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The Storm

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"The Storm"

Avatar: The Last Airbender





Original air date

June 3, 2005

Written by

Aaron Ehasz

Directed by

Lauren MacMullan


JM Animation

Guest stars

Mako (Uncle), Mark Hamill (Fire Lord Ozai), Sab Shimono (Monk Gyatso), Robert Pine (fisherman), Susan Silo (fisherman's wife), James Hong (dour monk), Clyde Kusatsu (senior monk), Jim Meskimen (Jee - additional voice)

Production number


Episode guide

"The Great Divide"


"The Blue Spirit"

"The Storm" is the 12th episode of Book One: Water of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the 12th of the overall series. It debuted on June 3, 2005.


Sokka accepts a job from a local fisherman to make money, and the man cruelly accuses Aang of abandoning the world. In the large, ensuing storm, Aang recounts to Katara the events of his dark past. After being told he was the Avatar, Aang was ordered to be separated from his mentor, Monk Gyatso. Upset, Aang ran away from his home where he encountered a deadly storm, causing him to fall into the water, activating the Avatar State, trapping him within an iceberg. Meanwhile, Iroh tells the ship's crew Zuko's story. After speaking out of turn at a war meeting, Zuko was punished by being forced to fight an Agni Kai against his own father. His refusal resulted in him getting his scar and being banished for perceived cowardice. Meanwhile, Aang learns that Sokka and the fisherman are trapped in the storm; he rescues them, earning him the fisherman's respect. Zuko spots them, but lets them go, instead opting to escape the storm.


Gyatso vanishes from Aang

Gyatso disappears during Aang's dream.

Aang has a dream in which he, Katara, and Sokka fly through clear, sunny skies; Sokka is using Aang's glider, Aang is riding on Appa, and Katara is riding a larger version of Momo. Katara says, "We need you, Aang", to which he responds happily, "I need you, too." Suddenly, the dream takes a dark turn and Aang, panicking as the sky blackens around him, finds himself alone on Appa. The form of his past guardian, Monk Gyatso, appears before him and asks him why he disappeared. As Aang replies that he did not intend to vanish, Gyatso's body dissolves into dust before him, and as the voices of Katara and Gyatso repeat the mantra "We need you, Aang", he and Appa fly into a deadly storm and plunge into the sea. Gasping in terror, Aang jolts awake, clearly troubled by the dream, though he does not tell the others. The next morning, Aang, seeing the perfectly clear skies above, remarks about how smooth their flying should be and Katara informs him that, since there is no food left, they will have to fly to the closest market. Sokka proceeds to dramatically tell them that he had a dream the previous night in which "Food eats people" and claims that it means they should avoid the market.

Meanwhile, in the sea, Iroh predicts that there will be a terrible storm and advises they alter their course for the sake of the crew, but Prince Zuko informs him that capturing the Avatar is more important than the crew's safety. When Lieutenant Jee hears this, he tells Zuko that he knows nothing about respect and calls him nothing but a "spoiled prince".

The fisherman blaming Aang

The fisherman blames Aang for disappearing and allowing the Hundred Year War to continue.

At a nearby harbor town, Aang, Katara, and Sokka stop by a market, only to realize they are out of money. They run into a fisherman and his wife, who are arguing over whether to go fishing or not; the wife, as did Iroh, claims that a storm is coming. When the wife refuses to go, the fisherman hires Sokka. However, when he finds out that Aang is the Avatar, the fisherman scolds him, accusing him of turning "his back on the world". Aang becomes upset, and despite Katara's attempts to defend him, he, filled with guilt, flies away into a cave. Katara reprimands the fisherman for his harsh words and goes after Aang, just as a horrible storm begins to brew.

The argument between Zuko and Jee continues to the point where Zuko and the lieutenant are about to fight before Iroh intervenes. Iroh suggests that everyone is tired, and they should go inside to have a bowl of noodles, but Zuko refuses the offer, claiming he does not require anyone's help in maintaining discipline on his ship.

