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I I find scenes like this important in narrative flow. Not only can these sort of cutaways serve to show the passage of time (about a week, in this case), but they can also be used merely to cement characters in relation to each other (so, what Zuko has been up to since his last scene).
Not to mention, this scene subtly points out a plot point which will be coming later, so take note.
The Legend of Aang: Game Plan
INT. ZUKO’S SHIP – WAR ROOM – DAY
ZUKO slams a map down on a table, his face clearly showing fatigue.
IROH, a lieutenant (JEE), and ZUKO are standing around the table, staring at various maps sprawled out. The camera rotates around them during the conversation.
How can the most conspicuous man on the planet disappear without a trace?
It’s easier than you’d think. No one’s looking for him, no one’s found him.
How far could he have gotten in a week, anyway?
We shouldn’t get ourselves worked up.
ZUKO stares at him.
IROH walks over to the map, a quill in his hands.
Let’s just think about this logically, shall we? Now…
He crosses off the entire Antarctic.
He’s sensible not to return to the Southern Tribe, especially since there are no benders to aid him.
ZUKO nods. IROH crosses off several islands.
And obviously he would not return to his place of origin. Again, no help to be given.
ZUKO looks back down at the map.
IROH circles a large mass on the map, both in the East and North.
So, where does that leave?
ZUKO stares at the map for a few seconds, before looking up to IROH.
Over half the Earth.
IROH looks down at what he has done.
It’s better than nothing.
ZUKO turns to face him, nodding in agreement. He points at the Southern edge of the map.
We’ll have to start there. And that’s only assuming he hasn’t gotten any farther.
Let’s pray that Zhao hasn’t beaten us to it.
True. We're lucky he didn't try to question us any more. In a way, that scroll almost saved us.
We have a true advantage over him. He knows nothing about this Avatar.
Don't be too sure. Obviously he's brown-nosed my father enough to get some reliable sources. Maybe he doesn't know much now, but he'll keep finding things out.
I hate to admit it gentlemen, but this has now become a very contetious race. And, in our case, there's no silver medal for second place.