OK, now I have a clear picture of what the sequel is going to be like once the original film came out. However, I preferred to follow my continuity in my previous blog rather than follow M Night's version.
The Adaptation Process
Rather than go with only one movie for one book, I decided to adapt Book 2 into two movies, similar to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the Twilight Saga's Breaking Dawn. Book 2 is a very huge season to adapt, so it is very hard to adapt into just one movie. The first movie will focus on Aang finding an Earthbending teacher, Zuko and Iroh becoming fugitives and the introduction of Azula. Main plot points will include elements from The Avatar State, The Chase, The Blind Bandit, Bitter Work, The Library, The Desert, The Serpent's Pass and will end with The Drill. The second movie will focus on Ba Sing Se and the Dai Li, as well as the introduction of Jet.
New Cast Members
Many of the cast from the first movie will return in the second movie, with a few exceptions. Azula will have a larger role in this movie, with new characters like Toph, Mai and Ty Lee.
- Aang - Noah Ringer
- Katara - Celeste Paramo
- Sokka - Dev Patel
- Toph - Possible newcomer
- Zuko - Aarif Lee Rahman
- Iroh - Sammo Hung
- Azula - Suzuka Ohgo
- Mai - Zoe Weizenbaum
- Ty Lee - Kylee
- Pakku - Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa (cameo)
- Suki - Hayley Kiyoko
- Master Yu - Adrian Pang
- Xin Fu - Jason Scott Lee
- The Boulder - Dwayne Johnson
- Lao Bei Fong - Chin Han
- Poppy Bei Fong - Yunjin Kim
- Lu Ten - Possible newcomer
- Wan Shi Tong - Alan Rickman (voice)
- Professor Zei - Gurmit Singh
- Mongke - Dalip Singh
- Fung - Patrick Teoh
- Than - Pierre Png
- Ying - Fiona Xie
- Ursa - Ming-Na Wen (flashbacks)
So how can we encourage the actress for Toph to move like her character? Of course, she has to be well-trained in the art of Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu, using its precise stepping to maintain contact with the ground for her to "see". This is a contrast to the other earthbenders, who use the Hung Gar style of Kung Fu, which features heavily rooted stances and strong kicks and punches that evoke the mass and power of earth. As for Toph, I did some research on applying Toph on-screen by watching Daredevil to see how a blind hero fight. Then again, after a discussion with Hasdi, there are some adjustments for Toph's "senses" in the movie. For example:
- The seismic sense is refined. It only works with imaging underground objects and to determine the points of contact of an object to the ground surface. Toph needs to ground at least two of her feet or her hands for stereoscoping imaging. She spread her toes (or fingers) to focus the image and use her heel (or palm) to create a seismic "stomp".
- Enhanced hearing is kept. This works like Dale Smithers from Heroes. Need a sound source to pinpoint the location and direction.
- Radar sense is reworked by making Toph partially blind. She cannot see visible light spectrum but sound waves are rippling all around her. This is overlaid with "chi vision" so she sees chi contained in living objects and surrounding chi flowing in and out, but not facial expressions or words on a paper. That way, the general audience get to have a "sense" of gathering of Chi, so they won't mistaken the benders were "dancing like idiots" or bending has "delayed actions", just like what happened to M Night's movie. Easy to shoot - just stick an infra-red lens on the camera and add in the SFX.
This will the draft for the first movie based on Book 2. Some bits may be cut for theatrical release and will be placed as deleted scenes.
Rather than a prologue, this movie will open with a cold opening. The movie begins with Aang's dream. In his dream, Aang sees himself in the Avatar State causing devastation and threatening his friends. In that same dream, Avatar Roku explains further about the Avatar State and that if the Avatar is killed while in the state, the Avatar will cease to exist. Roku also reminded Aang about his future earthbending teacher. Aang spots a laughing young girl and a flying boar in the swamp. It's no one he recognizes. He calls out to her, but she runs away. Aang begins to chase after her. Eventually, when he thinks he corners her, it turns out to be Katara. It was then that Aang realized he was awake. Aang is in a hammock on a Water Tribe ship with his friends. He climbs up to the ship's deck, and Katara follows to comfort him. Aang confides in her about his nightmare, and that the power of the Avatar State is terrifying both for him and those close to him. He also explains to Katara about his vision. The next day, Pakku gives them parting gifts for their journey to the Earth Kingdom, where they will meet Aang's earthbending teacher. Katara receives a necklace filled with special water from the Spirit Oasis, Aang receives Waterbending scrolls, and Sokka simply gets a farewell, disappointing him. As Aang, Sokka and Katara depart, the opening credits will begin.
The Blind Bandit/The Avatar State (Zuko and Iroh)
- After the opening credits, the next scene shows Iroh relaxing and getting a massage at a beautiful spa resort. Zuko however, is unhappy, realizing it has been three years to the day he was banished from the Fire Nation. He desperately wants to reclaim his honor, the throne, and his father's love.
- At sea, a Fire Nation ship carrying Princess Azula is arriving at the Earth Kingdom to capture her brother and uncle. She threatens the ship captain's life when he warns the tides won't allow them to enter port on time.
- Meanwhile, in an Earth Kingdom town, Aang decides to purchase a bison whistle. Sokka is contemplating on purchasing an expensive and flashy bag. His indecisiveness bores Aang and Katara, who try to be supportive as Sokka weighs the pros and cons of the purchase. Aang and Katara start walking away and while Sokka finally makes his purchase, the other two are approached by a man handing out flyers for a local Earthbending academy. Katara convinces Aang to check it out, since he needs to find someone to teach him the element.
- At Master Yu's Earthbending Academy, Aang uses the flyer's coupon to receive his "free" lesson. However, all Aang gets is a rock to the stomach. Master Yu attempts to sell Aang a year's worth of lessons, but Aang believes Yu isn't a good teacher for him.
- On her ship, Azula is practicing lightning generation, a highly advanced form of Firebending. Her royal advisers, Lo and Li, watch her progress and remark she's close, but not perfect. Azula angrily remarks that "close to perfect" isn't good enough, and continues practicing, sending a bolt of lightning into the sky. Iroh wakes and looks outside in concern upon hearing thunder.
- As the trio departs, they overhear two young men discussing Earth Rumble VI, an underground Earthbending tournament. Thinking it may be a good place to find a powerful bender for a teacher, Aang asks them where it is located. They sarcastically tell him, "It's on the island of None'ya... None'ya business!" and the two walk away laughing. Katara follows them around the corner and forces the information out of them by freezing them to the wall.
- Azula finds Iroh and Zuko at the resort, and pays them a friendly visit, though the both of them are suspicious of her intentions. She tells them the Fire Lord regrets banishing his son, and wants Zuko to come back home. Zuko is dumbstruck by the news, and Azula departs to pick them up to go home the next day.
- Earth Rumble VI is held inside a jagged mountain, with the arena illuminated by many glowing crystals above. The trio looks for seats, wondering why so many front row seats are vacant. Suddenly a rock comes crashing toward them, providing a clear explanation as to why the seats are vacant. From the center of the ring, the game's host Xin Fu explains the rules: each contestant must knock his opponent out of the ring with Earthbending to advance.
- In the first round, The Boulder begins battling The Hippo and defeats him. Aang isn't too impressed with The Boulder. Sokka, on the other hand, has become The Boulder’s newest fan. After defeating all the challengers, The Boulder has a chance to take on the Earth Rumble champion, The Blind Bandit.
- As The Blind Bandit is escorted to the ring, the crowd cheers. Aang and friends realize the champion is nothing more than a little blind girl, causing The Boulder to state his reservations about fighting her. The Blind Bandit taunts him, saying it sounds as if he's scared. The Boulder's reservations vanish, and he prepares to attack her. She taunts him again, calling him "The Pebble" and laughs to herself. As she laughs, Aang realizes she’s the girl from the vision he had earlier.
- The Boulder is about to attack, but The Blind Bandit senses the vibrations his steps create in the ground and makes her move. She disrupts his first step, causing him to slip into a leg split. The little girl quickly knocks The Boulder out of the ring as he screams in pain. Sokka is devastated while Katara is amazed and wonders how she did it. Aang explains to Katara, "She waited and listened!"
