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Avatar: The Last Airbender Fans Pinpoint The Episodes Where The Series Really Takes Off

Since "Avatar" The Last Airbender" premiered in 2005, there have been a number of "Avatar" follow-up projects, including M. Night Shyamalan's ill-fated film adaptation in 2010 and the acclaimed 2012 spinoff series "The Legend of Korra." Now, a live-action "Avatar" reboot from Netflix is on the horizon, and original series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, as well as their collaborator Lauren Montgomery, have an upcoming trilogy of animated films in the works. In other words, there's never been a better time to hop on the "Avatar" bandwagon.

"Avatar" noobies may be wondering where to dive in when it comes to the ever-expanding franchise. After all, there's nothing worse than slogging through a middling season of television in order to get to the "good part." Even the most lauded TV shows suffer from this fate. Some fans, for example, think the first season of "Parks and Recreation" is worth skipping. Luckily, in the case of "Avatar: The Last Airbender," fans and critics alike agree that the show's first season was a strong start to the now-iconic series. 

Still, some viewers make the case that the series takes a few episodes to find its groove, and they've figured out where and when the key switch happens.

Fans think Avatar: The Last Airbender hits it stride at Winter Solstice

On the r/television subreddit, one brave soul asked the "Avatar" stans a simple question – namely, it really that good? After replying with an unequivocal yes, u/CyberBluez explained that a newcomer to "Avatar" shouldn't base their opinion on the pilot episode, or even Episode 2. Rather, they replied, "The show really starts with Episodes 7 & 8."

While the first handful of "Avatar" episodes provide exposition and introduce viewers to the dynamics of Team Avatar, it truly is Episodes 7 and 8 — a two-parter called "Winter Solstice" — delves into the mythology of the spirit world. In the first part, Aang crosses over worlds for the first time while trying to reason with a monster named Hei Bai. This leads to Aang's Episode 8 adventure: Accessing the spirit world once again to speak with Avatar Roku. The episodes also set up vital challenges and create a clear timeline for future episodes, during which Aang must master the four elements before Sozin's Comet arrives at the end of the summer.

Compared to the darker, more philosophical episodes like "Winter Solstice," the pilot is comparatively simplistic. "That was why I could never get into it when it first aired," wrote u/Neracca. "It was too childish." Fans agree that the show gradually explored darker, more mature themes, resulting in meatier episodes around the midpoint mark of Season 1. 

"I honestly don't know how to write a story without delving into mature topics, since that is where I find meaning in a story," Dante DiMartino told Fatherly. "There's a quote by Philip Pullman [...] that I always go back to: 'There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children's book.'"