December 6, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Avatar: The Last Airbender Book Three “Chapter Seven: The Runaway”

Toph and Katara butt heads and Sokka buys a hawk.

I know I’ve made a lot of hay about how Katara didn’t get the sort of character development that a lot of the male characters got in the early going, but that since then, there’s been more than a few episodes devoted to making her more than just the stalwart center of the Aang Gang.

Oddly enough, though, I haven’t really been bothered much by the similar lack of development in Toph.  But then an episode like this comes along and shines the spotlight on both girls.


Let’s face it:  as much as I dig Toph, she’s basically a sarcastic tomboy, someone who routinely plays off her blindness for humorous effect.  Sokka may be the funniest member of the Aang Gang in-universe, but I find Toph far more amusing to me as a viewer.  Katara, meanwhile, has always been essentially the most responsible member of the group.

So, you can imagine it won’t go over well when Toph used her earthbending skills to run some scams, making the Gang a lot of money.  The boys didn’t mind.  Heck, Sokka used his share to buy a messenger hawk.  He called it “Hawkie”.

Katara, well, she doesn’t like that.  Especially when her idea of fun is to put Momo on her head.  Momo doesn’t stay there very long.

Sokka, however, does what he can to reconcile the pair.  Toph is acting like a girl who has no parents and no responsibilities now that she has finally gotten away from her folks.  Katara, well, she lost her own mother and took it upon herself to be like a parent to Sokka and later Aang.  Sokka does actually reconcile the girls by having a chat with Toph in an area where Katara can overhear unseen (even for the blind girl).  I’m not sure he planned it that way, but it worked better than writing notes in the name of either girl since Toph can’t write or read.

Oh, and Toph’s wanted for her scams.  The wanted posters call her “the Runaway”.

Now, after all this, with both girls getting a better understanding of the other, it would make sense for them to agree to do something with their newfound bond.  And…that plan is to pull one last scam where Katara turns Toph in for the reward and then Toph metalbends herself free.

Small problem:  the whole thing is a trap set up by the three-eyed assassin.  Can that guy talk?  I don’t know.  Toph is locked in a wooden cell and Katara soon joins her as bait for Aang.

Can the boys rescue the girls while Appa keeps Momo and Hawkie in line?

Wait, this is The Last Airbender.  The girls can save themselves, particularly when Katara realizes she’s sweating and there’s a lot of water she can bend in sweat.  And then when the assassin gets a bead on the group, a well-aimed rock from Toph has a piece of debris smack him in his third eye.  That…throws his aim off.  Huh.

Sokka dubbed him the Combustion Man.  That’s a good name for a guy like that.

Sokka also lost his hawk when the girls used it to send a letter to Toph’s parents.  So, it looks like Katara learned to be a little more flexible, Toph learned to be a little more responsible, Sokka learned not to waste his money on expensive birds, and Aang learned…um, not a thing this time.  Well, three out of four isn’t bad,