Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Headband"

"Listen, guys, those kids at school are the future of the Fire Nation. If we wanna change this place for the better, we need to show them a little taste of freedom."

When the Gaang steals Fire Nation clothes to fit in, Aang accidentally enrolls in a school when his clothing turns out to be a school uniform. Claiming he's picking up useful intelligence but really just wanting to be normal, he convinces the rest of the Gaang to let him continue the charade. However, Aang has picked the wrong place to do it: the Fire Nation is high on discipline, low on individuality. Aang attempts to fix this by throwing a secret dance party for his new classmates.


  • Assimilation Academy: The Fire Nation school actively punishes those who question things too much. They also don't allow dancing (it's not "conducive to a proper learning environment").
  • Badass Beard: Sokka's "Wang Fire!" disguise includes a beard. He is legitimately badass, and the beard seems to reinforce this while disguised as Wang Fire.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Katara's Fire Nation outfit.
  • Blatant Lies: Master manipulator and liar Azula interrupts Zuko and Mai's mountainside picnic to tell Mai Ty Lee needs help... untangling her braids. Yeah. Mai doesn't call her on it, but her expression when Azula has her back to her makes it clear she's not happy.
  • Breather Episode: After the brutal Wham Episode that was the Season Two finale and the emotionally charged Third Season premier, this one provides a much-needed bit of levity with a light-hearted main plot and plenty of humor.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sokka gets smacked in the face when Toph removes the sole of her stolen shoe.
  • Call-Back: Aang uses the name Kuzon while undercover in the Fire Nation school. Aang said he once knew a Fire Nation boy named Kuzon in The Blue Spirit.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Aang doesn't seem to realize that he's caught Onji's affections, despite being with someone else.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Zuko spends most of his parts this episode trying to sort out why he's so confused and angry despite having everything he wanted.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Hide makes it very clear that he doesn't like Aang/Kuzon hanging out with his girlfriend.
  • Crush Blush:
    • Onji blushes when Aang invites her to dance with him.
    • Katara also blushes (but more subtly) when Aang says "It's just you and me right now." in response to her statement that everyone in the cave is watching their dance.
  • Culture Clash: Aang, a vegetarian, runs into a problem when the Gaang go looking for food in the nearby town, where meat is the only option on the menu.
  • Dance Line: When Aang/Kuzon throws a secret dance party, everyone else is reluctant to dance, so Aang invites Onji in first and manages to get her to dance and, one by one, the other students join in.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Toph punches out the bottom of one of the shoes she steals so that she will still be able to "see" with her feet.
  • Double Take: Shoji gives a silent-yet-surprised expression when he sees one part of the cave close via earthbending.
  • Dramatic Irony: When "Kuzon"/Aang is asked a pop-quiz question at a Fire Nation School by his tutor about how Fire Lord Sozin fought off the Air Nomad army, he points out that the Air Nomads didn't have a standing military to speak of and it was essentially a massacre, he is scolded and the tutor sarcastically asks unless he was there 100 years ago, how he'd have more knowledge than the Fire Nation textbooks.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The Gaang steals Fire Nation clothes with the intention of blending in with normal Fire Nation folks.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • "Nobody shows my On Ji anything, especially movements."
    • Wang Fire anyone? Taken out of context, it sounds like another phrase for...the male part of mating.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Katara sure isn't happy about Aang show Onji his dance moves.
  • Hate Sink: Hide. From his possessiveness of the local Nice Girl to his abuse of his status of "star student" all the way to his ratting out Aang's dance party, it's clear we're not supposed to like him.
  • I Am Spartacus: All of the students at Aang's secret dance party end up putting on headbands to allow him to escape.
  • I Can't Dance: The students never danced before Aang's party.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How Zuko justifies his actions to Iroh.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Aang's reason for wanting to continue at the school for a while.
  • I Regret Nothing: Zuko tells this to Iroh regarding his actions in Ba Sing Se. It's quite clear that he's more trying to convince himself.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: Mai and Zuko
    Mai: (Watching the sunset together at a romantic picnic): Orange is such an awful color.
    Zuko: You're so beautiful when you hate the world.
    Mai: I don't hate you.
    Zuko: I don't hate you, too.
  • Jive Turkey: Aang's use of Fire Nation slang from a century ago earns him a bemused reaction from a citizen.
  • Large Ham: Sokka, in his "Wang Fire!" disguise, talks in a boisterous and over-the-top manner.
  • Laugh of Love: Two Fire Nation girls giggle when Aang, while dancing, gets very close to them before leaping away.
  • Mood Whiplash: We go from Aang teaching the Fire Nation kids how to dance to Zuko breaking down to Aang and Katara dancing at one point. The last scenes have the Gaang making a getaway from the school headmaster and talking about the great time they had, to Zuko hiring an assassin to eliminate the Avatar.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • As the Gaang are going over the clothing left unattended, Aang is reluctant to take someone else's stuff. It's Katara who makes the first move.
    • The headmaster brings two goons with him to the secret dance party. At the end of it, they're starting to dance to the beat as well.
  • Ship Tease: Aang and Katara's dance; after they flee the hideout, she kisses him on the cheek as a thank-you for the fun party.
  • Speaking Like Totally Teen: Aang uses outdated Fire Nation slang to try and fit in.
    Aang: Flameo, hotman!
  • Teacher's Pet: Headmaster's Pet in Hide's case, but same principle. Hide is a star student and therefore gets special treatment from the headmaster. Hide also loyally serves the headmaster and rats out Aang's secret dance party.
  • Totally Radical: Aang's attempts to use slang make him come off as weird from the locals' point of view.
  • Watching the Sunset: Zuko and Mai when they had a kiss.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Hide pretends to be hurt in front of the headmaster, even though he started the fight and Aang was dodging his attacks more than fighting back.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Footloose, with Aang holding a "super secret dance party" for his new friends at school.
  • You Just Told Me:
    Azula: So, I hear you've been to visit your Uncle Fatso in the prison tower.
    Zuko: That guard told you!
    Azula: No. You did. Just now.