Ahoy mateys, all hands on the poop deck for some more...Avatar: The Last Airbender!
And...I have to say, I'm surprised by how bad this Episode was slammed on the review page. I be readin' all this aboot the fight choreography not bein' so good, the pacing bein' off, the buccaneers not bein' interestin', the events in it being almost entirely irrelevant...
So, I'm looking at all that, and I'm like "Really? I thought it was pretty good!". As a matter of fact, this Episode was one of my favorites! Now, if you're gonna look at it in terms of plot development, of course not too much happened, but is that such a problem to begin with? Does every episode absolutely need to move the story along? No, and besides that, what it lacked in plot development, I thought it more than made up for with character development, especially with Katara. Because, I think if we're honest, she was getting dangerously close to being a Mary Sue (a character without any real flaws). The lassie wasn't quite there, but she was walking the plank if you ask me. So, seein' what the lassie's like when she's not so shipshape was refreshing to me.
Another thing I'd like to note is that besides the first 5 minutes or so, there wasn't anything to nitpick, and that Sokka seems to have his Sarcastic meter turned up to 11 just for this Episode. Anyways....
Aang is lookin' like he's havin' a panic attack as he talks with Sokka. But it's aight, because Katara's gonna try to teach Aang some of the stuff that she knows! One wonders why they didn't do this earlier, like, say, Episode 4, but, that's cool. Sokka ain't so down with this though..."Sokka: Great. What am I supposed to do?"
Well, you could train, do some pushups and situps, catch up on some of your Kyoshi Warrior techniques, practice some of your strikes, run around to build endurance, gather some grub for...
Aang: You could...clean the gunk out of Appa's toes.
...Ok, that works to. Why Appa can't use the water to get his own gunk, I don't know (he seems smart enough), but hey, if Sokka says he's willin'...
Speakin' of bein' willin', Zuko again shows us how awesome he can be when he displays what has to be THE most impressive display of patience yet. Apparently, not only does Iroh not have much interest in capturing Aang, but the scurvy dog is willin' to change course, for no other reason than...well, just listen...Iroh: Even more urgent. It seems that I've, ugh...I've lost my lotus tile
Zuko: Lotus tile?
Iroh: For my Pai Cho game. Most people think the lotus tile insignificant. But, it is essential for the unusual strategy that I am employing
Zuko: You've changed our course for a stupid lotus tile?!
Iroh: See, you like most people underestimate it's value. Just give me 10 minutes to check the merchants at the (name I can't understand). Hopefully, they'll have the lotus tile in stock, and I can get on with my life.
Zuko: (Scream of frustration)
Iroh: I'm glad to have such an understanding nephew!
Iroh, that's puttin' it lightly. Trust me, I'm a powergamer, and I know what it's like to say, play Diablo II, and lose that really awesome Sigon's Set in Hardcore mode, but here's an idea, USE A DIFFERENT STRATEGY!! I'll admit that this conversation was funny (if only because of the "get on with my life" line), but it's still...it's still...
Nope, I'm not even going to comment this time. Hmph, I'm glad this guy wasn't born in our time period. He'd probably spend all his time playin' World of Warcraft, he would...nyyeeehh!
Still, Iroh must be doing something right if Zuko's willin' to put up with this. I can't imagine Zuko bein' this tolerant in say, Episode 1 or 2. Iroh is clearly having a positive impact on him, but, why is it that the show never wants to show Iroh at anything but his most abominably biscuit eating moments?
But whatever, back to Aang and Katara. Or rather, Aang making Katara look totally worthless as Katara shows us for the very first time, that there is an unhealthy competitive side to her personality. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, people like that always irritate me and cause stress to others, but, on the other hand, she was getting to be a little too much like a Mary Sue anyways. What do ye buckos think? Savvy?
I'll tell ye what Sokka's thinkin'. Total exasperation as all their supplies get washed away, and maybe even a bit of frustration at the fact that, rather than Aang usin' that Air Orb of his, and actually retrievin' the supplies with his water bending abilities, he lets em' wash away.
I would think so, I'd be pretty irritated to if I were Sokka.
I rather enjoyed the next 6 minutes of this. People say that the Pirates were borin' and not much more than archtypes, but, just what do you guys expect? Does every villain have to be a unique, bourgeoise rat? I don't think Zhao is interestin' or unique, but I'm not complainin' about his personality (no, it's his inneffectuality that irritates me).
Besides, I thought the Buccaneer Captain had a certain...charisma about him. I guess it might just be his voice actor, who I could've sworn was the guy who voiced Captain Ginyu from Dragon Ball Z (but nope, he isn't).
