Well, we got some episodes that made both Zuko and Sokka out to be more than the basic character types they appeared to be so far. Will we get the same from Katara?
Actually, um, no.
Here’s the thing: Katara is a good character, but so far, she hasn’t exactly surprised us. She’s the mature one of the group, the one who wants to learn waterbending and be heroic and the like. She’s brave and she’s idealistic. And…so far, that’s about it.
That’s fine for a kid’s show. It’s not like The Last Airbender was aimed at an older audience or anything. I mean, it’s the good kind of kids cartoon that works for adults, such as parents stuck with kids watching this thing. The best kids entertainment also works for adults and all that.
And this episode is clever, moreso than the live action movie and how they apparently adapted it (I only know that bit by reputation). At an Earth Kingdom village where all the Earthbenders disappeared, Katara encourages one young man to do something, only he’s captured and sent away. She fakes earthbending to join him on a refinery in the middle of the ocean where all the Earthbenders are left effectively powerless. Once there, Katara tries to encourage them to fight back, but their spirits are broken and stay broken even after Aang shows up and forces a load of coal right into their laps.
Oh, and the warden is clearly voiced by George Takei, and I always like hearing that man speak. Sure, the warden will give a guy solitary for sneezing at the wrong moment, but it’s still Takei’s voice saying it.
But if this is the Katara episode, then what do we learn about her? Not much. She starts the episode brave and idealistic, a cheerleader for doing the right thing and fighting back against oppression, and she is that same person at the end.
By the by, I know the Firebenders are aggressive and all, but how dumb is it fighting fire against coal? That just makes burning coal. That sounds even more dangerous.
Plus, there was a fight at the end with some nice details, like Sokka holding his own with some footsoldiers and Momo stealing spears. But then at the end, the young Earthbender Katara got to know made some romantic-type gestures to her in a similar manner to the young woman who trained Sokka from two episodes ago. So, really, as much as this episode had a great plot, from a character perspective, it didn’t accomplish as much as some of the previous ones.
Then again, Katara lost a necklace, but then Zuko found it, meaning he may not be far behind the group right now.