Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S03E12 – The Firebending Masters

In the twelfth episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko experiences a loss of his fire bending ability due to his new alliance, so Toph suggests they find the source of the original fire benders for inspiration. Also: BADGERMOLES. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Avatar.

I could honestly watch an entire day’s worth of interactions between Aang and Zuko. Like the addition of Toph, the new dynamic between the characters is so fascinating and interesting to me, and I really am saddened that there are so few opportunities left for these people to be all on the screen at the same time without wanting to destroy one another. I have certainly enjoyed season three a lot, but this episode and the last seem to exist on another plane compared to the others. Adding Zuko to the bunch has easily made this season so much better than everything else we’ve seen.

It’s almost a surreal experience, really. I never thought we’d actually see Aang and Zuko alongside one another, Zuko trying to teach the Avatar fire bending. It’s still a little weird to me, but it’s not going to be hard to get used to. Thankfully, though, the writers haven’t forgotten who Zuko is. While we saw his more good-natured and guilt-ridden side in “The Western Air Temple,” I appreciate that Zuko’s temper is not forgotten. Just because he’s on the path to his true destiny doesn’t mean he isn’t easily riled, and we see small bits of that familiar attitude of his. at the same time, though, he’s much, much more subdued than before, and his outbreaks are confined to some understandable bouts of frustration.

The main frustration that fuels “The Firebending Masters” is Zuko’s sudden inability to produce fire bending at all. It’s expected that Aang is going to be terrible at it, but why can’t Zuko do what he’s been able to do for years? When he confronts the rest of the group with this fact, Katara and Sokka can’t resist being as sarcastic as possible to him. Which…I get it! I honestly do! How else are they going to deal with the reality of their past? I imagine I’d do exactly the same thing. Still, there’s a part of me that just wants everyone to get along so that everything is just unicorn bending and cookies. Or something.

The first sign that this episode was going to be one of my favorites was when Toph suggested that Zuko should find the source of fire bending, since he no longer wanted to bend out of anger or rage. That’s actually a fascinating idea to me, too. I’m at a point in my life where I’ve been angry for nearly fifteen years, and I’m starting to let go of a lot of that. Being angry or full of rage is just so…tiring after a while. And I’m tired. So I loved that I got to see Zuko actively trying to change that, which makes Toph’s suggestion all the more fascinating.

On top of that, she shares with the group the origin of earth bending: BADGERMOLES! I will always celebrate the return of those glorious creatures. It’s beautiful that, like Toph, they are blind creatures who used their lack of sight to develop these amazing powers of earth bending. I honestly wish that we could have gotten more, but the real focus of this episode is the untold story of where fire bending actually came from. Zuko claims it originally came from dragons, but that the Fire Nation wiped them out, along with the ancient Sun Warriors, who had their techniques stolen and warped into a more aggressive style.

And so, Zuko and Aang head off to ruins of the Sun Warriors in the hopes that something is left behind that might help them learn about the true source of fire bending.  Don’t get me wrong; I love the setting here, I love how mysterious and suspenseful the journey into the Sun Warrior temple is, and the parallels to Aztec culture. I really do. BUT. This episode’s real treat is seeing Aang and Zuko work together for twenty minutes straight. It seems Aang has entirely warmed up to the idea of Zuko helping him out, and I’m so glad to see how well they get along together.

In the process of watching these two interact, we get more history about the world of Avatar. I was initially shocked that of all people, Uncle Iroh was the person to bring about the end of the dragons, having conquered the last one and earning his namesake as the “Dragon of the West.” It seemed…out of character for him. But Zuko corrects Aang, who makes the same observation. Iroh had a complicated past, he says. It seems like a statement about himself as well. oh gosh it’s like Zuko is a mini Iroh.

The two work their way into the temple after Zuko “tricks” the sunstone on a locked door using one of his swords. Aang immediately complements Zuko’s intelligence, and it’s a remarkably tender scene between the two of them, despite how short it is. They’re not around the rest of the group, and the two feel comfortable enough to speak openly with one another too. It’s also a part of the greater theme for “The Firebending Masters.” The obvious reference in the title is towards the masters that Aang and Zuko meet at the end of the episode, but it’s also about these two young men who have to work together in order to achieve their goal of defeating the Fire Lord.

Working together doesn’t mean perfection, though. It’s still a bit awkward for the two of them, and it’s not like they’ve been friends their entire lives. The two enter the Sun Warriors temple, and Aang asks Zuko to dance. Millions of fanfics popped up later that day. But it does highlight how these two characters are still quite different. Aang is used to keeping his sense of humor just within reach (I blame that on Sokka), where Zuko is still a deeply serious person. (Actually, on that note, I thought he was going to FINALLY laugh at the very end of the episode, but he didn’t. JUST LAUGH ONCE, ZUKO.)

The dance that the two act out produces a pedestal. With a golden age? Was there a dragon inside of it? Whatever, all I know is Aang is totally and completely right. You never take a gem or treasure off of a pedestal! Haven’t you seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, dude??? It’s always a trap!

I honestly thought that this episode would be like “Bitter Work,” except it would be Aang and Zuko stuck for the entirety of the story, talking through their differences and whatnot. Which would not have been a bad thing, now that I think about it! So you can imagine my surprise when the Sun Warriors arrive to free them, but not necessarily for a good reason. HOW ARE THEY ALIVE BY THE WAY.

From here on out, “The Firebending Masters” is one of the most gripping and amusing episodes of the whole show. God, I love this so much. Again, the parallels to the Aztec culture are done incredibly well, first of all, and I love how respectful the people who run this show are of other cultures. More important, though, is the fact that Aang and Zuko are given a task to see if they are worthy of being taught by the two original firebenders. For them, it’s a chance to develop what they lack, as both are on opposite ends of the spectrum concerning firebending. Aang, still a bit traumatized from harming Katara, is timid and reluctant to even try to bend fire himself, where Zuko is too willing to let fire take over everything without any sense of control.

As the two head up a mountain to meet with Ran and Shaw, the two masters, it’s the first chance for us to see Zuko having more control and power than Aang does. While Zuko is dealing with his own problems, he at least is innately familiar with fire. Aang, on the other hand, is still terrified of the concept, moving slowly up the hill in fear of putting his flame out. But Zuko gives him an unexpected statement of encouragement, giving Aang his faith that he can do this.

So the two head up the top of the mountain, where a circular and impressive lair spreads out before them. It’s time for the two of them to face the firebending masters and be judged. Which….sounds incredibly terrifying? I mean, they aren’t even given the terms of what they’ll be judged by! Even though Aang has faced unknowable terrors and some pretty gnarly enemies in the past, I do understand why this completely freaks him out. He’s so set on the fact that fire can only really destroy that he worries both about facing and possessing that sort of power.

And he lets his fire burn out.

I like that as serious as this all, this episode still has a few stellar moments of humor; watching Aang try furiously to get just a bit of Zuko’s fire was both hilarious and a way to show how tense this situation was. Of course, when Zuko’s fire went out, I thought for certain that this was not going to end well.

Oh, then the dragons showed up.


Not just any dragons, but they look exactly like the dragons in Zuko’s dream back in Ba Sing Se. You can see the awe and horror in Zuko’s eyes as he gazes upon creatures he believed to be extinct. As the two dragons, one red, one blue, begin to fly around Aang and Zuko in some sort of complicated choreography, Aang suddenly has an idea.

