Avatar: The Last Airbender

Season 3 Episode 16

The Southern Raiders

Aired Friday 6:30 PM Jul 17, 2008 on Nickelodeon
out of 10
User Rating
320 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Azula attacks the Western Air Temple, forcing everyone to flee. At the next campground, Zuko asks Sokka about the day his and Katara's mom was killed. He reveals that he knows who killed their mother. He tells Katara, and the two set out to find him. But will Katara be able to keep her cool when she meets him or will she go too far?moreless

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  • Great Character Development in Katara!

    Yay! Katara finally forgave Zuko!
  • No development and a sad attempet of tear-jerker episode.

    This episode made no sense. All of a sudden Katara's is angry because of her mother's death. Something she has known all along and has mentioned several times. Yes she did say that Zuko reminded her of the fire nation but she did not act so hostile to him. Her Anger towards him was unjustified and completly irratonal and is compleltly unjustified. Her anger was not apparant in previous episodes. She seemed like a revenge hungry prude. It made me like Katara even less. Also Zuko's thirst for revenge contrasts with his road toward to change. Also his sudden dislike for revenge at the end, was also ridiculous. The recount of her mother's death was also melodramatic. Of course, they didn't show how her mother died, its a children's program. But the story coming towards that point was stale. It was not like The Storm, where you learn how Zuko got his scar. The episode left me with an important question. How did the firebenders know their was another waterbender? why did the man kill katara's mother why not just taker her to prison. Why didn't he ask Kya to show her waterbending powers. If this man is so evil, why has he become a bumbling idiot. I always believed Kya was killed protecting Katara from fire blast when fire nation soilder were attacking the north pole. Not this drivel "Can I borrow momo for a week?"

  • zuko helps katara track down the person who killed her mother in an effort to befriend her.

    this was the first time seeing sokka show any sadness towards his mothers death, he always seemed to be able to brush it off easily, but we find out it's not the case he unlike katara prefers not to stir up painful memories or even talk about them. and i also liked seeing zuko and sokka's strong friendship peer it's cute little head again. katara's bending abilities were awesome, she was just so amazing strength wise, but character wise she was disappointing she might have finally accepted zuko, but she still hurt sokka's feelings telling him that he didn't care about their mother like she did and didn't apologize at all, sure he forgave her for it but the ending felt lacking.moreless
  • The Southern Raiders episode was action packed, dramatic, yet controversial.

    Katara is known for being calm and loving, but her angered clouded her better judgment throughout the entire episode. For instance, when she suggested that Sokka didn't love their mother as much as she did, blatantly being disobedient to Aang by taking Appa without permission, and ignoring Aang's advice which was pretty good. Also, her display of water bending was furious and she used the forbidden blood blending, as Zuko looked on in amazement or perhaps fear.

    The murderer is a cowardly and pathetic man who could careless for his own mother---which could explain why he had no remorse for killing Katara's mother. Katara meets with her mother's murderer, but halts from ending his life. At the end, she doesn't know why she wasn't able to kill him, but she insisted that she will never forgive him---yet she relieves the grudge she had against Zuko.

    Although the message at the end of the episode was "violence is not the answer", it seems to suggest that it's okay to hate someone who has done a terrible wrong to you, and that it's good to forgive someone ONLY if they do something good for you in return. Pent up anger can lead to serious consequences--as we seen Katara's furious water bending, and blood bending (Not to mention Zuko's battle with anger throughout the show PERIOD). I understand that Katara lost someone really special and important in her life, but for her to say that she'll never forgive her murderer---I dunno, it kind of makes her a bit of a hypocrite. I just think that the end message of this episode was a bit obscured.moreless
  • Katara and Zuko leave to go find the killer of Katara's mother.

    This episode was one of my favourites at the time I watched it. However, as time went on, I realized it was only because it was the only new episode I'd had in months. But, anyway, it was still pretty epic.

    The episode was horridly humorous. The Zuko/Sokka/Suki scene made me ROFL 'till my abs hurt. I'm surprised they even let that on Nick.

