Adaptation and Tie Ins
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- "The Avatar Returns": His Establishing Character Moment as the Avatar when Zuko knocks him into the water, he goes into the Avatar State and makes a massive waterspout, causing Zuko's, Katara's and Sokka's mouths to drop open. Then he lands, eyes and arrows still glowing, twists the water into a ring around him, and then pushes out, taking out everyone. Two episodes in, and Aang has already given the Fire Nation reason to fear him.
- "The Warriors of Kyoshi": When Aang figures out he's the reason their little peaceful island is being burned to the ground, and so he decides to leave to allow Zuko to follow him and leave the island alone. But not before Aang jumps off of Appa in midair and into the water to ride a giant water spitting dragon that he ran from in the beginning of the episode just to put out the fires and douse Zuko and his cavalry. It ends with Aang noting how stupid the act was to Katara and her agreeing, but also with her giving Aang a big hug, obviously glad that he survived the ordeal. Good Stuff.
- "Winter Solstice Part 2 - Avatar Roku":
- When the Gaang have to run a Fire Nation Naval Blockade to get to Avatar Roku's shrine. The Fire Nation are lobbing fireballs up at Appa. Aang jumps off of Appa's head, and spin-kicks the fireball into pieces in Slow Motion mid-air. It's the first time we see anyone do any seriously impressive fighting, and it's just a harbinger of things to come.
- Aang channeling Roku's spirit where he turns several incoming fireballs into a swirling fire shield, then gathers it all into a massive fire wave that knocks back the Zhao and his mooks and melts the chains binding Katara, Sokka, Zuko and the rogue fire sage, without burning a single one of them. He then melts several floors of the temple, reaching the magma chamber, and causes the whole thing to start erupting with one hand.
- "The Blue Spirit":
- The entirety of his escape attempt with the Blue Spirit where he uses his airbending and practically blows away all the of the prison guards that stood in their way Granted that he is the avatar which allowed him to master airbending at a very young age and would also increase his airbending powers a lot. Just goes to show you how powerful airbending can actually be.
- When the Blue Spirit gets hit and reveals it was actually Zuko that helped him escape and Aang still saves him from being captured anyway counts as an Establishing Character Moment showing that he is not prone to leaving someone behind
- "The Fortuneteller": Showing us a glimpse of his real power by stopping an exploding volcano dead in its tracks - without entering his nearly all-powerful Avatar State. By blowing on it. Mind you, his predecessor died while attempting a similar feat (although the circumstances were quite different at that time, granted).
- "The Deserter": Aang defeating Zhao without firing a shot. He jumps around evading Zhao's blast, who ends sets his ships on fire. He hits Zhao with the ultimate insult thus so enraging him that he incinerates the ship he was on.
Aang: I don't know why, but I thought you'd be better than Zuko!
- "The Siege of the North":
- "The Siege of the North, Part 2": Aang staring down Koh the face-stealer with a completely emotionless expression throughout his tirade. Especially when he does get excited was pretty cool. He thinks about it, gets excited, and Koh whips around in like half a second... only to see Aang with his stoic face. Most notable considering that he's a hyperactive twelve-year-old.
- When Zhao kills the moon-spirit, Aang enters the Avatar State and merges with the spiritual embodiment of the ocean. The result is an awe-inspiring, gigantic Leviathan, which proceeds to annihilate hundreds of fully armed enemy warships in the span of a few minutes. He goes up to the fleet's commanding battleship, and gives the ship's command tower a Diagonal Cut. He's only attacking with water, and he cut a tower in half seamlessly.
- "The Drill": The way Aang ended the fight against Azula on top of the title Drill, underscored by a rather awesome Theme Music Power-Up.
- "The Earth King": Single-handedly shattering a chunk of rock being hurled at Appa, using only the back of his hand without even looking
- "The Headband":
- Aang is undercover at a Fire Nation school and defeats the school bully in a fight in which all he does is dodge and side step the bully's attacks (well, he technically used his bum once).
- Where he performs a dance with Katara which in turn evolves into what looks like a very skillfully played Capoeira game and leaves his schoolmates staring in awe and Katara panting and sweating in his arms.
- Also at school, albeit not nearly as flashy as many things on this page: in history, the teacher has them write a test, with the first question being about the Fire Nation's attack on the Air Nomads (namely, about the size of the troops the Air Nomads used.) Aang is daring enough to call BS: he asks if this is a trick question, because Air Nomads, being pacifists, did not have an army at all.
- "The Beach": Fighting Combustion Man in the rock field, where he used Airbending to deflect an explosion with one hand, and then blew straight through a pillar he was sent flying into. Also later, when he covered himself in rocks and used one of the explosions to rocket away and escape.
- In "Nightmares and Daydreams": Aang, after having multiple nightmares about facing Ozai, turns the tables on him in a moment both awesome and hilarious:
Ozai: Do you really think you can take me down? You're not even wearing pants!
Aang: [After falling for it once before] No, Firelord Ozai. You're not wearing pants!
Ozai: [Looks down and screams, covering his shame] My royal parts are showing!
- "Sozin's Comet":
Aang: No. I'm not going to end it like this. He's not talking to Ozai. He's talking to his Past Lives.
- Aang's courage in standing up to the Lion Turtle. Anyone else would have mistaken it for an Eldritch Abomination and hightailed it out of there.
- Just the sight of Aang waiting for Ozai's genocidal air fleet. Bonus points for the music and Sokka's reaction upon spotting him. It's here you finally believe Aang can and also WILL save the world.
- Aang sinks Ozai's immense flagship by taking out the propellers with boulders and blasting it with a comet-enhanced fireball.
- Avatar Aang Vs. Phoenix King Ozai. At this point he was just a 12 year old going up against the most powerful and ruthless warrior king in the world. And on top of that, he went in knowing he didn't have the Avatar State to help him. Highlights include:
- Aang redirecting Ozai's lightning deserves special mention, and not just because it's comet-enhanced lightning delivered by one of the most powerful firebenders in the world. It's evident from the look on Ozai's face that he knows exactly where Aang learned that technique, and that this is the first point where it really hit him that Zuko made good on his promise to join the Avatar and help take him down.
