“In the darkest times, hope is something you give yourself. That is the meaning of inner strength.”
“Avatar Day” is a great episode at showing how politics play out after they are done, as well as the price of action and how extreme nationalist can feed into tyranny. It is a great historical episode that shows us the ongoing legacy of the Avatar and how the Avatar means many things to different people, whether it’s fear or admiration.
The episode was directed by Lauren MacMullan and written by John O’Bryan.
The story involves Team Avatar visiting a village to escape the Rough Riders who are hunting them. The Village is celebrating Avatar Day where the Avatar is burned for the murder of their leader Chin the Great. From here Ang stands trial to clear Kyoshi’s name as she was the Avatar responsible as Katara and Sokka investigate the events of the past. Zuko also returns to his identity as the Blue Spirit and is robbing Earth Kingdom people.
The Pros: The Village -The Village is all that is left of Chin’s Earth Empire and his legacy of tyranny lives on through the magistrate who rules through his word alone and does show trials. This is Chin’s legacy as he was a tyrant, though my guess is he was also responsible for uniting the Earth Kingdom as well.
Kyoshi Island – Kyoshi created Kyoshi Island to protect her people using Earthbending when Chin and his men were ready to conquer and destroy them. Her legacy as a protector lives on through the Kyoshi warriors and the shrines made in her name on the Island.
Avatar Day – Avatar Day is where the village burns giant effigies of the Avatar and eats fried bread to remember the loss of their leader that day. I like that this exists in the Universe as it shows the legacy of the Avatar is not always good even if the act done was good.
The Rough Riders – These guys are great, they each use different types of weapons to fight and use rhinos. They are tough and dangerous and school Team Avatar the first time they run into them. I can’t wait to see them used again and it is only due to Team Avatar defending the village and going all out that they are defeated.
Uncle Iroh – Iroh is comfortable in his position and has found inner peace. It is this that he shares with Zuko when he sees how Zuko’s conflict is leading to hurting others by robbing them and hurting himself in his disconnect from Iroh. The episode ends with them parting ways.
Zuko / The Blue Spirit – Zuko returns as the Blue Spirit to give him and Iroh a more comfortable life in hiding and we see how his entitlement mentality is leading to a growing apart from his Uncle. After his Uncle counsels him he decides he needs to do some soul searching on his own and they part ways.
Sokka – Sokka puts his investagitive skills to use in a Sherlock like manner (pride and all, shutting down Katara every time she figures out the answer) but it is great to see him this way as we see his skepticism and his comedic ways put to use.
Katara – Katara is shown to be better at seeing patterns than Sokka (bender so it makes sense) and is the first to figure out what happened and there are questions in the story that the leader of the village was giving. We also see her ability to see the big picture and that Aang sticking around to be possibly put to death isn’t going to stop the Fire Lord.
Aang – Aang has a huge level of responsibility in what he believes his role to be. He stands trial for his past life and still defends the village that was going to kill him afterward. Aang really shows how wise he is for a kid though in trying to right action no matter what the risk might be to himself.
Avatar Kyoshi – Kyoshi takes responsibility for the murder and tells the story of how Chin the Great was a tyrant oppressing and conquering all throughout the Earth Kingdom. It was only after she used Earthbending to protect her people and create an island that he was defeated in the aftermath. She stands by what she did too because of the tyranny of Chin.
A Time to Fight – Kyoshi doesn’t fight and end up killing Chin until he arrived at her village and against her people. Everything she does in self defense and besides that, she ends one of the greatest tyrants of the Earth Kingdom, though I wonder if it lead to the rise of the corrupt noble families who currently rule the Earth Kingdom.
This was a powerful and amazing episode and one of the best in Book 2. We get Kyoshi’s backstory, learn more about how others see the Avatar, meet the Rough Riders and all of Team Avatar receives character exploration.
Final Score: 10 / 10. Everything good about this show.