Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "Avatar Day"

"That's why it's called justice: 'Cause it's just us!"

Aang, Katara, and Sokka come across an isolated Earth Kingdom village which celebrates something called "Avatar Day". However, upon visiting the village, the team finds that the villagers are of an anti-Avatar sentiment, claiming that Avatar Kyoshi had killed their leader, Chin the Great. Shocked and dismayed by this, Aang resolves to stand trial in Kyoshi's stead, and Sokka and Katara are left to find evidence of the previous Avatar's innocence.

Meanwhile, Zuko has donned his Blue Spirit identity, and is stealing from Earth Kingdom villagers. When Iroh confronts Zuko about this, Zuko decides to split from his uncle and find his own way in the world.

Aang manages to resolve the court issue by channeling the spirit of Avatar Kyoshi. To everyone's surprise, she pleads guilty to the charge of slaying Chin the Great... a megalomaniac conqueror bent on subjugating her people. When it became clear that diplomacy would not solve anything, Avatar Kyoshi separated her people's peninsula from the mainland, creating the "Kyoshi Island" territory seen in the first season, and sending Chin the Great plummeting to his doom. Deliberations are interrupted by a band of Fire Nation raiders, the "Rough Rhinos," who arrive and start busting up the town; Aang is sentenced to the "community service" of seeing them off. The final scene is of Aang, Katara and Sokka in the center of a no-longer-sarcastic Avatar Day.They still don't enjoy it, though.

Tropes:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The wheel of punishment includes such sentences as mauled by bears, boiled in oil, and community service.
  • Breather Episode: For the Gaang, at any rate. No Azula, or Fire Nation troops, just some angry locals.
  • Bubble Pipe: Sokka gets one for his Sherlock Holmes impression.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Katara's idea of having Aang were Kyoshi's clothes to summon her spirit. It does work, only for Kyoshi to admit her guilt.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Chin 'justice' system apparently has the potential to sentence people to fates such as "boiled in oil" and "torture machine" for any and all offenses. Conversely, there's a chance that any offense will result in nothing but community service.
  • Disorganized Outline Speech: Aang's defense.
  • Eye Scream: When the torch carrier throws the torch into the straw Aang's eye. The real Aang winces sympathetically.
  • Faux Horrific: Aang is briefly scared by an old man. He's not particularly menacing, or ugly, he just says "now look at us!" and Aang screams.
  • It's All About Me: The villagers of Chin are perfectly willing to kill a minor in some pretty horrific ways, which would also screw over the rest of the world in the process, just over what one of his prior incarnations did several hundred years ago.
  • Kangaroo Court: Chin Village's legal system turns out to be this way.
  • The Magnificent: Chin the Great, or as Kyoshi knew him, the Conqueror.
  • Mama Bear: Avatar Kyoshi was acting as one to her village when she created Kyoshi Island.
  • Mouth Cam: The scene where we see a spider has built a web in Sokka's mouth while he's sleeping.
  • The Napoleon: Chin the Great turns out to have been a megalomaniacal pipsqueak.
  • Nice Hat: In a nice touch, Sokka wears as part of his "Sherlock Holmes" get-up, not a Holmes (western) deerstalker, but the traditional winged cap worn by Chinese magistrates who featured in old-time Chinese detective novels (see van Gulik's Judge Dee works).
  • Not Helping Your Case: Kyoshi briefly appears during the trial to confirm that she did in fact kill Chin. Though it also did waste time that kept Aang from being sentenced to death, long enough for the upcoming Fire Nation invasion...
  • Orifice Invasion: Momo grabs a spider out of Sokka's mouth at the beginning of the episode. Played for Laughs.
  • Shaped Like Itself: According to Tong, the reason everyone loved Chin the Great was "because he was so great".
  • Shadow Archetype The Chin village to Kyoshi Island. Whilst Kyoshi Island greatly revere the Avatar as their founder and savior, Chin Village hates the Avatar for killing Chin and reducing their Empire to a measly town.
  • Shipper on Deck: The prison Aang has to remain in is filled with several dangerous looking criminals... who are actually amiable with him and give him love advice with Katara.
  • Slipped the Ropes: Once Aang is imprisoned, he's "restrained" with his head and arms put through the holes of a wooden plank. Turns out the holes are way bigger than his head and wrists, so he releases himself easily, not that he escapes the prison.
  • Surprise Witness: Subverted. They manage to get Avatar Kyoshi to appear, but she admits to killing Chin.
  • The Bus Came Back: Averted, despite the return to Kyoshi Island, Suki does not reappear, having decided to take part in the war, thanks of the Gaang's last visit, along with the rest of the warriors.
    • But the head of Kyoshi Island does return.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Chin picked a fight with an Avatar. Amazingly, Kyoshi doesn't directly kill him, he just happens to be screaming on top of a newly-created cliff, which crumbles underneath his feet.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The A story is Aang's trial and attempt to clear his past incarnation's name, the B story is Iroh's failed attempt to talk Zuko out of stealing.
  • Wham Line: Two of them.
    Tong: Evidence? Hmph! That's not how our court system works.
    Kyoshi: I killed Chin the Conqueror.
  • Worst Whatever Ever: What the Gaang thinks of the town at the end, almost said verbatim.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/AvatarTheLastAirbenderAvatarDay