Avatar: The Last Airbender Book Three “Chapter Three: The Painted Lady”

Is there a point to the gang wandering around the Fire Nation waiting for the eclipse?

I don’t know.  Do they know Azula overheard the plan from the Earth King’s mouth anyway?

May not matter.  Sokka says the eclipse only lasts eight minutes anyway.

Regardless, now that the Aang Gang are in the Fire Nation, we can see that, unsurprisingly, it kinda sucks in there.  The country is devoted entirely to this century-old war.  And when the gang gets to an island village where one man switches hats to claim he is a different brother based entirely on what hat he wears, there’s a factory nearby that is polluting the river to make armaments.  That’s not good for a fishing village, and it’s even worse when the factory takes all the town’s medical supplies to keep themselves healthy.

Katara, for her part, wants to help.  Sokka has a master schedule in the meantime and believes they can’t stop to help every village with a problem they come across.   Then Appa gets sick and the group can’t go anywhere for a while, even as the village’s spirit the Painted Lady is helping the villagers out in the very way Katara learns they need help every day.

That seems like an odd coincidence, and the episode does somewhat play up the Painted Lady as a mystery, but then Aang spots her one night and goes out to talk to her and surprise surprise, it’s Katara.  She can’t turn her back on people in need, and Aang thinks that’s awesome.  And then they go trash the factory.

By then, Sokka also figured out what was what, and even if he seemed heartless, he does care about Katara.  He may not want to help every village, but he does want to help his sister at all times.  So, he does care.  Toph?  She elbowed Aang in the ribs when he even suggested everyone wanted to help.  But Toph is generally awesome anyway, so I’m fine with that.

So, one last bit of help from the Painted Lady because Sokka realized, even as Katara didn’t, that the factory people would blame the village for Katara’s actions.  And a little bending goes a long way.  Yes, Katara is outted as a waterbender when the factory folks leave, but the villagers also realize she was only helping.  Likewise, they realize that next time they should just go help themselves.  It’s faster that way.  And they apparently can clean the river rather quickly.

So, Katara did a good deed.  How good?  The real Painted Lady stopped by that night to thank her.

 

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