Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Siege of the North, Part 2"

"I don't need luck though, I don't want it. I've always had to struggle and fight and that's made me strong. It's made me who I am."

The Season Finale. Zuko struggles to find shelter in the freezing temperatures of the North Pole, while Sokka, Katara and Yue search for him and Aang. At the Northern Water Tribe, firebenders and Fire Nation tanks manage to infiltrate the city. Admiral Zhao slays the moon spirit, Tui, and the waterbenders lose their ability to waterbend. In anger, Aang, who along with Zuko was rescued by Sokka, Katara and Yue, goes into the Avatar State and, in joining with the Ocean Spirit La, destroys the entire Fire Nation armada and army, with the exceptions of Iroh and Zuko. Yue, who was imbued with some of the energy of the Moon Spirit when she was a baby, sacrifices her life to revive it, and becomes the Moon Spirit. Zhao is pulled underwater by the Ocean Spirit in retaliation for slaying the Moon Spirit, refusing to accept Zuko's help when he attempts to save him; Zhao is never seen again. At the end of the episode, Ozai assigns Azula a mission: to hunt down her traitor uncle and brother.

Tropes:

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Yue's connection with the moon allows her to become the moon spirit when the original dies.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The Ocean and Moon Spirits seemed content to simply swim around in their pond and not actively assist the Water Tribe or oppose the Fire Nation. Iroh warns Zhao about the disastrous consequences of messing with the spirits but Zhao kills the Moon Spirit. The Ocean proceeds to merge with Aang and go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Fire Nation.
  • Badass Boast: What Zhao does to the Moon spirit, Iroh will return tenfold. He doesn't succeed... but only because Zhao ran.
  • Berserk Button: Harm to the spirits is one for Iroh.
    • Swallowing his pride and accepting his mistakes is a big, fatal one for Zhao - twice. When told not to kill Tui, he lets his anger take control and kills the fish anyway. Later, when he's on the brink of death, his only means of survival is to grasp Zuko's hand - the hand of the kid he hates to the core. Instead of sucking it up, he lets his pride call the shots and lead him straight to a frigid, cold, watery grave.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Fire Nation has been repelled and the day is won, but at the cost of Yue's life to Sokka's dismay. Meanwhile, Zuko and Iroh are unaware they've been branded traitors by their nation and a much worse threat than Zhao is on the horizon.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The invasion itself. After Koizilla wipes out the fleet, we never see any dead bodies; considering Zhao's fate, that hints at a rather horrifying possibility for why they're all missing.
    • More remarkable is how the enraged Water Spirit is capable of wiping out only the Fire Nation's troops: the nearby Water tribesmen who bowed down in supplication were spared. We actually see the water pass over them harmlessly.
  • Call-Back: Hei Bai, the forest spirit in "Winter Solstice: Part 1", returns to aid Aang in the Spirit World.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: While Iroh and Zhao are discussing their strategy on their ship, Hahn interrupts, charging at Zhao, who casually tosses him overboard and resumes the conversation with, "As I was saying..."
    • A more frightening variant: Aang talks flatly and casually in front of Koh the entire time he's speaking to him - should he show even a speck of emotion, Koh would steal his face. When Aang suddenly has an epiphany about the koi fish behind Koh's back, it's enough of a realization to make him drop his facade and get a cheerful reaction out of him - and Koh wheels around at the speed of light ready to pounce at Aang's slip-up... only to find Aang has regathered himself and gone dull and emotionless again. To top it all off, Koh taunts him out of spite as he walks away.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: That girl who appeared in the flashback in "The Storm" as well in the opening turns out to be the Firelord's daughter and Zuko's sister. At the end, the firelord sends her to replace Zhao. We still have yet to learn her name, though.
  • City of Canals: The Northern Water Tribe's city.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: Yue's white hair can be a considered a benign example.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Aang combines with the Ocean Spirit and utterly destroys the Fire Nation fleet. The same goes for Zhao and the Moon Spirit - he's doomed the moment it picks him up in its clutches.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: While Zhao has the Moon Spirit captive and after he kills it. During the Moonless sequence, the only color comes from firebending and Yue's irises — in other words, supernatural sources. This tips off Iroh to Yue's true nature.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Two examples: Zuko's plan was, apparently, "Grab the Avatar and run off into the frozen tundra" (Iroh later calls him on it). Zhao, meanwhile, seems never to have considered any possible consequences to destroying the Moon apart from "no water bending."
