Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S02E03 – Return To Omashu

In the third episode of the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Team Avatar are faced with the reality of the Fire Nation’s habitation of Omashu. Meanwhile, Princess Azula assembles the most badass and morally-conflicting group of young women EVER in order to hunt down Zuko and Iroh. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Avatar.

As I watch these episodes (and as I do with everything I write about for both sites I’m running), I always take notes of some sort that help me determine what exactly I want to focus on for anything that is not just a development in the plot. I’m keenly aware that for everything after Twilight, I have turned into a fan of said thing: Doctor Who and Firefly and The Hunger Games and The Book Thief and most especially Harry Potter. And that is so beautiful and fun, and I imagine it must feel kind of exciting, as existing members of these fandoms that I naively come wandering into with fluttering eyes and a bashful ignorance of what sort of journey I’m about to embark on, to watch as someone else comes to appreciate the same thing you’ve invested so much time and love into yourself. This isn’t the first time I’ve talked openly about this, either, as I did get the chance to reflect on my very special ~manrage~ and ~manger~ during that one particular fail of an episode during Sherlock.

But there’s a part of me that thinks it might be fun on an intellectual level to try another series I’m bound to dislike, if only because I am in fear of repeating myself or becoming stale to all of you who choose to read my writing. This episode sparked that desire in me again, but not for the reason I think you would consider.

I cannot find anything to hate this show for. And while watching “Return to Omashu,” I honestly could not believe how ridiculously invested in these characters I am after like…A MONTH. A MONTH! On top of all this, I’m entertained on an emotional level, a mental level, and a purely superficial level.

I cannot find a reason to dislike this. And I am trying, but nothing is even something I could come up with if I stretch logic to its extreme or read subtle subtexts that no one else sees. I can’t!

Obviously, this is not a complaint, as I am always ecstatic to find a fictional story that I enjoy this much. At the same time, I want to make sure that this process is as honest abut what sort of narrative a show tells its viewers, and everything about “Return To Omashu” is so overwhelmingly fantastic, that my honesty simply turns to the positive: this shit is really good.

I suppose that is a magical thing. And I appreciate that.

The writers have very quickly thrown a wrench in what we expected for what season two. It seemed destined that we’d get a lot more of the wacky King Bumi and I looked forward to devoting more time learning about earth bending, especially from such a unpredictable character as Bumi. But with the shocking reveal at the end of “The Cave of Two Lovers,” I feel like I have even less of an idea where things are headed for the remainder of season two. If King Bumi can’t teach Aang earth bending, then I suppose my prediction for this season has to come true, since I don’t know a single other earth bending master.

ugh why on earth did i agree to watch this one episode per day. utter disaster y/y/y/y

Aang shows us that his dedication to protecting his friends and following his own moral imperative is general first in line and way before he ever considers his own personal safety, as Katara and Sokka fail at convincing him they need to move on to find another earth bending master. But Aang actually accepts this; instead, he’s concerned about finding his friend and making sure he’s ok. Thus, the first of many dangerous adventures starts off as Team Avatar head into the sewers of Omashu. And I did feel bad for Sokka, as both Katara and Aang are able to deflect the grossness of the place with their bending, while Aang is forced to deal with some of it going into his mouth. Which…… Just no. That is so gross. Why didn’t either of the others help him with the sewage? BENDING BIGOTS! But then he gets “loved” by a couple pentapus creatures and everything is just perfectly fine with me because they release themselves when you lovingly tickle their backs. I haven’t said it yet, but I love the thought that goes into creating these organisms in this world. They choose to combine animals that exist in our world in either super adorable or massively frightening ways, but both are pretty damn impressive.

I felt there was a poetic parallel to “The Northern Air Temple” here, as we see how another culture can take over a city and ruin it, as opposed to how the earth benders used the temple to survive in last season’s episode. Most of the city, aside from the delivery chutes, has been transformed into a lifeless hulk, a place that is visually oppressed, in the sense that you can quite literally see how a dominating culture is working their way through to erase the signs of the culture that lived there before them.

Actually, I love how much of this discrimination, prejudice, and oppression is represented visually on the screen. The original citizens are forced to live underground, out of sight of the Fire Nation nobility, as the new king and his family have all moved into the quarters of Bumi. And I think it’s great to see the issue of height addressed in this way because it so closely mirrors the way that things are constructed in our world, from the high palaces and mansions built far away from the “poor” citizens, up on mountains and hills away from the world.

Unlike the previous episode, there’s a much more direct intersection between the two storylines that unfold in “Return to Omashu.” Right as Team Avatar enter the city, determined to find King Bumi, Aang interferes unknowingly with a clandestine Earth kingdom attack on the royal Fire Nation family who is below them. (This is also when we meet Mai for the first time, but she deserves her own bit of commentary, and this is not the place for that.) By drawing attention to himself instead, Aang and his friends are forced to escape, where they’re saved by the original inhabitants below.

That’s when this episode truly becomes uncomfortable, as I expected a joyous reunion with Bumi at this point, but I was shocked to learn that Bumi gave up on the Fire Nation immediately upon learning of the Siege. Even looking back on this now, I can see why this seemed like such a jarring thing to learn. I had anticipated that Bumi would have found a way to make fighting the Fire Nation both fun and bizarre (in his own way, of course), and I also get why this kind of breaks Aang’s heart. I mean, sure, on a base level, this was simply something he was looking forward to: training under the guidance of his best friend. But I think Aang, way in the back of his mind, is thinking about what happened when he gave up one hundred years ago, and how the world changed when he was not there for those who needed him.

Still, it’s nice that Aang, while sad, works with Sokka to come up with a plan to get all of the Earth Kingdom citizens out of the Fire Nation’s fortress, and I like that he utilizes the concept of energy to convince them. It’s about prioritizing what they need to do in order to survive at this point, and being outnumbered and in a physically disadvantage position to fight against the Fire Nation certainly isn’t going to help things. And so, using Sokka’s ingenuous idea of utilizing pentapus “stings” to fake illness for the entire group. Look, I did not think this would ever happen on Avatar, and I know the concept has been beat to death by our modern society, but….ZOMBIES. Zombies on Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes, they’re not real zombies, but Sokka’s plan works brilliantly. Watching all those “sick” people stumble and moan their way out of the city was downright criminal in how good it was.

And there’s a baby. Because of Momo. And berries. And we’ll get there, I promise, but we need to spend some time talking about the trifecta of female power that “Return to Omashu” gives us.

I gotta hand it to the writers. Azula, as sadistic and cruel as she is, is a completely fascinating villain to me. I want to know what makes her tick. I want to see her interact with her brother more. I want to know what other dimensions her character has. (They’re there. I just know it!) If she’d been the only main antagonistic force trotted out throughout season two, I would have been one stoked pentapus, happily releasing my joy every time someone nudged my scalp lovingly. (Possibly the strangest sentence I have ever written? Oh well.)

But this is season two of Avatar and shit has to be more real than what came before. So now we have three young women who are going after Aang, Zuko, and Iroh. (COULD THOSE THREE JUST ALL BE ON THE SAME SIDE PLEASE) In a couple ways that I can think of, we’re also given characters who are all so vastly different from how they relate to each other and those around them. We have three women who view their position in the fire nation utterly separately. We’ve seen Azula’s raging dedication to the Fire Nation (insomuch as how it directly relates to how much power she has). Mai is indifferent to much about life and her dedication to the Fire Nation’s goals seem more geared toward her own gain in terms of how entertained she can be. And Ty Lee operates separate of what the Fire Nation does and only seems to come around after Azula threatens her. Oh, right, by setting her trapeze net on fire and then sending every wild creature in the circus to be in the ring with her all at one time. Again, I’m intrigued by Azula, but none of this excuses the fact that she is one super manipulative asshole.

All three vary in their fighting techniques, with Azula apparently the only one of the three who can bend. Mai favors knives and daggers and anything sharp and potentially deadly at the same time, while Ty Lee uses her gymnastic abilities to slip in unnoticed and temporarily paralyze a person’s limbs merely by hitting their pressure points. Ty Lee, you would always win a fight with me, and I already concede victory. That seriously takes some ridiculous talent and concentration.

And that’s how the baby figures into all of this. After following Momo’s intriguing tail, the young child belonging to the Fire Nation king (and Mai’s brother) wanders out with the rest of the escaping Earth Kingdom citizens. Naturally, this prompts a panicked response on the part of the king, and a trade is arranged: if the young child is brought back, King Bumi will be handed over.

Naturally, things don’t go as planned, as Mai and Azula both agree to call off the deal when they realize trading an earth bending master for a two-year-old is probably a bad idea. And then BADASS FIGHT SEQUENCE. Gosh, I really don’t watch much of anything that has fight scenes in it as explicably shown here, and if there is other shit out there that’s even as remotely as good as this, I’ve been missing out. Because we’re dealing with bending in this show, the permutations for how many possible attacks there are (and how they interact with other powers) is certainly as close to endless as one could perceive. Because of this (and because of some radical locations), the fights never feel stale and repetitive. We watch bending versus bending, versus physical action, and even some fighting between non-benders. It’s all choreographed out in stunning detail and I have no deep subtext or meaning to ascribe to any of it. It’s just fun to watch.

But even after all this, as Aang is able to successfully escape Azula (because King Bumi earth bended WITH HIS FUCKING FACE), the reunion he gets with his best friend is not what he expected. King Bumi does not want to be rescued. In a way, though it’s not spelled out, Bumi’s desire to be patient and strike the Fire Nation at the same time feels like a huge reference to “The Avatar State” (unknowingly, of course) and to Aang’s rush to rescue his friend without first finding a way to ask questions. I do think Bumi is going about things in the way that is best for him, but I wonder if the writers will address the fact that some of his citizens are suffering (and dying) while he waits. That would be a neat parallel with Aang.

I can’t pretend to know who on earth is a master of neutral jing and how that’s going to help Aang find the best earth bender, but I do know that these first few episodes of season three continue to set the stage for what’s to come, yet all are fantastic stories on their own as well.

So good, y’all.


  • FLOPSY!!!!!
  • “Does this look like the face of a killer to you?”
  • OMG. WAIT. MAI HAD A CRUSH ON ZUKO. Right? Or maybe even a relationship? I totally caught that line!
  • “There are three Jings?” “Well, technically, there are 85, but let’s just focus on the third.”
  • Can seriously no one recognize the avatar if he is wearing a hood. Really.
  • Mai. I love you. Please be in every episode with your brooding Daria-esque commentary.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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388 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S02E03 – Return To Omashu



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  2. arctic_hare says:

    "The King of Omashu" was one of my favorite episodes of season one; I loved Omashu itself, but most importantly, I loved Bumi. His eccentricity just charmed me utterly – all the puns, his trolling, the way his mind worked differently from everyone else's and the lesson he taught Aang with it… it was a really fun episode and it warmed my heart to see Aang get to meet an old friend again.

