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The Avatar: The Last Airbender Scene That Went Too Far

In 2005, Nickelodeon released "Avatar: The Last Airbender," a fantasy series about a young super-powered nomad who saves the world with his best friends (and a few of his worst enemies). On the surface, it's a standard story following the "Hero's Journey" arc, but fans know that "Avatar" is anything but standard. The original animated masterpiece, aside from spawning an entire studio based on its success, was cherished by fans for telling a dutifully sculpted tale where every episode and every character served a greater purpose.

And yet, no work is perfect. Amongst all the adoration that "Avatar: The Last Airbender" has wholeheartedly earned, there's been one episode that time and time again resurfaces as fans' least favorite handful of minutes. Even the people who defend its honor admit that the episode is deeply flawed. Considering the massive Netflix viewership (via Newsweek) for the series, there's a real chance you already know what we're about to talk about. But even the creators of the series may agree they lowered the bar for quality too far down with this episode.

The trio was out of character in The Great Divide

In Season 1, Episode 11 is called "The Great Divide," and it's almost universally agreed upon as the worst entry in the original series. The plot follows Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen), Katara (Mae Whitman), and Sokka (Jack De Sena) as they try to navigate a perilous canyon without the use of their flying bison companion, Appa (Dee Bradley Baker). That wouldn't be too much of an issue for our heroes, if not for the two rivaling tribes of refugees that they're simultaneously escorting to safety. In a show that features a complex array of morally gray figures, these warring factions, the Gan Jin and the Zhang, are painted in a startling, clear-cut opposition that browbeats viewers with bluntly verbalized stances. It's like an episode of "Veggietales" where an exhausted tomato rigorously spells out the story's message.

Furthermore, Katara and Sokka disregard all previous character development to join in on the bickering, each siding with the tribe that vaguely matches their separate viewpoints of a meaningless argument the siblings shared that morning. And while the Gan Jin and the Zhang briefly unite to solve an immediate problem (read: a gruesome death by Canyon Crawlers), the lasting peace is only created by the moment that truly goes too far. Aang literally lies to change the two tribe's feuding history. 

The creators of "Avatar: The Last Airbender," Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, went on the record on the "Avatar: Braving the Elements" podcast, admitting it didn't live up to the series' standards and generally agreeing with fan consensus that it's a "filler" episode. Podcast host Janet Varney (who voices Korra in "The Legend of Korra") did attempt to justify the moment that went too far, saying, "he as a child makes a choice that is not true." But even Aang's so-called immaturity can't justify this deeply-flawed episode.