Avatar: The Last Airbender Episode 2 makes come big changes, some good and some bad

Avatar Kyoshi brings the hurt and Zhao brings the cringe in "Warriors."

The second episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place almost entirely on the island of Kyoshi, where Aang and the audience learn more about the nature of the Avatar from Kyoshi herself.

The episode kicks off with the gang adding the flying lemur Momo to the group, who of course steals some food from Sokka, which is classic. After burying Monk Gyatso's bones, the crew embarks on a journey to Kyoshi island because plot reasons. When they get there, the gang is instantly ambushed by Suki and the Kyoshi warriors, who quickly realize that Aang is the Avatar when a statue of Kyoshi begins to glow.

When they get taken before the island's leader Yukari — who is actually Suki's mom and a character new to the Netflix remake — we see how the people of Kyoshi live as an isolationist society distrustful of outsiders. But Yukari comes around when Suki explains that it'd be good to learn about others. And learn she does, because this extra-long adventure on Kyoshi island gives Suki and Sokka's relationship time to develop.

Some of the scenes between the pair were a bit odd, like Suki randomly challenging Sokka to a wrestling contest and then immediately walking away. But it's still a solid little arc. Suki teaches Sokka about being a non-bending warrior and how it means they have to be at their absolute best. In return, Sokka, ugh... brings the world to her? That's an actual quote from Suki and the only thing I remember him telling her is embellishing about his status as a leader back home and throwing a boomerang at a melon. So, yeah.

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Ken Leung as Zhao in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024 /

Avatar: The Last Airbender review, Episode 2, "Warriors"

Anyway, we also get introduced to Commander Zhao in this episode who I have to say is pretty underwhelming. I love Ken Leung and I thought he would be a shining part of this show, but wow did his character feel neutered. He still goes behind Zuko's back and tries to capture the Avatar like in the original animated series, but by the end of the episode we see him groveling to Zuko and Iroh like a jelly-boned wimp. In the animated show, Zhao does not care about Zuko's birth status and makes it out pretty clear that the hunt for the Avatar belongs to him. As a fleet commander with dozens of ships and vast resources at his disposal, it doesn't make sense for the banished Zuko to pull rank on Zhao. Especially when the show has already established Zuko has just one ship at his disposal.

Then we come to Aang, who successfully makes contact with the spirit of Avatar Kyoshi. Another change to the show is that Aang can make contact with his past lives if he is inside one of their shrines, which I kind of like. It gives Aang options and opportunities to find and make contact with Avatars down the road. And Kyoshi certainly teaches him a lot. She covers the Avatar state and the role of the Avatar as a powerful leader. She also guilts the crap out of him for missing the last 100 years. I like this aggressiveness from her because it's consistent with her character and someone needed to light a fire under Aang's ass because he's got work to do.

The biggest change is that Kyoshi shows Aang a vision of the Northern Water Tribe getting destroyed by the Fire Nation, giving him motivation to master his skills as an Avatar quickly, so he can stop it from happening. This is another good change because it makes the story more focused with a clear goal in mind for the characters for the rest of the season. Kyoshi then embodies Aang similar to how Roku does in the Nickelodeon show. This sequence would have been much better if it didn't end with her just flinging all the firebenders against walls, but I digress.

Again, this episode was another mixed bag with some good stuff, some bad stuff and a bunch of cringe dialogue in between. Ian Ousley as Sokka is emerging as a standout performer while Gordon Cormier as Aang continues to annoy me at times and give me "Now this is podracing!" vibes. The episode concludes with our first glimpse of Daniel Dae Kim as Fire Lord Ozai, who looks incredible.

Episode Grade: C+

atla 3. Avatar: The Last Airbender Episode 3 confusingly weaves together several classic storylines. dark. Next

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