Sokka, Zuko, Suki, and Chit Sang devise a new plan for escaping the prison, involving Hakoda in their plans. They escape by creating a prison riot and kidnapping the warden. However, problems for the four arrive when Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee visit the prison. As the plan teeters on the verge of failure, Mai helps Zuko and the others escape. Azula attacks Mai for her betrayal, but Ty Lee intervenes. Azula has them both imprisoned. The group returns to the Western Air Temple, and Hakoda is reunited with Katara.
New prisoners are arriving into the Boiling Rock and they are lined up to be introduced to the warden. Sokka, disguised as a prison guard, is glad to see his father Hakoda among the new arrivals. The warden explains the history of the Boiling Rock, mentioning that no one has ever escaped from it. Hakoda defies the warden's orders to look him in the eyes and trips him, which causes Sokka to snicker. The warden angrily orders the new arrivals to be confined to their cells. Sokka later enters his father's cell, still disguised as a guard, which causes Hakoda to almost attack him. However, when Hakoda recognizes his son, he is overjoyed.
The warden interrogates the recaptured Chit Sang and grills him to find out who was helping him with the escape plan, knowing he is certainly not smart enough to think of such an intricate plan on his own. Chit Sang refuses to talk. The warden has his guards torture him by holding him upside down in his chair until he will reveal the identity of the person.
Sokka and his father devise a plan for Suki, Zuko, and themselves to escape the prison. Later, Sokka makes his way to Zuko's prison cell and tries to share the plan, but is interrupted by two guards, who are there to take Zuko away. Sokka feigns brutalizing Zuko alone inside his cell so he can reveal when they should next meet. Zuko is taken into another cell where he is confronted by his ex-girlfriend, Mai. Meanwhile, the warden comes back to see whether Chit Sang will talk. Chit Sang then reveals somebody did help him, although he only vaguely does so by indicating it was someone disguised as a Boiling Rock prison guard.
Mai, hurt that Zuko broke up with her, berates him for leaving only a farewell letter as he left to join the Avatar. Zuko tries to explain he had to leave to save the Fire Nation's honor, but Mai believes he is only betraying it. Zuko firmly tells her he does not see it that way.
Sokka goes to see Suki in her cell to fill her in on the plan. The plan is to escape on the prison's gondola, using the warden as hostage so they will not cut the cables of the gondola as they escape. Sokka tries to leave the cell casually, but two guards find and tell him that the warden wants to see him. Sokka is lined up with several other prison guards, who are being inspected by Chit Sang to point out who was the one devising the escape plan. Sokka is terrified, but instead of pointing at him, Chit Sang points to the guard that bullied him from the previous day. The warden falls for the false identification, captures the accused guard, and puts him into a prison cell for interrogation. While the accused guard is being interrogated by the warden, they are interrupted by PrincessAzula and Ty Lee. Azula simply glances at the captured guard and states he is not the one they are after. The warden is stunned and wonders how she knows. Azula sinisterly replies, "Because I'm a people person."
Sokka manages to trick a guard into unlocking all of the cells during what was supposed to be lockdown while new arrivals are processed, letting the prisoners out into the yard. He meets up with Suki and Hakoda outside. All they need in order to begin the escape plan is a riot. Hakoda tries hitting a big, tough-looking prisoner, but this does not work, as this prisoner has been working on anger management recently. Chit Sang surprises Sokka, having known that he would come up with another plan, and wants in again. Sokka asks Chit Sang to start a riot, which he does by merely picking up a bystander and telling everyone, "Hey, RIOT!," causing every inmate to starting fighting spontaneously. Even the guy Hakoda attempted to provoke forgot about controlling his anger. The warden appears and angrily demands to know how all the prisoners were released into the yard during lockdown, prompting the guard who let them out to sneak away guiltily.
Mai is still interrogating Zuko, but a guard appears to protect her during the riot. Zuko takes the chance, firebends at the guard's feet and rushes out of the room. The guard attempts to shield Mai from the fire, preventing her from reacting. Zuko locks her and the guard in the cell and escapes to the yard, where he meets up with the others. While Sokka and Zuko argue about how to capture the warden, Suki takes the initiative and goes after him on her own. She runs on the heads of the rioting prisoners and scales the walls of the yard with an amazing display of acrobatics. She disables the guards protecting the warden, ties him up, and gags him. They all meet up, the warden now their hostage, and make their way to the gondola.
The group makes it onto the gondola, and Zuko breaks the lever so the guards cannot stop them. As they begin to ascend, they spot Azula and Ty Lee approaching. Ty Lee runs on to the gondola's cable while Azula propels herself with firebending toward the gondola. Suki fights Ty Lee while Sokka and Zuko fight Azula on the top of the gondola. The warden breaks free of his binding and yells at the guards to cut the cable, which would kill everyone as they fell into the volcanic lake below. The guards stop the gondola from moving and start to saw away at the cable.
