Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 1 “Water,” Episode 11 – “The Great Divide” – Trickster Aang

Gan_Jin_vs._Zhang

        This is the weakest episode so far this season. It feels way to much like a message episode and the two Earth Kingdom tribes only exist as stereotypes of their given regions. Given these issues going against it, and the fact that Katara and Sokka are used as a metaphor for the warring tribes (which is cliche) it still manages to be an enjoyable episode.

    “The Great Divide” was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by John O’Bryan.

     The story begins with Sokka and Katara fighting over their responsibilities in the camp during their time at the largest Canyon in the World called “The Great Divide.” It is here they run into two tribes who hate each other because they are different and because each believes the other wronged their ancestor. All are soon forced to work together though when they find themselves trapped in the Canyon after the guide is injured who is helping them all to reach Ba Sing Se, the capitol of the Earth Kingdom.

The Pros: Aang – This episode shows Aang’s devotion to ending conflict…be it between Katara and Sokka or the Zhang and Gan Jin. He goes so far as to make up a fake story so that they can get over the past since he can rightfully claim to be over one hundred which is when the event was said to have taken place. It is seeing him trying to do this with his Team and the tribes that really show why he was such a memorable Avatar.

Canyon Crawlers – These creatures look like a mixture of bugs and a crocodile which gives them a very cool look. They are great monsters to deal with this episode.

The Tribes Designs – The Zhang look like step nomads whereas the Gan Jin look like Han nobles. The Zhang are also Matriarchal whereas the Gan Jin are Patriarchal. Sadly they don’t get beyond stereotypes and they made the Zhang messy and the Gan Jin clean and proper. Their designs are great though.

The Cons: The Siblings Conflict/The Tribal Conflict – These stories both could have been handled better. The fight Katara and Sokka were having was just small ways that they bothered each other…the Zhang and Gan Jin had arrested and presumably killed others of the opposing tribe. This issue is never dealt with since they are refugees and the Canyon Crawlers are the threat that forces them to cooperate. Peace comes to easy in their conflict and tying it to Katara and Sokka just cheapened the history that is implied to exist.

   This was an okay episode, but it is skippable. It doesn’t lend anything to the story beyond showing that Aang is willing to lie to reach peace as he says he knew the people long ago and that the event they are all fighting over was a misunderstanding and it was just a game so both were in the wrong to a degree but neither was truly wrong. I liked seeing Aang think on his feet and it was interesting seeing a lie that wasn’t presented as a negative as even Katara praises Aang at the end.

Final Score: 6 / 10.  A little above average in quality.

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