Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "Nightmares and Daydreams"
"During the meeting, I was the perfect prince. The son my father wanted. But I wasn't me."
Zuko finally realizes he's on the wrong side
The Gaang land on an island uninhabited by anything except koala-sheep. It's the island chosen for the invasion rendezvous, and the Gaang are four days early. Aang is anxious, since they only have four days until they invade the Fire Nation. Sokka's relaxed (and sleepy), since they have four whole days until they invade the Fire Nation. The only thing to do now is to get some rest.
Aang tries to do so, but his anxiety over the invasion causes him to have a nightmare. In this nighmare, Aang (who looks rather like Son Goku
) confronts Ozai (who is a giant, doesn't look anything like the real Ozai, and is a Villainous Glutton
) in a cave with a lot of pillars floating in the air. He declares that he's going to bring Ozai down, but Ozai stops him in his tracks by pointing out that he's not wearing pants. Aang looks down, freaks out, and covers his now-pantsless lower half with a cloud bearing the Air Nomad symbol. Disembodied eyes open up all around the cave, look at Aang, and then close and disappear. Dream!Ozai laughs as Aang sees himself out. Aang wakes up, and after making sure his pants are where they're supposed to be, he decides to train some more.
Meanwhile in the Fire Nation Capital, Zuko is experiencing a normal morning of being the Fire Prince. On the upside, servants are there to cater to his every whim, and he now has adoring fans (and the guards to keep away the persistent ones). On the downside, he can't even cross the street to Mai's without people pestering him to go in a palanquin.
Back at the koala-sheep island, Aang has been practicing all night, and he's currently punching a tree. When the rest of the group awakens, Katara asks him how long he's been up. He answers "a few hours", and says that he's got a lot
more skills to refine before fighting Ozai.
Katara: You know, there is such a thing as overtraining.
Aang's next punch to the tree causes him and the tree's foliage to fall down. He immediately gets back up and tells Katara that he's still got lots to work on- his form is bad, he's sloppy, and he still doesn't know any firebending (cue Twitchy Eye
). Sokka reassures Aang that the eclipse will block all firebending for its duration, so it's not like he's not going to need it.
Sokka: Plus, it's a stupid element.
Aang is reassured on that front, but believes he still needs to work on everything else. He decides to spend the rest of the day training and air scooters away. That night, he returns to camp, says good night to the rest of the Gaang (and is interrupted by Toph), and has another nightmare.
This nightmare takes place in the same dream cavern as the first, but Aang now has spiky hair and a Badass Longcoat
. He tells Dream!Ozai that what happened last time won't happen again- this time he's brought pants and chained them on
(there's a lock over the crotch area). Ozai instead taunts Aang about forgetting his math test, as a giant abacus slams into the ground behind him. Aang falls into the abacus and wakes up.
Aang decides to go train some more, but before he can do much, he's interrupted by Katara. She wants him to get some rest, and his excuse, "But I forgot my pants and my math test
" doesn't convince her otherwise, although it does confuse her into silence for a bit. She talks Aang going to bed.
Meanwhile, Zuko's been spending time with Mai, and they're currently cuddling on her couch. He asks her what she'd get if she could have anything right then, and she replies that she wants a big fancy fruit tart with rose petals on top. Zuko points out that, as a prince, he could probably get it for her, and promptly tells a servant to go get it. Mai is impressed, and comments that there's definitely perks to being royalty. Of course, there are annoying things too, like that war meeting coming up. The one nobody told Zuko about.
Mai: Azula mentioned something, I... I assumed you were going too.
Zuko: I guess I wasn't invited.
Back with the Gaang, Ozai wakes up Aang, telling him that he overslept- and missed the invasion. He then flies away on a winged, fire-breathing hippopotamus-cow. Yep, it's another of Aang's nightmares. He wakes up Sokka, demanding to know what day it is. Sokka hastily gets up and bangs his nose into a rock, and it' Toph who reassures Aang that there's still two days until the invasion. Aang tries to get Sokka to do his rock-climbing exercises, because in one of Aang's nightmares, Sokka was trying to escape Fire Nation soldiers by going up a cliff, but was too slow and got caught.
