Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S01E10 – Jet

In the tenth episode of the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the trio come across a ragtag group of fighters, not unlike themselves, and discover the joy in similar company. However, one of the members is hiding a dangerous secret and Sokka is faced with a treacherous decision. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Avatar.

There is a Very Important and Necessary Conversation That We Need To Have that is going to happen right now.


In 2010, as I was slogging through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I posted a review. Ginny was in that review. I said things. (I don’t even remember what I said. That doesn’t matter.) I then enjoyed my vacation in the Grand Canyon. I left that gorgeous place to over 100 emails and nearly a thousand comments because I had unknowingly ripped open a fandom wound. Thus, the Great Ginny Slutshame of 2010 happened.

I would not like to do that again.

I have been made aware that the shipping for Avatar, which, I might remind you, is LARGELY A SHOW FOR CHILDREN, AANG IS TWELVE, STOP SHIPPING HIM WITH ANYONE, can get out of hand. [AUTHOR’S NOTE ABOUT THIS: People posted some seriously creepy Aang fic and fanart that totally crossed the line in decency, and this is what I mean about Aang shipping. I am not referring to romantic/friend shipping, just the TRULY INAPPROPRIATE SHIT I HAD TO SEE AND WILL NEVER UNSEE. Sorry for not making that distinction! –Mark]


No shipping wars allowed. Talk about characters and their relationships and you are certainly welcome to share your views on shipping, but no pooping all over someone because they’re a Zutara shipper (WHY DOES THAT TERM EXIST) or a Kataang shipper (BLEACH MY EYES) or Irappah shipper (THE ONLY TRUE OTP) and just BE NICE.

Ok? Ok.


HOLY SHIT THIS EPISODE. What an amazing story, packed with bleak imagery, difficult decisions, a lot of awkwardness, and a plot that (finally!) focuses on Sokka. The overarching message? Nothing is quite as black and white as it seems.

Well, in specific contexts, of course. I think that, universally, treehouse communities are pretty fantastic, and I am pressed to think of an example where a maze of bridges and house set in the trees is actually an awful thing. Maybe if you’re a thief of joy, that might be the case. So, the Freedom Fighter village, complete with it’s visual cues taken from the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi, is definitely a black and white thing. So are fresh-baked cookies with a glass of milk (whatever type of milk suits your fancy). Oh, and Appa. Appa is clear-cut as far as I’m concerned, unless there’s an episode coming up that reveals his demonic past.

So, ok, some things are black and white. That is not the point. It is a separate point that we can talk about some other time! This point concerns moral ambiguity, the desperation of war, and how violence can lead to a further justification of violence. All in an animated show on Nickelodeon. (Now that I will enjoy bringing up repeatedly, especially since it excites me forever that these wonderful storylines, narratives, and messages were presented to so many IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNG MINDS. I’m tenting my fingers right now. Muahahahahaha.)

Almost as if I could sense that things were changing, this is the first episode that completely breaks from the pattern every Avatar episode had given us so far. Not once is Prince Zuko or Uncle Iroh mentioned or seen during these twenty-five minutes. I know, I know. I said that all episodes with Iroh are the pinnacles of perfection just by virtue of him being in it, but I have to put aside my disgusting stanning for him and admit that this Iroh-less episode was truly magical, a stunning tale that didn’t have an old man talking about tea in it. That is it’s own form of tragedy, but “Jet” more than makes up for it.

Opening with a nonchalant Momo getting caught in a metal trap (and being very nonplussed once he escapes, because….hell, he’s got his treats), which initiates Sokka’s desire to lead the group in their trip to the North Pole. He makes a Very Good Obvious Point that should have been made earlier: Prince Zuko catches them each time they move because they’re flying on a giant bison. Sorry, Appa. You are kind of noticeable. Everything that Sokka says here is actually quite reasonable in terms of how they should travel. Walking, while uncomfortable compared to flying, is a great way for them to lose Zuko’s tail.

There’s two things at work that I’m glad weren’t ignored. First, I love that Katara makes a point to state that she doesn’t understand why boys always need to have a “leader.” In this situation, it seems best that the group just make decisions together instead of delegating them to one person. (I also like that Aang outright declines to be a leader himself, since that’s both too obvious and…well, he’s twelve. Twelve! He’s got enough going on for him.)

On top of that, though, is the tendency for Sokka to be dismissed. His sense of humor probably contributes to some of that, but I felt he made it abundantly clear that he was actually trying to be serious about their journey. It’s not that Aang and Katara dismiss Sokka in an aggressive, angry manner that stood out to me. It’s specifically the fact that they make the whole thing a joke that shows how they feel about them. I think that, for Sokka, his dependence on humor both as a coping method and as his social attitude has sort of come around to work against him, though I don’t want to place the blame on him for how his sister and Aang treat him. It’s ultimately their actions that cause a lot of what happens here.

So, we have two things clashing: Sokka’s humor and Sokka’s idea of his TOTES MASC LEADERSHIP ABILITIES. And these things clash in a very interesting way in “Jet.” Sokka’s Instinct tells him that they should walk, so the trio agrees to do so after poking fun at the entire concept. But wait! They walk straight into a Fire Nation camp and everything is dangerous again! But wait! Ok…what? Who are these people and what are they doing here??? HE HAS TWO SWORDS WITH HOOKS ON THEM. OH MAN THAT DUDE IS A GIANT WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON

This story is then taken over completely by the Freedom Fighters, a random, ragtag band of people who have all lost something because of the Fire Nation. They’ve banded together and built the sweetest treehouse society ever in order to do whatever they can to TROLL THE FIRE NATION. I’m sorry, this sounds like THE BEST LIFESTYLE TO HAVE EVER EXISTED EVER. I initially went back and forth on them: I was excited they were being introduced, then hesitant that they had another motive, and then excited again because they seemed like they might have been a more permanent fixture beyond just this single episode. After constantly switching back and forth, I didn’t know what to feel about the Freedom Fighters.

Meeting Jet sure didn’t help, because it was fairly easy to feel conflicting things about him. It’s no surprise that Katara developed a crush on him pretty quickly. I don’t blame her. He seemed carefree, willing to risk his only life to help those in need, and he was unbelievably talented with those double hook-swords. Plus, he has what looks like an amazing band of friends! (SMELLERBEE IS THE BEST AND HAS THE BEST NAME. THE END.) I think it’s a good sign when a person has an amazing group of friends. I personally feel better about someone in this case.

In addition to this, Katara and Jet share a bleakly intimate moment in the treehouse village, as we learn how much tragedy has struck all of these people. How was I supposed to realize that Jet had such a dark side? It’s a great example of how people can take a traumatic moment and cope, internalize, and manifest it in entirely different ways. On that bridge, Katara and Jet seem so much like the same person.

So I figured that “Jet” would go in one of two directions: Jet was hiding a secret or Jet would join up with Aang and company by the end of the episode to continue their adventures. I suppose I’m wrong on both counts, since he wasn’t ever technically hiding something before the three travelers arrived. Instead, “Jet” gives us a story about how people fighting for the right cause can go so very wrong.

I really love that Sokka is at the forefront of this story, too, because it makes the most sense that out of the trio, he’d be less “taken in” by Jet. Aang and Katara are utterly fascinated by his ability, first of all, and add Katara’s crush on him, and you’ve got a fine example of being smitten. On top of that, Katara projects her hope on to other people, something I’m prone to do and know by experience that it leads to a great deal of disappointment and heartbreak. Am I getting better at this? Nope, not in the slightest. I don’t know why, given my own history, I expect the best out of people. Watching Katara do this here in “Jet,” though, was sort of like having a mirror held up to myself. And then I punched myself. Yeah, pretty much like that.

Again, children’s animated cartoon! My god, totally unprepared for this.

The first signs (and the rather subtle parallels to the opening conversation about leadership) that something is wrong happens that night, after all the Freedom Fighters are introduced and we learn that they’ve been pestering the Fire Nation, who have taken over a local Earth Kingdon village. Jet gives an impassioned, humorous speech to all the Fighters, and it’s hard to ignore that the dude just has charisma. He’s one of those people well aware that people will listen to him, and he takes advantage of it to give these outsiders hope. I don’t want to ignore that this is a good thing.

But after the speech, he specifically addresses Katara and Sokka separate from everyone else and maybe it was just me, but it suddenly seemed so…manipulative. Everything else I just explained away (there’s that hope of mine again) as products of his current situation or because I didn’t know Jet well. But him singling those two out and specifically excluding Sokka was way too purposeful for me to think it was just an unfortunate implication in my brain. Then, when Katara reveals that Aang is the Avatar, you can see the interest pique on Jet’s face, and I decided then that there was something fishy about the dude. He all but confirmed it once Sokka tried to storm off, insisting they were leaving the next day, and Jet slyly coaxed Jet into helping him.

The best part? Even though I was right, I was still COMPLETELY NOT PREPARED.

Finally, Sokka is included in something, but I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be a pleasant situation. The big “twist” revealed here is that Jet and his buddies are completely, bullying assholes. Well, they start off that way, choosing to pick on an older man merely because he’s part of the Fire Nation, stealing from him to add insult to injury. Bless Sokka, because it could not have been easy to immediately turn on Jet and tell him what he’s doing is wrong, especially since he’s outnumbered. It’s an incredibly brave moment for Sokka, proof that he can do right by trusting his instincts. Those instincts tell him that this is not what they should be doing.

My slight enjoyment of Jet turned to HATEFUL RAGE by the end of the next scene. Jet is truly manipulative, a liar, and predatory, spinning an elaborate lie in order to turn Katara against her brother and Aang against his friend. He preys on their desire and jealousy to get them on his side. AND IT WORKS! They completely buy it and, after Katara gives her brother a stern talking to about his own jealousy, they agree to help Jet refill the local reservoir so that they’ll have more water to fight the Fire Nation.

Oh, Sokka. You were so right and even you didn’t realize it.

This episode from this point takes a remarkably bleak tone, one that surprised even me. It was obvious that the reservoir had a larger part in Jet’s plan, but Sokka is both too curious and too desperate to prove his case to ignore this anymore. Sneaking out that night to see what the Freedom Fighters are up to, he discovers that Jet is planning to blow up the dam and release the waters onto the Earth Kingdom village below in order to wipe out the Fire Nation.

