Monday, November 21, 2011

Television Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Season 2 (Earth)

In the television series Avatar: The Last Airbender, the character of the Avatar is the only person in the world capable of manipulating all four of the Classical elements (Air, Earth, Fire, and Water). He (or she) is born into one of those disciplines and then must learn the other three in a particular order. In the case of the current Avatar they are: Air→Water→Earth→Fire. Each of the three seasons of the show focus on one of those remaining three disciplines. In this season Aang and his friends travel across the Earth Kingdom so he can learn earth bending (the power to move and manipulate the element Earth). This proves difficult for him since Air is the opposite of Earth in the compass of the Classical Elements (i.e. it is furthest away from his natural aptitude and original training). He is also preparing the Earth Kingdom for a decisive battle with the Fire Nation.

My verdict: Uncle Iroh is still my favorite character, though some interesting new characters are introduced, including Toph and Princess Azula's two minions, Mai and Ty Lee. This season was a nice development of the series.[2] It's real triumph is its treatment of Prince Zuko. We see deeper into his tragedy as he is frequently manipulated by his malicious little sister, Princess Azula. At one point he tries to redeem himself by doing something to help the Avatar. But the change isn't sincere and his subsequent chipper attitude and kindly behavior is forced and saccharine—a genuine change of character has still eluded him.


[1] Read my review of the first season (Book I: Water) here.

[2] I was reminded of The Empire Strikes Back for several reasons:

Image attributions:

Soil Crust is by Minerva Bloom, available at

1 comment:

  1. Surely you weren't reminded of Empire Strikes Back because of the mystic swamp and the Guru? Nah...?

    Toph was my favorite good guy and Mai my favorite bad guy.

    Toph (speaking of Sokka's drawing): "It looks great to me."
    Sokka: "Thanks! Wait..."

    Mai (when Sokka, Katara go to free the king of Ba Sing Sei's Bear), bored, waving hand: "Oh, just take the bear."