He asks Zuko to dance. Again. I only now just realized it, but what Aang and Zuko lacked was harmony. By working together to do the dance of the dragons, both of them realized what they were missing and what they needed. When the two dragons send a jet of fire at the two of them and it spirals up into a column of multi-colored fire, I honestly couldn’t believe what I was watching. This was one of the coolest moments in the whole show.

The problem with both Aang and Zuko was that they had failed to realize that fire is both  energy and life. It seems that Zuko has found the way to finally shed the anger and rage he’d lived with for three years by fully pursuing his destiny of helping Aang defeat his father. For Aang, though, he’s clung to fully to the idea that fire bending is one-dimensional, that it serves only one person. I get why he did that, but it took the dragons to help him realize that there’s a beauty to fire, and he needed to accept that to move on. Now, Aang and Zuko, able to firebend, are now ready to begin further training, standing on the right side of history. They learn that they’re also not the first: Iroh, it turns out, obviously did not kill the last dragon; instead, he swore to the Sun Warriors that he would keep the place a secret, lying to the rest of the world in order to protect the last two dragons. Ugh, Iroh, you are seriously my favorite.

Oh, and seriously, don’t tell anyone.


  • “Still think we can take them?” “Shut up, I never said that!” LOL NOW IT’S A BAD IDEA, OF COURSE.
  • Oh god, the look on the Sun Warriors’ faces when Aang and Zuko are fighting over fire. PRICELESS.
  • “Now that you have learned about the secrets and the tribe’s existence, we have no choice but to imprison you forever. Just kidding! But seriously, don’t tell anyone.”
  • I’m going to start exclaiming, “Monkey feathers!” when I’m upset.
  • SIFU HOTMAN. my god.
  • Only Sokka would come up with “jerkbending.” Bless!
  • “No, Zuko needs to go back to whatever the original source of Firebending is.” “Sooo….is it jumping into a volcano?” RIGHT? It totally makes sense!
  • Sokka trying to make Zuko angry = true love.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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254 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S03E12 – The Firebending Masters

  1. brotorious says:

    <img src=""&gt;


    he joined last episode, but now we get to see it in full:
    zuko and aang acting most brofully to each other.

    the crew is complete
    <img src=""&gt;

    a personal favorite. one of the funniest episodes ever. very character-based and perfect timing.
    PLUS the creators give slash pairings some love.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • brotorious says:

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


      • Jay Gatsby says:

        You realize that Aang and Zuko are spiritually related to each other? (Roku was Zuko's grandfather). SPIRITUAL INCEST! :O

        • Tauriel_ says:

          You're wrong by a generation – Roku was Zuko's great-grandfather. 😉

          But yeah, still incest… XD

          • Tauriel_ says:

            Your comment must be approved by the site admins before it will appear publicly.

            What the heck?

    • echinodermata says:

      My life was not complete until I saw that Pokemon crossover fanart.

      <3 <3 <3

    • lastyearswishes says:

      omg that Pokemon picture is PERFECTION.

    • Hotaru_hime says:


      • herpestidae says:

        But Spearow learns Flying-Type moves first.

        • Hotaru_hime says:

          Spearow comes equipped with Peck, but Pidgey learns Gust before Spearow, if Spearow learns it at all.

          • herpestidae says:

            Spearow doesn't learn Gust.

            But, generally speaking, Spearow is more "usable" in-game than Pidgey would be Smaller movepool notwithstanding, Spearow/Fearow naturally learns aerial ace and Drill peck, which you won't get from the Pidgey line. Admittedly, though they're both awful in a competitive setting (Fearow slightly more awful than Pidgeot), and get outclassed by Staraptor anyway.

            • echinodermata says:

              My, this is a geeky conversation. But I only know the first 151 pokemon, so I lost you there.

              • herpestidae says:

                Seriously… be thankful you got out when you did.

                We hard-core trainers have to deal with about 600 now, and I swear that this new generation that just got released was set out specifically to rip the current metagame a new one. I'd give an example, but you probably wouldn't understand it anyway.

                • echinodermata says:

                  I just know that they introduced breeding and day/night, and I figured there was a significant learning curve after the first generation that I didn't bother to continue.

                  (Although I know I watched the anime a little past the first gen pokemon, so I remember seeing that strong-willed grass (I think?) pokemon and one that was a blue beetle that liked tree sap.)

              • affableevil says:

                I'm half ashamed and half proud that I can do that whole Sporcle game where you name all 151 original Pokemon.

                • echinodermata says:

                  Wave your geek flag proudly.

                  I recently did the "drug or pokemon" game, and I'm pretty sure I did worse than random chance.

                • Hotaru_hime says:

                  Don't be ashamed, I can do it too!
                  I always forget Krabby or Doduo though.

                • lossthief says:

                  I've done something similar. Last summer during MRHP, I decided to memorize, in order, all of the HP chapter titles.

            • Hotaru_hime says:

              I only really acknowledge the original 151 and some from the second generation- it's too exhausting otherwise. My friend has almost completed the current Pokedex- she has around 590 pokemon.

    • Elanor Pam says:

      Avatarmon: WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN.

  2. lilah80 says:

    Sorry for the delay on yesterday's diary entry, I was on vacation!

    The Western Air Temple
    "Dear Diary,
    Well, I burned Toph and almost fell to my death, but I think it still went about as well as could be expected. I feel pretty guilty for setting that assassin on them, so I thought about trying to win them over through song, but all the Fire Nation ones I know are about conquering things. And somehow I don't feel as much like performing Forever Flaming Darkness as I used to. I think that "Rage! Part Three" needs some work, anyway. The eighth stanza's rhyming scheme seems off. Got to go, Katara's glaring at me and Sokka keeps trying to see what I'm writing." – Zuko

    The Firebending Masters
    "Dear Diary,
    First of all, I don't see how I was supposed to not pick up the golden egg. It's a golden egg that raised up from the floor after an intricate dance-maneuver lock was opened in a chamber which can only be entered at the solstice, in an ancient mystical Sun Warrior city, how can you not touch it? Although I think I still have slime in my left ear. Whatever, the point is that it could have happened to anybody. (Anybody not raised by monks and fated to save the world through the use of the four elements, that is.) I can't wait to demonstrate my new firebending techniques against my sister. But Azula must never find out about Ran and Shaw, because I'm pretty sure she'd have them made into red & blue luggage." – Zuko

  3. @maybegenius says:

    I love Adorable!Zuko SO MUCH. OMG these post-joining-Team-Avatar episodes just make me want to PINCH HIS CHEEKS. For some reason, Happy!Zuko from last season (after his fever) didn't feel at all right to me. But painfully awkward Zuko? Totes works.

    ANYWAY. This episode make my heart fill to bursting.

    1) Zuko and Aang ~*are becoming friends*~ AAAAAWWW
    2) "That one kind of felt hot!" "DON'T PATRONIZE ME."
    4) Mind if I watch you two jerks do your jerkbending, lolololol. OH SOKKA.
    5) I love how the group's still a little wary around Zuko, but he's slowly being absorbed. Um. Yeah.
    6) Katara, YOU ARE SO ANGRY. It's okay, I understand. BUT MAN. BURN. HA, BURN.
    7) A quest! A quest! A quest! A quest for AANG AND ZUKO. TOGETHER. AS BUDDIES.
    8) Toph learning from the badger-moles! Eeeeee so cute!
    9) "My fire went out! Give me some of yours!" "No, just make your own! Get some from the warriors! STOP CHEATING OFF ME!"
    10) Dear God, I love the Dragon Dance. So, so beautiful. It makes me teary eyed.

