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Boiling Rock of Squee! - moonspinner
moonspinner
moonspinner
Boiling Rock of Squee!


Nothing beats discovering a show a few episodes to its conclusion. No evil weeks, months, years of cliff-hanging. No shipping wars or fan-wanking to sour it. Just long, long weekends of watching and squeeing and giggling silently to myself in the office when I rememeber Sokka's jokes.


I just caught up with what I think is the last episode released so far, the Boiling Rock Part 2. Half-way through the episode, I couldn't help myself. I had to pick up my notepad and start scribbling my favorite lines:


Big (Not So) Dumb Guy: “That’s him, warden. He’s the impostor.”

Warden: “You threw him in the very prison you were trying to escape. It was all part of Your Plan!”
Not-at-all-by-mistaken Identity Guard (sweating because Karma is biting through his butt right now): “It was coincidence!”

Love, love, love how the Big (Not So) Dumb Guy goes from being the weakest link to a total asset in the Escape Plan V2.0 . (But what happened to his girl and best mate? ::sob::)


SUKI ROCKS!

I love Suki so much! I have been so scared since Appa’s Lost Days that Ozzai’s Demons killed her. I’m so glad she’s OK.

The rematch totally rocked. I kept waiting for Ty Lee’s Acupuncturistic Fists of Doom(TM) to make an appearance and I’m glad Suki had learnt from their last encounter how to avoid them. And wasn’t it totally cool how the young people were on top, fighting against each other and gravity while the old hands stayed below? Nice call back to the episode of Sokka’s Master and young fighters using their agility.

Is it just me or is continuity in Avatar solid-gold?


MAI!

“Saving the jerk who dumped me.”

“I love Zuko more than I fear you.”

I liked Mai simply enough before but after that showdown, I loved her. And as for Ty Lee… Ty Lee who I’ve always thought was creepy and horrible with her ‘I Will Knock Down People With My Fists of Doom Because Azula Tells Me Too Even Though It’s Obvious That I’m a Basically Sweet Person Who Would Rather Dance’ attitude… Well, her split-second decision to take Mai’s side and use those same Fists of Doom(TM) on Azula (whose had it coming so bad you won’t believe) completely changed my mind.


Gosh, the protagonists for Boiling Rock were Sokka and Zuko, right? But the women - Suki, Mai, Ty Lee, Azula - stole the show.

Hands down.


“Seriously, you guys, didn’t you find any meat?”

Toph rocks.

Tags:
Current Mood: ecstatic ecstatic

38 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
r0ck3tsci3ntist From: r0ck3tsci3ntist Date: July 4th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
AVATAR!! ♥
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 4th, 2008 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I knew we were twins. :D
sistermagpie From: sistermagpie Date: July 4th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
It just does not get better!!
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 7th, 2008 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)
So much word. :D

What is even better: now that I'm all caught up on the episodes, I can go and read all your meta on it. I'm looking forward to that almost as much as I'm looking forward to new episodes. :D
sistermagpie From: sistermagpie Date: July 8th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I love talking about it!
fialleril From: fialleril Date: July 4th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bwah ha ha ha ha!

I have hooked you forever! My goal in life is now complete!

No shipping wars or fan-wanking to sour it.

Oh honey. You have no idea. I take it you haven't really entered the fandom yet, then? This fandom has the worst case of wank and shipping wars I've ever seen. It's vicious. I've learned to just find the few people who write good stuff and stay out of the rest of it.

Sorry for the downer, but I thought I'd warn you. ;)

LOL. Big (Not So) Dumb Guy = Chitsang. I have this pet theory that he found out his best mate and his girl were actually double timing behind his back. :D

Suki does indeed rock. But Mai will always be my girl. ;)

I still find Ty Lee kind of creepy, but the episode "The Beach" did a lot to humanize her for me. And watching her take down Azula was certainly interesting. I honestly wasn't expecting that to happen quite yet - I thought they'd save it for the finale.

Now what I really want to see is Zuko going to rescue Mai and Ty Lee from prison, only to get there and find...they're already gone. :D Just like Iroh. It would be amazing.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 7th, 2008 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)

I have hooked you forever! My goal in life is now complete!

There’s a scary amount of truth in that statement. Believe it or not, I’m thinking of writing fan fiction! Fan fiction! The writers need to tell us how the Fire Nation attacked the Air Temples and tell us soon before I break my no-more-new-fandom-fiction vows!

Oh honey. You have no idea. I take it you haven't really entered the fandom yet, then? This fandom has the worst case of wank and shipping wars I've ever seen. It's vicious. I've learned to just find the few people who write good stuff and stay out of the rest of it.

Thanks for the warning! I dipped a toe into it over the weekend – just reading, not contributing – and I think I’ll stay out of the pool. I sort of expected the Zuko-worship and the Kataang vs Zutara wars but I was surprised at the level of vitriol in some posts. ::shudders::

Still, I already joined atla_unspoiled and it seems relative safe but what do you think?

LOL. Big (Not So) Dumb Guy = Chitsang. I have this pet theory that he found out his best mate and his girl were actually double timing behind his back. :D

Heh heh. I can live with that. :D

Suki does indeed rock. But Mai will always be my girl. ;)

Suki won my heart when she: a, first got Sokka into a dress to teach him how to fight and b, told him she was a warrior and a girl. (This is me cutting myself in mid-rant about female characters that are not allowed to be both).
I was undecided about Mai for a long time because while her indifference to everything in a world where everyone had great passions and great destinies coupled with incredible knife-skillz** definitely impressed me, I thought it was rather cold of her to be throwing same knives around her baby brother to get an adrenaline high/score points with Azula.

I still find Ty Lee kind of creepy, but the episode "The Beach" did a lot to humanize her for me.
I sort of understood her more after that episode, but I thought it was a bit much for her to break down and cry because she was a septuplet (sp?)? In fact, “The Beach” episode is probably the one Avatar episode that didn’t ‘sit’ well with me. How did Azula go from the 15 year old girl who took down Bai Sing Se from the inside by winning the loyalty of the city’s Gestapo by sheer force of charisma to the a girl who can’t score points with beach bums? And how do the kids of the Fire Nation go from being the inhibited children in Aang’s school to dropouts from 90210?

Now what I really want to see is Zuko going to rescue Mai and Ty Lee from prison, only to get there and find...they're already gone. :D Just like Iroh. It would be amazing.

It would, won’t it? :D I’d love to see Mai and Ty Lee on their own, without Azula’s evilness tainting their intrinsic coolness. :D

Just like Iroh.

I miss Iroh so much in this season. And it's so sad to see his big stomach go. *g*


**I think one of the many things I love about Avatar is the fact that not every formidable warrior is a bender. We even get to see some benders who aren’t very formidable at all (Toph’s teacher for example). Despite all the joking, Sokka is the leader of the Gaang and he brings more to it that the obvious comic relief. It’s funny how much I liked him from the first, even when we’re not sure he and Aang are ever going to be friends – yes, even when he was being a totally chauvinistic pig to Katara; and he was so unflinchingly brave when he faced down Zuko and an entire Fire Nation navy ship.



peri_peteia From: peri_peteia Date: July 10th, 2008 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm in ur journal making long comments?!

I thought it was rather cold of her to be throwing same knives around her baby brother to get an adrenaline high/score points with Azula.

You know, this has been a topic of hot discussion in fandom ever since that episode aired and I was always weirded by it because it was clear to me even in the moment of watching the episode that Mai carefully weighed the situation and ultimately...didn't really have much of a choice either way. In the middle of a hostage negotiation with people who (to the best of HER knowledge) had already made an attempt on her, her mother, and her brother's lives isn't really the best time to start arguing amongst yourselves. And it's NEVER really a good time to argue with Azula. I don't think she was being cold at all. Particularly not in terms of endangering Tom Tom with her knives, especially given later meta commentary about her skill and how she specifically taught herself to be so good that she doesn't have to even hurt anyone, much less kill them. (This was in response to a reference to her as an assassin which was immediately denied with the assertion that Mai is just not a killer.)

I think the worst one could accuse her of is being a little too full up on her own bad-assery given that it was obvious that she thought she could take Tom Tom back?

In fact, “The Beach” episode is probably the one Avatar episode that didn’t ‘sit’ well with me. How did Azula go from the 15 year old girl who took down Bai Sing Se from the inside by winning the loyalty of the city’s Gestapo by sheer force of charisma to the a girl who can’t score points with beach bums? And how do the kids of the Fire Nation go from being the inhibited children in Aang’s school to dropouts from 90210?

Oh, The Beach. I love The Beach so much.

BUT FEEL FREE TO IGNORE MY UNSOLICITED DEFENSE OF IT.

WRT Ty Lee, I feel like the entire sharing on the beach session works best if you take Li and Lo and their talk about Ember Island being a little bit mystical at face value.

I generally feel like if I could accept magic karate, crazy hybrid animals, and steam powered jet skis, a mystical catharsis beach isn't too much of a stretch.

RE: THE REST

I think the thing to keep in mind wrt the kids from The Headband vs. Ruon-Jian, Chan, and crew (who, I must say, were categorically not "beach bums" at all, but the children of FN VIPs) is that these are both different age groups and different social classes. In The Headband, Aang and co. were not in as low a strata of FN society as they were in, say, The Painted Lady, but it still wasn't the upper echelons. Like, those kids were clearly not from families that would be allowed into the capital city. And the contrast of inhibited, indoctrinated, working-middle-class kids and leisurely, self-absorbed, myopic upper class teenagers is actually perfect for what the Fire Nation is supposed to be. (Uh, hi, my name is Rawles and I am obsessed with Fire Nation society and culture.)

And I actually love (love, love, love) Azula in The Beach and see the thing is I don't think it's especially inconsistent at all. Azula is charismatic and amazing when she's Princess Azula of the Fire Nation and is conquering cities and leading armies, sure. But if you take away her rank and title (since they were incognito) and make her interact with normal people doing mundane things and she still has all of that intensity and perfectionism and ruthlessness, it stops being, "Omg, you're kind of intimidating, but also hypnotic and enthralling, YES I WILL DO BATTLE FOR YOU," and becomes, "Uh...you're weird and scary and way too into this. Please leave me alone."

And to me it is completely, utterly believable that Azula who, the first time we really see her in a full scene, is INCENSED by a single hair out of place is someone who does not know how to turn it down a few notches. She's ALWAYS at 11. And it is one of the many reasons that I adore her.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 10th, 2008 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm in ur journal making long comments?!

Hi! *waves* Thanks for dropping by! If you haven't realized already that I'm desperately looking for people to talk about Avatar with, I think it should be clear after this reply needs to be fitted into 2 comment boxes :P

It’s hard to analyze a character who internalizes as much as Mai does (or may be I’ve just been lazy because until I confess that until recently, I’ve never cared enough about the Fire Nation kids to try) but you’ve done a pretty good job of it there. When you put it that way, it makes a great deal of sense. She is good enough with knives not to harm her brother. She is confident enough in her bad-assery to think that she/Azula/Ty Lee could take Tom Tom without keeping their own end of the bargain. The Boiling Rock shows that for better or worse, she’s really bought into the Fire Nation propaganda of Fire Nation good, Everyone Else evil. It may be thrill-seeking for her, running around with Azula, but she genuinely believes that she’s doing the right thing.


BUT FEEL FREE TO IGNORE MY UNSOLICITED DEFENSE OF IT.

Are you kidding? I like the show so much that I’m more than eager for a proper defence of the Beach.

I generally feel like if I could accept magic karate, crazy hybrid animals, and steam powered jet skis, a mystical catharsis beach isn't too much of a stretch.

Actually, I totally buy that (i.e. the mystical cathartic properties of the beach). I like the fact that it’s never referred to directly (outside Lo & Li’s wacky-sounding declaration) but that you see the characters falling apart because of it: Mai raising her voice; Zuko’s confession (that he was angry at himself), Ty Lee’s admission, and most importantly Azula affirming something that I’d always thought: she had as much Mommy issues as Zuko had Daddy issues.