Oh, yeah, and it would DROWN ALL OF THE CITIZENS OF THE EARTH KINGDOM. What??? WHAT???? This is a kids’ show, THEY CAN’T DO THAT RIGHT. RIGHT. RIGHT.

Oh my god, my brain basically exploded. Sokka was right and now people might die because no one would listen to him. AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH.

The confrontation between the two of them is rich with subtext, both calling back to the way Sokka was teased about being a “leader” and watching someone else act out that leadership in terrifying ways. The way that Jet talks about “sacrifice,” as if they are sacrificing themselves and not the HUNDREDS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE IN THE VILLAGE is so goddamn unsettling, because in his mind, this is what a warrior is supposed to do. (With the exception of maybe Pipsqueak, this whole band of fighters are teenagers and children. That sort of makes this plan even scarier.)

This same theme is brought up again when Pipsqueak and Smellerbee are escorting Sokka out into the forest after he rebukes Jet’s offer. Sokka does his best to reason with them, but the two are steadfast in their support of their leader. For them, Jet has never let them down. His decisions always seemed right and the outcome of his choices benefited the group. How could he be wrong about this plan?

It’s a way for the writers to (briefly) talk about this sort of devoting following that can come with enigmatic leaders like Jet. I’m sure that Pipsqueak and Smellerbee truly believe that Jet wouldn’t do something so terrible; we even saw bits of that when Katara and Aang refused to believe that Jet was a bully, despite that Sokka insisted he was.

When Aang and Katara do finally realize the full extent of the plan with the reservoir, we are subject to THE ABSOLUTE BEST FIGHT SCENE YET. Both Aang and Jet are uniquely skilled in such wildly different ways that their fight is far more intense and showy than anything we’ve seen yet. Even though Aang has the advantage of being the Avatar, Jet’s physical skill is undeniable. Mixed in with all this was the first distinct thought that I had regarding the use of color in “Jet.” I hadn’t noticed until the fight scene how inexplicably dark everything was, especially the use of such deep reds, which not only symbolized that these people were in Fire Nation land, but that their anger was almost like blood, especially in terms of Jet’s behavior here.

Despite that Aang and Katara both “capture” Jet and Katara gets a chance to scorn Jet for betraying her, things do not go as planned. The birdcall, the signal to ignite the damn, floats through the forest and Jet responds. Aang and Katara realize that despite their efforts, they are too late, that if Sokka does not come to the rescue, the village is doomed.

As Longshot sends his fire arrow into the sky, I expected Sokka’s familiar boomerang to knock it out of the sky, but my jaw dropped as I watched it hit the dam, the explosion freeing all of that water, and we cut to the Earth Kingdom village as a giant wave of water drowns it all.

You’re kidding me, right? Oh my god, did they just drown a bunch of people on a CHILDREN’S CARTOON??? Consumed with horror, I was so creeped out by Jet’s little victory speech, stating that the Fire Nation would forever stay out of this valley. AND SO WOULD THE PEOPLE YOU JUST KILLED, YOU ASSHOLE.

I don’t think the end of this episode ruins the complete shock I felt as the wave crashed over that village. I was happy that Sokka was able to save the day, so to speak, because he needed a chance in this series to show his sister and friend that sometimes, maybe they should listen to him and take him seriously. I mean, he saved all of those people ENTIRELY BY HIMSELF. UGH. Love you, Sokka.

I don’t know if we’ll see the Freedom Fighters again after this. THAT MIGHT BE AWKWARD. But I would like to, in some capacity, though I imagine that there would be some bitter feelings between them all.


  • “Walking stinks! How do people go anywhere without a flying bison?” I KNOW, RIGHT?
  • Ok, I laughed so hard when Aang and Pipsqueak were laughing about Pipsqueak’s name and Pipsqueak slapped Aang on the back so hard that he hit the ground, face-first.
  • Sokka’s voice squeaking. LOL.


About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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404 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S01E10 – Jet

  1. You know who would like this episode?


    Appa is clear-cut as far as I’m concerned, unless there’s an episode coming up that reveals his demonic past.

    I hadn’t noticed until the fight scene how inexplicably dark everything was, especially the use of such deep reds, which not only symbolized that these people were in Fire Nation land, but that their anger was almost like blood, especially in terms of Jet’s behavior here.
    Oh, nice point. This episode really is beautiful, and the fight is AWESOME. There's a lot of Samurai Champloo influence too; Jet is totally Mugenesque.

    You’re kidding me, right? Oh my god, did they just drown a bunch of people on a CHILDREN’S CARTOON???

    Really, I think this episode is the first that gives a true indication of the maturity of the series and its willingness to tackle difficult topics. What up, sociopaths in kids' shows.

    In conclusion, the old iPod my brother gave me is named The Duke, my first Shuffle was named Pipsqueak, and my current Shuffle is named Smellerbee.

    • raelee says:

      Ha! I was trying to remember what you had named Smellerbee as I was reading this post.

    • Skulls, Candied says:

      OMFG Samurai Champloo reference, LOVE FOREVER.

      And yeah, there's big silimarities, considering their doubled-handed, lose yet skilled fighting style…. and OHYEAH there's a Momo in that series!!! HOW COULD I FORGET.

  2. E.L.S.O.S. says:

    Thank you for the shipping policy Mark! While we all know that the OTP of Avatar is Iroh/Tea it's good to know that there's not going to be a repeat of the Ginny fiasco.

    Also, this episode rocks so hard! I love Sokka so much and it's pretty much all because of this episode!

    EDIT: I dunno why, but the Jet post is showing up under the Waterbending Scroll link.

    • Openattheclose says:

      I think this episode cemented my Sokka-love. Before it, I was drawing unfair comparisons between him and a character from something else who I am not that fond of, but this episode made me realize that Sokka is so much better than that other character <3

      Edit: Iroh/Tea is the best ship of all time, for reals.

      • echinodermata says:

        Before it, I was drawing unfair comparisons between him and a character from something else who I am not that fond of, but this episode made me realize that Sokka is so much better than that other character

        lol, who ever could you be thinking of. But I agree, Sokka is proving himself and for everything he may say or do that may be a turn-off (stop being sexist, yo), he does seem to be growing and contributing in an important way – the group absolutely needed him to be who he is here, and I like that.

      • doesntsparkle says:

        How about Iroh/Tea/Appa for an OT3.

        I still prefer Zuko/angst. Zangst?

    • ldwy says:

      Iroh/Tea = yes. They are soulmates forever.

    • canadadian says:

      Iroh/Tea is awesome, but what about Cabbage Man/Foamy Mouth Guy?
      Cabbage Mouth? Foamy Man? I like Cabbage Mouth. No, wait, Cabbage Foam!
      Okay, that is now the OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL name of this ship (of officialness).

  3. Kaci says:

    I love this episode a lot and I completely know what you mean. Sometimes, I can't believe this aired on Nickelodeon next to like…Spongebob. Not that I don't also love Spongebob, but…come on. THIS.

  4. Openattheclose says:

    Sokka and Katara at the beginning are so Ron and Ginny. "Who've you kissed, Gran-Gran?" "Who've you kissed, Aunty Muriel?"

    (and IIRC, that's the chapter in HBP that started the horrible Ginny slut-shame war in the first place)

    Jet is one of those "too cool for school" guys I've always found a bit annoying, even without the worrying terrorist aspect of his personality. I thought this episode was kind of predictable in some ways, but I still enjoyed it. The degree of Jet's extremism was surprising though, I didn't think a "kid's show" would go there.

    • ldwy says:

      I thought the same thing, that I thought of Ron and Ginny. They're really just the quintessential siblings, in some ways. Trying to one-up each other a little. It's cute. My sister and I went through a period like that, when we were younger. More bickering and less patience with each other. But now we're the best friends. I predict it will turn out this way for Sokka and Katara as well (like Mark, I shall become a true seer?)

  5. Hotaru_hime says:

    Poor Sokka. Because he doesn't have any magic bending abilities, he has to rely on his own strengths as a strategist and wants to be a leader (to live up to his father?) but knows that Katara and Aang easily outstrip him. So how does he cope? Humor. Let's face it, the world he lives in is very strange and Sokka is just "a guy with a boomerang" but he's also the oldest male child that was left in the Southern Water Tribe. He wants to be a warrior and to protect his family and he understands war and hunting. And he knows that they have to keep moving and using different tactics. Katara and Aang don't take him seriously, which must be hard, since he's the older, more experienced member of the party (though Aang has a lot of experience, most of it is a little outdated for surviving in the current world).
    Jet! Ugh, I saw this guy and I knew he was gonna do something awful. And then he almost did. I'm glad the Earth Kingdom citizens listened to Sokka.
    Oddly, I'm glad not to have Zuko and Iroh around (but more Iroh is never a bad thing) because really, after 9 episodes of "I MUST CAPTURE THE AVATAR TO RESTORE MY HONOR" it's nice to have a break.

    • ldwy says:

      I LOVED that the reason the Earth Kingdom village citizens listen to Sokka is that the old man he stood up for defended him. It was a nice way to come full circle.

  6. echinodermata says:

    I dunno, I've never particularly cared for this ep, even though I know a lot of people do. Um, some thoughts:

    Return of that little lemur musical motif! Love it.

    Katara and Aang teasing Sokka is pretty fun. I'm getting a bit tired of Sokka being the voice of negativity on this show, though. But I was very glad he got to be the hero here.

    "Freedom fighters" makes me facepalm. Too close to American political rhetoric for my taste, considering this is an American show. I do not want America in my lovely fantasy Asian world. Their treehouse is cool, though.
    <img src=""&gt;
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    As for the plot of this episode, it's a little hard for me to resolve serious political themes with the heavy-handedness of a kid's show. They make the line between right and wrong a bit too clean. I mean, okay, obviously what Jet did was bad, but there's a difference between making those decisions to help bring down a superior military force versus killing civilians because zomg evil. I guess for me, Jet was too cleanly a bad guy. I mean, Zuko's trying to capture Aang, but is still a more sympathetic character than Jet. I know the show can do more narrative subtleties, so I'm not sure whether to blame it on the kid's show aspect or the 30 minute time slot (which go hand in hand, either way). Don't get me wrong, I like that it's not just Fire Nation people who are bad guys, but also people from other nations. I just would have preferred Jet to be a more ambiguous character.

