Avatar: The Last Airbender Now on Netflix! Time for Your Hottest Avatar Takes!
In addition to it being She-Ra day, we also finally have access to all seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix. This means getting to revisit one of the best Western animated series of all time. So, in honor of this great day, I wanted to create a space to revisit our favorite and least favorite moments, and to share our hottest takes.
Zutara episode Yue sacrificing herself.
There are a lot of moments where our core heroes make the big sacrifices and save the day, but I love it when smaller characters get to make a big impact on the series. Princess Yue only appears in two episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and initially, it seems as if she is only there for a star-crossed romance with Sokka (who had like four love interests throughout the course of the series). During the Book One finale, General Zhao comes up with a plan to defeat the Northern Water Tribe’s Forces by killing the living manifestations of the Moon Spirit Tui.
We find out that when Yue was a baby, she was very sickly, and her father prayed to the Moon Spirit to save her. Tui gave some of her life force to Yue. Therefore, when the original spirit is killed, the young woman gives up her own life to restore balance and allow her people to survive what could be genocide.
There are a lot of great moments in Avatar that I’m sure people will mention, like Zuko’s cliff scene, but Yue’s sacrifice stands out is because she’s a character that doesn’t have much time on the show, but makes a huge impact. Without her, countless people would have died, and waterbending would have been destroyed. Yue stands as a representation of all the people who, in war, give up their lives for the greater cause—leaders who actually recognize that their position is to serve others, not just themselves.
(Shoutout to 14-year-old me who thought the Zuko/Katara fight was building up to a future romance.)
Least Favorite Moment: Chunks of Book 3 in general.
There are not that many moments that really ruin Avatar for me, mostly because I really think the strength of the series is that it is very strong as a unit. That being said, I feel like season three just has so many filler episodes that we are supposed to enjoy because they are character-driven. That is usually my jam, but the majority of the pre-Zuko turn Book 3 are exploring things we already knew. Katara loves to be a hero, check. Aang has swag and can dance, check. Sokka has insecurities about his place in the group and needs to prove himself, check. Zuko is conflicted, check.
I think there are some really strong and important episodes in Book 3, but there are also several episodes that I already know I’m going to be skipping and it’s the only season I feel that way about.
Hottest Take: Azula’s downfall wasn’t great.
I have never really been a fan of Azula’s downfall in the series. It always felt pretty rushed and, in general, like just a quick way to get her out of the way after two seasons of being the smartest and most powerful person in the room. She had to go down, but the fact that she had to be “undone” in order for that to happen really bothers me.
It would have been exceptionally more powerful if Zuko had just legitimately become just that much of a better bender that he could take Azula down, rather than have all these mental issues attack Azula at once. I’m not saying that it is unrealistic for someone who thrives on control to start slipping once she loses that, but we didn’t spend enough time with Azula as a character to appreciate the complexities of what she was going through. It doesn’t help that the comic book series totally dials everything up to uncomfortable levels when it comes to Azula’s mental illness.
Every time I rewatch this scene, I think it’s beautiful and overall excellent. I just hate the character narrative part of it. It feels messy.
Anyway, share your Avatar: The Last Airbender thoughts down below!
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