- Xin Fu then offers a bag of gold pieces to anyone who can defeat The Blind Bandit. After a short silence, Aang jumps into the ring. The Blind Bandit taunts him, and Aang tries to explain how he doesn't really want to fight, but rather talk. However, the champion begins to fight. Aang uses his Airbending, drifting above the floor of the ring to evade her, and she is unsettled by being unable to track him. Aang blows away a rock she sends at him, accidentally pushing the champion off the ring and erroneously winning the match. Aang rushes to catch The Blind Bandit, telling her he thinks she's supposed to be his Earthbending teacher. Upset she lost, she quickly departs the stadium. Disappointed, Aang collects the gold pieces and belt.
- That night, Zuko is overjoyed from the news that his father wants him to return home. Iroh is suspicious of the news, and warns Zuko that things are never what they seem in their family. Zuko angrily tells his uncle that he's a lazy, selfish old man, jealous of his brother.
- The next day, Aang, Katara and Sokka head to Master Yu’s Earthbending academy in search of The Blind Bandit. Katara tries her intimidation tactics again on the young men she froze the day before, but they end up not having the information she asks for. Aang then realizes they are asking about the wrong person. When he describes the girl from his vision, the young men don't recognize the description, but they do know a local family whose symbol is a flying boar – The Beifong family. The trio leave to check out the lead.
- The very same day, Zuko sets out to the port alone. Iroh joins him later, telling him family must stick together. Zuko smiles happily, but as they head for the ship, Iroh casts a wary eye towards it.
- Back at the arena, The Boulder tells Xin Fu that there was no Earthbending when the champion was defeated, leaving him to believe The Blind Bandit intentionally lost in order to split the money with the challenger. Xin Fu is enraged by this and intends to get his money back.
- At the port, Azula warmly welcomes her brother and uncle. As they begin to depart, the ship's captain accidentally reveals it was all a set-up. Azula's true purpose is to return Zuko and Iroh to the Fire Nation to be imprisoned. Iroh fights the ship's guards as Zuko confronts Azula. Zuko fights Azula, but he is no match for her. She taunts him, saying their father considers him a miserable failure and would rather Zuko rot away in prison than be out in the world embarrassing the Fire Nation. Azula prepares to strike him with lightning, but Iroh interrupts her and redirects the blast into the cliffside. Zuko and Iroh have escaped from Azula, and rest near a small creek. As a symbol of severance from their family and the Fire Nation, the pair cut off their top-knots and send them down the creek.
- Meanwhile, Aang, Katara and Sokka arrive at the Bei Fong estate, but it is heavily guarded. They head around back and climb over the outer wall into a gardened area. Suddenly, the trio is thrust into the air by the earth being pushed up from underneath them. The Blind Bandit, now dressed in an elegant dress, confronts Aang as to why he's come, calling him "Twinkle Toes". Aang and friends explain he's the Avatar and is in dire need of an Earthbending teacher. After they refuse to leave her alone, The Blind Bandit calls the guards, forcing the trio to leave. The guards arrive and escort her inside, revealing her name to be Toph. Over the wall, Aang sneakily smiles to himself and has an idea of what to do next.
- Toph's father and mother are meeting with Master Yu to confirm that she is not trying anything dangerous in her lessons, and Master Yu assures them that he has kept Toph at the basic level. A servant comes in to tell them a visitor has come – the Avatar, and Toph gets agitated.
- At dinner, Aang, Katara, Sokka and Master Yu have joined Toph and her family. Toph's father inquires of Aang how long he feels the war will go on. Aang explains he hopes to defeat the Fire Lord by summer, but still needs an Earthbending teacher. It has become clear to the group that Toph is keeping her amazing Earthbending skills secret from her parents, along with her identity as The Blind Bandit. Although Master Yu is mentioned as a candidate for Aang's teacher by Toph’s father, Aang attempts to bring up the possibility of Toph as his teacher instead, but she hits Aang's foot with Earthbending under the table to shut him up. Aang tries to reveal Toph's secret identity, but she Earthbends Aang's chair forward, causing his face to smash into his soup. Not to be outdone, Aang returns the favor with an Airbending-enhanced sneeze, throwing Toph's soup onto her (as well as Master Yu and Toph's mother). Toph and Aang start to fight, but dinner is finished.
- Later, Sokka, Katara and Aang are getting ready for bed (as guests of Toph’s family). Aang is surprised by Toph’s sudden appearance. She calls a truce, and the two of them walk the grounds of her family’s estate while she explains to him how she sees using Earthbending. Toph envies Aang’s carefree life, but knows she has commitments to her family that prevent her from leaving to join him. Just then, the two of them are ambushed by Xin Fu and his wrestling thugs: The Boulder, The Hippo, Fire Nation Man, The Mole, The Gecko, and Wild Man. A ransom note is left demanding 500 gold pieces for the safe return of their daughter. Toph’s father enlists Master Yu’s help, and Sokka and Katara come along as well.
- They arrive at the arena with the ransom and Toph is released. When Katara asks about Aang, Xin Fu states that he plans to turn the Avatar over to the Fire Nation for a reward. He is flanked by all the wrestlers, who threaten them to leave. Katara runs after Toph as she leaves, asking for her assistance. Her father protests, saying Toph is weak, helpless and fragile, which causes Toph to reject her father and assist them. Toph heads back into the arena demanding Aang’s release. The Earthbenders begin to attack, and Toph tells Sokka and Katara to leave them to her. Toph defeats each opponent almost effortlessly. This amazes and shocks Toph's father and Master Yu. Finally, Toph faces off against Xin Fu and sends him flying into the wall. Master Yu exclaims, "She is the greatest Earthbender I’ve ever seen!"
- Back at home, Toph tries to explain her secret identity to her parents, hoping it won't upset them. They decide Toph has had too much freedom and must be confined and guarded from now on. Aang, Katara and Sokka are forced out of the house, and Toph sheds tears for losing the possibility of gaining friends and what little freedom she had left.
- Preparing to leave on Appa, they are overjoyed when Toph comes running up, telling them her father has changed his mind. Toph knocks Aang into a tree as payback for knocking her off stage at the championship battle. Toph then requests the championship belt back, and Sokka tosses it down to her, forgetting she can't see, causing the belt to hit Toph square on the head. Sokka sheepishly apologizes and Aang falls out of the tree.
- Toph’s father brings a small chest to a table in front of Master Yu and Xin Fu, saying he knows they are different, but have a similar interest. He then opens the chest to reveal a large amount of gold. He is offering it to them for the safe return of his daughter, whom he states was kidnapped by the Avatar, revealing that Toph ran away. As the quartet fly away on Appa, Toph appears to be enjoying her first taste of freedom.
- Meanwhile, back on her ship, Azula seeks the advice of her trainers about capturing her brother and uncle. They tell her, "When tracking your brother and uncle, the royal procession may no longer be an option. You must be wise if you wish to keep the element of surprise." She takes their advice and decides to put together a small, agile team to track them.
The Cave Of Two Lovers (Zuko and Iroh)/Return To Omashu (Azula)
- Elsewhere, Zuko and Iroh are trying their best to survive on their own. Things are not so easy for the formerly pampered characters though – Zuko can not find food and Iroh ends up making tea with the dangerous White Jade plant in the wild (he thought it was a legendary White Dragon bush, which, "makes a tea so delicious it's heartbreaking"). He then finds berries which could cure him (Pekui Berries) or give him blindness (Maka'ole Berries). Zuko tells him they aren't taking any more chances and throws the berries away. After thinking about whether they should go to an Earth Kingdom town (which would risk capture and execution) or going to a Fire Nation town (which would risk being turned over to Azula), both decide to travel to an Earth Kingdom village for medicine and food.
- 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 Academy for Girls together. Azula informs her she wants her help in tracking down her "fuddy-duddy" uncle (but leaves out Zuko). Ty Lee declines her offer and Azula accepts her decision but informs her she's staying to watch her show; Ty Lee is not thrilled by this (possibly aware of Azula's motives).
- In the nearby town, Zuko and Iroh meet a friendly girl named Song, who proceeds to ask them their names. Zuko says his name is Lee and Iroh's name is Mushi; Iroh gets him back by saying he was named for his father so they call him Junior. Song tells of her father's capture when the Fire Nation raided her village. When she asks Zuko whether his father is fighting in the war, Zuko says that he is, but does not tell her that his father is the Fire Lord.
- 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'll fall; he replies, "Of course not." Azula decides it would be more interesting if she did it without the safety net, or better yet set it 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 then orders all the animals the circus has to be released inside the tent.
