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|"It's the nightmares. They just get worse and worse!"|
|— Aang to Team Avatar.|
The invasion is four days away, and Aang begins to feel nervous about confronting the Fire Lord. Feeling that he is unprepared, he trains constantly and his anxiety causes him a string of nightmares, whereas his lack of sleep results in mad daydreams. After three straight days, it takes the collaboration of Sokka, Toph, and Katara to get him to finally sleep and feel confident about facing the Fire Lord. Meanwhile, Zuko learns about an upcoming war meeting. However, what he learns leaves him uncertain of what he must do.
The gang arrives at the Black Cliffs, which is where the invasion force will meet up. Aang is stressed about the invasion being only four days away and that night he has a nightmare, in which he comes face to face with the Fire Lord, only to be told by him that he forgot to wear his pants. Meanwhile, Prince Zuko is enjoying his life of royalty and making the most of it while his relationship with Mai is going well.
After staying awake training for the past twenty-four hours, Aang tries to get some sleep, only to have another nightmare; this time he forgets to study for a math test administered by Ozai. He wakes up and starts walking around some koala sheep; Katara also gets up and asks him to try to get some sleep. As this happens, Mai tells Zuko that there is a war meeting coming up to which he says that he was not invited, leading him to think that his father does not want him there.
Aang has another nightmare in which Ozai tells him that he has overslept and missed the invasion, riding atop a flying, fire-breathing hippo cow no less. As he wakes up, he starts going crazy from the lack of sleep, and says that he is unraveling. Katara, Toph and Sokka all try to help Aang using different methods. Katara tries yoga in an artificial hot spring, and when she asks how he feels, he says that he feels hot, as if he is in the Fire Lord's palace and Ozai is shooting fireballs at him, making him panic. Katara says that maybe he should talk his problems out. Sokka dons his beard and mustache from "The Headband" and tries to be a psychiatrist, talking to Aang about his feelings on confronting Ozai. When Aang simply asks how to calm himself, Sokka suggests that he should scream into a koala sheep, which he says is a pillow. This does not make Aang feel better. Meanwhile, Zuko confronts Azula about the war meeting, asking why she got invited and he did not. She says that he did not get an invitation because it is obvious he is supposed to be there, and goes on to tell him to stop acting like a paranoid child and go to the meeting. He says he will not go.
Next, Toph tries her method on Aang, giving him a brutal massage using log-shaped pieces of earth and earthbending to create hard vibrations. When this fails, she offers acupuncture with a boar-q-pine. Aang, terrified of the idea, runs away screaming.
That night, the gang asks Aang if he is okay, to which Aang answers that he may feel a bit better. They all go to sleep, but the Avatar has another, more frightening nightmare, this time a jumbled montage which consists of snap images that express Aang's fear and stress over the upcoming battle. He wakes up and, because of the stress, he states that he will not sleep until the invasion. The next day, Aang, now very tired from lack of sleep, daydreams about professing his love for Katara, and passionately kissing her, calling her his "forever girl". After he snaps out of the illusion, he lies to her about it afterward, saying that he was daydreaming of what it is like living underwater. He spars against the noodle Ozai he made in "The Headband" and begins to hallucinate.
Meanwhile, Zuko is told by a servant that everyone is waiting for him at the meeting, and he realizes that his father does want him there. Aang, on the other hand, is not doing so great, and as he tries to train, he starts hearing Momo and Appa talk. He hallucinates them fighting samurai-style, as koala sheep cheer them on, and also sees a six-armed Guru Pathik floating on a cloud with two bowls of onion and banana juice, singing about chakras.
After the meeting, Zuko tells Mai that his father treated him like his right-hand man. However, he confesses that although he acted like the perfect prince, he was not being himself.
Aang, now completely exhausted, wanders around the campsite and stumbles across what he takes to be a bed of clouds. He immediately dismisses it as another hallucination. His friends inform him that it is a bed of koala sheep wool which is indeed real and they spent hours working on it, so he could sleep.
Aang continues to insist he is not ready, but Katara and the rest of the gang encourage him, with Katara saying that he has been training for this since the day they met, and that he is ready. Aang finally calms down and falls asleep. He has one last dream in which he appears before the Fire Lord. Ozai says that he forgot his pants, but Aang merely smiles and says that it is in fact the Fire Lord who has forgotten his pants. Ozai covers himself, embarrassed that his "royal parts are showing". Aang, with his nerves gone, can now rest for the upcoming invasion.
- Written by:
- Directed by:
- Also starring:
- Additional voices:
- Dee Bradley Baker
- Main article: Transcript:Nightmares and Daydreams
- Main article: Avatar Extras for Book Three: Fire
- Sokka's "Wang Fire beard", previously seen in "The Headband" and "The Runaway", is seen once again when he dresses up as a therapist.
- The Ozai portrait Aang uses for target practice is the one he made out of noodles in "The Headband".
- Sokka is forging the armor for Appa, which he told Toph he was planning on making in "The Runaway".
- When Mai asked Zuko why he would want to even go to the war meeting and tells him to remember how the last one ended, she was referring to Zuko's banishment, the details of which were revealed in "The Storm".