    <img src=""&gt;

    12) Iroh continues to be a badass even when he's offscreen.
    13) "We have no choice but to imprison you here FOREVER. …… JUST KIDDING. But seriously, don't tell anyone."
    14) "IT'S NOT A DANCE, IT'S A FIREBENDING FORM." "Oh yeah? What's your little form called?" "……. The Dancing Dragon."
    16) A LOT
    18) *TEAR*

  4. echinodermata says:

    Tiny Toph! Who ran away from home and isn't afraid of gigantic animals she can't see! (I assume her sense of "sight" isn't so developed in this flashback as it is when we meet her.) Awwww.
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    I like how Toph thinks that learning bending from animals is the most natural thing in the world. And that therefore, the obvious solution is that Zuko should seek out the original firebenders. I love that Toph sees bending as a connection to the natural world, and that she would have no other teacher than the originals. Toph is pragmatic, and often utilitarian, so I really appreciate how this reasoning flows so easily from her personality. Find the best, then watch and listen. Simple, but effective. And it leads to an interesting resolution.

    I mean, a secret civilization! And dragons!
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    I'm glad we get to finally see Aang firebending, and happy and eager to do so. Also makes me appreciate The Deserter from season 1 even more, since it better reflects that Aang has a journey, and it's in part about his own character and not just what he must achieve. Firebending represented a big emotional obstacle for him, and I'm glad we both witnessed his struggle and watched him overcome his fears. And this episode also makes very clear just how wrong Jeong Jeong was about the nature of firebending. He considered it destruction, but so clearly it doesn't have to be. So it's nice to see a celebration of firebending without it being used as a weapon of war. But this celebration wouldn't be as victorious had we not encountered Jeong Jeong's philosophy previously. So I consider this episode to be the two-seasons-later counterpart to The Deserter, because together, they nicely represent the duality of how consistently we see firebending being used for war, but that the actions of people do not alter the essense of firebending itself. (And the end of this paragraph sounds pretty pretentious. Whoops.)

  5. echinodermata says:

    Tiny Toph! Who ran away from home and isn't afraid of gigantic animals she can't see! (I assume her sense of "sight" isn't so developed in this flashback as it is when we meet her.) Awwww.
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    I like how Toph thinks that learning bending from animals is the most natural thing in the world. And that therefore, the obvious solution is that Zuko should seek out the original firebenders. I love that Toph sees bending as a connection to the natural world, and that she would have no other teacher than the originals. Toph is pragmatic, and often utilitarian, so I really appreciate how this reasoning flows so easily from her personality. Find the best, then watch and listen. Simple, but effective. And it leads to an interesting resolution.

    I mean, a secret civilization! And dragons!
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    I'm glad we get to finally see Aang firebending, and happy and eager to do so. Also makes me appreciate The Deserter from season 1 even more, since it better reflects that Aang has a journey, and it's in part about his own character and not just what he must achieve. Firebending represented a big emotional obstacle for him, and I'm glad we both witnessed his struggle and watched him overcome his fears. And this episode also makes very clear just how wrong Jeong Jeong was about the nature of firebending. He considered it destruction, but so clearly it doesn't have to be. So it's nice to see a celebration of firebending without it being used as a weapon of war. But this celebration wouldn't be as victorious had we not encountered Jeong Jeong's philosophy previously. So I consider this episode to be the two-seasons-later counterpart to The Deserter, because together, they nicely represent the duality of how consistently we see firebending being used for war, but that the actions of people do not alter the essense of firebending itself. (And the end of this paragraph sounds pretty pretentious. Whoops.)

  6. shirtninjas says:

    Is it just me, or is the art in this episode really Metalocalypse-y?

  7. Amanda Violet says:

    Augh, so much bromance. I love it.

    I love that smile Zuko has when Aang says that he's "pretty smart."

  8. FlameRaven says:

    You know what makes this episode even more awesome?

    Think back. WAY back, to season one. Remember that crown Momo brought them?
    <img src=""&gt;

    It's a freaking SUN WARRIOR CROWN. With the dragons and everything.

    :DDD It's these little details that make the show extra awesome.

  9. chichichimaera says:

    FUCK YEAH DRAGONS! Aka Zuko and Aang bonding. It's funny and kind of adorable. And yet they do end up getting along quite well, even if Zuko isn't used to having a 'positive attitude', not after the number of times the Universe has punched him in the face, and 'fun' isn't exactly something he's used to either. (Hey Zuko come dance with me!)

    Fire is life. You know, that's something I think Jeong-Jeong really ought to hear at some point. It might help his self-hate issues…

    Some more Texts From The Fire Nation .
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

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

  10. kartikeya200 says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    "Zuko? I think the past is trying to kill me."

    You guys, you guys, you guys. Dragons. How can I not like this episode? I mean, I think I have episodes I like (slightly) better, but the dragon dance sequence is probably my favorite bit of animation in the series. Period.

    Oh, but first, Toph steals my attention:

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    Because that's the most awesome and adorable sequence ever. Awesomedorable? I DON'T KNOW. I love how it's just in there, like 'oh by the way, Toph learned from badgermoles, DEAL WITH IT.'

    <img src=""&gt;

    So Zuko had a fever dream about a red dragon and a blue dragon, pulling him in opposite directions, with the voices of Iroh and Azula. Then Iroh and Azula proceed to do pretty much that in Crossroads of Destiny. But here we are again, with ACTUAL red and blue dragons (and they look the same), and once more Zuko is between them, but he's also with the Avatar, and the dragons are echoing each other in movement, opposites but in harmony, and from them, he learns how to firebend using something other than his anger. Basically, the actual dragons are in balance.

    Look, I don't know if it's meant to be that symbolic, but it works for me.

    <img src=""&gt;

    And Iroh continues to be an unending badass even when he's not on the screen. He met Ran and Shaw! And he lied about killing the last dragon so that people would stop hunting them. Can we please have a flashback episode showing nothing but this?

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    So let's do a tally of the horrific losses the world has suffered thanks to the Fire Nation going out of balance and starting this war:

    Air Nomads: Wiped out
    Airbenders: Wiped out, except for a twelve year old boy
    Sky Bison: Extinct, except for one
    Flying Lemurs: Not extinct, as Momo had to come from somewhere and there are offhand references to characters seeing others around, but they seem kind've rare these days, don't they?
    Dragons: Extinct, except for two (and I've always suspected that egg Aang and Zuko find is an actual egg.)
    Southern Water Tribe Waterbenders: Wiped out, except for two: one fourteen(?) year old girl, and one highly traumatized evil old woman, who just got sent back to prison anyway.

    Actually, there's a thought: if the Sky Bison were the first Airbenders, and that's where the Air Nomads learned it from, then them going extinct was probably intentional wasn't it?

    Sozin, you fail at all the things. FOREVER.

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    The Sun Warriors were descendants of the most ancient Firebending culture. The designers looked at Mayan ruins for inspiration.

    I enjoy the shift in focus Firebending gets in this episode. Jeong Jeong, despite being a Firebending master, hated his firebending because he saw it as only being able to cause destruction and pain. I don't think he really did Aang any favors there, because once Aang realized the actual danger of firebending, I think he took on that attitude as well: firebending springs from anger and can only cause terrible things to happen, so I'm not going to firebend ever again.

    Here, however, firebending is put in a new light: Firebending is life and energy, fueled by the sun. "It's like a little heartbeat" Aang says when he holds it. There's still an emphasis on controlling it so that it doesn't consume everything, but both Aang and Zuko, as well as the audience, learn that firebending has its own beauty. It isn't evil.