    So imagine how sad I felt upon seeing Omashu conquered and worrying that Bumi might not even have survived the attack. 🙁 It wasn't, perhaps, the smartest or most logical thing for Aang to decide to go in anyway to find him… but how often does logic move the human heart? As he said, it was about finding a friend, not a teacher, so I can't blame him at all. I'd need to know too. And as a viewer, I WANTED to know. So I was pretty much on his side in this, reckless or not.

    But first, they must go through the obligatory sewer dungeon. *twitch* (Fellow gamers here – ever notice how those ALWAYS SUCK? I always feel like Sokka here a few minutes into one.) But awww, the pentapi are kinda cute! And Sokka's plan to use them to get the resistance force safely out of Omashu is brilliant, I must say. Love you, Sokka. <3 Keep being awesome.

    Over on the villainous side of things, we have Azula recruiting two old "friends" of hers to form an elite team to help her capture Iroh and Zuko with. I put friends in quote because judging from what she does to Ty Lee to coerce her into joining? Holy shit, this girl does not fully comprehend the concept of friendship, or what a friend is (understatement). It makes me intensely curious about how she came to have any friends in childhood to begin with, and what the relationship was like; she doesn't strike me as having been any more fun to be around as a little girl. I love her as a villain and a character, I really do – but I don't envy Ty Lee what she put her through and IRL I'd want to be as far from Azula as possible. I don't blame Ty Lee for deciding to give up her happy circus life and go with Azula after that, I'd do the same thing. Because I'm sure she can imagine how much worse things would have gotten if she had still resisted. Azula, that is no way to treat a friend. 🙁

    As for Ty Lee herself, I so far really like her. She is super-cute and funny, and has a unique, non-bending fighting style that is actually a legitimate threat to the benders on Team Avatar. I… I am so very happy to see this. SERIOUSLY. I cannot stress enough how much I love that the villains this season are already shaping up to be credible threats to the good guys. Seeing Katara, the waterbending master, be unable to bend against the two of them was scary, and it means that any future encounters with our villainous trio are going to be that much more tense because we know what she can do to her opponents. You need this kind of threat to the heroes in fiction, otherwise there's no suspense at all to any of the proceedings and no one like a villain they're supposed to take seriously but just cannot manage to because they're so ineffective. Azula was horrible about her way of recruiting Ty Lee, but she gets major props from me for recruiting her at all, because she knows damn well that she's good, and will be a major problem for any opponent of hers.

    I love Mai, too! She kinda reminds me of Daria, only with badass knife skills. DAMN THAT GIRL IS GOOD. I AM IMPRESS. She's so hilarious in her utter boredom with everything. And her total nonchalance at the (fake) plague: "Fire flakes, Dad?" LOL I LOVE HER.


    • arctic_hare says:

      Something else I loved? The whole fight scene. Incredibly impressive, especially when it made use of Omashu's mail delivery system. Not only did it look fantastic, but it demonstrated just how formidable an opponent Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai all are. As I just went on about, this makes me very happy, because it's as it should be. YAY FOR EFFECTIVE AND THREATENING VILLAINS THAT GIVE THE HEROES A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY IN FIGHTS! They escape thanks to Sokka and Appa, but it's a narrow one, and you're left with the definite feeling that things are not over and that there are challenges ahead for the good team. I love it. <3

      AND OMG BUMI COULD EARTHBEND THE ENTIRE TIME. And he goes right back into captivity with it. 🙁 I am sad, for I was all excited about Bumi traveling with them and teaching Aang how to earthbend! Yet, there is also a new excitement, because the question here is: who, then, is going to teach Aang instead? Will Mark's prediction of it being someone we haven't met yet come true? Or will we cross paths again with someone we've previously met? And when? OH THE SUSPENSE~!

      Other stuff:

      – Platypus bears! <3

      – I love the old man with the wooden leg. "Years of practice!" Yep, I can buy that an old person would have experience in faking sick, just because my grandma does the same thing. 😛

      – The whole "kidnapping" drama came about because MOMO WAS HUNGRY. I LOVE IT.

      – Poor Flopsie. 🙁 🙁 🙁 I want a hug from Flopsie too!

      • phenylalanine says:

        It makes me intensely curious about how she came to have any friends in childhood to begin with, and what the relationship was like; she doesn't strike me as having been any more fun to be around as a little girl.

        You know, I can imagine how this would have gone, actually…

        Young Ty Lee or Mai: But I don't WANNA be friends with her! She's creepy!
        Ty Lee or Mai's parents: But dear, just think of what an honor it is to be the princess's best friend… (to themselves) and what an honor it is to our family… and what the royal family might do if you offend the princess by refusing her… etc., etc.

        (long time lurker, first time poster! whee!)

        • agrinningfool says:

          I gotta agree. While I'm sure Azula, Mai and Ty Lee do have some sort of friendship bond, they certainly were probably influenced by their parents. We can assume that Mai is nobility because her Father is the new Governor of New Ozai/Omashu and Ty Lee.. probably is too? Or… was? Hard to tell with her being the circus. Of course, Azula hints that she ran away right?

          Their parents were probably absolutely thrilled with the girls met, or introduced them at Court etc. etc. and saw that the girls could be friends. I would LOVE to see the daily life of the Fire Nation Court. What ranks of nobility do they have? 😀

          • phenylalanine says:

            OMG, I want to know all those things! So badly! You're right, it's clear that they are all genuinely affectionate friends now (albeit pretty manipulative on Azula's part), but I can see SO CLEARLY how the friendship would have been "encouraged" by outside forces. And they went to the Fire Nation Academy for Girls, yeah? I want to know ALL THE THINGS about that.

            And Ty Lee's backstory! Yeah, I think Mai says she "ran away to join the circus," so I wonder what her family background's like?

            • agrinningfool says:

              SERIOUSLY. We can assume it's probably a boarding school. And I'm actually surprised that Azula went to a SCHOOL, albeit a private one. I thought she'd have a private tutor and would have had VERY limited interaction with her peers. Maybe that's where she learned to be a dictator?

              • Tauriel_ says:

                It's not that surprising – in our world, even royal children go to school (for example, Princes William and Harry went to Eton). Fire Nation is clearly very progressive, it makes sense that the Firelords would want their children educated.

                • agrinningfool says:

                  Yes, but I believe William and Harry were the first royal children to go to a public-er school? Prince Charles had tutors I believe?

                  Edit: I was wrong. Charles had a governess until age 8 then he went to a school and was the first child of a sovereign to do so. 🙂

              • Gwenhwyfar says:

                Just to address the school issue, during Japan’s Meiji era a private school was established for the nobility. When a potential heir attended, the imperial household micromanaged their education and handpicked a very small number of aristocratic classmates who were considered appropriate companions. The end result was more similar to tutoring than a typical classroom environment. I imagine the Fire Nation used a similar set up, especially considering it’s similarities to early twentieth century Japan.

                I really love all the details that show that the creators actually did research, instead of pulling an orientalist Asian fantasy out of their asses (which I’d assumed was the case until I watched the show).

                • Tauriel_ says:

                  That's what's making this show so awesome. It has real roots, the creators respected the inspiration behind their story (the various Asian cultures and martial arts) to do their research properly, instead of just making up stuff they *thought* was "Asian and therefore exotic and cool". Because that would be incredibly shallow and ignorant and disrespectful to all the Asian cultures from which they drew their inspiration.

                  I love it whenever writers/showrunners/moviemakers do their research well when creating worlds based on something in our real world.

          • TheWelshPirate says:

            Azula strait up says to Ty Lee "What is a Noble's daughter doing in a place like this?" So yeah, both Mai and Ty Lee have Nobles for parents.

      • @maybegenius says:

        YES. I absolutely love that it is 100% clear that Azula and the others are legitimate threats to Team Avatar. Last season, the fight scenes between Zuko and Aang (or even Zhao and Aang) were still tense and entertaining, but they were pretty clearly outmatched by Aang. Zuko totally would have been knocked out of his sliding box when Aang knocked a bunch of stuff in his path, but Azula is wilier and more skilled. ALSO SCARIER.

    • luzzleanne says:

      It makes so much sense for Aang, as a character, to go after Bumi, too. I think most heroes probably would have gone in after their friend, but with Aang you're talking about a kid who's already lost almost everyone he knew and loved. It's pretty easy to see why he's unable to accept losing the one person who's still around as well.

  3. monkeybutter says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Obviously, the Fire Nation CDC is woefully unprepared.

    Um, yeah, this shit is fantastic. We've like quadrupled the number of kickass lady characters in the series already. I love Mai and Ty Lee, and even though they're obviously subordinate to Azula, they have such great personalities…more of all of them, please! The Fire Nation Academy for Girls must be one terrifying place.

    If King Bumi's not going to be busy with Aang, I totally want him to teach me facebending. Omashu = greatest city of all time.

    • echinodermata says:

      The Fire Nation Academy for Girls

      Doe this exist in say fanfic or fanart form? Because gimme gimme plz.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Googling "Royal Fire Academy for Girls," which is apparently its real name, turns up some links on that I'm not brave enough to click.

    • sam says:

      could always use more kickass ladies all the time.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Why do I get the sense that the Academy's PE lessons consist of things like "killing assassins" and "detecting poison in food"?

      • TheWelshPirate says:

        I find it interesting that something called "The Royal Fire Academy for Girls" actually teach non-benders. The Fire Nation seems more obsessed with their native element then the other nations are.

        • Inner Voice says:

          That's a really good point, I had never thought of that! Interesting!
          Suddenly makes me wonder whether Mai & Ty Lee might have experienced some discrimination at the academy because of being non-benders, until Azula saw their talent and took them under her wing. (no one would have messed with them after that…) That would also explain how they became friends; Azula saw an opportunity to gain competent allies by offering protection/status in return for their loyalty. That sounds like it would be the kind of "making friends" that would make sense in Azula's brain.
          [/total speculation]

          • TheWelshPirate says:

            Here's my little theory: The fact that non-benders like Mai and Ty Lee went there, coupled with the assumption that any family who would be able to send their children to an academy with the designation of "Royal" would be likely to hire Masters to privately train their Firebending children, I think the school probably has nothing to do with Firebending.

            I see it as another small hint of how rampant propaganda most likely is in the Fire Nation. They feel the need to somehow incorporate the word 'Fire' in to the name of every institution, because their young people need to understand how fire is awesome and totally superior, and they should be honored that they were privileged enough to be born in to the Fire Nation.

            Remember that little puppet show in "The Deserter"? That couple of seconds really reeked of youth-targeted-propaganda to me.

        • lossthief says:

          I don't know, The Air nomads seemed to have integrated bending into every aspect of society. They played games called "Air Ball" and "Sky Bison Polo" rode "Air Scooters" and it seemed to be a very large part of their culture.

          • The Welsh Pirate says:

            I think that has to do with how much more spiritual the Air Nomads were. They all lived in monisteries or nunneries, and that sort of ultra-spiritual enviroment is why all members of the Air Nomads are Airbenders, unlike the other nations.

  4. barnswallowkate says:

    Why does scary Azula have to have scary friends NO THANKS. Except Mai's emoness is really funny.

    Bumi what are you doing >:(

    Sokka's ambivalence about/inability to be charmed by the baby = we continue to be ~made for each other~

  5. And then BADASS FIGHT SEQUENCE. Gosh, I really don’t watch much of anything that has fight scenes in it as explicably shown here, and if there is other shit out there that’s even as remotely as good as this, I’ve been missing out.
    Time for you to watch Samurai Champloo! (My pimping post is non-spoilery by most people's standards, for interested parties.)

  6. echinodermata says:

    Mai is my third favorite character on this show. Just saying, I love her a lot. She's an Asian ninja Daria – it's like she was written for me in mind. She's so deadpan and frequently inexpressive, but then she flies into action and it is a spectacle to behold. I really enjoy watching non-bending fights, in addition to the bending. It's great to see characters demanding their presence acknowledged and being BAMFy about it without actually having to bend. Plus, it's cool seeing non-bending Fire Nation people. And villainous non-benders, for that matter, too.

    And Ty Lee is just fun fun fun. Love her too. She's adorable and happy and totally a subversion of the Fire Nation "personality." I love that she's an acrobat. And I love antagonists that get to break conventions.

    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    There's so many ship wars in this fandom, and I mostly just go la la la not only a threesome ship, but femslash. Whatever, chicks ftw. I love all three of them, and their interactions are fantastic. And I think it's cool that they're introducing characters with obvious intersecting backstories that we don't get to see. I would totally be up for a spin-off where they just hang out all the time, and we get to see them when they're younger.

    Plus, holy crap the three of them (but Azula especially, of course) are basically fearless. They just jump right into fighting. And Azula has no fear of heights, even against an airbender. There's a description for that – like a boss.
    <img src=""&gt;
    And good on Katara and Sokka, too. I love this fight.

    Bumi is ridiculously awesome. I mean, it goes without saying, but oh, he deliberately surrenders because he's just that big a BAMF. They have to keep him locked up in a metal…coffin, and he just laughs with no fear or worry. Why? Turns out he can earthbend with his face. Helluva guy.

    I totally forgot there was a baby in this ep – for me, it's always been the return of Bumi and the introduction of Mai and Ty Lee. Whoops, plot happens too.

    Other, more jumbled, thoughts:
    Ba Sing Se has been mentioned a number of times, and the anticipation is fantastic to me.

    <img src=""&gt;
    I want a purple pentapus – I'd keep good care of it, I promise. And I wouldn't make that annoyed face, either. They're just so adorable. And Sokka using them to get past the guards is great.

    Poor Flopsy, getting chained up like that.

    It's cool to see Aang using some waterbending. But I can't wait for him to learn earthbending.

    • NeonProdigy says:


      I kept out of the majority of the Avatar Shipping Wars because I've been on the Azula/Ty Lee ever since I first saw this episode.

      Lolol, silly overzealous Zutara and Kataang shippers, I'll be over here with the femslashers while you scream at each other~

    • Meru223 says:

      I would totally be up for a spin-off where they just hang out all the time, and we get to see them when they're younger.

      This needs to happen. I imagine it as a sitcom. Zuko would obviously be a part of it. Iroh would guest star on occasion. And it all turns out to be a production of Ty Lee’s imagination since she wants everything to be butterflies and rainbows.

    • FlameRaven says:

      Shockingly, I have seen pretty much 0 fanfic devoted to this threesome, or any combination of pairings within it. Which is odd, because as you say, it would make a lot of sense, and it's not like there's not slash around; I've seen plenty of Zuko/Sokka and Zuko/Aang stuff, but very little femslash.

      I did see an Azula/Katara once but that was about it. Weird.

      • lossthief says:

        I've noticed that there always seems to be very little femslash fanfic in comparison to the rest of the various non-canon pairings. For instance, on Mugglenet's fanfic site, there's 235 same-sex fics, and a total of 23 fem fics. So the other 212 are all male/male. I guess that's just how fandom goes.

      • Moon_Shadow says:

        Depends on where you look. I just checked Archive of Our Own, and as of right now the breakdown there is:

        57 F/F
        198 F/M
        37 M/M
        and 361 gen stories. Some overlap of course.

        That would make F/F more common than M/M in that subset of fandom (though not nearly as common as het, and pairing fic is overall less common than gen there). And there's even… one Azula/Mai/Ty Lee in that collection. (Yes, I went through it all just to see. What? I like knowing things!)

  7. Tauriel_ says:

    This pic from the amazing Booter-Freak:

    Not A Disney Princess

    Starring Princess Azula, Maileficent and Tinker Lee 😀

    <img src=""&gt;

    Also, interesting factoid: The duel in the scaffolding between Aang and Azula was originally in the unaired pilot between Aang and Zuko.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:


      Azula really isn't the typical Disney princess, is she?

      • H. Torrance Griffin says:

        A lot of those films would be rather shorter if she were, no?

        Jafar? Discreetly knifed. Evil Queen? Should have locked those magic books up better. etc.

    • TheWelshPirate says:


      I want my own Tinker Lee…

  8. Tauriel_ says:


    • MissDirect says:

      "I can kill you with my brain"
      River and Bumi need to make an appointment to frolic in a field together being eccentric and awesome.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Speaking of River – I wonder what she'd have to say about Jeong Jeong's hair… XD

    • sabra_n says:

      With his face, actually. But it's still really awesome. 🙂

  9. Dragonsong12 says:

    I am SO HAPPY you love Mai. She gets a lot of hate in the fandom, but I adore her. I also adore Ty Lee for different reasons…because I adore everybody…because this show is SO AMAZING!

    I love the ending too, when Aang brings TomTom home, it's just so cute! (And generally, I hate things with children and babies)


    Have you seen this?

    Sigh…why are all the good men taken or Takei?

    • chichichimaera says:

      My God, I love that man. *stars in eyes*

    • doesntsparkle says:

      People don't like Mai? That makes me sad. I guess the Daria type is kinda polarizing.

    • arctic_hare says:

      ILU, George Takei. <3 FOR ALL TIME.

      I don't understand Mai hate. She's Daria! With knives! WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE?

      • Tauriel_ says:

        THIS. Mai's utter emotionlessness and boredom is actually quite endearing.

        • NeonProdigy says:

          I know! I love the cynical, sarcastic characters~

          …No Sokka, I love you too, but I was talking about Mai, we'll get to you later

      • Diana Kingston-Gabai says:

        The least-spoilery way to put it would be: it's because of shipping. Outside of that? THERE IS NO REASON NOT TO LOVE MAI. 🙂

        • Emily says:

          I don't know…I grew to like Mai eventually, but the complete lack of concern she shows for her baby brother's safety turned me off initially, enough that it out-balanced my enjoyment of her dead-pan gothness. I suppose I can accept that the child would have been placed in more danger by whatever would have ensued in refusing Azula's double-cross "suggestion," but she shows zero concern at any point while the boy is missing. She doesn't know the Avatar like we do, and has no reason to suspect that he would overrule those Earth refugees who wanted revenge and return the child safely, yet this doesn't seem to concern her at all.

          Like I said, I grew to really like her, but I can understand those who don't.

          (P.S. All my ships are canon, so that's not a factor.)

          • Catryona says:

            The fact that she doesn't appear to be concerned doesn't necessarily mean that she doesn't care.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        "Its okay to be Takei!"

        I don't get the Mai hate either. She's just so…cool! She can kill you without any bending. How epic is that?

    • Pseudonymph says:

      Mai gets fandom hate? I can't imagine why – she's amazing. Do you have any insight on this?

      • Hyatt says:

        Notice how she apparently has a crush on Zuko? That's the basis for most of the hate. Shipping ruins everything.

        • kartikeya200 says:

          This. Any more details would be spoilery, but she's a female in a fandom with really nasty shipping wars, sooo. 🙁

      • herpestidae says:

        Funny you should mention that one…

        Spoilers for Early Season 3 be beyond this link.

        • NeonProdigy says:

          That comic is amazing and hilarious and MARK MUST NOT SEE IT YET.

          Also Booter Freak is an A:TLA fandom goddess.

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          I laugh every time I see this.

          "Sour attitude+Cold Exterior+ Sarcastic Wit+ Male= Fandom Love"
          "Sour attitude+ Cold Exterior+ Sarcastic Wit+ Female = Fandom Hate"

        • Tauriel_ says:

          PROOF BY MATHEMATICS AND LOGIC. I love that comic. <3 <3 <3

        • canadadian says:

          Bahahaha HILARIOUS.
          Also, bringing ATLA, Harry Potter, and Fruits Basket into an argument means that you should automatically win in my book.

      • Manself says:

        While I am a Zutarian to the end (Not canonZutara, though. Just in my mindcanon), I am only apathetic toward Mai (OH THE IRONY). Most of my “meh” feelings stem from the fact that I find most of her dialogue near-cringeworthy.

        I love Azula, but without a doubt Ty Lee is my favorite of Ozai’s Angels.

        “My aura has never been pinker!”

      • Dragonsong12 says:

        And let us never EVER discuss "How I Became Yours".

        (Mark, do not google this…not because of spoilers, but because of awfulness….but spoilers also)

    • who_cares86 says:

      [Sigh…why are all the good men taken or Takei?]

      or Timelords.

    • TheWelshPirate says:

      Takei = BAD ASS

      His voice alone is enough to destroy the stereotype that gay men can't be manly men. Takei needs to be in more things.

