Welcome ago for another weekly review of Avatar! This week, us go right for the jugular through a waterbending fear episode.

You are watching: Avatar: the last airbender the puppetmaster

1. Full-on Horror

This is the 2nd horror-themed illustration the show has done, and I think this one is much an ext successful than the previous attempt. In huge part, that’s because the team go all-in on the horror aspects here, from a structural perspective through to the small visual details.

It’s fitting the the illustration starts v the kids sitting approximately a campfire at night and telling scary stories. As any kind of horror writer can tell you, there’s something primal around the forest that incites are afraid in people. Together the episode goes on, we watch some common horror tropes: human being mysteriously walking missing; the nice mrs who appears to it is in hiding a dark secret; most scenes taking place at night. And by the end, Hama has a long monologue that itself is a scary story, but one the truly happened to her. When again, that fitting that this confrontation takes place in the forest, this time under a complete moon.

I appreciate just how these tropes are supplied not just for the visuals, but due to the fact that they make sense in the show’s world. The illustration takes place at night during a full moon because, as previously established, that’s as soon as waterbenders space their most powerful. The pretty woman’s secret isn’t some one-off story created for the episode, it’s directly related to some of our main characters. This is part smart synergy between the writing and art departments.

2. The last Waterbender

This illustration unexpectedly gives us some understanding on what exactly happened to Katara and Sokka’s village before they were born. Together it transforms out, Hama to be the last southerly waterbender come be caught in her generation that Fire country raids. The raids room something wednesday heard about, but had never seen prior to this episode, and also they’re every bit as unsettling together we imagined. One through one, we watch everyone Hama had actually stood v disappear until finally she’s surrounding by faceless Fire country war masks.

They are reliable visuals, aptly creepy and dehumanizing, and this story provides great insight into the southerly Water Tribe society that us didn’t also know we needed.

3. “There’s water in areas you never ever think about.”

Hama is consistently accumulated as a waterbender throughout the episode. First we watch her bending soup into the kids’ bowls, climate we view her take the humidity out of the air prior to destroying a field of lilies for their water, and finally she reveals she ultimate secret: bloodbending!

The mechanics the bloodbending are fascinating, and also they space rooted in the horror aesthetic of the episode. The bender must organize their hands in an unnatural vertical pose while expanding their fingers out in likewise unnatural ways. The whole method looks, fittingly, favor a puppetmaster regulating their puppets.

4. “When you’re a waterbender in a weird land, you carry out what you should to survive.”

Katara’s reaction come the bloodbending renders sense because that her, however so too does Hama’s stance. Lock both check out it as imposing your will on one unsuspecting human, however Katara immediately sees it together an honest abuse the power. Hama, however, has actually a much more utilitarian perspective. She developed the technique to escape an unjust imprisonment, therefore she was standing by her self-preservation as being an as whole “good.”

On the various other hand, dipping into this well of honest ambiguity opened up the door because that Hama to end up being the extremist she is today. Comparable to Jet back in season one, she arisen an unhealthy perspective whereby she quit seeing ordinary Fire country citizens together people and also started seeing everyone as “the enemy.” simply as castle dehumanized her people, she snapped back and dehumanized every fire benders. Her bitterness resulted in corruption, which ended up being her downfall.

All that said, Katara’s reaction to utilizing the an approach against Hama provides sense. Her tearful break-down constantly seemed a tiny dramatic come me, yet now the I’ve explored her perspective a bit more, ns realize that it’s completely in-character. Now it’s approximately Katara to stay balanced despite having the potential for this method inside her.

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5. The snapping trees!

I stated the forest a few times in the an initial point for its atmospheric qualities and use as a fear trope, however it additionally becomes a genius action set piece for the final battle. With the two understand waterbenders fighting versus each other, they pull water from the trees till they burst right into splinters. This is quickly my favourite visual trick in the episode, and also when an unified with your eerie snapping sound, lock get across all the chaotic fear vibes we needed for that final fight.

That’s every from me for this week. Any kind of thoughts ~ above bloodbending? go you gain the episode’s foray right into horror? execute you relate to Katara’s moral dilemma, or carry out you see things more like Hama? allow me know in the comments!


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