Okay one other thing that annoys me about the Southern Raiders is that Aang compares Katara losing her mother to him losing Appa. I personally think both are great losses but I do not believe it is the same kind of pain, however for argument’s sake, let’s say they are and compare the two.
In the first scene Aang immediately blames Toph and claims that everyone around him does not have any concern for Appa.
Katara’s immediate reaction to these accusations is “We’re all concerned. But we can’t afford to be fighting now.” Aang decides to go off and find Appa, leaving the crew in the desert.
Aang, when he cannot find Appa, slams into the ground angrily and creates a giant mushroom cloud.
When he returns, Katara immediately comforts him with “I’m sorry Aang. I know it’s hard for you right now but we need to focus on getting out of here.”
Here is some words and actions of Aang throughout the episode:
Aang: It doesn’t matter. None of those will tell us where Appa is.
Aang: I’m awake. I couldn’t sleep.
Aang angrily grabs the pouch and glares at Katara when asked to retrieve water from a cloud.
Katara: Wow, there is barely any water in here.
Aang: (Angrily) I’m sorry okay? I did all I could! What’s anyone else doing? What are you doing?
Katara: Trying to keep everyone together. Let’s keep moving.
When spotted a rock:
Katara: Yes! Maybe we can find some water there!
Aang, angrily muttering: Maybe we can find some sandbenders.
When Momo was captured by the giant buzzard wasps, Aang successfully saved Momo and attacks the buzzard wasp with his airbending so hard the buzzard wasp falls from the sky and hits the ground with a loud thud, unable to get up.
From this shot above, he shows no remorse. (What happened to all life was sacred bud)
When confronted with the man who stole Appa, he immediately starts to yell and starts to destroy a sand gliders.
Then he enters the Avatar state. Fearful, the man offers to escort him out of the desert and tells him he traded Appa and that Appa is probably in Ba Sing Se.
Sokka then becomes fearful, grabs Toph and tells everyone to run.
Katara hugs Aang and he begins to cry, leaving the Avatar state.
And when he is ready to find Appa on his own, she encourages him because at that moment the crew can handle being alone.
Simirarily, in the Southern Raiders Katara also accuses Sokka not loving their mother the same way he did. She also was going to go off on her own (with Zuko) to confront the man who killed her mother the same way Aang was going off to find Appa. She begins to be enraged and bloodbends. She also refuses to sleep.
Another similarity, which I thought was interesting, is that Aang also did not forgive that sandbender.
But here’s the difference.
Not once did Katara chastise him about how he should be feeling. In fact, she was super supportive of him the entire time, and tried to sympathize with him. She didn’t tell him he should let it go and forgive or scold him for breaking his belief system. When he gets out of control, she hugs him to calm him down. She didn’t invalidate what he was feeling at that moment, she gave him what he needed with what she had.
In the Southern Raiders, even though Aang’s heart may have been in the right place, he did not give her the support and closure she needed.
He didn’t want her to feel out of control and to make mistakes like he did.
He told her to forgive, and in doing so disregarded her feelings.
And also, probably the biggest difference, is that finding a pet that was kidnapped but alive verses finding someone that killed your mother who can never come are two different journeys.
Also, these two episodes are just simply great Katara centric episodes.