Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Runaway"

"It really seems like, my whole life, Katara's been the one looking out for me."

Open to a Fire Nation courtyard, with Toph bound inside a net, being taken away by Fire Nation soldiers. Katara stands proudly over her, and cruelly announces that she brought it on herself. Flash back several days.

The Gaang is beginning to run low on money and supplies. Toph manages to acquire money by beating a cheating gambler at his own game using Earthbending. Toph quickly begins to realise how easy it is to gain money this way, and with Sokka's and Aang's help, they quickly begin a system of cons, using various forms of bending and disguises to earn money. While this allows them to gain extra supplies, such as maps, armour for Appa, and a messenger hawk, Katara harbours doubts about how safe and ethical the operation is. Her suspicions are only confirmed with the discovery that Toph is now wanted by the Fire Nation, under the alias of "The Runaway." The two girls butt heads; Toph accuses Katara of being too motherly and acting like she's better than the rest of them, while Katara accuses Toph of being out of control, simply because of the problems with her own parents.

Finally, Toph sees Katara's point, and concedes. Katara, however, wants to prove that she can have fun too, and proposes the ultimate con - hand Toph into the Fire Nation (as seen in the opening), get the reward, and then let Toph break out of the metal jail house. Easy.

Unfortunately, it's all been a ploy on behalf of Combustion Man, who captures both Toph and Katara, placing them in a wooden cell. Now it's up to the rest of the team, as well as Katara's sweat and ingenuity, to escape.


  • Bathing Beauty: Katara while she's bathing in the river.
  • Bullet Time: Used during the shell game, to help illustrate Toph being able to sense the barker flipping the pebble(s) into his sleeves.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Sokka to Aang - on an attempted sneak attack.
    *A blindfolded Aang whomps him with an earth pillar*
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Averted. The Gaang gets away with 99% of their cons, and even then, the emphasis isn't that its morally wrong, but that they were drawing attention to themselves.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: While asking Aang if she acts motherly, Katara demands "Stop rubbing your eye and speak clearly when you talk.", to which Aang responds "Yes, ma'am!".
  • Forged Letter: Sokka attempts to pull this in order to patch things up between Katara and Toph. He writes a fake apology letter and sends it to Katara, via messenger hawk. It fails hilariously, after she reads it and points out a rather obvious oversight in her brother's plan:
    Katara: (shouts, while pointing at fake apology letter) "I know this is from YOU, Sokka! TOPH CAN'T WRITE!!"
    • Even better: Aang's next suggestion is to try the same plan... except the forged letter is from Katara. Sokka has to point out there might be a similar flaw there.
  • Flopsy: One of the scams pulled by Toph and Sokka.
  • Gilligan Cut: Aang gives Katara his Avatar promise that they won't pull any more scams. Cut, and we get a montage of them scamming.
  • Godiva Hair: While Katara is bathing.
  • How We Got Here: The episode begins with Katara betraying Toph, than flashbacks to explain how it happened.
  • Idiot Ball: Aang and Sokka send a Forged Letter to Katara from Toph, completely forgetting that Toph is blind and cannot write. This is lampshaded by them after the plan backfires:
    Aang: I can't believe we forgot Toph can't write.
    Sokka: Yup, we're idiots.
  • Karmic Thief: Toph tries using the "cheating a cheater" as a way to justify conning at first to Katara.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Most of the Gaang being con artists.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: Toph.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Combustion Man actually makes a game effort to prevent this, putting Katara and Toph in a wooden cell. But Katara still is able to get out by running in place until she sweats, then forming it into a whip.
  • Mythology Gag: The Hawky vs. Momo rivalry has its roots in the unaired pilot in which Zuko has a pet hawk.