- Aang hits his wound on a rock, unlocking the chakra and letting him go into the Avatar State, where he grabs Ozai's beard, and gives him a Repeat Cut of him getting slammed into a pillar and proceeds to chase a Terrified Ozai through the previous battlefield he was Curb Stomping in. He then pulls off a spectacular display of Toph-O-Vision and retaliates against Ozai with his back turned.
- Aang turning into a massive ball of cosmic energy, simultaneously bending all four elements at the same time, while attacking Ozai. See here◊ for details. And those rocks floating around him? They weren't that small to begin with. Aang ripped a bunch of enormous boulders out of the ground and compressed (as in, reduced the size without losing any of the mass) them with earthbending. Even more awesome when you realize he did the exact same with the the other elements. The five firebending jets he roared out were roughly the size of the flames being used to burn down the Earth Kingdom''. And the water he bended into a ring the size of a hula-hoop was a small river's worth. And one can only imagine how much air is swirling around at high speeds, allowing you to create a freaking crater at impact. And Aang doesn't even need all those elements to defeat Ozai. Those compressed rocks are basically bullets. Aang only needs earthbending (and probably airbending) to pull it off. No amount of firebending skill could stop a bullet. Even better, watching the whole fight carefully, Aang uses everything in that wheel of death. It's not just Rule of Cool.
- Then he "Spiritbends" Ozai and takes away his firebending After days of his friends, his mentors, and his own past lives telling him that he has to kill Ozai, Aang proceeds to ignore them all and Take a Third Option anyway, solving the conflict without breaking his own principles. Perhaps Heart isn't so lame after all. To top it off, the last time we see Bending in the series is him pulling in the ocean to put out the fires, and bringing it back out, as the comet leaves and Momo returns. Signifying that, yes, the war is finally over.
- "The Waterbending Master": Katara challenging the chauvinistic Master Pakku. When he at first refuses to fight her and smugly tells her to go heal with the other women, she gives him a well-deserved slap on the back of his misogynistic head (with a water whip), provoking him enough to fight her. While she doesn't win, gives him one hell of a fight and, from what we see of later episodes, heralds a sea change in the Northern Water Tribe regarding girls and combat Waterbending.
- "The Siege of The North Part 2": When Katara, Yue, and Sokka catch up to Zuko after he kidnapped Aang at the Spirit Spring. Zuko asks her if she is "Here for a rematch?", and she says "it's not going to be much of a match". She then blocks a fireball that enters the screen just as she finishes her sentence while Sokka and Yue look on from Appa's saddle. She sends a shockwave of ice hurtling towards him. When it reaches Zuko, she encases him in a pillar of ice that she raises up high, then drops. Zuko falls to the ground unconscious.
- "The Desert": With Toph's Disability Superpower nullified by the desert's sand, Aang depressed over Appa being kidnapped, and Sokka high out of his mind from cactus juice, Katara was the only character capable of competent leadership when they were forced to walk across the desert on foot.
- "The Serpent's Pass": When she takes on the sea serpent, surfing to Aang's rescue, before creating a massive whirlpool and then slamming the serpent against the cliff. After making sure all the others were safe.
- "The Crossroads of Destiny"
- After seeing Aang get struck by Azula's lightning, Katara surrounds herself in a sphere of water and floods the entire battlefield, sweeping up Dai Li agents, Azula, and Zuko up like they're dust bunnies to get to Aang.
- Also, her healing Aang with her remaining Spirit Water.
- "The Awakening": When under attack by a Fire Nation ship Katara summons a large steam cloud, large enough to surround both warships, which are pretty huge themselves.
- "The Painted Lady":
- Her performance during her attack on the fire nation thugs as they tried harassing the innocent villagers (again).
- The episode climaxed in one long Crowning Moment of Awesome for Katara, starting with the line, "No! I will never, EVER turn my back on people who need me!"
- "The Runaway": Breaking out of a wooden jail cell with her own sweat, followed by shoving an ice pillar onto Combustion Man's head.
- The Bloodbending fight in "The Puppetmaster": The line, "My bending is more powerful than yours!"
- Special mention must be given to a minor moment in this fight: Right before Aang and Sokka show up, Katara manages to strike out at a jet of water that Hama sent directly at her. Consider how sharply this contrasts to the usually fluid movements of waterbending. This is more like something Toph would do. Katara is such a boss that she used earthbending on water! Hama's face sells it. She literally cannot believe what she's seeing.
- "The Western Air Temple": Her "talk" with Zuko at the end of the episode. Look at how far we've come from the beginning of the series, when Katara's waterbending skills were quite poor. Two seasons later, she's standing in front of the man who raided her village and making it clear on no uncertain terms that she will strike him down without mercy if he even thinks about hurting Aang and has the skills to back up that claim, too. It was awesome beyond words.
Katara: You might have everyone else here buying your "transformation", but you and I both know you've struggled with doing the right thing in the past. So let me tell you something right now. You make one step backward, one slip up, give me one reason to think you might hurt Aang and you won't have to worry about your destiny anymore. Because I'll make sure your destiny ends, right then and there. Permanently.
- "The Southern Raiders":
- Katara using Bloodbending on the leader of the Southern Raiders.
- The entire sequence where she went after her mother's killer: "She was protecting the last waterbender...ME!", followed by her stopping all the rain midair, making giant icicles and flinging them at the guy... but having enough control to stop in midair, deciding he was Not Worth Killing. Her speech and attack reduced the man to tears.
- In "Sozin's Comet Part 4: Avatar Aang": Katara's defeat of Azula, binding her after she goes insane. Made even better by the fact that she does it without landing a single offensive blow. And freezing both of them in ice, with Azula a millisecond away from blowing her head off! Pure pwnage by the primarily defensive Waterbending style. Bear in mind that Katara was facing, at worst, the third most powerful Firebender in the world, on a day that Firebenders' powers are vastly enhanced. And Waterbending is weaker during the day.
