Avatar: The Last Airbender (season 3)
|Avatar: The Last Airbender (season 3)|
Cover for "The Complete Book 3 Collection" DVD
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||21|
|Original release||September 21, 2007 – July 19, 2008|
Season Three (Book Three: Fire) of Avatar: The Last Airbender, an American animated television series on Nickelodeon, first aired its 21 episodes from September 21, 2007 to July 19, 2008. The season was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and starred Zach Tyler Eisen, Mae Whitman, Jack DeSena, Jessie Flower, Dante Basco, Dee Bradley Baker, Grey DeLisle, and Mark Hamill as character voices.
This third and final season focuses on Aang's quest to defeat the tyrannical Fire Lord. In the season's beginning, protagonist Aang and his friends Sokka, Katara, and Toph are traveling through the Fire Nation, conjuring a plan for invading the Fire Nation and looking for a teacher to teach Aang Firebending. Midway through the season, Aang gathers friends he met in previous episodes and leads a failed invasion into the Fire Nation. Former antagonist and anti-hero Zuko changes sides and joins Aang, serving as his Firebending teacher until the four-part series finale when Aang finally defeats the Fire Lord and ends the one hundred-year war in a surprising way: he uses a new ability to take away Ozai's firebending abilities to avoid violating selfless Air Nomad teachings.
The final season features twenty-one episodes, one more than the previous two seasons. The season finale consisted of the four episodes airing together as a two-hour television movie. Season Three received a similar positive critical reception to that of the previous seasons. The season, and especially the finale, received much critical acclaim, with praises from sources such as DVD Talk. Between October 30, 2007 and September 16, 2008, Nickelodeon released four DVD volumes and a "Complete Box Set".
The season was produced by and aired on Nickelodeon, which is owned by Viacom. The season's executive producers and co-creators were Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who worked alongside episode director and co-producer Aaron Ehasz. Most of the individual episodes were directed by Ethan Spaulding, Lauren MacMullan and Giancarlo Volpe. Episodes were written by a team of writers, which consisted of Aaron Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch Ehasz, Tim Hedrick, John O'Bryan; along with creators DiMartino and Konietzko.
The season's music was composed by "The Track Team", which consists of Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, who were known to the show's creators because Zuckerman was Konietzko's roommate.
All of the central characters generally remained the same: Zach Tyler Eisen voices Aang, Mae Whitman voices Katara, Jack DeSena voices Sokka, Jessie Flower voices Toph, Dante Basco voices Zuko, Dee Bradley Baker voices Appa and Momo, and Grey DeLisle voices Azula.
Additionally, Mark Hamill joins the cast to voice Fire Lord Ozai after having minor appearances throughout the first and second seasons of the series, while Greg Baldwin now voices Iroh due to Mako Iwamatsu's passing.
The season received critical acclaim. Jamie S. Rich from DVD Talk remarked, "In addition to the solid writing, Avatar the Last Airbender also has amazing animation. The character designs, with its roots in classic Asian folklore, are colorful and inventive, and the overall animation is smooth and consistently executed". Jamie S. Rich wrote in another review:
|“||This final season in the trilogy is turning out to be the best... At this point in the story, major things are happening, with the characters going through changes and the various plot elements coming together. Thankfully, the show creators never rest, and the quality control is top-notch. The writing is smart, and the animation always impressive. (2008)||”|
Henrik Batallones, a BuddyTV Staff Columnist, also noted the wide variety of positive reviews from the press for the series finale, noting that sources such as the New York Times and Toon Zone gave Avatar: The Last Airbender "glowing reviews".
The season also received praise for its video and sound quality. Nick Lyons from DVD Talk felt that the video quality appeared better than previous seasons, which had also garnered additional awards. He also remarks that the sound is "spot on...as per usual." At the 2008 Annie Awards, the season won "Best Animated Television Production for Children". At the same Annie Awards, Joaquim Dos Santos won the "Best Directing in an Animated Television Production" caption for his directing in "Into the Inferno". Joaquim Dos Santos also gave Avatar: The Last Airbender a nomination at Annecy 2008 for his work with "The Day of Black Sun Part 2: The Eclipse". Additionally, music editor and composer Jeremy Zuckerman and the sound editing team were nominated a Golden Reel award for "Best Sound Editing in a Television Animation" for their work in "Avatar Aang".
|Title||Animated by||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Production
|41||1||"The Awakening"||Moi Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Aaron Ehasz||September 21, 2007||301||3.06|
|Aang awakens to find himself weakened, his head full of hair, and all of his friends dressed in Fire Nation clothing riding a stolen ship. He is dismayed to discover that the world believes him to be dead, just like when he was frozen in ice. Sokka believes it to be a great thing, since it means the Fire Nation won't be hunting Team Avatar anymore and that they won't be expecting Aang at the invasion. Zuko and Azula are welcomed home as heroes, where Firelord Ozai makes his first appearance and congratulates Zuko for killing the Avatar. Zuko realizes Azula credited him for ulterior motives of her own. Aang tries to run away by himself, but his friends find him. He realizes that with the fall of Ba Sing Se, secrecy is their greatest advantage, and gives up his glider to the lava flows of Avatar Roku's island.|
|42||2||"The Headband"||JM Animation||Joaquim Dos Santos||John O'Bryan||September 28, 2007||302||3.06|
|Aang and friends steal some clothes as temporary disguises while traveling in the Fire Nation, and Aang is accidentally taken to a Fire Nation school. He hides his tattoos with a headband and long sleeves, and learns the Fire Nation pledge of loyalty as well as the propaganda about the death of the Airbenders. He organizes a school-wide dance party for the up-tight Fire Nation kids. When the principal arrives to shut it down the kids help Aang escape. Capoeira is shown as a Fire Nation traditional dance. Meanwhile, Zuko starts to believe the Avatar is alive and hires an assassin to kill Aang.|
|43||3||"The Painted Lady"||Moi Animation||Ethan Spaulding||Joshua Hamilton||October 5, 2007||303||3.22|
|The gang arrives at a Fire Nation village populated by sick and starving people. They are sick because of the nearby Fire Nation ammunitions factory polluting the river. Katara convinces them to stay by making Appa appear sick and assumes the role of "The Painted Lady," a local legend, to heal the sick and steal food from the factory. She ends up destroying the factory once Aang finds out her ruse, spurring the soldiers to attack the village. Katara reveals herself to the villagers, who thank her for her selfless aid. Katara is also thanked by the spirit of the real Painted Lady.|
|44||4||"Sokka's Master"||JM Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Tim Hedrick||October 12, 2007||304||3.22|
Sokka feels left out as he is the only person of the group unable to bend. He finds sword master Piandao to train him, forging his own sword out of a meteorite. The sword master teaches Sokka the philosophy of swordsmanship by giving him various seemingly boring tasks like painting and rock-gardening. When he gains Piandao's respect he reveals he is not from the Fire Nation. Piandao says he knew that already and that the ways of the sword belongs to all nations. He gives Sokka a white lotus Pai Sho tile as a farewell gift. Meanwhile, Iroh devises a plan to escape prison and starts training in secret.Note: At the end of the episode, Sokka gives Toph a piece of the meteorite. She bends it to create the Nickelodeon splatter shape.
|45||5||"The Beach"||Moi Animation||Joaquim Dos Santos||Katie Mattila||October 19, 2007||305||3.22|
|Zuko, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee are forced to go on vacation to Ember Island. After winning a volleyball game they get invited to a party. Azula tries to flirt but scares guys away with her psychotic raving. Zuko sees a guy flirt with Mai and angrily destroys a vase, prompting her to tell him off. Later around a campfire Ty Lee reveals she is so outgoing because she grew up with six identical sisters and hated it. Mai reveals her parents worried about their careers and gave Mai anything she wanted as long as she acted cold and proper. Zuko reveals he hates himself because he is not sure of the difference between right and wrong anymore. They bond by returning to the party and trashing the place as the host looks on in horror. Meanwhile, Aang and his best friends are attacked by Zuko's assassin, who pyrokinetically/thermokinetically generates extremely destructive beams of red-hot fire from his third eye.|
|46||6||"The Avatar and the Firelord"||JM Animation||Ethan Spaulding||Elizabeth Welch Ehasz||October 26, 2007||306||3.20|
Aang and Zuko both learn about the strong and close childhood friendship of Avatar Roku and Fire-lord Sozin. Sozin suggested to Roku that, as the pinnacle of civilization, the Fire Nation should control the destiny of the entire world to ensure universal prosperity. As Roku was the Avatar, he knew the importance of balance between all people and disagreed. When Sozin later greedily took an Earth Kingdom colony, Roku defeated him in battle and threatened to kill him if he again tried to do anything that crossed that line. When Roku's island volcano erupted years later, Sozin came to help. But, at the last moment, when Roku was overcome by volcanic gases, Sozin realized that he could rule the world if he let Roku die, and he abandoned him. Roku then died from the lava and was reincarnated as Aang.In his prison cell, Iroh tells Zuko that as the great-grandson of both Roku and Sozin, he alone has the ability to resolve their endless conflict and restore order and peace to the world.
|47||7||"The Runaway"||Moi Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Joshua Hamilton||November 2, 2007||307||3.22|
|Katara expresses her disapproval when Toph begins scamming Fire Nation civilians for quick cash. Toph thinks Katara is acting too motherly, and a rift forms within the group. To patch things up, Katara decides to pull a scam with Toph, but they are caught by Zuko's assassin, Combustion Man. He uses them as bait in an attempt to kill Aang, but Katara's quick thinking saves the day.|
|48||8||"The Puppetmaster"||JM Animation||Joaquim Dos Santos||Tim Hedrick||November 9, 2007||308||3.52|
|The gang discovers that there have been strange disappearances in a Fire Nation town during a full moon. They befriend an old innkeeper named Hama, who reveals that she is a waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe that had been taken away sixty years previously alongside her fellow Southern waterbenders. She becomes Katara's mentor and shares with her the tragic story of her life as a longtime prisoner of the Fire Nation. A horrified Katara discovers that Hama is enacting her revenge by kidnapping Fire Nation civilians with bloodbending, a sinister and dark technique of waterbending which can only be used by an incredibly strong and skilled waterbender, and only during a full moon when his or her waterbending abilities are at their strongest potential. The resulting battle forces Katara to use the technique against Hama to save Aang and Sokka. Hama is taken away by the village, and she congratulates Katara on mastering bloodbending. A horrified and saddened Katara breaks down in tears and Aang and Sokka comfort her.|
|49||9||"Nightmares and Daydreams"||Moi Animation||Ethan Spaulding||John O'Bryan||November 16, 2007||309||3.52|
|The invasion is four days away, and Aang begins to feel nervous about confronting the Fire-Lord. Feeling that he is unprepared, he trains constantly and loses sleep, causing him to hallucinate and have nightmares. After three straight days, it takes the collaboration of Sokka, Toph, and Katara to get him to finally sleep and feel confident about facing Fire Lord Ozai.|
|50||10||"The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion"||JM Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Michael Dante DiMartino||November 30, 2007||310||3.77|
|On the day of the solar eclipse, many of the characters from the previous episodes reunite with the gang to help them fight and the invasion begins. Hakoda returns with a ragtag team of several allies whom the group has met during their adventures. Aang finally kisses Katara as sign of his strong feelings for her, worried that she may not return. They successfully infiltrate the Fire Nation capital as the invasion force breaks through many security barriers. Aang reaches the Fire-Lord's palace... only to find out that no one is home.|
|51||11||"The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse"||Moi Animation||Joaquim Dos Santos||Aaron Ehasz||November 30, 2007||311||3.77|
|As the eclipse begins, Sokka, Aang, and Toph search for the Fire-Lord, but only find Azula in an underground bunker, who stalls them. When Sokka realises her plan, she provokes him by telling him of Suki's capture. Zuko confronts his father in another bunker. He tells Ozai Azula struck down the Avatar, who is alive, that the Fire Nation only spreads fear and hatred, and in order to restore peace he will join the Avatar. Zuko refuses to kill Ozai as that is the Avatar's destiny, not his. As he leaves, Ozai stalls him by revealing the events of the night Fire-Lord Azulon died. He had been ordered to kill Zuko, but Zuko's mother sought an alternative, creating a treasonous plan for Ozai to take the throne, resulting in her banishment. The eclipse ends and Ozai attacks. Zuko redirects Ozai's lightning back at him and leaves. Iroh single-handedly breaks out from prison before Zuko can join him. Aang is forced to allow his army to be captured, but flees with his friends to the Western Air Temple with Zuko trailing them on a stolen warship balloon.|
|52||12||"The Western Air Temple"||JM Animation||Ethan Spaulding||Elizabeth Welch Ehasz|
|July 14, 2008||312||3.55|
|Zuko follows Aang and his friends to the Western Air Temple, seeking to join their group. There, Zuko desperately tries to prove to them that he has changed for the better. It is only after Zuko helps save them from Combustion Man that he receives their acceptance as Aang's firebending teacher and the fifth member of Team Avatar. However, an embittered and venomous Katara still refuses to believe that Zuko has really changed and threatens to take his life at the slightest sign of any treachery.|
|53||13||"The Firebending Masters"||Moi Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||John O'Bryan||July 15, 2008||313||3.55|
|Zuko tries to teach Aang how to firebend, but has lost his own ability to do so as he is no longer reliant on rage. Toph suggests they learn from the original source of firebending, the mighty dragons. Zuko and Aang travel to nearby ruins of the Sun Warrior civilization. Zuko reveals that his uncle Iroh killed the last dragon long ago, a glory hunt that earns the firebender the title of 'Dragon'. After finding the Sun Warriors still exist they must carry a sacred flame up to the mountain to meet the dragons, but their flames go out at the last moment. They perform the dragon dance seen in the ruins, and the last two dragons reveal that the true secret of firebending is life, not destruction. Iroh had lied about the dragon's extinction after receiving similar training. Both Aang and Zuko begin to firebend again, stronger and more skillfully than before.|
|54||14||"The Boiling Rock, Part 1"||JM Animation||Joaquim Dos Santos||May Chan||July 16, 2008||314||3.97|
|Sokka and Zuko infiltrate the Fire Nation's top prison, the Boiling Rock, to find Sokka's father Hakoda. It is surrounded by a boiling lake, trapping Sokka and Zuko when their balloon crashes. They find Suki and hatch an escape plan with Sokka disguised as a guard. Zuko is captured and the warden recognises him, being Mai's uncle. A prisoner, Chit Sang, blackmails them into letting him help. As they are nearing escape, a new batch of prisoners arrive, including Sokka's father Hakoda. Sokka, Zuko, and Suki decide to stay to save him. As Chit Sang and his friends leave without them but make a mistake.|
|55||15||"The Boiling Rock, Part 2"||Moi Animation||Ethan Spaulding||Joshua Hamilton||July 16, 2008||315||3.97|
|Sokka, Zuko, Suki, and Chit Sang create a new plan for escaping the prison after the original plan failed. Mai appears and demands to know why Zuko left her. He says he's trying to save the Fire Nation, not destroy it. They take the warden hostage to escape on the gondola over the boiling water. The guards attempt to cut the line following the warden's orders, but Mai saves them by stopping the guards. Azula is furious over their betrayal, but Mai declares she loves Zuko more than she fears Azula. After Ty Lee stops Azula's attack on Mai with Chi-blocking and tries to aid her escape, Azula furiously has them both imprisoned.|
|56||16||"The Southern Raiders"||Moi Animation||Joaquim Dos Santos||Elizabeth Welch Ehasz||July 17, 2008||316||4.23|
|Azula chases Aang from the temple. Zuko confronts Katara about her distrust of him and tries to gain her friendship. He decides to help Katara find the soldier responsible for Kya's untimely death. Aang warns her that revenge is not the answer. Along the way, Katara's behavior becomes increasingly aggressive, and she even resorts to mercilessly bloodbending a Fire Nation soldier. They eventually find the retired soldier, Yan Rha, where Katara discovers that her mother had died protecting her. Despite Katara's uncontrollable rage and anger, she is unable to take revenge on such a pathetic person. Katara and Zuko leave, and Katara finally forgives Zuko and accepts him as a good friend in the form of a warm and friendly hug.|
|57||17||"The Ember Island Players"||JM Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Tim Hedrick, Josh Hamilton|
|July 18, 2008||317||4.53|
|Sokka discovers that the Ember Island Players, a Fire Nation theater group, is debuting a play based upon their adventures. The play turns out to be Fire Nation propaganda, and although the audience enjoys the play, Aang and his friends are embarrassed by the inaccurate and exaggerated portrayals of themselves (with the sole exception of Toph, who is amused by her depiction as a large muscled man who employs a primitive form of sonar by yelling at everything). In context, the play also serves as a concise summary of Aang's entire journey throughout the show. The play ends with the Fire Nation winning the war, Azula killing Zuko and the Fire Lord killing the Avatar, which triggers a standing ovation from the audience and clearly frightens Aang.|
|58||18||"Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King"||JM Animation||Ethan Spaulding||Michael Dante DiMartino||July 19, 2008||318||5.59|
|Aang has decided to fight the Fire-lord after Sozin's Comet passes. Zuko derails this plan by revealing that Ozai intends to raze the entire Earth-Kingdom continent while under its influence. The gang begins a frantic training regimen while Aang struggles with his responsibilities: his friends exhort him to simply kill Ozai, but Aang clings to the pacifist beliefs of his Air-Nomad heritage. In his sleep, Aang is drawn towards a mysterious island that appears suddenly in the sea; the next day, his friends find June the Bounty Hunter to attempt to locate him again. Ozai bequeaths his throne to Azula and declares himself "Phoenix King", ruler of the known world while Aang awakens on the unknown island now in the middle of the sea.|
|59||19||"Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters"||Moi Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Aaron Ehasz||July 19, 2008||319||5.59|
|On the island, Aang seeks guidance from his past lives, but they too insist he must take violent action against the Firelord. The island turns out to be a giant lion-turtle, which gives Aang the guidance he has been seeking. After June is unable to find Aang, Zuko decides to ask June to find his uncle instead. After June leads them to the outer wall of Ba Sing Se, they meet King Bumi, Jeong Jeong, Master Pakku, and Master Piandao, who are members of the Order of the White Lotus. The group soon finds out that Iroh is their leader. After reuniting with Iroh, the team decides to split up and go in different directions to help stop the Fire Nation: Zuko and Katara will handle Azula at the capital of the Fire Nation; Sokka, Suki and Toph will attempt to deflect the Fire Nation airships encroaching on the Earth Kingdom, and Iroh is to lead the Order in the liberation of Ba Sing Se. Sozin's Comet arrives and Phoenix King Ozai prepares to destroy both the Earth Kingdom and the Avatar.|
|60||20||"Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno"||JM Animation||Joaquim Dos Santos||Michael Dante DiMartino|
|July 19, 2008||320||5.59|
|Azula's mental stability, undermined by the betrayal of her childhood friends at the Boiling Rock, begins to deteriorate as her coronation as Fire lord approaches. Zuko and Katara confront her right when she is about to be crowned Firelord, but Azula challenges her brother to an Agni Kai. Zuko, although initially winning, is gravely injured when Azula throws lightning at Katara which he dives in the way of. Aang duels Ozai without result, still unwilling to kill him. Sokka, Toph, and Suki attempt to halt the Airship fleet but are soon separated, while the Order of the White Lotus battles for Ba Sing Se's freedom.|
|61||21||"Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang"||JM Animation||Joaquim Dos Santos||Michael Dante DiMartino|
|July 19, 2008||321||5.59|
Ozai accidentally causes Aang to enter the mighty Avatar State. The Order of the White Lotus successfully liberates Ba Sing Se, while Sokka, Suki and Toph disable all of the Airships. Katara freezes and chains Azula down, triggering a psychotic breakdown in Azula, then uses her exceptionally strong healing abilities to revive a severely wounded Zuko. Aang easily overwhelms Ozai, yet still refuses to kill him. Aang uses his knowledge from the lion-turtle-a newly acquired bending ability called energybending-to permanently strip Ozai of his firebending abilities, defeating the Phoenix King without taking his life. Newly appointed Fire Lord Zuko declares the war over, and Aang and his friends celebrate together at Iroh's tea shop in Ba Sing Se. Zuko and Mai reconcile officially, and Zuko confronts his father, angrily asking where his mother, Ursa, is being kept. Aang and Katara share a loving hug and kiss passionately before the sunset.
The first three DVD volumes contain five episodes each, and the fourth volume contains six. A later boxed set contained all four volumes. The first DVD was released on October 30, 2007, and the complete boxed set was released on September 16, 2008. They are released by Paramount Home Entertainment. Each of the individual Season Three DVDs also comes complete with an exclusive comic book. The Complete Book 3 Collection DVD includes the following DVD extras: Inside Sozin's Comet: Exclusive Four-Part Commentary by Creators, The Women of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 3 Finale Pencil Test Animation and Into the Fire Nation at San Diego Comic-Con. The boxed set was released on February 1, 2010 in the United Kingdom.
- 1.^ Production code format taken from the commentary for "Sozin's Comet: The Phoenix King"
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