    And I'm reminded of some of the very first lines Iroh speaks in this show: "Power from Firebending comes from the breath." And then we see him actually breathe fire when he references his Dragon of the West title. Oh, Iroh.

    • FlameRaven says:

      Well, actually, this kind of makes things interesting and a little more hopeful: if the sky bison are the original airbenders, and it's established that you can learn bending from the original sources (even something as obscure as learning from the moon!) then possibly between Aang and Appa they could teach people airbending and start up the Air Nomads again? I don't imagine it would ever be the same, but… Aang already said that the people living at the Northern Air Temple were halfway there, and presumably there are some descendants of air nomads around somewhere. If they can teach the art, then there's another answer to repopulating the air nation besides Aang fathering a ridiculous number of babies.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Also, I think Aang (rot13 for spoilers) pbhyq hfr uvf Raretloraqvat gb tvir crbcyr nveoraqvat cbjre. Ubj nobhg gubfr Rnegu Xvatqbz ershtrrf sebz gur Abegurea Nve Grzcyr? Ur nyernql pbzzraqrq gurve fcvevg; V guvax vg jbhyq or n ybiryl erjneq sbe nyy gurve uryc vs ur tnir Grb naq uvf sevraqf gur cbjre bs nveoraqvat, fb gung gurl pbhyq fgneg gur arj Nve Abznqf pvivyvfngvba.

        • FlameRaven says:

          Yeah, I think that's also a definite possibility. I would love to see people learning from Appa though.

          Appa: GRRRRAAAR!
          Aang: Appa says you need to think higher!

    • monkeyfeathers says:

      Related to everything dying out, when Aang says that there were lots of dragons a hundred years ago, I can't help but think "yeah, just like there were lots of airbenders."

      I like to think that the pair of dragons are male and female (or both female, maybe dragons can reproduce through parthenogenesis), the egg is real, and there are wild herds of sky bison that we haven't run into.

    • Bard Child says:

      I liked how they reffed Mayan culture (which honestly was a change of direction from the heavy imperialistic asian flavor they have for the FN)

      But I also saw some Thai flavor too especially from the paintings. I would love it if the creators drew more Imperial Siam(Thailand) for the FN

    • notemily says:

      Wow. A couple of these look like photographs!

    • beeftony says:

      And breath is what gives us life, so it looks like the lesson Iroh learned from this has been right in front of us this whole time.

  11. Dragonsong12 says:

    I love this episode for finally pointing out that fire is more than just destruction. We've just seen it primarily used by destructive people. It's a beautiful way to give the lesson, and the scene with the dragons is one of my favorites in the series.

    Also, Sokka and Zuko are fantastic together. I kind of love it. 😀

  12. Edogg says:

    I should have posted this last friday, but I forgot to. Oops.

    This video is simply AMAZING, with its AMAZING song and its AMAZING editing and its AMAZING SADNESS.

    [youtube wM24QUM_tvQ youtube]

  13. monkeyfeathers says:

    I agree so hard about being able to watch Zuko and Aang on bro-journeys for the rest of time. Zuko joining the group has brought about fresh interactions, and I still laugh all the way through his episodes with him. I never, ever get tired of jerkbending, fighting over fire, Aang asking Zuko to dance, the Sun Warriors' faces while Zuko and Aang are acting like fools — everything! For every one of the past episodes, I keep thinking "this is the best one yet!" and it's true. I love this show. <3

    Since bending is spiritual, it was great to see that Zuko has to adjust his focus and strength after an internal change, and that he's open to learning. And it's so hard seeing him be the voice of reason in a pair, but he's now the older, more responsible Sifu Hotman. SO WEIRD. On top of all that, this episode is gorgeous. I love the Sun Warrior ruins and art. In the artbook, it says that the Fire Nation throne room was supposed to be mixed Aztec and Chinese inspiration, and the ruins here are inspired by Mayan ruins. The incorporation of civilizations from the both sides of the Pacific was nicely done, and I'm glad we got to see the origins of firebending, and how the message of balance comes into play. Such a pretty episode.

    <img src=""&gt;

  14. Fukaru says:

    I kinda had my own fire bending experience today, had to leave the house at 6 am because they defused a bomb from WW2. Now I'm going to read an awesome review about an awesome episode.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      WAIT WHAT??!?!?!

      • Fukaru says:

        Sorry, I went to bed after that. It happens all the time if you live in a bigger city in germany (or north-western europe). I guess you cannot build a larger building without finding one.

        Everytime they find a bomb they schedule an evacuation of nearby streets. Everything went well, and they were done by 11 o'clock.

        Last oktober they found a bomb so big that they didn't dare to defuse it, so they just threw it into a river and detonated it:
        Actually, in africa its worse:

        As for yesterday, everything went good. They were done be 11 o'clock

    • monkeyfeathers says:

      Yeah, I want to know more about this!

    • frogANDsquid says:

      What? As scary as that is its also quite AMAZING!

    • herpestidae says:

      You cannot just leave us hanging like that.

      I humbly, request an explanation.

    • shadeedge says:

      Guessing you're somewhere in London/Kent maybe? Don't want to downplay the everyone freaking out, because seriously, holy shit, but for those of you in the U.S. or Canada or wherever, every so often unexploded bombs from the War do still get found in people's gardens and so on. It wouldn't be a news story (well, unless it went off).

      It's even worse in France and Belgium, i'm told.

      • Alexander_G says:

        It is (here in Belgium at least), a friend of mine found an undetonated bomb digging the foundations of his house and a month or so ago city workers found another one when working on the sewers.
        It's a scare of course, but not big news. In fact, there are portions of the beach nobody is allowed to go because there are still mines that might be to unstable to safely disarm.

        • Tauriel_ says:

          Just the other day I watched a news piece in TV about how much stuff (illegal buildings, bunkers, mines, etc.) is still lying around Slovakia and Czech Republic after the 20 years of Soviet occupation…

          I've never had a personal experience with an undetonated bomb or something similar, but I can imagine it must be a bit of a scare. But, like you say, it's not big news. This is Europe, after all, where the war actually happened… 🙂

    • jubilantia says:

      HOLY. MOLY.

      I mean, it makes total sense that there would still be bombs around, but I had never thought about it. Soooo that's a benefit of being on the internet so we Americans can get a better perspective on the world.

      Anyway, I'm glad that everyone is okay. And there isn't really a better episode as an aftermath to that, is there?

  15. Lariren says:

    I love Zuko's anguished sigh when Aang tells him that they try to be more upbeat on journeys. It's so Zuko to get annoyed with happy.

    INDIANA JONES EPISODE! I screamed at the show when I first saw it. And then pretty sure imagined Zuko in a fedora. Where is my fan art for this?

    We've learned all the original benders for each element now: the moon for waterbending, dragons for firebending, badgermoles (yay!) for earthbending, and skybison (yay!) for airbending.

    • Michelle says:

      I totally missed it the first time around when he said, "I can't do this." at Aang's "upbeat attitude" comment. Laughed my ass off the second time when I heard it.

      • Doodle says:

        I always thought he said "I can't believe this!" Either way, it's a hilarious little comment =]

    • viyamusic says:

      We've actually MET all the original benders for each bender now as well: Appa the skybison, the moon spirit koi fish in season one, the badgermoles in the Cave of Two Lovers in season two, and now the dragons in season three. Aang has had experiences with ALL of them! How cool is that?

  16. Tauriel_ says:

    So, basically, this episode = Indiana Jones and the Secret Art of Firebending. 😀

    I love it. <3 Zuko's frustration with his own lost firebending, Sokka's teasing, the talk about the original sources of the bending, the trip to the Sun Warrior's city (love the Mayan and Aztec influences!), and of course, the absolutely GORGEOUS scene where the dragons judge Zuko and Aang, who perform the Dragon Dance with them. Beautiful stuff.

