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  1. #1
    Dudley's Avatar
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    A:TLA Finale. Great ending or Dues Ex Machina?

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    How do you guys feel about Aang on how he entered the Avatar state, laid the smackdown on Ozai, and then used energybending to strip him of his powers?
    Do you think it was too convenient? Do you think energybending could've been foreshadowed better?


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  2. #2
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    The Energy Bending was alright.

    The Avatar State on the other hand ruined the finale for me, all that hype about how the comet was supposed to make the Fire Lord Uber powerful and stuff and Aang just goes into avatar state and the Fire Lord suddenly doesn't stand a chance anymore, it was a curb stomp, Aang easily won.

    It was kind of lame really.
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  3. #3
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    I just watched the finale for the second time last night since it was On Demand in preparation for The Legend of Korra and I remembered this discussion from the original talkback for the finale. I didn't have a problem with Aang how entered the Avatar State and taking Ozai's firebending away. I don't think that Aang entering the Avatar State and having full control of the different elements was a cheap way to let him get the upper hand in the battle. Given the mark that Azula's attack left on him with that lightening attack, it made sense that another shot of pain through that same part of his back would allow him to go into the Avatar State. Maybe it could have been better if they had foreshadowed it a bit more, but I also haven't seen much of Book 3 in ages, so I could be forgetting some signs before the finale.

    The energy bending was perfectly fine. Aang obviously couldn't kill Ozai for a number of reasons. Personally, I liked that they had Aang talk with some of his past lives in order to find guidance and comfort with this problem, causing him to believe that he had no other choice but to kill him and then giving him the power to take away Ozai's firebending. I can see how people could see the lion turtle as a giant deus ex machina, but it works fine for me.

  4. #4
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    I always wondered what was Zuko and Katara's original plan or indent when they confronted Azula. Where they planning on killing her? After all the guff they gave Aang about killing Ozai, it would be hypocritcal not to. Zuko was leading the charge on telling Aang he had to kill Ozai his own father, so killing family doesn't bother him, and Katara has no emotional conflict at all, Azula is not her sister they were never friend, just an enemy. But than again she showed mercey that killed her mom, so who knows if she has any killer insticts.

  5. #5
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    For me it was a bit of both, I knew they weren't going to kill him off onscreen, so I'm fine with Energybending as a concept, but I do wish it had a bit more foreshadowing.

  6. #6
    Light Lucario's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoombie View Post
    I always wondered what was Zuko and Katara's original plan or indent when they confronted Azula. Where they planning on killing her? After all the guff they gave Aang about killing Ozai, it would be hypocritcal not to. Zuko was leading the charge on telling Aang he had to kill Ozai his own father, so killing family doesn't bother him, and Katara has no emotional conflict at all, Azula is not her sister they were never friend, just an enemy. But than again she showed mercey that killed her mom, so who knows if she has any killer insticts.
    If they were planning on killing her, then I think Katara would have been more brutal when she fought Azula instead of chaining her up or at the very least kill her once she was tied up. I'm not sure if that was their original plan anyway. Zuko firmly believed that the only way to stop the war was to kill his father and he was more of a threat to the world than his sister, at least once the comet came. After her experience with facing the man that killed her mother, I doubt that Katara would be willing to kill someone herself. As for Zuko, despite telling Aang that he would have to kill his father, I'm not sure if he would be comfortable killing someone in his own family, even if it is Azula, himself.

  7. #7
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    There are two elements to the finale that can be accused of being Deus Ex Machina: the Avatar State and energybending. But are either really DEMs?

    First, we must understand what the conflict of the finale was. The conflict of the finale was not that Aang must defeat the Fire Lord. The conflict was that Aang must defeat the Fire Lord and end the war without killing him. As soon as Zuko taught Aang to redirect lightning, the problem of defeating the Fire Lord was solved. What wasn't solved was the problem of defeating Ozai without killing him. The Avatar State did not fulfill this either. Aang defeated Ozai with the Avatar State, but he could not bring decisive end to the conflict without killing him.

