Best Avatar: The Last Airbender Episodes
Here are our picks for the best Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes!
Honorable Mention: The Beach
Our honorable mention is a fun episode that many might view as filler if it weren't for the episode's character-driven nature and that emotional climactic scene by the fire. Here we find the series' villains on vacation on Ember Island where they discover startling truths about themselves. It's got plenty of funny moments throughout as they play a violent game of volleyball in the sand and attend an awkward party at a beach house. However, the scene by the campfire at the end of the episode is as emotional as the series gets and it gives me chills every time I watch it.
Introducing fan-favorite character Jet, this episode has our heroes encounter the vengeful anti-hero as he violently battles the Fire Nation without remorse. It's a great character to challenge our heroes, especially the non-violent Avatar Aang. There's plenty of fun action sequences and great character-driven drama. Also, a romance with Katara complicates things further. It's got a suspenseful finale and helps develop each of our central characters.
9. The Blind Bandit
Bringing Toph in as Aang's earthbending teacher in Book Two was a blast. Her introduction is one of the best of any character as her underground bending match takes the action in the series to the next level. Also, Boulder is one of the best supporting characters in the whole show. It's also a story filled with pathos as we find out about Toph's very surprising background and her difficult decision at the end of the episode.
8. The Southern Raiders
In Book Three we get to see each of our main characters go on a mission with a Zuko who's changed his ways. The best of these escapades features Zuko taking Katara on a mission of revenge as they track down the Fire Nation's Southern Raiders who killed her mother. It's an intense episode with great moments of action and edge-of-your-seat thrills. This is a very dramatic story and brings resolution to Katara's darker side which has been lurking under the surface throughout the entire series.
7. The Day of Black Sun
An epic invasion begins when the Water Tribes and Earth Kingdom attack the Fire Nation as a solar eclipse blocks out the sun, thus eliminating the firebenders from using their bending. There are huge battle sequences in this episode which are awesome to watch. It's also got extremely intense fight sequences between Firelord Ozai and Zuko as well as Azula, Aang, Sokka, and Toph. This is an important episode where Zuko commits the ultimate treason and our heroes fail miserably.
6. The Blue Spirit
In The Blue Spirit, a mysterious figure rescues Aang when he's captured by General Zhao of the Fire Nation Navy. It's got some of the coolest stealthy action sequences and tense character-centric moments. The big reveal at the end is shocking and further complicates Aang's relationship with his worst enemies. There's also a hilarious side story with Sokka and Katara growing sicker and sicker and they try to nurse each other back to health.
5. The Storm
Early in Book One, we discover how Aang got stuck in the ice 100 years ago. The Storm has Team Avatar stuck in a cave during a storm and through flashbacks reveals how he fled his Avatar duties after life changed drastically for him at the Air Temple. Meanwhile, Zuko and Iroh chase down the Avatar through the same dangerous weather and we see via flashbacks how Zuko got banished and who gave him his scar.
4. Zuko Alone
A samurai-inspired, western-esque episode from the second season, Zuko Alone has Zuko on his own after parting ways with the Fire Nation and his Uncle Iroh. Along his travels, he helps a farm family protect their way of life from rogue Earth Kingdom soldiers. It's in the same vein as Kurosawa's Seven Samurai or High Noon from Fred Zinnemann with it's excellent cinematography, gorgeous animation, and superb voice acting. This is a stand alone episode that shows us Zuko's true colors as a heroic figure.
3. The Avatar and the Firelord
In this revealing episode we find out about how the Avatar before Aang, Roku, unwittingly began the 100-Year War after his friendship with Firelord Sozin took a turn for the worse. It's an emotionally-charged episode where we get away from the characters we know and learn the history of this world in a surprisingly poignant story. This one's got an epic and chilling conclusion that forces Aang to rethink everything he thinks he knows.
2. The Crossroads of Destiny
Book Two has one of the best season finales of all time. This amazing episode features some of the best animation, writing, and voice acting in the series. These action sequences are thrilling to watch in the beautiful underground crystal caverns. We get great moments with Zuko and Katara, as well as Aang and Iroh, plus Azula at her most evil. The fantastic final moment in this episode is very intense and totally shocking.
1. Sozin's Comet
The best episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender is Sozin's Comet. This epic four-part finale is one of the best series finales of all time. It ties up every storyline (read the comics to find out what happened to Zuko's mom) and brings each of the main character's arcs to satisfying conclusions. The incredible battle between Aang and Ozai sets a new bar for how intense and brutal animated fight sequences can get in a children's show. Each character gets a moment to shine and each of their relationships end up in the right places (sorry, Zutara fans). It's an emotional and fitting end for one of the greatest original stories of our time.