- Minutes later, Zuko sits on the front porch. Song sits next to him and mentions that the Fire Nation has hurt Zuko as well. When she tries to touch his scar, Zuko rebuffs her. She then shows Zuko a burn on her leg cause by Firebending, sympathizing with him and showing him that the Fire Nation hurt her as well. Zuko seems shocked by her injury.
- Backstage, Azula congratulates her friend on the show; Ty Lee decides the universe is telling her to go with Azula. Back inside the city, Azula and Ty Lee approach Mai. Mai, thinking there is an enemy nearby, pulls out a three-pronged knife and throws it, but Azula manages to evade. Mai, jokingly, asks hopefully 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. But Azula, having too much of her father in her, tells the governor he's making a mess of things and also corrects him that there was no more "Omashu". She renames the city in honor of her father: New Ozai. She decides Mai will handle the trade so the governor can't mess it up.
- Meanwhile Zuko and Iroh depart from Song's residence. While Iroh thanks the family for their excellent meal, Zuko steals the family's Ostrich Horse for easy traveling. Iroh tries to convince his nephew not to do it, but in the end he hops on anyway, after Zuko insists. Song witnesses this event but does not stop them. She instead just closes her door as Zuko and Iroh left.
- 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.
- Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph have landed in a clearing where they begin to unpack. Toph comments on their superb campsite finding abilities as she feels the "soft grass". However, Sokka corrects her that it's not grass, but Appa's shedded fur. This comment is not received well by Katara, who believes it was gross. Aang and Sokka comically start playing with the fur, making hats and mustaches out of it. Katara vocalizes her happiness of having another girl in the group because of the boys' immaturity. But, those hopes are shattered as Toph, like Aang and Sokka, walks up to and is playing along hilariously. Aang and Sokka laugh, and Katara has no choice but to giggle too.
- Night has fallen as the group sets up camp. Aang pitches a tent, Sokka's unraveling sleeping bags, Katara is filling a pot with water, and Toph lounges lazily against a rock. Katara comes over and begins to explain the group's normal system of setting up camp: they divide up the work; for example, while someone pitches a tent someone else might gather food or water, and that even Momo "does his fair share". Toph doesn't take the hint and tells her she has already collected her food and water and claims she can "carry her own weight". Katara gets slightly frustrated and tries re-explaining the system but Toph becomes aggravated and snaps at her. Katara storms off.
- Later that night, Aang and Sokka are setting up the last of camp as they unsaddle Appa. Katara comes over to apologize to Toph. Toph again agitates Katara by turning the apology around on her. Now even later that night, Toph is silently sleeping in her earth-made tent when she is awakened by a vibration in the earth. She rushes to tell the others. She tries to see if she can identify it, saying "it feels like an avalanche, but also not like an avalanche". Sokka congratulates her on her "frightening" powers of perception. They decide leaving the campsite is the best choice.
- Off in the distance they get a slight glimpse of what's following them: a large, tank-like war machine is moving fast across the desert terrain. After hours of flying, the group's exhaustion plays out on their faces as they each have dark circles under their eyes showing from their lack of sleep. Finally they settle on a spot. Toph makes her way to where she plans to sleep, but Katara again asks her to help and Toph declines. Katara is again displeased by this, decides enough is enough, and confronts Toph about her lack of help to them.
- Toph argues back before "slamming the door" in Katara's face as she Earthbends a tent and earthbends the door right in front of Katara. Aang decides to play peacemaker and asks them both to calm down. But Katara's emotions due to lack of sleep cause her to snap at Aang, (screaming at him, "I'M COMPLETELY CALM!") Later, Aang and Sokka are seemingly fast asleep as Katara stares angrily at the night sky. She loudly comments on how beautiful the stars are and how Toph won't be able to see them since she is blind. In response, Toph Earthbends Katara airborne a few feet before she lands on Sokka.
- Sokka's emotions cause him to snap from being woken up. But there's little time to argue as Toph informs them the machine is back. They again fly away on Appa. While in the air they debate about the machine and how it continuously finds them. Finally finding a spot that was seemingly away from the machine, the group decides to not even set up camp but to sleep. They again debate for a minute on what the thing is or who is in it. Katara brings up the possibility that it's Zuko, given they haven't seen him since they were up north. Unaware of who Zuko is, Toph inquires about him. Sokka answers that he's "just some angry freak with a ponytail who's tracked us all over the world".
- Their debate is cut short as Momo senses the machine's approach, as does Toph. They see the machine moving forward in the distance as it kicks up dirt behind it. Aang believes they should face them and find out who they are. The tank comes to a halt and the door opens. Three Mongoose Dragons emerge from it. Their riders and the cause of all the tension between everyone in the gang are revealed to be Ty Lee, Mai, and Azula. Toph believes they can take them as she calculates the odds: three on three. But Sokka corrects her telling her there are actually four of them. After a small argument Toph recalculates: three on three plus Sokka. Sokka is infuriated, but there's no time to argue as Azula's group draws closer. Toph sends the first strike as she Earthbends boulders down at them, but their lizards easily climb over them.
- They decide it's safer if they left so Aang, Katara, and Sokka head back for Appa. Toph tries to buy them some time by creating a large rock wall separating Azula from them. It seems to work until Azula sends a bolt of lightning at it, blowing a huge hole into the wall. The gang barely escapes as Azula sends a jet of fire at them. Meanwhile, Appa too is tired and is rapidly closing and opening his eyes, trying desperately to stay awake. Again they debate on what to do, and Katara reveals her fear of Ty Lee taking her bending away again. To Sokka's horror, the sun rises over a mountain in the distance, signaling they've been up all night. They decide to keep flying for as long as possible, but Aang warns them that they can't keep flying forever.
- As the sun rises, Azula's machine is racing to catch up with the gang. But they're not alone; Zuko follows the machine's tracks not far behind. Appa, meanwhile, is having even more difficulty staying awake and finally gives in and falls asleep. This sends Appa and the gang plummeting towards the ground. Aang tries desperately to wake him as they continue to race towards the ground. Finally Appa awakens and stops just above the trees but is unable to keep airborne, and they crash land in the woods. Aang states the obvious: "Appa's exhausted".
- More high tension causes another fight to break out between Katara and Toph, but this time Aang joins in when Toph blames Appa for their predicament; his shedded fur is leaving a perfect trail for Azula and her gang. Toph, out of aggravation, decides to leave, as Azula's machine picks up speed upon seeing the fur flying through the air, proving Toph was right. Aang is furious with himself for yelling at his Earthbending teacher, and Katara too is disgusted with herself because of her actions. Sokka is of little comfort as he agrees that they were jerks.
- They decide to find Toph and apologize but first wash Appa. Now clean and shed fur-less, Appa is deemed ready to fly by Aang as long as they leave his saddle and everything else off. Aang decides to give Azula the slip and take what's left of the shed fur and lead the tank off course. Appa flies off in one direction (hitting trees on take-off) and Aang in another.
- Toph has now walked for sometime and gained much distance. She stops suddenly upon feeling a vibration. She hits the ground, knocking the unknown person off his feet. That person is revealed to be Iroh. Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee have reached the spot of Appa's bath and found the wet fur deposited into the stream. Ty Lee debates with herself as to whether the "wads" are, "bundles" or "bunches" of fur, stating that they have an "uhh" sound. Mai helps her along deeming them "clumps". Ty Lee excitedly hugs Mai before she can block the action. She pushes Ty Lee off and tells Azula the trail heads off in a direction to the right. But Azula notices the broken trees from Appa's shaky take-off and is suspicious of Aang's plan to divert them. She tells Mai and Ty Lee to head in the direction of the broken trees and she'll follow the fur trail.
- Aang, exhausted and low on momentum, lands in a small abandoned Earth Kingdom town. He slumps on to the end of the town; there he dumps the remains of what fur is left and sits there, waiting for Azula. Back on Appa, Momo lets out a screech signaling the return of Mai and Ty Lee. Katara desperately tries to get Appa to move faster but to no avail. He shoots like a stone being skipped across the river to where Sokka and Katara believe they're safe. But their hopes are shattered as the Mongoose Dragons reveal their most astonishing ability: they're able to run on water.