  10. Sophi says:

    I love that we now have a foil to bending in a completely different way to people who use weapons–Ty Lee is a big, big problem for benders because bending is essentially their only weapon; it's certainly the one they're most familiar with, so take it away and you have one rather frightened and confused individual.

    I love the parallels and oppositions the writers can throw at you in this show–bending seemingly uber-powerful once mastered? HAHA YOU POOR NAIVE CHILD DO NOT BE FOOLISH. A bounding woman-child will come and take your goddamn bending away with her bare hands. TRY AND FARE WELL IN THAT SITUATION.

    I do genuinely love Ty Lee. Add her to my…very long… list of crushes in this show. June, Katara, Ty Lee and Azula on some level, though she terrifies me and would probably fry my hug-eager self.

    "CAN I HAVE A HUG I LOVE YOUR EYES YOUR EYES ARE GREAT" and then I would be dead.

    [actually to had to check if we knew about the no-bending yet because WHAT IF WE DIDN'T and I SPOILED MARK and I would deserve a special circle of hell all to myself. But we did. So I am just an idiot. It's been a while since I saw this episode.]

    • chichichimaera says:

      And who is the one bender we've seen on this show so far who does know how to fight without bending? Zuko, and isn't that a coincidence. I'm sure growing up with Azula and her friends, he has to have met Ty Lee a couple of times.

      • Sophi says:

        I never thought of that, but that is an awesome point.

        Whee, this is why being part of a fandom is so much more fun than watching things by yourself~

      • sabra_n says:

        Iroh is good at hand-to-hand, too. Maybe it's a Fire Nation royalty thing.

        • chichichimaera says:

          That may be the case, although you could probably argue that Ty Lee is not going to be the only person in the world who can do what she does, and the Fire Nation royals probably have to watch out for assassins. Against most benders, someone like Ty Lee would be the perfect assassin.

      • TheWelshPirate says:

        That's an interesting point that I've never thought of. I always assumed that since Azula was always a much better Firebender then him, he started looking for other skills he might be able to surpass her in.

        • chichichimaera says:

          I guess that depends on whether Firebenders using non-bending weapons would be seen as 'honourable' or not. Not that I can imagine Ozai being impressed either way if Zuko tried to demonstrate his sword techniques.

          • TheWelshPirate says:

            I'd imagine that anything that increases thier prowess as warriors is smiled upon. But either way I doubt Ozai would have complimented Zuko on his Dual-Sword skills.

      • MichelleZB says:

        Also, the girls mention an "Academy" they were trained at. Possibly a ritzy boarding school for nobles? Something? We can possibly assume that the Fire Nation has a similar training programme for boys, in which case Zuko went to a similar school.

        Perhaps these Academies train Fire Nation nobility in basic combat skills, which is why Fire Nation nobles–Mai, Ty Lee, Azula, Iroh, Zuko–seem to be able to fight, not just bend.

  11. arctic_hare says:

    Yeah, it's a complicated relationship; Ty Lee could probably be friends with anyone because of her personality, but you can also see the change in her expression and body language when Azula says she's sticking around to watch the show, because she knows something bad is going to happen. So I think she genuinely likes her, but there's also an element of fear there. They don't strike me as being on even ground the way a healthy friendship should be.

  12. kaleidoscoptics says:

    So, the alternate title for this episode was “Azula is Evil,” right? Because dude, she could have killed her… friend? Ally? I mean, I wouldn’t call someone a friend if they tried to kill me, but whatever floats your boat. She acts so cheerful the whole time she’s doing it, too. You get the feeling that she would like the girl to come with her, but if she dies in the circus it’s not that big a deal.

    The girl squad is pretty cool. I was surprised that the black-haired girl went along with Azula’s plan to stop the trade. Were they going to attack to get the kid anyway? The acrobat’s pressure point attacks are really cool.

    Glad we got to see Bumi again. I was definitely not expecting him to show up again, especially at the beginning of the season. Trickster mentors are the greatest. His tactics are really great, too. Feels like I say this every episode, but I love how much thought goes into the cultural/viewpoint differences in this series. There’s a wonderful contrast between Aang’s tactics (run now, regroup, and fight another day), the general guy’s (fight to the last breath) and Bumi’s (wait for right moment). Waiting and listening seems like a perfect fit for the earth nation. When you think about it, geology is something that takes place on an incredibly slow scale. Building mountain ranges and tearing them down takes millenia. So it fits that the master earth bender prefers patient tactics. Also, Sokka’s plan is great. I love that even though he can’t bend, he’s still a really integral part of the group.

    “Can seriously no one recognize the avatar if he is wearing a hood. Really.”
    Hah yeah their disguises are terrible. Aang wears a hat to cover his arrow, but always wears the same clothes. Zuko wears a hat… because hats are cool? It’s not like it really hides his scar.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      because hats are cool?

      They are, the Doctor says so, so it must be the truth.

      • kaleidoscoptics says:

        Now I want to see Matt Smith wearing a straw hat. Not like the kind Zuko has, but one of those bonnetty ones you see at horse races.

    • agrinningfool says:

      It's the same theory as in Sailor Moon. No one can recognize them because their wearing tiaras and short skirts!

    • Shamu says:

      I always assumed Mai went along with Azula's calling off the trade because she was afraid of what would happen if she didn't. The pause before she agrees to it is telling, I think. Maybe she's jealous of the attention the baby gets, but damn if handing him over to an angry Azula seems better for him than letting the avatar hang onto him. Plus, Azula seemed pretty confident in their ability to win. Maybe she figured she'd hang onto Bumi and then nab the baby once they'd defeated Aang.

    • sakiexcel says:

      So, the alternate title for this episode was “Azula is Evil,” right? Because dude, she could have killed her… friend? Ally? I mean, I wouldn’t call someone a friend if they tried to kill me, but whatever floats your boat.

      I suspect that, even if Ty Lee had gotten hurt or even killed, Azula would have just gone, "Well, if she can't even handle that, then clearly she wouldn't have been any help in the first place." <S>And there's more to that but I don't want to be a horrible bringer-of-spoilers, so I'll just shut up.</S>

  13. Tauriel_ says:

    Small note, Mark: Mai's father is not a king, he's just a governor of Omashu (or, should we say now, New Ozai).

  14. echinodermata says:

    They seem to be childhood friends and they hug and are affectionate and enjoy each others company, and for that matter, Azula went out of her way to recruit them, and most non-canon ships wish they had this much canon going for their ship.

  15. Karen says:

    I wish I had something more to contribute, but my plans for rewatching this episode were foiled when the charger for my laptop shorted out so I couldn't rewatch this episode. D:


    So my comments are going to have to rely on what I can vaguely recall from this episode when I first watched it last year. haha. Um… basically the only thing I can think of to say without rewatching this episode is that I love Ty Lee, but Mai leaves me feeling pretty cold. Azula is fabulous is her evil ways. I mean, she is obviously a terrible person. But I think that she makes a great villain that is a nice contras to the kind of villain that Zhao was.

  16. Dragonsong12 says:

    It's true! I think ANYWHERE'D be safer than being with Azula, given we've seen how she treats her friends. And Team Avatar looked to be treating little TomTom well!

  17. kaleidoscoptics says:

    "A friendly suggestion from Azula is neither."

    This is a very good point. Look what nearly happened to Tai Lee.

  18. monkeybutter says:

    Actually, I love how much of this discrimination, prejudice, and oppression is represented visually on the screen. The original citizens are forced to live underground, out of sight of the Fire Nation nobility, as the new king and his family have all moved into the quarters of Bumi. And I think it’s great to see the issue of height addressed in this way because it so closely mirrors the way that things are constructed in our world, from the high palaces and mansions built far away from the “poor” citizens, up on mountains and hills away from the world.

    It's probably just my habit of reading way too much into things, and obviously it's not the same or as horrible in Avatar, but the underground resistance and the way the team got into Omashu through the sewers reminded me of the Warsaw Ghetto. Members of the Jewish resistance communicated with and got supplies from the outside Polish resistance through the sewers, a few people escaped through them, and there were a number of bunkers in the Ghetto that Jews held out in during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

    I see a lot of similarities between the Omashu residents and WWII resistance movements in Asia and Europe. I like that kind of realistic world building, too, but I'm glad everyone here actually got out safely.

  19. herpestidae says:

    Mai Throws Knives.

    Mai Knows Zuko.

    In The Blue Spirit Zuko threw a knife with enough precision to knock a flute out of a man's hand.

    Just saying.

  20. who_cares86 says:

    So anyone have any ideas for something really terrible for Mark to watch? How about Jersey Shore or something? Nah bad idea, we don't want to kill his and our collective braincells.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Well, he IS going to be watching the ATLA movie, but I'm not sure if that really counts, since it'll be a different kind of manger…

    • nanceoir says:

      What about Two-and-a-Half Men? My god, I can't stand that show. It's pretty much the only show I will walk out of a room for. It's like the opposite of a guilty pleasure show (a righteous indignation show?).

      Though, my personal Mark Verbs goal is to read or watch along with him, and I couldn't bring myself to do that.

    • TheWelshPirate says:

      What about "Heroes"? He'd be all "KEYSMASH AWESOME!!!" during the first season, and "WTF FUUUUUUUUU!!!" about the rest.

      That was my reaction, at least.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        I didn't find the other seasons bad exactly…just rather randomly and the opposite of tight story telling. I wish they'd gone with their original idea of having a different group of heroes for each season, instead of how it turned out.

        • TheWelshPirate says:

          To be honest, even at it's worst HEROES was still better than most shows I've seen. But after the first season they got in to a bad habit of introducing an idea or direction that sounded really cool, only to forget about it or take it in a very lame direction. And some of the character flip-flopped way too much. It felt like they were trying to keep a certain level of "status-quo" which was the opposite of what made the first season so good.

          After about the 12th time that HRG tried to shield Claire and give her a "normal" life, I just wanted to scream "LET YOUR IMMORTAL, INVINCABLE DAUGHTER GET INVOLVED ALREADY DAMNIT!"

          • GrrSong says:

            If you liked "Heroes", you'll love "The 4400". Now there's a show with superpowers done properly! Mwynhewch!

            • TheWelshPirate says:

              Yeah I've heard about that one. I'll definitely check it out one of these days.

              • sundaycoma says:

                Maybe I've just been reading X-Men too long (which I don't suggest) but neither of those shows held my interest too long. Heroes (for me) sucked from the get-go but at least was fun (and Peter was totes dreamy) and then as the show progressed,… less fun and more frustrating…and then frustration led to rage which led to, I don't know, The Dark Side, I guess.

