This is a very climactic chapter, mainly due to the sudden interest Katara took into Jet.
When I had first seen this episode, I was irked. Based on what I had seen I thought Aang's character was not captured properly and he was simply "wrote off" in the script simply so they could move the story forward. I knew Katara was not thinking of Aang as a possible interest, but I expected to see some jealousy from Aang during this episode. And for that, I was not pleased. However, having delved more greatly into it now, I've actually completely 180'd and find the chapter to be one hundred percent in character.
Plot Recap Edit
Let's look at the plot here: the gaang has just escaped a near capture at the hands of pirates and Zuko. After this encounter, Sokka emphasizes the need for stealth; walking is less obvious than flying. It's because of this that they stumble right into another squad of Fire Nation soldiers. This would have been their demise if not for the daring surprise attack by the Freedom Fighters.
Jet's handsome looks, prowess in battle, calm witty attitude toward Sokka and mysterious air of leadership and respect completely entrances Katara, sending her in an immediate crush for the tall, dark, handsome young man. Sokka is still bitter about Jet being much more the warrior than he is and desires to leave at their first chance.
Jet immediately decides to put Katara and Aang to use in ridding the lands of Fire Nation, and discovers immediately that the young Waterbender has a crush on him. When he informs her and Aang that he has plans for them, Sokka attempts to leave. Jet's smooth tongue and quick wit lures Sokka into remaining a second day for a mission of his own, in which he discovers Jet's ire toward the Fire Nation is more ruthless than it first seemed. He attempts to convince Aang and Katara to leave due to Jet's behavior, but this fails.
Jet moves forward with his plans, abusing Aang and Katara's trust in him by convincing them to aid him in his next scheme with a lie. With their support, he successfully floods the Fire Nation controlled colony, infuriating Katara at the personal betrayal she felt for having been misled to have aided in the death of innocents. Sokka returns in time to explain he had saved the people of the village, convincing them to leave just in time.
Simply amazing. The only part that was kind of a drag for this episode was the very start, freeing a captured Momo and two hog monkeys. Even so, they tied this into the plot by having Sokka realize the traps were Fire Nation metallurgy, which furthered his decision to walk rather than fly.
This episode portrayed further acts of war to give a life to both the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom; both sides facing their own troubles. It even took the efforts to shed a sympathetic light to the Fire Nation of this episode, with both Katara and Sokka shown desiring no harm to come to even those of the Fire Nation that are living in peace.
My Biggest complaint for this episode is Aang's inability at fighting Jet. Now, I do realize it's due to Aang "holding back" and not wanting to hurt him, and that Jet got a lucky shot on Aang by surprising him (he didn't think Jet would jump through mid-air to attack him). It all boils down to a single reason they had that happen (on purpose), they wanted Katara to be the one to deal the blow to her ex. And as such, it is the first time we get to see her use such fiercesome Waterbending, which is awesome. It's still disappointing was made to Aang falter for sheer plot purposes.
Character Depth Edit
Aang was in bliss during this episode. Not just that, but he seemed willfully ignorant and naive to Katara's affection for Jet when he had the opportunity to recognize it. With all the kids he could befriend and goof around with he found no trouble in making friends and exploring the Treetop hideout. Indeed, he had so much pleasure here he didn't even attempt to steal away Katara's attention throughout the episode. He held immense respect for Jet and his ragtag group of Freedom Fighters. This is not so much a surprise, considering he hadn't even been around her as much in these few days - leaving her completely alone the second morning as she crafted a hat for Jet, which Aang ended up wearing. Very subtle foreshadowing, Bryke! I completely missed that allusion the first time I saw the episode.
Sokka's character was great here, it was like an anti-Jet setup from the start. Unlike Aang, he was quick to realize Katara was smitten with Jet, and vehemently resented her trust for the leader. He remained the typical skeptical Sokka, yet obviously led initially by jealousy at Jet's overshadowing him. This skepticism turned into disdain and mistrust once he saw the extent of Jet's hatred for the Fire Nation and only furthered when he discovered what the true ulterior motive was, the destruction of Gaipan.
It was amusing to see Katara fall head over heels in a puppy love crush. This was her first encounter with this type of feeling and she totally ran with it. And how could she not, considering the time constraints of their journey? Speaking of which; I really wonder what she was thinking seeing as they had to leave. She wanted to stay longer; as did Aang, but how far would she have gone if Jet hadn't shown his true colors? That might've been bad and totally changed the story/following books. Anyway; this experience for her was something I think she had to go through to experience first hand, it helped shape who she became to be more slow and assured before leaping into another relationship again.
Jet was expertly created. Paying more attention to his behavior and ulterior motives / words spoken from the start, he has a masterful silver tongue. Barely having met the three; he used just the right words to win over Sokka to stay, please Aang to further his respect, and take advantage of Katara's crush. That part alone makes Jet's character unbelievably firm; he is so vehemently against the Fire Nation that he is willing to manipulate Katara from the very start rather than build a relationship with her. It is only after he was left frozen to a tree to reconsider his actions that he grew to regret his behavior, having betrayed her so greatly. Know what? Irony; the very last episode it was Katara stuck to a tree! This time it's Jet!
Plot : 10 / 10
- Seamless. It flows without a hitch from one scene to another; a LOT of information is packed in and occurs in a very short time, keeping in the key elements.
Character Depth/Growth : 9 / 10
- Rated down due to seeing it for the first time, certain elements don't quite come across clear. But it's still rated high because once you grasp what's going on here, the motivations of each character meshes with one another very nicely.
Overall : 9 / 10
- Shaving off 0.5 for the plot-oriented failure of Aang's battle. Even regardless of me understanding it was backed by Aang's personality of not wishing to fight.
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