- "The Avatar Returns":
- Standing his ground against a huge warship, while it bears down on him until the ground itself moves.
- Despite being the only boy of fighting age in the village, Sokka stands his ground and doesn't give up, even when it's clear Zuko is more than a match for him. His dad left him to protect his people, and he takes that seriously
- Making Zuko look like an idiot in an otherwise completely one-sided fight when his boomerang came back and nailed him in the head.
- "The Warriors of Kyoshi": Being willing to wear a dress and makeup just to improve his fighting skills.
- It becomes apparent that the title character is going to flood a fire nation occupied village by blowing up a dam. The bombs go off and the village floods. And that's when Sokka shows up and reveals that he had evacuated everybody in the village beforehand. He was able to do this because he had the vocal support of a single old man whom Sokka had stood up for earlier. In that scene he shows a great deal more maturity than Jet by protecting the villagers, even though he has just as much reason to hate the fire nation as Jet does. He also demonstrates his status as the most intelligent of the group by seeing Jet's true nature far far earlier than Aang or Katara do. Even more so, in this move, he shows his intelligence and instincts, precisely by subverting this Big Damn Heroes moment. He knew that by confronting Jet, and his gang, he wouldn't necessarily be able to stop the plot, even if he could beat Jet in a fight, so he took the other route, and beat them not through skill or strength, but by planning and forethought.
- "Bato of The Water Tribe": When Sokka sailed over a reef in with no actual experienced sailors, only pure smarts.
- "The Deserter": Sokka's reaction when Aang accidentally burns Katara shows how much he cares for his sister; he tackles and gives a furious lecture to the Avatar Sokka has already seen Aang go Avatar State, and he's completely aware of how destructive it can be. He tackled a God in Human Form knowing full well what Aang could do to him, and he's a nonbender. That was the Avatarverse equivalent of giving a lecture to Jesus after you've seen him walk on water and calm storms.
- "The Cave of Two Lovers": Sokka and the hippies escaping the title cave with help from Badger-Moles. summed up in this exchange:
Aang: Just like the legend says. We let love lead our way!Sokka: Really? We let huge, ferocious beasts lead our way.
- "Return To Omashu":
- When Mai taunts Katara, who had been Chi-Blocked by Ty Lee, by asking him how she expects to fight without her bending. Sokka knokcs the knife out of her hand with his boomerang and tells her that he seems to manage.
- The Fire Nation captures the titular city with the intention of holding all its citizens hostage. Sokka invents a plague using make-up and tells everyone to act like they're deathly ill. The Fire Nation soldiers not only release all of the hostages, but help escort them out of the city out of fear of the disease.
- "The Library": Giant owl spirit Wan Shi Tong is about to attack Katara and brags that he has studied waterbending Northern Water Style, Southern Water Style, even Foggy Swamp Style. Sokka then falls from the ceiling and knocks him unconscious with a heavy blow to the head with a book and replies: "That's called ''Sokka Style! Learn it!"
- "The Headband": Sokka's cover identity as the most badass Fire Nation soldier ever to walk the Earth:
School Principal: Thank you so much for coming Mr...?
—>Sokka: "Fire! Wang Fire. And this is my wife, Saph Fire!"
—>Katara: Sapphire Fire, nice to meet you.
- "The Painted Lady": When he stands up for his entire group against an ungrateful town whom they had saved from firebenders with Katara under the disguise of the town mythological figure.
- Sokka's Master": To put it briefly, the episode shows that Sokka isn't capable in spite of his eccentric ways, he's that way (and so a Badass Normal) because of them. Oh, and don't forget the brilliant sword-fighting. That entire episode was one long Moment of Awesome for Sokka. For a guy who's constantly bragging about his skills and is the universe's designated comic relief and Butt Monkey, he solemnly bows before Piandao and admits he's just a boy, and may be completely worthless as a student. Then we see him slaving to forge his own sword, something that is uniquely his, without a shred of his usual antics (usually when he's sharpening his weapons or preparing, something would go wrong and he'd be comically injured). Finally, after the long speech Piandao gave about his badassery, Sokka fully admits to being a fraud, and basically challenges his master to a one-on-one duel. For a brief moment too, it seemed like he would actually win against, a White Lotus Grand Master of all people.
- "The Day of Black Sun":
- "Part 1: The Invasion": Defeating a mook by running up onto his mount, using his new sword to cut the guy's spear in half the long way◊, then kicking him off to take his ride.
- "Part 2: The Eclipse": Shaking down Azula for information, having her by the throat and bellowing out pure, distilled rage, "WHERE...IS...SUKI?!"
- "The Western Air Temple": Throwing Boomerang around a corner for a dead center shot, based on two angles of fire that he saw, and killing Combustion Man.
- "The Boiling Rock": Most heroes only have to come up with one risky, almost-impossible plan to escape The Alcatraz. Sokka came up with two not-risky-at-all plans. His plan in "Part 1", having a punishment cooler unbolted and floated across the boiling lake, would have worked if he had been there to stop the prisoner from grabbing the Idiot Ball and tried to paddle. His next plan in "Part 2", holding the warden hostage to take the cable car across, did work despite interference from Azula.
- "Sozin's Comet":
- Sokka's willingness to take on Ozai, the Big Bad at the height of his power, who posed a serious challenge to even the Avatar, and Sokka is a Badass Normal at best, if Aang couldn't get there in time. And he was willing to fight him. All right, he would have had backup from fellow Badass Normal Suki and Cute Bruiser Toph, but that takes some straight up testicular elephantiasis. And how calmly he realizes it. Sokka asks Iroh what he, Toph and Suki should be doing when the group split up at the camp. Iroh asks him, and he simply states they need to do what they can do, together, to tackle Ozai. Once standing on the airship he says "Fire Lord Ozai, here we come." with a wonderfully determined/fierce expression on his face.
- Sokka diverting the crew of an airship to the bomb bay ''by telling them it was a crew member's birthday and then ejecting them. Bonus points for it actually being a crew member's birthday.
