“The Avatar Returns” picks up where “The Boy in the Iceberg” left off and is where things really start to change in regards to the main three characters of Aang, Katara and Sokka. It’s a fun episode and some really touching moments, especially at the end, though I think the first episode beats it in quality.
“The Avatar Returns” was directed by Dave Filoni and written by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Josh Stolberg, Peter Goldfinger and Aaron Ehasz.
The story involves Zuko’s arrival at the Southern Water Tribe and defeating Sokka before Aang arrives and after fighting surrenders himself in order to protect the Southern Water Tribe. After Sokka and Katara go to rescue him as Aang confronts the Fire Nation troops and Zuko on the ship.
The Pros: The Action – There are few battles in this, one with Zuko and his soldiers against Aang and one where they fight one on one…what you come to see is just how deadly both airbending and fire bending can be. There is also a little bit of action when Sokka and Katara arrive and when Aang goes Avatar state and defeats Zuko and his men before their escape.
Sokka and Katara – Are aware of the bigger picture and get Gran Gran’s blessing for the coming journey. The two of them help rescue Aang are focused on the quest to learn bending in contrast to Aang who doesn’t want to be the Avatar so is avoiding responsibility.
Zuko – Zuko shows he has honor when he keeps his word and leaves the Southern Water Tribe and shows how good he is at combat when he has Aang trapped in his quarters and duels him. He also creates a fireball with Iroh which ends up crashing into a tower of ice after Aang knocks it away making them trapped. Zuko is now fully aware of Aang’s abilities and promises not to underestimate him.
Aang – Aang is in denial of being the Avatar as he doesn’t want the position. He just wants to have fun and live and he still thinks his people are around and doesn’t believe himself to be the last Airbender. He is smart though and a master at Airbending, even as a kid and is able to get out of most of the fights he finds himself in.
The Cons: Aang and Responsibility – Katara and Sokka should have called Aang out at the end when he mentioned all the things he wanted to do before going to the Northern Water Tribe. They can’t afford to waste time as their father is at war and might get killed, the Fire Nation is conquering and Aang is being hunted. To not realize this, especially after getting captured is a major con in regards to Aang’s character, kid or no.
This was a great episode and great continuation of the last episode. We get to see some fights, get some character exploration and see just how far Aang has to go before he’s ready to own up to his responsibility of the Avatar. This is part of what makes this series so great, the characters change and no one truly remains static.
Final Score: 9 / 10.