As the storm worsens, Katara finds Aang in the small cave. Aang begins telling her the story of his childhood, beginning with the day the monks told him he was the Avatar. In a flashback to the Southern Air Temple in the distant past, Aang shows his friends how to use his air scooter technique. At that moment, Gyatso and the other elder monks interrupt him and ask to talk to him; bringing Aang to their meeting room, they reveal to Aang that he is the Avatar. As proof, they show him four toys he picked from among a myriad similar ones when he was younger, which are identical to the four toys picked by previous Avatars. Gyatso comments that "storm clouds are gathering" and ends the meeting by saying they need him.

Aang with the Avatar relics

Aang discovers that he is the Avatar.

On Zuko's ship, Jee sits around a small fire with several members of the crew, ranting to them about his loathing of Zuko: "I mean, who does he think he is?" Iroh, standing just outside he circle, announces his presence to them by asking another question in response: "Do you really want to know?" Calm rather than upset, Iroh enters the circle and explains to the soldiers why Zuko is such a cold person. In a flashback to the Fire Nation Royal Palace, a younger Zuko appears with a happier, freer expression, a full head of hair, and no scar, complaining to his uncle that he wants to get into his father's war chamber. Although he initially refuses, Iroh allows him to join on the condition that he remain silent. When one of the generals suggests sacrificing an entire division composed entirely of new recruits, the Forty-first Division, as "bait" during battle, Prince Zuko, outraged, speaks up in harsh opposition against the general, asserting that sacrificing a group of loyal soldiers is an act of betrayal. As Zuko finishes, the flames burning before the throne of Zuko's father, Fire Lord Ozai, flare upward; in the present, Iroh tells the soldiers that Zuko's sudden outburst infuriated his father, leading him to demand that Zuko fight an Agni Kai to solve the matter.

Inside the cave, Aang tells Katara of the consequences of the announcement. In the flashback, Aang is ostracized by all his friends, who claim his powers give him an unfair advantage in any game they play. Likewise, with a war looming on the horizon, the monks press hard to train Aang, putting more pressure on him than ever before. Aang only manages to find comfort with Gyatso, who plays Pai Sho with him and keeps him company, much to the chagrin of the other monks, who believe Gyatso is interfering with Aang's training.

Zuko begs

Zuko begs his father for mercy.

Iroh continues his story to the crew, with Zuko believing that he is going to fight the general against whom he spoke. However, as the Agni Kai begins, he discovers, to his horror, revealed that his opponent is the Fire Lord himself, his own father. Upon realizing this, Zuko cries, tries to convince him that he "had the Fire Nation's best interests at heart", and begs for forgiveness. Ozai, however, demands that Zuko fight for his honor. Zuko falls to his knees, ignoring his father's orders to fight, pleading for forgiveness. As Zuko raises his head to look at his father, crying, the Fire Lord states that "[Zuko] will learn respect, and suffering will be [his] teacher". As Iroh averts his eyes in sadness, Zuko's sister and Zhao smile diabolically as Ozai burns his son's face.

When Katara reflects on the stress the monks put on Aang, Aang stands, suddenly filled with rage, and briefly enters the Avatar State, only leaving it when Katara yells that he is blowing around hot embers from their campfire. Aang apologizes, but when Katara remarks that his anger at the monks forcing him to leave was completely justified, Aang admits that the actual events played out slightly differently. In his flashback, when Aang learns that the monks are planning to separate him from his guardian Gyatso, whom they deem to be obstructing their efforts to save the world, he flees the temple with his sky bison, Appa, leaving a farewell note; Gyatso, seeking to reassure Aang that the other monks will not take him away, is first to discover it. Aang's departure leads him directly into a terrible storm and drives him beneath the ocean with Appa; on the verge of drowning, the Avatar State triggers, surrounding the two of them in a pocket of water and air, which promptly freezes solid. Aang and Appa are trapped within the ice for the next one hundred years. Returning to the present, Aang claims that he abandoned the world by running away, but Katara convinces him that "it was meant to be", and that he "gives people hope". Abruptly, the fisherman's wife stumbles into the cave, claiming that her husband and Sokka have not arrived at the village. Determined not to fail anyone again, Aang and Katara immediately resolve to rescue them.

Iroh redirects lightning

Iroh redirects lightning away from Zuko's ship.

Iroh explains that Prince Zuko was banished after the duel; his father saw his refusal to fight as a "shameful weakness". The Fire Lord outlined that the only condition under which Zuko could return to the Fire Nation was with the Avatar in his custody. Iroh admits that things will most likely never return to normal but, at the very least, the chance to redeem himself by capturing the Avatar gives Zuko hope, which is important to the prince. At that moment, lightning strikes the ship. In a move of true selflessness, Zuko saves the helmsman from falling to his death with the help of Jee. While Zuko and the lieutenant are attempting to save the helmsman, lightning strikes the deck on which Iroh stands. He saves the ship from damage by displaying the remarkable ability to redirect lightning, the encounter leaving him smoking. Looking around, Zuko spots Appa flying through the hurricane and momentarily considers giving chase before thinking better of it, instead giving the order to preserve the ship.

Meanwhile, Aang and Katara find the fisherman and Sokka in the storm, pulling them out of their stranded boat just before it sinks. They try to escape on Appa, but are engulfed by the waves. In the same way as in his flashback, Aang goes into the Avatar State and forms an air pocket with airbending to save the group; however, instead of freezing the whole group in a block of ice, he raises them upward to the surface, saving their lives. When the trio and the fisherman emerge from the water, they are in the calm, towering eye of the storm. They happen to be close to Zuko's ship, which happens to be navigating through the eye of the storm as well. Zuko makes no attempt to pursue them, allowing them to fly away, deciding that it is more important to help his crew get to safety. He apologizes to his uncle for his behavior.

Back at the cave, the fisherman reunites with his wife and thanks Aang for saving him. Aang also declares that he is done dwelling on the past and accepts that the events that have happened to him were "meant to be". As the storm clears, they walk outside and stare upward at the brightening sky, and Appa promptly shakes the water from his fur, sending a final cascade of water splashing onto them.


Production notes


Main article: Transcript:The Storm

Avatar Extras

Main article: Avatar Extras for Book One: Water

Series continuity

  • For a split second at the end of Aang's dream, there is a brief silhouette of Fire Lord Ozai. This nightmarish image of Ozai is first seen in "Winter Solstice, Part 2: Avatar Roku" when Aang learns about Sozin's Comet and again in "The Guru" when Aang must confront and overcome his greatest fear: fighting the Fire Lord.
  • This episode reveals how Aang was trapped in the iceberg, where he was initially found in "The Boy in the Iceberg".
  • This is the episode that revealed how Zuko got his scar and why he was banished from the Fire Nation.
  • This is the first of three times in the series where Aang has continuous nightmares. The second time is in "The Avatar State" and the third time is in "Nightmares and Daydreams".
  • This is the first episode in which Azula, Zuko's sister, appears, though she is only briefly seen smirking with a fist up in excitement in the crowd during the flashback of Zuko's Agni Kai with his father. Zhao is also seen smirking just as Iroh turns away.
  • This episode marks the first time lightning redirection is used.
  • During one of Aang's flashbacks to his life before being trapped in the iceberg, two airbenders are seen playing the Avatar World's own version of "Rock, Paper, Scissors", the difference being that the four elements are used instead of the familiar stationery. In the three rounds seen playing, two hand forms were shown: a pound fist later revealed to represent earth, and what looked like a "stop" hand or a "eight trigram palm" from Baguazhang. This game is seen again in "City of Walls and Secrets", when it is played by Aang and Sokka. As revealed in the later episode, earth appears to beat fire, which had the hand emulating flames or what looked like a dragon grasp from Northern Shaolin style.
  • This is the second time Monk Gyatso is seen talking in a flashback. The first was in "The Southern Air Temple".


  • When Zuko and Iroh are arguing about the storm, right before the picture cuts to the close-up of Iroh's face, Zuko's ponytail disappears.
  • In the scene where Zuko tells Lieutenant Jee to show respect, he is wearing his usual turtleneck-like garment under his armor, but in the next few shots it disappears.
  • When Aang is hiding in the cave, Katara's shadow should have blocked the shadows of the rain on Aang, but it did not.
  • Appa entered the cave with Katara even though he generally hates going underground or in tunnels.
  • When a soaked Appa walks into the cave where Aang is hiding, his muzzle is white instead of the usual gray.
  • In various camera angle switches, both Aang and Katara are seen in separate scenes nearly pressed up against the rock wall. However, after the camera changes, they are suddenly sitting a good distance from it.
  • During Aang's story, in the shot when he is on the air scooter asking if he cannot play, there are six boys standing around him but in the next shot where he walks away, there are only five.
  • The scene with Monk Gyatso finding the note is shown despite it being impossible that Aang, narrating the story, would know about it, as he was not actually present when it happened.
  • In a few scenes, in particular when Aang briefly enters the Avatar State in his anger, Katara's lower kimono no longer has slits that begin at her hips. Instead, it resembles a complete dress with no separation.
  • In the scene where Zuko is begging his father for mercy, many of the Agni Kai's spectators are shown wearing green, blue, and yellow, which is unusual seeing that they are Fire Nation citizens.
  • When Iroh tells the soldiers about Zuko's scar, the soldiers believe it was a training accident and seem to be unaware of the events that occurred during the Agni Kai, even though the whole arena was crowded with people. Furthermore, even some people in the Earth Kingdom seemingly know how Zuko was banished and how his own father burned him, so it is strange that the soldiers do not know about it.
  • While Aang and Appa are in the ocean, Aang is on top of Appa and goes into the Avatar State. A moment later, Appa is above him instead.
  • When the old fisherman's wife is telling the fisherman to give Aang an apology, her hair-clip is in her bun, but usually it is in the rest of her hair.
  • No one is seen drying off or even having wet clothing during all the times that people get wet in this episode.


  • This is the favorite episode of Zuko's voice actor, Dante Basco. During the scene where Zuko faces his father in the Agni Kai, Basco worked with Mark Hamill and relates the scene to those in Star Wars in which Luke Skywalker (Hamill) faces off with Darth Vader.
  • This is Michael Dante DiMartino's third favorite episode because of how the story goes deep into both Aang's and Zuko's pasts.
  • Zuko is seen crying for the first time during this episode.
  • When the gang and the fisherman are struggling in the storm, a strange white blob flashes onto the background.
  • When Aang asks Gyatso if the Council might have made a mistake when they said he was the Avatar, Gyatso says that, "The only mistake they made was telling you before you turned sixteen", meaning that Avatars are not made aware of their status until their sixteenth birthday. This is further shown in the episode "The Avatar and the Fire Lord", when the Fire Sages told Roku that he was the Avatar on his sixteenth birthday. Avatar Korra is an exception to this rule, since she discovered she could bend multiple elements on her own before she was old enough to have been trained.
  • This is the first time Aang goes into the Avatar State twice in the same episode. Once in the cave, when he goes into the Avatar State for a split second, and again when he forms an air pocket around Appa.
  • The title of this episode, "The Storm", is one of many titles that have multiple meanings; this one has at least three. It refers to the actual storm in which the characters get caught, to the reasons for Aang's "stormy" feelings of guilt and shame, and to Zuko's "stormy" history of how and why he was banished.
  • This episode explores the emotional stress that is placed on the Avatar, serving as the first of many episodes that has Aang reluctantly confront his duty as the Avatar.
  • When Sokka wakes up from his dream early in this episode, he says, "Momo could talk. You said some very unkind things." This is referenced later when Momo talks and says unkind things in Aang's daydream in "Nightmares and Daydreams".
  • It is shown that the four toys Aang chose that determined his destiny are a clay turtle, a string-powered propeller, a wooden hog monkey, and a wooden hand drum. This method is akin to the one used in determining the next incarnation of a Tulku Lama in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • The watermelon that the merchant tried to sell to Katara made a "swishing noise", which resembles the merchants of China in the early 1900s who would try to make their melons sound heavier by injecting them with foul water from a river or one of the creeks.

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