    A darker side was brought out of Katara, a MUCH darker side than we've seen. She was two seconds away from killing that man and, honestly, she would've if the show wasn't on Nick. There was no character development there, it was just simply Nick putting their foot down.

    I also wished there would've been more blood bending. I mean, there was a WHOLE EPISODE dedicated to it and we barely got to see any blood bending throughout the whole series. That one pathetic scene was not nearly enough to satisfy our blood bending hunger. However, the episode proved Zutarians wrong in the sense that Zutara would never work and Aang is better for her. KATAANG FTW!

    Overall, the episode was pretty good, but the writers didn't take it far enough. It had so much potential. Oh well.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • As of the beginning of this episode, Azula has begun a descent into insanity due to the betrayal of Mai and Ty Lee in the previous episode.

    • When Kya tells Katara that she'll be alright, her hair hanging loose from the hairstyle is missing, making it appear that she only has a bun.

    • When Katara is about to unleash the fatal blow and before we see Yon Rha, the space between her left hair loopie and the rest of her hair is brown.

    • When Yon Rha is focusing on Katara's face (before the flashback) her hair tie is brown rather than blue.

    • When Suki denies going to see Sokka and coolly waves her arms before leaving, her rope belt is missing.

    • After Zuko jumps from his airship to Azula's, she is seen readying to strike, during which before she moves, the gold outline on the guard over her right upper arm is missing.

    • It is shown that although Azula and Zuko have rarely gotten along ever since they were kids, Zuko does seem to care for her.

    • In the fighting sequence at beginning of the episode when Zuko is rescued from falling, you can see that Sokka's hair has been tied up. However, when it cuts back a little later, his hair is still down.

    • When Yon Rha says "I did a bad thing" his mouth doesn't move.

    • Katara uses Bloodbending for a second and final time in this episode.

    • The name of Katara's mother Kya, was Katara's original name in the unaired pilot episode before the writer's changed it to Katara.

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Zuko: Watch out!
      (Zuko tackles Katara, getting her out of the way of falling rocks)
      Katara: (angry) What are you doing?
      Zuko: Keeping rocks from crushing you.
      Katara: Okay! I'm not crushed, you can get off me now! (gets up and runs off)
      Zuko: I'll take that as a thank you.

    • (At night when Katara is getting ready to leave with Zuko)
      Aang: (Angry) So you were just going to take Appa anyway!?
      Katara: Yes.
      Aang: (Calmer) It's okay because I forgive you. That give you any ideas?
      Katara: Don't try to stop us.
      Aang: I wasn't going to. This is a journey you need to take. You need to face this man, but when you do please don't choose revenge. Let your anger out and then let it go. Forgive him.

    • Sokka: Katara she was my mother too, but I think Aang may be right.
      Katara: Then you didn't love her the way I did.
      Sokka: (Hurt) Katara.

    • Aang: I don't think so. I think its about getting revenge.
      Katara: Fine maybe it is! Maybe thats what I need! (Lower tone) Maybe thats what he deserves.

    • Zuko: She needs this, Aang. This is about getting closure and justice.

    • Zuko: This isn't fair. Everyone else seems to trust me, now. What is it with you?
      Katara: Oh, everyone trusts you now? I was the first person to trust you remember!? Back in Ba Sing Se, and you turned around and betrayed me, betrayed all of us!
      Zuko: What can I do to make it up to you?
      Katara: (sarcastic) You really want to know? Hmm. Maybe you could reconquer Ba Sing Se in the name of the Earth King! (angrily) Or, I know, you could bring my mother back!

    • Katara: (In flashback) Mom! (Katara runs in her house to find a soldier interrogating her mother)
      Kya: Just let her go and I'll give you the information you want.
      Yun Ra: (To Katara) You heard your mother, get out of here!
      Katara: Mom, I'm scared.
      Kya: Go find your Dad sweetie I'll handle this. (Katara leaves)

    • Sokka: So can I borrow Momo for a week?
      Aang: Why do you need Momo?
      (Sokka shrugs)

    • Zuko: (To Aang) Ok, we'll be sure to do that, guru goody-goody.