- Ty Lee heads for Katara. She begins darting her hands to pressure points, but Katara's past experience with Ty Lee's chi-blocking allows her to dodge her attacks easily. After a small battle, Katara ends up pinned to a tree by the hem of her sleeves through Mai's expert knife-throwing skills, and Sokka becomes almost completely paralyzed by Ty Lee's strikes. But Appa proves to be a saving grace as he smacks his tail to the ground, blasting a gust of wind at Mai and Ty Lee, throwing them into the river.
- Back in the town, Azula has reached the end of the trail where Aang is waiting for her. She dismounts her lizard. Aang, tired and sleep-deprived, tries to seek diplomacy and asks who Azula is and what she wants. She's surprised he hasn't guessed yet so she gives him a hint: she covers the left side of her face with her hand, deepens her voice to somewhat match Zuko's and says, "I must find the Avatar to restore my honor!". Aang doesn't respond.
- Toph and Iroh are sharing a cup of tea on cliff overlooking a farming village. Iroh finds similarities between Toph and his nephew. Toph asks where his nephew is and if he's lost. Iroh responds that he's "a little lost", Iroh tells her his nephew's life has recently changed, and now he's trying to find who he is. Iroh also advises her not to resist when people that love you try to help you. She takes this into consideration and heads off to find the gang.
- Azula and Aang stand facing each other at a stand off. She asks Aang if he really wants to fight her; right on cue, Zuko bursts through an old building, lands between the two, and says "Yes, I really do". It's a three way stand off as Zuko holds his position between Aang and Azula, keeping his battle stance poised at both of them. Aang and Zuko face off against the fire nation princess, as she proves to be the most dangerous of the three. Azula fires the first shot, hitting Zuko hard and knocking him back. After that, she quickly corners Aang.
- All three exchange blows until the duel is joined by Katara, Sokka, Iroh, and Toph. The six of them (Katara, Aang, Sokka, Toph, Zuko, and Iroh) create a perfect perimeter in front of Azula and back her in a corner. She surrenders, and for one brief second Iroh lets his guard down and turns to see his new friend, Toph, standing with the Avatar. Azula takes advantage of this and fires a jet of fire at him. Zuko lets out a horrified cry, and all four benders unleash their power against her. After a large explosion, Azula disappears.
- Zuko rushes to his uncle's side, releasing an anguished cry. He senses the others behind him and orders them to leave. Katara comes forward and offers to help, but before she can explain, Zuko's frustration causes him to let out a violent burst of fire and he orders them to leave again. Later that night, the gang finally finds peace as they are fast asleep.
- On a grassy hill, a much younger Iroh runs past a tree, being chased by his son, Lu Ten. Lu Ten imitates a Firebending motion with his hands, which Iroh playfully pretends to get hit by and falls to the ground. Lu Ten falls on top of him and the two share a warm laugh. Years later, an older Iroh kneels in the rain before Lu Ten's grave set under the same tree, telling his beloved son that he will see him again. Iroh awakens from his dream to find his nephew Zuko watching over him within a partially destroyed home not too far from the previously visited deserted town.
- In a rocky quarry within the southeastern Earth Kingdom, Aang awakes from his sleep, excited that today is the day he will finally commence his Earthbending training with Toph, waking up a weary Katara and a cranky Sokka in the process. After Toph also awakens and bursts from her stone tent, Aang bids his Sifu (teacher) good morning and enthusiastically questions what high-level techniques he is to learn first, only to have Toph reply that they will start by learning simply how to move a rock.
- As the tutelage begins, Toph imparts to Aang that the key to earthbending is a firm, steady stance. That rock is a stubborn element and in order to move it, one must essentially be like a rock. She demonstrates the actual motion by sending a rock into a wall. Believing to have grasped the basic concept, Aang attempts to emulate her, but ends up blasting the rock with air and propelling himself backwards into Appa.
- Zuko explains to Iroh that he was knocked unconscious after a surprise lightning attack by Azula. After serving him some tea, Zuko goes on to state that he has contemplated the situation and has come to realize that it is only a matter of time before they encounter Azula once more. He feels the need to learn more advanced firebending techniques if he is to stand a chance against his sister. To Zuko's surprise, his uncle agrees with him and decides it is time to resume their training.
- Back at the quarry, both Katara and Aang are perplexed as to why he was not able to move the boulder, as he executed the exact same motion as Toph. Aang suggests trying to find an alternate solution such as coming at the rock from a different angle, but Toph explains that flexible thinking is precisely the problem; earthbending requires a head-on approach over a clever solution. As Aang shows signs of being unsure of himself, Katara takes Toph aside to explain that as his former teacher, she has come to notice that Aang responds well to positive teaching methods. This includes plenty of encouragement, praise, kind words, and a gentle nudge in the right direction if he is doing something wrong. After thanking Katara for her advice, Toph proceeds to engage Aang in several rigorous activities involving earth, including carrying a heavy boulder on his back, punching solid rock, and balancing on stone columns, yelling at him to be more "rocklike" all the way. After a few initial failures, Aang gradually starts to become successful with the many different training activities.
- While the others oversee Aang's training, Sokka is off hunting alone in a small forest just outside the quarry. Hiding in a tree, he spots a small, cute, but unidentifiable creature. Sokka casually states that even though the creature is cute, it also happens to be made of meat. Once it is close enough, he jumps down from the tree to deliver the blow. However, he falls through a crevice straight into the ground. Buried up to his neck and deprived of the use of his arm, he is now stuck in the crack.
- Meanwhile, Iroh explains to his nephew the essence of lightning and how a Firebender can come to engender it. Lightning, or the "cold-blooded fire" as some call it, is a pure expression of the elemental art and completely without aggression, contrasting with the other forms of firebending. Much like his sister Azula, it is precise and deadly and performing lightning requires a peace of mind. Iroh generates lightning.
- Outside the decrepit building, Iroh continues with his lecture. Positive yang energy and negative yin energy must be separated, creating an imbalance, and only a select few Firebenders can separate the energies. When the different energies recombine to restore the balance, they come crashing back together. The role of the Firebender is to provide release and guidance, thus creating lightning. Iroh successfully demonstrates by releasing a massive stream of lightning into the distance. Taken aback, Zuko states that he is ready to try it. Though he is able to mimic his uncle's motions, rather than lightning, he instead creates a fiery explosion that throws him backwards.
- At the canyon, Toph decides to take a change of pace. She informs Aang that instead of moving a rock, he will instead stop a moving one. After blindfolding Aang, Toph rolls a huge boulder down a steep slope straight towards him. Sensing the boulder rolling closer and closer, Aang panics at the last second and jumps over the rock. His dismay is only made worse by Toph berating him over his extreme passiveness and calling him a jelly-boned wimp. Katara tries to console Aang by offering to help him work on his waterbending.
- Becoming enraged as well as frustrated over being unsuccessful with lightning, Zuko comments on how it just keeps blowing up in his face, like everything always does. Iroh concludes that Zuko's inner turmoil is hampering from creating lightning and that he will never be able to master the art until the turmoil is dealt with. Unable to fully comprehend his uncle's words, Iroh opts to teach Zuko a firebending move that he made up himself.
- Still stuck in the crack, Sokka scornfully converses with the mooselion. He relates that he truly does not have anything against the creature; hunting and eating meat has simply been apart of his nature. However states that he has convinced himself to lead a "karma-cally" correct vegetarian existence if he can get out of this alive. Sokka remains trapped inside the crevice.
- In a marsh, Aang and Katara practice moving a small mass of water around and between each other. Katara reminds Aang that the block can only be temporary and tries to persuade Aang to face the issue instead of avoiding it. Aang, on the other hand, feels too dejected to even talk about his problem, let alone face it. He also expresses frustration and confusion as to why he cannot seem to do it. Katara relays her belief that because Aang is working with his opposite element, earth, it is especially hard for him. She also holds to the belief he will figure it out in the end. Katara then surprises Aang by abruptly breaking off and hurling a reed at him, but Aang is able to use a wave of water to cleanly slice the reed into two halves just before it hits him. Katara congratulates Aang for having the reflexes of a waterbending master. Aang in turn bows and thanks her, affectionately addressing her as "Sifu Katara." A touched Katara bows back.