    I do think it's cool that the Fire Nation soldiers weren't the bad guys of the ep, though. I guess for me, this episode is so close to dealing with true complex motives and decisions in a war story that for some reason, the quick characterization of Jet bugs me in a way that normally doesn't on this show. I dunno, perhaps were Jet to lose the manipulativeness, and to just be a likeable guy who made a crap decision, I might have cared more for this ep.

    Also, I would have preferred the Jet/Katara bits to be less obvious. The blushing thing is okay, but the color change was overboard imo.

    I'm curious as to how much people revere the Avatar considering how long he was gone. I mean, Katara was super-quick to accept him, but it's interesting that Jet wasn't. It would be nice to explore what makes certain characters become more jaded than others with respect to the power and importance of the Avatar.

    • dragonsong12 says:

      ""Freedom fighters" makes me facepalm. Too close to American political rhetoric for my taste, considering this is an American show. I do not want America in my lovely fantasy Asian world."

      I dunno, I think you're reading a bit too much into it here. The term "freedom Fighters" for groups like theirs was around a lot longer than said rhetoric. It's not really that different from the "rebels" in Star Wars, it's more a descriptor than a name which Jet uses to rally them together. I don't really think the creators were intending to say anything by calling the group that.

      …unless you're just saying you dislike it because it just reminds you of said rhetoric – outside of the creators intent itself – in which case I'M the one reading too much into your comment. haha!

    • hassibah says:

      They make the line between right and wrong a bit too clean. I mean, okay, obviously what Jet did was bad, but there's a difference between making those decisions to help bring down a superior military force versus killing civilians because zomg evil.

      Well didn't they show that resistance can be a good thing with the Earthbenders a few episodes back?
      I dunno, the reason why I loved this episode was because it showed actual variety of peoples within the Fire Nation itself(not just enemies and soldiers and people secretly helping the other side but boring people with boring lives.) Jet is a guy whose rage seems pretty realistic and people that see things in black and white are a fact in pretty much any war, and I liked that the show addressed this kind of thinking.

      • echinodermata says:

        I think for me, I tend to heavily consider episodes in their own separate context, and as a stand-alone ep, I just feel like the show could have pushed the ambiguity more. I think in the context of the whole show (and knowing the entire series), this episode is good and important. I just wish Jet's character wasn't so easy to hate, I guess. Really, every other character but him was a cool addition to the story*; I just didn't care for how easy it was to like and then hate him. I appreciate Jet's own motivations and thoughts, I just didn't care for his portrayal – basically everything else in this ep wasn't simple so his character arc stands out to me as being unsubtle.

        *EDIT: I think Jet himself is a cool addition, just that I wish his portrayal was different.

    • Candy says:

      I don't know, I think Jet's pretty sympathetic. He's an extremist, but he's obviously still pretty messed up by his parents' death and the destruction of his village. Keep in mind that he's also responsible for all the kids he's leading – he's under a lot of stress and has a lot of rage. What he was planning to do was wrong, and his manipulative habits were also pretty bad, but I don't think it makes him an irredeemable bad guy.

  7. monkeybutter says:

    I haven't gone back to read yesterdays comments yet because I sort of knew they would get ugly, but now I'm really tempted to force myself…

    Anywho, yay! Isn't Jet a gorgeous episode? It's really funny and really serious; I'm glad you have ambivalent feelings about the Freedom Fighters (or terrorists?), because it really does come down to a matter of perspective. I've gotta say that I'm heartbroken that you didn't mention Gale and the Hunger Games, to be honest.

    I laughed the hardest at all of the hero worship and sappy teen romance. Jet's sway over everyone except Sokka (largely due to those hang-ups about being the leader tied up with his masculinity) cracks me up. The Katara scenes, though, are golden.

    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    It's so awkward and adorable and I love it.

    I also loved that the main issue of the episode is how well the members of the team complement each other, and they don't need a leader. They're better off when they listen to and respect each other, not when they're listening to Sokka's instincts (sarcasm is familial — damn Katara, you're the best) or a charismatic leader. And since I was kind of mean about Katara's crush, I should say that it's great to see her coming into her waterbending:

    <img src=""&gt;

    She doesn't waterbend better because of Jet, but having his support helped her. Aang's a goofy kid, and Sokka's her brother, so they aren't really there to be reassuring. She's got a lot of control by the end of the episode, and in the end she's the one who kicks Jet's butt.

    Good job Sokka and Katara!

    • ldwy says:

      Hahaha, I can't believe my brain didn't think of the parallels between Jet and Gale. They're pretty obviously there, I guess I've just been caught up in Avatar.

      I also love seeing Katars's confidence in herself growing. Jet definitely helped her there. I was so glad to see that the fact that he boosted her confidence, and then she lost her confidence in him, didn't also cause her to lose her new increased confidence in her own bending abilities. She just freezes him to a tree like a BAMF.

      I liked seeing some of the generalizations about Sokka dealt with, and a story that focuses on him. His humor? Bit him a bit in this episode, for instance. His masculinity-driven desires to lead, not super cool. But ultimately, his character grew, and so did Aang's and Katara's.

  8. affableevil says:

    I will now attempt to express my reactions to this episode through interpretive gifs:

    Sokka's leading them right into a fire nation encampment:
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Jet's amazing introduction/ability with swords:
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Jet's eyebrows:
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Katara's obvious crush:
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Jet's treachery/his plan to murder a bunch of innocent citizens to "cleanse" the valley:
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

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

    Sokka saving the day like the BAMF that he is:
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  9. TDM says:

    Running thoughts:

    -Love the beginning with Momo. Love you, Momo!

    -“HE’S A GIGANTIC FLYING MONSTER WITH AN ARROW ON HIS HEAD! It’s kind of hard to miss him.” Good point, Sokka.

    -“Sokka’s just jealous because he doesn’t have an arrow.” Hee!

    -“Who knows? Walking might be fun.” / “Walking stinks! How do people go anywhere without a flying bison?” I LOVE this type of cut. The show does it quite a few times.

    -Fire Nation camp! 😛

    -Jet does get a pretty cool intro.

    -I never remember Jet that fondly as I don’t really like the Katara/Jet moments. I’m not a shipper and I prefer it not to be in my shows – I know it’s realistic, but I just can’t pump up much enthusiasm for crush plots. Just a personal thing. I didn’t think the rest of the plot stood alone enough for me to care too much either way about this one, but it’s improving on rewatch and in fact that is pretty important in how they interact (this is far more of a Sokka episode than I remember it being).

    -Lol at Aang’s (or random person?) “wheeeeee!” background movements. I always assume it’s Aang

    -And Sokka jumping up behind them.

    -We get to see some more of how far reaching the effect of the Fire Nation is – even if it’s from events happening before the show.

    -I really like this mission with Sokka and Jet. Two very opposed point of views – and Sokka doesn’t dislike the Fire Nation any less than Jet.

    -XD at Aang and Momo with the exploding things. He’s so… distractible.

    -Bit of Boy Who Cried Wolf here. Sokka’s been irritated most of the episode, but now people think that’s influencing his views on Jet – when he’s the one telling the truth.

    -It’s also quite understandable that Katara and Aang are a bit sceptical.

    -And now we get to see extremism, that people only like to acknowledge when it suits them. Jet and co. have a legitimate grievance, but their retribution is disproportionate!

    -Jet doesn’t consider how Aang and Katara would feel if it turned out they slaughtered a town

    -I wish Jet would take that thing out of his mouth XD

    -More Aang and Katara bending together

    -Good plan, Sokka.

    -Oh Pipsqueak in a trap XD

    -Aang nearly FELL OFF A CLIFF. Coulda murdered the Avatar, Jet!

    -Aang VS Jet… interesting.

    -Katara’s bending has significantly strengthened

    -The flood scene is both cool and scary and sad (THE DOLL).

    -“Who would be free? Everyone would be dead!” ILU SOKKA. YOU TELL THEM.

    -Certainly lots of food for thought this episode – and a really good message.

  10. Patrick says:

    Appa's demonic past…

    Well, he's actually the missing member of Dethklok. They kicked him out because he was too BROOTAL and destructive even for Dethklok.

  11. dreining says:

    I’ve really come to appreciate this episode upon rewatches over the years, mostly because I feel it highlights one of ATLA’s many strengths: The writers’ unwillingness to shy away from the fact that the world of Avatar is a world at war. Between all the pirate adventures and various shenanigans the Gaang gets into, it’s often easy to forget what a serious situation these young kids are in. That’s why I really love these episodes that make you remember what a bleak place this world has become over the course of 100 years.


  12. doesntsparkle says:

    Yeh, Sokka love. It's impossible for me to have a favorite character in this show, but Sokka is in a six way tie for the lead. It's fantastic that Sokka gets to prove what he's worth and show character growth. I don't know how the Sokka from the first episode would have reacted to this situation. He has just as much of a reason to hate the fire nation as Jet or Katara, but he doesn't let that get in the way of his sense of morality, he knows that it's wrong to hurt an innocent old man and destroy an entire town.

    My favorite things:
    Two awesome Sokka/Boomerang moments.
    Katara's blushy crush on Jet.
    The band of Rebels, until they get all murdery.
    The Swiss Family Robinson tree house, I seriously want to live in one
    The best "yip yip," ever.

  13. elusivebreath says:

    My question is, couldn't they still ride Appa while he was walking??

  14. Sophi says:


    I always wanted one as a child! This episdoe just further fueled that unlikely desire. Sigh. Perhaps one day I will land in a dystopian war-torn land where people can shoot fire out of their hands but there will be a treehouse and I will skip merrily from tree and tree and be joyful.



    it still makes me mad, maybe because i lived through it in general fandom AND THEN your blog.

    lolwell i dated when i was twelve years old. WELL NOT REALLY DATED. i dated umm two people in seventh and eight grade but still. TWELVE IS NOT THAT ODD. D8

    oh gosh, i remember loving the tree houses too. I WAS SO JEALOUS. why couldn't i have a giant treehouse city in my backyard?!
    and i loved the focus on Sokka too, poor guy. :c HE JUST WANTS TO TRUST HIS INSTINCTS HA HA.


      i don't really like romantic shipping much anyway, i am more a ~~~~FRIENDS FOREVER kind of "shipper."

      • Openattheclose says:

        Friendshipping is the best. Donna/Doctor friendship forever!

        I was "dating" in seventh grade too.