Sokka is annoyed by this, and says that that was just a dream- in reality, he's a great
climber. Aang challenges him to climb a nearby cliff, and he does so, complaining all the way.
Sokka: Stupid avatar... stupid cliff...stupid dream... I can climb fast!
Aang is relieved to see Sokka doing well, but freaks out when he sees Toph about to drink from a waterskin. His "don't drink that!" warning causes her to Spit Take
all over Katara (she waterbends it off), and startles Sokka (in the background
) into falling off the cliff. Why? Because he had a dream where they all died because Toph needed to use the bathroom in the middle of the invasion.
Aang (to Katara): And you need to start wearing your hair up. In my dream, your hair got caught in a train, and...
Katara: Aang! I know you're just trying to help, but you really need to get a grip. You're unraveling.
Aang concedes the point. He's horribly stressed, thinking about it just makes him more stressed, and Sokka's attempts at reassurance aren't helping. Katara tries to help him relieve stress via yoga stretches near an underground hot spring. Unfortunately, the warmth makes him think of the upcoming fight with the Fire Lord, and he once again freaks out. Since the yoga stretches clearly aren't helping, Katara gets him to talk out his troubles with Sokka-as-Wang Fire. Wang Fire is not the best of therapists.
The episode takes a break from Team Avatar's shenanigans to focus on Zuko confronting Azula, who's having her hair done. He's upset about not being welcome at the war meeting, but Azula tells him that of course he's welcome- Ozai probably just took it as a given that Zuko would be there and so didn't bother to explicitly invite him. She scolds him for his temper tantrum and tells him to just go to the meeting. Zuko says he's not going and storms off.
Back with Team Avatar, Aang is about to undergo Toph's idea of stress relief- a good old back pounding. It doesn't work and almost bruises Aang. Her next idea is acupuncture- with a porcupine-like animal she catapulted to her location. Aang screams and runs away.
Meanwhile, in the B-Plot, Zuko sulks about the war meeting and Mai tries to comfort him. She suggests a few things he can do with her to feel better... like taking a palanquin ride and ordering servants around. It doesn't work, and the episode quickly returns to Team Avatar.
Aang thanks the others for their efforts in calming him down. Now he might sorta slightly feel a little better... maybe. Sokka declares that then their work is done, and the others go to sleep. Aang tries to go to sleep too, but he has another nightmare.
In this nightmare, he's riding Appa through a storm while a giant Momo tries to grab him. The scene changes to an ominous tower, and then Aang standing in front of its doors, and then inside a hall. Toph is in front of him, but she has no eyes, and then falls down a trapdoor. Sokka comes charging through a tunnel, but is engulfed in mud. Katara is surrounded by fire, and Aang tries to rescue her, but his legs are frozen to a giant spur of ice. The fire forms an image of Ozai, which laughs at Aang and bites down. Aang then falls down into the ocean floor. The world then inverts, so now he's under a sheet of ice that Zuko is standing on top of. A comet passes behind Zuko. Aang then sees it hit the ground, turning the area into a hellscape. He then wakes up screaming.
Aang's screaming wakes up the rest of the Gaang, who ask what's going on. Aang replies that it's his nightmares. Sokka thinks it's time for another therapy session with Wang Fire, but Aang doesn't think that will help. There's only one thing left to do- stay awake until the invasion (Twitchy Eye
The next morning, Katara is stretching out by the shore, while Aang paces behind her. A talk about how Aang should really get some sleep segues into Aang confessing his love to Katara and them sharing a kiss- except wait, they didn't. Aang just daydreamed the kiss, and when Katara asks him what the daydream was about, he says 'living underwater'. Sorry, Kataang shippers.
Zuko, meanwhile, is on Mai's couch and she's making tea for him when a servant tells him that everyone's waiting for him. Everyone except Zuko had already arrived at the war meeting, and the Fire Lord had declared that they wouldn't start until Zuko was there. Zuko decides to attend the meeting.