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Yue's father dreamed about her becoming the Moon spirit and knew that day would come.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Hahn and his men disguise as Firebender mooks in order to get close to Zhao. It helps that the outfit includes face-obscuring helmets.
  • Driven to Suicide: Zhao commits suicide by letting the ocean spirit take him after failing to defeat Zuko.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Iroh makes it clear to Zhao that he doesn't believe in killing a spirit to ensure victory for the Fire Nation. Just when Zhao's about to kill it, Iroh sides with Aang on his claim that everyone needs the Moon.
  • Face Stealer: Trope Namer. And my, is Koh creepy.
  • A God Am I: Zhao does this after capturing the Moon Spirit. Complete with a Milking the Giant Cow gesture.
  • God in Human Form: Zhao learned from a special library that the black and white koi fish in the oasis are actually the Moon and Ocean Spirits. He chose to use this knowledge to destroy the moon, which he believed would cripple the Water Tribe only.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The defeat of Zhao's fleet is this to the Fire Nation, as the Fire Lord sends his daughter to drop the hammer.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Yue makes one to save the Moon Spirit and her tribe.
  • He's Dead, Jim: When Yue collapses into Sokka's arms, the latter diagnoses her dead after a second of feeling her pulse.
  • Jerkass: The Strange Spirit first encounters in the Spirit World. Rather than help Aang, he tries to shoo him away so that he can meditate in peace. He even voices his relief once Aang leaves, which led to Hei Bai getting angry with him.
  • Karmic Death: Zhao is killed by the Ocean Spirit for (temporarily) slaying the Moon Spirit. Double whammy when you factor in he had a chance to be saved by Zuko and chose to die at La's hands, and so he was subjected to self-inflicted karmic death.
  • Last Kiss: Between Sokka and Yue before she Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence.
  • Meaningful Name: 'Yue' is Chinese for 'moon', which fits how the moon spirit gave energy to save her life as a baby. It becomes all the more fitting when she literally becomes the moon.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: Again, Zhao avoiding Hahn's assassination attempt.
  • Oh, Crap!: The appearance of Zuko's sister is a clear sign that Team Avatar is in for trouble, BIGGER trouble.
  • One-Winged Angel: Koizilla
    • A (more) heroic example: Princess Yue becoming the Moon Spirit.
  • Pose of Supplication: Members of the Waterbender tribe bow down to Kiozilla and are spared while the Firebender troops get washes away.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: While Zhao has the Moon Spirit captive, the moon's light turns red. It's definitely a bad omen.
  • The Reveal: That girl from the flashback in "The Storm" who smirked devilishly at Zuko's scarring is none other than his sister. She was smiling out of cruel satisfaction.
  • Riddle for the Ages: As far as we know that the next Avatar is related to the then-current Chief, who would be Chief Arnook's successor since his only child became the Moon?
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Ocean Spirit fuses with Aang and lashes out at the Fire Nation after the Moon Spirit is killed. It does calm down after Yue gives her life to the moon.
  • Save the Villain: To Sokka's annoyance, Aang won't let Zuko die in the cold. Zuko later attempts to save Zhao from the Ocean Spirit but fails.
  • Splash of Color: From firebending and Yue's irises after the switch to Deliberately Monochrome.
  • Take My Hand: Zuko yells this when the Ocean Spirit grabs Zhao. Zhao refuses his enemy's help and lets the spirit drag him underwater.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Hahn's 'ambush' on Zhao involves getting onto the ship and charging him, loudly declaring his intent to kill him as he runs forward, weapon ready to strike, when his opponent is a powerful bender, has another powerful bender next to him, and is currently on a ship full of soldiers. Obviously, it doesn't work.
  • Wham Episode: Admiral Zhao dies, Katara is officially a Waterbending master, and the last two minutes of the episode introduce a new and deadly playmate for the crew next season... one Zuko's sister.
  • Wham Shot: Why hello there, Zuko's Sister.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Hahn's fate after being chucked overboard Zhao's ship is left uncertain. For all we know, he's an ice cube chilling at the bottom of the ocean by now. But after being such a Jerkass as he is, nobody really gives a rip.
    • Koh mentions that he and Aang will meet again but never comes back in the series. It actually happens in the online game Escape from the Spirit World.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: After being transported to the spirit world, Aang runs through a swampy region chasing a mysterious small light sphere. When he climbed up a tree and grabbed it, it made the tree branch dissolve.
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