Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Storm   Rewatch 
March 26, 2015 9:44 AM - Season 1, Episode 12 - Subscribe

A storm isn't just roiling out in the sea (where Sokka is attempting to earn some money), but there are storms in both Aang and Zuko's hearts, as flashbacks tell us how Aang ended up in the iceberg and where Zuko got his scar.

In "I've heard this voice before" news, this is the first appearance of Mark Hamill as Fire Lord Ozai.
posted by Katemonkey (10 comments total)

Poor Zuko! Poor Aang! Poor Sokka!

posted by Katemonkey at 9:45 AM on March 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

There were a lot of raised eyebrows in this episode - my favourite was Zuko when he looked at the crew member after Zuko said their lives didn't matter. (Then the crew member raised his right back.)

It's interesting that it's separation that ties Zuko and Aang together, even those Aang's was self-inflicted and Zuko's was Ozai-inflicted. They have a few other things in common (at least in this episode, baby Zuko wants to do the right thing w/r/t not using untested troops as bait - and does do the right thing at the end to save his ship), but the idea that Aang was running away from his Avatar fate and Zuko's running towards the Avatar, since that's the only way he'll get back to the Fire Nation, is a good dichotomy. (Even if they're not really that different.) Their glance at each other at the end of the episode was heavy.

Best animal, in an episode fairly clear of animals, was Appa shaking off after the storm ends. (I thought he was going to do it when he first entered the cave.)

My favourite lines were from the old woman ("I'm staying here!") and the old man (after Sokka says that he's too young to die, "I'm not! But I still don't wanna!"). Iroh's cut it out, Zuko gesture at the beginning of the episode was good, too.
posted by minsies at 11:50 AM on March 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is a rewatch for me, so Zuko's backstory isn't as eye-opening as it was the first time around. If only we could watch it all again, for the first time!

Oh, Uncle Iroh. <3 And just sliding in that lightning bending as no big deal. Ha!
posted by jillithd at 12:02 PM on March 26, 2015

I'm so jealous of the MeFites coming into this episode fresh. I wish I could remember what it felt like to watch the show thinking "grrr Zuko's a jerk" and not "oh honey no stop being a jerk you don't have to be like your dad bb noooo you're so much better than him!" And Aang! Sweetie! It's not your fault!

The flashbacks were actually harder to watch this time around. Partly because the pacing is so good that knowing what's coming only ramps up the tension, but also when I first watched this episode 7 or 8 years ago, the idea of parenthood was a lot more abstract. I'm still not a parent, but many of my peers are now, and I have a more visceral understanding of how badly Ozai and to a lesser but still profound extent the non-Gyatso failed their charges.

MVP this episode: Not Katara, not Iroh, but the fisherwoman. How in Aang's name did she get to that cave on the mountainside in the middle of a storm?!
posted by bettafish at 12:32 PM on March 26, 2015

Oh, Uncle Iroh. <3 And just sliding in that lightning bending as no big deal. Ha!

Though he looked pretty casual and badass when he first did it, he ended up frazzled. But I figure surviving a lightening strike and only coming out with some crazy hair is a pretty successful encounter with lightening.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:55 AM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I wonder: is this the first time he ever bent lightning? It's not like he could test the move out without challenging Ozai to an agni kai.

On another note, I forgot to mention that Lt Jee looks like even more of a Miyazaki character than Hei Bai. Right out of Castle of Cagliostro.
posted by bettafish at 10:24 AM on March 27, 2015

I don't remember precisely how I felt when I first watched this episode, but it was probably something incredible, as I fell hard for this show, and the first season did all the romancing needed.

My usual overly long commentary be here for those interested.

minsies hit a lot upon what I saw, so I won't go into it here. So here's some more random thoughts!

First appearance of Azula! Which, for those who are watching for the first time, will be a major character coming up.

Ozai and his appearance. For the longest time, Ozai remains this faceless person and often depicted as almost monstrous. I love that decision.

"Momo, you said some very unkind things."

The music was great in this episode and so was the animation. A lovely touch involved early in the episode when the gang is discussing things, you can see the fisherman and his wife still arguing (moving) in the background. Nice touch!
posted by Atreides at 12:34 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

So many firsts in this ep. Azula! Lightning bending! Backstory! Sympathy for Zuko! Mark Hamill!

I always feel so badly for Aang being left out of all of the reindeer air novice games.

New thing I noticed this watch: Aang's Pai Sho game with Gyatso involved Gyatso playing the White Lotus tile. Which makes me feel really strongly that Gyatso's plan for not letting the head monk separate them would have involved their help.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:58 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm on my first watch. This was another amazing episode. Back story! Awesome animation! (Including the subtle atmospheric stuff like the rain, and the shadows in the cave.) The eight-year-old gasped multiple times as Appa flew into and around gigantic waves.

It's impressive that, even with all the reveals in the flashbacks, Zuko's suffering at Ozai's hands was still completely off-screen.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:29 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

I think it's interesting that the episode ends with Aang deciding not to dwell on the past while Zuko recommits to letting the past run his actions in finding the Avatar.
posted by chainsofreedom at 11:43 AM on May 14, 2016

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