Netflix Avatar Series Angers Fans With One Horrible Decision

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

The live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender made by Netflix has unsurprisingly drawn the ire of fans of the original animated series. While some changes are expected, one major change, in particular, has caused the fanbase to turn against the live-action version and that’s how Netflix chose to adapt “The Cave of Two Lovers.”

The Cave Of Two Lovers

Rather than giving the beloved episode its due, the events of the animated episode were reduced to a side plot that completely removes its most important moment. 

In the animated version of Avatar: The Last Airbender, “The Cave of Two Lovers” was the second episode of season two. The Netflix version opted to make it a side plot in the first season episode “Into The Dark.”

Missed The Mark

While combining episodes and moving the order of events around isn’t necessarily a bad thing, taking such an important episode of the original story and reducing it to a side plot reduces its impact and is a surefire way to upset fans of the original series.

“The Cave of Two Lovers” was crucial to the original series as a pivotal moment in the budding romance between Aang and Katara, while “Into The Dark” literally separates them. 

From Romantic Love To Sibling Love

Both plots are similar on the surface; in both “The Cave of Two Lovers” and “Into The Dark,” locals of the Earth Kingdom lead the heroes through a secret tunnel constructed in ancient times by lovers from warring factions.

However, while the original version saw all of the group going through the tunnel, with Aang and Katara getting separated in the tunnels, in the Netflix version, Aang never entered the tunnel with Katara and Sokka navigating the tunnel instead. It turns the romantic plot into a plot about the siblings coming together, which simply doesn’t work. 

At Least We Got Badgermoles

While the Netflix version of the plot line lands the aesthetic elements of the plot, like the famous secret tunnel song and the badger moles, it misses the emotional and thematic elements that elevated it.

“The Cave of Two Lovers” featured Aang and Katara’s first kiss as they attempted to unravel the secret of the cave, a sweet moment fans love.

Thematically, that also connects their romance to the broader history of the world, which is crucial as one of Avatar’s central themes is how personal stories interconnect with historical forces. 

Sokka Isn’t A Jerk And That’s Wrong

This isn’t the only time the Netflix adaptation of Avatar falls short of the original. Fans were also disappointed by the truncating of Sokka’s arc while on Kyoshi island, turning Sokka’s first steps away from misogyny into little more than a minor power-up.

The relative absence of Avatar Roku has also been noted, which minimizes the connection of the avatar to the fire nation’s imperialism, once again disconnecting the characters from the history of the world and missing the thematic importance of connecting the personal and the historical. 

Netflix’s Avatar Is A Step Back

While Netflix has had some success with live-action adaptations of animated properties like One Piece, most of their attempts have left fans disappointed. Avatar: The Last Airbender seems to be somewhere in between, doing some moments justice while completely fumbling other key moments.

Unfortunately, their attempt to adapt “The Cave of Two Lovers” is one of the show’s biggest fumbles.