Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S01E04 – The Warriors of Kyoshi

In the fourth episode of the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the two main male characters have to face their dismissive attitudes towards women when those behaviors get them in trouble. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Avatar.

“Where we’re going, you won’t need any pants!”

I wish every adventure I went on started with these words. RIGHT. Oh god, Avatar, how do you know my soul so very well.

The plot takes a backseat, in a way, to a large swath of character development in “The Warriors of Kyoshi,” something I didn’t expect to happen so soon into the show. While one of the subplots needed to be dealt with before it got out of hand, the other was something I thought would be ignored for at least the remainder of the season.

The impetus for all of this involves Aang, Sokka, and Katara continuing the journey to find the Waterbenders at the North Pole. Unfortunately, Appa can only fly so fast, and the group has to land on an island inhabited by Earthbenders. (At least…I think they were Earthbenders? Correct me if I’m wrong.) On the way there, riding on the back of Appa, we get the first hints of what Sokka’s story would be for the length of this episode.

I think for the vast majority of us, the messages that “The Warriors of Kyoshi” send our way are incredibly obvious and blatant. Which is ok, in and of itself, but I very quickly had to put this all in context: This aired on Nickelodeon. NICKELODEON!!!! There were many young boys and girls who watched an episode of a cartoon that told them that treating girls like a lesser human being for merely being a girl was wrong. ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. Ok, that is so terribly exciting to me. Does this happen more than I know of? I’m thinking back to the shows that I was allowed to watch as a kid, things like Doug or Rugrats or The Twilight Zone. No, really, wasn’t allowed to stay up late ever, but watching The Twilight Zone was totally 100% ok and moral. Also, the first R-rated movie I ever saw was—with my parents!!!!—The Silence of the Lambs. Really!!!! What is my life.

Point being, I have to think really, really hard to recall if I ever watched something with a message this blatant. And I probably wouldn’t even have remembered it anyway, because I’m pretty damn sure I wasn’t looking for these things when I was nine years old. Actually, that put a pretty hilarious thought into my brain: Mark Watches, but written back when I was nine. THAT WOULD BE SO IRRITATING.

Anyway, on to the actual episode. On the back of Appa, Sokka launches into another of his sexist tirades about the roles women and men are supposed to abide by, using the example of Katara, who’s sewing his pants in front of him. I can tell that Sokka has been like this long before we were introduced to him in the first episode, because Katara has absolutely no patience for his wankery. She throws his incompletely mended pants back at him, and what starts off as just a small scene is actually a huge chunk of foreshadowing for “The Warriors of Kyoshi.”

Sokka believes that men are to be fighters and the women have their place sewing and cooking and being very, very traditional. I get the sense that he got this from his father, since in past episodes, he seems so desperate to prove that he can take the place of him while he’s out fighting the war against the Fire Nation. What the writers do here (and do amazingly well) is to not only dismantle that stereotype, but do so in a way that doesn’t ever deny femininity.

Aang, on the other hand, simultaneously has to deal with a parallel issue of his own, which starts off with Katara. Aang wants to constantly impress her, which is pretty endearing on its own, but he allows it to morph into a egotistical display of power over the course of “The Warriors of Kyoshi.” Because of this, he ends up discounting the opinions of Katara for incredibly foolish reasons, one of those being because she’s a girl. I enjoy the ongoing joke of the Airbending trick with the marbles because it shows that Aang is at least coming from a very childish place, and his journey in this episode is about learning to mature and learning how to deal with the opposite gender in a way that isn’t demeaning to them.

So, here we have two headstrong dudes unable to interact with any of the females in the story without being condescending, patronizing, or, in Sokka’s case, flat out rude. After riding an Elephant Koi to impress Katara, Aang is forced to run to land when the Unagi a giant eel that lives in the waters off this island, tries to attack him. On this Earth Kingdom island, the Warriors of Kyoshi surround and capture the three of them. Sokka doesn’t waste any time trying to immediately discount the warriors, who are all women, by making shitty comments about their gender and their ability.

The Kyoshi clan is interesting, in that first we learn that they’ve chosen to stay out of the war on the Fire Nation, and with intercut scenes of Prince Zuko and Iroh in the midst of this main plot, we learn that this probably will not last for very long. The Kyoshi people are also much larger than the Southern Water Tribe, but so far, no one seems to come close to the size of the Fire Nation. Are they the largest collected tribe in the world at this point? I wonder if we’ll see a larger group before the series’ end.

I did find it a bit funny that all Aang had to do was Airbend and then everyone accepted him as the Avatar? I mean…well, I suppose they are expecting the next Avatar to be the Airbender AND they know the Airbenders are wiped out, so maybe those are pretty good odds, but I still chuckled at how easy it was for Aang to convince them all that he was the Avatar. For Aang, there’s a really cute element to the joy he experiences for all the positive attention that he gets, though it does spiral out of control eventually. At the beginning, I guess I just wanted him to find these small moments of happiness because I know that he’s going to have a lot of difficult, unhappy moments ahead of him. (I am not saying I am prepared, btw. I am clearly not at all prepared for anything.)

That joy, though, starts to clash with Katara, but not because she doesn’t want Aang to be happy. She absolutely does, but she knows that they cannot stay on this island long; they’ve got to keep moving to avoid being captured by the Fire Nation, and hanging out on a single island for a few days is a bad idea. But Aang won’t hear any of it. He’s eating up all the attention he’s getting, and I’d like to think that this is contrasted with what his life was like before he sealed himself and Appa up in that iceberg. We’ve only had one flashback to his life when there were other Airbenders, and we saw that it was equal parts education and fun, but that it was all weighed down by the knowledge that he was the Avatar. I think that part of what causes Aang to act out the way he does here is that he’s seeing the positive aspect of who he is, that people instantly respect him and give him things, and he’s essentially taking what he can get from it. I think that’s ok, to an extent, but it ends up clouding his judgment to a detrimental extent.

Back to Sokka. Oh, Sokka. Sulking so much because you got beat by a women. O NOES. THE HORROR. And here’s where the writers do WONDERFUL THINGS with this story: At no point do they ever seem to erase the femininity of Suki and her fellow warriors. They are women who just happen to be able to kick your ass a trillion different ways. And I love that it’s not about them being like men. They have their own unique way of fighting and dress and presentation and they can just destroy you. I LOVE IT.

Sokka learns the hard way that underestimating a person because they’re a women is an awful thing to do. For him, he has to be embarrassed in front of all of the warriors in order to understand the message: You do not fuck with women. Aang, on the other hand, has to learn the hard way as well, but what’s so sad about his half of the story is that his decision to treat Katara as nothing more than a “jealous” woman ends up endangering and harming a whole village. As soon as Aang refused to help Katara carry the food back to Appa and start telling her that she was just jealous of all the fun he was having, I knew it was inevitable. The Fire Nation were going to come upon the island to find Aang.

But there is a moment of success before this happens. Sokka sucks up his pride and asks Suki if she will teach him, admitting that she is a superior fighter and that he was wrong to pick on her for being a girl. She accepts, as long as he also agrees to  wear all of their traditional garb, including the face make up. And that’s a really cool moment that to us might seem blatant and spelled out, but, again, this is a children’s show on Nickelodeon. I’ve already accepted that a lot of what I’m going to see here, at least for this first season, is probably going to be fairly obvious at times. It’s not that the medium doesn’t allow it, but I think the writers are still finding their footing in terms of what they can do with this show.

I will say that we do get a sign of how willing they are to go to darker territory when the Fire Nation finally does arrive. It not only proves that Katara was right and Aang should have listened to her, but there’s a rather dark and scary scene placed near the end of this episode that was a lot more bleak than I anticipated.  The Fire Nation descend on the Kyoshi clan and the women put up an amazing fight for being so heavily outnumbered. But when Aang and Prince Zuko begin to fight, Aang suddenly realizes what he’s done by ignoring Katara’s warnings. He sees the fiery destruction wrought upon the small village, and even though he knows he didn’t do it with his own hands, his lack of judgment brought this upon these people. It’s such a stark, jarring moment, even amidst the scenes of violence, because it’s the first time we’ve seen such a blatant reference to the harm the Fire Nation is currently bringing to the world. All we’ve known of their actions is from the scene in the Southern Air Temple, when Aang discovers all the dead bodies.

It’s actually kind of a sad scene when Aang listens to Katara (FINALLY!!!) and she convinces him that the only thing that they have left to do is to run, that merely drawing Zuko and his warriors away from that island is enough to save them. Aang wants to intervene and fight the battle himself, but he knows she’s right. It would only cause more damage and destruction. Still, it’s nice that, at the very least, he uses the Unagi to put out the fires ravaging through the village before they leave.