    Energybending did solve this conflict. However, there are two things one must keep in mind -- first of all, energybending is setup by Aang speaking with the Lion Turtle. Plot-wise, Aang has the ability to energybend at that moment, but narrative wise the audience does not know that Aang has this trick up his sleeve until the very end, and can see in hindsight that he did know it. This is actually a crafty narrative trick, setting up something but keeping it as a surprise for the audience (WHAT A TWEEST), thus maintaining tension. Within the plot of the finale, energybending is not a last-minute third option that shows up out of nowhere.

    Secondly, it was not easy for Aang to energybend. The Lion Turtle spells it out himself: "To bend another's energy, your own spirit must be unbendable, or you will be corrupted and destroyed." Energybending was not a cheap or easy option. It was actually riskier than killing Ozai. It shows that Aang is willing to put his life on the line not just to defeat Ozai, but to defeat him in a way that is consistent with and does not compromise his beliefs and goals.

    So the Avatar State is not DEM because it did not actually solve the problem of the finale. Energybending is not DEM either, at least in the sense that there was setup for it and it was not convenient.
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  8. #8
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    Can't it be both?

    I was fine with the Avatar State because Aang needed some edge against the comet-powered Ozai, but the energybending one could easily argue for its DEM-ness. Yes it's kindof necessary since Aang had to not compromise his principles especially at the endgame (and even more so they never really set up an arc where Aang killed and had to cope with how it feels to), but otoh, it does seem rather convenient especially in a situation where killing can be seen as an option. I have mixed feelings but I'm kinda okay with it.

  9. #9
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    I love the Avatar ending.With Nick shows NEVER end when they're supposed to.They either get milked to the point when they're HORRIBLE and merely a shadow of what once was or get ended to early when there's still room for more develpoment.Avatar is like the only major Nicktoon(by major i mean lasted more than one season)that ened when it was supposed to.They had a plot planned out and executed it and did'nt run a season 4 no matter how high demand was for one because the story was done and after the Firelord was gone there's nowhere to go.In the episode itself i liked the battle and felt that Aang did'nt have it in him to kill Ozai it's just OOC for him so him to find a way to beat him without killing him was fine.Besides IMO life in prison is much worse than death.There was a happy ending and for all those cliff-hangers it seems that Legend of Korra will do a great job of continuing the story.I feel like it was'nt Dues Ex Machina but a believable ending although i see what they're saying about the WAY Aang beat Zuko BEING dUES ex Machina.

  10. #10
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    I don't really think it's that bad. Spirit Bending didn't win him the fight, just prevented him from having to kill Ozai at the end; the fight was pretty much over by the time he used it. That said, I found it kind of unnecessary given the option of, you know, just locking him in one of those ice prisons or something. Or crippling him.

    That said, I was actually more disappointed by the fact that both of them had stripped down to their pants. Aang's costume towards the end of the series looked really awesome, so it was a shame to see it discarded for the final battle.
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  11. #11
    Light Lucario's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGunheart View Post
    I don't really think it's that bad. Spirit Bending didn't win him the fight, just prevented him from having to kill Ozai at the end; the fight was pretty much over by the time he used it. That said, I found it kind of unnecessary given the option of, you know, just locking him in one of those ice prisons or something. Or crippling him.
    That's a good point about how Spirit Bending didn't win the fight for Aang. I'm not sure if an ice prison would have kept Ozai from causing more destruction and I definitely don't think that Aang would have wanted to cripple him. He probably wouldn't have wanted to hurt him that badly either and I doubt that the creators, or Nickelodeon for that matter, to hurt the villain like that as well.