- Taking out the entire armada of Fire Nation air ships by overloading the airship's engines, sending it barreling towards the rest of the armada at a terrific speed.
- Saving himself and Toph from a bunch of Firebenders with one hand (the other keeping Toph from falling) and a broken leg, sacrificing Boomerang and Space Sword to do so.
- Offscreen, he, Toph, and Suki defeat the entire super-firebender crew and use the ship to rendezvous with Aang.
- This video show what makes her so awesome.
- "The Blind Bandit": Kicking the asses of an entire team of Professional Earthbenders in the episode she was introduced in, declaring that "They're mine!" ... and you're not having any. Double points because it took place right after this exchange:
Lao Beifong: My daughter is blind! She is blind and tiny and helpless and fragile! She cannot help you.Toph Beifong: (pulls her hand free) Yes. I can.
- "The Library": When the demonic owl, Wan Shi Tong, has decided to pull his library back to the spirit world with the heroes still inside. Little girl Toph that decides the library isn't going to sink if she has anything to say about it. The little girl wins.
- "The Tales of Ba Sing Se":
- When she bent her mud mask to scare the spa attendant using only her face.
- Dropping the three girls through a bridge who mock her make-up. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- "The Earth King": The number of Mooks Toph takes out in droves, whether they end up impaled to the ceiling on columns of Earth or bowled over by earthquake when the Gaang storm the Earth King's palace.
- "The Crossroads of Destiny": Toph has been kidnapped by bounty hunters, Xin Fu and Yu, and is being taken back to her parents. When she tries to escape one of them taunts her by saying: "Not even the greatest earthbender in the world can bend metal." Toph then uses her Earthbending on metal (a feat which was said multiple times over the course of the series to be entirely impossible) to escape a metal cage, using the same "impossible" skill to trap her captors in their own cage, triumphantly yelling the completely accurate statement of "I am the greatest earthbender in the world!", and then riding away on a gigantic wave of ground.
- "The Runaway": When she used only a small movement of her head to make the "dice" she threw to go the way she wanted and thus cheat the gamblers out of their money.
- "Sozin's Comet":
- Toph launching herself, Sokka, and Suki on board the nearest airship.
- Toph metalbending a door into a full-body suit and using the contents of an airship's control room to take out the crew, all while dodging fireblasts and jumping around the metal cockpit like Spider-Man. The awesomeness really comes from the fact that to do what she does in that scene, she has to be metalbending with every motion. To repeat, she has to perform, with perfect dexterity, a feat that was thought to be impossible before she invented it, every second. Oh, and she started this by knocking "Shave And A Haircut." With the last knock replaced by the crash of her blowing the door across the room.
- Toph metalbending the stricken airship's rudder so that it spirals and crashes itself into the other airships.
- "The Warriors of Kyoshi": Kyoshi Warriors galore and Sokka taking on the Fire Nation troops and Zuko.
- The Boiling Rock Part 2: Suki vaulted off the heads of numerous participants in a Fire Nation prison riot before scaling the walls like Spiderman, using the tips of her feet to somersault up to a higher platform, taking out several Fire Nation prison guards in less than a second, baseball sliding under the last guard and blocking the warden's attack to twist him around tying and gagging him, again, in less than a second]]. Made that bit more amusing that she wasn't even out of breath, and when everyone else catches up, they are out of breath.
- "Sozin's Comet Part 4: Avatar Aang": Just as more benders arrive and Sokka and Toph accept death, an airship lunges out of nowhere and IMPALES their airship, and they fall onto it. It was hijacked by Suki- who was last seen on a fragment of a sinking airship.
The Fire Nation
- This appropriately named AMV basically summarizes a few of Zuko's most badass moments.
- "The Southern Air Temple": Zuko defeating Zhao, a smug, experienced commander at least twice his age in an Agni Kai, specifically by not doing anything flashy. Just two episodes ago, Iroh was insisting he needed to master basic forms before moving onto advanced techniques. During the Agni Kai, Zuko appears to be beaten by Zhao using exactly that simple form, only for him to get up and respond in kind. Even in his third episode this villain is being shown in an intelligent and, through the Sword over Head moment, admirable light. As an added bonus, it was a Shirtless Scene.
- "The Waterbending Scroll": Zuko is pretty awesome in the one episode past the beginning of the series where he's a legitimately threatening villain. He effortlessly physically overpowers Katara and ties her to a tree, manipulates the pirates into helping him find Aang by threatening to burn their precious scroll, and is smart enough to see through Sokka's Talking Your Way Out ploy. Even Aang didn't realize what Sokka was trying to do!
- "The Storm":
- Zuko risking his own life to save one of his crew members in —he catches the falling helmsman by the wrist while hanging on to a (wet and probably slippery) ladder in the middle of wind, rain, and rough ocean and manages to set him down safely. It's made especially awesome because he'd been acting like a Royal Brat for that entire episode (backstory reveal notwithstanding) but proved in that one moment that yes, he really does care about other people.
- The Flashback that shows the reason why Zuko got his scar. Too bad villains don't appreciate courage, loyalty, or respect for the sanctity of human life.
- "The Blue Spirit": Saving Aang as the title spirit without bending or making a sound.
- In "The Siege of The North Part 2" After Zhao hires pirates to blow up Zuko's ship, Zuko ... shields himself from the explosion (but still gets injured); disguises himself as a soldier and hides on Zhao's personal flagship. sneaks out when they reach the North Pole, managing to evade Fire Navy scouts and Water Tribe sentries; finds and navigates a series of underwater tunnels, then firebends underwater, at night, in the middle of the North Pole, while oxygen deprived to melt through what looks like half a foot of ice in order to get into the city; sneaks through the Northern Water Tribe without anyone spotting him finds Aang in an out-of-the-way place in a city of probably a thousand people; fights a skilled waterbender (Katara) at night, and almost wins before she freezes him; beats her after the sun comes up and he can melt the ice; carries Aang, a good-sized twelve-year-old, up a cliff and who-knows-how-far across the Arctic tundra in a blizzard, wearing a thin ninja-parka and probably still damp; and finally delivers a heart-wrenching speech about his past, still visibly injured during all of this.