One last thing that deserves more than a bulleted note at the end: Sokka’s goodbye scene with Suki has perhaps the best line in the entire episode. I do like that Sokka still feels obligated to give Suki a proper, genuine apology for what he did to her. He tells her that he’s sorry that he treated her like a girl and not a warrior. Suki accepts his apology, but not before she corrects him:

“I am a warrior. But I’m a girl too.”

In that statement, the writers tell the audience that these two concepts are not mutually exclusive, that women can be whatever they want to be, and they’re still women, too.



  • Aang’s push up presentation was LOL-worthy.
  • Look, Uncle Iroh is probably the best character ever. His opening lines are delivered with such a serene sense of dry humor
  • “Still, hard to argue with a ten ton magical creature.” Appa, FYI, if you were my friend, I would never argue with anything you said. JUST FYI.
  • Ok, so…there was a moment when Aang was riding the Elephant Koi where Aang was so poorly drawn that I didn’t care because it made me laugh so hard. Does anyone know which part I’m talking about? PLEASE TELL ME A GIF OF THIS EXISTS.


About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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313 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S01E04 – The Warriors of Kyoshi

  1. shyfully says:

    First things first: a group of badass women kicking ass and taking names? It’s like this episode was created just to make me happy and amused. I think it is a bit weak coming off of The Southern Air Temple, since it is quite a bit sillier in tone, but I still really enjoyed it and there was enough there to make me happy.

    Let’s rip the blindfold off and get down to it!

    <img src=>

    This episode really gives more of a sense of what the Avatar means to the world. We see this island that was named after the Avatar born there, Kyoshi. It is also very nice to se that being the Avatar is not just for men. There are female Avatars as well. It’s fascinating to see how much of their culture was built around Kyoshi, but the statue at least had fallen into disrepair until Aang returned. With all that time that the world thought the Avatar had ceased to exist, maybe was just a myth, it would become more and more difficult for people to set aside their own lives and look after the monument.

    I was amused by how this episode started out. I just found the idea of all these Fire Nations soldiers scratching their heads, trying to figure out what Aang is doing, flying around all willy-nilly, when actually he just is lost and looking for giant koi fish to ride. Also, haha at Zuko trying to be all calm. Sorry, kid, but even after only three episodes, nobody was buying that.

    I liked seeing different sides to Aang, Katara and Sokka in this episode, especially since Sokka got to have his own mini-story line. Aang getting into all the attention was cute. I can see why it could be annoying, but I wasn’t bothered by it. He’s a kid and he didn’t get super cocky like some heroes do- sorry, Doctor!- so I didn’t mind. It seemed more like he just got caught up in it and didn’t really realize how he was coming across until later.

    <img src=>

    I also liked that, again, he left because he knew that staying and fighting there would only bring trouble to the people living there. It’s hard, I think, to see heroes running from a fight but I like seeing him actually weighing what the damage would be to innocents in the area. I liked that Katara voiced that, too. And, it was great that Aang was able to find a way to help out anyway, by getting the Unagi to put out the fires for him.

    I really liked Sokka’s story in this episode. I have to wonder- how often has he been around girls his own age other than his sister? It seemed like most other people in the village were much older or much younger. Anyway, it was very nice to see him confronted about his sexism and I think he actually got it. When it was all from his sister, I think he was blowing it off, like “Katara is just sensitive and angry blahblah” but he couldn’t do that with these women.

    • shyfully says:

      I really like the character of Suki. I like that she mocked Sokka when he first came to their practice. He totally bought it and then she was able to really go after him. I was very glad with how they handled that relationship, since there were two moments- when he protects her from the fire blast and when he manages to throw her- that would have otherwise cheapened the message. But by having him go to her and humbly ask her to teach him, it meant I was actually proud of him for being able to improve.

      <img src=""&gt;

      I also like that while they are showing Katara trying to improve herself at waterbending, they are also showing Sokka improving himself at fighting. I knew Sokka would have to have some character growth, and this was a great first step. And, it’s fun to see that he made a sort of love connection. He still obviously doesn’t completely get it- which is why he still grappled with the idea of someone being both a girl and a warrior- but I think he is making progress. Whoohoo!

      It was also interesting to see Aang and Katara at odds a bit in this episode. They’ve mostly gotten along great before so it was nice to see them acting a bit different. Katara was acting more maturely, wanting to leave soon, getting food for the mission, practicing her bending, while Aang was more caught up in having fun. But, it’s not like he acted all that differently then when he first came to her village- she’s just seeing it from a different perspective this time. Aang’s love of fun and childishness can be a good thing for people, as it was for her, but it also can get in the way.

      <img src=""&gt;

      On war watch, it was interesting to hear that Kyoshi had mostly stayed out of the war and wanted to continue it that way. You have to wonder why- they clearly had a side and a warrior force, albeit a pretty small one (I’m judging force sizes off of the firebender army shown in the opening, which is much larger than anything else we’ve seen). I wonder if their posistion will change, now that they were officially attacked and that they know the Avatar is back.

      On culture watch, Zuko and Iroh wore different clothes on their ship! These were a lot more casual looking robes. I just thought that was interesting to see. Also, now Sokka has that Kyoshi uniform, since they had to leave before he could change back. Also, the market was fun to see.


      Aang: Relax, Sokka! Where we’re going, you won’t need any pants!

      Katara: He’s just upset because a bunch of girls kicked his butt yesterday.
      Sokka: They snuck up on me!
      Katara: Right. And then they kicked your butt!

      Zuko The Avatar’s on Kyoshi Island? Uncle, ready the rhinos! He’s not getting away from me this time. (leaving room)
      Iroh: (points at Zuko’s plate) Are you going to finish that?
      Zuko: (snatches it away angrily) I was going to save it for later!

      <img src=>
      (wonderful gif by nanceoir!)

      Katara: Great.
      Aang: I know it’s great.
      Katara: Well, I’m glad you know.
      Aang: I’m glad you’re glad.
      Katara: Good!
      Aang: Fine!

      Aang: Hey, Katara, check out this airbending trick!
      Katara: That’s great, Aang.
      Aang: You didn’t even look!
      Katara: That’s great!
      Aang: But I’m not doing it now…

      And that’s it for me!

      <img src=""&gt;

      • monkeybutter says:

        Yeah, penguin sledding was fun and all, but now they have a mission. Aang has to balance his goofy kid nature with the srs bsns of being the avatar in a time of war.

        • shyfully says:

          Yeah, and that's, well, hard, especially for a kids his age. I mean, if he became serious all the time I would truly worry, since it is unhealthy for anyone but especially a child to be focusing only on war and never having any lighter moments. But at the same time, he does have to be serious or else the kind of thing that happens in this episode will just continue. He has to find a balance.

          • monkeybutter says:

            Definitely. He's only twelve and under a lot of pressure. After being confronted by the genocide at the Southern Air Temple, he's earned a break. That's why it's good he, Katara, and Sokka all bring something different to the family. They keep each other happy and in line. I just want to gush about their family, I think.

      • echinodermata says:

        "Aang getting into all the attention was cute. I can see why it could be annoying, but I wasn’t bothered by it. He’s a kid and he didn’t get super cocky like some heroes do- sorry, Doctor!- so I didn’t mind. It seemed more like he just got caught up in it and didn’t really realize how he was coming across until later."

        Agreed. Aang is essentially 12 (where it counts), and I accepted that he would frequently be immature. He's not an adult, and part of this show's charm is the fact that he's a fun 12-year-old taking on the duty of stopping a war. While I appreciated that he learned his lesson by the end of the ep, his immaturity didn't actually bother me.

        • shyfully says:

          Yeah, it didn't bother me either, though I did note it as a flaw that could come back to bother him. I thin it's more interesting than annoying though, since he mostly is immature in a funny way. If he was more, "Ooh, attention, I'm the Avatar yeah, picking up chicks, damn I'm hot," it would bother me, but it seems more like, "OMG people are paying attention to me people like me yaaaay," so I think it's cute.

        • doesntsparkle says:

          It makes me wonder how much contact Ang has had with women. It looked like everyone at the Southern Air Temple was male. Depending on how old he was when he went to the temple, it's possible that Katara is the first female he's seen in a long, long time. And she's too busy being Team Mom to fawn over the Avatar.

          If I was in Ang's shoes I'd totally let the fangirling go to my head.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        "Ready the rhinos!"

        Oh, I had forgotten that line. Isn't it wonderful how random lines like this can sound out of context?

    • corporatecake says:

      When it was all from his sister, I think he was blowing it off, like “Katara is just sensitive and angry blahblah” but he couldn’t do that with these women.

      I think that's why this episode was really necessary for Sokka's character development. Even though Katara calls him on his crap, I think it's natural to get defensive/be dismissive of our siblings as "just annoying."

