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Avatar: The Last Airbender Newbie Recap: Book One, Episodes 10 and 11

Sokka to me.

atla 10-11 featured

These are the first Avatar episodes I’ve seen that are… not bad, but slightly underwhelming compared to previous ones. You can tell it’s the middle chunk of the season. But there’s still Aang making weird faces, and I am all about that.

Jet

No, not this Jet:

Bet that takes you back to 2003, though, huh?

We start with Team Avatar wandering through a forest that’s been taken over by Fire Nation soldiers. Sokka suggests that they walk instead of riding Appa, because he’s feeling a little insecure and wants to be the leader, but also because yooooo, giant flying bison, not exactly inconspicuous. That’s what I said, Sokka! Stealth! Only it turns out both he and I are wrong, and our heroes wander directly into an encampment of Fire Nation soldiers.

They’re rescued by Are You Gonna Be My Girl Jet, a roguish, smooth-talking freedom fighter who leads his own band of Lost Boys. Seriously—Jet is Peter Pan, the other kids are the Lost Boys, and the Fire Nation soldiers occupying the forest are the pirates. That’s all you need to know.

After a rousing fight scene where Katara and Aang prove their worth and Sokka… doesn’t, the trio is taken back to Jet’s place, which is a series of treehouses I wouldn’t mind living in if it weren’t for the lack of indoor plumbing. Jet immediately bonds with Aang, because everyone loves Aang. He also gets his flirt on with Katara, who has a cruuuuuush.

katara jet crush

Jet proceeds to give an inspiring speech to the Lost Boys, and Sokka is exceedingly unimpressed by the whole thing.

i've seen cooler

Against Sokka’s wishes the trio agrees to hang around and help their new friends deal with their problems, as is their wont. The next morning Sokka goes with Jet to patrol the forest and has to physically stop Mr. Edgy McEdgyson from beating up an old man just because he’s FIRE NATION SCUM. Jet later claims that the old dude was a Fire Nation assassin, even going to far as to say he had a poisoned knife on him. Jet’s not just a teenage dirtbag—he’s a psychopathic teenage dirtbag. Unfortunately Katara and Aang both believe him, because he’s charismatic as all hell.

(Damn, I’m having Stannis Baratheon feels… OK, they’ve passed.)

That night, after an unsuccessful attempt to convince his sister that Jet is super fucking shady, Sokka follows Jet and overhears him telling his buds that they plan to blow up a dam to destroy a Fire Nation village… that has women and children in it. Because such are the “demands of war.” Dude. You’re like 16. Even X-Men: First Class Charles Xavier was not this obnoxious with the “I am a wise old man” routine. Jet even plans to rope Katara and Aang into his plot; he asked them to use their bending skills to fill the reservoir for maximum “fire fighting” power. Unfortunately Jet spots Sokka, and he’s taken away so he can’t warn his buds that their new friend’s a gigantic jackass.

Surprisingly, Jet’s plan kinda works, at least at first: An unknowing Katara and Aang fill the reservoir. They disobey Jet’s order to NOT GO TO THE DAM, NOPE, NOTHING WEIRD HAPPENING AT THE DAMN, WE’RE NOT GONNA BLOW IT UP OR ANYTHING and figure out his plot, but even Katara using her waterbending to freeze him to a tree

yeah girl

isn’t enough to stop him from giving him signal to blow the damn.

But don’t worry. Sokka was on this one. He tricked the Lost Boys guarding him. Instead of going to the dam, he went to the village, where he was able to convince everyone to GTFO because the old man he saved earlier in the episode vouched for his character. Intuition proven correct and day saved, he gets on Appa and rides off into the sunset with Katara and Aang, leaving Jet and the Lost Boys to their short-sighted punkness.

Yip yip, motherfuckers.

The Great Divide

This is another filler episode, but it’s one where Aang makes this face:

aang weird face

…so I’m good.

We start with Katara and Sokka engaging in some friendly sibling fighting. Katara thinks Sokka’s a lazy slob. Sokka thinks Katara’s uptight and neurotic. Aang thinks he can solve everyone’s problems by baking a cake made out of rainbows and smiles, and everyone will eat it and be happy.

Team Avatar shows up at the Great Divide, which is basically the Grand Canyon, and meet two rival Earth Kingdom tribes fighting over who gets to hire the lone Earth Bender canyon guide to get them across to the Earth Kingdom capital. The tribes have names, but they’re basically elves and dwarves, and that’s how I’m going to refer to them, OK? This is Thranduil:

atla thranduil

And this is Lady Thorin:

atla lady thorin

As the Avatar it’s Aang’s job to bring peace between all peoples or whatever. Katara immediately volunteers him for the job despite his hesitance (because Aang operates in a perpetual state of not knowing what the hell he is doing), and it’s a little presumptuous, but at the same time Katara likes to get shit done, and I respect that. At Aang’s insistence, the elves and the dwarves reluctantly agree to share the guide.

The canyon guide—a lovably Southern old dude—tells everyone they can’t take any food in because it’ll attract the critters, which in this case happen to be giant spider monsters. One of them attacks, and Katara, Sokka, and Aang fight them off because they’re awesome like that. But in the scuffle the guides’ arms get broken (yow), which means everyone’s stuck in the cavern unless they ~work together~.

Aang tasks Katara and Sokka with talking to the elves the dwarves, respectively, to find out why they hate each other. It all comes down to this legend about a guy named Jin Wei and a magic orb or something. It’s unimportant. What is important is that both sides are clinging onto this ancient beef, and it’s making them stupid: The elves and dwarves, each convinced the other would bring food into the canyon, brought food themselves. Thranduil really whips Katara into a froth about the GRAVE INJUSTICE!!!! done to the Elves, while Sokka is literally just “Yeah, yeah. Ball. Your dude got arrested. Do you want the rest of your turkey leg?”

The next morning, when they all get to the canyon wall, Aang accidentally convinces Thranduil and Lady Thorin that they should move from verbal to physical aggression. Whoops.

i'm too cute for this

That’s when a whole buncha spider monsters show up for their breakfast. Aang figures out a way to harness the creepy crawlies and use them to get out of the cavern, and—no one saw this coming—it requires that the elves and dwarves work together. Only after getting out of the cavern the two sides still can’t let the pesky orb-stealing thing go, so Aang…oh, this fills my heart with such joy.

yess

Aang says he knew the men on both sides of the original feud, and while the elves and dwarves think they were stand-up citizens who had a legit dispute, in fact they were children—brothers, even!—who had a tiny little argument while playing the ATLA version of Sokka soccer. Aang personally witnessed them make up within minutes, so there’s no reason the elves and dwarves shouldn’t be able to live in harmony, too. Convinced that their Hatfield-McCoy drama has no basis in reality, new friends Thranduil and Lady Thorin lead their tribes off into the sunset, basking in the new respect their tribes now have for one another.

But Aang was lying out of his ass.

gandalf

My Machiavellian muffin.

Because I want to avoid being spoiled if at all possible, comments on this post are locked. Any spoilery discussion can be directed to Facebook; if there’s anything non-spoilery about the recaps you want to say to me, you can hit me up on Twitter. You can catch up on previous recaps here.

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