Recap: Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Beach"
"I'm angry at myself!"
A fairly typical Beach Episode
, except for the fact that it's the villains
that we get to know better: Zuko, Azula, Mai and Ty Lee retreat to the royal beach house on Ember Island for a well-earned vacation. The four attempt to socialize with other Fire Nation teenagers, with decidedly mixed results, and then end with the traditional heart-to-heart around a beach bonfire. In the secondary plot, Combustion Man attacks the Gaang for the first time.
- Aerith and Bob: Ruon-Jian. It's pronounced "Ron Jon," like the surf shop.
- Adorkable: Azula at the party, jarringly.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "Who are you angry at?" After much prodding, Zuko answers with the above quote.
- Bare Your Midriff: Almost every girl at the beach, particularly Azula and Ty Lee.
- Fans who got a tour of the studio claimed to have seen concept art of the swimsuits that were far more revealing, possibly as a ploy to get the Nickelodeon execs to accept these still fairly daring designs instead.
- Beach Episode: It's even in the title!
- Big, Badass Bird of Prey: Combustion Man's interception buzzard and the messenger hawk.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Combustion Man's attack is one in-universe for the Gaang. "Well, that was random."
- Brain Bleach: Zuko, and the audience, have this reaction to the Fan Disservice mentioned below.
- Could Say It But: Both Mai and Azula's revelations about what hurt them come out in this format.
- Disturbed Doves: Zuko calls some just by taking off his shirt. For a Kuai Ball Game.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Azula's cringeworthy attempt to compliment Chan on how "sharp" his clothes are ends with her doing this.
: That's a sharp outfit, Chan. Careful, you could puncture the hull of an empire class Fire Nation battleship leaving thousands to drown at sea. [Beat
] Because...it's so sharp
- Emotions vs. Stoicism: Zuko and Mai's fight is basically this trope. Zuko is all emotion and he lets his temper and impulses get away from him. Mai is all stoicism to the point where she doesn't care about anything and can't express any emotion. Eventually they come to understand each other, with Zuko learning to think more calmly and rationally and Mai learning to be more free to express her feelings.
- Epic Fail: Azula manages to get a kiss, but her attempt to seal the deal afterwards is a spectacular example of this. Her earlier attempts at flirting were likewise fairly atrocious.
- Estrogen Brigade: Zuko has in-universe fangirls here.
- Fan Disservice: Lo and Li in their bathing suits.
- Fanservice: Quite a lot.
- Ty Lee and Mai are depicted barefoot in this episode for the first time.
- Favors for the Sexy: Ty Lee gleefully milks this trope for all its worth.
- Finger Poke of Doom: Zuko sends Ruon-Jian flying across the room with just a palm strike.
- Freudian Excuse: All four of the fire team tell theirs. Mai and Azula both deny that they have one, before going into it. Mai also calls out Zuko on his, pointing out that even though, yes, his life has been pretty terrible, it doesn't excuse how he's been acting.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Toph telling Aang not to "expose himself." She was of course talking about his tattoos, but Aang replies, "What, I'm wearing trunks."
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Zuko finally gets called out for his constant flaring up at the slightest provocation.
- Huddle Shot: Used when Azula gathers her team to beat the opposition at a game of kuai ball.
- Idiot Crows: A dove version flaps by Chan's head after he's stunned by one of Azula's pickup lines.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Ty Lee is one of a family of septuplets, all of whom look a lot like her. It's not hard to see why she wants to stand out.
- Instant Armor: Aang uses the assemble-rocks trick he learned from Toph whilst dealing with Combustion Man.
- Insult Backfire: Ty Lee claims this about Zuko calling her a "circus freak".
- I Was Quite a Looker: Li and Lo.
- Kick the Dog: There is a LOT of mean-spirited and spiteful lashing out in this episode as the fire team's suppressed emotional baggage comes up.
- Mr Fan Service: Zuko.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon:
Azula: For some reason, when I meet boys, they act as if I'm going to do something horrible to them.
Ty Lee: But you probably would do something horrible to them...
- Although it's really more like "No Guy Wants The Sociopath"; it's not Azula's fighting skills that scare the boys off, it's the fact she's Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training and her malicious persona shines through, making her come off as creepy, menacing and awkward all at the same time.
- No Social Skills: Azula. She has an amazing capacity to lead, to subvert loyalties, to understand other people and sway their opinions and is overall a master of manipulation...but normal social interactions are UTTERLY beyond her. Although she refused to admit it, she is quite insecure about it as well.
- Not so Above It All: Azula shows this big-time. Mai is a lesser example.
- Pet the Dog: Azula apologizes for accidentally upsetting Ty Lee in this episode, and even brings Zuko back from their family's former home when he wanders off.
- Sarcastic Clapping: Azula does this when Zuko and Mai make up, before sarcastically congratulating them all on their "performances" of their sob stories. However, by this point it's quite clear that she's using her sarcasm as a defence mechanism.
- Serious Business: Azula's reaction to winning a game of kuai ball. It's obvious that despite being a brilliant commander, she can't turn that mindset off.
Azula: YES! We have defeated you for ALL TIME! You shall never rise from the ashes of your shame and humiliation. <beat> Well, that was fun.
- Sherlock Scan: Azula notices that one of the kuai ball players hesitates with her left foot, and suspects it due to an old injury that weakens her left side in the game. Whether or not she's right is unclear, as the game is such a Curb-Stomp Battle it doesn't make much difference whether they exploit that weakness.
- Shirtless Scene: Zuko gets one with Disturbed Doves.
- Shout-Out: Everyone asking Zuko what's really bothering him is similar to the one in The Breakfast Club.
- Skirt over Slacks: Azula and Ty Lee with their bikinis.
- Squee!: Zuko's Estrogen Brigade during his Shirtless Scene.
- Stepford Snarker: Both Azula and Mai are revealed to be this.
- Stunned Silence: After Azula announces her plan with Chan to become "the strongest couple in the entire world." He doesn't seem that enthused◊.
- The Tease: Azula calls Ty Lee this.
- Trash the Set: At the end of the episode.
- Tuckerization: Chan got his name from an Avatar writer, May Chan.
- Villains Out Shopping: Although it's a wonder how nobody appeared to know that Zuko and Azula were the prince and princess of the Fire Nation.
- Well, it's a world without TV and tabloids, and official paintings of royals are often highly idealized.
- We Can Rule Together: Azula suggests this to Chan. As a pickup line.
"Together, you and I will be the strongest couple in the entire world!"
- You Monster!: Azula thinks that her own mother thought of her as one.
Azula: She was right, of course, but it still hurt.