Azula and Ty Lee propel themselves onto another oncoming gondola on a separate cable. Just as the guards are about to finish cutting, they are disabled by Mai. She starts to pin the guards with her daggers, angering Azula. A guard asks her what she is doing, to which she replies, "Saving the jerk who dumped me." She frees the line, and the gondola used by the group starts moving again. They make it out of the volcano, leaving the warden behind in the gondola. Hakoda then gladly tells the warden that the non-escape record is finally broken. As Suki wonders how they are going to leave, Zuko figures out that Azula must have come to the Boiling Rock somehow and spots an unmanned Fire Nationairship. The group uses the airship to escape off the island.
Mai is detained by guards and brought forth to Azula. Azula demands to know why she saved the escapees, knowing the consequences. Mai tells Azula she miscalculated, as she loves Zuko more than she fears Azula. The two of them get in position to battle. Just as Azula is about to deliver a fatal blow at Mai, Ty Lee intervenes, blocks Azula's chi, and strikes her down. Ty Lee and Mai try to escape, but are quickly captured again. Azula calls them fools and orders the guards to let them rot in prison so she will never have to see their faces again.
Back at the Western Air Temple, Sokka and Zuko exit their newly captured airship. Aang and the others remark their fishing trip must have been one crazy fishing trip. Toph asks if they at least got any meat, and Sokka answers they got "the best meat of all, the meat of friendship and fatherhood". Hakoda, Suki, and Chit Sang exit the ship and present themselves to the others. Katara is overjoyed to see her father, and embraces him and Sokka as Zuko happily watches. In the background, Toph asks, "Seriously, you guys didn't find any meat?"
Zuko incorporates moves from the Dancing Dragon to block many fire blasts, including ones from Azula, showing that the Dancing Dragon is not just a novice firebending move but a very powerful form that can be used for defense and attack.
Chit Sang makes no mention of his girlfriend and best friend during the second escape attempt, despite insisting on bringing them along before.
The events of this episode trigger Azula's eventual fall into insanity.
In the beginning, when the prisoners are lined up, the one with the nose ring changes positions multiple times.
When Chit Sang points to the bully guard during the warden's lineup, it is odd that the warden does not know that the teen-aged Sokka is not one of his authorized staff.
The warden's headband has designs on the front that are larger than that actual headband, but when Suki uses the headband to gag the warden, the headband is just a piece of long cloth when if it had designs, the outline of the designs would have been bigger than the headband.
When the guards are cutting the line, the other wheel for the second gondola is not moving, but in the next shot, the second gondola is shown moving.
When Ty Lee jumps onto the gondola's line, she jumps on the second line, not the one on which the prisoners are, but in the next frame, she is running on the first gondola's line.
Near the end, after Chit Sang throws the warden back into the gondola, Hakoda's hair beads are on the wrong side.
When Chit Sang starts the riot and Hakoda says, "Impressive," Sokka's sword is missing; however, when the scene zooms out, the sword reappears.
When Azula propels herself to the other gondola to make her escape, four guards are seen inside the cabin. The moment she lands, however, three of them disappear.
When Azula watches Mai take out the prison guards from atop the gondola, rather illogically, she is on the right. She should have been on the left side as she was the closer of the two to the Boiling Rock when she landed on the gondola heading toward the prison.
As Azula and Ty Lee watch Mai fight the gondola guards, a guard on the platform is shown through Ty Lee's braid in a disproportionate size.
When Chit Sang throws the warden back into the gondola, the warden cannot be seen through the gaps on the side of the gondola.
When the group escapes out of the gondola, their bodies cannot be seen through the windows of the gondola.
In the escape scene, officers are seen slicing the ropes of the wheel that supported the gondola. They repeatedly slice at different ropes, when in fact, gondolas only use one rope to be sent across. Cutting just one would have been sufficient to release the gondola into the boiling water that surrounded the prison.
When Mai lets the gondola wheel roll again, there was no cut on the cable wire.
In the scene where Mai betrays Azula, Mai brandishes a dagger and is seen wearing nail polish, but when she is shown again after Ty Lee blocks Azula's chi, she is not wearing any.
The irony of Azula's comment, "Because I'm a people person," should be noted when she was betrayed by Mai and Ty Lee, two people she thought she knew very well.
Chit Sang and his two friends' failed escape attempt is an allusion to the escape attempt from Alcatraz made by Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin. While successful in their escape, they most likely drowned in the San Francisco Bay, which ironically is very cold and has a strong current. In Chit Sang's case it was a hot lake and a weak current that foiled his escape.
When the warden ordered the line to be cut, Azula was still on the gondola, so if the line was cut she surely would have been killed. However, the second gondola may have been sent purposely to save her and Ty Lee.
When Mai explains why she attacked the guards, she claims it was to save Zuko. However, it should be noted she also saved her uncle, the warden. In all likelihood, she might not have noticed that.
Normally, when Azula bends blue fire, it cools off to orange fire after a few seconds. However, when she was firebending on the gondola, the fire retained its blue color, even when it burned out.
The "Previously on Avatar" section for this episode is the longest of all episodes in Season 2 and 3.
This is the last episode in which Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee are seen together.
This is one of the only episodes in which Ty Lee is shown fighting, but is unsuccessful at chi blocking her opponents due to the latter evading her attacks.