Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Waterbending Scroll"

"I'll save you from the pirates."

The gang stops in a village for supplies, although they are running dangerously low on money. However, while shopping, they come across interesting merchandise sold by rather questionable pirates- er, I mean, 'high risk traders'. Among their wares is an expensive water bending scroll, which Katara steals to help both herself and Aang learn water bending. To her annoyance, it seems Aang quickly surpasses her in the skill, and her jealousy begins to take control. Meanwhile, Iroh goes shopping for his missing Pai Sho piece, and Zuko catches wind that the pirates are after a familiar sounding trio, and so they join forces.


  • Batman Gambit: Sokka uses a brilliant one by convincing the pirates that Aang, as the Avatar, is worth more than the waterbending scroll, causing a fight between Zuko and the pirates while the trio escaped.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Appa!
  • Breather Episode: A plot-significant episode which provides a break from the previous two-parter, especially with the darker "Jet" to follow.
  • Butt Monkey: While Aang and Katara practice water-bending, Sokka gets to brush Appa's toes. And then he gets splashed by Aang's waterbending.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Aang's bison whistle. And the horn Iroh buys.
  • Fruit Cart: The Cabbage Merchant and his cabbages.
  • Funny Background Event: Iroh imitating the weird grin of the monkey statue while Zuko is first talking to the pirates.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Subverted
    General Iroh: Are you so busy fighting, you cannot see your own ship has set sail?!
    Prince Zuko: We have no time for your proverbs, uncle!
    General Iroh: It's no proverb! (Beat) Maybe it should be a proverb...
    • Then they see the trio have taken off in their boat.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: The reason our heroes don't get to keep the boat.
  • Insistent Terminology: They're not pirates, they're "high risk traders."
  • Instant Expert: To Katara's annoyance, Aang masters Waterbending very quickly.
  • Ironic Echo: After stealing the Waterbending Scroll, Katara comments that she prefers to think of it as "high risk trading."
  • It's All My Fault, Katara says.
    Aang: No, Katara, it isn't.
    Iroh: Yeah, it kind of is.
  • Lint Value: Aang tries to haggle for the waterbending scroll. He offers one copper piece. Then, okay, how about two copper pieces?
  • Meaningful Background Event: When the pirates storm en-masse out of their ship, Katara nervously edges backwards.
  • Mood-Swinger: Katara swings from flipping out at Aang's easy mastery of Waterbending, to sincerely, tearfully saying, "I'm so sorry, I don't know what came over me," to angrily declaring, "No more apologies!"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After yelling at Aang and seeing him cry, Katara immediately feels bad for what she said and apologizes sincerely. Then she does the same for Momo, who had been whipped earlier by a failed water whip. And the look Sokka gives her after she yells at Aang clearly said "What the heck is wrong with you?!"
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Katara's late-night practicing (and angry muttering) is what alerts the pirates and Zuko to her location.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Katara rationalizes that it was okay to steal the scroll since the pirates clearly already stole it themselves.
  • Recurring Extra: The Cabbage Merchant returns. He should've stayed in Omashu.
  • Ship Tease: It's widely agreed that this episode is when the concept of "Zutara" really took off.
  • Shut Up and Save Me!:
    Aang: Hey, you did the Water Whip!
    Katara: I couldn't have done it without your help!
    Sokka: (being restrained by three pirates) Will you two quit congratulating each other and help me out?!
  • Spoof Aesop: The lesson is, "stealing is wrong... unless it's from pirates!"... which, if nothing else, refreshingly keeps the episode from being Anvilicious.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Sokka does this as a Batman Gambit. Zuko sees through it instantly — the pirates do not.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Sokka: Oh, what? I'm not good enough to kidnap?
    [Cue to a net being thrown at him and gets dragged away]
  • This Is No Time for Knitting: This Is No Time For Flute Practice!