Before Avatar: The Last Airbender was added to Netflix in May I had never seen it before in my life. Four months and two full watch-throughs later and I can confidently say that ATLA is one of my favorite shows ever made. Being the way I am, of course I had to try to rank every episode, so upon the re-watch I starting taking notes and putting together my rankings as I went through. So here it is, all 61 episodes ranked!
*Since there are so many episodes the outside of the top 10 may just have a sentence of two of description.
61. S1E11 The Great Divide
Aang has two lead two bickering factions through a big canyon. This episode is so annoying and boring that I literally fell asleep.
60. S1E7 The Winter Solstice, Part 1
Why all the spirity stuff? Outside of the fish, I don’t think a spirit ever comes to the real world in the rest of the show. The only important thing is that Aang finds out when he can talk to Roku about the comet. Also Zuko and Iroh have a cute moment.
59. S1E14 The Fortune Teller
Katara gets obsessed with a fortune teller that can predict the kind of guy she will marry. Y’all already know I’m not about this romanciful stuff.
58. S3E3 The Painted Lady
A pretty dumb filler episode where Katara dresses as painted lady and steals from factory to help a village.
57. S1E1 The Boy in the Iceberg
The intro episode to the entire series. Honestly, on the rewatch I found it to be a pretty dull intro to the main trio of characters.
56. S1E5 The King of Omashu
Similar to most Bumi episodes it is fun but largely pointless filler.
55. S2E19 The Guru
Aang goes to the Guru to try to open up his Chakras so he can control the Avatar state but he isn’t able to give up his love for Katara to open the last Chakra. I’m not a big fan of the guru stuff and much of the episode is just setting up the final episode of the season.
54. S1E17 The Northern Air Temple
Aang finds some fellow air nomads. Sokka invents war balloon with the Mechanist and they help find off the fire nation.
53. S3E7 The Runaway
This is a somewhat annoying episode where Toph and Katara go at each other about a con Toph has pulling. They then fight sparky man and get away.
52. S2E4 The Swamp
This big creepy swamp teaches Aang some lessons and gives him a vision. They meet some swamp waterbenders that can bend the water in vines.
51. S2E3 Return to Omashu
Azula builds her Charlie’s angels squad and the avatar gang tries to free King Bumi. Stuff happens, but nothing super important except that Aang now needs a new earth bending teacher.
50. S3E9 Nightmares and Daydreams
One of two episodes dealing on the lack of sleep. This one is a lame episode where Aang deals with anxiety about fighting Firelord. There are some pretty funny parts where Appa and Momo have an imaginary fight.
49. S2E16 Appa’s Lost Days
We learn what happens to Appa while he’s been gone. There’s an all girl fight with the Kyoshi Warriors and Team Azula.
48. S1E2The Avatar Returns
Still just in the intro phase of the show but it is decently interesting. We get to see Aang go in the avatar state for the first time.
47. S1E15 Bato of the Water Tribe
Katara and Sokka meet Bato, a Water Tribe warrior who knows their dad. The episode is pretty run of the mill as far as season 1 goes.
46. S3E2 The Headband
Another kind of a lame filler episode. Aang goes to Fire Nation school and teaches dancing to Fire Nation kids. He and Katara have a moment on the dance floor. Meanwhile Zuko is still conflicted about his destiny, but hires bounty hunter to look for Aang who he assumes to still be alive.
45. S2E5 Avatar Day
Silly episode where Aang is on trial but then he kicks some Fire Nation butt. That’s pretty much it.
44. S2E15 Tales of Ba Sing Se
A variety of mini stories for each main character. Iroh’s story is super touching as we he morns the death of his son. Zuko goes on a nice date with an Earth Kingdom girl named Jin. Though it legit makes me mad that we never see Jin again.
43. S2E14 City of Walls and Secrets
The mysteries of Ba Sing Se start to surface as the gang tries to get news to the Earth King about the war. The Dai Li and Long Feng keep this from happening. Zuko and Jet have a pretty cool fight with swords.
42. S2E9 Bitter Work
Aang learns earthbending from Toph while and Zuko tries master lightning with Iroh.
41. S3E17 Ember Island Players
The calm before the storm of the final 4 episodes. The gang goes to a play that recaps all 3 seasons to this point. It’s actually pretty hilarious.
40. S3E4 Sokka’s Master
A Sokka episode! Sokka gets trained by a real master and gets a space sword. We find out that the master is a member of the White Lotus, though we don’t really know what that is yet.
39. S2E2 The Cave of the Two Lovers
One of the funnier episodes of the whole show but little to nothing of importance happens. Everyone is walking through a cavernous tunnel with some hippies. Aang and Katara have awkward romance scenes and Sokka gets stuck with the hippies. Zuko and Iroh are shown kindness by an Earth Kingdom family.
38. S1E6 Imprisoned
This early episode does a good job setting up the gravity of the Fire Nation’s reign. It is funny and quite exciting.
37. S1E9 The Waterbending Scroll
Aang learns water bending and is way better then Katara at first. Eventually there are some pirates and they fight Zuko. Iroh has some funny moments but what else is new?
36. S2E1 The Avatar State
A pretty middle of the pack episode. Sokka has some great one liners, we learn about avatar state and Zuko’s plot continues to thicken.
35. S1E20 The Siege of the North, Part 2
There is a lot of spirity stuff which typically doesn’t resonate well with me but a good ending to season 1. Princess Yue becomes the moon spirit which is super sad. Aang goes full Avatar mode and takes down the entire Fire Nation fleet by himself. It seems a little bit of Avatar State ex machina to me which is why I prefer the first part.
34. S2E8 The Chase
Azula and Co chase the gang in a machine through the night, keeping them from getting much sleep. Most of the episode isn’t great, but Toph wanders off at some point and has a cool scene with Iroh. There is a decent fight scene with the whole gang (including Zuko and Iroh) and Azula. She is eventually cornered and cheap shots Iroh to escape.
33. S1E4 The Warriors of Kyoshi
Sokka, Aang and Katara go to Kyoshi and meet the Kyoshi Warriors. Sokka is initially prejudice against the girl warriors but humbles himself and ask Suki to train him in martial arts. I am a big fan of the suki/Sokka thing and it’s a pretty decent episode all together.
32. S1E8 The Winter Solstice, Part 2
This episode does a great job displaying a little bit of Fire Nation/avatar history and sets up the urgent conflict of the rest of the show. It also displays that not all Fire Nation are bad. Their leadership is corrupt and evil, but there are good people among them.
31. S3E6 The Avatar and the Firelord
Pretty much just exposition about Sozin and Avatar Roku. It displays their relationship and how the Firelord and the Avatar were such good friends at one point, but Sozin was blinded by power. It also shows how Roku died.
30. S3E18 Sozin’s Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King
Aang struggles with the idea of not wanting to kill Ozai but all the past Avatars seem to be telling him that he has no choice. Meanwhile, Ozai declares that Azula will be the next Firelord because he that he will become the Phoenix King; a supreme ruler over the entire world.
29. S3E8 The Puppetmaster
This is the only episode of the show that embraces a thriller style or genre. Katara meets a lady who teaches her more secrets of Waterbending. Eventually she reveals that she’s been using bloodbending to capture Fire Nation citizens as she seeks revenge for being taken from her Water Tribe home. It is a very dark and creepy episode that ends up with Katara getting into a sick fight with this lady.
28. S2E11 The Desert
Aang searches for Appa as the gang tries to escape the desert. Sokka drinks cactus juice which leads to some good comedic relief. Zuko and Iroh receive help from a White Lotus friend.
27. S1E12 The Storm
Though not the most exciting episode, The Storm is a really important expositional episode. It provides an early look into the backstory of both Aang and Zuko. It makes you feel sorry for both but particularly shows Zuko’s humanity right before The Blue Spirit which kind of kicks off the back half of Season 1.
26. S3E5 The Beach
If I am being honest with myself, this episode is not that great, but it is funny and I love it. Azula tries to learn how to flirt, Zuko deals with his past. It’s pretty much the only time all of the Fire Nation gang gets a chance to pretend they are normal kids.
25. S3E13 The Firebending Masters
Zuko and Aang go on a firebending field trip to learn from the firebending masters; dragons.
24. S3E14 Boiling Rock, Part 1
A decent episode where Sokka goes on his Zuko field trip to the prison at Boiling Rock to try to save Suki. Plans go awry as Sokka finds out his dad is brought in to the prison. This two part episode is a fun chance for the show to embrace a classic “prison-break” style.
23. S2E6 The Blind Bandit
We meet Toph and she joins the team after showing that she is a complete beast at earthbending.
22. S2E18 The Earth King
This episode starts off on🔥 with some real kick butt sequences against the Dai Li. It does slow down quite a bit when they get the attention of the earth king but it ends on a climactic note.
21. S2E10 The Library
The library is a favorite episode of many as the gang goes to a spirit library and finds out when the next eclipse will be. The owl spirit tries to kill them for using his library for purpose of war, not simply gaining knowledge. Appa is taken by sand people as well.
20. S1E16 The Deserter
Aang meets firebending master Jong Jong and tries to learn from him but Aang isn’t ready just yet and accidentally burns Katara. We learn a lot about firebending and it’s destructiveness. Zhao finds the gang but Aang uses his lack of restraint against him as they get away.
19. S1E18 The Waterbending Master
Even though this is only 19, it is still a great episode. They reach northern water tribe and Aang gets a teacher. Master Paku refuses to teach Katara as well simply because she is a girl. Determined, she eventually challenges him to a fight and impressed him. She finds out the he was engaged to her great grandma. Sokka has a fling with Princess Yue.
18. S2E17 Lake Laogai
Lake Laogai is a pretty unique episode that feels like kind of a Season 2 mini boss. The gang goes to discover the secrets at Lake Laogai after finding out that Jet was brainwashed. Zuko find Appa under Lake Laogai before Aang does but decides to release him, which seems like a big break though for him. Jet dies 😭
17. S3E1 The Awakening
A really good opening to the season that sets up the gravity of season 3. Aang is hurt but learns he has to put his pride behind and trust his friends. Azula has a hunch the avatar is alive so she claims Zuko is the one who killed him. Zuko meanwhile is still facing inner demons about his destiny.
16. S3E19 Sozin’s Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters
Zuko finds mole-hound lady who helps them track down uncle Iroh. They end up at Ba Sing Se where we see that The Old Masters of the Order of the White Lotus are preparing to take back Ba Sing Se. Everything is set for epic conclusion as Zuko and Katara leave to fight Azula.
15. S3E12 The Western Air Temple
Hello, Zuko here. Zuko finds the gang and pleads to enter the group as Aang’s firebending teacher. After a skirmish with sparky combustion man they reluctantly let him join.
14. S3E10 Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion
The gang leads an invasion on the Fire Nation on the day of the eclipse just to find that no one is around. They fire nation must’ve known. Zuko seems to be leaving his place in fire nation but more of that develops in Part 2.
13. S2E20 The Crossroads of Destiny
Zuko and Katara meet in the dungeon as azula takes over Ba Sing Se in the finale of season 2. Zuko seems to have turned for the better but Azula convinces him to help her. In transition to the avatar state she hits and seemingly kills Aang. Katara escapes with him then heals him with her spirit water.
12. S1E3 The Southern Air Temple
Great action for an early avatar episode. There is an Agni Kai between Zuko and Zhao. Aang learns a lot about what happened to the air nomads at the Southern Air Temple and that the Fire Nation wiped them out.
11. S3E16 The Southern Raiders
Katara goes on her field trip with Zuko as she seeks revenge against the man who killed her mom. She gains a new perspective on revenge and learns to forgive Zuko in the process. We see her anger boil over as she uses her bloodbending ability for the last time.
10. S2E12 The Serpents Pass
The episode starts at the hidden loading bay where refugees are ferried to the other side of The Serpents Pass so they can get to Ba Sing Se. Toph secures the groups tickets but the gang ends up giving them away and deciding to cross on the pass. Suki and Sokka reunite for the first time since early season 1 and since Sokka’s fling with Yue. Jet meets Zuko and Iroh on board of a ferry and they become friends. There is action in a fight against serpent as well as lots of emotion.
