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Avatar: The Last Airbender • Episodes 7-8 • Superhero Ethics Episode 287

Avatar: The Last Airbender • Episodes 7-8

Matthew Fox reunites with guests Riki Hayashi and Paul Hoppe to wrap up their deep dive into Netflix’s live action take on Avatar: The Last Airbender. Did the last two episodes stick the landing or fall short?

In the intro, Matthew notes rising excitement across the four days while Riki felt genuine disappointment. Did Paul land closer to one side or the other?

Key Discussion Questions:

  • Does Ken Leung deliver one of the all-time great villain performances as Admiral Zhao?
  • Does condensing Katara’s waterbending mastery arc shortchange her character growth?
  • Do strong performances help the show transcend uneven writing at times? Is Dallas Liu’s Prince Zuko a standout?
  • Did shaping the show for a wider Netflix audience undermine quirks of the original that niche fans loved?

Other Questions Tackled:

  • Is the Zuko/Iroh dynamic enhanced by the tearful funeral scene?
  • Was incorporating Northern Water Tribe sexism necessary?
  • Should the missing backstory between Master Pakku and Gran Gran have been included?
  • Will season two deviate more radically from the original animated series?
  • Should training arcs be sacrosanct versus “gifted” natural talent?
  • What direction could Azula’s characterization and Lieutenant Jee’s arc take?
  • What other Avatar stories could shine in live action down the road?

In conclusion, despite significant flaws, Riki and Paul want season two renewed for the cast and crew’s sake. But will it stay true to the essence of Avatar going forward?

Riki Hayashi and Matthew Fox explore the ethical questions from the stories geeks love—superheroes, sci-fi, anime, fantasy, video games, and so much more.
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