Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The King of Omashu"

"Bumi, you're a mad genius."

As the gang continues on their journey to the North Pole, they stop at the city Omashu, a place Aang remembers from his child-hood for his friend Bumi and its elaborate earth-bending controlled mail system. The group takes advantage of said mail system for fun, but their antics create massive property damage, leading to them being captured by the Royal Guard. The slightly insane King of Omashu realises that Aang is the Avatar, and imprisons Katara and Sokka in living crystal; if Aang wants to free them, he shall have to complete three tasks.

The first test is to fetch a key (For the king's lunchbox, apparently). Problem is, the key is kept in the center of a downpour of water above a pit of stalagmites. The pressure too great to just climb up the ladder, Aang is able to get the key by flinging a stalactite at it, knocking it out of the water and over the king's head.

The second test is to fetch the king's pet, Flopsy. Aang is led to a pit where a small bunny is kept...and a giant gorilla-goat! After some comic chasing, Aang realizes that the goat-rilla is Flopsy, who acts very docile when called for.

The third test is a duel. Two fierce-looking warriors come out, and the king tells Aang to choose his opponent. Trying to be clever, Aang tries to Take a Third Option and challenge...the king! Too bad the king has some serious muscle underneath all those robes and wrinkles!

King: You thought I was a frail old man, but I'm the most powerful earthbender you'll ever see!

The duel starts off badly for Aang, who continually has to avoid the king's mighty earthbending. The king for his part mocks Aang use of traditional airbender tactics of evasion, goading the Avatar to be more creative. Aang eventually tries to use his airbending to redirect the king's earthbended boulders, becoming more offensive culminating in a self-made tornado. The king soon calls the duel off and congratulates Aang for his fighting spirit, but tells that the Avatar has one more challenge (After all, what good are tests if you don't learn anything?): What is the king's name?

Aang confers with his Water Tribe comrades, and after dismissing Sokka's suggestion wonders about the previous tests. To pass all of them, Aang had to open his mind to all of the possibilities...Aang realizes what the king's name is. Confronting the leader of Omashu, Aang goes up to him him a big hug.

Aang: You're a mad genius, Bumi.

The two friends reunited, Bumi removes Katara and Sokka's crystal capsules, which are revealed to be made of rock candy. The siblings are surprised to learn that the King of Omashu is Aang's old friend from before the Hundred Year War, and question Bumi on why he forced Aang to do those challenges instead of just telling him who he was—Bumi claims that he had two reason:
  1. He finds it fun to mess with people like that.
  2. With how much the world in the hundred years that Aang's been gone, Bumi points out that he has a difficult task ahead of him in defeating Fire Lord Ozai, and strongly advises Aang to "think like a mad genius."

Aang accepts this and now has a challenge for Bumi—the episode ends with Aang and Bumi playing with the city's mail system, at the expense of a certain merchant of cabbage...


  • Absentee Actor: This is the first episode where Zuko and Iroh do not appear.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Sokka thinks this of the king's "jokes". Aang and Katara aren't amused because the jokes are pretty terrible.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Zig-Zagged. Aang suggests escaping through the air vents, but Sokka notes that they couldn't fit. Aang says that even though they can't fit, Momo can. However, Momo just gets stuck halfway through the air vent hole.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Gaang are hauled up in front of the King for "vandalism, traveling under false pretenses and malicious destruction of cabbages."
  • Badass Boast:
    Bumi: You thought I was a frail old man, but I'm the most powerful earthbender you'll ever see.
  • Chirping Crickets: Some guy coughing.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: The King's elaborate, oversized robes, which hide how ridiculously muscular he is.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Bumi
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Hey, King Bumi's an Earthbender, it's his thing.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Averted mostly by Bumi most of the time, despite his goofiness. But when he orders the trio to be thrown in jail he tries to make it a dramatic announcement and it falls flat. For the audience this shows we're not meant to be too worried about their fate.
  • Fluffy Tamer: King Bumi.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: "Flopsy" turns out to be the hulking gorilla-goat, not the little cute pet. Though it winds up being just as docile as you'd expect something named "Flopsy" to be.
  • Fruit Cart: The Cabbage Merchant and his cabbages.
  • Gilded Cage: The heroes' prison cell was newly refurbished and looked like a nice hotel room.
  • Gilligan Cut: Katara tells Aang he'll need some kind of disguise before they enter the city, and Aang sarcastically suggests that he could grow a mustache. Cut to Aang with a fake mustache and hair made of straw.
  • Hey, Wait!: Aang, Katara and Sokka talk their way past the guards at the city gate, with Aang pretending to be their elderly grandfather. Just as they're being let through, one of the guards notices something and calls them back...but it turns out it was to berate Sokka (who the guard notes seems very strong and muscular) for apparently not showing respect to the elderly by not carrying his grandfather's pack for him—Aang immediately tossed the bag he was carrying to Sokka.
  • Hidden Purpose Test: The King was Bumi, and the tasks were partly a test to see if Aang could think creatively.
  • It Amused Me: When Sokka asks Bumi why he did all this instead of just telling Aang who he is, Bumi says that it's fun messing with people. The other reason was to get Aang to think creatively, which will help him when he faces off against the Fire Lord.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Aang eventually rises to all Bumi's challenges. Including starting a mini-cyclone to send Bumi's giant rock back at him.
  • Mad Eye: Bumi.
  • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: A hundred years have naturally changed Bumi's appearance, and though the clues are there (his Mismatched Eyes, squint and missing tooth), it's his personality that Aang recognises him by.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Inverted. The Gaang's "punishment" for the property damage they cause is to be thrown a feast.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: When the protagonists are arrested, the king proclaims their sentence: "THROW THEM...a feast!"
  • Off with His Head!: The cabbage merchant suggests this punishment.
    Cabbage Merchant: Off with their heads! One for each head of cabbage!
  • Oh, Crap!: Aang, when he finds out that King Bumi isn't some weak and wimpy-looking old man, but is in fact "the most powerful earthbender [you] will ever see."
  • Overly Long Name: Aang initially identifies himself as "Bonzu Pipinpadaloxicopolis III," with Katara introducing herself as "June Pipinpadaloxicopolis."
  • Pun: Quite a few, thanks to King Bumi.
  • Recurring Extra: The poor cabbage merchant's first appearance.
  • Reverse Psychology: In a way—the king's first two tests were to see whether or not Aang can creatively work out of tough situations, but the third test punished Aang for creatively using the King's Exact Words for an easier solution.
  • Running Gag: A quiet cough heard after a bad pun.
  • Take a Third Option: When presented with a choice of warriors to fight, Aang chooses Bumi instead. Subverted when Bumi turns out to be even stronger than the scary-looking guys, and he all but calls out Aang for taking the predictable out.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Okay, so those cabbages couldn't come into the city, but did the guards need to catapult them into a ravine?
  • Unpronounceable Alias: See Overly Long Name above. Though Katara and Bumi can keep up with it just fine.
  • Wham Line: When Aang chooses the King as his opponent. Doubles as a Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner.
    King: Wrong choice.
  • The Window or the Stairs: The titular King is putting Aang through a series of tests. For the last one, he tells Aang to choose a warrior to fight. Aang tries to Take a Third Option and choose the old, crazy King himself - but he was expecting this, informing Aang that he's an incredibly powerful earthbender and tougher opponent than any of the warriors presented. In fact, he's the strongest in the entire series until Toph comes along, and even then it's debatable.
    His Majesty: Heh heh, wrong choice!