        • friendshipping~~~~


          aha, exactly, "dating," ;D none of mine were particularly long-lived (WHY HELLO, NEVER REALLY BEEN IN A REAL REALATIONSHIP SARAH), but i do have a friend who started "dating" someone in eighth grade who dated them all through high school and most of college, too.

    • echinodermata says:

      Middle school was way worse for me than high school in terms of friend drama and dating and who had a crush on whom and how that affected friendships and everyone getting mad at each other and I don't even know it was ridiculous. But middle school is definitely where it seems to start. So 12-year-olds having this kind of drama is definitely realistic, if still kind of weird.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I'm going through to explain what I meant because I was purposely vague.

      People posted sexual/pornographic/creepy shit about Aang shipping yesterday. I'm referring to that, not just romantic/friend shipping. That stuff is fine. Just none of the creepy stuff!

      • agrinningfool says:

        ….*blink* ….. *blink*

        Oh my god, internet. x.x

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        You see, this is why in my personal head cannon, I have an extended time line. Instead of having to defeat the Fire Nation this summer, the deadline is three summers away. Therefore in my head I can age assume all that creepy stuff happens near the end of the series, where we're dealing with fifteen and eighteen year olds, and it all makes me far less creeped out by fandom.

        (Not to mention, I think a year is too short to fly around the world so much. But I digress.)

      • ….OOOOKAAY that makes sense and is extremely unpleasant um sorry that you had to see that. D:

        i will send you some of that brain bleach
        ….and also spare you my katara's hair loopies/ jet's twig fan-fiction SIGH i thought this one was a winner for sure. :c

  16. herpestidae says:

    What I like about this episode is how the used Jet. You can see that Jet is easily what Sokka could become. They're both smart, capable warriors (well, I guess Sokka might be a little less capable capable) who've lost their homes to the Fire Nation. Thing is, Sokka has more innocence, probably because Jet just lost so much more. That innocence gives Sokka ability to see every human being as human beings, whether or not they are enemies. There are things that Sokka won't do, and beating up that old man is one of them (although, in this world, I'm pretty sure that dude would have walloped the lot of them if Sokka hadn't intervened). Jet sees people as Nation first, people second, and his goal is to wipe out evil, no matter how much good dies in the process. He who fights monsters and all that.

    Well, now that we've got that out of the way, have more Booter-Freak

    <img src="; />

    <img src="; />
    <img src="; />
    <img src="; />

  17. H. Torrance Griffin says:

    I have to admit, this was a rather bold course to take. Jet is a victim and opponent of the Fire Nation, an Earth Kingdom patriot if you will….

    … he is also, and they make this completely clear, a manipulative terrorist and would-be mass murderer.

    In short, it is made very clear that "The Enemy Of My Enemy" does not apply.

    Of course a BadassNormal capable of facing even a largely untrained Avatar without getting steamrolled gains an ounce of respect for sheer skill, but no claim can be made that the guy is a Hero. Nice writing.

  18. But seriously, guys, who told Mark about Appa being the smoke monster in disguise?! That was the biggest shock of the series, for me, and now it's ruined. >:

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Well, listen, at least we haven't accidentally spoiled that Momo is actually a dementor….and, um. Whoops. Oh well. I've forgotten how to use a backspace. Shame, because the lemur actually being the Big Bad was an amazing twist.

  19. Openattheclose says:

    Sorry, I'm going to have to delete this. One of the images is spoilery.

  20. Bacon_Bomb says:

    those chibi's are rad ^__^

  21. Nikki says:

    THANK YOU for your no shipping wars rule. I HATE shipping wars! And that was a fantastic review.

    The backgrounds in this episode are really gorgeous and I loved the secret hideout in the trees.

    I adore the beginning with Katara poking fun at Sokka and the whole "Sokka's instincts" exchange. They are SUCH a brother and sister. Though, I don't understand why she was pestering him so bad to begin with because I think he had a really good point.

    And then we have Jet. Ohh, Jet. I have to say, it's episodes like this that make me wish I could watch a version of Avatar that was more detailed, serious, and darker. Sort of like an adult or teen version of the storyline. Don't get me wrong, I love the show the way it is and I understand that being the kids show that it is and balancing the lightheartedness and humor with the seriousness is part of its appeal. But it is very much a kids' show and I gotta say, there are many times when I want MORE from it than a kids show can offer. That doesn't mean I want blood and gore and horrible violence or risque scenes (EW, no thank you!). I mean I want it to spend more time delving into the more serious, darker aspects of humans and war and also to go much more in depth with the characters and their motivations. Avatar episodes like "Jet" here can present such compelling stories with darker themes, but they don't and couldn't go as in depth as I would have liked to see. I still love Avatar as is, though!

    Something I found interesting about Jet was how he always seemed to know the right thing to say. No wonder he was the leader of his gang. I feel like he didn't even need his swords because he could probably talk his way out of almost anything. Even when he barely knew the gaang he was able to manipulate them with just what they needed to hear. I think Jet is an observant guy, looking out for how best he can use people if he needs to. He knew Sokka wouldn't be able to resist being told he was needed for a mission. He knew to remain kind and calm when being accused by Sokka in front of Katara and Aang. (For some reason I get the idea that his comment about Sokka saving his life was specifically geared toward Katara. The more patient and kind Jet is while taking Sokka's rage and accusations, the more Katara will take his side against Sokka, which is exactly what Jet wanted. I see him carfully driving a wedge between the siblings.)

    I'm really glad we got an episode where we could sympathize with Fire Nation characters as the victims. I couldn't believe it when the damn blew up! I just knew that SOMETHING was going to prevent it from happening. Nope! The way that whole scene was played was amazing! Seriously, first time I watched this episode I think my heart stopped and I was in shock for a second when I saw the explosion. The whole scene is horrifying and feels real. I was actually surprised when Sokka showed up and said he evacuated everyone. In hindsight it's the obivous solution, but when I first saw it it was all so raw and unnerving. Really, I wish that feeling could have lasted longer. I think Sokka showed up and saved the day too soon! XD But the show does have a time limit, so, yeah.

    I really loved Jet's weapons and fighting style. It just looked so cool. The fight scene with him and Aang was really awesome. Something I really love is how there's no elitism with benders vs non-benders. We've seen weapons vs bending go against each other in battle and they can actually be pretty even. They're all just different art forms to them and no one seems to be automatically thought weak or no threat just because they don't bend.

    I have to give more props to Aang in this episode. I mentioned it in "Imprisoned" but it's actually more prominate here. I LOVE HOW AANG IS NOT JEALOUS! <33 Seriously, Aang, I love you for that! Even when it's so obvious Katara is crushing on Jet, Aang is totally cool. He likes Jet a lot and wants to be friends and has no problem letting Katara do her own thing and make gifts for Jet. THAT IS SO RARE ON TV! Most other stories would turn this into some dumb pissing contest and/or infringing on Katara's rights.

  22. kartikeya200 says:

    Right, so, I mentioned yesterday that the art book has about four pages for this one episode. I feel like I should put a big giant warning here, because I'm only posting some of them but there are so many.

    <img src=""&gt;

    Jet's design is a good example of how the art and writing influenced each other. In the first draft of the "Jet" script, Jet's gang wasn't very defined. We wanted to give them a lot more personality and individuality.

    <img src=""&gt;

    We hired Ryu Ki Hyun (an animator at JM Animation) to draw some concepts for Jet and his gang, proving that the overseas studios were great at creating preproduction art as well as animation. Immediately, Ki Hyun's designs gave us a picture of who made up this motley crew.

    • mkjcaylor says:

      because I'm only posting some of them but there are so many.

      Is it sad that I want all of them?

      • kartikeya200 says:

        There's an entire page devoted to notes about the treehouse.

        The tree houses of Jet's gang are very disorderly. They should look "kid made" and very jumbled together. Boards of different sizes. Odd shaped houses with one wall being the tree itself. The houses are made of stolen parts and (word I can't read. Piles?). Don't forget ZIP LINES

        They also make a note that Dave Filoni, the director, is a huge Star Wars fan and tried to slip in little references wherever he could. You probably can't read the writing on that one image up there because I had to shrink it to fit in the comments, but it notes that the middle region known as "Ewok" is where the kids' tree village is, as well as where the fight between Jet and Aang takes place.. So not even subtle, sir <3

  23. i think he meant, "all the citizens of the earth kingdom living in that village."

    but it's still a huge loss of life (EVEN IF IT IS A CARTOON LOL), so he doesn't really have to "relax." D:

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Of course every loss of life is terrible. And actually, I've noticed now that it was probably a typo, so Mark, please disregard my original post… 🙂

  24. FlameRaven says:

    You’re kidding me, right? Oh my god, did they just drown a bunch of people on a CHILDREN’S CARTOON???

    This show featured the GENOCIDE OF AN ENTIRE NATION in episode 3. They don't back down, even if they do have to sometimes soften it to get it past the radar. Although I'm still surprised Nickelodeon approved this stuff, considering how conservative they usually are with their shows.

  25. mkjcaylor says:

    Jet looks like someone to me. Very much like the character in another anime, but I don't know which one. I KNOW they are trying to emulate something very specific with him. Possibly Wolfwood?

    <img src=""&gt;


    Actually, I have watched WAY ahead of Mark because I have fallen in love with this show, and although I haven't seen it in ages I have been comparing it to Trigun. Not afraid to be completely silly and lighthearted, but can get extremely serious and captivating in a moment.

    • dragonsong12 says:

      He's actually based on Spike from Cowboy Bebop (as per the art book above) but I can see where you're drawing this comparison from…oh Wolfwood *sigh*

      • mkjcaylor says:

        There's so much I love about the art styling of those Freedom Fighter characters, and I am so happy that they actually kept the distinctness! It was mildly distracting to me, but only because I loved it so much. I'm glad they went with that decision.

        Also it was distracting because it makes Jet so much more physically attractive to me than any of the other characters of the show. *sigh*

      • I was totally going to say Spike. Glad I wasn't just imagining it!

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Spike from Cowboy Bebop? 😉

    • mkjcaylor says:

      The book post by kartikeya200 says it was this guy:

      <img src=""&gt;

      Spike from Cowboy Beebop.

      I KNEW it. Knew it knew it.

      Although I feel like Jet actually shares a decent number of characteristics with Wolfwood.

      • mariseul says:

        Oh my god!
        Bricks, shat, etc.

