Top positive review
Good is bigger than everyone
Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2014
Toph struggles with her metalbending students (and a possible hostile takeover), and Sokka pitches in to help them out. Meanwhile, Aang and Katara go to see the Earth King to talk about the uneasy alliance between the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation, hoping to come to a resolution. And, of course, Zuko struggles with the increased pressures of being the Fire Lord, continuing to consult his imprisoned father for advice on how to cope.
First, I of course love Toph--how she sometimes seems like such a stubborn jerk but has all these layers underneath, and how she has a real calling for teaching (and yelling at people), and how she comes to realize she may be trying to groom her metalbending students into something they really aren't . . . just like her parents did to her. And I liked that she asked Sokka to evaluate her ability to roll her eyes properly so she could roll her eyes at him. And her students were kind of hilarious, even though they were each pretty one-dimensional--the fearful doomsayer, the shoe-obsessed spoiled brat, and the goth-type kid who hates everything because someone gave him a terrible name. It was cool that they wanted to be more, but they . . . kind of weren't, at least not in the story.
Katara and Aang make a very cute couple, and I liked that Katara got so jealous of the Avatar fangirls. (I didn't love how they were stereotyped, though--as vacuous, predatory girls who threaten Katara's relationship.) I did like that Aang was pretty oblivious to the whole thing, enamored instead with the feeling that someone tried to recreate his home by modeling the fanclub headquarters after the Air Temple he'd grown up in.
And the complexity of Zuko continues to impress me. His father insists that a Fire Lord doesn't choose what's right; he MAKES things become right THROUGH the act of his choosing. (Wow, we've got some theory of knowledge philosophy lessons going on here! They were talking about that back in Ancient Greece!) Zuko rejects this idea of goodness being defined by HIS choices; he believes that good is bigger than everyone, and that Aang can help him find it. But the Earth King--determined to force peace, even if it means war--is about to ruin the tentatively forged balance that the Avatar worked so hard to establish.