As with many shows or epic stories, the middle section can be problematic. Writers can often foul up in the middle act because they are unaware of what to do with the characters before the inevitable conclusion. Such is the case with this batch of Avatar episodes.
The episodes are as followed:
1. "The Desert"- Aang and team roam the desert in search of Appa.
2. "Journey To Ba Sing Se Part 1: The Serpent's Pass"- Aang and crew must travel the dangerous Serpent's Pass in order to reach Ba Sing Se to find Appa and give information to the Earth King.
3. "Journey to Ba Sing Se Part 2: The Drill"- Aang must stop Azula and the Fire Nation from destroying the wall of Ba Sing Se with a mighty drill.
4. "City of Walls and Secrets"- Aang, Sokka, Toph, Momo, and Katara finally arrive at Ba Sing Se to tell the Earth King the information about how to stop the Fire Nation. The problem is the team can't get an audience with the King and they discover that Ba Sing Se isn't all it's cracked up to be.
5. "Tales of Ba Sing Se"- A series of short vignettes following Katara and Toph, Momo, Sokka, Aang, Prince Zuko and Iroh in the city of Ba Sing Se.
The problem with this disk of episodes is that the writers are stalling and dragging out the Appa story arc. The entire disk is literally about finding Appa and the characters still haven't found him yet! I get the sense that the writers are too eager to get to the conclusion and aren't putting much effort into Book 2. The only highlight here is "The Tales of Ba Sing Se" episode. It was fun to see each of the characters get their own mini-story as they explore the city. The episode may not move the story forward, but it was an interesting departure from the typical "beginning, middle, and end" formula.
The video is the same as it is on the other Avatar disks. It's solid, but nothing to ride home about.
The Dolby Digital audio track delivers the goods as usual. I was especially impressed with the audio during "The Drill" episode. The sound department went all out on that particular episode.
Once again, there is a commentary track on two episodes ("Journey To Ba Sing Se: The Serpent's Pass" and "City of Walls and Secrets") by Mike Dimartino, Josh Hamilton, Elsa Garagarza, and Bryan Konietzko. Much like the disk 2 commentary tracks, the commentary is filled with pauses and lots of filler talk to pass the time. Issue three of the Avatar comic "Divided We Fall" and Nickelodeon DVD previews are also included.
As an Avatar fan, you have to view these episodes to keep up with the show's story arc. I wouldn't recommend a purchase as the majority of the episodes on this disk are the weakest of the entire show. Give it a rent instead.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.