While Zuko's busy doing that, Aang is training, with a tree stump that he stuck his Ozai noodle portrait on as a dummy. He blasts air at the tree, but overshoots and doesn't hit it. One of his air blasts hits Sokka, who's trying to make Appa some armor. He then tries jumping up and blasting air at the tree- and again, misses (but one leaf does fall off the tree!). As Aang yells at the painting, an offscreen voice comments that he's really starting to lose it. Aang turns around, but the only one there was Momo. It turns out, Momo was the one talking.
Momo: You, my friend, are just a few plums short of a fruit pie.
Aang shakes his head a bit and then peeks at Momo through his hand. It work, and Momo's back to speaking lemur. Aang's relieved, and decides to explain it to Momo in lemur noises, much to the confusion of the rest of the Gaang, who are there to stage an intervention.
Katara: Aang? We're all starting to get a little worried about you.
Sokka: You've been awake too long.
Toph: And you're acting downright weird.
Appa: You've got to take care of yourself. You can't go on like this.
Aang doesn't see anything strange with Appa standing on his hind legs and talking, and tells the others that staying awake is the best way for him to deal with the Anxiety Dreams
. Momo agrees, and tells them to leave Aang alone. Appa and Momo start arguing, and Aang is unable to talk them down. He then asks Sokka what they should do.
Sokka: About what?
Well, about Appa and Momo being dressed like samurai and having a duel in a bamboo forest. Each has their own cheering section of sheep. As Aang tries to get them to stop fighting, a six-armed version of Guru Pathik floats by on a cloud, singing a nonsensical song about chakras. Snakes made out of rocks slither out of the bamboo forest, and one encircles Aang before slithering off. Aang's target tree dances, and the scene ends with a circle of rocks, then one of sheep, encircling Aang, while six other rock lines stand on their ends and watch the ongoing duel between a bison and a lemur.
Aang: I just need to jump in a cold waterfall!
The scene then cuts to Zuko exiting the war meeting. Mai asks him how it went, and he responds that he was wanted
- his father had even saved Zuko a seat at his right hand. Mai thinks it's wonderful, but Zuko isn't so sure. In that meeting, he was the perfect prince he'd always aspired to be, but it didn't feel like him
That night, at the island the Gaang are on, Aang sees a rock covered by white fluffy stuff. At first he assumes it's a hallucination, but actually the rest of the Gaang made it (using wool from the naked koala-sheep next to Sokka). They thought a good night's sleep would help his mental state. Aang is angry because they're thinking of sleep when the invasion was tomorrow
and he still needs lots of practice, but the Gaang assure him that he's up to the challenge. Aang is much calmer now, and goes to sleep on the wool bed.
In this dream, he's once again in the cavern of his first two dreams, now looking wuzia-esque (Giant Dream!Ozai looks far more like the real deal, though). Like in the first dream, Ozai taunts him about not wearing pants, but this time Aang is ready and turns it back on him, telling Ozai that he's
the one not wearing pants. Ozai then proceeds to look down and freak out just like Aang did in the first dream.
Ozai: No! My royal parts are showing!
Back in reality, the sleeping Aang smiles.
- Advice Backfire: Sokka's attempts to reassure Aang do not go well:
Sokka: "Of course you're stressed; you've gotta fight the Fire Lord: the baddest man on the planet! And you'd better win, or we're all done for..."
Katara: "Sokka! That's not helping!"
- Afraid of Needles: Aang, when Toph suggests acupuncture with a porcupine-like creature. The fact that the creature's needles have Audible Sharpness probably doesn't help matters.
- Anime Hair: Aang in his dreams.
- Anxiety Dreams: Aang, of course.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Parodied.
- Big Damn Kiss: Subverted. Aang finally tells Katara that he loves her and kisses her, thus letting her kiss him back. But as they get ready to make out some more...Katara's voice asks Aang what he was doing, and he looks up to see her standing there. It Was All Just A Dream, indeed.
- Big "NO!": Dream!Ozai in Aang's last dream.