9. S1E13 The Blue Spirit
This episode is widely thought of as the best episode of season 1. I wouldn’t put it quite that high due to the pacing of the first third of the episode. Aang searches for medicine to cure Sokka and Katara’s illness. The illness is a perfect excuse to really focus on Aang specifically for a whole episode. Eventually he gets captured (for like the 5th time already this season?) by the Fire Nation and General Zhao. The mysterious, duel-sword wielding Blue Spirit breaks him out and helps him escape, only to be knocked unconscious as they are getting away. Aang finds out the Blue Spirit is Zuko. It is an intense episode for sure once it gets going, and ends on a very somber and emotional note. Interestingly enough, this was originally written as a season finale as Nickelodeon only ordered 13 episodes initially.
8. S1E10 Jet
As the gang is ambushed in the forest, Jet and his freedom fighters save the day. Katara is immediately infatuated with Jet and the idea that he is leading a rebellion against the Fire Nation. Unfortunately Jet isn’t leading a rebelling as much as he is trying to simply wipe out as many Fire Nation as he can, not caring about any innocent civilians that get in the way. The episode is extremely action packed and has a lot of depth. Sokka’s sound moral leadership are on display throughout.
7. S2E13 The Drill
Team Avatar takes on Azula and the gals when they try to drill through the wall of Ba Sing Se. The entire episode is action packed but there is also a lot of good comedic moments as well. This episode caps off a really exciting middle section of season 2 as the gang was traveling to Ba Sing Se and leads into a few slower episodes that start to set up the seasons ending plot elements.
6. S2E7 Zuko Alone
Zuko Alone is one of the heaviest and best written episodes in the entire show. We learn a ton about Zuko’s childhood and his relationship with his mom as well as some Fire Nation backstory. Zuko starts out the episode alone and wandering through the desert of the Earth Kingdom. He is weak but has no money for food or drink. He wanders into a village and stands up against some corrupt soldiers in the city. An Earth Kingdom boy befriends him and takes him home for food and shelter but it goes south when they learn who he is. Zuko ends the episode as he started it; alone.
5. S3E15 Boiling Rock, Part 2
The back half of the great two-part prison break episode. It has fighting, deception, Mai and Tye Lee’s redemption as they defy Azula for the first time to help Zuko, Sokka and Suki escape. This brings forth the first signs of Azula going crazy.
4. S3E11 The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse
After realizing that the Fire Nation had planned for the invasion on the day of the eclipse, Aang, sokka and Toph find the bunker and have a fight with Azula. It is an action-packed episode but what makes it so incredible is Zuko’s emotional confrontation with Firelord Ozai.
3. S1E19 The Siege of the North, Part 1
Many people like the second half of this two-parter best, but I prefer the first half. Zuko is still alive, no thanks to Zhao, and plans to take advantage of the attack to capture the Avatar. He and Iroh have a somber moment before he goes out on his adventure. Sokka volunteers to be on a special team of soldiers and in doing so runs into Yue’s betrothed, which is awkward and quite funny as well. There is a great battle between Katara and Zuko while Aang is in the spirit world. The episode ends with Aang in Zuko’s clutches.
2. S3E21 Sozin’s Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang
The incredible fight between Aang and Ozai continues. Aang remains on the defensive, not responding with attacks of his own. Eventually, as he is cornered, he goes into full Avatar state and the tide instantly turns. Sokka breaks his leg, and for a moment looks like he and Toph are going to die. It is in an intense moment but thankfully they survive. In Ba Sing Se, Azula attempts to cheap shot Katara but Zuko takes the blow himself. Katara then continues the fight with Azula, eventually trapping her in ice and chaining her to the floor. Aang, still in the Avatar state, demolishes Ozai. Instead of killing him, he takes his bending away for good. The series wraps up and almost makes you want to cry.
1. S3E20 Sozin’s Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno
This episode is probably the single most action packed episode of any TV show I have ever seen. Toph metal bends a door into an iron man suit. Iroh and Jong Jong kick major butt in Ba Sing Se. There are some incredibly funny parts early in the Sokka story arc of the episode. However, the best part of the whole episode (and my favorite scene of the entire show for that matter) is the Agni Kai between Zuko and Azula. The action is intense, the colors are vibrant but still reflect the mood, and the score of this episode and the finale is phenomenal.
That’s all of them! Where did I go wrong? Do you agree with me? I had such a blast getting into Avatar: The Last Airbender and I already can’t wait until I watch it again! If you want more ATLA content, check out our Avatar: The Last Airbender Extravaganza episode of the Banter? I Hardly Know Her! podcast.