- Iroh gives further detail about the four nations to Zuko. The Fire Nation symbolizes power and desire, the Earth Kingdom symbolizes endurance and diversity, the Air Nomads symbolize freedom from worldly concerns, and the Water Tribes symbolize love and community, especially in the face of change. He explains that people can gain wisdom by understanding each other. If wisdom is drawn from only one place, it becomes rigid and stale. Zuko interjects that this is beginning to allude towards the Avatar. Iroh goes on to claim that that it is the combination of the four elements in one person that makes the Avatar so powerful, and that it can do the same for him. To punctuate his point, Iroh reveals that he created his special technique by studying the Waterbenders.
- At sundown, Toph taunts Aang about his submissiveness by abusing his staff, using it as a nutcracker. She walks away just as Katara arrives, worried that Sokka has not yet returned. Aang and Katara split up to search for him. Sokka is now more than ready to give up meat and sarcasm in order to escape from the crack in the ground, as well as to change his karma. This is proven to be hypocrisy when Aang finds him, and Sokka immediately asks Aang if he has any meat. Aang attempts his airbending to free him, but it proves to be ineffective. Sokka opts for earthbending to be used to free him, but Aang sadly says he cannot. Sokka then requests that Toph should be brought to help, but Aang describes the notion as uncomfortable. He then goes to share with Sokka his feelings towards learning earthbending and the pressure he feels, with Sokka interjecting dry responses along the way. Suddenly, the critter returns, whom Sokka named Foo Foo Cuddlypoops and Aang identifies it as a saber-tooth moose-lion cub. Aang asks the cub if he lost his mother. Sure enough, the fully grown mother of the cub arrives and she is furious.
- Iroh begins to teach Zuko how to redirect lightning. Lightning goes through one arm, into the stomach and out the other arm. They practice the hand motion to feel the pathway. When Zuko thinks he has mastered it, he demands that Uncle Iroh strike him with lightning. However, Iroh refuses because of the possibility of hurting his nephew. Gazing off at the dark clouds approaching, Zuko rides to "find his own lightning".
- The mother saber-tooth moose-lion roars and charges at Aang and Sokka. Aang initially tries to avoid the beast and distract it away from Sokka, but all that serves to do is leave Sokka open for attack. Determined not to leave his friend again, Aang stands his ground before the crack as the mother faces another of the mother's charge head-on. With a strong gust of air, he manages to blow back the beast, which loses interest and walks away. Toph, who was silently observing the conflict, half-heartedly congratulates Aang and continues cracking nuts with his staff. Incensed that she callously stood by and did nothing as Sokka's life was in danger, Aang forcefully demands that she return his staff. Toph then says that Aang is thinking like an Earthbender and tells to do the rock again, which Aang is successfully able to accomplish. After deeming Aang a true Earthbender, Toph drags Sokka out of the hole, finally giving him freedom.
- Aang, Toph, and Sokka eventually make their way back to the campsite and reunite with Katara, Appa and Momo. Relieved that her brother is safe and after witnessing Aang's newly acquired earthbending ability, Katara takes Toph aside and questions if she tried the positive reinforcement. Toph replies that she did and that it worked wonders.
- At the top of a mountain, Zuko stands defiantly yelling into the raging rainstorm as the lightning crackles overhead. He dares the storm to strike him since he says he can take it, and that it has "never held back before"; however the storm, in a seemingly mocking manner, does not oblige. Zuko suddenly sheds a tear, falls to his knees, and cries out in anguish.
- The scene opens with Aang sitting on the ground looking over a vast open savanna landscape. The scene then shifts, showing the gang standing behind the seated Aang, who is holding a flute in his hand, and Sokka asks, “What’s out here?” As Toph bends down to touch the ground, she responds, “A lot actually.” Just as she’s about to elaborate, Aang interrupts her, telling her not to ruin the surprise. Aang makes a musical note with the flute, and then a groundhog-type creature emerges and repeats the same note. After several more notes, a frustrated Sokka puts his finger into the end of the flute and states they need to make plans. Toph points out they are making plans - mini-vacations plans. Sokka doesn’t feel they have time for vacations. Aang points out he is working his “arrow off” diligently with Toph and Katara to master the elements, and Katara agrees there’s nothing wrong with enjoying themselves during their down time. Sokka is very concerned they have no inside information about the Fire Nation and that even if Aang masters the elements, then they won't know what to do as they have no idea how to even find the Fire Lord, let alone defeat him. Sokka states they need intelligence (information) in order to win the war. Katara aptly states, “All right, we’ll finish our vacations and then we’ll look for Sokka’s intelligence.”
- For her mini-vacation, Katara chooses the Misty Palms Oasis from Aang’s map. However, the gang soon finds out the Misty Palms Oasis has gone downhill in reputation in the past 100 years. They go into a bar-like establishment where an employee prepares a Mango. The customer being served accidentally bumps into Aang, spilling some of his drink onto Aang. Aang uses his Airbending to dry himself. The customer, excited to meet an airbender, introduces himself as Professor Zei of the Ba Sing Se University. He begins quizzing Aang as though Aang is a science specimen. Sokka inquires as to whether the Professor has a more recent map, and the Professor unrolls a map showing a vast desert with routes marked where he has gone in search of the Knowledge Spirit's library. With the possibility that the library may have information to be used against the Fire Nation, Sokka dramatically announces his choice for the next mini-vacation to be the library. The Professor states it is impossible to cross the desert, and the gang then introduces him to Appa. Sandbenders, who are Earthbenders who specialize in bending sand, are trying to take Appa, but the Professor shoos them away.
- The group heads out in search of the large library. After a long search, Sokka finally spots something that looks like a tower sticking out of the sand. Just as they are about to give up, a fox carrying a scroll walks up the side of the tower and into a window at the top, and Sokka realizes this is the library. Devastated that his life-long dream of finding the Knowledge Spirit's library is buried, the Professor drops to the ground and begins to excavate. Toph puts her hand on the tower and announces the library is intact under the sand. All but Toph and Appa head into the library.
- After entering the library, they hear something approaching and hide behind ornate columns. A huge black white-faced owl comes out. After a few moments taking in his surroundings, the owl speaks, telling the group he knows they are there. Professor Zei comes out excitedly and introduces himself. The owl is less than impressed and tells the Professor he should leave or he will stuff him like an animal trophy. The others come out from hiding and Sokka asks if he is the spirit who brought the library to the physical world, to which the owl says yes. The Knowledge Spirit, who is named Wan Shi Tong, then informs them that humans are not permitted in the library anymore because they abuse the knowledge in his library. After Aang promises they will not abuse the knowledge, the owl relents but only after each provides some knowledge for the library. The Professor offers a first edition book; Katara offers a waterbending scroll; Aang offers his wanted poster; and Sokka offers a specialty tied knot. After accepting these donations to his library (some of which he is less than impressed with), the Knowledge Spirit descends into the lower levels allowing the group to look around.
- Meanwhile, Toph attempts to make small talk with Appa outside. She explains to Appa how because the sand is loose, her “seeing” abilities are blurred (similar to when a person who wears glasses removes them). Back inside the library, the group looks around and we learn that in a previous life, Aang was once left-handed. Sokka finds a parchment stating the darkest day of the Fire Nation with a date. The group then goes in search of a Fire Nation wing of the library. Once they find it, they are shocked to discover everything has been destroyed by Firebenders. From nowhere, a fox appears and indicates that it will lead them to where they can get more information. The fox opens a door to a planetarium and shows them how to use it. Katara suggests putting the date from the parchment and then run the machine. Once this is done, they realize a solar eclipse will incapacitate the Firebenders in a manner similar to how the removal of the moon affected the Waterbenders. Just as Sokka is gloating about the Firebenders going down, the Knowledge Spirit appears. Understandably angry, he flaps his wings and begins sinking the library. The group begins to flee with the owl chasing them.
- Outside, Toph realizes the library is sinking. Her initial attempt to stop the sinking proves fruitless as she begins to sink herself, but she then manages to solidify some sand around her feet while using her fists to slow the library’s descent. As the chase inside the library continues, Sokka has Aang come with him back to the planetarium so they can see if or when the next solar eclipse will happen before the return of Sozin’s comet. The spirit continues to chase Katara and the Professor as Aang and Sokka head back. While continuing to hold up the library, Toph becomes aware that others are there. Sandbenders arrive, but Toph cannot make out who is there or where they are. Aang and Sokka begin checking dates from that day to the arrival of Sozin’s comet and eventually find the date of the next solar eclipse, which is a few months away.