  2. Dragonsong12 says:

    I love the Kyoshi Warriors!

    That is all (that you need)!

  3. echinodermata says:

    I think tv is a very important media form, and one that deserves lots of analysis. A lot of people like to write off tv, as though it is somehow uniformly inferior to say the written word. I say bullshit, for lots of reasons. But one reason not to dismiss tv is simply because of its popularity: if there are lots of people who watch television more than they read, then analyzing television becomes all the more important.

    This is a show aimed at children and young teens, and I fully appreciate that it is conscious of feminism, and additionally that its creators are men conscious of feminism. It starts with Sokka being an ass, with him clearly being in the wrong, and Katara making him realize that he needs to adjust his perspective. And then he gets an entire society to teach him that lesson.

    <img src=""&gt;(Source)

    Something to know about me: I love HBICs. I really, really do, and I appreciate the presence of dominating female characters in the stories I consume. They don't necessarily have to be fighters and fit the action girl trope, although I don't have a problem if they are. I just like seeing female characters being confident, proud, competent, and not subserviant to male characters.

    The warriors of Kyoshi are awesome becuase they are the sort of female characters I like to see. I also like the fact that they represent a female-dominated society. I appreciate this episode because it depicts a world capable of revering a female Avatar, and a world that supports a society centered around the notion that women can be just as competent as men, if not moreso.

    "I am a warrior, but I'm a girl too" – simple and effective.

    Also, that Kyoshi statue is awesome, and I hate seeing it go up in flames.
    <img src=""&gt;(source)

    Other things:
    That sea monster thing is pretty awesome, although so are the koi.

    Aang is absolutely a child in this episode, but I do enjoy his antics and think they're pretty funny. But he needed to be wrong in this episode, and to be humbled.

    I do think it's weird that there's so few adults in this society. Can we see some of the older, wiser members of their society who must have trained these warriors?

    I've realized that I don't actually remember how most A:TLA episodes end. So that use of the sea monster as a resolution was actually unexpected for me, even though I've seen the whole series. I did enjoy the contrast of its dragon-like design but it spitting out water, not fire. It's a nice detail.

    In conclusion, have a gif:
    <img src=""&gt;(Source)

    • hpfan04 says:

      You find the best pictures! The Kyoshi statue is gorgeous!

      And I LOVE that gif. That part makes me LOL every time. "Painting the avatar, that shouldn't be too hard…. Wait there's more….. O_o…"

    • Avit says:

      I didn't really get the sense that it was a female-dominated society. It's a bit of a commentary on the rarity of such things in our own society that any significant presence of and reverence for powerful women is taken to indicate some sort of matriarchy, instead of egalitarianism.

      • echinodermata says:

        I didn't mean female-dominated society in the sense that males are subservient to females. But the dominant force that we see of the island is the Kyoshi Warriors, who are all female. Additionally, I'm pretty sure the majority of the characters we see from the Kyoshi island were female. So by numbers and by presentation, I think female-dominated society is still accurate.

        I really don't think egalitarianism is something portrayed in this society, since the Kyoshi Warriors are all female. We weren't told the circumstances behind it, but we did see able-bodied males who weren't Kyoshi Warriors. It looked to me like the warriors were therefore exclusively female. Which isn't particularly egalitarian.

    • Patrick says:

      I am now imagining that guy as the Avatar world's version of Bob Ross. Except that he's not painting things that are "happy" and "little".

    • notemily says:

      OMG I LOVE THAT FACE AT THE END OF THE GIF. "what the shit is this."

      Also, "unagi" means eel, and you can order unagi-maki at sushi restaurants, which meant this episode made me really hungry. UNAGI IS DELICIOUS

  4. monkeybutter says:

    Ok, so…there was a moment when Aang was riding the Elephant Koi where Aang was so poorly drawn that I didn’t care because it made me laugh so hard. Does anyone know which part I’m talking about? PLEASE TELL ME A GIF OF THIS EXISTS.

    Do you mean this part?

    <img src=""&gt;

    Because I love it. I'm sure you mean a different scene though.

    • Syd K. says:

      That bit makes me want to watch FLCL every time.

    • alexamarie0813 says:

      omg it's beautiful lolololol

    • Emily Crnk says:

      He is ridiculously muscled for a 12 year old kid.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • monkeybutter says:

        Increased foot surface area to run on water? I can sorta see fingers in one frame– no, no I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON.

      • alexamarie0813 says:


      • E.L.S.O.S. says:

        I always think of that bit as the creators trying too hard to do anime super deformed stuff and just sort of failing… From watching way too much anime I get what they were trying to go for, but it doesn't really fit in with their art style and just ends up looking bizarre.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Yeah, if I didn't know better, I'd think that gif came from One Piece, not Avatar.

          • Elexus Calcearius says:

            Exactly. That was the show it reminded me of. (And I've never even watched One Piece).

        • echinodermata says:

          Can you give an example of what you mean by the type of deformed stuff animes do? Anime is really not a "genre" I'm knowledgeable of.

          • E.L.S.O.S. says:

            One Piece is actually a pretty great comparison. It has a really cartoony look, but it does the unrealistic moving a lot. I mean, part of the premise is that the main character can stretch his limbs to impossible lengths and is made out of rubber.

            So, spoilers for the One Piece anime if anyone doesn't want to see it!

          • jubilantia says:

            I think they mean that the facial contortions that characters go through in extreme emotion in anime are different from what you'd see on, say, Looney Tunes, or other conventional western animation. A more reserved example might be the way in which Sokka jerkily rubs Appa snot off of him in the first episode- I can't think of any others from these episodes. Or, a character might have all detail from their face gone except for two dots and a line if they are nonplussed or amazed about something. Images pasted into Skip Beat wallpapers that show some facial deforming, which I think is what they are talking about:
            And here is the character's non-deformed image:….

            Also, wikipedia:

            Other times in anime, a scene or character emotion might be characterized by "chibi" forms of the characters. Again, Skip Beat is a great example, where the main character sends little devil chibi versions of herself after her enemies- although I can't find any short actual scenes on Youtube.
            (Uh. I know someone talked about how to put links in, but I can't remember where, so just copy and paste it into the browser. Sorry.)

            They've done chibi shorts for Avatar in between seasons. Which are amazing and hilarious.

        • vikinhaw says:

          Actually I think that bit might have been that way to save money and cause it was fast.

          In animation in the scenes where the characters are moving quickly, you don´t get a good look at them and detail doesn't matter as much. Since the more detailed and complicated the animation, the more money it costs, they won't have it so detailed. If you slow down the fast moving scenes in an animated shows, the character and sometimes scenery will look at bit deformed. Actually in some scenes in show shows things which are not being focused on can also be deformed.

          Pretty much in all animation shows. There´s been more than one anime that´s run out of money before the series finale and has some baaad animation at the end.

        • Too hard my ass. It fits.

  5. Kaci says:

    I really only have two reactions here: I LOVE SUKI AND HER INTERACTIONS WITH SOKKA and I LOVE IROH.

    That is really all I've got because River Song is somewhere off in the distance giving me the SPOILERS face so. SUKI AND IROH FOR ALL THE WINS and we'll just leave it at that. 🙂

  6. shyfully says:

    As for whether they are earthbenders… we didn't see anyone bend other than Aang or Katara. They are off the coast of the Earth Kingdom, according to the map, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are earthbenders.

  7. PAWN1 says:

    JUST FYI Kyoshi Island is part of the Earth Kingdom, but just like the Southern Water Tribe isn't populated solely (or even mostly) by waterbenders, is not just inhabited by earthbenders! The only earthbender we "saw" in this episode was the statue of Avatar Kyoshi.


  8. Violets are Blue says:

    Yeah, this episode has some of the poorest quality animation (the entire first scene of the Unagi attacking is just terrible). And Kyoshi Island is supposed to be part of the Earth Kingdom which makes their style of dress odd…all blue and everything.



    • shyfully says:

      I actually have a lot of thoughts about Kyoshi! Although it technically is off the coast of the Earth Kingdom, if you look at the world map it is actually about equidistance between the Earth Kingdom shore and some of Water Tribe-controlled islands. There culture is sort of a mix between them, then, since they were probably heavily influenced by both. They are more of an independent entity than truly a part of the Earth Kingdom, imo, since they are able to decide not to get involved in the war up to now when we know from Episode 3 that the Earth Kingdom is the main adversary of the Fire Nation at this point.

  9. Jenny_M says:

    Finding out that Avatars could be women as well as men was when I completely fell in love with this show. It's depressing that such positive depictions of women are so rare, but it's nice to know that there are shows getting that message out to young girls. I want to send the DVDs of this to all my little girl cousins!

