This is going to be the last post in the ATLA Episode Review category on the site. All the individual episode reviews are done, it is now time to look back on Book 3 Fire as a whole and also a bit on the series as a whole.

Book 3 Fire

Book 3 Fire

I mentioned some overall scores I once calculated for all 3 books of Avatar in my last overview post. I calculated them by getting the average episode score for each Book. Here are the numbers again.

Book 1 – 83.35 Book 2 – 87.35 Book 3 – 90

They are all close, but 2 and 3 are the closest scores. The reason why I overall prefer Book 3 to Book 2 and 1 is what I am going to talk about here. I will begin with my opinions on Book 3 as a whole without comparing it to the other books.

When I think of Book 3 I instantly look at the group of episodes that end the series 310-321, this group of 12 episodes in a row is quite simply the best run of episodes in a row that the series has. They all capture the epicness of the events and the emotions of the war and the characters. It is in these episodes that we see our characters at their best, they have 50 episodes behind them and in these episodes we just see them be themselves and deal with the comet fast approaching. I think Zuko may be part of the reason that I enjoy these episodes so much, in these episodes we see Zuko finally find his way and have confidence in it, we then see him join the group and see that it is where he was always meant to be. It is a testament to an excellent character, he has finally found his path and we see him at his best.

Going through these episodes

310/311 - The drama as our heroes feel they can end the war here with their big plan, which fails because Azula knew. 312 - Zuko joins the group after he proves himself to them 313 - Aang and Zuko as friends for the first time, history of the dragons and firebending 314/315 - Aang and Sokka as friends for the first time, prison style episode, Chit Sang, Mai and Ty Lee Betray Azula 316 - Zuko at last is forgiven by Katara, we find out what happened to her mother, bloodbending and high emotion 317 - The best recap episode I have ever seen, hilarious and self referencing, the calm before the storm 318/319/320/321 - The amazing conclusion to the series, all the fights we have waited for happen, Kataang and so much more.

That is just a brief explanation of why these are all such strong episodes. You may then wonder how I can say Book 3 is better than Book 2 when I have not mentioned the opening 9 episodes of Book 3. That is what I will do now.

In my opinion 301-309 do what Book 1 did in it's opening 17 episodes, but better. Both groups of episodes have the same format, travel through a certain place to get to a point. In these episodes there is little plot, so all that there is is world building and character focus. Book 3's episodes do this amazingly well. 301 is a perfect way to present Aang's emotions after 220 to us and from 302-309 they episodes have a overall goal to them unlike 104-117 in Book 1. We learn in these 8 episodes that the fire nation is not all evil, that Ozai is the enemy not all fire nation people. In episodes like 302 we see Aang give the kids of the fire nation a look at what things could be like without Ozai. Then I think Book 3's early episodes have some of the strongest character focus episodes in the whole series. 303 for Katara is amazing, 304 was a much needed Sokka focus that plays a huge role for him in the rest of the series. All of the fire teens issues in 305, we find out how the war started and more about Roku in 306, Toph and Katara's conflict returns in 307. Bloodbending which in Korra becomes a huge plot point sees it's origin in 308. And while 309 is a weaker episode it is not bad.

So overall I feel Book 3 has a fantastic mix between the best character focus episodes of the series and the best action episodes of the series. For me it beats out book 2 because it is more epic than Book 2. If I was to categorise episodes with epic being the best of the best episodes of the show, I would have so many more Book 3 episodes than Book 2 episodes in epic. As far as Book 1 goes, as I mentioned above I think Book 3 does more with it's early episodes than Book 1 did for most of it's.

Again Book 3 is aided by all of Book 1 and Book 2 having come before it. It is better because of what came before, all that extra development.

Positives In Book 3

-Epicness, this book has so many strong episodes. As mentioned above 310-312 are 12 in a row. So many moments within these episode that have you on the edge of your seat. Zuko confronting Ozai, The Prison escapes , Katara confronting Yon Rha, the failed invasion, Zuko and Aang learning from the dragons, the finale as a whole and so much more. It is far and away the most epic of the 3 books.

-Zuko and more specifically when he joins Team Avatar. I love Zuko's development this whole book, but when he joins Team Avatar it was something I think everyone had been waiting for and the attention they gave to it with how he joined the group and then how he interacts with the various members was so well done. It added a new dimension to the group for the final few episodes, a much welcome addition to the group.

-History, Book 3 just seems to have so many moments that build the history of the Avatar Universe. How Kya died, Hama's story, Roku's story, Iroh and the dragons, benders before the Avatar and so on.