- This is the second episode in which Team Avatar struggles to get sleep. The other one is "The Chase".
- The purpose of the war meeting Zuko attends is revealed in "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King", in which Ozai reveals his plan to destroy the Earth Kingdom with the power of Sozin's Comet, leading Zuko to defy his father and help the Avatar.
- When Aang daydreams that Momo can talk, the lemur practically calls Aang insane. This is similar to the dream Sokka said he had in "The Storm", in which Momo could talk as well, and "said some very unkind things".
- During Aang's therapy session with Sokka, Sokka's eyebrows are quite noticeably thicker, as if a part of the Wang Fire costume, yet they remain the same color as his normal eyebrows.
- When Aang is talking to Katara right before his hallucination of the kiss, the sun is rising and still slightly hidden behind the horizon; however, only a few seconds later, none of the sun is hidden behind the horizon.
- During Aang's first "romantic" daydream of Katara, she is wearing shoes. She is barefoot, however, both when Aang dips her and when he snaps back to reality.
- While Sokka is making the armor for Appa, the arrow over the head can first be seen to show three circles on it, but during the invasion the circles are not seen.
- The tree that Aang pretends to be Ozai seems to disappear after he starts talking to Momo.
- Aang's bed has two circles, a large one at the bottom with a slightly smaller one at the top. In the final scene however, it is just one large circle.
- Throughout this episode, Aang's arrow tattoo on his forehead is noticeably longer than usual. The tip of the arrow is below or even with his eyebrows. If this was true, Aang would not be able to wear the headband without hiding his eyebrows or showing the tip of the arrow as seen throughout Book Three. This mistake happens in many Book Three episodes.
- The animal that Toph tries to use on Aang for acupuncture is a baby boar-q-pine. Appa fought an adult specimen in "Appa's Lost Days".
- In Aang's first dream, he is seen dressed similarly to Goku from the Dragon Ball series, in orange clothes with a belt and large, spiky dark hair.
- The rug Aang uses to cover himself when he has no pants on has the Air Nomad's insignia on it, while Ozai's has the Fire Nation insignia on it.
- In his second dream, Aang appears similar to Vash the Stampede. This is characterized by the ear piercings, hair style, high collar coat, and chain-belt contraption that holds up his pants.
- The way Aang moves toward Ozai is also similar to the running style used in Naruto.
- In Aang's final dream, his appearance strangely mirrors that of Ozai, most noticeably in his hair style.
- In Aang's hallucination where Momo and Appa have a sword battle, Momo is dressed like the comic book character Miyamoto Usagi.
- This episode pays homages to several movies such as The Lord of the Rings, The Ring, The Grudge, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and several other fantasy and dream-related movies.
- Like many of the fights in Avatar, the fights in this episode, notably with Appa and Momo, are influenced heavily by various anime, video games, and movies.
- Ozai's Bowser-like appearance and Momo and Appa's fight reflect the anime Samurai Champloo, and there are influences from Cowboy Bebop and FLCL, such as some of the motions and actions of Aang, which are reflective of Naota from FLCL.
- During Momo and Appa's duel in Aang's hallucination, the duel was similar to Obi-wan Kenobi's and General Grievous' duel in Star Wars: Episode III, mainly due to Appa using four swords at once, reminiscent of Grievous' famous style in which he uses four lightsabers.
- Momo's design in the sequence is similar to Toshiro Mifune's character Kikuchiyo in Seven Samurai, right down to his facial fur being noticeably shaggier, emulating Mifune's trademark three-day-growth beard stubble.
- Momo's katana positions and kimono design look similar to Jinno from Afro Samurai.
- Guru Pathik's six-armed appearance, holding a guitar-like musical instrument, is reminiscent of the Hindu goddess of knowledge, Saraswati, who is popularly depicted with six arms, holding a veena. Guru Pathik's accent and manner of dress are typical of Indian Hindu holy men.
- When Zuko passed the gate to go to Mai's house, one of the fans behind him was wearing an outfit like Toph's.
- At the beginning of the episode, Aang has a flower in his mouth which is similar to the wheat or twig Jet usually had in his mouth.
- Likewise, the "Forever Girl" line Aang says is referring to the generic endings of most romantic comedies in theaters.
- This is the third episode in which Aang is afflicted with nightmares, the other two being "The Storm" and "The Avatar State".
- When Toph told Aang to go to sleep, her chibi head is from the Avatar "Bending Battle" short, except her headband is changed to match its color in season three, rather than the season two version portrayed in that Avatar short.
- The suit that Zuko wears when he goes to visit Mai is called a changshan.
- In the dreams, Ozai has the same voice as he normally does but Aang does not hear Ozai speak directly until the final episode.
- In one of Aang's dreams, Aang is wearing his season one and two outfit, Toph is wearing her season two outfit, and Zuko has his ponytail, while Sokka and Katara are wearing their Fire Nation outfits.
- The voices Dee Bradley Baker uses for Momo and Appa in this episode are similar to the voices he uses for Spidermonkey and Cannonbolt from Ben 10: Alien Force.
- This is the second episode wherein Azula appears without make-up.