  10. Ryan Lohner says:

    One thing that really bugs me about this episode is that the heroes (by the way, the common fan nickname for them is "the gAang") suddenly know Zuko's name, despite none of them having any opportunity to learn it during the pilot.

    Also, this seems to be a minority opinion but I can't stand Foamy Mouth Guy. A horribly awkward piece of kiddie humor shoehorned where it doesn't belong.

    • PAWN1 says:

      Maybe Aang heard it when he was briefly taken prisoner in the second episode/second part of the pilot? I'd have to rewatch to be sure, but it's not impossible that someone mentioned Zuko's name, I guess.

    • mkjcaylor says:

      To me it seemed sort of in the style of Japanese anime? I don't really know much beyond what I've seen, but I do know that those sort of jarring "what…? Okay…" moments happen to me there too. I chalked Foamy Mouth Guy down to those types of similar 'screaming fangirl/boy' scenes in other shows I have seen.

    • Minish says:

      If you take into consideration how Aang is pronounced in the movie, gAang becomes SUPER HILARIOUS.

      Not a fan of Foamy Mouth Guy either…

    • echinodermata says:

      I think Aang at least could have learned Zuko's name in the second ep, though. It doesn't really bug me.

    • Candy says:

      Didn't he introduce himself as Prince Zuko when they all first met?

    • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

      Re: Foamy mouth guy
      But don't you think it goes along with the dismantling Gender Stereotypes to have the Super-fan be a boy, more than that, a young man? Sure the little girls are following Aang around, but it's a man who looses his shit the hardest.

  11. Patrick says:


    • Angie says:

      YES! There have been so many times over the course of these discussions (especially during Doctor Who) that I've wanted to use my Foaming Mouth Guy gif but couldn't! Sweet, sweet relief in gif form.

  12. Karen says:

    LOL. Yeah. The message is incredibly obvious, but IDC because like you said, it's a fantastic message and it's on a show that is aimed at 10 year olds! This show in general has a lot of great themes about friendship and family and gah. I LOVE THAT THIS SHOW IS SO ENTERTAINING, BUT ALSO HAS GREAT MESSAGES, BUT STILL NEVER FEELS OVERLY PREACHY OR FEEL-GOODY.

    What the writers do here (and do amazingly well) is to not only dismantle that stereotype, but do so in a way that doesn’t ever deny femininity.
    Yeah. This is something that is really important to me as a feminist. Because sometimes I feel like we praise female character when they act like traditional male heroes and that's not bad at all. But I just feel like while we're doing that we tend to overlook female characters who are more traditionally feminine but also awesome.

    And I love that it’s not about them being like men. They have their own unique way of fighting and dress and presentation and they can just destroy you. I LOVE IT.

    Another reason that I like this episode is that it is slowly but surely expanding the audience's perception of the scale of this world. It's a really complex world with a lot of people groups and this episode just makes me want to meet more of them!

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Because sometimes I feel like we praise female character when they act like traditional male heroes and that's not bad at all. But I just feel like while we're doing that we tend to overlook female characters who are more traditionally feminine but also awesome.

      This, so much. Both in television and real life, people always seem to act like to be a powerful female character, you can't be feminine. You can't wear dresses, you can't like to cook, you can't want kids, etc. I have had people tell me off for wearing heart necklaces because "Do you want to be so sexist? Stop betraying your own gender." Well, let me tell you. I like hearts, I like wearing pink, and I enjoy some girly things. That's not going to stop me from taking a career in the sciences and having equal rights to men.

      I was glad to see this show addressed this.

      • affableevil says:

        Indeed, that sort of thinking is really just counter-productive to feminism. True feminism is about a woman's right to choose, and that includes choosing to be a mom or wear a skirt or love cooking if she wants to.

        P.S. Personally, I love wearing skirts. They feel flowy and pretty, and most are actually super comfy! And I definitely consider myself a feminist. So everyone can stuff it about the "traitor to your gender" crap.

      • jubilantia says:

        AMEN. Proud feminist scientists in the house!

        Also, I think the true betrayal is acting like a stereotypical man to ingratiate yourself and ribbing on your own gender if it's not what you really think or want.

  13. Hotaru_hime says:

    This was actually the first episode of A:TLA that I ever watched, so I spent it going "Why is this Prince Zuko guy so angry? Why is that old guy so awesome? WHAT IS THAT GIANT FURRY THING THAT IS FLYING I WANT ONE GIMME."
    I'm surprised/disappointed you didn't mention Foaming Mouth Guy who is kind of awesome in his crazy fannish behavior towards the Avatar.
    Also, Aang being Avatar Kyoshi in a past life? They said she was born 400 years ago, so 288 years ago is when Avatar Roku died (he died, Aang was born) so if you divide that equally between those two Avatars, holy shit, that's 144 years!!! Somehow I have a feeling that Kyoshi lived longer than Roku which makes her longevity even crazier. Is it because she was the Avatar? Will Aang live that long if he can master all four elements and defeat the Fire Nation? Why do I care so much about this?
    I really loved how they showed the strength of the Kyoshi Warriors and defended their femininity as well. You don't see that very often.
    Also, Sokka's "I'm the strongest warrior in my village" omits a lot in that he is probably the ONLY warrior left in his village. Oh Sokka, you try so hard to be so masculine!
    Avatar Kyoshi looks badass. I wish we could see her tenure as the Avatar.

    • Ms Katonic says:

      Aang was born 112 years ago, which means Roku couldn't have died 288 years ago. Also we don't know how many Avatars there were between Kyoshi and Roku. Yes, the Avatar preceding Roku would have been from the Earth Kingdom but that doesn't mean she was Kyoshi. I'm thinking there was at least one Avatar cycle in between Kyoshi and Roku.

      • Hotaru_hime says:

        There can't have been an Avatar between Kyoshi and Roku, it goes Air-Water-Earth-Fire. Aang is Air, Roku was fire, so the Avatar preceding Roku was Earth.
        The 288 years is the difference between Avatar Kyoshi and Aang's birth; 400 years since she was born, Aang was born 112 years ago, 400-112= 288. So in those 288 years there were either two avatars or several short lived ones between Kyoshi and Roku.

      • foobar says:

        Any more discussion of this topic would be a spoiler. If you are interested in these facts, google for avatar wikis. They have ALL THE DATA.

  14. Hotaru_hime says:

    Foaming Mouth Guy!! I love his exuberance!

    • monkeybutter says:

      There's a Foaming Mouth Guy in all of us! Seriously, it's my favorite gif from the series.

  15. GrrSong says:

    I saw this episode earlier today, and just *knew* Mark would love it! This is the very first time Mark's watching something I haven't seen before, so I'm kind of following along with him. (I say kind of – I watched episodes 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8 today!) I really didn't think I'd like it – I thought it would be a stupid kids show, and I don't have a lot of respect for many kids shows around these days. But this one I like! It's got a whole world built into it, and I'm a sucker for fantasy worlds. Looks like I'm going to watch a lot of this in the next few days…

    Should give a shout-out to the moderators too – well done on all the hard work! You've so far managed to keep me unspoiled. Much appreciated!! Keep up the good work! (Although preferably you woudn't have to do any work in the first place…)

  16. Ryan Lohner says:

    And one more very subtle bit of gender equality is the reveal that the Avatar has been a woman in the past ("You were pretty!"). Some fans have even speculated that the Avatar's gender is also on a cycle just like their base element (in this case the phase going female earthbender, male firebender, male airbender).

  17. corporatecake says:

    I love the way that this episode treats sexism, and I think that my favorite thing about it isn't that Sokka gets SHOWN by a bunch of girls. It's easy to write a girl who can kick ass. It's that when he realizes that he got his ass kicked, and it wasn't just because they "snuck up on him," but because their abilities are superior to his, he not only admits that he was wrong, but is WILLING TO LEARN.

    I don't know, I just appreciate so much that Sokka basically says, "I was wrong. Teach me." And I love the moment where the chief/mayor/whatever says, "Girls! The village is being attacked!" and Sokka says, "I'm not a — oh, whatever." It really shows how meeting the Kyoshi Warriors has changed his attitude, because episode 1 Sokka would probably have puffed out his chest and said something like, "I'm a MAN. A MAN!!!! I HAVE A PENIS. GOD."

    This is also the first time that we really see Aang's flaws. He wasn't really flawless before, but they weren't so spelled out.


    Anyway, I love this episode, and even while it may be a bit obvious to all of us old fogeys, I can excuse it because they handle the topic so well, IMHO.

