- This article is about the Book Two: Earth episode. For other similar uses, see Omashu (disambiguation).
|"Return to Omashu"|
|Image gallery (57)|
Omashu has been captured by the Fire Nation. Aang and his friends sneak into the city, and are nearly captured, but Sokka manages to fake a deadly illness called "pentapox" to scare off suspicious guards. They encounter the local resistance movement, and assist the city's Earth Kingdom residents to escape with a false epidemic. However, the Fire Nation governor's son accidentally leaves with the citizens as they are driven out. Aang attempts to trade him for King Bumi, but Princess Azula appears and halts the deal. After a confrontation with Azula, Aang manages to rescue Bumi, but the city's former ruler allows himself to be recaptured, stating that he must wait for a more appropriate time to escape. He instructs Aang to find an earthbending teacher who "waits and listens".
Even after Aang finds out the shocking news of the Fire Nation's siege on Omashu, he still insists on entering the city in search of Bumi, despite Sokka and Katara's precautions. While entering through the sewers to remain unnoticed by the guards, Sokka finds purple pentapuses attached to his face, and because of the creases left on the skin after removing them, the Fire Nation soldiers who approach them believe that they are a result of a disease called pentapox. Not wanting it to spread, they run away from them, buying the kids some time.
Meanwhile, back on her ship, Princess Azula seeks the advice of her trainers, Lo and Li, about capturing her brother and uncle. They tell her, "When tracking your brother and uncle, traveling with the Royal Procession may no longer be an option. May no longer be wise if you hope to keep the element of surprise." She takes their advice and decides to put together a small, elite team to track them.
Back in the city, Aang, Katara, and Sokka make their way through and decide that wherever Bumi is being held prisoner is made entirely of metal to prevent him from earthbending. Just below them, the wife of the governor and their daughter, Mai, are enjoying an evening stroll. Mai complains about how boring it is in Omashu, completely unaware that above them, two earthbenders from the resistance have sent large boulders plummeting toward them. Aang sees the rocks heading toward the people below and airbends them out of the way; however, the governor's wife assumes Aang and his friends to be with the resistance, and Mai and the guards that were protecting her and her mother pursue them, a pursuit which features Mai demonstrating her superb ability to throw knives. Eventually the resistance rescues the gang.
Azula, meanwhile, has tracked down her first companion for her team: Ty Lee, the daughter of a nobleman who has apparently joined the circus. The two went to the Royal Fire Academy for Girls together. Azula informs her that she wants her help in tracking down her "fuddy-duddy" uncle, purposefully neglecting to mention Zuko. Ty Lee declines her offer, saying she is happy with her life at the circus. Azula seemingly accepts her decision, but goes on to inform her that she is staying to watch her show, instilling an amount of nervousness in Ty Lee.
After being rescued, Aang is informed that, before even fighting, King Bumi surrendered the city. Aang decides the best thing to do is get everyone out of the city so they can "live to fight another day". Against the leader's protests, the resistance agrees. Sokka comes up with the idea to re-create his deadly, make-believe "pentapox" so that the soldiers will allow them to leave the city. After the citizens re-create the spots on their faces, Aang goes in search of Bumi while the guards are distracted.
Back at the governor's palace, he and his family watch as the "sick" people roam the streets; he orders the guards to drive them out of the city to prevent it from spreading. They are all completely unaware that the governor's infant son has wandered off. Aang has come across Flopsie in his search; thrilled to see him, Flopsie rushes forward, but is held back by a chain. Aang frees him by freezing the chain with ice to make it brittle and proceeding to smash it. The two go off in search of Bumi.
Starving, Momo finds some berries inside a room where the young infant has wandered off. Interested by Momo's tail that was hidden behind a curtain, the infant quickly grasps onto him. Momo is quite scared by this point and attempts to escape his clutches, so the two fly across the city until the boy finally falls off Momo's tail and wanders off further toward the city's gates.
Back at the circus, the ringmaster tells Azula how honored he is to have the Fire Lord's daughter at his circus. He informs her to let him know of any way he can make the show more enjoyable for her. She smirks while accepting his offer. Up on the high wire, Ty Lee is balancing on a pole that is on top of some kind of round pot. Azula asks the ringmaster if he thinks she will fall; he replies, "Of course not." Azula decides it would be more interesting if she did it without the safety net, or better yet, to have the net set on fire. Not about to refuse an order from a member of the Fire Nation Royal family, he sets it ablaze. Ty Lee grows very nervous as it becomes obvious to her that Azula is threatening her to help her in her search. The ringmaster is also clearly worried for Ty Lee's safety. Azula subsequently orders all of the dangerous animals of the circus to be released inside the tent much to the ringmaster's shock and Ty Lee's increasing worry.
After getting out of the city safely, the resistance leader informs the gang that they have one more person than they should – Tom-Tom. The governor is now aware his son is missing and believes the freed citizens have kidnapped him, and ponders on how to get him back.
Backstage, Azula congratulates her friend on the show; Ty Lee decides "the universe" is telling her to go with Azula.
Katara is playing with the small child and thinks he is very cute, but the leader says he will not be so cute when he is older and a killer. At that moment, a messenger hawk arrives telling them that the governor will trade King Bumi for his son. As they accept the offer, Sokka believes they are walking into a trap, but Aang says he has a good feeling about this.
