a real game in Korea.

Breakfast Club allusion #1: "You're a tease." (Azula to Ty Lee)

Kiss for Azula/Chan! (Or is that Rian Jian?)

Sokka: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 3
Aang: Cheek kisses: 3, Lip kisses: 1
Katara: Cheek kisses: 3, Lip kisses: 1
Suki: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 1
Yue: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 2
Zuko: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 3
Jin: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1
Mai: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 2
Azula: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1
Chan: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1

C: This is the longest Zuko's hair gets. They had to give him "a little trim" after this episode.

Zuko calls the time his family spent on Ember Island the last time they were happy. In "The Storm" he has wistful memories of what appear to be his family playing on the beach. Those memories are echoed in this episode as he walks to his family's old beach house. I get a sense that at that earlier time, things really were relatively peaceful for Zuko's family. (That is, I don't think it was just because of his childish lack of perception that he sees it as a happier time.) It seems that the real trouble didn't start until Lu Ten's death and Iroh's defeat at Ba Sing Se. That event triggered Ozai's latent ambition for the throne. It made him see a chance to seize power, after which point everything apart form that ambition diminished in importance to him.

The Breakfast Club allusions abound in the campfire scene at the end, with the theme of each character revealing his or her painful past and how it motivates him or her. I saw a brilliant icon recently of the shot where Zuko points angrily at his scar with the caption, "This is what you get at my house when you spill paint in the garage." *snerk* And of course, the dizzying barrage of, "Answer the question.", "Just answer the question, Claire Zuko." <333 So, get over it, fandom. This episode is awesome. I suppose you are just too young to understand.

C: They say that this scene was inspired by various 80s movies, but they don't mention The Breakfast Club specifically. They also point out that this episode—and this scene in particular—has much more dialogue than is usual for the show.

C: They highlight Mai's line, "That doesn't excuse the way you've been acting." Mai has known Zuko his whole life, and has a good idea of the awful things he's been through; but she's able to call him out on the fact that, at some point, you have to take responsibility for who you are and what you do, no matter what has happened in your past.

Another Maiko kiss. Zuko is now winning on lip kisses, but Sokka is still ahead on the combined total.

Sokka: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 3
Aang: Cheek kisses: 3, Lip kisses: 1
Katara: Cheek kisses: 3, Lip kisses: 1
Suki: Cheek kisses: 2, Lip kisses: 1
Yue: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 2
Zuko: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 4
Jin: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1
Mai: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 3
Azula: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1
Chan: Cheek kisses: 0, Lip kisses: 1

C: The closing scene, with the destruction of Chan's beach house, is a tribute to Weird Science.

Well, I have a lot to say about the casting news for the live action film. But I'll save it for another day. For now, let it suffice to say that after some initial waffling, I am now whole-heartedly on board with the boycott crowd. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

Joie

P.S. Remember to keep comments here spoiler-free! If you have something spoiler-y to say, even if it's in response to this post, please comment in the next post instead. Thanks!

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3CommentReply

second_batgirl
second_batgirl
TSB
Wed, Jan. 7th, 2009 03:23 am (UTC)

Wait, are you telling me that some people didn't like The Beach? THAT EPISODE WAS MADE OF AWESOME.

(Oh hi I am finally caught up to where you are on the rewatch.)


ReplyThread
hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Wed, Jan. 7th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)

Yes, bizarrely enough, a lot of people in fandom can't stand it. It's considered a "filler" episode that doesn't move the plot, from what I can gather. OTOH, I've mainly *heard* about these haterz, rather than actually seen them, so maybe they're more of a well-known minority than a widespread fandom trend.


ReplyThread Parent
second_batgirl
second_batgirl
TSB
Sat, Jan. 10th, 2009 01:46 am (UTC)

People are wrong on the internets!

It totally is necessary though - character development is essential.


ReplyThread Parent