  18. TDM says:

    Funny note based on something you said about the second episode: Zuko promised that he wouldn't underestimate Aang again, and I love the bit near the beginning where Zuko declares Aang is "clearly a master of evasive maneouvring", and then it cuts to Aang who clearly has no idea where they're actually going. Heh. 😀

    Yep, a bit heavy handed, this one, but the message is good and they needed to be addressed about the characters (Sokka's sexism, especially, has been highlighted before, and it's only natural for a kid to act as Aang did here).

  19. ThreeBooks says:

    Frothers! Oh man, I love frothers. I mean, he's just… there.

  20. Foamy Mouth Guy is one of many moments in this series that will never stop being funny. NEVER.

  21. Ryan Lohner says:

    One more little bit I love is the sequence of how the news that the Avatar is on Kyoshi Island makes its way to Zuko. This is a show that plays fair with what characters know.

  22. KVogue says:

    Can all of this just be real please? I want to be a waterbender flying around on a Sky Bison after penguin sledding. Is that so much to ask?

    • NeonProdigy says:

      No, it's not too much to ask.

      I want to be an Earthbender, wandering the universe with an alien in a blue box that goes through time, before getting a letter from a magic school in Britain.

      In my dreams, I'm the fictional character.

      It's me.

  23. fantasylover120 says:

    Yeah, I will admit sometimes they tend to hit you over the head with the messages in this show but it IS technically a kids show so it's easily overlooked. Besides, it's a good message to have anyway and I appreciated that the writers put it in there for kids to see. It still amazes me that this aired on Nick, the same channel that airs stuff like Spongebob and iCarly.
    But anyway, how awesome are Suki and the Warriors of Kyoshi? I also love that past Avatars were girls too as well as guys.

  24. cait0716 says:

    Why did he start foaming at the mouth and pass out? I was so confused

    • @redbeardjim says:

      He was just too excited by the reappearance of the Avatar. He's an excitable boy.

    • monkeybutter says:

      He was really, really excited by the marble trick (see shyfully's comment for its grandeur). It's making fun of raging fans, and he sort of makes sense. He lives on an island named after an avatar, protected by girls who model themselves after said avatar, and there's a huge statue of her in the middle of town. It's like meeting your hero! Some people get a little too excited…

    • alexamarie0813 says:

      because he can.

      that and he was excited to see the avatar 😛

    • licoricepencil says:

      Originally he was just going to faint. Then the Korean animators that we all love so dearly decided to be a wee bit creative.

      And hence, FOAMY MOUTH GUY! 😀

  25. Dragonsong12 says:

    I'd like to add, too, what I love about this one is that even though the message IS fairly blatent, it's also still realistic. The characters are acting IN CHARACTER. They didn't have to make them wildly out of character to get their point across as so many other shows do. While it was obvious, it also made perfect sense and flowed well with the story. MAN THIS SHOW!

    • shyfully says:

      This is a GREAT point. All the characters act very true to what we've seen of them before and never feel like they are being manipulated to force the message, which makes it more true to life.

  26. echinodermata says:

    Cute anecdote, thanks for sharing.

    It's funny though, because for all I know it's a kid's show, online I'm in my bubble of teens and adults liking this show. I feel like this is the first time I've actually had confirmation that kindergarteners watched this show.

    "epic martial arts Barbie battles"
    Um, awesome.

    • Jupiter Star says:

      Oh, not just kindergartners, recess duty meant I was dealing with all of the kids up through grade 5. Wasn't very clear on that, was I? ^_^.;; Whoops. But yeah, I teach private music lessons now and I've got both kids who have gotten into the show through reruns and teens who were watching it when it aired and they were still in elementary…the age appeal is STAGGERING with this show, my 55 year old parents, 26-year old me, my brothers, and my under 10 niece and nephew all watch it together ^_^.

  27. alexamarie0813 says:

    this review is amazing in it's amazingness, but the only thing i can think of is…

    <img src=""&gt;

    but yeah. i love this episode. this was actually the first episode of avatar i've ever watched, so it's special to me 😀
    also: SUKI 😀
    i'm gonna try and find a gif of the part your talking about where aang is on the elephant koi now lol

  28. Jaxx_zombie says:





    (Note: I would have gifs, but photobucket is being a bastard and I will not update to their pro account since I don't want to pay)

  29. cait0716 says:

    This was a great episode, though I kept bouncing back and forth between thinking it was too obvious and wondering if it was obvious enough for 9 year olds. I think I wanted a better resolution to Sokka's blatant sexism, but now I have a feeling that it will pop up again. Maybe? It didn't feel like the lesson fully sunk in for him. It was more like he hit the realization that *this* girl is cool and a warrior. But it's probably rooted a bit deeper than that. I'm thinking he's not quite going to make the connection between Suki and all girls. At least, not yet.

    I've also begun to ship Katara/Aang, even though they're young and part of me is a bit icked out by the thought of them getting together. They would be so cute! And I imagine their relationship won't necessarily be romantic, but I still adore their friendship. She's like a mix between an older sister and good friend. And now this all just sounds kinda gross. But I think it makes sense?

    I hope we get to see Suki and the other Kyoshi warriors again in the future

    • echinodermata says:

      It didn't feel like the lesson fully sunk in for him. It was more like he hit the realization that *this* girl is cool and a warrior. But it's probably rooted a bit deeper than that. I'm thinking he's not quite going to make the connection between Suki and all girls. At least, not yet.

      That's a good point. I've already watched the whole show, so I know what does and does not happen, but you're right that Sokka perhaps seemed more enthused by Suki then the actual society. All the same, someone else pointed out that he hasn't really had much opportunity to have ever met girls/women his age other than his sister, so I could also attribute Sokka in this episode as going through something of a culture shock, and that a single example that questions his opinions could make a big difference.

      Also, let's just say this fandom is known for shipping wars so you're not alone in your ship. But don't go looking for anything yet, since there's a lot of spoilers to be had.

      • cait0716 says:

        That's a good point. Sokka really hasn't met *anyone* his own age besides Katara. I guess she hasn't either, but she seems a bit more open minded about a lot of stuff. I can't wait to see how this plays out as they come up against other people and cultures.

        And I'm aware that I google at my own risk. I'm content to get all my info about A:tLA from this blog.

      • @YazzyDream says:

        Oh god. I don't want Mark or anyone else new to the ATLA world to go looking into ships. Shipping wars in the fandom got so ridiculously heated and unpleasant. I'd definitely stay away from it if I can. (ALSO THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IF YOU GO LOOKING INTO IT). There's some super lovely fanart and stuff though~ so I'm not saying the fandom is terrible, but… there's still quite a bit of unpleasantness and immaturity.

        • Hotaru_hime says:

          Shipping wars are by definition unpleasant and immature. It's crazy how passionate people can get over a romance that is barely a subplot in other series.

    • sundaycoma says:

      I know everyone and their mom has been commenting to warn you about shipping wars so I'm going to remark on the other point you brought up about their age: yes, they're young and yes, it's reasonably creepy to be wondering about the romance/sexuality aspect of children but at the same time, Katara is fourteen and Aang is twelve. Katara definitely would have been past the beginnings of puberty at this age and definitely already be like "oh hai pssbl kissyface partnrs wnn make out y/y?". Aang, I don't know when the switch-over happens for boys but all my cousins had definitely begun their first forays into the turbulent world of "kissyfaces" by the time they were twelve.

      And beyond just their physical ages, I think there's something to be said about their emotional ages. Yes, Aang is ridiculously silly but in this episode, he shows he's beginning to mature and as for Katara, she's been stuck in a world thats been at war for a hundred years. She's been asked to sacrifice her mother, her father, and even her aspirations for developing her bending skills.

      • sundaycoma says:

        I think the show even intentionally lampshades this back in the first episode when she says (during penguin-sliding) "I haven't done this since I was a kid!" and Aang yells back "You /still are/ a kid!" because, I think, the creators knew they would want to develop these characters in ways that aren't hampered by their ages and anyone's discomfort with a fourteen year old going through the things they planned on putting Katara through.

  30. Moon_Shadow says:

    I am delurking just to say that I have been waiting for you to watch this episode since I heard you would be watching the show, because I LOVE SUKI SO VERY MUCH and I want her to be known and loved by EVERYONE EVERYWHERE.

    Also, Avatar Kyoshi, who apparently kicked serious butt as a fan-wielding fighter as well as being an Avatar (based on how the statue's dressed) and who the Kyoshi Warriors clearly try to emulate — how awesome must she have been? VERY AWESOME, obviously!

  31. ldwy says:

    Yes, this ep's main messages were a little obvious, but I DON"T CARE they're good messages that were delivered directly to kids who love the show. I'm so glad it sent these kinds of messages. The line "I am a warrior. But I'm a girl too" –I thought of the Alanna the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. I can't be the only one.
    Spoilers–I can't figure out how to do that blacking out thing, so I'm putting it in a reply. DON'T EXPAND IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS

    • ldwy says:

      She's a girl who wants to be a knight in a medieval-ish world that's also got magic. She disguises herself as a boy and stays as a boy all through page, squire and her knighthood. A few friends end up knowing and keeping her secret. And then the series continues after her knighthood when she is finally able to explore being a woman and a warrior. Basically, most people who manage to accept her, accept that she is a warrior. Not that she is both (at least at first) and she struggles with that.

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      I actually like the Protector of the Small series better as Kel doesn't have any magic and doesn't have the Hand of the Goddess on her. Her perseverance is admirable.

      • ldwy says:

        Yes, I loved those too, and really loved the way Kel chose to make sure she presented herself as both. Alanna always jumps into my mind first, because that was the first series I read, when I was a kid, and I've reread many times. I've only read the Protector of the Small series more recently. But similar themes dealt with beautifully, and an amazing female lead!

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          I love pretty much all Tamora Pieces books. In my opinion, Beka Cooper is also a pretty awesome example of the girl and a warrior trope. And Daine. And Kel. And Aly…..and half of the girls from the Circle series.

    • canadadian says:

      YES. Tamora Pierce FTW
      Also, I love the Circle Universe books (that's what TV Tropes calls them, so that's what I'm calling them) as well – more than the Tortall Universe books, actually. I wish Mark would Read them… 'twould be epic.

  32. doesntsparkle says:

    I also hate pants, and wish I could go on adventures without them.

  33. arctic_hare says:



    mainly because you all have already explained in detail why I love this episode so much. XD

  34. Kchano says:

    " (At least…I think they were Earthbenders? Correct me if I’m wrong.) "

    Nope, just an island in the Earth Nation who have an awesome, elite fighting force!

  35. arnenieberding says:

    Unagi. Eel. Hehe.

    I just know it's "eel" in Japanese because of sushi. :3 But then I googled it and it seems "unagi" actually refers to freshwater eels, while this eel lives in saltwater (so it would've been more appropriate to name it Anago).

    <img src=""&gt;

  36. ABBryant says:

    With the power of crossdressing, I shall be unstoppable!

  37. cait0716 says:

    Yeah, I feel like I'm supposed to be shipping them in a weird way. I don't know, I'm happy to go wherever the writers decide to lead me

  38. Emily Crnk says:

    When I watched the episode before this, in the scene with all of the Avatar statues, one of my big thoughts was "uuugghhhh no girl Avatars?! What is this!"
    I mean, especially after they mentioned sexism so blatantly in the first episode. Then along comes this episode. I am impressed, Avatar, very impressed.

  39. Ms Katonic says:

    SUKIIIIIII!!!!! I love Suki, and the entire Kyoshi Warrior order is totally bad-ass. No, this episode doesn't really advance the plot much, but it is nice seeing Sokka get called on his sexist rubbish.

    Kyoshi Island's part of the Earth Kingdom but we've not seen any Earthbenders yet.

  40. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    i totally forgot foamish mouth guy

    what is wrong with me

  41. Lemone says:

    I love this episode soooo much like burning for preety much the reasons you described. Also, I like to pretend that the Unagi is Kyoshi’s pet, much the same way Appa is Aang’s. Because it makes the ep cuter to me. =3. If Aang can be in that iceberg for a 100 years, the eel cann be in that lake for 400 or whatever.

  42. Thennary Nak says:

    I love how that even though the episode was lighter in tone it still was a solid story and took time to give chances for characters to grow and let the audience see more of their relationships with each other as well.

    I also love that no one really seemed to bat an eye at the fact that in another lifetime Aang was a woman. I think I've seen that part of the idea of reincarnation get pointed out as a joke it came off as refreshing to see it not only be treated as an accepted fact but also that Kyoshi is someone Aang respects and is happy to have that kind of connection with.

    • DuskQ says:

      That's a good point. Aang could have insisted what was obvious, that he is male. He could have moaned in embarrassment. Instead, a little girl compliments him by saying "You were pretty," a very feminine description.

      I think it only could have been better if he thanked her.

  43. I swear people comment on these updates SO FAST. I need to start lurking and F5'ing, I guess O_O

    "Clearly the Avatar is a MASTER OF EVASIVE MANEUVERING."
    "You have no idea where you're going, do you?"
    "I know it's near water!"

    Yes, this episode has a special place in my little feminist-from-birth heart. And yes, it is totally heavy-handed, but like you said, it was intended for children. So I love that the message is blatant and doesn't beat around the bush. From the very beginning, this show is all about being mindful of the balance between the sexes, as well as other factors that will be touched on later in the show's run. This show is just fabulous at showing everyone's inherent value and power AND I LOVE IT FOREVER.

    As you mentioned, I ADORE the fact that this show allows females to be both powerful AND feminine. For some reason, this balance seems difficult for people to grasp and I don't understand why. So many writers/filmmakers seem to want to go for the girl who is SUPER TOUGH AND HYPERSEXUAL AND BOYISH LIKE A MANMANMAN, rather than realizing that equality DOES NOT MEAN SAMENESS. Respecting women as equally unique and powerful individuals does not mean you have to make them LIKE MEN. UGH. So a thousand kudos to the writers and creators of this show. I LOVE YOU.

    Also, how much do I love Aang's crush. IT IS SO CUTE. I also have mad love for the artist who starts sketching Aang and then makes little comments under his breath about more and more girls coming into the shot until he just makes the >:| face and is done with it.

    This is yet another thing I adore: the very believable way the writers create young relationships — friendships, crushes, and otherwise. It's sweet and youthful and wonderful, but also incorporates jealousy and a hint of the PUBESCENT ANGST we remember so well.

    Also, RHINOS.

    That is all.

    • Classtoise says:

      I think that being heavy handed is the best way to do a message. Rather than trying to tell kids SUBTLY "Yes, girls can be tough. Yes, tough girls can be tough AND girls", they just come out and say it openly, making no "fan interpretation" (And any fan of Avatar knows there is way too much of this as it is)

  44. shadeedge says:

    Other people (plus Mark) have already pointed out how cool it is to have the Kyoshi Warriors about and kicking ass, so I won't add anything else to that. What I will say is that I like that from this episode we're seeing that this world is seemingly not run entirely by benders. A lot of shows similar to this would have their equivalent of "special" people be so head-and-shoulders above all the other "normals" that essentially there is no contest *coughdragonballzcough*. Here, though, we're shown that groups of people can become known and respected for other talents; note that, once Sokka gets over his female issues (and Aang over his, to an extent), no one questions what use a talented warrior has in a world of benders. The answer is obviously that they're very helpful; it helps to flesh out the world to show people suceeding and being respected for mastering different pursuits, plus it's a pretty good message in and of itself.

  45. Hotaru_hime says:

    What I loved is how she had intended to dress like all the other boys but then chose to remind them that she was a girl and wore a dress. A badass at ten years old.

  46. Foaming Mouth Guy is the best. The very best.

  47. SUKI!



    Sokka: *muttering* Tie me up with ropes. I'll show them a thing or two. I'm not scared of any girls. *grabs breakfast pastry* Who do they think they are anyway? Mmm, this is tasty.


    This episode, man. This episode. Y so awesome?

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Submission">

  48. nanceoir says:

    Okay, Mark, I don't know if this is the poorly drawn Aang bit you were thinking of, but it seemed like a likely candidate? (And if it's not, well… it still makes for an awesome gif of Aang riding an elephant koi, and that's never a bad thing, right? *g*)

    <img src=""&gt;

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      Oh wow, that is really badly drawn. Aang looks like the Monkey Deva from Digimon Tamers…

  49. Quizzical says:

    so, kids and i are sitting here grinning our faces off at your thoughts and your glee. YAYS!

    i'm so frightened to flail too strongly at certain things you said in case that is sort of spoilery, so just let me say there is LOTS OF FLAILING!


  50. alwayssilverdoe says:

    For some reason I've always equated Katara with Hermione and Sokka with Ron. In the context of their personalities, I mean, not relationship-wise (ew.)

    • sabra_n says:

      No, I totally thought that when I started rewatching this week, since everything Mark watches (or reads) takes on a Harry Potter cast for me. The Gaang are totally like the trio…except Ron/Hermione would be incestuous. And Harry is less, uh…exuberant than Aang, personality-wise. But the roles the three play for each other are similar in a trope-ish kind of way.

  51. hungriestgame says:

    this show makes me so happy

  52. be_themoon says:

    I love this episode so much. *beams*

    Also that Kyoshi statue. SO BEAUTIFUL. *flaily hands*

  53. Elexus Calcearius says:

    This is an interesting episode, partly because I have such mixed feelings about it. There is so much that I enjoy, but at the same time, little things which get on my nerves.

