There's a tradition in Asian painting that an artist would paint something and inscribe a poem on it, and then successive owners of the painting would inscribe commentary on the painting or the poem or commentary on the older commentary. This is why a lot of Chinese paintings have a lot of writing on them in different script styles or handwriting -- they're actually by different people.
So, as the editor of this blog post, consider this my commentary on the painting .
"The Waterbending Master" - Neo Yi's observations are something that I'd never, ever have come up with on my own in a million years, but I read it all and said, "Huh. Well, of course." If nothing else, I think it's a better justification for Pakku's change of heart than I've ever seen anywhere else.
"Zuko Alone" - I let other people pick their choices before I finalized mine, since I figured if enough people picked my episodes, I could be lazy and not write anything . Dens Maris took this one and nails everything about it that I like, except that (as I said during the process) I don't think the final shot is a cliche at all. I think "Zuko Alone" is Avatar's take on a spaghetti western, so you can't end with anything BUT the hero riding off into the sunset alone. There are formalities to be observed, as the head of the Mamma Aiutos would say.
"Tales of Ba Sing Se" - Hey! That's TOTALLY what I would have said about that episode! That guy is some kind of GENIUS or a MIND-READER or...uh....oh. Never mind . It was kind of hard to pick the video clip for this one, but the only other choice was Zuko's date and I didn't want to give that away. I wouldn't dare try to take any of Iroh's moments out of context.
"The Crossroads of Destiny" - I agree with everything, but man, I get the feeling that this post is something anybody who's seen the show will get but anybody who hasn't will be TOTALLY lost in. But I did lay the big spoiler warning up at the top, so if you're trying to puzzle out that entry, it's your own fault.
"Sokka's Master" - Another one I would have taken if The Huntsman hadn't selected it. One of my favorite things about it is how much genuine martial-arts combat philosophy is left throughout the whole thing. What I'll say about the duel is to watch the difference in how Sokka and Master Piandao fight. The major difference between the two is that Master Piandao isn't as obsessively focused on Sokka as much as he's taking in the entire battleground, in which Sokka is one part. He's taking much, much more into account at once (and handing out the teaching moments as he goes, which is another thing I love to pieces). He also perfectly embodies an "adapt faster than your opponent to win" philosophy. Nothing surprises him because he's expecting to be surprised and is flexible enough to roll with those surprises and reflect them back. On the flip side, I love how Sokka goes highly unorthodox to go much, much longer than he really should against someone like Piandao.
"Day of Black Sun" - It was a blast picking the video clip for this one (the only one that doesn't involve combat or a lot of action). The weird white thing at the start is a byproduct of the video conversion. I find this episode a lot more problematic (for a start, their strategy is awful), but the moments when it works are truly superlative. Plus, Azula being Azula is never a bad thing. Or it's a VERY Bad thing and that's a Good thing. You know what I mean.
"The Boiling Rock" - If "Zuko Alone" is the spaghetti western, this one is the "prison break" episode. And I do love that gondola fight. You can FEEL the impacts between Suki and Ty Lee, despite the fact that they're just drawings. I also love how well Sokka and Zuko work together to reinforce each other so smoothly. Teamwork in action. Gotta love it.