                And 4400 is fucking *boss*… for one and a half seasons. Then, depending on how you find, one single event kind of makes everything go tilt.

          • FlameRaven says:

            The second season they were dealing with writer's strike stuff so I can't entirely fault them for the choppy pacing and character arcs: they were planning to have three parts and 20+ episodes, and they got only 12. But I gave up on Season 3 about four episodes in when we had a really stupid moment with Hiro. After reading the spoilers for later Season 3 and 4, I'm not sorry I gave it up.

            Season 1 was pretty good though.

    • Diana Kingston-Gabai says:

      "The Vampire Diaries" might be an interesting experiment, in that it starts out horrifically similar to "Twilight" (and the thought of Mark having RENESMEE flashbacks is making me laugh already OMG) before veering away into Yes Virginia You CAN Stab A Vampire's Ass Even If You're Just A Puny Human Girl… 🙂

      • Ezra says:

        I think that's a great idea, actually! The series has a lot of awesome and OH SHIT moments that nearly rival LOST, but it also has its shair of racefail and genderfail that the show's own creators seem to dismiss.

        • Diana Kingston-Gabai says:

          Racefail, most certainly. Genderfail I'm less sure about, if only because I appreciate the notion that a normal 16-year-old girl wouldn't have the easiest time defending herself against supernatural threats. One of the things I find most interesting about TVD is that Elena isn't Buffy – she can't throw a vampire out her bedroom window with a flick of her wrist – but she isn't Bella Swan either; she doesn't let other people make her choices for her. (Even when they're bad choices. ESPECIALLY when they're bad choices.)

      • notemily says:

        I'd love it if Mark watched TVD, because I've been wanting to watch it (heh). But I think it should be after he watches Buffy!

    • Avit says:

      He did say Supernatural was in the future….

      • linguisticisms says:

        Supernatural starts out good and then veers into "Kripke, get the fuck off the air" territory.

      • Hyatt says:

        But he might need to delve into the fandom to get to the heart of the hate-worthy stuff.

    • notemily says:

      I think Veronica Mars would strike a good balance, because there's so much to love and then so much to RAAAAGE about. Buffy, too, might bring out some of that in him, since it varies so much in quality. In fact, I think a lot of his upcoming projects are going to elicit both joy and rage from Mark.

  21. Depths_of_Sea says:


    Allow me to express my utter adoration of this character via a mini-fanart picspam:

    <img alt="" src="; />
    by Northern Banshee
    <img alt="" src="; />
    <img alt="" src="; />
    by missbennet

    I LOVE THIS SNARKY BADASS KNIVES NINJA SO SO MUCH.&nbsp; She is my favorite of the Ozai's Angels trio, hands-down, and haters to the left.

  22. kartikeya200 says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    There's very little trivia in the book for this episode. There's like one line describing Mai and Ty Lee, and I think it's a teense spoilery, so erring on the side of caution here and we will just have ART SPAM. So onwards.

    <img src=""&gt;

    So, exactly how awesome is it that Azula, female badass villain extraordinaire, says she needs a 'small, elite team' for her mission, and said team ends up being two other female badasses (and non-benders at that)? Why, why why was this show not on when I was a kid? Ultimate tragedy.

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    Not only that, but they're very distinct personalities from Azula too. So, you know, you can be female, and badass, and yourself.

  23. Pseudonymph says:

    This is the first rewatch in which I really appreciated the significance of Azula renaming Omashu as "New Ozai".

    We just finished an episode describing Omashu as a monument to the love of two amazing Earth citizens. That's how Omashu got it's name and now Azula is trying to completely obliterate this piece of cultural history, although I assume she has no idea of the significance of "Omashu" as a name.

    • shoroko says:

      I remember actually gasping out loud at that line the first time I watched it. I agree, they really do a wonderful job setting up the significance of the city's name and even making the viewer personally invested in it – it was certainly purposeful on the part of the actors, and really drives home how devastating that action could be, which is really impressive on the part of the show.

      I wouldn't totally write off Azula's capability for evil here, though – even if she may not know the exact source of the name, I wouldn't assume she doesn't understand the significance of what she's doing by attempting to rename the city. I'd think she's being very purposeful in her attempt to obliterate the city's cultural history.

      • Pseudonymph says:

        That's a good point; this is definitely a purposeful move for Azula. I can't believe that line just breezed past me so many times. I just thought she was trying to honor her father, which I'm sure is part of it, but yes, as calculating as Azula is, I think she must realize that renaming Omashu would be a major blow to the history and morale of the Earth Kingdom.

    • kartikeya200 says:

      I was thinking this too, while re-watching. We got that beautiful animation and story about how Omashu was founded and named, and not only that, how Earthbending itself began…and Azula breezes in the next episode and announces the city's being renamed to honor the guy leading the armies who just conquered the place.

      It's a subtle little gutpunch when you realize the significance.

  24. tearbender says:

    I really love that since Azula is the most badass firebender around, she doesn't even bother find the second best and instead recruits a team of non-benders. So….I appreciate the fighting styles that now come into play with Mai and Ty Lee, and I like that their personalities are fairly opposite, but I can't say I'm in love with their characters just yet. I don't know, living in a city that my parents have taken over and whose citizens loathe my family…I'm not sure 'boring' is how I'd describe it, but I'd still jump at the chance to leave, heh. Plus she taunted Katara! Boo. And while Ty Lee is cute as a button and makes me sadface that my mother refused to put me in gymnastics as a child, there's something oddly terrifying about a girl who can render your body helpless in two seconds flat, all with a smile on her face.

    The Penta-Pus remind me of Hagrid in PoA: "You've got teh *stroke* it"…

    Sokka and Appa's surprise attack FTW.

  25. agrinningfool says:

    I am sorry if this has already been posted.. but..

    <img src=""&gt;

    Ozai's Angels by The talented Finni!

  26. agrinningfool says:

    I am sorry if this has already been posted.. but..

    <img src=""&gt;

    Ozai's Angels by The talented Finni!

    • TheWelshPirate says:

      <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src=""&gt;

      I humbly submit that "Ozai's Angles" become the official name of Azula's elite team.

      • agrinningfool says:

        Haha! *accepts win button* I hope this more than makes up for my MASSIVE FAIL yesterday.. calling Azula Iroh's Granddaughter..

        • TheWelshPirate says:

          Ha, I think that is understandable. Iroh has more of a "cool grandad" vibe to him in general.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        I do believe that in most fan circles, it is.

        (Most because of this picture, but also because the same guy who did Avatar Abridged did a Charles Angels parody with them.)

    • notemily says:

      Haha, and the names are switched around! Just like a real movie poster!

    • Steeple says:

      I like the poster, but I hate hate hate the term "Ozai's Angels". Ozai isn't their direct leader, he doesn't give missions or anything to them. Azula is the one leading the pack, not her distant dad – she's barely subordinate to him as it is, from my impression of her thus far. I mean, yes, this is a silly fandom name, but it really ticks me off that the focus of an all-women badass team is shifted to a man. A man who has little to do with them.

      That's why I vastly prefer the other fandom nickname, the Dangerous Ladies. Because they are, and the title doesn't make it all about the menz.

  27. chichichimaera says:

    "Ba Sing Se is the only great Earth Kingdom stronghold left." With all the mentions this place is getting, I'm sure that at some point we'll get to see it. I mean, it does seem like a lot of foreshadowing.

    Getting in through the sewers… Oh Sokka. You continue to be the universe's buttmonkey. It is pretty inconsiderate of the others not to try and avoid splashing him with sewer sludge. Think of the non-benders! I also love how far down the moat/canyon around Omashu goes. Of course, the Fire Nation just build seige bridges right over it…

    I really like seeing how the Fire Nation are taking over the city, how they're covering everything in metal. It makes sense though – avoid giving your Earthbending enemies any ammunition. Also, they're building some massive statue of th Fire Lord at the top of the city… Well okay then. Pretty much a sure fire way to spot evil dictators are that they build statues of themselves. Sadam Hussein, Emperor Palpatine, etc…

    Those pentapai are adorable. I want one. 🙂 🙂 And another brilliant plan from Sokka, budding tactictian that he is.

    I really enjoyed seeing the team Azula is getting together. Ty Lee seems like fun, and her talent is really, really useful. As I said in reply to someone upthread, it's interesting that despite the fact that most benders don't learn to fight without their bending, Zuko has, even to the point of being able to break Aang out of Pohai stronghold without Firebending once. And he has to have met Ty Lee in the past, if she's been his sister's friend for a while.

    Mai, oh how I adore your deadpan apathy and your skill with knives. I maintain half the hate for her character is shipping related.

  28. Ryan Lohner says:

    I like to think of Ty Lee as the evil Luna Lovegood. And by the way, the fan nickname for their little group is Ozai's Angels.

    • @Ahavah22 says:

      She's not evil, exactly. On the wrong side of the war? Yes. Evil? No.

    • TheWelshPirate says:

      Haha! I never thought about the simularities of Luna and Ty Lee before. It fits.

      If anybody remembers the conversation on a previous episode about Avatar Mythbusters, I'd just like to say that I sneakily suggested Ty Lee as Tori.

  29. @maybegenius says:


    I don't have much to say about this episode other than a hearty FUCK YEAH at Sokka for his "I manage" comment in regard to not being able to bend.

    Also Bumi for continuing to be fabulous.

    Also this unintentionally hilarious screenshot:

    <img src=""&gt;

    • giga_pudding says:

      his arrow is pointing to his middle finger…..

      • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

        That and in the UK that's a very rude gesture. Basically the equivalent of the Bird in the US.

        • TheWelshPirate says:

          Aang says: "Fuck you, haterz!"

        • Ina300 says:

          The peace sign is a rude gesture in the UK??

          • TheWelshPirate says:

            It's only the peace sign if the palm is outwards. Palm inwards, it's a rude gesture.

            <img src=""&gt;

          • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

            Goodness no. The peace sign is with your palm facing outwards. The Fuck You is with your palm facing you.
            Prepare for history! During the War of the Roses (possibly the 100 Year War) between the French and English, the English was winning due to their superior archers. When these men were captured the French would CHOP OFF THEIR FIRST TWO FINGERS so that they could not draw their bows back. To show those French fucks (no offense meant) they still had their fingers and therefore would being killing them soon, the English archers, and later the rest of England, would display their fingers thus, often wearing a similar look on their faces as Aang. This became the quintessential Fuck you for much of the UK. During WWII Winston Churchhill got confused with his symbolism and displayed this hand gesture, believing it was V for Victory. Comedy Golden baby. I love History.

