Over the past few days, I've been watching Avatar's Ba Sing Se arc. I'd almost forgotten that it was one of my favorite arcs in...well, anything, really. Long Feng was the dirty politician before it was cool. The Dai Lee had a real mystique and efficiency that showed how Earthbending wasn't just "Boulder throw big rock," & it varied by subculture. The addition of this arc also showed that things were more complicated than just "Fire=Bad, Everyone else=Good."

I'd also forgotten just how ridiculous it could be.

I always remember Guru Pahtik as just an old guy who knew a lot about Chi Flow. But no, dude legit had magic powers that rivaled even the Avatar's. Like how he could tell that Aang was in Ba Sing Se from halfway across the world. No one else had these, not even Iroh, who could see spirits. It was never fully explained just what made the Guru so special.

To be fair, this does come in handy later on in the series when, nope, I'm yankin' ya, the Guru has no purpose beyond teaching Aang how to control the Avatar State. And, according to some people, he failed that anyway. So what was the point of introducing a Deus Ex Machina that didn't even do anything? Why not have Aang just learn how to control the Avatar State from his past lives, or that Lion Turtle?

That isn't the only thing that was strained, either. There is also the Dai Lee's implausible brainwashing technique, the Gaang being able to handily defeat an army of (admittedly ceremonial) Earthbenders by themselves, & the "invention" of Metalbending when no one else could do it, which by the way is completely broken, just try to find a weapon or modern convenience that doesn't have metal in it.

But you know what? I just didn't care. I still don't. Because I can recognize these things, but they don't have to get in the way of the "big picture." Which is so entertaining that it is hard to say, "I'm mad that this thing wasn't completely necessary, or this thing I was looking forward to didn't happen, or this was kind of anticlimactic, & I just can't get over how upset this makes me."

I don't see why you would even want to.

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