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Thoughts on The Waterbending Master

Sirius13 April 18, 2011 User blog:Sirius13

This is my first blog post and episode review, so bear with me. Also, I wanted to get to this episode before TAD did (and no competition!) since it is one of my favorites.

Synopsis

Previously: Aang and Katara set their eyes on traveling to the North Pole; Katara can heal "magically"; Zhao begins chasing the Avatar; Zuko is the Blue Spirit.

Team Avatar (although Sokka hasn't invented their name yet) is captured by Waterbenders after biting each other's throats and Katara makes the wise observation of finding the Northern Water Tribe.

Meanwhile, Zhao holds a war meeting and tells his fellows that the Avatar is traveling north and that it's time to attack the North Pole, home to a civilization that has survived a century of war.

Without further ado (but with a lot of fancy bending), the Gaang finally enters the city, traveling down a canal. The three of them gape at the city's icy magnificence and Aang waves to the city-dwellers. Sokka then sees a pretty girl in a canoe, and it's love at first sight.

Now, it's music night on Zuko's ship, and Iroh is singing a song! (And you thought he was just a crazy, tea-making, has-been!) Zhao boards the ship, dramatically interrupting the beautiful music.

At the North Pole, Appa scares a few tribesmen and there's a party celebrating Aang's arrival and Yue's birthday. As it turns out, Master Pakku isn't just a Waterbender but a fancy dancer too. And Sokka doesn't understand that if you want to impress a girl, it's a good idea not to stuff your mouth with food first; it's also good if your little sister isn't around to tease you. Now: Aang, meet Pakku the Sarcastic. Pakku, meet Aang.

Guess who's sulking on Zuko's ship? Yep, you guessed it. Then Zhao rudely barges in after stealing the crew (including the cook), catches sight of Zuko's swords, and has an epiphany: Zuko is the Blue Spirit! Now, flashback to that one episode...

Up north, Aang interrupts Pakku the Sarcastic, who sees Katara and refuses to teach her Waterbending from the get-go. Katara, understandably angry, argues with Pakku and leaves; Aang remains, even though he threatened to leave too. Sokka then successfully agrees to meet Yue, even though he falls into a canal in the process.

Then, we see some very familiar pirates being paid "some tasty gold" by Zhao, who gives them a mission. What can this mission be? Let's find out later!

Katara unhappily goes to a healing lesson as Aang is drilled by Pakku. And what?! Yugoda knew Katara's Gran-gran?! Sounds like someone had a skeleton in their closet (hehe).

Good-bye, Zuko's crew! Don't miss the poor little Firebender too much! And Iroh leaves the ship, and the pirates (Why are those guys so familiar?!) sneak aboard. Blasting jelly heaved aboard and Zuko alerted: something's about to go down, like a fight! Or an explosion, which Iroh sees. So Zuko has been blown to smithereens. Or has he?

And now, we see that Sokka plus Yue equals naught. So Sokka goes home to vent then comes up with a great idea: Aang can teach Katara Waterbending! It's perfect, until "Master Poophead" finds them and refuses to teach Aang anymore. So Katara pleads with Chief Arnook to convince Pakku to take Aang back, and Pakku will if Katara "swallows her pride" and apologizes. Instead she challenges Pakku to a fight, insulting his masculinity. Wow, Katara, that's a low blow.

Zhao serves Iroh tea while pretending to be sorry for Zuko's "death." Iroh then accuses pirates of the "murder." They toast to the Fire Nation and victory.

Sokka asks Katara if she's crazy (who's really the crazy one, Sokka?) while she prepares to kick some serious behind. She slaps Pakku with a tiny bit of water, and he reciprocates with a flood. The fight ensues, and naturally experience wins over stubbornness. But what's this?! Pakku was Kanna's fiancee?! What a fantastic turn of events!

Iroh speaks to a random soldier on Zhao's ship, but look! It's Zuko! I thought he was dead... Oh well.

Now some explaining... Yue runs away crying and Aang tells Sokka to go after her. Sokka misinterprets Yue's reason for being upset, she kisses him, and they all live happily ever after! Well, not really, because as it turns out, Yue is engaged. Aang practices a Waterbending move that can apparently use some work, and Katara shows up late for class.

And darkness looms as Zhao and his fleet set sail into the sunset.

If you want a more detailed (and serious) synopsis, go here.

Critique

This is, as I stated before, one of my favorite episodes. It has everything a good episode should: action, romance, sass, and character development.

To me, this seems less of an Aang-oriented chapter and more a Katara, Sokka, and even Zuko chapter. Aang hardly develops, while the latter (especially Katara) do.

It also sets the stage for some pretty intense moments, i.e. the prospective Siege of the North and Sokka and Yue's relationship.

But I'm a cup-half-empty girl, so I have to point out the bad things:

There are some rather unbelievable aspects. How did Katara learn all this fancy bending? Surely that scroll didn't have that much information, and you never saw her practice. Also, how does Zhao know about the pirates, let alone how to find them? And the strangest thing of all: Why does Zuko only have a bruise and a few sratches (all of which will heal) on his face after the explosion? You'd think he'd have some new burns.

Overall, I'd give this episode a 9 out of 10, simply because there are some gaping holes.

So what do you think?

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