The Painted Lady was skipped. There was no need to watch such filler.
Sorry for the delay on this post, I've had a busy week personally. Just had my 19th birthday, helped out some of my friends with projects, etc. Anyway, onto the episode.
This episode did a great job at what it was supposed to do; it made Sokka likeable. While the distinguished Mr. Walker might not think this episode is at all needed, I think it is. I said before that Katara is a hit or miss character a lot of the time, but Sokka is mostly a miss character. Very seldom do his jokes hit their mark (often, they're meant to be lame). And VERY often, Sokka just feels like pure comic relief.
But this Book does something really great for Sokka, I think. He at last evolves. If you notice, i the first season he's very much just a stuck up jerk who doesn't like anything. In the second season, he makes a complete turn around and becomes pure comic relief. But thankfully, finally, this season lets Sokka become a real character. A planner, more of a strategic thinker, a genially likeable person. That's the Sokka I've been waiting for ever since season one. And now that he's here, he should be far more liked by everyone here.
Also, my gosh, Iroh was amazing in this episode. Pretty sure those few moments with Iroh were everyone's favorites. And as much as I like Sokka, I gotta agree with them. Truly, the move to have Iroh be silent for a long period of time really worked to their advantage writing wise. I'm not sure if that idea was always there since day 1, or if it was created so that you wouldn't quite remember Mako's voice well enough to tell they had found a replacement, but in any case it really worked out well for his scenes here, and certainly the scenes where Zuko comes to visit him. In Iroh's case, actions indeed speak louder than words, be they a tear of sadness, or pushups.
All in all a good episode, and one of my favorites from Book 3.