Avatar: The Last Airbender – Season 1 Episode 3 “Omashu” Recap & Review

“Omashu” Recap

In episode 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, “Omashu” shows the end of a deception. Zuko’s sister, Princess Azula, leads a group of rag-tag rebels right to the foot of their enemy: Firelord Ozai. Ozai kills them easily. Katara struggles to master the forms on her waterbending scroll. Zuko struggles to agree on a plan to catch the Avatar.

Aang and co. sneak into the Earth Kingdom City Omashu, following what looks like another airbender. Teo is not an airbender, as it turns out. He flies in an invention made by his father, Sai. They meet amidst a Fire Nation bombing. Aang decides to stay and help. We meet Azula’s friends, Mai and Ty Lee. Azula wants the throne and fears Zuko will be next in line if he finds the Avatar.

Katara learns that Sai is secretly speaking with the fire nation, and runs into Jet, the boy that helped them sneak into Omasut. They track down Sai’s contacts and fight them with the help of Jet’s crew. Aang and Teo discover that someone else was behind the explosion.

Katara and Jet bond over their struggles with loss because of the war. Jet tells her to remember the good things about her mother before she died when bending. This helps her finally create ‘the water whip’ successfully.

Sokka, Aang, and Katara can’t agree whether Sai or Jet was behind the explosion. Zuko and Iroh arrive in Omashu, while Zhao starts to conspire with Azula. Jet claims responsibility for the bombings. He plans to blow up Sai as well as the king for conspiring with the Fire Nation. Zuki and Iroh engage Aang while Sokka and Katara go to save Sai and Teo.

Fight and Flight

Zuko and Aang duel, but Zuko must refrain from using firebending to not expose himself to the Earth Nation. When Aang lets slip that he’s read Zuko’s journal, Zuko unleashes fire and is forced to flee. Sokka and Katara take the massive delivery slides to the top of Omashu. Katara is able to use the water whip technique to put out Longshot’s fire arrow meant to ignite the bomb. Sai, Teo, and the Earth King are saved. Iroh openly firebends to draw the soldiers away from Zuko. Surprisingly, Aang is captured by Earth Nation soldiers.

The Episode Review

Avatar: The Last Airbender introduces a ton of characters and a ton of plot lines. “Omashu” does its best to include as many as possible, and pay them due diligence. Despite shifting around plot elements effectively, it still feels like a bit of a jumble. The callbacks to the animated original feel great, but it’s hard to deny those extended, “here I am, remember me?” moments can be awkward. It’s most true when the boy from the beginning is confirmed to be Jet.

Even with the feeling that Netflix’s ATLA is struggling to fit in all the great moments and characters, many of the themes are carrying over. Sokka bonding with Sai over engineering reminds us how young he is, and how in wartime, it’s hard to focus on simple joys. Katara explores her trauma and learns to remember the good things about her mom in moments where she feels held back by her death. Jet shows how easy it can be to cross the line into cruelty even with seemingly noble convictions.

The fight choreography was particularly cool in this episode. Jet’s dual, hooked swords show impressive range and grace. Zuko and Aang’s hand-to-hand combat was not only performed with technical excellence but it was edited simply, which often makes fights feel far better. It’s too common to miss moves and fabricate a fast pace with many quick cuts.

Relying on a number of large sets, some of the CGI seemed a little bit lacking. An early flight scene on Appa felt hard pressed to mesh the background and foreground. Sokka and Katara’s trip through Omashu’s delivery system suffered from some jagged motion blurs. Overall, though, a quality episode stuffed with callbacks. “My Cabbages!!!”

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You can read our Season 1 Review of Avatar: The Last Airbender here!
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