      • Meg says:

        Oh Spike, how I will always love you. Has anyone suggested this to Mark, or has he seen it?

        • Bill says:

          Its been suggested, but he hasn't said anything on the subject. To be honest i don't know if he would like it as much as everyone else. I do wish he would give it a shot though…

    • luzzleanne says:

      You know, it just hit me that the whole "kill the spiders to save the butterflies" thing fits obscenely well with this episode.

  26. Tauriel_ says:

    Kawaii Iroh is kawaii! <3

  27. Tauriel_ says:

    Also: How come "The Waterbending Scroll" is still showing up as the latest entry, while "Jet" is showing up as the second latest entry? Huh? Is it just my computer? Weird…

  28. tethysdust says:

    Hooray for a Sokka-centric episode!

    When Katara accused him of never having kissed a girl, it made realize how tiny their social group had been. I mean, we saw the whole remaining southern water tribe, and Katara and Sokka were pretty much the only adolescents. Depending on how long ago their father and the soldiers left, and what the minimum age for soldiering was, its entirely possible they have had absolutely no opportunities to flirt with age-appropriate people before they left with Aang. Given that, I think its entirely believable how easily Katara was swept off her feet by Jet. I would imagine Sokka would behave similarly, if the roles were reversed. They aren't used to getting that kind of attention, and, well, Jet is really charismatic, too.

    As for Jet, I don't think he was as cut-and-dried evil as some people are making out. If they'd revealed that his parent's death was a clever ruse to get sympathy from people, I would totally agree that he's a sociopath. However, he has done good things. He's built a freaking awesome tree city, and gathered lost, grieving children, giving them a new home and family.

    I think his attack on the Fire Nation army/Earth Kingdom village was definitely a very bad thing to do, but I don't think they were showing that Jet was actually Pure Evil. I think they were showing what a thin line there is between fighting for freedom and committing horrific crimes against the people you intend to protect. The really scary thing is that he actually believed that the Earth village was better off dead than occupied.

    Also, I totally believed all those people were dead, too, the first time I watched this. I was so shocked. I think only revealing the saved villagers after the fact made this episode that much more emotionally effective.

    • Shay_Guy says:

      I think the idea is that evil can come even from opposition to another evil, especially when combined with a certainty of such a thing being impossible.

      "Pure Evil"? 'Course not. If they're making anything out to be cut-and-dried, it's that he went Over the Line. And that's the big thing about this episode — it's all about illustrating that there is a line.

      'Course, I was at least 18 when I saw it the first time, and I'd grown up on Animorphs, which I'd read every book of (most more than once), so this wasn't news to me and probably wouldn't have been even if I'd seen it back in, oh, 2002 (three years before it actually aired).

  29. well, "freedom fighters" has been used to describe a number of groups of people throughout history, if that makes you feel any better.

  30. mkjcaylor says:

    Jet's design pays homage to Spike from Cowboy Bebop

    I KNEW IT WAS SOMETHING. I'm going to add this to my post.

    • stefb says:

      Except Spike is a lot cooler than Jet.

      Although Jet's design reminds me of Mugen's from Samurai Champloo's too, but that's not surprising since both shows have the same creator (and Spike and Mugen have the same American voice actor!)

      • mkjcaylor says:

        I am sad and haven't seen too much Cowboy Bebop, and not recently enough to remember anything but character designs. I may have a bias because I can't stand that breed of dog that they have (CORGIES AAAH) but I need to get over it.

        I've only watched a few entire anime series. Trigun, Gasaraki, Boogie Pop Phantom.

        I started watching Neongenesis Evangelion but quit, and I didn't keep up with Ghost in the Shell although I watched the first two seasons and a few of the movies.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Cowboy Bebop is fantastic. I'm still holding out hope that Mark will take my suggestion on the Suggestions page and add it to the Watches lineup at some point. I think it'd be right up his alley.

          • stefb says:

            Cowboy Bebop is so good that I know people who don't even care for anime that love it. And I hope he takes your suggestion too! Just the animation (despite it being an older show–it's beautiful) alone makes it worth watching. And *shockgasp!* the English dubbing is unusually excellent.

            Actually the only anime that I've watched dubbed that are any good are Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and both Fullmetal Alchemist series. Not counting the Miyazaki films, but those are the only shows I can think of off the top of my head.

        • stefb says:

          My cousin would NOT get along with you since Corgis are her absolute favorite kind of dogs (she has two) lol She's scarily obsessed with them. I like them, and think they're goofy-looking, but I don't think they're anything outstanding. I love her dogs but they can misbehave sometimes. Labs FTW!

          But I really suggest you go and watch Cowboy Bebop in its entirety–it's easier too because it's only 26 episodes. It's really worth it. And Spike is just so…he's just cool. Like…the epitome of cool.

          • mkjcaylor says:

            Awwww. Well, I took care of a few when I worked kennel help and they have too many problems. Admittedly, shedding and dandruff and grease are all diet problems which can be fixed. But I don't like their personalities and I don't like that you have to get their anal glands squeezed (pretty much a universal thing with that breed because of breed problems). I'm not generally a fan of breeds that have so many problems related to their breed (not a fan of pugs or bulldogs either). Labs have hip dysplasia, but that's usually only if they're kind of inbred.

            My current dream breed is a Tibetan Mastiff. YAY GIANT BREEDS WITH STUBBORN PERSONALITIES. At least they don't have genetic problems because the breed is so old. I also like Swiss Mountain Dogs. ALSO GIANT BREEDS. I apparently want a dog that I can ride on.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            I love spaniels myself – especially English cocker spaniels (not American ones – they're ugly), Springer spaniels and Bretagne spaniels. I used to have a black cocker spaniel called Maggie (she was awesome), but alas, she died four years ago.

      • arctic_hare says:

        WORD! Spike is made of win and awesome! <3 I love Bebop so much, seriously.

  31. barnswallowkate says:

    W/e I'm going to keep shipping Sokka/Me all over the place.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Swooks. I love you forever.

      • barnswallowkate says:

        Yay, internet love!

        I just realized that can be the ship name for Swords/Hooks (OTP!).

    • luzzleanne says:

      Hook swords or shuang guo, but I think I may have to steal swooks for future usage. It's an amazing word.

      (On a related note they're supposed to be pretty difficult to learn, which always make me wonder about backstory-ish things. Like, did Jet have a teacher at some point or is he supposed to be just that awesome?)

  32. aha, sorry, i wasn't trying to be a brat about it, i was just saying. :'D she is pretty funny.

    hats are quite lovely.

  33. Sue Deuxnim says:

    Jet has to be one of my top 10 favorite Season 1 episodes, possibly even through the entire series. I think that one of the things that drew me towards it the most was the color scheme (me being a hack of an artist aka I doodle instead of take notes during class) and the treehouse designs were simply beautiful. It's also a contrast to the colors in all the other episodes, which tend towards blues and cool colors. Then Jet himself is just the epic charismatic guy who also happens to have a few screws loose. I think the first sign of him being not what he seems is during his speech. When he says "Or maybe they're DEAD WRONG" the colors get even redder, the camera pans in a really creepy way, and the music hits a scare chord. If that's not a huge red (haha) flag, then I don't know what is. Also, the Freedom Fighter's theme music is epic when they first show up. Soundtrack please k thanks?

  34. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Heh, it hadn't even occurred to me to start shipping anyone in this show, they all seem too young! It's weird, usually I'm the first to jump on the shipping bandwagon!

    I'd like to see Appa find love though…is he the last flying bison left? Because that's kind of tragic in a Doctor Who-esque way.


    • MissDirect says:

      Okay now I really, really need the Doctor to meet Appa. And for it to be all happiness and nothing hurts.

      • Patrick says:

        Imagine the Doctor hanging out with Iroh. IT WOULD BE THE BEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF EVERYTHING EVER.

  35. leenwitit says:

    I think this pretty much captures the essence of this episode.

    <img src=""&gt;

  36. nochenne says:

    After having read The Hunger Games, Jet reminds me a lot of Gale. On the surface they're charismatic and understanding, and they both have tragic pasts and genuine scores to settle. But they also both are far too willing to go to extremes and have a hard time distinguishing between "the enemy" and everyday people who might be in the way by no fault of their own. Plus, they're both described as good-looking in-universe and have the ability to attract loyal followers. Just some food for thought!

    • Depths_of_Sea says:

      Holy cow… my mind has been blown.

      And for that exact reason I was never fond of either of them. Excellent comparison.

  37. MissDirect says:

    Two things:

    1. Jet/FF/their hideout always manages to remind me of the Lost Boys in the movie Hook. Which is actually rather funny because

    2. The actor who played Rufio in Hook voiced Zuko. I totes didn't realize this until I rewatched Hook for the first time since seeing AtLA.

  38. thefireandthehearth says:

    Sokka! So much Sokka love- he's the resident normal of the group, and the resident normal doesn't always get treated very well. But nope, he's sensible and good-hearted and right and omg my loves. It helps that Jack De Sena can be both really funny and surprising sincere. (As a brief aside, voice acting is a very under-appreciated talent. You can't rely on body language to get our character across, so much of the acting has be be done in the voice and the animation. But if you go overboard on the voice, you get Garzey's Wing.) Again- fully fleshed characters in a kid's show. I cannot approve of this enough. Most kid's are a lot more aware than a lot of folk seem to realize.

    As for Jet- charismatic, charming, and the epitome of well-intentioned extremist. It sort of amazes that this show got away with having this terrifying leader figure. Seriously, there are so many moments in this episode where I was physically creeped out by him. YOU JUST MURDERED (well, okay, we thought you'd just murdered) A TOWN OF PEOPLE, YOU DICKBAG. STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW IT IS A VICTORY. And yet I can't blame Katara and Aang for being swept away by his charm. He's very, very good.

    The fight scene at the end is so beautifully choreographed that my heart might have exploded.

    I do apologize for what part I took in the shipping babbling yesterday- though I think mostly just chewed my foot off and talked about Digimon. Also, I finally went back and read through your Twilight and Harry Potter stuff. Mark is awesome, and WHY DID I NOT KNOW OF THIS BEFORE? ALL MY LOVES~

  39. barnswallowkate says:

    Why don't I live inside that first picture :'(

  40. barnswallowkate says:

    Of course I approve of you shipping Sokka/Me! Thanks for supporting us! 😉

  41. @redbeardjim says:

    Best exchange of the episode:

    Katara: If anyone should be the leader, it's Aang! I mean, he *is* the Avatar.
    Sokka: Aang?!? He's just a goofy kid!
    Aang (hanging upside down from Appa's horn): LOL YUP (mildly paraphrased)

  42. Doodle says:

    What is this whole Ginny Slutshame thing? I totally missed it, and I was following those reviews!