            • TheWelshPirate says:

              That's actually very interesting. I always assumed it had to do with a certain part of the female anatomy, similar to how "the finger" is generally associated with a certain part of the male anatomy.

              I'm not the biggest English History buff in the world, but from what I've heard about Winston Churchill I find it likely that he wasn't entirely unaware of what that hand gesture meant.

              • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                I know! I freaking love that story. I have no idea how the American version got started, but I seriously doubt that it's as fabulously grizzly yet awesome as the UK's. I haven't heard the the Female anatomy analogy, although I can sort of kind of see it if I squint. Bit of a stretch, though.
                The version I've heard is that he didn't know about the implication until an aid told him why the Plebes were giggling like mad at him, but I could very easily see old Winny just being rogue and fucking with people.

                • TheWelshPirate says:

                  In the US there's an extremely rude and sexist gesture that is exactly the same, only you stick your tongue in between the fingers in reference to… yeah. You see it a lot amongs Bikers and Heavy Metal concerts. So that's probably how I made that connection.

                  And it greatly amuses me to think of Churchill's little "mistake" in similar terms as Arnold Schwarzenegger "Fuck You" veto.

                  • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                    OH yeah. somehow I'd completely forgotten that unpleasant gesture. I think that's a win for my selective memory right there.
                    Arnie's "Fuck You" veto? Did I selective forget that too? These last couple of years I've gone through phases where I can't keep track of Politics else I hurt someone. A lot.

                  • stefb says:

                    I actually see fb pictures of people that I know, guys and girls, make that gesture. I just think "Do these idiots even know what that means? And if they do, do they think it's cool to do that?" It's the stupidest thing. They just look like imbeciles.

            • Elexus Calcearius says:

              Hmm, interesting, very interesting. Good to know, to avoid offending any brits.

              • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                Now You Know And Knowing is Half the Battle.
                Man, if I knew how to do Macros that would have been awesome. Can someone else help a sister out and get G.I. Joe being sincere up for me?

                  • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                    YAY! You're my favorite right now. 😀

                    • TheWelshPirate says:

                      <img src=""&gt;

                      Why thank you! Ever since I discovered how to post images, I can't help myself from JPEG and GIF spamming. I must have been an ancient Egyption in a past life, because I find one of the funnest things about the internet is communicating via pictures.

                      Probably why I can't help be be a little disappointed that Mark doesn't use images in his reviews anymore.

                    • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                      Some things are just better said with images. For my Older Testament final I drew a comic of Jonah, and I gotta say while I'm no artist my pictures conveyed the hilarity of that story why better than just the words. Jonah is the biggest Bitch in the world and I think I captured this Bitch-Face magnificently.

                    • TheWelshPirate says:

                      I'm rusty on my Bible knowledge, but Jonah is the guy who was eaten by a whale, right? Might you have a link to this comic of yours?

                    • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                      Technically yes. BUT! (And you'll have to excuse my sudden Bible Geek out. I'm not Christian or Jewish but I fucking love this story like burning!) Dude got eatten b/c he refused to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria and a heathen nation to boot, and warn them that if they don't ship up and do right YHWH'll destroy them. After the whale vomits him out near the City, he does this shit ass job, but the people are moved and repent (including putting animals in sackclothe which is precious to me) and YHWH's all "Aw, nevermind." Jonah get's all cheesed off that God doesn't nuke a city with 120,000 people in it, and YHWH has this great line about how S/He loves the entire world, not just the Jews.
                      Here's the link to my twitpic; The images suck b/c I had to use my computer camera, but I'll eventually have pretty scanned copies online.

                    • TheWelshPirate says:

                      That looks cool! Can't wait to see the rest of it scanned!

                      And I'm in a similar boat (no pun intended). I'm an Atheist, but very in to mythologies, including Christian. I just recently finished Dante's Divine Comedy, which was a magnificent read. And soon I'll be starting on "Paradise Lost".

                    • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                      Why thank you. 😀
                      I love the stories, all of them. I don't see the point in getting all Doctrinal about myths and legends, but I also hate when people brush them off. If we've learned nothing from Mark Watches it's that the stories we tell matter!

            • Vikinhaw says:

              I don't want to sound like a nitpicker but that medieval-archer-chopping-off-finger story is probably myth. There's no contemporary historical evidence for it though it's popular and alot of people believe it. Other versions of it say the origins of the phrase 'fuck you' came from the archers saying 'pluck yew' but this is likely untrue because the etymology of 'fuck' is thought to have a Germanic origin since there are cognates in Germanic languages.

              The origins of the two fingers outward gesture are unknown and checking around the internet, the earliest account of it seems to be in the Victorian period.

              Sorry ~is pedantic and studies language and culture

              • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                Dude, never apologize for using your intelligence to show up some dork who's wrong on the internet. I'm getting my masters in Theology and Religion and I regularly have to school people on stuff, and you have not seen Nitpick until you've seen some Older Testament scholar getting all Hebrew dweeb all over the Psalms. It's terrifying and awesome.
                I'm glad you brought that up. I should have been more up front about the iffy history; I just love that story so damned much. I can't even remember where I heard it, although I think it was my sister, who's getting her Masters in something history related.
                I salute you for kicking my ass about that.
                …. Is the Winston Churchhill story true? Do I get that?

                • Vikinhaw says:

                  Ah I just didn't want to sound like some know-all-it. Pointing out that people are wrong is a sensitive business. People can get emotional

                  Wow Theology and Religion. Seems like something there would be alot of debate in. I've always been so interested in the history of translation of religious texts. I really want to learn all about that. All the possible meanings, all the agendas the translators had. It's so fascinating cause the a slight change in meaning can have so much influence since these words have Power over people. I really wish I could remember the specifics of a story I heard of a translator choosing one possible translation of a word/phrase over another, which eventually lead to the creation of new religious sect.

                  Yes you were right. The Winston Churchhill story is true and it's interesting because the reason he didn't know it seems to be because he came from an upper class background and the gesture was used by working class people so it's origins are probably in the working class. It could have been around for a long time but simply gone undocumented. *Grumbles about language elitism*

                  Edited to add: to be fair to you (and your sister) that story has been quoted as fact by experts. Maybe it's just to fun for them to resist.

                  • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                    My friend, you have no idea. Try being non-Christian in Seminary. Even a liberal one like mine, you gotta be careful what you say but at the same time I firmly believe that people who are WRONG should be told so.
                    The Translation stuff gets my head hurting so badly, and yet I love it so much. it was the 500th anniversary to the King James Bible's publication and while yes, it's a lovely poetic book, it is so frakked up translation wise that I can't even use it for anything beyond a door stop (true story). I'm taking Hebrew this summer and I cannot wait to get all pedantic and crazy about shit!
                    Oh language elitism, how you manage to establish and perpetuate discrimination with simple things like pronunciation and syntax! You have no idea how happy that story being true has made me, though. Poor Winny.

                    • Vikinhaw says:

                      I fully approve of correcting people and I am laughing so hard right now at the image of using a bad translation as a doorstop. The language person in me feels so happy at this. It's my dream to learn classical Hebrew! but you know jobs, money, life, awful distractions that keep me from doing what I want.

                      Edited to add: I remember the story! It's a translation of a Greek word 'agape' into 'love' vs 'charity' in the Tyndale vs King Jame's Bible.

                    • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                      Yep, it's those kinds of things that might seem small, but make a huge difference ultimately.

                  • Tauriel_ says:

                    Pointing out that people are wrong is a sensitive business. People can get emotional

                    "What's the product of 7 times 8?"
                    "Umm…. 55."
                    "No, that's incorrect."

                    😛 Yah, "respecting different opinions" doesn't really work in exact sciences like mathematics…

            • NopeJustMe says:

              Interesting. And even if it's a myth, it's still a damn good story 😀
              Couldn't have been War of the Roses though, the French weren't involved. That was a civil war in England between the Houses of Lancaster and York for the throne. Lancaster's symbol was a red rose, York's was a white rose, thus the name. The war only stopped when Henry Tudor (from the House of Lancaster) fell in love with and married Elizabeth of York (From the House of York). They combined their roses into the Tudor Rose (White rose within a red rose) and ruled England together.

              Huh…sounds a bit like a cheerful version of Romeo and Juliet…
              Sorry for the history lesson. I got a bit carried away…

              • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

                I thought War of the Roses wasn't right, but I could not for love or money remember what actually happened in the War of the Roses so I thought I'd hedge my bets.
                And now I'm glad i mentioned it because holy crap that's a great damn story! Amazing how hardcore roses can be, if you add some violence to them. 😀 I might read more about it now, because it does sound very dramatic and fun.

        • Tauriel_ says:

          OMG. FANART IDEA.



    • Tauriel_ says:

      Now I know why Shyamalan made Aang white. He's obviously British! XD

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Also, I couldn't pass on the opportunity to make it into a glorious GIF:

      <img src=""&gt;

  30. Pelleloguin says:

    Azula is a wonderful villain. She has friends….One who joined the circus and can take away your bending with a tap in the right place, and one who throws knives like no ones business. I love this. Not only does Azula have a past, but you want to know more about it and her. Great writing.

    As for zombies in Avatar Land….I hate zombies. With a fiery passion. I do not like anything with zombies in them. But if it meant that I could hang out with that lovely pink octopus, I would totally go zombie for that.

  31. bookling says:

    Yay! I love Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee. I mean, obviously I don't love Azula, but I love that the three of them are all so different. It's so rare so see so many different types of female characters on TV, especially TV aimed at children, so I think they're fantastic. And I love Mai's disaffected commentary.

  32. Tauriel_ says:

    Teehee… XD

    <img src=""&gt;

    I'm in an Avatar-meme-making mood! Wheee!

  33. Kaci says:


    *cough* Sorry. Just. It's really rare (for me, at least) to see women written the way they are (and Katara, and Yue, and Suki, and virtually every other woman on this show). That is, you know, well. HEART EYES FOREVER.

  34. thinofsubstance says:

    Aw, man, my comment got eaten! Noooooooo, all my commentary! Was it spoilery? D:

    • Your commentary was fine, but in your opening line you used a phrase that hasn't been used on the show yet. I saved your text so you can repost; it should come through in the e-mail.

      • thinofsubstance says:

        Ah, my bad! I'm afraid I'm not seeing the text in the email, though.

        • Huh, maybe I edited it out before the notification was sent. E-mail me at spectralbovine at livejournal dot com, and I'll send it to you! It was a fun comment, and I want to see it posted!

