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The Puppetmaster Scared Me

Jay’s Month of Halloween, Day 1- Avatar: The Last Airbender Special

Good evening, boys and ghouls of every age. Welcome to the first day of my month of Halloween. To start us off strong, I’m going to start with one of my favorite shows of all time, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I was a huge fan of Avatar growing up, and my love remains as strong as ever. While it may have come out a week after the holiday, the Season Three episode “The Puppetmaster” is meant to be a Halloween special. It says so on the Avatar Wiki!

The Puppetmaster, Aang, Sokka, Katara, and Momo all scared
Thank you, AvatarSpirit.Net!

The episode opens with Team Avatar telling ghost stories around a campfire at night. This helps set the tone for the episode: it’s going to be as scary as a kids cartoon can be. We can share in the kid’s nervousness and subsequent relief when they meet a woman named Hama. Hama seems very nice, if a little eccentric, with Katara quickly bonding with her. Especially when it’s revealed that she’s not only from the Southern Water Tribe, but the only other Waterbender left. 

Sokka, however, is crazy suspicious of her and thinks something’s off. The show even drops several hints that he’s right. As This suspicion comes to a satisfying conclusion with the climax of the episode. Under the full moon, Hama reveals her ultimate skill. The power that allowed her to escape captivity when no one else did: bloodbending.

Blood-bending Made my Blood Freeze

I’ve seen far scarier things, but something about bloodbending made my skin crawl in fear as a kid. Think of it: someone controlling every muscle of your body like a puppet master. The worst part is that you’re conscious the whole time, and can’t do anything about it. That’s a terrifying thought.

Hama, the titular puppetmaster

I’ve seen far scarier things, but something about bloodbending made my skin crawl in fear as a kid. Think of it: someone controlling every muscle of your body like a puppetmaster. The worst part is that you’re conscious the whole time, and can’t do anything about it. That’s a terrifying thought.

Katara beats Hama, but has to use blood-bending to do so. She had to in order to save the lives of Sokka and Aang, but it means Hama still won. The final shot shows her on the ground in tears over what happened, driving home how messed up this was.

The Scary Puppetmaster

This episode was dark, as dark as a kid’s show could get. The legacy of this episode ended up being far-reaching. Blood-bending plays a key role in the first season of the sequel show, The Legend of Korra. If the technique wasn’t scary before, that show made it terrifying. That fear stems from this appropriately named episode, “The Puppetmaster”, though. I loved it, and to this day, I don’t regret watching it even if my parents had grounded me for a month. NOT SORRY! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Click here to see the FANDOM Article I did for Halloween last year.

Click here to see my other animation stuff. Or here to see all holiday related posts!

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