  43. shyfully says:

    Alas, Wednesdays.

    Anywhoodle, Jet! Both a character and an episode, which can be a bit confusing sometimes. Anyway, a great episode, isn’t it? All kinds of morality to chew on. And, unlike last episode, which was nice but felt a bit lopsided to me, this one has equally meaty parts for a few different characters.

    <img src=>

    First up, I like that you are watching this after reading the Hunger Games, because that means I am free to say that I always pictured Gale as Jet. I also generally pictured Katniss as being pretty similar to Katara, but they have such different personalities that it’s more just physically. But Gale and Jet are so similar, aren’t they? Gale would totally be in the Freedom Fighters.

    I really love this episode and a lot of that comes down to the character of Jet. They have to run a pretty subtle line with him, in terms of both morality and obviousness, and I think they hit all the right notes. From right in the beginning, where he and the Freedom Fighters show up… perfect! For one thing, the music they play during that little sequence is just completely perfect. It’s all so Robin Hood, and it’s meant to be, and Katara and Aang are instantly All Over That. And it’s interesting, because I totally pegged him as a dick from early on (it’s the way he kept the damn piece of grass in his mouth while fighting combined with the way he said hey to Katara) but then he even won me over because he lives in a treehouse village I want to live in a treehouse village!!! Jet, I take it back, let me live in your treehouse village!!! I’m sure you actually are cool enough to justify that “aren’t I cool?” behavior!!!

    I love how plain old manipulative Jet is. He’s just so good at it! Watching his speech to his team, you can tell they all adore him and he plays it all perfectly, really amping them up. So, then, even though a few of them clearly don’t love the idea of flooding the town, he has them all hyped up on, well, himself, and he springs it on them pretty late in the game. My guess would be that he came up with the idea when he found out that Katara and Aang can waterbend and knew he had the blasting jelly. But, he didn’t bring it up to the group at large, he explains it to a small group later when it’s already almost in motion. It’s clever. None of them stand against it.

    <img src=>

    And, he handles our group of heroes deftly, as well. Just watch his scenes with Katara and Aang- he hits them both with exactly what they want to hear. He makes only two mistakes, really, in dealing with them, or otherwise his idea would have gone off without hitch. His first mistake was with dealing with Sokka. He knew that he’d ruffled Sokka’s feathers early on, but also knew how to get on his good side- appeal to Sokka as a warrior, do the whole manly men who are manly together thing. Which would have worked, if it weren’t for the whole old man thing. Which was his true first misread- the second Sokka called out to stop, he should have put the kibosh on the whole situation. But I think that Jet just literally couldn’t understand why Sokka would have a problem with this. He understood, clearly, why people might have an issue with the drown-the-town plan, since he hid it, but this? Nope, he clearly didn’t realize anyone would have an issue with it.

    <img src=>

    And it’s interesting, because I could totally see why he might think that, at least in regards to Sokka. Because Sokka has no love lost with the Fire Nation, clearly. But he’s also not, well, a jerk, and, looking at the breakdown of who was left in the Water Tribe (8 adult women, 10 kids, Gran Gran, Sokka and Katara, by my count) it would follow that a) Sokka, however much he wanted to think of himself as The Big Guy In Charge, never really was and b) that a sense of community and helping everyone survive was pretty highly regarded. So, Sokka would be totally fine with attacking Fire Nation soldiers, Fire Nation civilians are a very different story.

    Jet then spins the whole story that the man was an assassin sent to kill him with poison hidden in his knife, which… HAHAHAHA. How exactly would that work, Jet? Was he going to stroll up and invite you to tea with him and poison you? In what way would poison be a good way of eliminating Jet, specifically? Saying he was going to poison the food sources to take out the Freedom Fighters as a whole, fine. Saying he was an assassin sent to poison an unknown someone, okay. But saying he was sent to take out Jet, specifically, with concealed poison? Like, what?! But it was good enough for Katara and Aang, at least.

    <img src=>


    • shyfully says:

      Jet’s other mistake was not stressing that Katara and Aang should meet him back at the treehouse village instead of the reservoir. He obviously knew Katara had a bit of a crush on him and should have realized that she would want to spend more time around him. But I think Sokka catching them set him on edge and he was trying too hard to appear casual. He could have easily given them a strong reason to meet him somewhere else, but he didn’t.

      I really liked that Sokka managed to save the day, since he usually doesn’t get to be that guy. I’m proud of him! I’m also very happy that Katara got to freeze Jet like that. She was so hurt by him and I was worried when the fight scene became mostly Aang vs Jet that she would be relegated to the sidelines.

      I also loved Katara and Sokka’s relationship in this episode. They are so perfectly siblings, you know? A lot of shows fumble good sibling relationships, in my opinion, but this show does it so well. They love each other and care about each other, but they also drive each other up the wall. And, it isn’t just one annoying the other. And I love how Aang is just sort of sitting there next to them throughout, trying to stay positive, not really get involved.

      Ultimately, this is Sokka’s episode, and I really enjoy how they use Jet to show more about Sokka. I think Jet is the better leader by a mile, but Sokka is better at caring for people.


      Sokka: He’s a giant fluffy monster with an arrow on his head; it’s kind of hard to miss him!
      Aang: (to Appa) Sokka’s just jealous ‘cause he doesn’t have an arrow.

      Katara: You’re the leader? But your voice still cracks!
      Sokka: (voice cracking) I’m the oldest and I’m a warrior! (deeply) So I’m the leader!
      Katara: If anyone’s the leader, it’s Aang. I mean, he is the Avatar.
      Sokka: Are you kidding? He’s just a goofy kid!
      Aang: (dangling upside down from Appa’s horn) He’s right!

      Katara: I bet you wouldn’t be so bossy if you kissed a girl.
      Sokka: I’ve kissed a girl! You just haven’t met her?
      Katara: Who, Gran Gran? I’ve met Gran Gran.

      Aang: Who knows, walking might be fun!
      Aang: Walking stinks!

      Aang: Pipsqueak, that’s a funny name!
      Pipsqueak: (threateningly) You think my name is funny?
Aang: It’s hilarious!

      The Duke: Hey Jet, these barrels are filled with blasting jelly!
      Jet: That’s a great score.
      Pipsqueak: And these boxes are filled with jelly candy!
      Jet: Also good! (pauses) Let’s not get those mixed up.

      Aang: He’s not messed up, he’s just got a different way of life. A really fun way of life!

      Other moments I really enjoyed: the ridiculous hat Katara made for Jet, Aang bothering Momo with the exploding pellets only for Momo to get them and bother Aang back, Aang zipping around the treehouse laughing, the way the screen turned all sepia and misty when Katara and Jet first touched to show her crush, Sokka’s very dignified and angry “Yip. Yip.” at the end.

      <img src=>

      And now, I’m going to follow my instincts and end my review here 🙂

      • luzzleanne says:

        First up, I like that you are watching this after reading the Hunger Games, because that means I am free to say that I always pictured Gale as Jet

        I completely have this problem, too.

        I also love that Aang steals the ridiculous hat that Katara makes for Jet and wears it himself. It's such a completely Aang thing to do.

  44. SpiderHyphenMan says:

    Have you considered (not trying to be rude here) that having a group of people, who think they're doing The Right Thing but are blinded by intolerance and desire for revenge, call themselves "Freedom Fighters" is a statement AGAINST the rhetoric you so despise? Again, it's entirely possible that nothing of the sort was INTENDED, but… yeah, just throwing that out there.

    • echinodermata says:

      No rudeness taken, and I hope I'm not being rude either, though this may come across a bit snippy. MY FEELINGS ARE STRONG.

      It comes down to this: whether it was intentionally meant to draw upon modern American rhetoric or not, when I heard the term freedom fighter in this ep, and knowing that Americans created this show, and that it's intended for American audiences, and that it aired in 2005, that phrase drew me out of the story.

      If it were meant to be a criticism of the term, and that it was deliberate on the creators' part, then I don't care for that decision because ATLA to me is about this fantastic new world so separate from our own. I wouldn't want any Avatar characters to start using the word "holocaust" either – it has too much specific meaning in our world that even though the word existed long before WWII, it has such a specific meaning nowaday that it wouldn't feel right for characters in the ATLA world to use it.

      While "freedom fighter" is a much more generally used term than "holocaust," I as an American watching an American fantasy show at this specific time in history makes me drawn to a specific meaning and use of that phrase, that it being invoked here just threw me out of the story and into modern politics.

      Point is, it threw me, and I'm pretty sure that's not something the showrunners want their audience to experience. In this instance, it doesn't matter whatsoever to me what message is being sent – the inclusion of the phrase itself made me uneasy.

  45. Minish says:

    Irappah shipper (THE ONLY TRUE OTP)

    UGH, Appa is such a slut. You see the way he lets just anybody ride him and will show up right at your doorstep at the sound of a whistle.

    Clearly, the only man for Iroh's heart is the cabbage merchant.

  46. Elexus Calcearius says:

    What I love about this episode is how it twists viewer expectation in order to make a comment on moral greyness, and the reality of war. So far, most of the episodes have been featuring the gAang meeting a good person, who needs their help or can help them. Why shouldn’t this episode be any different? It’s certainly set up the same way. They get rescued by a cute, capable fighter allied against the Fire Nation, and he and Katara are able to bond over dead parents. Who better than to recruit in the continuing escapades of our heroes?

    Everything about these guys seems just like the type of thing a show like this should love. Rag tag group of freedom fighting children? Hide out in the trees? It’s like if someone mixed together Robin Hood and the Lost Boys. Except, as the episode progresses, you realise that you’d need to through an extremist terrorist sect in there, too.

    “Do you like destroying towns? Do you like destroying families?” The hypocrisy of these two lines struck me in particular. It’s so easy to criticise the enemy, to demonize them, but at the same time resort to the same methods yourself. If Jet has his way, an entire town would have been destroyed, killing at least a hundred people, many of them innocent. Even though Sokka was able to prevent them being killed in the flood, and they were able to impose justice on Jet, those people are now homeless. The fact that this episode took a moment to point out that not all Fire Nation are evil and deserving of punishment, and not everyone lined against them are evil is such a perfect message, and one which I feel should never be empathised enough. This isn’t some vague moral usually shoved down kids’ throats; this is something of utmost important that people still don’t seem to get.

