Welcome earlier for another weekly testimonial of Avatar! This week, the earth King has invited us to Lake Laogai, and we space honored to expropriate his invitation. Read on to see just how the visit went.

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1. Endings and beginnings and also middles.By this allude in the show, over there are loads of characters and also subplots that, as we move towards the season’s endgame, room all starting to collide. This illustration sees the end of the Jet and Appa stories, the middle of the all at once Ba sing Se arc, and the start of a brand-new life choice for Zuko. Every one of those story come together in one bigger narrative, influence the events in each other’s stories also when the personalities don’t cross routes with one another. To me, this is top Avatar, packing in as much as they have the right to to push the collection forward while also keeping a tight emphasis on one episode-length story at a time.

This episode was written by Tim Hedrick and also directed through Lauren MacMullan, the same duo who wrote the very first Ba sing Se episode, “City the Walls and also Secrets,” which was structured similarly. I’ve constantly seen these 2 episodes as a pair. Despite there room two other episodes in in between them, the speculative structure the those 2 sets lock apart in my mind. Together, “City of Walls and Secrets” and also “Lake Laogai” are an effective Alpha and also Omega to the long Feng and Dai Li plot (even if those personalities have a duty in future episodes).

2. “The earth King has actually invited you come Lake Laogai.”Back in “City that Walls and also Secrets,” we learned that the Dai Li have actually been kidnapping anyone that speaks about the war and also brainwashing them. Now, we see the depth details of how that works. Ns think the creative team did some good work on pass the abstract principle of brainwashing into horrifying reality. The use of a key trigger phrase — “The planet King has invited you come Lake Laogai” — and the subsequent an answer — “I am honored to expropriate his invitation” — would be creepy sufficient on their own, yet the zoom-in on the victim’s dilating pupil and also the accompanying ‘shing’ sound impact evoke a visceral reaction. And how might anyone forget the fish-eye watch of the plenty of blank-eyed Joo Dees being trained come repeat your lines?

From a non-visual storytelling perspective, ns think the means we acquire this information is likewise notable. Jet becomes the bearer of poor news — though he no realize it. Simply as in “City that Walls and Secrets,” the character starts the episode thinking whatever is going well, bringing hope to the Avatar gang. Setup the information up this way allows because that greater an enig and intrigue together the story darkens and also the team must number out how to acquire information out of one unwilling, unknowing victim. Include in the characters’ previous relationships and you have actually a totally engaging plot, even before the bigger fights and much more emotional moment start.

3. “He’s lying.”Since joining the cast, Toph has proven herself to be a an excellent foil because that the other characters. Among the best things the sets her apart, though, is the she has no clear overall arc in the show. To consist of for this, she constantly inventing and showing off new uses for her abilities. Here, she shows how she can become a person polygraph.

First off, that’s just an awesome and also useful ability that provides perfect sense provided her capability to sense the vibrations around her. Second, Hedrick supplies it in three various ways come evoke various responses the end of the audience. The an initial use is just to develop the capability and assist lead the personalities to the conclusion that Jet had actually been brainwashed. The 2nd is a throw-away joke around Katara denying she feelings because that Jet. And the third is the huge payoff: Jet, having actually just to be struck by long Feng, states that hell be okay, top Toph to tell Katara, “He’s lying.” the a perfect demonstrate of exactly how to maximize the ascendancy of 3 by switching points up on each repetition, as well as a memorable means to introduce this ability.

4. “Is the your own destiny, or is that a destiny someone else has actually tried to pressure on you?”Continued below
Over in Zuko-land, one Appa poster pressures him right into his deepest internal conflict yet. Should he proceed to live this simple life v his uncle where they’re around to acquire their own tea shop? Or should he finally capture the Avatar to perhaps reclaim his location at the Fire nation throne?

Things have been difficult for Zuko, but he hasn’t has such an instant opportunity like this because his sister’s treason in the an initial episode that the season. Really, his street from the Avatar has actually been a conserving grace for his personal development. And also yet, just like Jet being drawn to disclose firebenders, Zuko can’t aid but be drawn to capturing the Avatar, perhaps letting go of every the progress he’s made.

I feel favor I speak this every-other episode, yet Iroh’s lines right here are some of the best in the show. He truly desires Zuko come stop and also think about the concept of destiny. Zuko has actually spent so lengthy telling himself that his destiny is what his father compelled upon him, therefore he never stopped come think about what he in reality wants. Iroh’s view on destiny exemplifies one of the biggest messages that the display for me: there is no metaphysical “destiny.” over there is only what you select to make the end of the situation you room given. And if someone tells you the you’re supposed to it is in one thing, castle wrong. It’s approximately the separation, personal, instance to make the choice.

Needless come say, i’m proud that Zuko’s choice. It’s not the finish of his struggle, however it is his greatest step front yet.

5. Battle in the secret Dai Li facility!I love the underground fight at the end of this episode. It’s the perfect mix of many personalities showing off their plenty of different fighting approaches in a visually unique location. The fight takes location in two various rooms, both do of dark gray stone with green crystals lighting points up, one with chains hanging from the ceiling and one v water flowing the end of tunnels in the walls. The places are fascinating come look at, and providing an ext creep-factor and some extra aspects to carry into the fight.

This sequence was storyboarded by Joaquim Dos Santos, who had just come turn off directing fifty percent of “Justice league Unlimited” and would later on direct about a third of Avatar’s third season. I watch Dos Santos, through far, as among the greatest modern animation directors, and I think you deserve to see his influence even when he is storyboarding under a various director. He effortlessly provides this succession clear and also concise in spite of the quantity of moving parts. He additionally gets girlfriend to feeling each punch, each bend, each feint, making the “camera” relocate with the characters as they present up from distinct angles. The dude is likewise a master of replicating hand-to-hand combat, so few of the finest parts that this sequence space the small up-close moment when characters are forced to make rapid bending moves.

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I’ll have a lot more to say around Dos Santos’s directing together the display continues. Because that now, though, this battle is a to mark in an currently extremely strong season.

What did girlfriend think of the episode? are you sad about Jet’s ultimate fate? Happy around Appa’s? Conflicted about Zuko’s? let me recognize in the comments!

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