- Alternating between holding up the library and shooting random shots at the Sandbenders, Toph loses her battle to protect Appa while continuing to hold the library up from sinking. The Knowledge Spirit catches up to Katara and tells her he is versed in all types of waterbending styles and her bending will do her no good. Suddenly Sokka drops down on the owl and knocks it out saying, "That's called Sokka Style. Learn it." As they begin to ascend the rope, Sokka calls to the Professor, who refuses to leave. The spirit regains consciousness and shakes Sokka and Katara off the rope, but Aang manages to catch them and flies them out of the library. Realizing they are out, Toph releases her grip on the library, and it vanishes into the sand. Although initially happy at the discovery of a weakness to the Fire Nation, the mood changes once they realize Appa is gone. A tear goes down Aang's face, and the camera pans to the sun.
- The scene begins with Zuko and Iroh. While riding on the ostrich-horse, Iroh makes many sounds, pretending to be in pain in order to get Zuko to stop for a break. As soon as the duo stops, they are surrounded by five adversaries on rhinos – the same ones from Avatar Day. Iroh identifies the group as Colonel Mongke and the Rough Rhinos. Iroh greets them in a friendly manner but takes note of where they all are, as the Colonel has stated they are there to capture some fugitives (Zuko and Iroh). As the group attacks, Iroh and Zuko effectively maneuver an escape. Zuko asks Iroh if he has any old friends that don’t want to attack them, giving Iroh an idea.
- The Gaang are stuck in the desert right after Aang, Sokka, Katara and Momo exited the Library before it sank. All but Toph are looking in different directions for signs of Appa. A distraught Aang verbally goes after Toph for letting the sandbenders get away with Appa – accusing her of intentionally letting Appa be captured. Katara attempts to calm Aang down and points out that Toph saved them. Sokka doesn’t help the situation by pointing out they are still in need of rescuing - as they are in the middle of the desert. Aang then lashes out at everyone by calling them selfish. Despite Katara’s efforts to calm Aang, he heads out on his glider to look for Appa leaving the others behind. Katara then decides the rest of them need to start walking if they hope to get to Ba Sing Se and get the solar eclipse information to others.
- Katara, Sokka, Toph, and Momo are tiredly walking through the desert. Sokka slows a bit and Toph runs into him, prompting an irritable Sokka to begin to say, “Can’t you watch where you’re...?” (momentarily forgetting that Toph is blind). Katara shares some of her bending water to help keep them hydrated. But this is met with some criticism as Sokka realizes it’s been used in the swamp. Sokka spots a cactus and slices part of it open to reveal some type of liquid inside. Momo also drinks some. Katara warns against eating strange plants whose effects they do not know, when suddenly Sokka’s pupils dilate and both he and Momo begin to hallucinate. Toph asks to try some, but Katara decides it’s best if they do not have any more and continue looking for Aang.
- Aang glides along looking for Appa – blowing his bison whistle and yelling. He then lands, and in his anger, he Airbends a huge sand mushroom cloud. The others (seemingly a long distance away) not only see the cloud but also feel the air. Unknowingly, they decide to keep walking - away from Aang. Sokka and Momo continue to hallucinate, believing the cloud is a giant mushroom. Back at the Misty Palms Oasis, Xin Fu and Master Yu get information that Aang and Toph have been there recently, but headed into the desert and may never come back. Just then, Xin Fu notices Fire Nation wanted posters as well as Iroh and Zuko arriving into the Oasis. Nearing sunset and Aang rejoins the group – without Appa. Aang is very discouraged and seems willing to give up, but Katara pulls the group together again and they continue on even as vulture-wasp-like creatures buzz overhead.
- As Katara declares, "I think we should stop for the night," the others gladly fall to the ground exhausted. Toph asks for water and Katara begins to ration out the last of what she has when Momo runs into the water, causing it to sink into the ground. Katara manages to get most back using her waterbending. She asks Sokka for a look at some of the information from the library and Sokka (still under the effects of the cactus) accuses Momo of ratting him out by telling Katara about the information he had – forgetting Katara was with him in the library. Still in his defeatist mode, Aang says the maps won’t help them find Appa, but Katara points out they will help them head to Ba Sing Se by following the stars. Katara says they should start up again in a few hours to take advantage of the cool nights.
- Iroh and Zuko are inside the same establishment where Aang's crew met the Professor in the previous episode. Iroh spots someone at the Pai Sho table and believes this may be the friend they are looking for. As they head over, Xin Fu wants to go after them, but Master Yu points out they may be in over their heads given where they are and they should show patience and wait for the right moment to go after Zuko and Iroh. Iroh approaches the Pai Sho table and asks to play. After beginning with the Lotus tile, the friend and Iroh begin what appears to be a ritualistic game understood by the two of them. Xin Fu loses his patience and goes for Iroh and Zuko, but their new friend creates a diversion, causing the rest of the people in the establishment to fight with two would-be captors while Iroh and Zuko escape.
- Meanwhile, Katara is rousing everyone awake to take advantage of the night. Aang mistakes a cloud for Appa. When Katara asks him to Waterbend the cloud into her water-skin, Aang angrily does so. After Katara comments on how little water there was from the cloud, Aang blows up at her asking her what she's doing... to which she quietly states "trying to keep everyone together." As they head out, Toph bangs her foot against what she calls a boat, and Aang uncovers a glider-like the Sandbenders used. There’s a compass aboard and the group decides to use the glider to try to get out of the desert. Sokka and Momo are still under the effects of the cactus, and they continue to trip.
- Iroh and Zuko are led into a flower shop by their friend who tells Iroh what an honor it is to have such a high ranking member of the Order of the White Lotus. Zuko, still unconvinced as to how playing Pai Sho will help them, makes a derisive statement about flower arranging. Iroh apologizes to their new friend about Zuko's lack of appreciation for their group. After a cryptic exchange through a speakeasy-type opening, Iroh and the new friend are let into a back room, but Zuko is shut out and made to wait in the flower shop as it is "members only". Aang uses his Airbending to move the glider over the sand. Katara mentions that she doesn’t think the compass is pointing north, and suddenly they see a huge rock formation ahead. Toph is excited to get to the rock while Aang appears to be maliciously hoping there are sandbenders there.
- When they reach the top of the huge rock, Toph falls back to make a rock angel to show her joy at being back on solid ground. The crew goes into some caves, and Sokka says he thinks his head is starting to clear up but then proceeds to eat a sap-like, gooey substance from the walls which tastes terrible. Suddenly, Toph realizes these aren’t natural caves and there is something buzzing that is coming toward them. Huge buzzard-wasp-like animals swarm out. Toph's aim is hampered by the fact the creatures are flying, and Katara is out of water for bending. Momo is snatched by one of the buzzing creatures, and Aang goes after them. He successfully frees Momo, while the others work their way down the rock. It appears Aang used his Airbending to kill the creature after Momo was freed, showing a sinister side to Aang, although the act seemed atypical of him because at the time he was severely stressed and neither before this nor since has he acted that way (indeed he displays an intense aversion to the idea of killing later in the series). The rest of the group are fighting off the swarm when suddenly, huge sandblasts shoo them back to the top. When the sand clears there are several Sandbenders, Aang returns and lands in between his group and the Sandbenders.
- Iroh finally emerges from the back room and awakens Zuko, as he's sleeping standing up. He tells Zuko they will be heading to Ba Sing Se and hiding in plain sight. Unfortunately, Xin Fu and Master Yu are still looking for them. The Sandbenders ask why they have one of their vessels, and Katara explains they found it and that their Bison was stolen. Toph recognizes one of the voices as one who took Appa. Suddenly Aang demands to know where his bison is, and when his accusation is challenged, he destroys one of the gliders and makes his demand again. Xin Fu and Master Yu head into the flower shop looking for Zuko and Iroh, but they are not to be found – even after Xin Fu knocks down the door to the back room. A cart with two potted plants is being taken out of the Oasis and suddenly we see Iroh and Zuko are hiding in the pots.
- Aang again demands to know where Appa is and destroys a sand sailer. The leader turns to his son and asks what he did. The son denies any wrongdoing, but Toph said she heard the son say to put a muzzle on Appa, Hearing this, Aang, enraged, goes instantly into the Avatar State and destroys another sand sailer. Rightly fearful for his life, the son confesses he took the Bison but didn’t know it was the Avatar's. Aang (in a menacing Avatar voice on top of his own) demands to know Appa's location, and the son says he traded Appa to a merchant and that he's probably in Ba Sing Se by now. Avatar Aang begins to form an air ball around him similar to when he was in the Southern Air Temple and had found Gyatso. Sokka pushes Toph forward by the shoulders and shouts to the Sandbenders to run. As Avatar Aang begins rising into the air, Katara approaches him, grabs his wrist, pulls Aang down, and embraces him – eventually bringing Aang out of the Avatar State and it is revealed that tears are streaming down his face.