And I mean the awesome, gruff, charismatic
Brice Armstrong Captain Ginyu, who sounds cool. Not the goofy Dave Kelly Captain Ginyu, who sounded like an evil Ernest
I think I also like the soundtrack that plays for the pirates, as it actually has human voices in them, which I thought made the Corsairs seem a little more intimidating, edgy, and unique.
To top off those minutes, I like how the show doesn't sugar coat the fact that Katara put all them at risk of feedin' the fishes, that pillagin' someones booty was wrong, and that Katara did royally screw up here. It's not like EPISODE FOUR, in which Aang apparently felt no obligation to defend the Kyoshi Village and give Zuko the ol' heave ho, and never seems to acknowledge that onscreen (although offscreen, I get the feelin' that he did, based on how much more serious he got).
Ye know what the worst part is? As bad as Episode 4 was about that, that's nothing but a WARM UP, compared to that...other episode...that I saw before starting this thing...that one I've mentioned a few times...in which almost every takes a sudden...I'd rather see Aang's Episode 4 showboating a million times over rather than...
Nah, happy thoughts! Yo ho ho ho! Yar watching an episode that's not that episode, happy thoughts! Let's think of somethin' funny, like...
How hilarious Iroh was in this, the way he acts like a lassie having her first shopping trip, and even imitating a monkey statue as the scene finishes (if you look closely in the background when Zuko asks about Aang's location, you'll see him). Or, Zuko, after he captures Katara. I swear, the moment he captures Katara, he utters the absolute funniest thing I've ever heard coming out of his mouth...Zuko: I'll save you from the pirates!
You ever hear one of those lines in a show, one of them that just strikes you as so bizzare and strange, or otherwise silly, that you spend days just repeating it to yourself, and trying to figure out what the heck that was about? You know how I said that his attitude in Episode 8 was strange? Well that's nothing compared to this! I thought for a long while on this, and finally, I just figured that he must've said that in reaction to Katara screaming in shock at the Pirate attack, to be a sarcastic jerk, but, it just came so completely out of the blue.
I love this conversation to. I don't know why, maybe it's just his voice acting, or the way he's talking into Katara's ear as he's listin' his demands, or that smile he gets on his face after Katara rebuffs him for the first time, but, it almost looks to me like he's trying to get his mojo working, like he's trying to woo Katara. Like, he's trying to use his princely charms and wits to hornswaggle the information out of her.
Cor Blimey though, he HAS gotten more patient, hasn't he? I was really shivering me timbers by how he didn't immediately get mad, or frustrated in the least. As a matter of fact, it seems like he's relyin' more on wit, and less on brute force as the show goes on, and I found that really interestin' to watch. He's developing as a character quite nicely.
So, Aang gets captured, and the critics are right in that he does get captured a wee little bit too easily, but you know what? At least he actually did something
this time, UNLIKE EPISODE FOUR, in which he stood around like a lamb as he let himself get captured. Plus, he had a good reason for not succeeding this time. If I had broken that net that that corsair had captured me with, I think I would've succumbed to it just as easily as Aang did. I seriously was not expecting even those shards of rope to be so fast even after losing so much momentum. Basically, Aang just happened to go up against weaponry he had no familiarity with, was specifically designed to counter his airbending abilities, and suffered for it.
I do dislike Sokka's biscuit eating after Aang got captured though.
Starting up after this was probably my favorite part of the Episode, and what I thought was the very best fight scene in the show, for a lot of reasons. Firstly, Aang doesn't immediately curbstomp his opponents, which is always nice. Secondly, for what I think is the very first time in the show, Katara and Sokka were actually vital to winning the fight and escaping from many dark moons in Davy Jones's Locker, from the way Sokka turned the corsairs and Zuko against each other, to the way Katara and Aang had to work together to escape, to the way their constantly saving each others lives, it was all really cool to see. Besides though, these scallywags just kick a lot of butt, and I could actually buy them being a match for Zuko and his gang.
Zuko and the Pirate Corsair for example. If you look closely, you can actually see the Captain employin' a very clever strategy. He's rushing in and giving Zuko as little breathing room as he possibly can, so that Zuko's unable to use his firebending powers to their full extent. The smoke bombs were really clever as well.
Then, just to finish off a great Episode, Iroh again gets the comeuppance he deserves for causing Zuko so much trouble...or maybe not...I really do wish they'd show Iroh helping Zuko work out his problems onscreen.
I don't care what anyone says, this Episode was great! It provided some much needed character development to Katara, some subtle character development for Zuko, some of what I thought was the best action in this cartoon, very little to nitpick, and just had some all around great action!
This episode is definetly A material if you ask me. Also....Iroh: Oooooooh!! This is HAAAANDSOOOME! XD