-Azula's mental breakdown. This came out of nowhere for me what I saw the episodes as they aired. From the moment that Mai and Ty Lee betray her you gradually see her lose the plot more and more until she loses herself in 321. It worked to make you sympathise in part with Azula, she cares about what her mother thinks of her and like Zuko needs her. Overall Azula was great this Book, we got to see some of her vulnerabilities, especially in 305, where we see that the way Ozai raised her thought he nothing about just being normal, which is saddening in itself, but no matter how hard she tried to fit in in 305 her cruel side that Ozai brought out just came to the fore.

Negatives In Book 3

2 minor ones again

-309, I mentioned this in my review of this episode, but it really is the only episode that I have an issue with in this book. The plot in 309 and what happens, mainly on Aang's side did not need a full episode. That and for me some of the humour did not work.

-The Ursa Cliffhanger, the last few times I have watched the series this scene has always irked me a bit. Because it is clear when 321 came out that they had no plan in place to actually reveal her fate, which usually with a cliffhanger is at some stage revealed. Especially now that we know that storyboards were in place to tell us something, but were changed, it means that some form of reveal was planned to happen, but it was replaced with a cliffhanger. One that had no plans in place to reveal back in 2008, and especially now as we approach 2013 will most likely not have an answer until this time next year , it makes the cliffhanger annoying. That said when we get a reveal my thoughts on this will change.

Overall Book 3 is my favourite Book as it has so many epic moments, but at the same time it has some of my favourite character focus episodes.

Avatar The Last Airbender Series Overview

Since Book 3 is the last Book of ATLA I think I will add in some Series as a whole thoughts here.

I could write for hours about how much I like about Avatar The Last Airbender, in fact if you add up all the time it has taken me to write up every post I have written for this site it probably adds up to days O.O So I will instead mention the very few things I had issue with in the series, anything not mentioned you can pretty much say that I liked it.

-My only big issue with the series is that Toph had no resolution to her story. Toph's story as set up in 205 (her introduction episode) is all about the way her parents think of her and treat her, they think she is weak and in need of protection because of her blindness. She leaves against their wishes and joins Team Avatar, but this story does actually get developed more in the show. "The Chase" touches upon it and "The Runaway" really gets into it. My big issue here is that in The Runaway Toph gets Katara to write a letter to her parents a letter that an emotional Toph lets her true feelings out to her parents in. Hawky is given this message and we assume the letter was delivered. THIS WAS NEVER TOUCHED UPON AGAIN IN THE SERIES and has yet to be touched upon in anything. So either it is going to be the plot of an upcoming comic or the writers just plain forgot the letter was sent. The reason I consider this a fairly big issue is that by the end of the show Toph is a main character and the issue with her parents was pretty much the only story she had in the show. As epic of a character as she is, this was the only story she had and it was forgotten about. Why were her parents not there are the coronation and so on.

-I do feel like around the middle point of Book 1 that the series needed an arch of episodes, something that made sense for the group to get involved in and stall them from getting to the Northern Water Tribe. Instead I felt that despite some quality episodes being in this period of the series that they were stalling for time to make Book 1 20 episodes. 115 and 116 being the prime example, pretty much the exact same thing happens to Aang in both. There needed to be a 2-3 episode arc that distracted the group from their quest for the southern water tribe.

Other than that I have no complaints of note about this series. It is my favourite show of all time (Though I think Korra has the potential to eclipse it), because of the characters and how realistic they are, they make mistakes and have character arcs. The show has an interesting plot, packed with action and drama. Never have I been so emotionally invested in a show before. While I have not really mentioned stuff like Voice Acting and the Track Team's music for the series, it is because it is always of immense quality and I would have just repeated myself in every review saying how awesome it was.

This is one of the best Animated series ever made, that is a fact, not just me being an Avatar fan thinking that. The series was widely acclaimed by both fans and critics alike. What I will say is that I do think many fans hold this series in such high regard that they struggle to see how excellent The Legend Of Korra actually is. Korra has had 1 book, 12 episodes out of 52 announced. ATLA after 12 episodes was good, but it did not get the plaudits for it's opening 12 episode, it got them for the series as a whole. I woudl say that Korra has a stronger opening 12 episodes than ATLA and has the potential to eclipse ATLA. ATLA will always be what started off the Avatar franchise, but nostalgia can blind you to the present. Lets just appreciate that Avatar has 2 shows that are superb :)