    • (Around a campfire)
      Aang: Wow... camping. It really seems like old times again. Doesn't it?
      Zuko: If you really want it to feel like old times I could... chase you around a while and try to capture you.
      (The gang laughs)
      Katara: (Very sarcastic, dry and bitter) Ha. Ha.

    • (Zuko is walking up to Sokka's tent when he bumps into Suki)
      Suki: Oops, wrong tent...
      Zuko: Sorry, do you need to talk to Sokka, too?
      Suki: Nope! Not me!
      (She walks off)
      (Zuko enters Sokka's tent and his face goes to disgust. Sokka has candles lit, roses everywhere, and he's in undershirt and boxers.)
      Sokka: (with a rose in his mouth he rolls his head towards Zuko) Well hellooo... (sees Zuko and bites the rose and coughs)

    • Sokka: (making a toast at the campfire) To Zuko! Who knew after all those times he tried to snuff us out, today he'd be our hero?

    • Aang: Katara are you ok?
      Katara: I'm doing fine.
      Aang: Zuko told me what you did, or what you didn't do, I guess. I'm proud of you.
      Katara: I wanted to do it. I wanted to take out all my anger at him but, I couldn't. I don't know if it's because I'm too weak to do it, or if it's because I'm strong enough not too.

    • Zuko: (watching Azula fall from the airship) She's...not going to make it.
      (Azula saves herself by propelling herself towards the cliffside and hanging on by a hairpin.)
      Zuko: Of course she did.

    • Aang: The monks used to say that revenge is like a two headed rat viper. While you watch your enemy go down, you're being poisoned yourself.
      Zuko: That's cute but this isn't Air Temple Preschool, it's the real world.

    • Katara: (after her flashback ends) When we got there the man was gone... and so was she.

    • Katara: I need to borrow Appa.
      Aang: (Sarcastically) Why? Is it your turn to take a little field trip with Zuko?
      Katara: Yes, it is.
      (Aang turns around surprised)
      Aang: Oh, what's going on?

    • Aang: You did the right thing. Forgiveness is the first step you have to take to begin healing.
      Katara: But I didn't forgive him. I'll never forgive him. (looks to Zuko) But I am ready to forgive you.
      (hugs Zuko)

    • Zuko: What are you doing here?
      Azula: You mean its not obvious yet? I'm about to celebrate becoming an only child!

    • Zuko: (about forgiveness) That's the same as doing nothing!
      Aang: No, it's not. It's easy to do nothing, but it's hard to forgive.

    • Zuko: (To Aang) You were right about what Katara needed. Violence wasn't the answer.
      Aang: It never is.
      Zuko: Then I have a question for you: What are you doing to do when you face my father?
      (Episode ends with Aang having a puzzled look on his face)

    • Katara: She lied to you. She was protecting the last waterbender.
      Yon Rha: What? Who?
      Katara: Me! (she attacks him)

  • NOTES (4)

    • This marks the first time that Katara and Sokka's mother, Kya, is seen. She made a brief appearance (although only her backside) in "The Swamp".

    • This episode is available in the Book 3: Fire, Volume 4 DVD, along with, "The Ember Island Players", "Sozin's Comet (1): The Phoenix King", "Sozin's Comet (2): The Old Masters", "Sozin's Comet (3): Into the Inferno", and "Sozin's Comet (4): Avatar Aang".

    • This episode aired as part of the Countdown to the Comet event during the week of July 14, 2008.

    • The creators of the show said that this episode is a real tearjerker, and the most emotionally heavy and intense in the series.


    • Katara seems to be set on killing the old man and doesn't pay attention to much else. The sheer intensity of the desire for revenge and slaughter is very similar to the play/musical Sweeney Todd. Also similar is how both the protagonists (Katara and Sweeney, respectively) revealed their true identities the instant before killing (or nearly killing) the antagonists (Yon Rah and Turpin).

    • The symbol of the Southern Raiders is similar to the symbols used for groups in the show Storm Hawks.

    • The way Zuko and Katara dressed and acted in this episode is very similar to characters from the video game franchise Tenchu.