  17. doesntsparkle says:

    Aang and Zuko are so damn adorable together. Zuko's still a bit of an outsider in the G'aang, Katara's giving him the cold shoulder, Sokka's trolling him like a pro, it makes sense that Aang would be the first person in the group to bond with Zuko. They have very different personalities, but they also have a lot in common.

    Finally, Fuck YEAH DRAGONS!

  18. arctic_hare says:

    The episode begins in a rather perplexing way, with Zuko suddenly unable to firebend. When he confesses this at the group campfire (and I can't help but feel sorry for him, seeing him on the outside looking in at a gathering of friends), I… have mixed feelings on Katara's reaction. On the one hand, yeah, I understand her continuing bitterness towards Zuko, and why it would've been nice for them if this had happened sooner. On the other hand… I just want to facepalm because she's not seeing the big picture. It's bad for ALL OF THEM, the entire WORLD, if Zuko can't teach Aang firebending before the comet comes. Good grief. Not that it isn't believable and understandable that she'd react that way, but come on, Katara – nobody benefits from Zuko being unable to firebend right now except Ozai and Azula. Aang needs to learn from him, and I don't exactly see alternate teachers growing on trees. Please try to keep this in mind. (I recall saying the same thing to Aang back in The Deserter about his emo "I'll never firebend again!" thing. Damn kids.)

    On the upside, we get the flashback of little Toph learning earthbending from the badger moles, and it is quite possibly the cutest thing ever. <3 And then Zuko gets his first real (the one in Siege of the North doesn't count, he wasn't awake to appreciate it) ride on Appa! 😀 C'mon, look lively, Zuko! DO YOU KNOW WHAT I WOULD DO TO GET A RIDE ON APPA? DO YOU?!

    Then they fly over the ruins and my face basically looks like this:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    (If you've ever played Tales of Symphonia, Raine in "ruins mode" is a pretty good comparison here.)

    omg there's traps how Indiana Jones <3 <3 <3 Yeah, basically: you take this kind of setting, add in Zuko being on Team Avatar and being fun and funny and bonding with Aang, I was ~destined~ to love it all. The temple is so gorgeous and awesome, and even more so is the fact that omg Zuko is on Team Avatar. When I first watched the episode, I was still in a bit of shock that this was really happening, because it was so amazing and wonderful, and it just filled me with such unimaginable joy to see him interacting with the group and cracking jokes like he did with Aang about the "positive attitude", and trying to teach him firebending, and just… being adorkable and fun and trying his best. The new dynamic being created here is a large part of why Book Three is my favorite, no lie: it's a real treat to watch Zuko attempt to befriend everyone and be a good guy, now that his heart is truly in it (as opposed to Pod Person Zuko from The Guru, who was not really ready to be who we're seeing now). I like that the show is being realistic about how long it would take everyone to fully embrace him as a real member of the team; it wouldn't be believable otherwise. I think this little field trip with Aang went a long way towards building their friendship; what will it take to do so for the others, I wonder?

    • arctic_hare says:

      I remember in The Deserter, there were comments, mine included, about how Jeong-Jeong's attitude towards fire ignored the element's dual nature: that it wasn't just destructive, that it too, like all the others, can harm and help. Here, we finally get the other side: that fire doesn't just destroy, it is life, too. I love the way that firebending is explored in this episode, as a source of life as well as a way to harm, and that the original sources were the dragons, and the sun. That it's the Fire Nation since Sozin's day that have warped it into a power fueled by anger and hatred. I always felt that Jeong-Jeong's outlook lacked balance, and seeing this episode confirmed for me what I already suspected: that his was a point of view affected greatly by his own bad experiences and bitterness. I wish he could meet the dragons here and see another side to this power, for as we know from the other benders in the series, bending is a big part of their lives and who they are. It's sad to think that he hates this part of himself, and even sadder when you see this episode and consider that it doesn't have to be that way. I like to think that, if Team Avatar wins the war, that Zuko will spread what he's learned here about firebending and what its true source should be throughout the Fire Nation, and they'll see a return to better days on that front.




      <3 <3 <3

      After they've looked into the heart of the island – er, I mean, firebending – comes one of my favorite moments: when it's revealed that Iroh learned true firebending from the masters, and lied about killing the last dragon in order to protect them from being hunted by others in the Fire Nation. Oh, Iroh. <3 I think he truly deserves his nickname, "the Dragon of the West", for that act, even if right now few outside the Sun Warriors know it.

      A+++ episode, as far as I'm concerned.

      Other stuff:

      – Sifu Hotman 😀 😀 😀

      – "You know, Zuko, I don't care what everyone else says about you. I think you're pretty smart." The way Zuko smiles, and then it fades, as he realizes what Aang said, will never not be hilarious to me. Awwww, poor Zuko. I seriously just want to give him a hug like ALL THE TIME in these episodes. THIS IS MY FAVORITE ZUKO.


      – "Think about our place in the universe?" I repeat: this is my favorite Zuko. <3

      – "What? Everyone's thinking it!" lol this guy is hilarious.

      – "We have no choice but to imprison you here FOREVER. …just kidding! :D" I LOVE THIS GUY. WHAT A TROLL. MAYBE HE LEARNED TROLLBENDING FROM IROH.

      – Oh, Zuko. <3

      • KVogue says:

        Raine would have a field day at the Sun warriors temple! She probably wouldn't like Zuko and Aang messing around in there though.

  19. Tauriel_ says:

    everything is just unicorn bending and cookies

    Sorry, but now I absolutely MUST post this:


    [youtube Q5im0Ssyyus youtube]

  20. lossthief says:

    OT, but Mark, are you still planning on posting a review of "The Golden Compass"?

  21. herpestidae says:

    *wonders how many times this joke has been alluded to already*

    <img src="; />

    • monkeyfeathers says:

      Pff, allusion nothing. I went for the sledgehammer route. But I'm sure there's an alternate universe where they fused, their parallel journeys finally intertwined, and as a master of all four elements, Zukaang flies off and plays volleyball with Ozai.

      • herpestidae says:

        I once read a fanfic where they switched places in the story: Zuko was an overly angsty twelve-year-old airbender (*obligatory Shyamalan joke*) who was also the Avatar. Aang was the perpetually happy 16-year-old son of the Fire Lord. It was pretty lulzy at the start.

        • monkeyfeathers says:

          Does that mean Katara can be shipped with both of them? Finally, a resolution to the shipping wars!

          • Hyatt says:

            I had another resolution, based on Shyamalan directing the movie, his reputation for twist endings, his association with Haley Joel Osment, the original casting of Jesse McCartney as Zuko, and the two guys' voice acting credits for Kingdom Hearts. …except that there's no such connection between Katara and Mai AFAIK, so more complications.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            ZUKATAANG FTW! 😀

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      Could they become Fat Zukaang?

    • CraftAndBurn says:

      Me gusta, tbh.

    • Minish says:

      What The Monkey Feathers needs to become a thing.

      Let's make WTMF happen.

  22. enigmaticagentscully says:

    "there’s a part of me that just wants everyone to get along so that everything is just unicorn bending and cookies"

    Oh my god Mark, what's unicorn bending? Like people just throwing unicorns through the air at each other? Or people actually stretching out unicorns into bizarre shapes and–

    This seems like the most terrifying form of bending ever imagined.

