Ok, so these aren’t episodes, per se. They’re stories with multiple parts, but you can’t separate them because, why would you want to do that? So, without further ado, the rest of my list.
5. The Winter Solstice
This story takes place over two episodes. Okay, so the first episode of this story was alright, not the best, but when it loops into the second half, it becomes amazing.
Aang’s first real attempt at interacting with a spirit goes about as well as one would expect for having no experience. As in, really bad. But hey, give the kid a break, he’s learning.
What made the first episode great was Iroh. Even as a captive, he’s very much in command of the situation, and he knows it. Too bad the Earth Nation soldiers have underestimated him so completely.
The second episode of the story takes Aang to see Avatar Roku. He gets his timeline; he doesn’t have long until the Fire Nation pretty much destroys everything and everyone who stands against them (read: everyone not Fire Nation). As if Aang wasn’t already stressed about needing to stop the war, but being given a figurative ticking time bomb (great storytelling method, by the way).
And then the moment when Roku makes an appearance. Talk about EPIC.
4. The Day of Black Sun
Another two-part story, “The Day of Black Sun” is the invasion of the Fire Nation. As the tenth and eleventh episodes of the third season, (when seasons one and two each have twenty episodes) something is bound to go wrong. The suspense is killing me.
Then Sokka gets up to explain the invasion. I have never related to a character so much. First, he falls, then messes up the maps, then he can’t get his point across so he goes back the beginning, as in the very beginning. He over-shares everything in so much detail, it’s hilarious. I have never done anything like that, ever, nope, not at all. I was sold on this story at that moment.
Then, Hakoda doesn’t question his kids’ skills. They may be in their early-to-mid-teens, but he knows they’ve been able to take care of themselves this far. He doesn’t hesitate to fight beside them and doesn’t talk down to them because they’re “just kids”.
The bait and switch Azula pulls when Sokka, Toph, and Aang arrive… she’s a master strategist who is five steps ahead of everyone. I mean, we knew that when she told Ozai that Zuko killed the Avatar, not her.
Then Zuko shows up to face Ozai!
The characters in this story!
But the best moment in all of it, Iroh being the epic old man we totally knew he is and breaking out of the prison. I mean, if you didn’t know he was awesome before, you definitely do after that.
3. The Boiling Rock
Oh, poor Sokka. He wants to fix the mistakes he made with the invasion on the Day of Black Sun. He hinged his value, his honor, on that plan working. Yes, I know, he’s being a bit dramatic, but he’s a teenager. Give him a break.
Needing to regain one’s honor, even if it’s just the honor you give yourself, that something Zuko can totally get behind. So, off Zuko and Sokka go in hopes of rescuing Hakoda. In one of the Fire Nation’s best prisons. No pressure.
But Hakoda is nowhere to be found. At least, Sokka finds Suki, and gets kicked in the gut for his efforts. To be fair, he hadn’t taken off his helmet, yet.
In case you didn’t know that Zuko had become pretty powerful at this point, when he comes out of the cooler, something designed to keep firebenders from bending, he breathes fire (he can still bend, guys).
Cue Hakoda’s arrival. And Sokka almost gets hit again. Will he never learn? Their escape was a masterful display of “let’s wing it”, and it actually worked out rather well.
And when May and Ty Lee betray Azula, I didn’t see that coming at all.
2. The Siege of the North
Three reasons this episode is so amazing, Koh, giant glowing fish, and the color palette. The honorable mentions are:
- Yue giving back the life the Moon Spirit gave her and becoming the moon.
- Iroh being awesome and defying Zhao
- Aang saving Zuko from the cold
- Sokka laughing at Hahn’s outdated information and being able to give the Water Tribe warriors the information they needed at the drop of a hat
Koh, the face stealer, so creepy. Aang, the boy of excessive expression can’t show emotion when going up against him. I was on edge watching those scenes. It’s Aang, so obviously Koh doesn’t steal his face, but the stress was there.
The giant glowing fish with Aang inside. It was a bit cheesy looking, but he was taking power from the ocean spirit, who’s a fish, so I guess it makes sense. But when he starts fighting the entire armada of Fire Nations ships and soldiers, wow, the Avatar is powerful.
The color palette. So cool. It tells so much of the story simply by using color. Day, when the Fire Nation is strong (from the sun), the colors are a warm yellow. But as soon as the sun sets and the full moon (when the waterbenders are at their strongest) rises, blue everywhere. Yay, the Water Tribe is winning. Eclipse, the waterbenders lose their bending. Red bathes the world as the Water Tribe becomes powerless against the Fire Nation invaders. Then Zhao kills the Moon Spirit; colors fade completely. Everything is left in black and white, until Aang and the Ocean Spirit rise with a blue glow. Color, and life, returns to the North when Yue gives her life to the Moon Spirit. Visual storytelling at its finest.
1. Sozin’s Comet
This four-part conclusion to the series (since we didn’t get a season for Air), brings everyone together in a fight across many fronts.
Iroh and the White Lotus vs. Fire Nation Army
All those old masters the gang has met through the show come back and kick major butt as they retake Ba Sing Se from the Fire Nation. Iroh drawing power from the comet to help with the battle, and burning the Fire Nation banner from the palace, he finally conquered Ba Sing Se.
Sokka, Suki, and Toph vs Fire Nation Airships
Seriously, Toph metal bending is easily one of the best things in the show. She invented a new style of bending pretty much on a dare, and it comes in handy here. Three teenages took out how many massive airships? Begs the questions how the Fire Nation became so powerful in the first place, but let’s leave that alone.
Aang vs. Ozai
Fire Lord Phoenix King was the showdown we know was coming. And it was cool. Aang, unable to go into the Avatar State, has to use the skill he’s been learning over the last year to fight a crazy firebender fueled by rage, ambition, self-aggrandizing ego… oh and a giant comet. No big deal, you got this Aang.
Then he manages the Avatar State, and Ozai begins to realize he’s a bit out of his depth. Once Aang goes full Avatar, it’s only a matter of time before he kills the Fire Lord, and he’s about to deal out the killing blow…
And then he stops. It’s something so “Aang” that for him to do anything else would have been alright, but this is so true to his character. Then he takes away Ozai’s bending entirely. That is crazy!
While this was a thrilling fight to watch, it wasn’t my favorite. That award goes to:
Zuko and Katara vs. Azula
Watching Azula fall to pieces was actually really sad to see, but it gave a cool juxtaposition to the early fights we see between the two siblings. In the beginning, Azula was cool, calculating, and collected, while Zuko relied on emotion and wanting to prove himself. In “Sozin’s Comet”, Zuko is confident in who he is, in his skill, and his value. Azula has lost her friends, is doubting her value (since Ozai left her behind), and is seeing enemies everywhere.
Then Azula takes advantage of Zuko’s character change and attacks Katara. With Zuko down, Katara steps up. She uses her surroundings to her advantage, something Azula used to do, but with her unhinged mindset, she seems to have forgotten. Freezing herself and Azula in ice was an amazing idea for Katara, and helped her end the fight on her terms. Sorry Azula, you forgot all your best skills when you went psycho.There you have it, my top fifteen episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender. What are your thoughts? Which ones did I forget? Which episodes were the most innovative and gave you inspiration?