Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Painted Lady   Rewatch 
August 24, 2015 7:29 AM - Season 3, Episode 3 - Subscribe

As the gang proceed within the Fire Nation, they come across a fishing village floating in the middle of a river, polluted by a nearby Fire Nation military factor. There they encounter a man of many hats (or brothers) and learn of a local spirit with a fondness for veils and face paint.
posted by Atreides (6 comments total)
Hey, it's an episode about pollution! And helping people out who don't help themselves! And Religion? Hrm, I'll let that last one slip by, like a muddy two-headed fish (What? You get more for your money that way!).

I'm a sucker for "kids save the underdogs from the bullies/thugs" stories, especially when the gaang does it on the sly (like a secret hero!), but I also see the side of Sokka the pragmatist - they have an 8 minute window in which to stop the Fire Nation before it becomes even more powerful. I'll quote Jesus Christ (Superstar) and say " Surely you're not saying we have the resources to save the poor from their lot? There will be poor always, pathetically struggling..."

I'd really like to see Sokka's full timetable for getting to the right place to for Aang to face the Fire Lord.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:15 AM on August 24, 2015

So I'd mentally swapped this episode with "The Blue Spirit" during the rewatch, and I'm remembering more of why. This feels much more like a Season One "town of the week" ep. Some of the emotional development seems to have taken a step backwards (really, Sokka, no sympathetic words for the town as you make the useful point that these are the type of people on whose behalf you're scheduling potty breaks? Your response boils down to "Lol sux for them") And both episodes have bits that remind me of Princess Mononoke--the rooftop running scenes in the Blue Spirit, and the environmental Robin Hooding here.

But it's useful to have this episode here because it does feel like an Earth Kingdom Town of the Week, because it is a Fire Nation Town (I wonder how intentional that parallel is). We've only seen Fire Nation people in positions of relative power--royalty, guards, hired goons, fighters. The Headband was about the effect of Fire Nation social policies in an affluent town. This episode shows that the Fire Nation can cause active harm to its own people in pursuit of world domination. That's a whole lot for Nickelodeon.
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:21 AM on August 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Sokka's joke about the hook was way better.

No many animals in this, aside from some very questionable fish and clams, so Appa earns best animal with his Painted Lady noise contributions, as well as his purple-tongued sick act. Oh, and as the little hill with horns.

The twist in this episode is obvious, but it's a nice in-the-box episode for the Gaang. There's not much else to say about it, from my perspective.
posted by minsies at 9:54 AM on August 24, 2015

I'll be writing up my longer thoughts on it today (hopes!), but it's a very straightforward episode for this late in the season. Fire Nation sea doos!

One thing I really loved was how attached Toph was to her friends while in the boat(s) and on the floating village. If you ever carry a cat around water, who hates water, then you can imagine the type of grip she had on Sokka's and Aang's arms at different times in the episode. Being on wood on water is probably just next to being on ice, so it's a rare moment when Toph feels the vulnerability of her blindness in a way that her earth bending can't help.

Clams win, hand down, grossest food product of Avatar. BLEGH.
posted by Atreides at 8:37 AM on August 27, 2015

Shortest longest thoughts...ever?
posted by Atreides at 12:57 PM on August 27, 2015

I felt some discomfort with the easy-peasy blowing up of the factory. I mean, if the factory in working order pollutes, then the factory in unworking order is gonna pollute a lot, too. And they cleaned up all of that pollution so fast... I expected more grey area from the Gaang on this topic.

But I really really love that The Painted Lady really exists.
posted by jillithd at 9:07 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Movie: Touki Bouki...   |  Fear the Walking Dead: Pilot... Newer »

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