  23. viyamusic says:

    Zuko: "So, it's like the sun, but inside of you. Do you guys realize this?"
    Sun Warrior: "Well our tribe is called the Sun Warriors so, yeah, we get it."

    Hahahaha still so awkward Zuko!

  24. kori says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Note that this occurs right after Aang calls him "pretty smart…" *facepalm*

    Anyways I LOVE THIS EPISODE SO MUCH. The Zuko/Aang bonding is just so freaking adorable. And on the subject of Sokka and Katara, I'm definitely getting a more hostile vibe from her, whereas I think Sokka is just being sarcastic to defuse all the tension.

  25. chichichimaera says:

    Checking videos on Youtube to see which ones are suitable to post now:

    Because the embed function isn't working for multiple videos for me, I'll just post them as links:

    Avatar the Musical: Savages

    Lady Marmalade

    If You Were Gay (Avenue Q)

    Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

  26. The Firebending Masters is pretty much up there right next to hugs from Iroh on the list of Things Made of Warm Fuzzies.

    And the only thing cuter than Tiny Hermione is Tiny Toph, amirite? <333 The two of them should just get together and form a Tiny Team of Awesome already.

  27. Pelleloguin says:

    I can find no fault with this episode. It's my favorite, possibly because of more awkward Zuko and how he connects with Aang, and for sure because of the Sun Warriors.

    I love the Sun Warriors. I can not be the only person who would love a series about the ancient Fire Nation (If they even called it that). Heck, I would love a series about ALL the ancient people of the Avatar world, all learning how to bend and then becoming all their own cultures as we know them today. Old cultures have always been a thing of wonder for me, and the creators just do it so well!

  28. @Ahavah22 says:

    Oh, that dragon egg contains a real baby dragon. It has to! MY HEADCANNON SAYS THAT IT DOES!!!

    And the Blue Dragon is female, the Red Dragon is male—just to mess with people's "color expectations with relation to gender" (you know Blue=Boy), unless they want to mess with older color expectations in Western Culture, in which the color Blue was associated with the virgin Mary and considered feminine, while the color Red was associated with strength and masculinity…

    …You know what? They're both female, parthenogenesis. Yeah, that works! :thumbs up!:

    In any case, the Sun warriors are awesome and I love the animation sequence of their ritual dance right before Aang and Zuko meet the dragons. The Track Team knocked that out of the park, and the animation is gorgeous! Then, RAINBOWS!!!

    Mark, didn't you say you wanted Zuko to join Team Avatar and then everyone will be happy and there'd be rainbows? Look at the fire rainbows! So pretty!

    My favorite line from this ep:
    (Aang and Zuko are stuck to the top of the chamber via glue):

    Aang: "Um, so what are we supposed to do now?"

    Zuko: "Think about our place in the universe?"



  29. Kaci says:

    I remember watching this the first time it aired and just staring at my screen in awe during the scene where they meet the dragons and are judged worthy. That is some seriously gorgeous animation, even from an objective standpoint.

    Plus, seriously. Sifu Hotman. NOTHING IS MORE HILARIOUS THAN THAT.

  30. jubilantia says:

    SERIOUSLY. Once again we have an episode made of unicorns and rainbows. And DRAGONS! Nothing could be better. Again, all the episodes are on a sliding scale from "awesome" to "holy crap this is the best thing ever in the history of awesomeness" for me, but this one is up there. If I had a top five, this would be in it. Probably near the top. I don't think anyone could get enough of Adorkable!Zuko.

    And yeah, I love that the teamwork message isn't preached but woven carefully through the story in a realistic way. Although, I will say that I think Aang's humor comes all the way back from Monk Gyatso, rather than Sokka. I would argue that he actually helped Sokka loosen up a bit.

    And more of Toph's origin! Her story was so cool. I love how wise she is. I think she's the person in the group who's probably the most comfortable and confident in her own skin, which is why I think she's the most skilled bender, in the group. I also love the idea of spirit animals. I wonder what a water bender's would be?


    • Lycanthromancer says:

      Sea lion?

      Or perhaps lion turtle?

      Or elephant seal.

      • jubilantia says:

        Hm. Possibly, although it would limit the waterbender's movement over land. Pinnipeds (sea lions and elephant seals), even fantasy world ones, are just not made for much movement on land. Sea lions can get pretty far, but they can't eat away from the water and seals pretty much use The Worm to get places, so they are even more limited.

  31. (Actually, on that note, I thought he was going to FINALLY laugh at the very end of the episode, but he didn’t. JUST LAUGH ONCE, ZUKO.)
    [youtube zKVPGDblDw8 youtube]

  32. tigerpetals says:

    So, Mark, didn't you say something about rainbow benders in your season three predictions?

    Now I'm going to actually go to the episode and write my comment as I go along.

    In some ways, Appa is better than airplanes. Except for the lack of bathrooms.

    Hee. "I don't normally play this card, but I'm the Avatar." Such a liar, Aang.

    I heard the snide-sounding guy's name as Humbug.

    Having such an experience would one of the highlights of my life.

    I thought I'd have more to say about this episode. Hmm. All the good things have been taken anyway.

    • tigerpetals says:

      Anyway, I was leafing through the artbook, and a caption beneath Hama says that the core philosophy of the series her friendship with Kanna was meant to illlustrate is that people are either in balance or out of balance, not good or evil.

      I also noticed that the back of the Earth King's throne room looks like an animal. I thought bear at first, but the ears look more like badgermole ears. It doesn't appear to have claws. Maybe the architect/interior decorator thought that would look too too.

      The stupid server connection hasn't been letting me post this for half an hour.

  33. MocataJoy says:

    I feel that this episode, more than almost any other, speaks for itself.

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    THERE ARE NO WORDS. (Or, at least, very few.)

    • shirtninjas says:

      Hahaha, I love that "Stop cheating off me!" like they're in high school or something. That's probably my favorite line in the episode.

  34. MocataJoy says:

    Oh, and I almost forgot….

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    As if the Jerkbending comment wasn't enough?

  35. Tauriel_ says:

    Question: Mark, when are you planning to liveblog TLA movie, if I may ask?

  36. Doodle says:

    As you said, there are a lot of hilarious little moments in this episode that I love! And overall, it's awesome. But there is one thing that REALLY BOTHERS me. If this 'eternal flame thing' has been burning for thousands of years, and the Sun Warriors have kept it going, how have they been believed to be extinct for the last few millennia?!?!?! I feel like explorers would have noticed a gigantic flame and realized that firebenders must still be there to keep it going!

    • skinchanger says:

      There is kind of a discrepancy there… maybe all the explorers were similar to Iroh in temperament, and simply let there culture be?? A sort of colony of Irohs? IT COULD HAPPEN OKAY.

    • Elanor Pam says:

      It would be hard, but not impossible, to move a big fire from place to place.

      And maybe they can dim it every now and then. Or a single flame is considered part of the sacred flame, enough that it can restart a new one and be considered a continuation of the eternal flame, rather than a new flame.

      In any case I don't think it's much of a whole.

  37. Jupiter Star says:

    Aaaand with this glorious episode, I can now share one of my favorite reactions-to-the-show's-impending-end videos! ^_^.

    (Dear embedding gods: please let this work right!)

    [youtube 6TKIGClhF9k youtube]

    • @Ahavah22 says:

      I love how Gan Xingba capture's Katara's increasing homicidal rage by giving her an "Ah-nold" accent. And Ms. T!!! Zuko lamenting lack of picnics…Zaidy!Iroh…Magic!Kung Fu vs. Magic!Ninjutsu! )I wanna learn Magic!Kri Maagav, myself).

    • Lariren says:

      AVATAR ABRIDGED SERIES!!!!!! Sorry I had to.

    • Avatar_fan_mom says:

      Aww, I will go on a picnic with Zuko!

  38. Hotaru_hime says:

    Not gonna lie, I think this episode made me tear up when they revealed that Iroh did not kill the last dragon and lied to the world. Somehow that really touched me, that Iroh would protect these dragons when all of his people thought it was really cool to kill them. I mean, SOZIN RODE A FUCKING DRAGON. Did he say, "Kill all dragons!" after Roku died because he remembered Roku's dragon? I don't know.
    I half want to believe that Aang and Zuko get along better than we expected because, one, Aang's super nice and two, Aang is spiritually Zuko's great-grandfather. So spiritually there's a connection? Their actual encounters are pretty terrible though.
    This isn't the first time badgermoles were brought up as being the original earthbenders- it was brought up in The Cave of Two Lovers and I think Toph said it before when she met them that she was trained by badgermoles.
    I wanna say I was annoyed with Katara treating Zuko the way she does (I totally understand it though, don't get me wrong, she has every right to hate on this kid) but that was probably because I was powerwatching and going, "GET ON THE BANDWAGON KATARA IT'S THE END GAME."

    • lossthief says:

      IIRC, it was Azulon, not Sozin, who started the tradition of hunting Dragons.

      Also, it was in "Sokka's Master" that Toph mentioned she learned from Badgermoles.

      • Hotaru_hime says:

        Azulon, what a jerk. "Kill all dragons" this, "Kill Zuko to understand the loss of Lu Ten" that…
        Thank you for the corrections!

        • Lycanthromancer says:

          Thing is, Ozai wouldn't have given two craps about killing Zuko. The man's a full-blown psychopath, and obviously Azulon didn't know him AT ALL.

  39. crimsongirl says:

    So this is like my favorite episode ever.

    That is all 😀

    Like, seriously, I couldn't WAIT until you got until the dragons. I wanted to die. And I have no intelligent comment. Sorry. Just a mind spew of happy. 🙂

  40. fantasylover120 says:

    Actually, you're not that far off about the million fanfics being launched.
    This is possibly my favorite episode of Season 3.

  41. simplefaith08 says:

    I forgot how much I love this episode. Everything just…works.

    -"Sorry, Sifu Hotman." "And stop calling me that!" There is nothing about that exchange that is not wonderful.
    -Oh Katara, you're so snippy. But I love you anyway.
    -Baby!Toph is so cute! And badass.
    -Aang and Zuko's interactions are the best. Aang is so upbeat, and Zuko's so serious. They'd make for a great buddy-cop show (someone write that AU!)
    -Oh, ZUKO. Never go into a ruin and touch the pretty stuff on a pedestal. I mean, really. Also, all TV shows should have Indiana Jones-inspired episodes. Just sayin'.
    -HOW PRETTY IS THIS EPISODE???? So pretty. The animation of the Dragon Dance (I love seeing dancing animated, and Avatar does it really well) And, of course, the part with the Dragons and the rainbow fire. Ugh, I love it.
    -"Do you guys realize this?!" "Well, we're called the Sun Warriors, so yes." Snarky sun warriors are the best.

  42. Veronica says:

    "Don't look at me I didn't touch your stuff!" A little defensive huh Toph? 🙂
    Plus Zuko/ Aang bonding time is THE BEST! Oh and Sokka knows he's always wanted to do that to Zuko

  43. Patrick721 says:

    He asks Zuko to dance. Again. I only now just realized it, but what Aang and Zuko lacked was harmony

    [youtube 8MC0G-Lbuuk&feature=related youtube]

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

  44. notemily says:

    DON'T WORRY, ZUKO, IT HAPPENS TO A LOT OF FIREBENDERS. hee hee, okay, I just had to say that. Done now.

    The great interaction between Zuko and Aang is the best part of this episode, for sure. They both compliment each other at different points, and they also bicker and argue–but there's no actual animosity there. They're still trying to work together, even when they're arguing. I agree with you, Mark, I wish there was more time left in the show to see Zuko being part of the group!

    I also wondered if the "sun stone" might be a dragon egg. HMM.

    I love that when they're stuck and Aang asks Zuko what they should do, he says "think about our place in the universe?" He really has been listening to his uncle.

    "Sorry, Sifu Hotman." "AND STOP CALLING ME THAT!"

    "Jerkbending. Still got it!" YES YOU DO SOKKA.

    "Don't look at me! I didn't touch your stuff."

    "RAWR." "Appa's right, Zuko!" That joke never gets old to me.

    Zuko can run on walls, whee!

    "Monkeyfeathers!" Monkeys could actually have feathers in this world, is what I like about that.

    My cat would love Zuko's trick of redirecting light with his swords. /catlady

    "Zuko! Get over here! I want you to dance with me!" This episode has a lot of great lines, but that one might be my favorite.

    And then: DRAGONS YAY!! Leading to some gorgeous animation. And ~MYSTICAL FIRE OF KNOWLEDGE AND PRETTY COLORS~.

    I love that Iroh learned from the dragons as well. OF COURSE HE DID.

    "Just kidding! But seriously, don't tell anyone." Did they tell the rest of the team at the end? I can't tell.

    Tiny!Toph sniffing the badgermole right back. Love.

  45. beeftony says:

    Anybody else left wondering why Sozin was the one who started the effort to wipe out the dragons when he clearly used a dragon to get to Roku's island back in "The Avatar and the Firelord?" Well, it bugged me for a while so I took my own theories and turned them into a fanfic.

    Lost Honor

    • Vikinhaw says:

      I really love this theory. Plus I love fics that actually fill in gaps in the series. Thanks!

  46. FlameRaven says:

    Interesting! I thought you were talking about a different fic that sounds much like what you described, but following canon instead of this one, which seems to be more AU. I'll have to find the link to the other one, because I can't for the life of me remember the name of it now.

  47. birdbrainblue says:

    This episode kind of confuses me in one respect. We know that every Avatar has an animal guide, typically the animals who were the first benders of the current Avatar's culture, right? Aang has Appa, Roku had Fang… and it wouldn't be surprising to me if Kyoshi had a badgermole companion.

    But what do Water Tribe Avatars have? If the first Waterbender was the moon, do they just not have an animal guide? OR CAN THEY LIKE, SUMMON THE MOON SPIRIT. That'd be hilarious and/or awesome.

    • notemily says:

      Do ALL Avatars have an animal guide?

      • birdbrainblue says:

        I was under the impression that that was canon, yeah. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so.

        • lossthief says:

          So far we've really only seen 2 past avatars: Roku and Kyoshi. Roku had Fang, but we've not seen any sign that Kyoshi had an animal guide.

    • Tornflames says:

      [mod edit – embed removed because it is fanart of Korra; link to picture here]

      …if anyone knows who actually drew this, please speak up: I looked all over for it and eventually gave up and snagged it from google images.

      • echinodermata says:

        You can mention Legend of Korra by name, and that's basically it. I'm counting fanart based on official promo pics as a no-no.

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      They said at the end of the first season that the original Waterbenders learned by watching the moon's effect on the tides… maybe Tui and La showed Waterbenders how to do it?

    • jubilantia says:

      Yeah, I've been wondering about this. The source of firebending power comes from the sun, and that of waterbending comes from the moon. Thus, you'd think if the firebenders learned from dragons, then the waterbenders should have an equivalent. I mean how would you learn waterbending moves from the moon? I guess some of the movements are intuitive, like the push-and-pull one imitating the tides, but.. but.. dang it, I just want there to be cute waterbending spirit animals.

