Alright let’s get to reviewing Supernatural…
Oh hi Netflix, you’ve left something in my mailbox…
Avatar! (the good one)
Man, it’s like some part of me keeps wanting to deny that there’s a sixth season of Supernatural…
(something I just realized… if I pause my dvd player, my TV starts making very faint sounds like it’s picking up the top hits of today – which goes away if it’s muted or turned off – this is kind of weirding me out…)
I was in the book store earlier and looked for some Avatar (the good one) manga. It seemed interesting… until I saw the tagline at the top: “based on the summer blockbuster from M. Night etc”. I know I’m only growing into my A:tLA fandom, but that really pissed me off for some reason.
Chapter 9: the Waterbending Scroll
So far I say this might be my favorite episode of this season. From the “nice puddle” punchline to uncle Iroh’s quest for the lotus tile, I love it when lots of elements are brought together and interwoven. Plus it’s always gratifying to see a bunch of filthy pirates get their comeuppance (ninjas always and forever!). Even more gratifying was seeing non benders actually holding their own as so far in the series, what we might call “muggles” almost come off as second-class citizens. This is especially heightened in Sokka finally NOT being dead weight. Up till now, he came off as unnecessary, the comic relief of a show and cast that had plenty of humor anyway. Here he shows greater smarts than the other two leads and we finally get an idea on why he gets to keep being a main character. Yeah some of the early “kata” stuff wasn’t perfectly animated, but the later action was flawless – definitely a wise choice to stress their budget that direction.
And because a lot of people (both of my readers) will probably bug me if I don’t point it out, you can definitely see that some large parts of the live movie were drawn from this episode. There, the “prodigy” of Aang (which you’d expect since he’s the avatar) was more subdued while he was less reluctant to be learning. So comparing the two… I say it’s a greater crime that everything with the movie was more “frowny” than the “race changing” that got most of the attention. And I think the kids could have done it too – I’m definitely blaming the director for that.
A short title but another pretty good episode. If you’ve watched much with the “traveling ensemble” motif, you’ve come across this story format before. Protag group meets a person that will be a sort of “mirror image” of one of the mains (whichever character is getting their growth this episode). Everyone of the group will like the new arrival but the main in question and then the episode will be a lesson in either the group learning to appreciate the main or the main learning to not be such a jerk/unfriendly/etc etc. Yeah it’s a bit of a cliche and formulaic but that isn’t a bad thing. It is nice to see Sokka get some growth two episodes in a row. I was a little uncertain about the narrative focus as it seemed more like Aang to have hated Jet in a brief love triangle involving Katara, but all in all things turned out well in the end. It seems that the show is getting better about it’s stories’ rhythms too.
11: the Great Divide
Oh… oh no. This was the one that…
Part of me wonders what I even need to talk about that Ryan didn’t do better.
Really, I can see the point – this episode wouldn’t even be that bad if it wasn’t surrounded by much, MUCH better fare, even the ending has some potential but… Remember how I said last episode used cliche really well? This one is a great example on how to use cliche very badly.
12: the Storm
It’s backstory-o-rama! Saddle up kids as we learn everything about yesterday!
Yes, indeed this episode was far superior to the previous offering. In a couple of places the editing could have been tighter and some of Aang’s and Katara’s dialogue needed to be tweaked (the whole “i’m mad! [beat] sorry about being mad!” thing is just frustrating) especially as to give the ending more weight than it has. Still an excellent episode over all though I still rank episode 9 as my season favorite.
Of course, this episode will get the stronger comparison with the movie so let’s get that out of the way…
The movie’s “avatar test” was a better one I think (seeing the four elements reacting to him) than this whole “pick x items” thing. I’m not going to harp on reincarnation again, but it seems like a test less inclined to just dumb luck. Aang’s motivation – however – was MUCH better done in the source. Here we actually see the effects of his status and watch him “suffer” from this rather than just have him experience an anxiety attack. Prince Zuko’s story is much better here because at least they don’t keep repeating it over and over (that still bugs me from the movie). I like the parallels done here and commend the show makers for not over simplifying everything – especially as far as Zuko and the ship captain are concerned.
So far, I can definitely recommend picking up season 1 and just avoiding the live action movie. In fact, I might do so myself eventually…