"There's always something. Not that you would understand. You're like my sister - everything always came easy to her. She's a firebending prodigy, and everyone adores her. My father says she was born lucky. He says I was lucky to be born! [beat] I don't need luck, though. I don't want it. I've always had to struggle and fight and that's made me strong. It's made me who I am."
- "Zuko Alone": The Showdown at High Noon in his Day in the Limelight. It starts with him taking out his first opponent without even fully removing his sword from the sheath, and ends with a classic My Name Is Inigo Montoya moment. Unfortunately, it fully ends with a Tear Jerker when they rejected him.
- In "The Desert": When the Rough Rhinos ganged up on Fire Nation fugitives Zuko and Iroh, that Zuko could still chop an arrow in half in midair and shoot a fireblast through the bow string while both weary and half-starved at the time.
- "City of Walls And Secrets": His Sword Fight with Jet. "You want a show? I'll give you a show!" He doesn't even need his Firebending to be awesome.
- "The Crossroads of Destiny": In a sick twisted way, his totally unexpected subversion of the Heel–Face Turn. No fictional character should have the power to make real people feel so angry, shocked, dismayed, saddened, sickened, enraged, and betrayed.
- Also, his short fight with Katara. Azula may be the prodigy, more skilled, more ruthless, but Katara was able to put her fire out with water. Zuko's fire proved to be a different matter altogether.
- "The Day of Black Sun Part 2: The Eclipse":
Zuko: For so long, all I wanted was for you to love me. To accept me. I thought it was my honor that I wanted, but really, I was just trying to please you. You, my father, who banished me just for talking out of turn! My father, who challenged me—a 13-year-old boy!—to an Agni Kai. How can you possibly justify a duel with a child?!
- His true Heel–Face Turn, when he finally confronts Ozai and tells him what a terrible father he's been is a true testament to Zuko's character growth, coming from the guy spent the first two seasons hunting the Avatar so that Ozai could restore his honor.
Ozai: It was to teach you respect!
Zuko: It was cruel! And it was wrong.
- Zuko's first successful redirection of lightning, Not just regular lightning. It was double-strength lightning, fired at him by possibly the most powerful firebender in the world.
- "The Southern Raiders": Zuko's fight with Azula for pretty much the first time ever he's fighting his fire-bending-prodigy-daddy's-favorite-child-magnificent-bastard sister on equal terms. Whilst on top of an moving airship, after jumping onto it from another one. He matches Azula blow for blow, and holds a rather even fight against her! Looking closer, one realizes that this is their first one-on-one since Zuko learned the original art of Firebending, which didn't rely on being fueled by rage and hatred... and this was only a few episodes after Zuko just learned about it!
- "Sozin's Comet":
- "Part 1: The Old Masters": Zuko's reunion with Iroh. It has to take guts to face a guy after you betray him, especially when you feel like shit about it, not to mention when you know that same guy apparently PHYSICALLY broke through the bars of his prison and took out ALL the guards in order to escape. Even if it's not a Crowning Moment of Awesome, it definitely applies as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- "Part 3: Into The Inferno": Zuko's Agni Kai with Azula. Though tragic, it's one of the best fights in the series in terms of sheer spectacle. Zuko and Azula's comet-enhanced firebending is beautifully animated, the Simple Score of Sadness gives the fight real weight, and in this fight the two are on equal ground. And whether you count Azula attacking Katara as forfeiting the fight or not, Zuko won. He got the last hit in and he was soundly beating Azula throughout the fight, to the point of daring her to lightningbend at him. Then when Azula decided to try taking the coward's way out by shooting lightning at Katara instead, Zuko, without any hesitation whatsoever, jumps in the way and takes the lightning himself, saving Katara's life. Due to the awkward position he is in at the moment of impact, he is unable to redirect all of the lightning and is seriously injured, but manages to redirect enough to prevent his injury from being fatal. The fact that he was willing to risk grave injury to save the person who took the longest to forgive him really hammers home the extent of his character development.
- Perhaps the most notable achievement Iroh had accomplished, and the one he is most known for, is his siege of Ba Sing Se. He's known to be the only person to have brought down the impenetrable wall of the Earth Kingdom capital, a feat which would not be replicated for many years. It is implied that he would've succeeded in conquering the capital, were if not for the untimely death of his son which forced him to abandon the siege in grief.
- "The Southern Air Temple": First indication we get of Iroh being a formidable firebender is when he so casually stops Zhao attacking Zuko from behind, Accompanied by a lecture on how, even in exile, his nephew is more honorable than the so called great Commander Zhao. Doubles as a heartwarming moment to give Zuko such vocal support. Of course he promptly ignores it when questioned soon after.
- "The Spirit World (The Winter Solstice Part 1)": convincing the guys who have captured him to tighten his handcuffs, then breathing on them with his Firebeding skill and pressing a soldier's hand down on the red-hot metal. Then he rolls down a cliff while his hands and feet are still chained together. The Avatar Extras commentary notes, "Earthbenders, 0; Naked Shackled Guy, 3."
- "The Storm": When the ship is about to be struck by lightning, Iroh redirects it.
- "The Siege of The North Part 2": When Zhao threatens to kill the spirit, Iroh tells him "Whatever you do to that spirit, I'll unleash on you ten-fold! Let it go now!". When Zhao does it anyway, he goes berserk and just annihilates four fire-benders by himself in seconds. Zhao just slowly backs away when he sees that display.
- "The Avatar State": In their first encounter with Azula, Iroh takes on a whole royal escort single-handedly (without Firebending) then curb-stomps Azula in about a second.
- In "The Desert": When the Rough Rhinos ganged up on Fire Nation fugitives Zuko and Iroh, that Iroh kicked aside a cannonball on a chain and caused it to wrap around a rhino's leg while both weary and half-starved at the time.
- "The Tales of Ba Sing Se": In his feature Iroh convinces a man not to mug him by instructing him on how to mug people more effectively. He observes the man's poor stance, points it out, and demonstrates that such an unstable stance makes him easy to knock over, before talking him into pursuing a career in the arts. He knew he had nothing to be afraid of, even with a sword to his throat.
- "Lake Laogai":
- When the Gaang and Zuko invade the underwater base, it takes massive amounts of stealth, and even then Zuko only gets in alone because the Dai Li were busy. Iroh walks in with no discernible disguise, and completely unruffled. So either he walked past hallways of guards on high alert, or he curbstomped whoever he saw without breaking a sweat. Either way is awesome.
- And then he tears Zuko a new one about destiny. Awesome.
- "The Crossroads of Destiny":
- During Azula's coup Iroh demonstrates how we got the nickname the "Dragon of the West". Azula and the Dai Li lure Iroh and Zuko into the palace by claiming the Earth King wants to meet him, then try to capture him. He then casually gets up and breathes fire at Azula and her guards, allowing him and Zuko to escape. Iroh comes in and defeats the entire Dai Li army and Azula. His pose at the end is especially meaningful: it's the rest pose for Kung Fu. The Dai Li was only able to capture him because he allowed them to And Zuko just grins a little before this happens. He knows Iroh is about to do something awesome.
- When he meets the Gaang, at their house no less, Iroh reveals he's brought a Dai Li along with him. Meaning he somehow managed to get across the city carrying a Dai Li, and got away with it.
- "Sokka's Master": Preparing to bust out of jail while hiding behind Obfuscating Insanity. People have begun to refer to Iroh's workouts as "Irohbics." As a retroactive example, think back on anytime you see Iroh in flashback, before he retired. His stomach is always obscured. After his Irohbics session, he is the Dragon of the West once more.
- "The Day of Black Sun Part 2: The Eclipse": He broke out of the fire nation prison single-handedly at some point during the eclipse, the one witness saying he was like a One-Man Army.
- "Sozin's Comet Part 2: The Old Masters":
- Iroh's forgiveness of Zuko. Considering he'd been tossed in a filthy jail cell with cruel guards, due to the selfishness of someone he dearly loved, then had to work hard for weeks in order to bust himself out, the reunion scene is just all the more incredible. It's not a flying-acrobatic-combat sort of awesome, but that doesn't mean it doesn't fall under "awesome."
- "Sozin's Comet Part 3: Into The Inferno": Iroh tore through Ba Sing Se's wall like it was toilet paper, and ended the siege by burning the flag of the Fire Nation hanging in the palace, symbolizing that the Earth Kingdom is free once again. The irony being that in his heyday when he was a famed General working for the Fire Nation, he couldn't pull it off (granted, he didn't have Sozin's Comet then and only retreated because his son died, but still). And now years later, he accomplished this in less then a day (ousting Azula's 48-hour takeover). Maybe fighting for something he really believes in helps.
- That moment when he becomes empowered by the comet. Without him making a single gesture, a ring of fire appears around him and his comrades. It steadily grows in intensity, until at last he condenses it into a ball and sends it through the wall.
- "The Avatar State": From her first major ever appearance.
Azula: You said the tides would not allow us to bring the ship in. Do the tides command this ship?
Captain: No, princess.
Azula: And if I were to have you thrown overboard, would the tides think twice about smashing you against the rocky shore?
Captain: No, princess.
-Azula: Well then, maybe you should worry less about the tides who have already made up their mind about killing you, and worry more about me, who's still mulling it over.
- "Return To Omashu": Creating discs of fire.
- "The Chase":
- Creating a flame shield around her that can block four simultaneous bending attacks all at once.
- Also, in both "Return to Omashu" and this episode, she comes off almost like a force of nature that refuses to slow down. She certainly comes across as a far greater threat than Zhao ever did.
- "The Crossroads of Destiny":
Long Feng: You've beaten me at my own game.
- Single-handedly taking over Ba Sing Se in under 48 hours by promising Long Feng an opportunity to take the throne, and exploiting the alliance to sway the loyalties of the Dai Li to herself. When Which also brought about this gem of an exchange:
- During the last fight, Aang realizes Katara and he can't beat Azula, Zuko and the Dai Li without some serious power. Aang goes into the Avatar State and rises into the air, encased in a pillar of light. Katara looks on with admiration and awe, the music gets upbeat and seriously epic, and it looks like we're about to see a repeat of the Book One finale...and then Azula fries him with a bolt of lightning, in the middle of the transformation sequence. While everyone else just gawked, she hit Aang with her most powerful attack, at the exact moment he was most vulnerable. It's nightmarish and shocking (even the soundtrack sounds stunned and frightened), and it's exactly what a cunning, dangerous villain should do.
- "The Awakening": If there was any doubt whatsoever about Princess Azula's Magnificent Bastard status after she demonstrated her ruthlessness and her Dangerously Genre Savvy in the second season finale, the start of the next season removed them. Keep in mind that that scene opened with Zuko barging into her bedroom demanding to know, "Why'd you do it?" Her response? "You're going to have to be a little more specific." Because she's currently working on so many diabolical plots, she can't possibly be expected to know off the top of her head which one he's referring to.
Azula: You seemed so worried about how father would treat you because you hadn't captured the Avatar. I figured, if I gave you the credit [for killing him], you'd have nothing to worry about.Zuko: But why?Azula: Call it a generous gesture. I wanted to thank you for your help, and I was happy to share the glory.Zuko: You're lying.Azula: If you say so.Zuko: You have another motive for doing this. I just haven't figured out what it is.Azula: Please, Zuko. What ulterior motive could I have? What could I possibly gain by letting you get all the glory for defeating the Avatar? Unless somehow, the Avatar was actually alive... All that glory would suddenly turn to shame and foolishness. But you said yourself that was impossible. Sleep well, Zuzu.
- "Day of Black Sun Part 2 The Eclipse":
- When Toph tells Azula she can tell when people are lying, Azula replies: "I am a 400-foot-tall purple platypus-bear with pink horns and silver wings.", and Toph admits she is good. Even more awesome is that it's Truth in Television. Sociopaths are so accustomed to lying and faking normalcy that they can pass a polygraph - and it seems Toph uses some of the same physical cues as a lie detector does to reach her conclusions.
- Swiftly avoiding and evading simultaneous bending attacks from Aang and Toph without even breaking a sweat during the when she was rendered powerless.
- "The Boiling Rock": When Azula started flying, using her firebending to turn herself into a small rocket.
- "The Southern Raiders": When Azula recovers from falling down a cliff by using firebending to reach a cliff and stopping with a hair pin, leaving her hanging off the face of cliff with her hair billowing in the wind.
- "Sozin's Comet Part 4: Avatar Aang": Azula even as she was losing, then forfeiting, her duel with Zuko. We hear Iroh's lessons about the generation of lightning requiring total calmness and dispassion/serenity in season two. So of course we see Azula, in the middle of a full-blown psychotic break, do it anyway. Crazy as she was at the time, Azula's proficiency with the technique would cause her to unconsciously focus on the task, even if her conscious mind was in turmoil.
- "Return To Omashu": Her very first scene where she chases the Gaang, who take out all her family's guards but not her. Aang collapses a scaffolding in her path that still fails to stop her, leading to an Oh Crap! moment after one of her throwing stars nearly impales him.
- "The Drill": Coolly being rather above it all and refusing to hump in the slurry, stating "She can shoot all the lightning she wants at me — I am not going in that wall-sludge juice." Almost as awesome as getting the last word: "We lost."
- "The Beach": Where she puts on a Well, Excuse Me, Princess!, including a Did You Think I Can't Feel? moment.
- "The Boiling Rock Part 2":
- Her Big Damn Heroes moment in single-handedly dispatching an entire squad of prison guards with her arsenal of knives, thus saving the heroes and their party. When asked what she is doing, she replies: "Saving the jerk who dumped me."
- Her standoff with Azula where she tells her, "You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you." Such an awesome line it pushes Azula down the road to her Villainous Breakdown.
- Mai must know that Azula is out of her league. Yet she shows absolutely no fear when preparing to take her on one-on-one.
- "The Drill": When an Earth Kingdom general sent out an "elite platoon of Earthbenders" to stop the Fire Nation's advance on Ba Sing Se. They do indeed prove to be formidable, destroying a decent amount of tanks initially and then Ty Lee shows up and essentially defeats them all in a matter of seconds.
- "The Beach": Where Zuko vents his anger out at her and mocks her for her happy attitude and calls her a 'circus freak'. She shoots back with how she joined the circus to get her own identity, before ending with how 'circus freak' is a compliment to her. Given how easy-going she is, standing up for herself like that was awesome.
- "The Boiling Rock Part 2": Ty Lee taking out Azula. Considering how terrified she was of Azula, she finally stood up to her to save Mai.
- "The Blue Spirit": The Yu Yan Archers in were pure awesome, despite not even being benders of any kind:
Zhao: "The Yu Yan Archers' skill is legendary. They can pin a fly to a tree a hundred feet away. Without killing it. "
- Aang, pursued by them, jumps down a cliff to escape. After all, he's an airbender, so he can slow his fall. The Yu Yan Archers aren't - but without even a moment's hesitation they jump after him, shoot arrows with ropes tied to them at trees below them WHILE FALLING, and then use those ropes to swing down to the ground without breaking their pace. Oh, and they quickly proceed to capture the Avatar, something that even very experienced benders have great problems with.
- Another awesome moment from the Archers comes later in the episode, when Zhao calls one of them in to snipe the Blue Spirit. from hundreds of feet away. Without hitting Aang. Did i mention that the Spirit was holding Aang hostage and they were literally less than a foot away from each other? And he did this in the dark.
- "The Siege of The North Part 2": Admiral Zhao, who was usually best at awesomely screwing up. Hahn charges onto the deck of his ship intending to assassinate him. Without turning around, with no fuss, no warning, no acknowledgement whatsoever, Zhao casually throws him overboard, and without missing a beat, then says to Iroh, "As I was saying..."
- "The Headband": The class of Fire Nation children covering for Aang as he escaped, by all putting on red headbands, his only distinguishing feature at that point, so he could sneak through the crowd.
- "The Beach": Combustion Man's first fight, where he relentlessly pursues the Gaang and continuously blows up whatever they throw at him, be it a huge mass of water, deluge of rock, or stone pillars.
- Sokka's Master": Piandao at the end of the episode. Sokka is fighting for his life against a master swordsman, and Piandao is critiquing his technique.
- "The Avatar and the Fire Lord": Fire Lord Sozin of all people had one of these. Seeing the avatar's village besieged by a volcano, his first instinct is to rush to the area to save the people, to fight alongside his then-arch enemy Roku (the two of whom haven't so much as spoken for 20 years) without so much as batting an eyelash. It ends up making his betrayal of the Avatar all the more horrifying and heartwrenching however.
- The Boiling Rock Part 2: The Warden of the title prison demonstrates just how dedicated he is to his job when he is held hostage on the cable car, when he demands it to be cut down with him in it. Bonus points for having boasted about it in the first part of the episode, showing he puts his money where his mouth is.
- From the same episode, Hakoda tries to start a riot unsuccesfully. Chit Sang appears and Sokka asks him if he wouldn't happen to know how to start one. Chit Sang just nonchalantly says "A Riot? Please...", picks up a random prisoner as he walks towards the gathered prisoners, shouts "RIOT!" while lifting said prisoner above his head...and a successful riot starts.
- "The King of Omashu": During Bumi's fight with Aang, Aang tricks Bumi into sending a boulder flying at himself. Bumi then turned the boulder to dirt when it came in contact without moving an inch. He then proceeds to hurl a huge chunk of the stadium at Aang'', but Aang sends it flying back with a tornado. Bumi then splits that piece in half as it comes at him, again without moving an inch. However, Aang uses this as an opening and makes his move but then we see that Bumi used the movement of sticking up his hand to hang a rock right above them both.
- "Return To Omashu": When Aang rescued him, he fought off Azula despite being in a steel coffin, using his face. Then he willingly sent himself back because he wanted to be there to rescue his city the moment the opportunity presents itself. .
- "Sozin's Comet": King Bumi's Flashback to waiting for the right moment during the Day of Black Sun, earthbended his way out of his cage, again using only his face, and proceeded to level the entire city in one candy-fueled, maniacally laughing rampage when he single-handedly while pwning all the Fire Nation soldiers in the city. He breaks a half-dozen Fire Nation tanks and stacks them all on top of each other, without even looking in their direction. He punted buildings into the air and tossed a fifty-foot statue of Ozai into the gorge after defacing it with a smiley face, and he was completely blase about the entire ordeal. Aaccording to the Commentary, Bumi had no that the Eclipse would strip Firebenders of their power at all, this also being an example of his neutral Jing strategy. And this guy is at least 112 years old.
Fire Nation Soldier: Hey! What do you think you're doing?! (Tries to shoot fire, but nothing happens) Huh?
Bumi: (Looks confused for a moment before he smiles with realization) Taking back my city! You've got no more firepower, and it's payback time!
- "The Southern Air Temple": The scene where Monk Gyatso's body is discovered, along with the bodies of at least half a dozen Fire Nation soldiers. He went down fighting. Don't forget that said soldiers were operating with the power of Sozin's Comet and that of all the bending disciplines, Airbending is specifically said to have no lethal finishing strike like the other three. Made even more awesome when you apply Fridge Logic and realize an Airbender can make a massacre by just sucking the air out of his victims' lungs: he killed so many because he stopped defending and started attacking. If more Airbenders did that, they probably crippled the Fire Nation military for decades.
- Haru's introduction in that episode is also pretty awesome. He's practicing his earthbending by throwing around giant rocks with enough strength to make the ground shake.
- After Katara and the Gaang go through with their plan to give the earthbenders something to bend, her short encouraging speech appears to fail. The warden of the rig berates her failed speech, then walks away... only for a small rock to nail him in the head. Furious, he turns around, to find Haru with a fierce determined expression, earthbending a small circle of rocks. The warden attacks him, only for this to be the excuse the Earthbenders needed to fight back, and kick their asses. Nice job fixing it.
- Haru's dad Tyro throwing the warden into the ocean on a stone platform, and telling him not to worry about drowning because "cowards float".
- "The Blue Spirit": Zuko, under the guise of the spirit, infiltrates and rescues Aang from a heavily-guarded prison fortress, filled with Firebenders and Yu Yan archers (who took out Aang himself earlier) and he does it entirely without using his powers. Also without even saying a single word. Bonus points for holding Aang hostage at the end. Followed by the reveal, which is when Zuko changed from Wangsty emo-boy to a true Bad Ass in the eyes of many viewers.
- "The Siege of The North Part 2": Master Pakku demonstrates exactly why he is called "master" on an unsuspecting group of Fire Nation soldiers. It involves a water-spout.
- "Avatar Day" Avatar Kyoshi showing us just how powerful a fully realized Avatar is. In the space of a few seconds, she humiliates the tyrant she is fighting, splits off part of the mainland, and uses airbending to blow it out to sea, creating Kyoshi Island. Avatar Kyoshi, people - so much of a Badass she can stand her ground even while retreating.
- She's so badass, she can come back from the dead.
- "City of Walls and Secrets: Jet's fight with Zuko. Not only does he know full well that his opponent's a firebender, but he outright tries to goad him into using his powers, risking his own life to expose his enemy's identity.
- "Lake Laogai": After spending weeks separated from Aang, enduring horrible physical and mental stress, imprisoned in an Elaborate Underground Base for who knows how long, Appa's first act after being freed is to swoop down on the Mooks surrounding the heroes, scaring all of them off, then chomping down on the resident Long Feng's leg and effortlessly tossing him into the eponymous lake. Cue Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as he is finally reunited with Aang. Keep in mind that said bite's mark was what the heroes used to prove Long Feng's treachery to the Earth King.
- "The Earth King": The eponymous King Kuei realizing there was a conspiracy going on in his kingdom, admitting: "I've been a fool". It takes a true man to admit that.
- "The Day of Black Sun":
- The Foggy Swamp man turning up as the 'monster' and tossing tanks around,
- Hakoda's single-handed, successful attack on a watch-tower. Sokka inherited more than his dad's sense of humour, clearly.
- The resourcefulness of the Mechanist's inventions even when it's ultimately turned against them with the Fire Nation's zeppelins.
- "The Firebending Masters": The scene with the dragons where they show Aang and Zuko the true nature of firebending is just remarkable, and in most kid shows would have heavy-handed or melodramatic and insulting to kids' intelligence, have the character witness something supposedly beautiful, and later immediately. They did it with very little dialogue, allowing the expressions on Zuko and Aang's faces, the imagery, and music speak volumes. You see the two dragons dance in harmony, with Zuko and Aang mirroring their movements. Then the two dragons breath in unison creating a fantastic display. The Chief sums it up pretty clearly: firebending is not destruction, but life and creation, and you see this happen. Truly a remarkable scene.
- "Sozin's Comet":
- Aang finds himself on what appears to be a mysterious island. Then he finds out it is a living being, the Lion Turtle.
- Piandao's appearance at the final episode. Unlike all of the others present, he is not a bender in any way. He literally took a sword to a gun fight (against fire-breathing tanks no less) and it's hinted he won. It makes his comments to Sokka all the more awesome.
- Masters Pakku and Piandao fighting against Firebenders on ice. Piandao's performance was doubly badass, given that the Firebenders were all powered up by the Comet, while he has no powers at all.
- The Comet-powered Jeong Jeong hovering in the air with firebending jet-feet while using huge waves of flame to crash about two dozen Fire Nation tanks into big functionless pileups.