Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Book 4: Change may be the last animated entry into one of the best television shows of the past decade. In honor of this milestone, Channel Surfer is providing a retrospective on each Avatar season, from starting the original series to the latest. This is meant to be an overview for Avatar veterans, and hopefully an introduction for anyone interested in the show. This week we end the original series with The Last Airbender, Book 3: Fire.
Original Run: 2007-2008
No. of Episodes: 21
Premise: Avatar takes place in a world where humans can bend the fire, water, earth, and air. Once, the four nations lived in harmony, until the fire nation attacked. Only the “Avatar,” master of all four elements could stop them, but when the world needed him most, he vanished. A century later, the new Avatar is found, and must reestablish balance to the world.
Book 3: Fire
Following their turbulent journey through the Earth Kingdom, the Avatar and his friends find themselves in a race against time. Two events inch ever closer that could determine the outcome of the 100 Year War. First is The Day of Black Sun, a solar eclipse which will momentarily disable firebending and leave the Fire Nation defenseless. The second is Sozin’s Comet, which will boost firebending to near invincible levels. Team Avatar need to organize an invasion during the solar eclipse, or else hope that Aang can find at least one firebender willing to help him complete mastery of the elements. While this occurs, Fire Prince Zuko has been ushered back home to the Fire Nation as a hero, but he finds the adulation lacking, and must finally decided if his path truly resides with the Fire Lord, or with the Avatar.
Watching the Show
As you can guess, Season 3 is all about the Fire Nation. For the first time, we get to see what life is like in the evil empire. Turns out its kinda like North Korea, only nicer. The season is basically split into three plot sections. Part 1 has Aang pretend to be dead again and leads up to the Black Sun Invasion. Part 2 is all about Zuko joining Team Avatar (ah, spoilers) and his individual adventures with each member. Part 3 is the Sozin’s Comet saga that closes the series. Being the final season of Last Airbender, the show takes this opportunity to explore and answer most (but definitely not all) of the lingering questions and issue of left over. We get to see the life and times of Avatar Roku and how the 100 year was actually started. We explore the death of Katara’s mother. The Fire Lord is finally introduced (and voice by Mark Hamill!).
The Avatar and the Fire Lord (S.3, Ep.6)
This episode does what I think a lot of fans clamored for, and are still clamoring for. It told the life story of Avatar Roku, Aang’s predecessor and past life. In it, we’re told a story of two friends whose life journeys make them enemies. It was Roku’s mercy and Sozin’s greed that plunged the world into a century of war. In a twist of fate, only their successors, Avatar Aang and Fire Prince Zuko, can rewrite the past and bring balance to the world.
The Ember Island Players (S.3, Ep.17)
Now, “Nightmares and Daydreams” may be funnier, but I gatta give it to “The Ember Island Players” for basically summarizing the entire series in 20 minutes, as well as lovingly putting the show’s intense fanbase on blast. The premise is that Team Avatar watch a Fire Nation propaganda play that parodies their journey up to the finale. The episode is chock full of references, allusions, foreshadows, and inside easter eggs, that it almost feels like a special treat for fans who’ve followed the show since the beginning.
Sozin’s Comet, Part 3 & 4: Into the Inferno/Avatar Aang (S.3, Ep.21)
This is it. The finale. The final battle between the world and the Fire Nation comes to a head. Will Ba Sing Se be liberated? Will Zuko and Katara be a match for an increasingly deranged Azula? Can Aang go against his principles to save the world by killing the Fire Lord? Wanna find out? Go watch it! You won’t regret it.