          • thinofsubstance says:

            Yay, thank you! Email has been sent.

            • tigerpetals says:

              Replying so I can get a notification when you post the comment.

              • thinofsubstance says:

                Comment has been posted! You can find it a little further down on this page. To the best of my knowledge, there isn't a way to link to individual comments, or I'd do that.

                • nanceoir says:

                  I've found it's not always the most consistent thing, but the comment permalink can be found where it says how long ago a comment was made. You know, the "1 hour ago" or "3 days ago" or whatever.

  35. RobotNinja says:

    When we recently watched this episode, a bunch of us decided that the baby's name should always be "Fire Nation Baby" even as he got older. I'm imagining some in a full Fire Nation navy uniform, and someone else runs up and says: "General Fire Nation Baby!" "Seriously, I don't want to be called that." "But, I thought that was your name sir."

    • TheWelshPirate says:

      Well, his name is Tom-Tom, which isn't much better.

      "What are your orders General Tom-Tom?"


    • Shamu says:

      Oh my god I am cracking up way harder than is appropriate over this comment. I DON'T EVEN.

    • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

      Oh my god! YES! Of course considering his family maybe he'd even be Governor Fire Nation Baby. I imagine him as this happy, chubby zen type guy, who totally rocks the name, since he was such a sweet infant.

  36. Jay Gatsby says:

    I used to be a huge fan of the show Daria, so I love Mai! She's basically Daria who can fight!

    "La la, la, la la! This is my stop–got to get off"

  37. TheWelshPirate says:

    That's a cool name, but I think I prefer Ozai's Angels.

  38. And that name is a spoiler as they are dubbed that by a character later on in the show. Shh!

    • TheWelshPirate says:

      Really? I didn't even remember that being used on the show. I'll have to keep an ear out for it as I do my re-watch.

  39. fantasylover120 says:

    Yay, you've gotten to the girls! I adore the trio of Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai. They're just so INTERESTING. I mean these three are totally different and you wouldn't think they'd be friends at like all, but there it is. It also brings into question Azula's character because you have to admit, it's interesting that she, as the supposed villian has these two great friends who are totally willing to go anywhere with her and Zuko, the non-villian (in terms of the Fire Nation anyway…I guess…never mind) has…well no friends really aside from his uncle who's more of a parental figure then a friend. It's just such an interesting dynamic to me and I love that it shows shades of gray too, because we've seen very little personality varying among the Fire Nation people up until now.

  40. Elexus Calcearius says:

    I get the sense that Ty Lee is the type of person who doesn't judge, and just wants everyone to be happy with butterflies and rainbows, and though she doesn't like how Azula treated her, she's a friend, right.

  41. thinofsubstance says:

    Take two!

    I have already expressed my love for Azula, so:


    TY LEE!!!


    Oh man. I love the Gaang, and pretty much everyone they meet, but there is a special place in my heart for these three. WARNING: TL;DR ahead. MY FEELINGS CAN'T BE CONTAINED. I DO WHAT I WANT.

    I love that Mai is so blase about nearly everything. Father's been made governor of a city? Whatever. Possible zombie plague outbreak? Whatever. UGH OMASHU IS SO BORING. Wait–is that an assassination attempt? FUCK YEAH! CHASE THAT MOFO DOWN AND THROW KNIVES AT HIM! Oh, he got away? Sigh. Whatever. Princess Azula coming to recruit you for some nebulous mission that will probably involve lots of danger? FUCK YEAH WHEN DO WE LEAVE?

    And Ty Lee! Who is darling, despite being on Azula's side! She's just so cheerful; it's hard to dislike her. And let us not forget that in addition to being ridiculously flexible (seriously, my spine hurts just thinking about it) she can also, oh yeah, INCAPACITATE YOU WITH A FEW BLOWS. Bad. Ass.

    I also love how differently they relate to Azula, and how their relationships are so well telegraphed with just a few lines. Ty Lee, bubbly and cheerful, is genuinely happy to see Azula despite the fact that Azula is clearly not a very good friend; Mai is just happy to have a ticket out of this place and a chance to have a little fun along the way.

    And not only do they get to have distinct relationships with Azula based on their different personalities, but they also get to have a relationship with each other! Mai and Ty Lee: my favorite unlikely BFFs.

    Mai: I thought you ran off and joined the circus? You said it was your calling.
    Ty Lee: Well, Azula called a little louder.

    So much characterization in so few lines. That's good writing.

    And because I haven't talked enough about Azula–she's a terrible friend. Truly terrible. But, to offer what little defense there is, I don't think she intended Ty Lee to be hurt. She knew Ty Lee was talented enough to prevail in the face of flaming nets and wild animals–she just wanted to make it clear that saying no wasn't a comfortable option.

    Basically: I love these three and I can't wait to see them more often.

    • tigerpetals says:

      I was going to say ignore my previous comment, but I just received a reply notification. Anyway yes. Ladies and the great variety thereof is a big reason for me to love this show.

    • Colin says:

      "So, I was tryin' to shank the Avatar, and he gets away, an' I'm like, "Whatever.""
      *guitar riff*
      "So, Azula comes rollin' up, with mah girl Ty Lee, and she's like, "Wanna go hunting?" and I'm like, "That's cool.""

  42. Ezra says:

    I adore Bumi! Though didn't Azula notice his bending? I hope they don't put him in an even more uncomfortable cage, if that's possible.

    And I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but without being spoilery I don't think it's fair to say that shipping is the reason that some people don't like Mai. It's a generalization that kind of cuts off good/rational discussion at the head.

  43. isoycrazy says:

    I think the Avatar has the Clark Kent power of disguise.

    As for Bumi not fighting, he seems to be the type to want to endanger only himself, so fighting when the invasion arrives would have put his citizens in harms way and many would have died.

    I do salute you if you are able to keep to your one episode a day promise.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      " I think the Avatar has the Clark Kent power of disguise."

      Costume bending is one of the lesser known extra elements, along with the ability to wipe minds with your tongue.

  44. @Ahavah22 says:

    This episode rocks!

    Firstly, shout-out for TomTom! He's adorable, and I'd watch an episode of him and Momo playing together. Sometimes, when I'm in a fanfictiony mood, I like to imagine what TomTom's life'll be like as he grows up.

    Next, TY LEE!!! The girl who ran away to join the circus, loves life, and totally has a pink aura! She's so much fun that I always have trouble seeing her as a bad guy…(plus, it's pretty awesome that she can fight on equal terms with master benders).

    MAI! I think the creators of the show described her tween-days like this "We just imagine her hanging out in her dark room, practicing throwing knives all day." I love that mental image of emo tween Mai, and I love that she's so snarky.

    The fight scene was spectacular, and I really like how Aang catches TomTom in the end and delivers him safely back to his parents…

    • Lariren says:

      Part of my head canon is that TomTom grows up to be a firebender. There's another part of that that I'm not sure is spoilery so I won't say it.

  45. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Not much to say about this episode except Mai is so goth and I love her already and I really REALLY want a pet Pentapus.

    They're so CUTE OMG.

  46. Pingback: Weblin Avatar » Mark Watches 'Avatar': S02E03 – Return To Omashu | Mark Watches

  47. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Oh, by the way, since you mentioned the fight scenes and how amazing they are, I thought I should mention how they reminded me of the fights in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
    I've never been much of one for fight scenes in a show (least interesting part usually), but FMA:B always made the action scenes seem different each time – you'd get people with completely different levels of skill, and different types of attack and the animation is flawless. So far, with ATLA, they've achieved that as well; I've never thought a fight has dragged.

    Actually, ATLA has reminded me a lot of FMA:B recently, maybe just because they're both animated shows that I LOVE. But I think it has a similar feel, kind of an epic scale to it, but very character based. Lots of kick-ass action but plenty of quiet and reflective moments too.

    • tigerpetals says:

      I'm more attached to ATLA and I think FMA:B is more plot-based than character based. I feel pretty distant from the characters there. But yes, the fight scenes are great and I usually just want fight scenes to be over so the interesting stuff can happen. Edited to add: Has this been recommended in the suggestions page?

      • Vikinhaw says:

        I love FMA:B! It's my absolute favourite anime! *Must suppress squee and make relevant comments*
        It is probably more plot/theme based than character based but I'm still madly attached to the characters. It does have good characterization but not at first (is that spoilery?). And the fight scenes are Awesome. I can't decide whether I like Avatar's or FMA:B's more.

        Also yes it is on the suggestions page (pg 2, there's a list up somewhere of all the suggestions) and it's put together with the first anime FMA but thankfully people are not insulting each other over which is better. I really love this blog, it's a nice civil corner of the internet.

        • FlameRaven says:

          I followed FMA all the way from its humble beginnings (happened to catch the premiere of the original anime on TV in Japan) and it's officially my Favorite Anything Ever. The manga, at least. I didn't get all the way through Brotherhood, although I should really catch up. I will say that Brotherhood tended to be pretty rushed for the first 10-15 episodes, because they're essentially skipping over the plot of the first 25 episodes of the original/first 4 volumes of the manga, under the assumption you've seen it already. So that could be problematic. I also found the pacing to be slightly off in the anime, and somehow, adding color actually removed some of the punch in certain scenes– although I suspect that's just because Arakawa used her greytones so masterfully any change felt weird. But it's an amazing series with fantastic characters and the tightest plot I have ever seen. I've been meaning to go back and read the whole thing now that it's complete, because holy shit… everything ties together. Everything. I have yet to see any other series do it so well.

          Mind you, AtLA and Sandman are close contenders for the #2 spot. AtLA is ranked slightly less because fantastic as it is, it's a children's show and so while they give a lot of hints on different topics, they can't quite go there. FMA goes there.

          • Vikinhaw says:

            My intro to FMA was when I was watching TV in Japan and The Dreaded Movie came on which I liked even though I watched it from halfway through and had never even heard of it before. After that I had to go look it up. I started at the movie and read the manga last. I worked my way from the worst to the best of it.

            Yeah the beginning of Brotherhood isn't great. I mean it's not bad but it's just not as good compared to later in the series. It's understandable given that the writers had to please both the people who saw the first anime, the manga fans and any new ones who know nothing. I was lucky I knew nothing about the manga and could just enjoy it.

            I actually finished Brotherhood so, without giving away too much, it gets better and the animation gets better the more it goes on. There are a few things that are actually done better than in the manga and believe me I wouldn't say that unless it was really that good (though the manga's still superior obv).

