Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "Imprisoned"

Go To
Katara tries to convince the Earthbenders to fight back.
"We can't abandon these people. There has to be a way to help them."

Our heroes befriend a young Earthbender named Haru. However, Haru has to train in secret, as his village is under the control of the Fire Nation, who have outlawed earth bending for fear of a rebellion. The gang encourages him to improve his skills; however, he is found out, and taken by the Fire Nation into slavery. Katara pretends to be an Earthbender in hopes to orchestrate a rescue, and she, with back-up from Aang and Sokka, must somehow get the imprisoned to help themselves.



  • Achilles' Heel: There's no earth on the Earthbender prison rig...except for the coal used in the furnaces.
  • Acting Unnatural: When the Fire Nation soldiers barge into Haru's house after the Gaang has followed him home.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Katara and Sokka when they're trying to get Katara arrested for earthbending and speak in the most stilted tone possible.
  • Bad Boss: The Warden throws the Captain overboard for not caring if the supposed flying creature they saw was a buffalo or a bison.
  • Big Eater: Appa, naturally. When staying with Haru and his mom, Aang says he'll try to stop Appa eating all their hay. Cut to Appa casually chewing on an entire bale, pausing to look at Aang, and then going right back to the hay.
  • Bonding Over Missing Parents: Katara and Haru.
  • Captured on Purpose: Katara gets captured by the Fire Nation to rescue Haru, when he got captured because the Fire Nation gets knowledge that he can earthbend and Katara feels guilty for encouraging him to do so.
  • Correlation/Causation Gag:
    • Momo tries to open a nut by knocking it against a rock, seemingly causing a very loud thump (which is actually Haru practicing his earthbending nearby).
    • When Katara stages her fake earthbending to get arrested. Takes an unexpected turn when the guard's first reaction is to attribute the earthbending to Momo instead.
  • Cut Apart: Fire Nation troops walk around menacingly as the Gaang sleeps, the troops then knock on a door... which is opened by Haru.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: When it looks like giving the Earthbenders coal has done them no good as their spirits are broken, the Warden has his men go after Katara. Cue Haru stepping up and using his bending to protect her. And with that, their spirits are restored.
  • Description Cut: Aang and Sokka agree that their first approach to Haru should be slow and cautious. Cut to Katara walking straight up to him and saying hello.
  • Dirty Coward: The warden in the end.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The warden has a prisoner put in solitary confinement for a week for coughing during his speech.
  • Dramatic Drop: Katara drops what she's doing (a perfectly nice ceramic jug of water) when she realizes that Haru's been arrested and taken prisoner for illegal Earthbending.
  • Extranormal Prison: The prison is built out on the water and completely out of metal, so the Earthbenders have nothing to fight with. But as the Gaang demonstrates, that's not what's really keeping them there.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The warden drops his kind demeanor very quickly.
  • Hopebringer: We see this part of Katara here. She restores hope to a battered people who thought they had no fight left in them.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: No, seriously, lay off Sokka with the ear jokes.
  • Karma Houdini: The old man who sells Haru to the fire nation is never seen again.
  • Large Ham: George Takei as the warden.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Metal is purified stone, yet the Earthbenders can't work with it. This means they can only affect rocks and dirt in their natural state.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Haru uses his Earthbending to save an old man from a cave-in. Later that night, the old man rats him out to the Fire Nation and gets him arrested.
  • One-Word Title
  • Papa Wolf: Haru's father.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Haru's father is about to throw the warden of his prison overboard.
    Warden: Please, no! I can't swim!
    Haru's father: Don't worry, I hear cowards float.
    • A simple but effective one when the earth benders get ready to rebel against their jailors:
    Haru's father: For the earth kingdom... ATTACK!
  • Prison Episode
  • Repeated Cue, Tardy Response: The Gaang hatches a plan to get Katara arrested for earthbending. When Katara says the cue, "I'll show you... Earthbending style!", Aang is distracted by a butterfly and doesn't perform his part. She then repeats the cue, angrily, "I said, 'I'll show you, earthbending style!'", causing him to wake up and make with the fake earthbending.
  • Rousing Speech: Katara attempts this twice with the earthbender prisoners. The first time doesn't go so well; the second time seems to fail at first, but then Haru steps up...
  • Shame If Something Happened: The Fire Nation tax collector makes a number of suggestive comments about how his firebending might get out of his control if Haru's mother doesn't pay up.
  • Tell Me Again: Both times the Gaang do the trick with the air vents, they go over the plan just before they do it for the audience's benefit even though they've clearly already discussed it and started making preparations.
  • Unfolding Plan Montage: We get to see a montage of how the heroes plan to get the coal to the surface.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The guy who Haru saves with his earthbending turns him in to the Fire Nation. What a bastard.
  • Villains Want Mercy: So warden, you have been an asshole to your prisoners the complete episode. Do you think they care about whether you know how to swim or not?
  • Wardens Are Evil: The warden is a Bad Boss who throws subordinates overboard, delights in crushing the spirits of those in his custody, and on top of it all is a Dirty Coward.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: