There’s a reason why so many people consider Avatar: The Last Airbender to be not only one of the best animated TV series of all time, but one of the best TV series ever made, period.
The three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender are filled with amazing episodes. And even the “low points” of the series aren’t bad—it’s hard to find even a single episode that’s not amazing.
Yeah, it’s an animated TV series, but that doesn’t mean it’s a children’s show. In fact, Avatar: The Last Airbender addresses many serious topics and themes, including a few that are actually quite dark if you really think about them.
Still, there are plenty of highlights throughout the series. Here are the best episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender that prove how good this series is in so many different ways.
How to Watch Avatar: The Last Airbender
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Avatar: The Last Airbender is available to stream on several different streaming platforms. If you have Amazon Prime or Netflix, you can stream the entire series without paying anything extra.
But as with all streaming services, you can never truly know if the series will remain available forever. Maybe it gets taken off, or maybe the service goes down altogether.
Which is why we always prefer DVD or Blu-ray series collections for high-quality series like this one. That way you always have it on you, and you can even watch when you don’t have internet.
10. “The Library”
Even though “The Library” is a major turning point in the show’s plot, it’s one of the most underrated episodes in the series.
After traveling to a library deep in the desert, Aang, Katara, and Sokka finally uncover the Fire Nation’s biggest weakness: the solar eclipse. However, this information doesn’t come without a price.
The giant owl, otherwise known as the Knowledge Spirit, attempts to bury the secret in the sand, along with Team Avatar. This episode often flies under the radar, but it does a great job setting up the suspense for the impending battle against the Fire Nation.
9. “The Blind Bandit”
In need of an earthbending teacher, Aang comes across Toph Beifong, an unassuming blind girl he saw in a vision.
“The Blind Bandit” is the show’s first introduction of Toph, and it doesn’t disappoint. Toph, also known as the Blind Bandit, is the reigning champion of an underground earthbending tournament.
When she’s revealed to her burly opponent during the competition, he wildly underestimates her. Toph secures a quick victory, and later joins Team Avatar.
8. “The Puppetmaster”
Arguably one of the most haunting episodes of the series, “The Puppetmaster” is also a hint at the plot for the show’s successor, The Legend of Korra. Team Avatar winds up at an old woman’s inn, where she tells the group about some recent disappearances.
The episode’s mood quickly becomes grim when Katara finds out that the old woman practices bloodbending, and has been responsible for the missing villagers.
Team Avatar has no choice but to fight back—seeing the group writhe as the old woman controls their movement makes for an unforgettable episode.
7. “The Warriors of Kyoshi”
Season one’s “The Warriors of Kyoshi” showcases the group of all-female earthbending warriors. Team Avatar gets captured by the Kyoshi Warriors, which really brings out Sokka’s immature tendencies.
Sokka is humiliated by the fact that he was captured by a group of girls, and is even more embarrassed when he gets his butt kicked by the Kyoshi Warriors’ leader.
But by the end of the episode, Sokka has a change of heart and learns to view them as warriors, not weak girls.
6. “Zuko Alone”
At the beginning of the series, it’s easy to brush off Prince Zuko as just a petty villain. It’s not until “Zuko Alone,” when viewers really get to see a different side of Zuko.
During Zuko’s solo journey, he finds himself in an Earth Kingdom village, where he meets a kind family and their young son, Lee. Seeing Lee reminds Zuko of his own rough childhood, and inspires him to go to great lengths just to protect the young boy.
In just 30 minutes, this episode manages to pack in a ton of emotional content, permanently changing our view of Zuko.
5. “The Siege of the North Part 2”
“The Siege of the North Part 2” ties up the end of Book One, and makes for a riveting season finale. After the Fire Nation invades the Northern Water Tribe, Commander Zhao kills the Moon Spirit, and the waterbenders lose their ability to bend.
Besides the all-around amazing ending, the use of colors makes this episode stand out as well. When the Moon Spirit gets destroyed, the world turns mostly black and white—the only exceptions are blue and orange, the colors of water and fire.
4. “The Blue Spirit”
“The Blue Spirit” is one of the most iconic episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Zuko dons the mask of The Blue Spirit, which the show doesn’t reveal until the very end.
The disguised Zuko saves Aang from Commander’s Zhao’s prison, but it’s mostly for his own benefit. Despite Zuko’s selfish motives, the two boys work surprisingly well together as they escape the prison.
The brief friendship comes to an end when Aang finds out that Zuko is The Blue Spirit, but it still hints at Zuko’s eventual alliance with Aang.
3. “The Crossroads of Destiny”
Besides the fact that “The Crossroads of Destiny” brings out Azula’s true colors, it also shines more light on Zuko, who, oddly enough, ends up bonding with Katara in an Earth Kingdom prison.
If that isn’t enough for Book Two’s season finale, Azula kills Aang in his Avatar state, and the Fire Nation finally takes over Ba Sing Se.
The emotional, yet exciting twists and turns of this episode is the kind of content that makes Avatar: The Last Airbender stand out from other Nickelodeon cartoons.
2. “The Tales of Ba Sing Se”
“The Tales of Ba Sing Se” has two sad stories surrounding it—one that has to do with the show, and another that actually pertains to a member of the show’s real-life cast.
This episode is a series of short stories surrounding the adventures of Aang, Katara, Toph, Sokka, Momo, and Iroh in Ba Sing Se.
Out of all the vignettes, Iroh’s shines the most. He performs many good deeds throughout the city, and later sets up a tribute in honor of his dead son’s birthday.
The vignette closes with Iroh singing, “Leaves from the Vine,” and follows with a dedication to Mako Iwamatsu. Iwamatsu was Iroh’s original voice actor, who, unfortunately, passed away in 2006.
1. “Sozin’s Comet Part 4: Avatar Aang”
It’s a no-brainer to place “Sozin’s Comet Part 4: Avatar Aang” at the top of this list. This entirety of the show works up to this very moment: the final fight between Aang and Fire Lord Ozai.
Far too often, fantastic shows get ruined by bad endings. Fortunately, Avatar: The Last Airbender reaches a satisfactory conclusion that doesn’t let you down.
What’s Your Favorite Avatar Episode?
Avatar: The Last Airbender pushes the boundaries of kids’ shows, which is something that you just don’t see today. The emotional depth of the show makes it suitable for both kids and adults!
But there’s plenty of other great TV series to watch, whether animated or not. And many of them are available to stream online at an affordable price. You just need to know which streaming service is the right one for your tastes!