- Breather Episode: A lighthearted bit of sleep deprivation comedy before the very dramatic Day of Black Sun.
- The Cameo: Guru Pahtik reappears as one of Aang's hallucinations, with six arms, and singing about chakras.
- Catapult Nightmare: Aang, when waking from his last nightmare, complete with scream.
- Chekhov's War Meeting: The content of the war meeting go unrevealed for this episode, though whatever it was prompted Zuko to finally make a Heel Realization. The audience finally finds out what went on in the finale, and boy howdy is it a doozy.
- Daydream Surprise: Sorry, Kataang fans, gonna have to wait a little longer for the real deal...
- Fangirl: Not surprisingly, Zuko now has in-universe ones trying to get his attention (and possibly other things) when he steps outside the palace. One of these manages to get close, before being dragged off by the guards.
- Funny Background Event: When the Gaang makes Aang a bed for him to sleep on, there are some naked koala-sheep next to Sokka.
- Get Ahold Of Yourself Man:
Katara: Aang, I know you're trying to help, but you really need to get a grip.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Nightmares, funny stuff, Kataang Ship Tease, hallucinations... hold on, did Zuko spend the night on Mai's couch?
- Mai suggesting ways for Zuko to relieve stress, like... ordering servants around, or taking a palanquin ride.
- Innocuously Important Episode: The A-plot is Aang having a Sleep Deprivation Samba due to anxiety over the coming invasion causing nightmares. The B-plot focuses on Zuko and Mai cuddling adorably... and Zuko attending an offscreen war meeting wherein something happens that will have a large effect on the finale, and which provokes Zuko's Heel Realization.
- The Insomniac: Aang, and the lack of sleep makes him crazy.
- A Load of Bull: Aang hallucinates that Appa is talking.
- Mood Whiplash: while most of Aang's nightmares are played as comedy, some of them are actually pretty dang frightening. Not to mention the snapback after the aforementioned Kataang Ship Tease.
- "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: Aang's most humiliating nightmare. In his final dream, he turns it around on Dream!Ozai.
- No, You: Aang to Dream!Ozai in his final dream.
- Real Dreams Are Weirder: All of Aang's dreams, as well as his hallucinations. There's such things as Ozai the giant Villainous Glutton, Aang as an anime Shout-Out, giant eyes opening up in the air, Aang suddenly not wearing pants, Ozai taunting Aang about missing his math test (causing Aang to fall into a giant abacus), Momo being a giant attempting to grab Aang and Appa, Toph not having eyes, there being a random ocean under the Fire Lord's palace, Appa and Momo talking, Appa and Momo swordfighting while sheep cheer them on, and a six-armed Guru Pathik sitting on a cloud and singing about how everyone loves chakras.
- Road Trip Across the Street: Zuko takes a palanquin to Mai's house, which is just across the street from the palace. Granted, he tried to be nonchalant and just walk over, but his servants insisted otherwise.
- Ship Tease: Aang to Katara- "Baby, you're my forever girl."
- Sokka refers to Fire Lord Ozai as "the baddest man on the planet", which was the tagline for Mike Tyson during his prime.
- The three get-ups Aang wears in his Fire Lord dreams are homages to Dragon Ball Z, Trigun, and wuxia films.
- Hallucination!Momo looks a lot like Usagi from Usagi Yojimbo.
- Sleep Deprivation Samba
- Spit Take: Aang yells at Toph to stop drinking water and she immediately spit-takes in surprise, all over Katara (who subsequently waterbends to dry herself).
- Suddenly Voiced: Momo and Appa both talk during one of Aang's hallucinations.
- Surreal Horror: Aang's last nightmare features the rest of the Gaang dying in various horrible ways before the comet hits the ground and turns it into a scorched wasteland.
- Surreal Humour: Aang's first two nightmares have the traditional not-wearing-pants scene, and then the Fire Lord asking if Aang had prepared for... his math test.
- Sword Fight: Aang hallucinates one between Appa and Momo.
- Twitchy Eye: Aang develops one while suffering from insomnia.