  12. #12
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    Yeah that's a good point we all have to remember Nick is still a kids network and that Nick does like for it's characters to die.Even in more serious Nicktoons Nick tries to keep the killing to an absolute minimum.Energy bending was definatly not a Dues Ex Machina since it did'nt change the outcome of the story in any way if Ozai was about to kill Aang and Aang used some new technique to somehow pull off a win that would be a Dues Ex Machina.However now that i think about it is certaintly a possibility the creators were told by Nick to do something like this so it would'nt be to much for it's younger demographic.

  13. #13
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    I'm pretty sure Zhao died. It wasn't clear, but I think it was pretty much implied.

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    Yeah he probably did but they did'nt show it and in Nicktoons rarely do.Of all the Nicktoons A TLA is probably the most mature one in terms of death and killing and even so they rarely have cahracters die and on the rare occasion they do Zhoa(i think Jet died also)the scene is quite non violent.The scene were Zhoa died because he refused to take Zukos hand is one of the most powerful of the season 1 finale.Besides A TLA,IZ and DP (Which does'nt really count because it was in an alternative timeline and did'nt actually happen.)no characters die because we have to remember this is Nick who's main demographic is 6-11 year olds.I really don't think Nick really would have let A TLA end by making pacifist Aang kill Ozai which would have been a little much for their demograhic.Thanks for letting me know i made a error before.

  15. #15
    ToonsLover's Avatar
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    No one ever dying has always been my biggest issue with the series, to be honest. It's hard to take the war seriously, when the protagonists are always going out of their way to keep everyone alive. They don't have to make it obvious that people die, but implying it would be a lot better. I hope that changes with Korra, though I doubt it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToonsLover View Post
    No one ever dying has always been my biggest issue with the series, to be honest. It's hard to take the war seriously, when the protagonists are always going out of their way to keep everyone alive. They don't have to make it obvious that people die, but implying it would be a lot better. I hope that changes with Korra, though I doubt it.
    Zhao has the closest to an on-screen death in the finale for Book One with drowning and it was implied that Jet died as well. Although, it wasn't quite clear for awhile and I believe that the writers poked fun at that near the end of Book Three. Considering that the protagonists are just kids, it makes sense that the would be trying to figure out a way to keep everyone alive, especially for Aang given his spirital beliefs about respecting all life. Despite being involved in a war, they wanted to protect and help people, instead of destroying their enemies.

  17. #17
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    It bugged me to be honest.

    They present this awesome moral dillemna, that this little kid who can't even eat meat has to kill this big scary fire lord in order to end the war. And then he just kind of cheats to have his cake and eat it too.

    Didn't really feel like a cop-out, but it was pretty unsatisfying.

    I don't think they could have had Aang kill Ozai, though. That wouldn't have really worked either. I just think there was a more clever solution than what we got.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToonsLover View Post
    No one ever dying has always been my biggest issue with the series, to be honest. It's hard to take the war seriously, when the protagonists are always going out of their way to keep everyone alive. They don't have to make it obvious that people die, but implying it would be a lot better. I hope that changes with Korra, though I doubt it.
    Roku, Kya, Azulon, Lu Ten, the Air Nomad civilization, Zhao, Jet, the wounded Earth Kingdom soldiers seen in "The Avatar State", the Fire Nation fleet in "The Siege of the North". Plenty of death happened, it just wasn't shoved in your face.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldrius View Post
    It bugged me to be honest.

    They present this awesome moral dillemna, that this little kid who can't even eat meat has to kill this big scary fire lord in order to end the war. And then he just kind of cheats to have his cake and eat it too.

    Didn't really feel like a cop-out, but it was pretty unsatisfying.

    I don't think they could have had Aang kill Ozai, though. That wouldn't have really worked either. I just think there was a more clever solution than what we got.
    Such as?
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    Maybe something that tied in a little better. Or they could have treated energybending like it was some sacred power, maybe even have it considered to be a myth. If it were steadily build up over the course of the story that would have been better than just having it come out of the blue. I think if it was built up better it could have been something really epic.

    P.S. I'm not speaking for Aldrius I'm just throwing out my own ideas

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