      • Meatandsarcasm says:

        The manga and both series have already been suggested. I'd love to see Mark at least read the manga.

    • Rachel says:

      THANK YOU!!! I was just thinking, "If Mark likes these fight sequences, he should really get into Fullmetal Alchemist." And you beat me to it! I actually watched A:TLA first, then immediately saw FMA afterwards and fell completely in love with it. I actually look forward to the fights in that show, as well as the mind-blowing plot.

      That was the beginning of my love for anime. It hasn't slowed down since…

    • Meatandsarcasm says:

      I was about to say something about Brotherhood!

      They certainly have a similar feel to them since both handle some of the same issues and have similar themes.

  48. TheWelshPirate says:

    ^LOL, for some reason I just imagine Azula responding to that by growling "IM BATMAN".

  49. Avit says:

    Memory is malleable that way. Elizabeth Loftus would enjoy that scene, I think 😛

  50. Hotaru_hime says:

    The trifecta that is Azula, Mai, and Ty-Lee! Finally- this is the best trio of villains EVER.
    But I'm going to point out Azula's Anti-Social Personality Disorder yet again- these two girls are NOT her friends. She may call them her friends, they may call themselves her friends, but they are really more like higher-ranking soldiers for Azula. Mai and Ty-Lee have obviously been at Azula's beck and call for a long time- maybe they were the only higher ranking nobles that were the same age as Azula back in the Fire Nation.
    The trio also makes me think of Batman villians- Ty Lee would be Harley Quinn, Azula would be Joker, Mai would be… who? Poison Ivy? Catwoman? Are there any apathetic villains in Batman?
    Anyways, the plight of Omashu!! I'm sure Oma and Shu would be very sad to see the kingdom that was founded in their name under the control of the Fire Nation. The Fire Nation governor seemed nice, though.
    Bumi's surrender might have been more tactful than not. I don't know how many resources Omashu has, but I'm sure it would be easy for the Fire Nation to barricade them and starve them out. We also don't know what Omashu has as far as military goes… so they probably wouldn't be able to fight off the Fire Nation (who has been at war for 100 years, so they know what they're doing). A peaceful surrender would have led to less casualties than to fight and destroy the city itself. As far as the citizens of Omashu, I want to believe that Bumi managed to get more than a few out and that who we see are the remainder. But I haven't rewatched the episode, so I can't say for sure.
    But yeah! Love this season!

  51. thinofsubstance says:

    At the end of the episode, Azula's telling them they're going after Iroh, Zuko, and the Avatar.

    <img src="; width="500" height="320">

    Ty Lee: It'll be interesting seeing Zuko again, won't it, Mai?
    (Mai looks away and smiles slightly.)

    <img src="; width="500" height="320">

  52. TheWelshPirate says:

    It's when Ty Lee gives Mai a sly look and says "It will be interesting to see Zuko again, won't it Mai?", and Mai looks a way with a little smile.

    Ty Lee = cutest troll EVAH.

  53. Vikinhaw says:

    I love it when shows have women as antagonists! and more than one woman as an antagonist! It's just so rare to see it done. While I love Katara to pieces I did think of her as the Smufette of the group (I know there have been other great female characters and the writers have been pretty good with addressing sexism but she's the only regular) and then the shows comes along with three excellent villains with wildly different personalities. Hurray for good writing!

    I actually had a big problem with Mai at first. Her lack of concern for her brother comes off as callous and malicious. Your bother is in danger and may be dead. Your parents are distraught. Care a little. So that impression kind of informed my perception of all her appearances. Though I think alot of people hated her due to shipping (I ship whatever the writers ship, I'm so unimaginative)

    I really grew to like her and on re-watch I'm loving her and her sarcasm.

    • FlameRaven says:

      I love Mai because she's an amazing commentary on the bored goth stereotype. Which is fantastic, because the writers manage to poke fun at an often affected, false attitude while still making the character completely her own person and interesting as well. She's not my favorite, but I do enjoy her quite a bit.

  54. TheWelshPirate says:

    I think Azula definitely qualifies as a strait-up sociopath. It seems that she is incapable of trusting anybody who doesn't fear her.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Yep, definitely a sociopath. So far. God knows how her character might evolve…

      • TheWelshPirate says:

        That's what makes this show so great. Even at this point in the story, Zuko and Iroh are shining examples that you can never be sure how a character might develop.

  55. arctic_hare says:

    The first part of your comment counts as a spoiler, so I am deleting it.

  56. Anseflans says:

    Can I please just be Ty Lee? Please?

  57. Thennary Nak says:

    Interesting note about the fight scene is that it's a partial recycle from the 15 minute pilot episode of AtLA Mike and Bryan did. You can find it on the bonus disc for the Season 1 boxset of the series and I think it's a real interesting watch as it comes with a commentary so you can hear what got changed for what reason and then there's things in it that they got to eventually use in the TV series that's fun to spot when watching the series. Plus it's obviously out of canon so you really can't spoil yourself watching it.

  58. __Jen__ says:

    YANA. 😀

  59. awildmiri says:

    But there’s a part of me that thinks it might be fun on an intellectual level to try another series I’m bound to dislike, if only because I am in fear of repeating myself or becoming stale to all of you who choose to read my writing.

    I kind of want to recommend Supernatural to you here, because while I love the show and love the characters and think there are definitely one or two who would be right up your street, it's also majorly problematic when it comes to certain things, and you could have a lot of rant material regarding it.

    (….As long as you stay away from the majority of fandom.)

  60. stefb says:

    I love how in 'The Deserter' Sokka can't handle the hotness/spiciness(?) of fire flakes AT ALL, but here, Mai eats them like they were Skittles/M&Ms/peanuts/cashews/etc.

  61. FlameRaven says:

    I love reading these reviews because they remind me just how awesome Avatar is. I mean, I know it's awesome, but when I rewatch, I tend to rewatch very specific episodes, a handful in Season 2 and 3 (almost never 1) that are usually character-centric rather than plot-heavy. I don't see the rest of the series much, although in fairness, I've seen the whole thing through about four times by now. Still, reading these reviews reminds me just how important and integral everything is in this show and how beautifully it all comes together.

    And, of course, I do get to cackle in anticipation at how unprepared you are for everything that comes after. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

  62. Bard says:

    Speaking of ridiculously creative fight scenes, you may want to check out the first Fullmetal Alchemist series.

  63. Delia says:

    Slight nitpicking here but Mai and her family are not royals. Her father is just a governor and the "palace" is like an embassy.

  64. NopeJustMe says:

    Those old women are creepppyyyy
    I like the ominous music that plays when the baby first goes after Momo. Poor Momo probably saw it as a monster coming after him.
    Sokka hugged Flopsy!
    Ty Lee! Another bad guy I feel sorry for. You wouldn't want a 'friend' like Azula.
    That baby is so cute (oh sure, give him a weapon to play with guys)
    I like how all three girls are colour-coordinated depending on their personalities. Ty Lee is pink with simple clothing. Azula's clothes have harsher lines, more like a uniform, in fire nation colours. Mai's are long and dark, black and solemn to go with her mood.
    Bumi gets points for an epic entrance. Lowered down as a prisoner in a metal coffin? "Hi everybody!!"

    • TheWelshPirate says:

      "That baby is so cute (oh sure, give him a weapon to play with guys) "

      To be fair, it was just Sokka's whale-bone club. No sharp edges to hurt himself on.

      And I always liked Mai's robes a lot. When Appa sends Mai and Ty Lee flying off the scaffolding, the way Mai's robes flap in the wind give me this mental image of a bat crossed with a butterfly. Isn't that just perfect for her?

  65. MichelleZB says:

    "I felt there was a poetic parallel to “The Northern Air Temple” here, as we see how another culture can take over a city and ruin it, as opposed to how the earth benders used the temple to survive in last season’s episode."

    Okay, I feel bad for nitpicking. I really do. I love your reviews, Mark. So much.

    But not everyone who lives in the Earth Kingdom is an earthbender. The kind folks that took over the Northern Air Temple were just regular citizens of the Earth Kingdom. Maybe some of them were earthbenders, but not any that we saw in that episode.

    Now back to regularly scheduled gushing about Avatar. Carry on.

  66. bookgal12 says:

    I feel bad for not watching this yesterday, but I am glad to commenting anyways! I loved this episode because it introduces us to Mai, Ty Lee and they form a bad-ass team with Azula. I was literally clapping with delight when I saw Mai. I love Mai for many reasons, mostly because of her unshakable boredum with everything even after her first brief battle with Katara. I am always interested in how non-benders fight, and Mai and Ty Lee do not dissapoint in any regard to how bad ass they are. I find it interesting how three girls with three distinctive personalities can get along but as some of the commenters have said, Azula controls her friends along with everyone else through fear. I am always blown away by avatar's writers and how they continue to create bad-ass female characters that girls/women can look up to or be admiring of.

    Onto Team Avatar, I admired Aang's drive to want Bumi, despite the danger of the fire nation in Omashu. I think it has a LOT to do with the fact that Bumi is probably Aang's only friend that is still alive from 100 years ago. As much as I'd like to see Bumi as Aang's master, I think team avatar will benefit from whoever Aang finds. I want to say more but that is going deeply into spoiler territory.

    Finally, Mark this last bit is directed towards you about your writing being "stale", I've been following you since your days at buzznet and believe me, there is no way I could ever think your writing as stale. These reviews have brought much needed awesomeness to my life. Keep up the good work Mark!
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  67. Colin says:

    The soundtrack deserves mention; a lovely touch is when we first meet Ty Lee and her movements are punctuated by lighthearted guzheng picks, then drowned out by the chill of Azula's theme.

  68. jeno says:

    She can give Ezio a run for his money.

  69. Lileh says:

    I love Mai sososo much. She is the most hated character in the fandom but she is so under appreciated.

    I love how the show balances out bending with real weapons knowledge and fighting skills. It shows that bending doesn't automatically make you a powerful person. It's all down to a persons skills and will power to overcome their opponent.

    • Matt Thermo says:

      She's the most hated character by a very specific portion of the fandom (who shall not be named). Everyone else loves her.

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    *grins widely*

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  76. Michelle says:

    Did I miss an announcement saying Mark would only do ATLA four days of the week? I keep expecting reviews on Mondays and I'm confused (and impatient, ha!).

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  79. sakiexcel says:

    And TLA didn't trace things and then go to great lengths to cover that up (…although that would have improved the Chinese writing in TLA).

    But I do think that roughly the same amount of effort (i.e. none) went into making both.

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