- Meanwhile, Zuko and Iroh are asleep in a ferry. The flashbacks from Zuko Alone started coming in.
The Serpent's Pass
- The scene opens with Aang, Toph, Momo and Katara enjoying a short refreshing break in a pool of water at the base of a waterfall while Sokka reviews the maps they acquired from the Spirit Library. After accidentally soaking the maps with a Waterbending bomb (similar to doing a cannonball in a pool), Katara uses her Waterbending to extract the water from the maps. The group then huddles around the map to discuss in which direction they should go – the Serpent's Pass appears to be the most direct route. Just as they decide Serpent's Pass is what they will head toward, a group of three Earth Kingdom refugees approach and greet the gang. Hearing Aang's group's plans to go through Serpent's Pass (a route for only the desperate) the Earth Kingdom trio convince Aang’s group to instead go to Full Moon Bay to take a ferry to Ba Sing Se.
- After arriving at the hidden Full Moon Bay Ferry station, Katara is amazed to see how many refugees there are awaiting transportation. Unknown to the group, a ferry which has just departed has Iroh and Prince Zuko disguised as Mushi and Lee. Meanwhile, back at Full Moon Bay, the ticketmaster refuses to allow the Cabbage Merchant to bring on any vegetables as they may have parasites. Aang then approaches the ticketmaster and requests four tickets. She refuses as he does not have a passport, no animals are allowed and she refuses to believe Aang is the Avatar as she sees 50 a day. Aang backs away as Toph approaches with her Beifong family documents and the Ticket Master practically falls over herself to accommodate Toph by granting passage to the four of them (and allowing Momo as her seeing-eye-Lemur).
- Just as Sokka is celebrating their score of the tickets, he's grabbed at the neck by a guard asking for tickets and passports. Not recognizing her until she kisses him on the cheek, Sokka is surprised by a clean faced Suki greeting them. As they catch up on old times and Suki is told of Appa's disappearance, the trio that was traveling with Aang's group calls up to them in desperation as their tickets and passports had been stolen. Despite Aang's appeal to the ticketmaster, she will not allow the trio onto the ferry. Therefore, Aang decides he will lead them all through the Serpent's Pass.
- As the group heads to the Serpent's Pass, Suki joins them although Sokka seems to have some misgivings which he doesn't voice. The group arrives at the Serpent's Pass and Katara reads the inscription on the post at the entrance stating they should abandon hope. As they head along the pass, they see a Fire Nation ship in the lake. Suddenly, the rock path gives way underneath one of the refugees, but Toph manages to save him. Unfortunately, the rock fall attracts the attention of the Fire Nation ship, which begins firing at the group. Aang deflects fireballs from the group, but one manages to make a hit. After pushing Suki out of the way of rock debris from a Fire Nation blast, Sokka is sure to be hit, but Toph earthbends a barrier to deflect the rock. Instead of thanking Toph, Sokka focuses on getting Suki out of harm's way. This rightfully annoys Toph, but she quickly follows the group. As night falls, Sokka again acts overprotective of Suki, which baffles her.
- As Aang looks out over the water, Katara lets Aang know it's alright to miss Appa. She asks why he's keeping his emotions in check and Aang replies that he didn't like how his anger changed him in the desert. Katara encourages Aang to not give up on hope and attempts to give him a hug, but Aang simply bows and thanks her for her concern. As Sokka is looking at the moon, Suki approaches him and comments on its beauty. She asks him why he's being so over-protective and he tries to explain about how he was unable to protect someone at the North Pole and he doesn't want that to happen to anyone else he cares about. Suki, in a roundabout way, tells Sokka she has missed him and the two almost kiss, but Sokka claims he can't. Suki apologizes, but Sokka says it's not her fault.
- The next morning at the Serpent's Pass, the group hits a section which is completely submerged by the lake. Initially discouraged, the group is brought together as Katara tells everyone to get in a single file line as she parts the water for them to walk the path. Aang helps out and they create a bubble for them to walk in. Momo jumps into the water looking to catch some fish when suddenly something large swims by. The bubble is burst by the creature, Toph earthbends the floor of the path high enough to get them above the waterline. The creature circles them and then shows itself. As Sokka states, we now know why it's called the Serpent's Pass. Aang tells Katara to get the others to safety as he distracts the serpent. Katara makes an ice bridge for the others to cross and then heads out on top of the water to assist Aang. Sokka encourages Toph to cross the ice, but mid-way the serpent smashes the bridge, sending Toph into the water. Suki rescues her, but thinking it was Sokka, who had called out to Toph that he was coming for her, Toph kisses Suki instead. When she realizes, an embarrassed Toph says "You can go ahead and let me drown now."
- Aang and Katara make a huge whirlpool spinning the serpent, which eventually gets knocked out as it hits one of the pass' walls. The group completes its trek to the other side of the pass and they see the wall of Ba Sing Se. Unfortunately for Sokka's smooth sailing plans, the pregnant refugee goes into labor. Katara takes charge again and designates jobs to everyone as they prepare to help the woman deliver her baby.
- Katara helps deliver the baby and they others go right in to see, except for Aang, but Katara tells him he has to see so he heads in. Amazed, Aang's expression changes from discouraged to encouraged. As the couple thinks of a name, Aang tears up and says "I've been going through a really hard time lately, but you've made me... hopeful again." The mother says she knows what they should name their daughter – Hope. The husband agrees.
- Later Aang tells Katara he thought he was being strong, but he was really running away from his feelings. Seeing the family full of love reminded him of how he feels about Appa and about her. They embrace as the others walk toward them. Aang says he's going to try to find Appa and they wish him luck. Suki tells Sokka she needs to get back to her warriors and Sokka is surprised to realize she came to protect him. Suki apologizes for the previous night, but Sokka stops her with a kiss.
- Aang reaches the wall and majestically ascends to the top only to be shocked to see a huge mechanical drill with the Fire Nation emblem emblazoned upon it. Aang turns to Momo and says "Sorry Momo, Appa is going to have to wait." Fire Nation tanks started moving towards the outer wall with the drill close behind. Several segments of the drill then extend forward, making the drill even larger. Steam comes out of pipes and spikes lodge into the ground around it. The command module then ascends from the top of the drill. Inside are Mai, Ty Lee, Azula, War Minister Qin, and several Fire Nation soldiers operating the drill. War Minister Qin brags about the drill and how it will defeat Ba Sing Se, stating that nothing can stop them. Ty Lee then questions whether the Earthbenders in the drill's way will stop it, to which Qin then points to the drill's metal shell being impervious to any Earthbending attack. To prove the point, he hits the periscope Ty Lee was looking through. Azula doubts Qin and sends Mai, who is bored out of her mind, and Ty Lee to take out the Earthbenders.
- The gang is approaching Ba Sing Se with Than, Ying, and their newborn baby Hope. Aang flies down on his glider with Momo and lands in front of them. Katara asks what he's doing there. Aang answers Katara saying that there was something big heading that way. Toph and Aang earthbend everyone up the wall. Sokka asks, "Now, what's so big that Appa has to wait?" Aang and Toph earthbend a platform up the side of the wall to carry the group to the top. When they arrive, Aang points out the drill. Ying says that the Fire Nation is finally approaching Ba Sing Se and that no one is safe. Earthbender soldiers approach and ask what they are doing on top of the wall. Aang says that he is the Avatar and asks them to take him to their leader. General Sung says that the Avatar's help is not needed since the wall is impenetrable. Toph reminds him that the Dragon of the West (Iroh) got through, but the general retaliates by saying that he was quickly removed. He humorously explains the meaning of the word Ba Sing Se, "impenetrable city". Toph , to which Sung says he has sent out an elite team of Earthbenders called the Terra Team. Sokka remarks that the name is quite catchy and begins suggesting names for their own group.
