Avatar: The Last Airbender: Jet   Rewatch 
March 19, 2015 3:48 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

The gang finds another group of children fighting the Fire Nation. But does their leader have a secret? And is Sokka really jealous of Appa's arrow?
posted by Katemonkey (14 comments total)
Is it really obvious that I do not care about Jet and his plans for revenge?

Because, wow, my empathy levels, they plummet here.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:49 AM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Jet and the gang really reminded me of the Lost Boys in the movie Hook. Almost too much?

I can totally understand Katara crushing on him, though. Is it telling that when she's visibly crushing, my husband gave me a funny, knowing smile?

Sokka tends to be the fall guy for a lot of jokes, so I really liked that he came through in this episode as the reliable one who saves the day.
posted by jillithd at 7:15 AM on March 19, 2015

It is entirely possible that you're primed for Lost Boys reminders because Zuko is voiced by Dante Basco aka Rufio from Hook. But I mean, they're also definitely cut from the same cloth, right down to the treehouse situation.

Obviously Sokka really is jealous of Appa's arrow! Just look at his hairline and look at the arrow. He's trying to make the undercut work but he's not yet out of the awkward teen stage of hairstyle experiments.

But seriously, I remember this being one of the first episodes I had strong feelings about. Lots of things have happened already and so many great characters have been brought in, and I have no lasting love for Jet whatsoever. But for some reason the peril in this episode got to me and the emotional content got me all worked up in a way that none of the previous episodes managed. Of course now rewatching I'm all *rubs hand on screen when Aang appears in pilot* *wipes tears about poor baby Zuko* *pours one out for Iroh*, but there's something about the tone and pacing of this episode that first made me sit up and notice and want to be sure not just that I'd catch new episodes but also that I had seen all the previous ones and not missed something. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Sokka saving the day. Gets me every time.
posted by Mizu at 7:40 AM on March 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Is it really obvious that I do not care about Jet and his plans for revenge?

Because, wow, my empathy levels, they plummet here.

But he's so dreamy, all brooding and serious. A really deep soul. But srsly, he's the first "mature kid" they come across. Aang is in some ways still a little kid, and Sokka is definitely goofy and overly boastful of his own abilities. Jet is significantly different, confident but not loud, a leader of others, and fighting the good fight against the Fire Nation army, trying to reclaim this valley. Katara, being the oldest, has been the mature one in their group, so I can see the reason for the crush, and finding common ground in Jet's views, goals and ideals (until she learns how far he'll go to get rid of the Fire Nation).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:49 AM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, and not to forget to mention: the background of this episode is GORGEOUS. All of those red maple trees! It reminds me a bit of the weirwoods in Game of Thrones. So, so pretty.
posted by jillithd at 8:24 AM on March 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Geezers, here's my even longer than usual too long for posting recap and thoughts on Jet.

The more I watch this episode the more I really appreciate it and am starting to consider it one of the best episodes of the first season, if not the show. There's a lot love about it, be it the growing quality of the Track Team's music, Dave Filoni's direction, the animation, the choreography, and the aforementioned beautiful background and rendering of the forest.

Jet is an incredibly fascinating character, the stand in for Robin Hood, for Peter Pan, but ultimately, really, he's like Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now who has crossed the line into becoming something of a monster in his fight against the enemy. (Not to mention, like Kurtz, Jet is repeatedly shown in shadow in the episode). He hates the Fire Nation because they killed his parents, presumably civilians, but then doesn't realize that he's essentially become the enemy in his pursuit of revenge and his war against the Fire Nation. He attacks the old man, a civilian, and straight to the very point, is willing to kill Earth Kingdom civilians, like his parents in his pursuit of vengeance.

His establishment as a great leader, proven by the devotion of his followers to his successful coaching of Katara and Aang to bend water they couldn't see.

The fight scene between him and Aang was awesome, straight up with the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon moment when they burst through the tree tops in the distance. The choreography of the fight was a beautiful dance of attack and parry, with Jet just relentlessly pursuing Aang to a degree that would have made Zuko proud.

There was the fun contrast of the old man being the good person versus our last bald old man from "Imprisoned" who ratted out Haru. The framing of so many of the shots, the writing, "Sokka's Instinct" jokes, and everything just worked wonderfully.

In a better world, Jet could have been a hero, but in the flawed and complicated world we are given in Avatar, more gray than black and white, he becomes the villain.

I actually want to go back and just dissect the frames. Yeaow!
posted by Atreides at 9:18 AM on March 19, 2015 [5 favorites]

This is what I call a "The Avatar's Way is Right" episode, where we get to see people fighting the Fire Nation the wrong way, yo contrast with Aang's eventual path. It happens a couple times more, especially in the second season.
posted by happyroach at 10:32 AM on March 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Pinot noir. Avatar!

Pinot noir. Reservoir!

(Oops. Wrong show.)

Yeah, Jet. Meh. I cared about the situation, but not about him (except his hook weapons are cool). I can see why Katara's all googly-eyed when she's going up to the treehouses with him, though - it is really, really beautiful and he's pushing all the right buttons for her at that point.

Best animal goes to Momo when he takes the bang snap things off Aang and throws them all over the place.

Oh, and that kid at the end picking up the Misses Pretty doll is second-best human after Sokka, who takes his lumps pretty well, especially after he has to turn Appa around.
posted by minsies at 11:57 AM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ah, Jet. Teaching the kids that the enemy of their enemy is not necessarily their friend, which sets me off in my gleeful "hooray for moral ambiguity in a kid's show!" dance.

And Sokka. Three cheers for Sokka. You know who deserves a cookie? Sokka's Instincts.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:33 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, and a tiny detail I had not noticed before--there's a cart full of cabbages in the town as it gets flooded. Fortunately, there's no one there to yell about it.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:43 PM on March 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

As this is a rewatch post, I can link to the extensive Cabbage merchant Avatar wikia page, which portrays the full history of the cabbage merchant, his woes, and final success story. Persistence!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:58 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have no idea how I forgot how beautiful this episode is! it's not just that the forest is gorgeous but that it's immersive -- somehow it feels like a real place, more so then the South Pole, Kyoshi or Omashu. I'm sure the lighting is a part of it. I've noticed before that in Avatar scenes are lit according to time of day and appreciated that detail, but this is the first time it's been so effective to set mood and place.

Filoni's direction is amazing, especially in the back half of the episode with the Aang-Jet fight and the scene at the dam.

I've never been as enamored with Jet as the rest of fandom but he's a very well conceived character, and I'm impressed by Crawford Wilson's voice acting. Jet is walking weaponized charisma with just enough of an edge to make the wary suspicious -- but when I was Katara or Aang's age I would have been completely taken in. He's also the best fighter we've seen so far in the best fight sequence yet. He held his own against a master airbender without bending, and even though he got taken down by Katara he would have accomplished his goal if not for Sokka. To all intents and purposes, he won the fight, just not the battle.

Now, will the Great Divide improve as much on second viewing? I guess we'll find out on Monday!
posted by bettafish at 12:59 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Aw crud. That episode is coming up. At least it has René Auberjonois.
posted by Atreides at 1:08 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Our reward for getting through it will be The Storm and The Blue Spirit. Brave heart, Atreides!
posted by bettafish at 2:35 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Broad City: St. Mark's...   |  Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kim... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments