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Avatar: The Last Airbender aired its final episode on July 19th, 2008, but the show’s since gotten its second wind when it came back to Netflix earlier this year. Old fans and new fans alike have been discussing it and its follow-up series, The Legend of Korra extensively, comparing everything from its characters to its settings. But one thing that should also get discussed is the Avatar: The Last Airbender ending, because seriously, it’s pretty perfect.
Everything got wrapped up nicely in the four-part “Sozen’s Comet” story arc, and every major character got their chance to shine. Now, unlike most other series, Avatar: The Last Airbender actually has comic books that follow the events of the series. But I’m (mostly) only going to concentrate on how things ended for each character on the show itself. So, here’s what happened to all the major players. Oh, and of course spoilers up ahead.
Aang Defeated Fire Lord Ozai
Aang is in for a world of hurt when Fire Lord Ozai knocks Aang around with the added power of Sozen’s Comet. The Fire Lord’s power level is through the roof, and Aang protects himself in a shield of rock. But Ozai blasts the rock apart and nearly knocks Aang unconscious. But that’s when all the past Avatars connect with Aang, and push his power level over the edge. (It’s seriously like something out of Dragon Ball Z.)
Aang overwhelms the Fire Lord, and has the chance to kill him, but he doesn’t. Instead, he uses an ancient technique called energy bending, and steals the Fire Lord’s bending away from him. With the war officially over, Aang and his friends go to Zuko’s coronation. Afterward, Aang gets a smooch from Katara (even though Zutaro shippers think she should have reserved that kiss for Zuko instead), and it’s pretty much the perfect ending for Aang.
Zuko Became The New Fire Lord
Of all the characters on Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko has the biggest character arc. He went from chasing the Avatar, to serving him tea. In the final episode, Zuko already has sustained injuries from his battle with his sister, Azula, but he gets healed by Katara. But after Aang defeats the Fire Lord, that makes Zuko the next Fire Lord since Ozai is his father. The following day, Zuko has a hard time putting on his new Fire Lord duds because of all of his injuries. But then his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Mai, gives him a hand. She just warns him that he better not break up with her again, which is so Mai. Zuko addresses the people and lets them know that there will be peace and prosperity in the future, which is true.
But there’s still some turmoil in the graphic novel that follows. so it’s not all sunshine and lollipops, but it’s getting there. Zuko also wonders where his mother, Ursa, is, which sets him up on another adventure that you can learn about in the comics. This is cool, since the show didn’t really get into that. As co-creator, Michael Dante DiMartino said in an interview with Newsweek:
We didn't have time to address it in the finale, and a lot of viewers were upset about that.
So in other words, read the comics if you want to find out more. The story of Zuko's mother can be found in The Search.
Toph Saved The Day… Again
Toph is pivotal in the final battle against the Fire Nation, and her being so badass is just one of the many reasons why Book 3 is my favorite in the entire series. Toph uses her new metalbending technique to seriously mess up the Fire Nation airships, as she sends them crashing into each other. She fights alongside Sokka during the battle, but a Fire Nation soldier knocks both of them off the airship. Oh no!
Luckily, Sokka’s girlfriend, Suki, comes to the rescue with another airship. And while I said I would only comment on the episode and not the comics, I think I’ll make just one exception with Toph. In the comics, she starts her own metalbending school, which eventually leads the way to the metalbending police force on The Legend of Korra, but I’ll talk more about that series—and Toph’s role on it—another day.
Katara Showed That She’s Superior To Azula
Katara never gets enough credit for how good she is as a bender. Not only can she bloodbend during a full moon, but her healing skills are legit, too. She’s also dangerous in general if her friends are in danger. Case in point is her battle with Azula, who up to this point was Team Avatar’s most formidable foe outside of the Fire Lord. In the final battle, Azula shoots lightning at Katara in order to prohibit her from using water. But once Katara does find a source of water, it’s curtains for Azula, as Katara manages to use it to freeze both of them in ice, giving Katara a chance to finally bind Azula, and besting her in battle.
She heals Zuko, and shares a kiss with Aang the next day, which leads to an eventual relationship where they go on to have three children together—Bumi, Kya, and Tenzin. Overall, Katara proves that she had it in her all along to kick some serious ass. She just needed the reason.
Sokka Showed That All He Really Needed Was A Sword And A Boomerang To Be Team Avatar’s MVP
Like Toph, Sokka is taking on the Fire Nation airships. But here’s the big difference between Toph and Sokka… Sokka is NOT a bender. So no cool metalbending to take down his foes. Just his brains, a sword, and a boomerang. That’s it. But after he and Toph get knocked off the airship, he tries to break the fall with his sword, but he ends up breaking his leg instead. Ouch!
But he’s obviously okay enough to crack jokes about the defeated Fire Lord once he makes it out alive from the airship battle, calling him “The Loser Lord.” Good one, Sokka! He, along with Katara, also get to see their father, Hokoda, again. It’s a really touching moment, and if the live-action Netflix show ever does come out, I really hope that it explores the relationship between Sokka and his father, since I find that familial dynamic really fascinating.
Uncle Iroh Made Tea, Not War
And finally, Uncle Iroh did his own damage at Ba Sing Se as he helped fight off the Fire Nation with the Order of the White Lotus. Showing off his six-pack and everything, he fights with Bumi and Jeong Jeong to take down the Fire Nation, where Iroh even ignites the Fire Nation flag, showing that he has no more love for them anymore.
Afterwards, he serves tea to Team Avatar because he’s a chill guy who would rather bring people together rather than keep them apart, which is why he is low-key some people’s favorite character in the entire series.
And that’s all the major characters. But even the minor characters, like Bumi, Ty Lee, and Mai, also had fascinating conclusions, as the show made sure that everybody had closure. This is likely why Avatar: The Last Airbender has one of the greatest series finales ever. So why not watch it again while it's still streaming on Netflix? Who knows when it might go away a second time.