Back inside the city, Azula, entering on her throne, and Ty Lee approach Mai. Mai jokingly asks if Azula was there to kill her; the two friends hug. Mai is thrilled to help Azula on her mission, wanting anything to get her out of Omashu. Azula confronts the governor, who pleads with her and asks for forgiveness. However, Azula, having too much of her father in her, tells the governor he is making a mess of things and also corrects him that there is no more "Omashu". She renames the city in honor of her father: New Ozai. She decides Mai will handle the trade so the governor cannot mess it up.
In front of Fire Lord Ozai's statue, Aang, Katara, and Sokka approach Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai, who are ready to trade. They lower Bumi, who is trapped in a metal coffin that prevents him from bending. Before the trade can commence, Azula comments on how trading a powerful, earthbending king for a two-year-old is not a fair trade. As a result, Mai calls off the deal. They raise Bumi, and Aang, angered by this, rushes after him. The turban covering his head slips off, and Azula sees his arrow and recognizes him as the Avatar. Without a second thought, she abandons the original plan and rushes for him. Aang jumps onto Bumi's coffin and attempts to free him the same way as he did Flopsie, but Azula is hot on his trail.
Back down on the platform, Katara assumes an offensive position toward Ty Lee and Mai while Sokka calls Appa. Ty Lee rushes for Sokka; after blocking an attack from Mai, Katara gives Sokka some cover, so he can get the baby out.
Nearly to the top of the statue, Aang has almost completely frozen the chain, but Bumi tells him to stop. Before he can react, Azula emerges from the top and shoots a blast of fire at them, breaking the chain and sending them plummeting toward the mail system. She continues her pursuit by jumping into a cart and riding after them. Aang is happy, saying, "It's just like old times", but Bumi says he needs to talk to him. Azula fires at them before Aang can reply. She continues the chase all the way down the rails.
Back at the platform, Katara and Mai exchange blows. From behind, Ty Lee strikes Katara in three different pressure points, rendering her paralyzed. With no way of her blocking any attack, Mai pulls out a three-pronged knife, but Sokka throws his boomerang and knocks it from her hand. Appa smacks his tail to the ground, and knocks Ty Lee and Mai off the platform. Katara and Sokka find Aang being chased by Azula; once close enough to Appa, Aang shoots himself and Bumi off the track, but overshoots, and lands back on the track with Azula. She continues blasting at Aang, but Bumi reveals his ability to earthbend even when suppressed, by using his uncovered face, and Azula is forced to come to a stop.
At the bottom of the tracks, Bumi explains to Aang the concept of jing. Aang says that he is aware of it: fighting is positive jing and retreating is negative jing, but Bumi reveals the third jing: neutral jing, which consists of doing neither, and waiting for the opportune moment to strike, which is why he surrendered the city and why he must go back to his captors. Before leaving, however, he tells Aang he must learn from a master who has mastered neutral jing, and who listens to the earth, and that he will see him again when the time is right.
Now leaving the city, Azula in her palanquin, with Mai and Ty Lee beside her, converse about their mission. Ty Lee says, "It'll be interesting seeing Zuko again, won't it, Mai?" and turns to Mai slyly who smiles to herself, harboring a crush for Azula's brother. Azula ignores the comment and tells them that they now have a third target, the Avatar.
Back at the governor's house, the governor and his wife are still worried, and Aang silently returns Tom-Tom to them, causing them to become overjoyed. Aang smiles and flies away.
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- Main article: Transcript:Return to Omashu
- Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar
- Katara and Sokka were wearing the same cloaks to hide in disguise when they went to the Fire Nation Festival in The Deserter.
- The Fire Nation circus that Ty Lee was performing with is the same one that Appa was sold to in "Appa's Lost Days".
- The gang enters the secret passage in this order: Aang first, followed by Sokka and finally Katara, but in the next shot it shows them in the passage with Katara in front of Sokka.
- When Azula is talking to Ty Lee after her show, the band on Ty Lee's headdress disappears and reappears.
- When Azula and Ty Lee approach Mai for the first time, right before Mai gives Ty Lee a hug, her fingernails are shown short and non-colored, but in the next scene when Mai hugs Ty Lee her nails are shown much longer and painted.
- When Sokka tells the people they need to act sick, there's no one beside him. After the old man's demonstration, there is another person right next to him.
- When Aang is attempting to free King Bumi, he spends several minutes blowing on a segment of chain until it freezes, but he breaks the chain in the wrong place, on a non-frozen part.
- In the scene above, Aang and Bumi are suspended high above the floor where Katara fights Mai and Ty Lee. When the chain is broken, Aang and Bumi fall onto a mail chute; they should have fallen through the wooden floor.
- When Azula gets into one of the earth mail boxes to chase Aang and King Bumi, her two bangs are missing.
- When Azula is chasing Aang via the Omashu delivery system, she is shown entering a "tunnel" of overhead beams, after Aang destroys those beams she is seen entering them again.
- When Azula was chasing Aang and Bumi with the cord going up the statue of Ozai there were two cords, in the next scene there was one.
- In the unaired pilot, Aang fought Zuko on a scaffolding much like the one he and Azula fight on in this episode.
- In "Return to Omashu" with "Avatar Extras" bonus commentary, it was mentioned that the Fire Nation's plan was to make the entire city of Omashu earthbending proof. To this extent they began covering the entire city in metal.
- When the "infected" crowd is first seen, they move and sound much like classic horror-movie zombies.
- King Bumi told Aang that they would meet again, but the two of them are never shown together again in the series.
- This episode features a segment of music that is identical to the opening music from "The Southern Air Temple".
- This episode marks the first time Aang encounters and fights Azula.