It's as you said, the REST, that I’m still trying to ‘buy’.

In The Headband, Aang and co. were not in as low a strata of FN society as they were in, say, The Painted Lady, but it still wasn't the upper echelons. Like, those kids were clearly not from families that would be allowed into the capital city. And the contrast of inhibited, indoctrinated, working-middle-class kids and leisurely, self-absorbed, myopic upper class teenagers is actually perfect for what the Fire Nation is supposed to be.

Mmmm… The way I see/saw it, the disconnect is exactly what I won’t have expected in the Fire Nation. The first Fire Nation kids we get to know are: Zuko, Azula, Mai and Ty Lee in that order. Mai is a governor’s daughter when we meet her and Ty Lee was the daughter of a person of great import. (I can’t remember right now but I vaguely recall Azula being shocked that she was in a circus because she had attended ‘Fire Academy for Girls’ and her father was a VIP.) This quartet are all upper-echelon and it seems to me that they’d be a more natural progression of Aang’s indoctrinated schoolmates than the Beach teenagers.

Sure, the kids in Aang’s school were not upper-class. (It was a public school.) But I don’t think they would have not been permitted into the capital city. They seem to be shocked by Aang’s ‘colonial’ habits but not as disgusted as you’d expect from a class-conscious society.

If anything, the upper-class schools would have even more indoctrination. The parents of those children would be training their children to fill in their roles – ministers, advisors, Generals, etc. This is a land, remember, where no one thinks it strange/wrong for the Crown Prince to be burnt and banished at the age of 13 because he can’t stand up to his father. The kind of idyllic, Westernized existence of the Beach kids actually seemed more fitting with the forced utopia Bai Sing Sei than with the ambitious Fire Nation: there you would find teenagers who were completely ignorant about the war and behaved accordingly.

(Uh, hi, my name is Rawles and I am obsessed with Fire Nation society and culture.)

LOL!


Edited at 2008-07-10 12:53 pm (UTC)
peri_peteia From: peri_peteia Date: July 10th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm in ur journal making long comments?!

Sure, the kids in Aang’s school were not upper-class. (It was a public school.) But I don’t think they would have not been permitted into the capital city.

Well this is actually meta information, but non-nobles/aristocrats are actually legally barred from entering the capital city!

They seem to be shocked by Aang’s ‘colonial’ habits but not as disgusted as you’d expect from a class-conscious society.

I don't really see, considering we've never really seen anyone from a higher class address the idea of colonials, that we can say that they weren't disgusted ENOUGH? And, recall, the teacher was essentially like, "Bah whatever colonial slob." The kids were more accepting, but then they're kids and it could likely be that their curiosity about Aang and the weird ways in which he acted overrode their misgivings.

This quartet are all upper-echelon and it seems to me that they’d be a more natural progression of Aang’s indoctrinated schoolmates than the Beach teenagers.

If anything, the upper-class schools would have even more indoctrination. [...] [In Ba Sing Se] you would find teenagers who were completely ignorant about the war and behaved accordingly.


Well, see the problem I'm having with this argument is that you're assuming that the kids on Ember Island WERENT indoctrinated? Or in training to be Generals and the leaders of society, etc. There's not really anything to support that assumption. It's not as if any political conversations were met. You assume an ignorance that was never actually demonstrated and that I have a hard time believing actually exists given that Chan's dad, for instance, is an admiral? I mean, there's a big difference between ignorance and apathy.

To me, it's perfectly believable that the noble adults are out fighting their mostly won war and these are the spoiled, sheltered aristocratic children who don't care about the war all that much because:

1) It's all they've ever known.

and 2) It doesn't actually affect them in any meaningful way other than that their parents are gone sometimes so they can throw parties for other Very Important Teenagers and hang around on the beach.

I mean, that's pretty much what aristocracies do? They're a leisure class.

And here's another thing: Ty Lee fit in very well with those kids. Mai was accepted, but generally dismissed them because she's...herself. Zuko and Azula are both just generally socially abnormal and thus ran into problems.

I don't think that they are fundamentally a completely separate type of creature from the kids on the beach?

Their lives have clearly turned out differently from the kids on the beach in that they're in the thick of it all. But that's because they're a prince, a princess, and two extremely important nobles who are closely connected to the princess. We never see anyone else in the FN corps that are as young as the four primary FN kids. So you kind of have to assume that they're the exception. And most importantly they were all only out there because they were on very specific missions by the Fire Lord himself. Zuko had to capture the Avatar. Azula had to capture Zuko and Iroh and took it upon herself to do everything else that she did in the interim and made Mai and Ty Lee come with her as her elite crew. And as soon as they ostensibly completed this mission they didn't do anything but go back to the Fire Nation and faff about for a couple of months until something ELSE came up. I mean when we see them Azula's like getting her hair washed or wandering in the garden to harass Zuko. And Zuko and Mai were spending most of their time, apparently, sexing each other up at Mai's house?

My thing is that I don't buy that those kids on the beach would NOT be doing what they were doing. Indeed, everything seems to point to the idea that this is exactly what they'd be doing.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 10th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm in ur journal making long comments?!

Well this is actually meta information, but non-nobles/aristocrats are actually legally barred from entering the capital city!

OK, then that's a moot point. I guess the creators didn't think it important enough to make it into the actual episode.


Well, see the problem I'm having with this argument is that you're assuming that the kids on Ember Island WERENT indoctrinated? Or in training to be Generals and the leaders of society, etc. There's not really anything to support that assumption. It's not as if any political conversations were met. You assume an ignorance that was never actually demonstrated and that I have a hard time believing actually exists given that Chan's dad, for instance, is an admiral? I mean, there's a big difference between ignorance and apathy.


There is ignorance: otherwise how could indoctrinated, aristocratic kids whose parents are generals, ministers, etc and live in the exclusive capital city not know who Princess Azula and Prince Zuko were??? It's not so much apathy but the Beach kids living in a bubble.

Edited at 2008-07-10 03:00 pm (UTC)
peri_peteia From: peri_peteia Date: July 10th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm in ur journal making long comments?!

There's a HUGE amount of like background/setting information that doesn't make it into the actual episodes, generally because its not terribly relevant to what's actually going on in the episode and they only have 20 minutes. I imagine unless it's a plot point that some commoners are trying to enter the capital city, the fact that they're not allowed isn't going to be mentioned.

There is ignorance: otherwise how could indoctrinated, aristocratic kids whose parents are generals, ministers, etc and live in the exclusive capital city not know who Princess Azula and Prince Zuko were???

Well, that's just a suspension of disbelief issue. You're supposed to assume that they don't recognize them on sight without trappings like flame diadems, etc. much like you're supposed to assume that none of the prisoners in TBR would recognize Zuko. Or, hell, that his giant facial scar isn't a unique identifying characteristic?

You know, people fanwank that since that's an Agni Kai tradition and also since Zuko's crew assumed it was a training accident in The Storm, that facial scars aren't uncommon in the FN despite the fact that we don't actually ever see anyone else with one. I think it's actually even easier to think from what we've seen that the only times people see Zuko and Azula in the capital are like when they're standing on the big platform in the capital square a 100 feet above everyone else or when Zuko's walking two feet to get into his palanquin to ride the ten feet to Mai's house. And the royal family hadn't visited Ember Island in years and years and it's not like they were staying where they would be expected to stay. Like I went into in my other comment, there's a very insular and cloistered feel with the royal family since they're often trying to evoke a little Imperial China/Forbidden City/Divine Emperor kind of thing.

I'm not going to argue that that tone is 100% consistent, but in any case, them not recognizing Zuko and Azula on sight is ultimately a plot convenience moreso than an actual reflection on how ignorant the kids on the beach were or were not.

Of course, my original point WAS that the aristocratic youth of the Fire Nation live in a bubble of sorts. I just believe that very same bubble is reasonably to be expected from Fire Nation society.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 10th, 2008 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm in ur journal making long comments?!

And I actually love (love, love, love) Azula in The Beach and see the thing is I don't think it's especially inconsistent at all. Azula is charismatic and amazing when she's Princess Azula of the Fire Nation and is conquering cities and leading armies, sure. But if you take away her rank and title (since they were incognito) and make her interact with normal people doing mundane things and she still has all of that intensity and perfectionism and ruthlessness, it stops being, "Omg, you're kind of intimidating, but also hypnotic and enthralling, YES I WILL DO BATTLE FOR YOU," and becomes, "Uh...you're weird and scary and way too into this. Please leave me alone."

I can buy Azula being too intimidating and perfect for people to love her. (I think we get a hint of that with Mai’s “I love Zuko more than I fear you” to her in Boiling Rock. In order words: “It was never both. I, your best friend, has only ever feared you.”) But charisma is not limited to title and rank. And her very perfectionism would have made her learn how to flirt and learn how to do it well. (Unless, of course, the Beach was her first attempt but when she was complaining to Ty Lee it sounded like if she had had this problem for a long time). The same way Azula arrived incognito in Bai Sing Sei, assessed the situation and played it to her advantage is precisely the same way that Azula would have arrived on the beach, assessed the Cool Kid rules and made herself Queen of the Beach, complete with resident hunk – just because she can.

It’s not really a question of turning down her intensity, it’s a question of reading people and knowing where to press their buttons to get them to do what she wants – and Azula is (at least up until that episode) a master at this. Hence, my dissatisfaction.
peri_peteia From: peri_peteia Date: July 10th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm in ur journal making long comments?!

I think that Mai never loved Azula because Azula bossed her around, was cruel to her at intervals, and kept her under her thumb her entire life, not because Azula was too perfect.

And no, charisma as a trait is not limited to title and rank, but Azula, as dynamic and powerful a person as she is, is quite clearly used to using her rank to get what she wants, when possible, all the same. I mean, she'll use anything at her disposal. But mostly she uses rank, intimidation, and opportunity (besides sheer physical prowess) to achieve her goals. Sure, she deceived Long Feng, knowing that he was the one really in charge since Kuei was obviously a moron, but she also used rank and intimidation to get the Dai Li to follow her, which was essentially the crux of her entire plan. She knows how to push buttons, it's true, but much of her button-pushing is scaring people and just bringing all of that intensity and power to bear. And I've already gone over how that doesn't really work well in certain situations. Azula is manipulative and incisive, certainly, but she manipulates fear and can see weakness and that's not really all that good for picking up dudes? Also, notice that her inability to really understand OTHER much more socially significant emotions is what led to her losing Mai and Ty Lee.

And I do quite believe that it was something she'd never really dedicated any time to trying before. And why would she? She's not that old, they hadn't been there specifically since they were all kids, and their whole palace life is very insular. Azula only wants to excel at it because that's the situation into which she's been placed and as such she has to dominate. Just like with the volleyball game. And just like Azula kept Ty Lee and Mai all those years because they were better than her at things/had skills she didn't and so she wanted to learn from them, when she fails at acquiring Chan, she gets Ty Lee to show her how. And just like Azula pushed Ty Lee down when she couldn't cartwheel better, she burns Chan's house down when she can't get him. In fact, The Beach is kind of Azula's entire character condensed.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 10th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm in ur journal making long comments?!

But the thing I don't think her rank as Fire Nation Princess had anything to do with the double coup in Bai Sing Sei. The Dai Lei were, after all, a veritable army of powerful Earthbenders loyal first to Long then to their King and City. Azula won them by sheer force of personality ("terrifying and awe inspiring") because she gave them the kind of leadership they'd been dying to serve under. I see the metaphor of flirting/Ty Lee tumbling. But the disconnect for me is why she would fail at that. Tumbling was something she physically could not excel at. Flirting is a milder version of the manipulation she's been doing for most of her life. ::shrugs::

I do see your arguments though and I think they've certainly helped me reconcile myself with that episode better.
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