    We also get to see how the charisma and rhetoric of a single leader can affect the way people act so much. Jet’s gang seems to follow him blindly, never considering their actions, just assuming he’s always right. Their society is one based on propaganda, like so many in war. And you have to wonder; how many Fire Nation think the same about their side of the war? How many young FN soldiers had their families destroyed, and have used that and propaganda to justify their actions?

    Another jem of this episode is how much it focuses on characterisation, primarily Sokka’s. The season thus far has presented Sokka as being the oldest of the trio; he’s the most willing to fight, the most practical and pragmatic. Now he comes face to face with someone in many ways like him, but also more disillusioned and cruel. For all that Sokka harbours prejudice- such as that he initially had for women, and continues to hold for the Fire Nation in general- he shares his sister’s ability to empathize. I won’t say that this was his only motivation in the episode, though. Sokka is very much dependent on his image as a warrior and a leader, and I do agree with Katara’s assessment that he was probably jealous of Jet, even though he hides envy better than his sister. He’s naturally sceptical and distrusting, and like we saw in ‘The Boy in the Iceberg’, this only makes him less willing to trust others. So I’m not going to say that Sokka just has a natural ability to see good people and bad people, but nonetheless, I think this episode helped point out that while Sokka has flaws, he is at heart a good person- something which could easily be forgotten when you have the sugary-sweet Katara and playfully idealistic Aang to compare to.


    I absolutely love how Jet nonchalantly says “Avatar, huh? Nice.” Seriously, that would be equal to someone coming up to me, saying he was Batman, and I’m just hey. “Huh, cool. Want to pick up a coffee?”

  47. hassibah says:

    For some reason I thought this episode happened a lot earlier than it did. So yeah, while I enjoyed the show to a good point up untill now, it was here that I started to fall in love with it pretty hard.
    Besides the plot kicking ass, I do love when the show takes Sokka seriously.

  48. arctic_hare says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for the ship wars policy, Mark. Seriously. I hate shipwars as much as Rose loves drugs, which is a hell of a lot. I just don't get into shipping much, if at all, and it's especially annoying to see shipwars break out over works of fiction that have so much more going for them than just that. They're just annoying in general, really, so I'm very grateful you laid down the law.

    As for the episode, I really enjoyed it, for all the same reasons you did, Mark. You basically summed up my thoughts in a much funnier way than I could. 😀

  49. t09yavorski says:

    Kataang is the absolute worst name for a ship ever. That is the sound a ship makes when it hits an iceberg people.

    • Avit says:

      Really, poor Aang just has a terrible name for smushing. Even Katara's generous CV structure and Englishly mundane consonants can't save him.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        What other awesome ship names could we come up with? Appang? Momappa? Kiyomo?

        • @redbeardjim says:

          I'm gonna git you, Sukka.

        • Sokkabee?

          (Also, on one of the DVD special features, Mike and Bryan respond to a question about the possibility of a Zuko and Katara romance by declaring that we should REALLY be wondering about an Appa and Momo romance. TRUE STORY.)

        • Minish says:



        • dreining says:

          Iroh + Aang = Iraang

          And Iraang, Iraang so far awaaaay

        • agrinningfool says:

          There is a video from a convention where the Avatar Creators run through some "possible" ships, giving their names and displaying the pictures up on a screen for the fans. Lots of laughs. DO NOT LOOK FOR IT UNTIL YOU ARE FINISHED WITH SEASON 2 OF AVATAR. I'm sure someone will post it after season 2.

        • lossthief says:

          There's a video you need to watch later on. It's from a con or something where the creators have a slideshow set up of pretty much EVERY PAIRING IMAGINABLE, regardless or its insanity, just to troll the rabid shippers.

          I remain a stern Foamappa shipper.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      You haven't seen the names that Mark came up for the various combinations of Katniss and Peeta in the Hunger games. Kat-pee and Peenis. Far more unfortunate.

  50. fantasylover120 says:

    I personally refuse to get involved in shipper wars of any kind, whether it be this, Harry Potter or Doctor Who or whatever. Shipper Wars just suck the fun out of everything I think because they start to take over a series and then it's just no fun in the fandom anymore because everyone starts to be more concerned with who you ship rather then the awesomeness of the thing you're all a fan of.__I like the complexity in this ep personally. I mean they take a person who in most kid shows would be Aang's ally and instant buddy to the group. Instead they do the opposite and point out that it's not black and white and that there are bounderies you shouldn't cross in wars. Once again, I tip my hat to the writers.

    • elusivebreath says:

      I didn't even know what "shipping wars" were until I started MRHP. Outside of canon pairings never crossed my mind. Apparently I have no imagination??

  51. xpanasonicyouthx says:


    To add to that: Ok, so there's a history of the Harry/Ginny ship. I WAS NOT AWARE OF IT BECAUSE OF MY ~super special n00b innocence~. I posted that review WHILE I WAS IN THE GRAND CANYON ON VACATION. This is important because for a long time, I was without the Internet and with no access to Twitter, email, general web stuff, etc.

    So like…24 hours after I get back into civilization. overwhelmed by emails and tweets, and comments and….seriously, read through some of those. TRIGGER WARNING FOR MASSIVE SLUT SHAMING THERE.

    Anyway, it was a NIGHTMARE. Not fun, I HOPE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN.

    • echinodermata says:


      And yet, much more bearable than real life and oh, say 99% of the internet.

  52. corporatecake says:

    This is sort of an unpopular opinion in the ATLA fandom, but Jet is one of my all time favourite episodes of Avatar. That doesn't mean that the show is going to decrease in quality (quite the opposite, in fact), but it has so many things that just appeal to exactly what I like. Jet is one of my favourite bit characters in the series, and has been since the moment I watched this episode. Not because I'd want to hang out with him but because damn, this dude is so fascinating.

    (The Well Intentioned Extremist is one of my favourite tropes.)

    What I also love about this episode is that, even while the Freedom Fighters are morally questionable at best and doing the wrong things for the right reasons, you can totally understand their behaviour. Their "ends justify the means" rationale for destroying the town, and when they beat up the Fire Nation old dude, it's in NO WAY acceptable, but at the same time you can see that these are just kids with no support system who have a lot of hurt and anger and are channelling it into terrible places.

    Also, I think that it's pretty clear that Katara is in the midst of developing a little crush on Jet (and man, pre-reveal I was too, so I can't blame her), but I love that the episode doesn't just portray Katara as being a dumb lovestruck girl who's too dippy around a cute boy to realize she shouldn't trust him. I love that Aang is just as taken in by Jet, and that Sokka's distrustfulness isn't just because he's "smarter" than him, but is an established part of his character. (Remember how he distrusted Aang at first?)

    I find it hard not to be taken in by Jet, even rewatching and knowing that he does and intends to do some shitty stuff. At least, for me. I read somewhere that the writers told the animators that the goal with Jet was that he always look cool. Which he does, so I guess they succeeded. It's totally obvious that Jet's design was inspired by Spike from Cowboy Bebop, but I do love that they give him these distinguishing features, like the hook swords.

    The animation in this episode is absolutely gorgeous, I think that the fight between Aang and Jet with his hook swords is one of the best we've seen so far, and man. I just love EVERYTHING about this episode. I said at the beginning it's one of my favourites in this entire series and I'm a huge stan of this series, so this whole comment has basically just been gushing.

    • chichichimaera says:

      I think it is deifnetly an episode which improves with repeated viewing – certainly I like it more and more each time.

  53. vikinhaw says:

    Can I say that I love this episode? I love the moral issues around the Freedom Fighters.

    In my part of Ireland there's a kind of saying that I grew up with; 'terrorists are freedom fighters on the wrong side' which references how the Historical IRA back in the 1920's were terrorists but are also called freedom fighters now. I really hope I haven't incited any anger with that. The saying is just to demonstrate how these sort of actions are viewed differently depending on which side your on.

    Too often in media you see 'terrorists' are the bad guys who did things for the evulz and 'freedom fighters' are painted in an unashamedly good light. And at first I thought this was going to be some Robin Hood style thing where the cool characters mess with the big bad Fire Nati- Whoa, moral ambiguity!

    I really like that the show has these characters who they show as being obviously and undeniably wrong in what they're doing but at the same time making their motivations and anger understandable. Even in adult media, they usually paint the world in black and white and the complexity of morality in this situation is being presented in a kid's show . It blew my mind.

  54. Evil Midnight Lurker says:




  55. Senna says:

    I have to admit to liking Jet a lot. Don't get me wrong, he's a complete manipulative bastard. But I think he's also very much a product of the Fire Nation, something he would never admit to himself. He learned at a young age that in a war, it doesn't matter if you're fighting or not, if you're a kid or not, people die,people are killed, people who have nothing to do with anything have their lives destroyed. That's what war is, its what war does. There are no civilians, there are no innocents, there's just the enemy. And for Jet, there was likely no one to ever check that mindset until Sokka.

    Sokka, experienced some of the same things – but he also doesn't have the enemy occupying his home, forcibly subjugating his people and and moving settlers in. He had loving, supporting family members remaining in the village to teach him right and wrong. Without that, would Sokka have been more ruthless? With it, would Jet have been less so? I'm not sure, but that question is why this is one of the more fascinating episodes to me.

    On a less morose note THAT FIGHT OMG THAT FIGHT so fluid and wide-ranging. I think its the first time we really see a fighter able to actively keep up with Aang when he's on the run and in the open. In other fights when he ran away, he was usually able to get away.

    That said, if Aang had actually been fighting instead of just defending/evading, this would probably have been a much shorter fight, so THANK YOU AANG! for defending and evading. 🙂

  56. agirlinport says:

    I usually like to read through the comments before posting anything, but I'm running out of time now, so I apologize if someone has already talked about this, but I just wanted to point out that the parallel between this episode and the episode Imprisoned was kind of interesting. In Imprisoned, the earth kingdom man Katara and that earthbender save tells on them to the fire nation and betrays them. In this episode, the old man who was injured by Jet and his gang (even if Sokka tried to stand up Jet and the gang, if I were that man, I probably still wouldn't trust Sokka) who is Fire Nation, sticks up for Sokka and convinces the people to listen to him. I thought it was neat that they make a point of showing that it's not just black and white, Fire Nation Evil, Everyone Else Good. Just an interesting observation….