  48. bookgal12 says:

    I always remember really liking this episode but never had a reason beyond the obvious. "Because it shows the bonding moment between Aang and Zuko…" I realized how much I liked it when I re-watched it. I was glad that Aang and Zuko decide to go on an adventure to learn more of the origins of fire bending. I realized that in the series we learned the water benders learned from the moon, earth benders from badger-moles, air benders from air bison and now we have fire benders learning from dragons.

    I was kind of peeved to see Katara was being negative towards Zuko despite everyone else's opinion. I understand her motivation it still makes me peeved at her. I thought Toph's insight to her experience with the badger-moles touching and really interesting in how to think of bending. The line "extension of the senses" reminds me a lot of what Master Pakku told Sokka about a sword being the "extension of the arm". Am I sensing a theme here?

    Onto the sun-warriors! As soon as Aang and Zuko arrived at the ruins, I immediately saw the Aztec influence in the buildings as well as with the sun warriors themselves. I thought the golden egg was a nice shout out to Indiana Jones. I liked the rainbow vortex with the two dragons and how that in itself explained harmony which is essential for fire-bending. I am so ready for the next episodes!

  49. @UnaMorgan says:

    This is another episode I have seen people call "filler." RIGHTEOUS FURY!! This is one of the best episodes of the entire series. Like you said, seeing Aang and Zuko work together is surreal, but we have been waiting for this since "Blue Spirit."

    I also love the message this sends: Fire is life, not just destruction. In many ways this is true. Firebenders are known for being determined and passionate; they are the most proactive of the four nations. This can be used in a very negative way or a very positive way. Zuko is finally learning how to use his energy to help save the world, ultimately combating his father's negative influence.

    And does anyone besides me hope that dragon egg hatches, and the baby becomes Zuko's dragon? XD

    PS – I want to see what you picture in your mind when you write "unicorn bending."

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      How can anyone think this is filler!? This episode shows Aang how to firebend!!

    • jubilantia says:

      Filler? Whut? Again? I know I should just ignore these silly people, but I also become filled with righteous fury when I hear the word "filler" associated with Avatar. Even the few less important ones had some kind of message or point to them.

    • Classtoise says:


      It advances the plot!

      It shows Aang learning Firebending, as well as Zuko realizing it’s about passion and not rage!

      It’s anything BUT filler!

      It’s about as much “filler” as the end of season 1!

  50. Fishylungs says:

    I love this episode because it harkens back all the way to Jeong Jeong's lessons on Firebending, which can now be said are inaccurate. As the Sun Chief said, fire does have potential for great destruction, but it's also a source of life. It's a matter of reverence and respect for the power, which almost none of the Fire Nation have.

    You'll also notice from now on Zuko will have a bit more kick to his firebending. Leaning a bending form and really understanding it, which was what Iroh wanted to push on Zuko, gives different results. It's neat to see that knowledge pretty much gives benders in this world a better weapon.

    To quote Professor. Zei, Knowledge -pause- is priceless.

  51. Delia says:

    Slight nitpicking here… The Firebending Masters is episode 13, not 12 of season 3. It even says so on the title card.

    • echinodermata says:

      Netflix packages episodes differently, where they (sometimes? I don't think it's a uniform system) group multi-part episodes together as a single episode. So expect the episode numbering to be wonky for the rest of the reviews.

  52. @Ahavah22 says:

    I just found this. It was last updated before Episode 13 aired, so it's spoiler free.

    In the tradition of Skippy's List, a list of things that you really shouldn't do in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
    Created as a group effort by the people in the Avatar thread at Television Without Pity. Contributor's names are listed in parenthese before their contributions.

    Some particularly funny words of wisdom:

    33d. Not allowed to fly a bison while intoxicated.
    33e. Not allowed to fly an intoxicated bison.
    33f. Not allowed to fly an intoxicated bison while intoxicated.

    36. Not allowed to get Zuko drunk.
    36a. Not allowed to let drunk Zuko start angsting.
    36b. Not allowed to let drunk Zuko firebend.
    36c. Not allowed to let drunk, angsty Zuko burn the bar down.
    36d. Not allowed to get a Firebender drunk ever again.
    36e. Except Iroh.

    Iroh's always an exception! 😛

    48. Not allowed to ask Wan Shi Tong how many licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop.
    48a. Not allowed to ask Wan Shi Tong how Eyore, Tigger and the rest of the critters from the Hundred Acre Forest are doing.
    48b. Not allowed to offer Wan Shi Tong a dead mouse to pay the late fees on the books Sokka stole from the Spirit Library.
    48c. Not allowed to arrange a steel cage match between Wan Shi Tong, Rupert Giles, and the orangutan Librarian from Discworld.
    48d. Not allowed to search the Spirit Library for pellets of undigested rodent bones.
    48e. Not allowed to give Wan Shi Tong a case of Giant Neck Whiplash.

    56. Not allowed to refer to Zuko as “the artist formerly known as Prince.”

    77b. Not allowed to taunt Sokka about his boomerang with “Sango’s is bigger.” (Thanks, pyralis.)
    Heee! InuYasha reference!
    93. No matter what the swampbenders say, pants are not an illusion. Put yours back on.

    pants may not be an illusion, but is death an illusion?

    118. Not allowed to criticize Sokka’s interrogation technique.
    118a. Not allowed to offer to teach Sokka the “Jack Bauer” interrogation method.
    118b. That’s a war crime, you know.
    118c. We are so not cleaning up any Azula you get on the carpet

    123. If you're a femme fatale and you're "invited" to join an all-female fighting force led by a Fire Nation Princess, refuse.
    123a. The free resort vacations and palanquin rides are so not worth the enforced group therapy sessions..

  53. Ladyluck says:

    I am almost afraid to mention the Aang and Zuko Caramelldansen meme on Youtube. So I will show it instead 😛

  54. suspiciouscookie says:

    That's a different one, I think. The Aang/Zuko switch is Reconstructed Destinies.

    • herpestidae says:

      Number of times I have linked to a fanfic: 2

      Number of times the fanfic was not the one I was thinking of: 2

      The universe is trying to tell me something.

  55. Lavanya6 says:

    Myself, I didn't like Iroh having secretly saved the last dragons. It felt like the writers were walking back from Iroh's redemption story, the conqueror-general who realized the human cost of war and beat his sword into a plowshare.

    • Avatar_fan_mom says:

      I don't know, did they ever say WHEN he was there to see the dragons? In my head, he went there sometime after Ba Sing Se and Lu-ten's death. Maybe on a spirtual quest or something?

      • @redbeardjim says:

        I doubt it — the Earth Kingdom folks knew him as "the Dragon of the West", implying that he had that title already when he was busy at Ba Sing Se.

  56. Rickard says:

    A thing I know bothers quite a bit of the fanbase… Iroh suddenly being an Angel all along made the cries of Mary Sue echo far and wide.

    But there are MANY weak spots with this episode.

    -Sozin ordered the extinction of dragons. Idiotic. Logically, they would've ridden the dragons into war.

    -You get the title Dragon by slaying a dragon? Because we already has an established origin for the title.

    -Somehow the same guy who laughed at the prospect of burning the most populated place in the world to the ground, was suddenly to "merciful" to kill a dragon. Sorry, does not add up.

    -Suddenly, a new tribe with NO mention in the entire series is introduced as a plot device to solve things.

    One of the weakest episodes in the series. The strongest part is Toph's Badgermole story.

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