- The Terra Team knocks one of the Fire Nation tanks into the air and out of their way. They bend earth columns up towards the drill in an attempt to slow it down. Unfortunately, the drill extends again and the columns crumble. Mai and Ty Lee slide down the side of the drill, with Mai hurling daggers at the Terra Team. Ty Lee swings off a rope onto the ground, and deftly takes out all the Earthbenders in seconds by hitting their pressure points and blocking their chi, and stands triumphantly over the defeated warriors. The general sees their defeat and exclaims, "We're doomed!" Sokka slaps him and tells him to get a hold of himself. The general apologizes. Toph asks him if he wants their help again, to which Sung turns to Aang and agrees. Katara, Toph, and Aang all look at Sokka for a plan.
- Katara uses her healing powers on one of the Earthbenders that was attacked by Mai and Ty Lee. When the general mentions that the bender doesn't look injured, she tells him that the Earthbender's chi is blocked. The Earthbender provides a description of the person who ambushed him, and Katara identifies Ty Lee as the attacker. She comments on how she doesn't look like a threat, but says, "It's like she takes you down from the inside". Sokka's face lights up and he states that that is perfect way to take down the drill. Toph chimes in by saying, "By hitting its pressure points". Aang agrees and they start their descent from the wall towards the drill. Toph creates a large dust cloud to use as cover, telling the gang to stay close while inside. Ty Lee examines the dust cloud through the periscope and says that it's "poofy." Azula looks at War Minister Qin suspiciously, who reassures her that it's nothing.
- The group runs into the cloud; Toph creates a tunnel underground and tells everyone to get in. Sokka remarks that it's very dark and that he can't see, to which Toph replies, "Oh no, what a nightmare!" They all emerge from the tunnel, now under the drill. Sokka sees an open hatch, and Aang helps them all get into the drill. He tells Toph to get on, but she refuses, explaining that she wouldn't be able to see inside the drill, as it is made of metal. She decides help from the outside by wedging a large boulder against the drill to slow it down.
- Sokka says that he needs the drill's schematics, and Aang asks where they're going to get it. Sokka swings his machete, taking off a wheel of a pipe. Steam starts to rush out of it. Aang and Katara become worried that someone will catch them, but Sokka explains that a large machine is bound to have engineers to maintain its function and someone will come to fix the problem; thus allowing them to steal the schematics they need. A Firebender engineer walks out of the mist and turns around. Katara freezes the steam, along with the engineer. Sokka takes a schematic from the engineer, and the gang run up the stairs. Sokka examines the schematic and explains that they need to cut through the braces that hold together the inner mechanism and the outer shell.
- Sokka, Katara, and Aang arrive at the braces. Aang and Katara slowly slice away at the brace using Waterbending (a technique called water lashing). Halfway through one brace, however, both Aang and Katara are exhausted. Sokka tries to cheer them on and almost gets water-whipped by Katara. They cut through one brace, but at that point, they are both beat. Suddenly, there is a loud rumbling and the entire drill shakes. They think that they finished the drill, but then War Minister Qin comes over the announcement system and explains that they have made contact with the wall.
- Sokka uselessly pushes against the brace with all his might, but fails to even budge it. Even though they're putting everything they have into cutting down the braces, the damage is still minimal. Aang then realizes that they don't need to cut all the way through the braces, but just enough so he can break them with a final blow. The gang realizes it's the perfect way to take down the drill, and Aang reminds them that everyone in Ba Sing Se is depending on them. Immediately, Aang and Katara begin to cut away at the braces, while Toph continues to slow the drill from the outside.
- Meanwhile, Earthbenders on the wall are throwing large boulders at the drill but to no avail. A soldier informs the war minister that the engineer was ambushed, and another tells him that a brace was cut clean through. Sensing a sabotage, Azula beckons Ty Lee and Mai to investigate with her. Aang and Katara are still cutting through the braces. Sokka is in the middle of cheering them on when a blue fire ball comes hurdling down. He dodges and screams. Katara and Aang look up to find Azula, Mai and Ty Lee standing above them. Ty Lee was excited to see the Avatar "and friends" while shooting Sokka a flirtatious look. Sokka responds with a wave and a drawled "Hey" while Katara pulls him away.
- Ty Lee dives towards Aang, but he Airbends her away. They split up, and Katara gives her water skin to Aang, saying he will need it more. Mai and Ty Lee follow Katara and Sokka while Azula follows Aang. Sokka and Katara come to a hatch that reads: "slurry pipeline." They realize it's their only escape route and jump down into the muddy water and get washed away through the bowels of the drill. Ty Lee and Mai look down into the pipe. Ty Lee tries to persuade Mai to accompany her, but Mai persistently refuses, stating, "Azula can shoot all the lightning she wants at me, I'm not going in that wall sludge juice." Ty Lee shrugs and jumps in, and Mai closes the hatch after her.
- Aang speeds past numerous engineers and control rooms with Momo on his back. He climbs a ladder to the top of the drill where he plans to deliver the final strike that should take down the entire drill for good. Katara and Sokka end up outside of the drill covered in wall sludge with Ty Lee close behind. Katara bends the water in the mud creating a plug, trapping Ty Lee in it. Sokka explains that when Aang delivers the final blow, the pipes will be ready to pop from the built-up pressure. Aang chooses a spot on the top of the drill to deliver the final blow. Suddenly, several boulders fall from the sky. One of the boulders nearly hits Aang. Aang beckons to the general to stop shooting rocks, but Sung, still paralyzed with fear, tells his men to keep hurling rocks at the drill. Aang uses Waterbending to cut through the metal and weaken the spot where he is going to deliver the final blow.
- Meanwhile, Katara is still holding back the slurry to build up pressure. Sokka is cheering her on, and she finally gets fed up with his constant chattering "like a hog monkey" and knocks him down with slurry. Toph approaches and offers her help, and Katara asks her to help plug up the drain. Toph Earthbends the slurry, placing more pressure on the pipes.
- Aang still works towards weakening the metal and stops to say, "What I'd give to be a metalbender." Momo shrieks, and they turn around to see a blue fire blast coming towards them. Aang manages to dodge it and sends Momo away preparing for his fight with Azula. Azula shoots several fireballs at him. Aang dodges them and shoots an air blast back. He uses his water whip to knock Azula's blasts off target. She kicks two fierce blasts and Aang tries to block them with water, but it evaporates while he is knocked back. Several boulders start falling again and Aang takes the opportunity to shoot one at Azula. She ducks in time and shoots another fire ball. Aang creates a wall of rubble and shoots rocks from the wall at Azula. She kicks them away and almost gets Aang's head with a kick of flames. Azula somersaults in the air and delivers a powerful fire blast destroying the makeshift wall. Aang hurtles into the wall of Ba Sing Se and falls, unconscious, onto the surface of the drill.
- The drill extends again, and Azula walks over to Aang with bitter intentions. She picks Aang up and holds him against the wall before he can slide between the wall and the drill. She readies a blue flame in her hand, but Aang slowly wakes up and sees the uncoming attack. He quickly makes an earth glove and blocks her attack, and then pushes her several feet back. Slurry spews from the wall, coating the drill with a slick layer of liquid and dirt. Azula, however, recovers, and rockets torward him using her Firebending. She has the misfortune of poor timing, and slides around in the mud instead. Her momentum flings her into Aang while windmilling to regain her control. The two of them smack into the wall, and both begin sliding down opposite sides of the cylindrical drill. Azula manages to turn over and stop herself using her hands and the soles of her shoes, while Momo latches onto Aang's back, and helps him up while Aang uses airbending so that he can climb back onto the top of the drill.
- Aang thanks Momo and runs to the weakened spot. A rock conveniently falls next to him. Aang shapes it into a wedge that fits in the "X" he carved into the shell of the drill, and rides an air scooter high up on the wall. At the apex of his ascension, he turns around and races down the wall, successfully driving the wedge into the metal, while narrowly dodging Azula's fire blast. The Drill's internal braces all collapse and the machine is left jammed, partially in the Outer Wall. Azula is knocked back by the blast created by Aang's blow, and rejoins Ty Lee, who has been freed from the slurry ball. Mai emerges from one of the pipes completely dry and casually announces to the two, "We lost".
- Back on top of the wall, Sokka begins to brainstorm clever nicknames for their group, including "The Aang Gang", "The Boomeraang Squad" and the "Fearsome Foursome." Back at the station, Iroh leans over and nuzzles a baby, who turns out to be Ying's. The scene fades out with the ferry approaching Ba Sing Se, saved from Fire Nation war tactics once again.