Welcome earlier for another weekly evaluation of Avatar! This week, we arrive in Ba sing Se, where the gleaming city the potential is revealed to it is in hiding other dark and also sinister. Check out on to see how the illustration holds up!

1. Genre-bending.

You are watching: Avatar: the last airbender city of walls and secrets

This has constantly been my favorite illustration of the show. Hands down. Ns think the episode seamlessly blends every little thing Avatar excels at, cook of i m sorry is that is willingness to play in multiple genres. The illustration starts out together a mystery, turns into a sitcom as soon as the characters try to search for answers, and finally descends right into a political thriller once whatever starts falling right into place. Manager Lauren MacMullan takes these facets of the script and also plays every one increase while letting the story normally dictate as soon as to switch tones. The an enig portion gradually yet meticulously displays the visuals that the city as we receive little bits of details to chew on, the sitcom part plays up the physics comedy and the sometimes absurdity the the Avatar people (“Just… bear.”), and the political thriller part contains dark hidden rooms and also sudden kidnappings as dangerous details gets thrown at the team.

The music the the episode adheres to suit: throughout the mystery, we start with some of the show’s acquainted themes and a majestic Ba song Se theme, which turns less majestic together we realize the city isn’t as glorious as we intended it to be. Then, the sitcom gives us the plucked strings the a 90s Jim Carrey movie, and also the political thriller switches the music right into a heavy, dissonant, choral-sounding plan with a simple, creepy, high-pitched melody lingering on optimal of it.

Despite its contrasting genres, the show makes them work-related as if the story wouldn’t make sense any other way. This is just one of the finest examples the what the display is qualified of — and also we haven’t even gotten into the subplot or the advent of the city itself yet!

2. “Ba sing Se has numerous walls. There room the ones exterior protecting us, and the ones within that assist maintain order.”Much the this episode is spent creating Ba song Se because we’re walk to invest the remainder of the season here, and also the episode’s location is revealed to be true in far much more ways 보다 we expected. Toph has the earliest reaction since she’s been to the city before: she watch it as a cage keeping people locked away from the exterior world, and keeping them indigenous freedom. In fact, the team is plunder of their freedom to move and also think as shortly as they action off the train, because of their perpetually laugh guide, Joo Dee.

The episode takes a relatively subtle check out of the social framework of Ba song Se, yet it’s every there if girlfriend look. The poorer residents, who Joo Dee euphemistically refers to as “people that work with their hands,” room all housed with each other in cramped slums. Our characters, however, room taken up to the upper Rings of the city, where they’re provided a free-standing house in a quiet, beautiful landscaped area. Us don’t know the extent of that yet, but plainly the rigid social structure has led come radical society inequality in the city.

All the speak of walls and also maintaining bespeak extends the end metaphorically, too. During the team carriage ride through the city, we get briefly introduced to the Dai Li, who, again, Joo Dee dismisses as “the cultural authority.” however we, choose Sokka, recognize there’s something depths and an ext sinister walk on here. Walls and secrets, walls and secrets…

3. “I don’t want to make a life here.” “Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not.”I’m great at exactly how deftly each character’s relationship to the city is shown. As pointed out above, Toph look at the city as suffocating due to the fact that of the overwhelming lot of rules and also structure. Aang remarks how the city is operation so in different way from how the monks teach him come live. Sokka sees through the governmental BS that the city and also becomes frustrated at the government’s attempts come placate him. Katara becomes unnerved as she should reconcile her optimistic wishes for a utopia through the much various reality. Zuko remains his cranky old me as he tries adjusting to life together a member of the populace. And, my an individual favorite: Iroh simply wants to work in a tea shop. Each of these are presented one after ~ another, however they’re all so true come the personalities that we can quickly keep track.

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Take note of the quote I used for this thought. It’s one of my favourite in the show. No character is in their ideal situation, however Iroh is the most well-adjusted because of his age. He knows that concentrating too hard on your end goal will leave you v a wasted life — a great the younger personalities haven’t learned yet. So, just how do you escape an difficult situation? You expropriate it and move forward in whatever ways you can. We might not know how, however we know life will continue on, so girlfriend might also live the an easy tea-serving life you’ve constantly wanted.

4. Jet!!!!The moment we’ve all been wait for: Jet ultimately confronts Zuko and Iroh around being firebenders. This minute succeeds ~ above a couple of levels. Top top one, there’s the reality that Zuko and also Iroh really just want to begin over, and Jet’s extremism is placing them in harm’s way. On another level, Jet has actually fallen earlier into his extremism regardless of his attempts to reform, which also leads united state to think about how much Zuko’s come and also how easily he can fall ago into his old ways. And also on the level that ties everything together, the Dai Li swoop in with a vested interest in the conflict. The fight scene, though? that was top top a whole other level.

This subplot is among the many perfectly constructed in the show. Every character has such high stakes i m sorry are presented seamlessly, and also you important never recognize who is walk to do it out okay in the end — until the A-plot come crashing right into the story come whisk Jet away. The an ending nobody might have viewed coming, specifically considering how the Zuko/Iroh stuff has played out largely independently from the main crew’s story this season. And it’s an finishing that reveals the greater truth of the whole city.

5. “There is no battle within the walls.”So, the huge reveal in ~ the finish is that Ba sing Se is operation by a shadow government of army police that capture and brainwash everyone who tries come speak around the war. An initial off, this absolutely blew my mind as soon as I was twelve. Second, that still blows mine mind twelve years later because the scenes are so well done, even on my, uh, twelfth (?) watch-through.

This principle is based on several historical authoritarian governments, consisting of the Jinyiwei secret police throughout China’s Ming dynasty, and the establishments run by a man named Dai Li (!) during the at an early stage 20th century. When there’s no puppet government, ns think the most apparent modern-day indistinguishable to this kind of fascism is north Korea. Just check out huge red warning on the “Stay Safe” section of this Wikitravel page for Pyongyang. After listing just how one need to never say anything bad about the government, that ideologies, or the leaders, the overview reads: “Simply stop these subject if you can do so. Store in mind that anyone deserve to be an undercover federal government agent, so respond appropriately when this subject is in ~ hand, always keep in mind you might be tested and also pushed into admitting your actual feelings on this subjects, whatever they might be. You and your overview are most likely to face serious trouble.” This is precisely what wake up to the Avatar gang and Jet in this episode.

The best lesson here is the you don’t understand who her allies room until you accomplish up through them. From the outside, Ba song Se seemed like a utopia that would assist defeat the Fire Nation. As it turns out, while the earth Kingdom wants to stop the war, they have actually no on purpose of acknowledging it. And the attempts to hide this information from the citizens, to placed up unnecessary walls both physically and mentally, and also to insist on a complex bureaucratic system of order, has led come a culture of fear and also ignorance. That the perfect means to start off this arc as we head in the direction of the season’s end. Just when you thought things might only acquire better, they get immeasurably worse.

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Oh, and now that Joo Dee failed to protect against the team from inquiring about the war, she been replaced by a completely different woman that wears the very same clothes, talks through the exact same cadence, and likewise says her surname is Joo Dee. Nothing the end of the plain there.

What did girlfriend think of the episode? perform you think the mixture of genres worked? Happy to see the pay-off come Jet’s story? any type of overall thoughts on Ba song Se’s society, architecture, or culture? let me understand in the comments!


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