    First and foremost, the feminism. I am a girl, and a feminist. That beings said, how explicit it is in this episode can really grate on my nerves. It feels like the typical ‘girl power’ episode of a Saturday Morning cartoon. It just felt too forced. It’s not that I don’t love the message, and that it’s great to see Sokka coming to learn that women can be just as powerful as guys….I don’t know. I wish it could have been executed better.

    But there is so much to love here, though. For example, Suki. She’s a really sweet character, and I felt that she wasn’t created just to be somebody to teach Sokka a lesson- that she had genuine personality. Also, it was nice to see a bit of romance besides Aang’s obvious crush on Katara, and I say that as someone who doesn’t really ship. Also, let’s put Sokka’s love life in perspective for a moment. He has presumably lived pretty much his entire life in the Southern Water Tribe, with only friends and family. He was the only boy of his age, and we didn’t see any teenaged girls besides Katara- maybe its possible there were some, but they died young or something. But we can’t know that, which means that the only girl of his age that Sokka has ever interacted with who’s close to his age is his sister. Despite all that, he manages to land a kiss with basically the first girl he meets in relatively days. Does anyone else wind that wonderfully amusing?

    Plus, it was nice to see Sokka gaining a new perspective. He’s lived his entire life in a very secluded community, and probably didn’t often get his beliefs challenged- so this is a big step for him. I really love Sokka, and I think I’m very much like him in personality, but I’d forgotten how much of a jerk he could be in the first few episodes. I think this was really the point where he began to temper a bit.

    As for the Katara/Aang side of things, I suppose it’s nice to see their characters being explored more. We get to see the jealous and petty side of both of them, which reminds us, ‘yes, they are human kids and they are not pure messiahs of pure innocence’. After everyone Aang’s ever known is dead, he had two people in his life; Katara and Sokka, and he has a fairly obvious crush on the former. It’s natural that he’d want to try to impress her and be given her attention. But at the same time, Katara is not use to fawning about boys, and just gets on with life….until she notices everyone else loving Aang, and that’s he’s ignoring her. They’re both rather petty in this episode, but it comes across as believable. And in the end, it’s not silly air bending tricks that impress Katara; its Aang’s genuine bravery when he does what he can to protect Kyoshi Island.

    Also to note: the Kyoshi fans. These actually exist, and are known as Japanese War Fans. They were made of either solid metal, or paper and wood with a metal edge. They could be used to give visual signals to troops, but could also act as a discrete weapon.

    I’d also just like to say that I’m absolutely loving the number of people who seem to be saying “I meant to watch along with Mark, but I’m now X episodes in!” Makes me smile to see new people discovering and enjoying the show.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I totally agree with you about the heavy-handedness, but I also kept what Mark said in the review in mind: I'm not in the target audience, and it's okay be unsubtle to kids. Not that they should be condescended to, but that it's not bad to just come out and say that girls can be fierce fighters without losing their femininity. And like you say, Suki seems like her own person, not just a morality lesson for Sokka, and I really like her and the rest of the Kyoshi warriors, so I'm not too fussed about it. I guess I didn't see it as just a girl power episode because Katara has shown bursts of power in previous episodes, and a strong personailty of her own. Rather, I saw it as establishing that girls like Katara are the norm, and they're only exceptional in our media, not the Avatar world.

      I'm also really happy that more people are watching it!

    • jubilantia says:

      Maybe I'm just a 10-year-old in a 25-year-old body, but I loved this episode, and thought they did a great job with the material in a 22 minute period. Often I'm amazed at how much happens in each episode.

      I agree with monkeybutter, in that it would feel token if the women in the episode act differently here than they do in the other episodes, but in this case they are simply putting words to similar scenes with Katara that have been shown previously. We haven't seen that many other characters yet, let alone female ones, so maybe if it had come later, it would have seemed less forced.

      What would you have done differently?

  54. Elexus Calcearius says:


    Best random side character without any lines, amirite?

  55. One thing I liked about the whole sexism thing is that they didn't just use it as a joke punchline(see RC in Transformers: The Movie or the "Who's your Daddy now?" line from Mr. & Mrs. Smith). Also, the idea that Suki underestimated Sokka because of his views. When she agrees to train him, she probably never thought that he'd be able to knock her to the ground. They end on near equal level. If this were made in the early eighties to mid nineties, Sokka would have stayed a joke character feminist empowerment characters got to bully for the sole purpose of validating their sense power.

    • PAWN1 says:

      Yes! Avatar doesn't sell it as "Sokka should respect women because they're BETTER than men", which obviously isn't going to reach as many people because it's biased, but as "Sokka should respect women because they're EQUAL to men", which is true.

  56. barnswallowkate says:

    Yes, I liked that the message was not "Look, girls can do boy things," instead it was "You need to expand your definition of 'girl things' to include warrioring and general awesomeness." I'm glad Sokka learned his lesson so he can stay on my TV Boyfriends list.

    • Inner Voice says:

      I liked that the message was not "Look, girls can do boy things," instead it was "You need to expand your definition of 'girl things' to include warrioring and general awesomeness."

      I never thought of it that way, but you're exactly right! That's a great way to put it! 😀

  57. Kadi says:

    This is the episode I fell in love with Sokka. How many male characters – in kids shows or otherwise – admit they're wrong for judging a woman like he did and then actually learn from it?

    Also, I thought this episode was a few episodes later. I was so excited to see it today when I checked your blog, haha. This is the episode that wins over a lot of people. The first three episodes are okay, in my opinion, but this one truly shines and shows what the show is capable of.

  58. sabra_n says:

    Right now, Avatar is doing a good job illustrating the difference between thoughtfulness and subtlety – it has the former, but not so much the latter. And that's okay. Yes, the "girls can be warriors" lesson is given out in a didactic way, but it's also done in ways that rise above the obvious – I especially like that by the end, Sokka isn't terribly invested in correcting views of his gender because being gender performance is no longer such a high priority for him. You think he's a girl? Fine, whatever. He has more important things to worry about.

    Sokka (thankfully) doesn't become "fixed" and walk the path of total enlightenment after just one episode, as Suki's correction of his apology indicates. But he's become willing to drop his privilege and listen, and that's pretty awesome. Gender egalitarianism is complicated, and the show acknowledges that even as it keeps the moral of the story pretty simple for the kiddie crowd. It's that ability to walk both paths – simplicity and thoughtfulness – that made Avatar a children's show for adults pretty much from the start.

    Side note: I went back and looked at screencaps of the sanctuary from "The Southern Air Temple" and I don't see a statue of Kyoshi anywhere near Roku. Am I missing something? Or is that a continuity error of some kind?

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      I think it's a continuity error. I think for that scene they really just wanted to focus on Roku and didn't bother over the other statues beyond being able to identify them as their respective bending elements.

  59. midgi says:

    OMG YESSSS I was just waiting for you to get to this episode because I KNEW YOU WOULD LOVE THAT LINE SO HARD where Suki says "I'm a girl too." It's just great. Suki for ALL THE WINS.

    Uncle Iroh is my favorite character in the whole series, I think. <3

  60. Oh my god, what an amazing story! I've always said that if I ever have kids (boys or girls!) I'd be making them watch Avatar for the gender subtext alone, and it's so amazing to hear that kids are already taking stuff like this away from the show!

  61. Inner Voice says:

    One thing nobody has mentioned yet is Suki's "I fell on purpose to make you feel better!" petulant/defensive moment.

    <img src=""&gt;

    I liked this moment because it show's Suki's human too, not just a perfect badass warrior girl who is 100% superior to Sokka. And I don't mean the fact that Sokka manages to throw her, I mean the fact that she gets defensive and snappish about it like Sokka did earlier. It fits really well with the fact that the two of them are both young warriors, and both of them have their pride. And just as Sokka was able to swallow his pride earlier, Suki is able to swallow her pride (well, a bit) this time.

  62. Pelleloguin says:

    Ah, Aesop plots. Usually they are so heavy handed I skip them. Nick is usually one of the worst too. But then this episode came along and was calmly showing us that girls can kick ass and take names while still being girls, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's pretty awesome.

    They never really spelled it out for us, they showed it through Sokka, who is in character through the whole episode. This is one of the many reasons I love this show. The other non spoiler ones include: Iroh, Appa, Suki, Katara, Aang, Zuko, Sokka, the music, the art and the nice balance between funny and 'Oh crap' they have in these episodes.

    That's all I have to say without spoiling anything, so keep on watchin' Mark! I love reading these because it's like reading my reactions my first time through. (But a lot funnier.)
    -See you next episode!