  57. Pelleloguin says:

    Thank you Mark, for that policy. I sort of wondered if this would pop up. (I usually just go with the canon couples in a show, but do prefer other pairs. I just don't like debating.)

    I like all the shades of gray shown in this episode. The other nations are not purely good and they can be capable of some pretty major damage too. Iroh, who is is gray (in my opinion) from episode one, shows us that not all of the Fire Nation are not pure Burn-down-the-village-for-the-evil-lulz. Gray is a nice shade in a kids show, where it is so often he's good and he's bad stark black and white. The heroes are not always right and can sometimes beleive an outsider over their own team member. They make mistakes, and are in fact human. It's a kids show with so much wisdom that I'm keeping this on my shelf for ages for my goddaughter and any future children if I should ever choose to have them.

  58. Jaxx_zombie says:


  59. Jupiter Star says:

    "Appa is clear-cut as far as I’m concerned, unless there’s an episode coming up that reveals his demonic past."

    I dunno…would that really make Appa less enjoyable? I mean…maybe it's just me, but a demonic flying sky bison sounds pretty damn awesome to me!

    Also, yeeee, LOVE the Freedom Fighters. Even when they turn out to have more sinister thought processes (the end justifies the means arguments always send shivers down my spine, and it's so much worse coming from KIDS!), they're such a fascinating bunch and the fact that we get such clear indicators of their individual characters in about 10 minutes max of screen time is a major testament to the writers' abilities.

    • Patrick says:

      A demonic flying sky bison would be the most metal thing ever. But how many cows would be killed to provide his badass leather jacket?

      • Jupiter Star says:

        Cows? Psh. Demonic Flying Sky Bison needs no cow leather! He just uses the torched skin of those who break Mark's spoiler policy!

        (Ironically enough, that's the only response I could come up with that didn't violate said policy…)

  60. mou issai says:

    The overarching message? Nothing is quite as black and white as it seems. …
    This point concerns moral ambiguity, the desperation of war, and how violence can lead to a further justification of violence.

    "Jet" was the first episode I watched of this series. I had been intrigued by the promos for the show but this was the first episode I caught and when I watched it, my reactions were basically "oh no that guy is bad" and "yay that one main guy stopped the evil plan." I'm not sure I saw any of those themes. I feel like 13 year old me was stupid. Then again I wasn't searching for themes or thought that deeply about television, other than what's entertaining so basically all I thought about this show was "ooh cool bendy fighty stuff is going on" (still kind of think that way). This episode didn't really grip me enough to find out when the show aired and so I was left to not know about the awesome of this show until last summer and even then I didn't truly see the lessons being taught until halfway through my second rewatch. Mark had said on Mark Reads Harry Potter that he was going to review this show, and when I watched the next episode I was on, which was in the second season, I was blown away by the issues ATLA was addressing. I don't know, I guess I don't really have an analytical mind but it's cool to see that just stopping to think for a moment can make things more meaningful. I should really work on doing that on a regular basis rather than just for Mark Does Stuff projects.

  61. Openattheclose says:

    Follow me to the spoiler blog if you're still interested.

    Poor Tea, Iroh just takes and takes.

  62. KVogue says:

    Shipping wars… I've been lucky enough to not really ever get involved in those. I came into Avatar far to late to be into shipping wars (since I saw someone comment on this above I really like the name Kataang because it's really fun to say out loud, especially if you say it like it's a bell being rung or something like that. Don't try it if people are around.) and when I was really into Harry Potter I was 13 and not too internet savvy, so the only fandom I was really a part of was a Harry Potter roleplaying site call 'The White Ferret' where shipping wars didn't really happen. The closest I suppose I ever get is when I talk to my friends about shows which goes more like this…

    Me: I kind of think it'd be cool if X and Y got together.
    Friend: Really? I think X and Z are better.
    Me: Dude, what if Z and A happened?

    And from there we delve into the scary yet highly amusing world of crack couples and have a good laugh. Nothing too traumatic.

    Personally, I really love this episode (Oh wait I love every episode). I love the parallels they draw between Aang's group and Jet's group as well as between Jet and Sokka. Jet is a really complex character. His goals are the same as the Gaang's but he goes about accomplishing them in a completely different way. Aang wants to restore balance to the world to end the war, while Jet just wants to kill everyone from the Fire Nation and throw the world even more off balance. If things had gone just a little different for Jet he could have been a valuable ally for the group, but instead he's their enemy. I wish we'd could have learned a little more about him. For some reason Jet's always reminded me a little bit of Batman, and I don't know why. Oh wait yes I do…

    WARNING! The link I'm about to provide contains spoilers in all the abridged episodes past episode 6, which is the one which covers Jet. Especially do not watch episode 7 on if you are watching along with Mark because it covers up to around the end of book one, and we don't want any spoilers now do we? I sure hope this was big and obvious enough.

    • Anonymouse says:

      correct me if I'm wrong, but episode 00 ("the Angst") is also spoilery…

      • KVogue says:

        I checked and you are quite right! I haven't seen that one in a while and I'm not used to it being called 00. For those with Mark if you're going to watch, stick to 1-6 and Haru's beauty products.

    • agrinningfool says:

      God I love GanXingaba. I got to watch him develop that series… knew him for years on a site. 😀

  63. Anonymouse says:

    Sokka is the Hermione Granger of AtLA. Remember kids, "Always listen to Sokka/Hermione!" The one with the logics is usually right…

  64. kartikeya200 says:

    Oh, I feel like I should add in my thanks to stopping the shipping war nonsense early too. Thanks! Knowing how ugly the shipping wars got in this fandom, especially as the series went on, I'm glad you've already put your foot down.

    On a random note, I can't read the smush name Kataang without thinking of these dudes, I don't even know, don't judge:

    <img src=""&gt;

    And Zutara makes me think of Xanadu or something. My brain goes to silly places.

  65. @UnaMorgan says:

    Thank you so much about the Shipping Wars rule! Personally, I follow canon pairings (if there are any) in almost every series, especially if the creators love their characters enough to develop them realistically. And the creators of this series are nothing if not concerned about character/relationship depth.

    Anyway, I'm new to reading your reviews, but I'm excited already! You have awesome reactions that you capture clearly, through words or GIFs, and you have intelligent observations, hypotheses, and anecdotes.

    One quick note: The creators purposefully had "Warriors of Kiyoshi" early on to say exactly the message you pointed out. As Suki so adequately puts it "I'm a warrior. And I'm a girl."

    When I first started watching the series, this episode was the point in which I realized that this show was not necessarily for kids. Well, not in the traditional sense. I can only think of one show growing it up that dealt with heavy themes for the average children's show: Gargoyles. Seriously, the first two seasons were revolutionary for its time! True, it's no where near as realistic as A:TLA can get, but again, for its time, HOLY SHIT!

    Anyway, even with the horrors of "Southern Air Temple" and the epic, fantastic elements of the "Winter Solstice", I was skeptical. Had my friends not highly recommended it, the potty humor would have turned me away by the fifth episode. I guess I just didn't appreciate the humorous episodes as much the first time through. (I do NOW, but I did not initially.)

    Once Jet started manipulating Katara and Aang, I was impressed with the subtlety and complexity of the issues faced in this one episode. Jet isn't "evil" by any stretch. Like you said, he has reacted badly to the situation he is in. I was like, "You mean they are not talking down to children? The world is not so black and white? In an AMERICAN cartoon?!" Granted I am a bit bias; I prefer anime because the stories are often more compelling. A:TLA is one of those gems that demonstrates "animation" does not mean "cartoon for children."

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the series. I will be keeping up with this and reading the rest of your work (in time).

    ~Una Morgan

    BTW – It is insanely difficult not to spoil you silly! XD

    • plaidpants says:

      I LOVED GARGOYLES! I was so upset when the cancelled it – I totally agree that it dealt with a lot of important themes and didn't treat kids like idiots.

  66. Ladyluck523 says:

    Haha! I'm glad there will be no shipping wars on your blog.
    I do ship a few couples in ATLA quite fervently but the shipping wars on some websites were legendary!
    I even had a friend who's a Naruto fan say that the ATLA shipping wars made the Naruto ones look tame.
    Besides, everyone knows it's Iroh/Tea and Momo/Appa 🙂
    Anyway, yes this show is aimed at kids but good characters and good stories are timeless and ageless.
    Plus the incredible artwork! So much good stuff that I'm afraid to spoil!
    Oh Mark, you have no idea how unprepared you are!

  67. elyce says:

    finally some Sokka love! I was waiting and watching and wondering when it would come. I loved him from the start and I'm glad you do too.

  68. Lioness says:

    Hi! long-time reader, first-time poster here.

    Am I the only one who can't get West Side Story's teenage gangs out of my head whenever I think of Jet? Whenever he comes on screen I can't help belting out

    When you're a Jet
    You're a Jet all the way
    From your first cigarette
    To your last dying day!

    Thanks for the no shipways policy. I think I'll let the original Avatar artist have the last word on Avatar shipwars:

    <img src="; alt="" />

    <img src="; alt="" />

    <img src="; alt="" />

  69. bookgal12 says:

    Jet is the embodiment of the rebel with a cause behind him. I remember seeing him for the first time thinking he was cute but then I remembered that he was reckless. Katara's crush on him is completely believeable, I mean he did have an amazing fight with fire nation soldiers. I loved how this episode centered on Sokka for once, as the non bender in the group, he sometimes is pushed back. I love Sokka's tactics and how they are one of his redeeming factors. I want to say more on this but, it will get into spoiler territory if I do. So, with that I will move on to the next episode.

  70. Quizzical says:

    just skimming comments so may have missed if this was already mentioned, but my kids want me to point out to you that there were CABBAGES in the village. they got DROWNED! D:

    yay for sokka's instincts!

  71. MEE says:


    Technically he's 112.
    But shipping him with anyone would still be….awkward.

  72. El Banco Deuno. I wonder how numerous Americans wander in right here for a chocolate donut?

  73. notemily says:

    So Mark, now you know why I was always running around yelling "GALE IS JET FROM AVATAR" in the Hunger Games comments.

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