ATLA: S1 Eps 5 & 6: The King of Omashu & Imprisoned

It’s late, I have some urgent chores to attend to, and I don’t have much to say about these two episodes as I think they are fairly weak.

As I wrote in my ATLA notebook as I watched Ep 5, “This ep is not working as well for me.”

As Aang, Katara, and Sokka (and Momo) enter the city of Omashu (where not that much plot-wise actually happens) I reflect on the apparent lack of women in the city, which makes me note that the adult women in Katara and Sokka’s home village seemed to have the function of the “mom at home” — that is, her job is to send out the actual active people to have adventures while she remains behind.

Except for Katara’s conversation with her grandmother, I don’t think this show has passed the Bechdel Test so far.

I know that this is supposed to get better in seasons 2 and 3, but I can’t help notice here and in so many other film and tv venues the lack of adult female role models for boys and girls alike. It’s as if GIRLS can now have adventures, but older women remain invisible?

In fact, in ep 6, Imprisoned, there is indeed a Mom-at-Home character who implores her rebellious son to “be quiet” and “don’t talk like that.” Eh. I understand her function in the plot, but, eh.

However, this is a more interesting episode if fairly predictable. It’s quite tightly plotted, and works as a standalone episode within the larger plot. The faked earthbending is amusing. Katara gets to make a great speech to the prisoners who have lost hope, and we see played out an interesting expression of resistance versus “you-can’t-win-this-fight” endurance. There are a few earthbending women seen in the background.

Best of all, Zuko gets Katara’s mother’s necklace. Can’t wait to see what comes of that!