  63. SO. i happen to own the artbook for this wonderful, lovely, beautiful show HOWEVER it is full of SPOILERS!! D8

    but since i love you all so much i will show you a few, teasing, POOR QUALITY (!!!) snapshots so that you too may be inspired to someday buy this to support the team and let them know that we love them etc whatever.

    [IMG ][/IMG]

  64. Classtoise says:

    I especially love that even when Suki trains him, you see that Sokka's not an inept jerk who just hates women. He's a quick learner and has the potential to be a good fighter. Which, I think, is a big moment for his character. Before this, all we know about Sokka is he likes meat, he is kind of sexist, he doesn't think highly of bending/"magic", and he's not a very good fighter.

    This episode remedies two of those things fairly well, as well as giving him a new "quirk" (He is a quick study), developing his character.

    Sokka is, in my opinion, one of the best and most rounded characters in this show.

  65. @funksteena says:


  66. Pingback: GB Bilder » Mark Watches 'Avatar': S01E04 – The Warriors of Kyoshi | Mark Watches

  67. DuskQ says:

    Since, many people have already commented on Sokka's treatment in this episodes, I'm going to delve further into Aang's treatment.

    "Aang, on the other hand, simultaneously has to deal with a parallel issue of his own, which starts off with Katara. Aang wants to constantly impress her, which is pretty endearing on its own, but he allows it to morph into a egotistical display of power over the course of “The Warriors of Kyoshi.” Because of this, he ends up discounting the opinions of Katara for incredibly foolish reasons, one of those being because she’s a girl."

    I would disagree that it's partly because she's girl. I would agree that Aang seems unused to the adoration and can't help discounting Katara because he wants to keep soaking up the attention. Still, I think his efforts to impress her are all with good intentions, definitely "endearing" as you said. I never get the sense that Aang disregards her opinion because he treats her as unequal. That's very different than Sokka who isn't immediately upset that he was beaten, but who is only upset that he was beaten by the opposite sex. That's very different than how Sokka feels entitled to being taken care of by his sister simply because she is a girl.

    "Aang is at least coming from a very childish place, and his journey in this episode is about learning to mature and learning how to deal with the opposite gender in a way that isn’t demeaning to them."

    And maybe because Aang's treatment of Katara here isn't blatantly demeaning it's not the subject of most discussions on this episode. Even so, that Aang labels her as jealous doesn't come off as an attempt to put her into a stereotype. She actually does seem to like him enough that all the attention and the pet names bother her (LOL "Aang-y"). The idea that she's jealous isn't tied to her gender here.

  68. stefb says:


    I can watch it along with you on Netflix too!!!

    Btw, I don't know if anyone mentioned yet, but this show IS American. It's not based off of any manga or anime, but obviously the culture and everything in the show has Asian influence.

    I literally sat bouncing in my seat while I caught up to these reviews, squealing in excitement every now and then.

  69. sundaycoma says:

    So I know I'm posting way late on this but it couldn't be helped, I've been away to a Gay Pride event all weekend in Miami. As such, I've had way longer to think about my response to this review and it is super, hyper long and I'm really, really embarassed and apologetic about that so… sorry… Don't have to read all this if it gets tedious, I understand I can lapse into /lecture mode/ quite frequently. 🙁

    So back in my comment to your first review of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I believe I said something like "The issues in Avatar are so right up your alley, Mark, you don't even know". When I was saying that, the first episode that was lingering in the back of my mind was this one. (cont)

    • sundaycoma says:

      I knew the "I am a warrior — but I'm a girl too" line would get you as hard as it got me. It was every sentiment I'd ever wanted presented as a feminist course study defined into one solid moment. Girls do not have to be limited in any of their choices, including the choice in expressing their femininity. That you are a girl does not detract from being anything you want to be, in this case, a warrior and inversely true, being a warrior does not have to detract from you being a girl. Thinking anything otherwise just inadvertently helps cement the gulf between society defines as acceptable for females and what society deems appropiate for men. But I'm preaching to the choir.

      So I'm very excited that you spent a portion of your review dedicated to philosophizing on what Avatar offers up for the feminist discussion in this episode. (cont)

      • sundaycoma says:

        To me, the fact that Avatar introduced in its fourth episode an issue that sparks so much discussion (and that they did it in a way that is so delicate in its understanding and just so /right/ in its delivery) is a remarkable thing. This is a children's show, still early in its progression, and it's already tackling such a lofty topic, something that is as old as the division of labor in the first nomadic hunting-gathering tribes and yet still as relevant as Congress' 2010 report that women still, on average, make less than their male counterparts. It's that kind of bravery with its choices that I think propels Avatar past just the usual kiddy fodder and places it squarely in a realm all of its own and why I am so sure that you're going to continue to be thrilled with all the various philosophical/sociological complexities presented in its character presentation and plot.

        On other topics raised in your review, that all Aang had to do was Airbend to prove that he was in fact the Avatar, it was always something I figured much like you reasoned. (cont)

        • sundaycoma says:

          It also helps explain why they were so quick to become enraptured of Aang (and helps set up some of the comedy in the situation). In combination with being the Avatar, he's also the first airbender any of these people have seen so while we're all becoming accustomed with seeing Aang perform really cool tricks like airball with his bending, these people are just amazed by anything as simple as him playing with three marbles. I thought that was a cute narrative touch: using our own increasing familarity with the rules of this universe and our main characters against us to create a sense of comedy when it's contrasted against the Kyoshi Islanders' marveling.

          Also, don't you just love how the Kyoshi warriors fight with fans? It's a nice little device for helping to reinforce the whole episode's concept, framing something typically viewed as soft and delicate and girly in a new usage as a whole new instrument of kick-assery.(cont)

          • sundaycoma says:

            Also, I love how they follow through instead of having all the Kyoshi Warriors become what TV Tropes calls Faux Action Girls. I noticed on my rewatch though, that Suki and another Kyoshi Warrior get knocked down by Zuko (at that scene when they have them all cornered) in an attack that leaves Sokka standing. It got me to wondering if that doesn't dilute the message a little bit… I don't think so but that all comes down to a matter of perspective. You can argue that the message gets undermined when Suki gets beaten just to leave the primary male antagonist and a male protagonist to square off against each other… or you can argue (as I do) that it's not necessarily a /gender/ thing so much as it is a story-telling one. I feel like it's generally considered more satisfying to showcase a character we've been following square off against the villian than it is to have a side character bear the brunt of the battle. (cont)

            • sundaycoma says:

              And besides, the whole point of feminism is supposed to be equality, isn't it, so it wouldn't be very equal of us to expect that a female warrior never gets bested in battle by a male and never succumbs to an attack that a male counterpart survives, right? I mean, sometimes, male combatants are just plain better-armed or more skilled than any given female opponent so displaying otherwise would just be hypocritical in and of itself, right, right? Anyway, that's how I'm calling it 'cause I think it was a kick-ass fight scene<3 (And jeez, how analytical did that get over just like a one second clip from the whole show?)

              (cont'd, ooonnee last one)

              • sundaycoma says:

                And one last note that has nothing to do with rampant intellectualism, I promise: when Aang is being thrown around by the Unagi and holding on to one of its antennae and the shot shows Aang shooting past one of the Unagi's eyes and it has the horizontal /and/ vertical slit for eyelids-closing-creepiness, how awful was that sound the editors spliced in with that second eyelid? I don't know about anyone else but I definitely noticed it and it very effectively gave me the willies. UGH. Such a small touch but vitally important to the tension of that set-up, I think.

                (Done. Finally. Sorry)

  70. bookgal12 says:

    I love this episode! It reintroduces the powerful woman character that we were introduced to in the first episode. I love how Saaka gets beat up and has to come to grips with his prejudice. I am so glad you are doing this series, I look forward to posting in the future. Fyi, Iroh is my favorite, I have a crush on him and his awesomeness.

  71. Bundle says:

    I can't believe that there was no mention of my favorite part of this ep—the Beatles homage! When the little fangirls are chasing Aang all over Kyoshi and then back and forth on the bridge until he airbends away, it's an adorable homage to the famous "fangirls chase the Beatles" scene in "A Hard Day's Night"! 🙂

    I absolutely love that this show can have homages to Western popular culture while remaining in a fictional and fantastical Asia-based world!

    I'm new on this site, BTW! I found out about your reviewing journey of A:TLA on a message board and wanted to join you as you discover the joys of one of the best animated shows ever aired in the U. S.! So far,. I'm loving it!

    And I gotta say, YOU ARE SO SMART! You are figuring out stuff that I only realized much later ( I watched the show out-of-order on Nicktoons after it had finished its initial airing, so I must've missed a lot of subtext, due to being completely spoiled).
    Does anyone have a GIF of that scene, per chance?

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