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Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "Appa's Lost Days"

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Appa faces persistent horrors after being separated from Aang.

"I guess this means we'll always be together."
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A Perspective Flip detailing Appa's journey from being captured by bandits in the "The Library" to his eventual arrival and capture by Long Feng in "The Tales of Ba Sing Se". We watch as Appa desperately tries to escape his captors, only to be drugged and sold to an abusive circus. There the bison is physically and mentally abused to force him into ridiculous performances, and a fear of fire is instilled in him. Even after a young boy helps free him, there's no luck; he nearly starves in the desert, is attacked by giant buzzard-wasps, farmers and a porcupine boar, before simply giving up to die in a cave. Thankfully, the Kyoshi Warriors (led by Suki) find him- but before they can bring him back to Aang, they are attacked by Azula, Ty Lee and Mai.

Suki forces Appa to flee by scaring him with fire, leaving their own fates unknown to the audience. Afraid and rejected again, Appa finds himself at another Air Temple he remembers from his youth, now abandoned. But... not completely. There's one person there: an old guru. He spiritually heals the bison, and gives him direction towards Aang. With hope renewed, Appa sets off for Ba Sing Se, following the sound of the bison whistle...

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... but there's a catch. Aang's asleep. So who's blowing the whistle?

Oh, Crap!.


Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: The little boy at the circus is implied to have a very unkind father. Said-father is very bossy, orders his son to stay away from Appa, and refuses to share his snack with his son.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Invoked with Suki and Azula charging at each other, but subverted in that we eventually find out what happened.
  • Bond Creatures: We see that Aang and Appa share the same dream of when they met at the exact same time.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor, poor Appa.
  • Butt-Monkey: Divide the things that go Appa's way with those that don't and you have a very depressing figure.
  • Call-Forward: As it turns out, the sandbender ship that Team Avatar found in the desert wasn't simply there out of good luck. Appa buried it by accident when the sand make him sneeze. The Sandbender Chief's son even refers to it as the ship stolen from another sandbending tribe.
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  • Chekhov's Gunman: Hakoda and Guru Pathik.
  • Cliffhanger: What happened to Appa?
  • Continuity Nod: The umbrella from "The Fortuneteller" is found in Appa's luggage by sandbenders.
  • A Day in the Limelight
  • Determinator: Appa, big-time.
  • Disturbed Doves: Happens during the fight between Appa and the boarcupine.
  • Downer Ending: Appa makes it to Ba Sing Se, and hears the whistle...but it unfortunately turns out to be a trap set up by Long Feng, and Appa is captured again.
  • Friendship Moment: In Appa's flashback, his first meeting with Aang. It's adorable.
  • Full-Boar Action: Appa's battle against the boarcupine.
  • Grey Rain of Depression: It rains when poor Appa passes by the waterbender tribe on his way to the Eastern Air Temple.
  • Good Taming, Evil Taming: Depicts both versions by contrasting Appa's experiences with Aang and the circus.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Played with. Appa is captured, drugged and abused by several people, notably with the cruel circus owner instilling in him fear of fire, and several attendees laughing at him, but Appa also meets humans who helped him and were willing to help him out such as the young boy visiting the circus, the Kyoshi Warriors (especially Suki) and Guru Pathik, who spiritually heals him.
  • Hypocrite: Remember when the Sand-bender Chief's son accused Team Avatar of stealing a sandbender ship from another sandbending tribe? Turns out, on top of stealing Appa, he and his gang stole that ship themselves.
  • Ignored Expert: The animal trainer tells his boss Appa is in no way ready to perform and doing so would be dangerous, but is made to use him in the act anyway. Predictably, Appa kicks both trainer and ringleader's butts and flies away.
  • It's a Small World After All: Having Suki find Appa in the cave is pretty contrived.
  • Late to the Punchline: Ty Lee takes a second to figure out Azula's "fan girls" joke, probably just like the audience.
  • Mood Lighting: When Appa arrives at the Eastern Air Temple, the colors are bluish cold. Then we get a flashback to happier times at the place which shine in golden colors.
  • Oh, Crap!: Appa's reaction when he sees the boarcupine charging at him.
  • Pun: Said to the fan-blade wielding Kyoshi Warriors:
    Azula: "What are you, the Avatar's fangirls?"
  • Repulsive Ringmaster: Appa is subjected to torture by an overall cruel and sadistic ringmaster.
  • Shoo the Dog: Suki does this to Appa when Azula finds them.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: The flashback to Aang and Appa's first encounter shows Aang feeding Appa an apple after which the two cuddle.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs:
    • The Kyoshi Warriors and Azula find Appa from his fur.
    • Guru Pathik leaves a trail of fruit for Appa.
  • Trap Door: The last scene shows the Appa and the Repulsive Ringmaster disappear in one of these.
  • Trauma Button: Appa developed a fear of fire from his experience with at the circus. The button is pressed during the confrontation with Azula in the woods.
  • Whole Episode Flashback

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