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Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "Lake Laogai"

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Team Avatar and the Freedom Fighters infiltrate the Dai Li's base.

"Who are you and what do you want?"

The Gaang continues their search for Appa in Ba Sing Se. While setting up posters, Katara comes across an old friend: Jet. Jet claims to have seen Appa and the Gaang begrudgingly accepts his help. Unfortunately, Jet has been brainwashed by Dai Li agents and is leading the Gaang on a false trail.

Meanwhile, Iroh's tea-making finally pays off, as he is given his own tea shop in the Upper Ring. Zuko continues his search for Aang upon realizing that he is in the city looking for Appa. Iroh confronts Zuko and tries to help him understand that he decides his own destiny and not the people around him.



  • All Your Powers Combined: The entire group with its various powers fight against the Dai Li force.
  • And Then What?: Uncle Iroh asks Zuko this regarding his plan to steal Appa.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: During this exchange:
    Iroh: What do you plan to do now that you have found the Avatar's bison? Keep it locked in our new apartment? Should I go put on a pot of tea for him?
    Iroh: And then what?! You never think these things through! This is exactly what happened when you captured the Avatar at the north pole! You had him, and then you had nowhere to go!
    Zuko: I would have figured something out...
    Iroh: NO! If his friends hadn't found you, you would have frozen to death!...I'm begging you Prince Zuko! It's time for you to look inward and begin asking yourself the big questions! Who are you? And what do ''you'' want?
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  • Big Damn Heroes: Appa swooping in to save the gang from the Dai Li.
  • Big Damn Reunion: What more would you expect between Aang and Appa after they've been separated for weeks?
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Gaang escapes the Dai Li and finds Appa, but it looks like Jet is dying from his injuries conceived in his fight with Long Feng.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Jet.
  • Continuity Nod: Iroh brings up how Zuko captured Aang at the North Pole without any idea what to do next, so he ended up just holing up in a cave and was actually lucky the rest of the Gaang found him before he froze to death.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Aang gets them when Joo Dee tells him that he can't put up posters without permission.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Gaang vs. the Dai Li. Toph alone takes down over half of them.
    • Long Feng claims he can handle Appa by himself. Appa grabs his foot and tosses him in the lake.
  • Cut Apart: Team Avatar opens the door to where they think Appa is, and Appa looks up at the opening door to see... Zuko. A mild lampshading follows as Zuko snarks, "Expecting someone else?"
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Rather, Brainwashed Agent Has A Point. Joo Dee tells Long Feng that the Gaang has no reason to trust her, and thus she can't do the job she was assigned, before he triggers her brainwashing.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The base the Dai Li have beneath Lake Laogai.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: The DVD Commentary confesses that, yes, the writers just forgot about Katara's water from the North Pole Spirit Oasis (but it couldn't have saved Jet anyway, they say).
  • Group Hug: Team Avatar group hugs at the end on Appa's back.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Aang to Jet, after Long Feng activates the brainwashing.
  • Irony: Jet was mortally wounded (supposedly) by Long Feng, an earthbender. As much as he hated the Fire Nation, he was killed by the very people he was trying to protect.
  • Living Lie Detector: Toph can tell when someone is lying by sensing their breath and heart beat. This helped the Gaang find out that Jet's been brainwashed.
  • Manchurian Agent: Jet.
  • Mauve Shirt: The original Joo Dee is "sent on a vacation to Lake Laogai".
  • Memory Gambit: Long Feng's plan to use Jet and this trope against Team Avatar fails. When Smellerbee reveals that Jet had been captured by the Dai Li a couple weeks ago, Jet denies it, claiming he's been living peacefully in the city. Toph can't tell who is right because they both think they're telling the truth, leading the Gaang to realize Jet's been brainwashed.
  • Mind-Control Eyes/Open the Iris: When the Dai Li activate the brainwashing, this happens.
  • Ninja Log: Zuko pulls this as part of his plan to get into the Dai Li's underground base.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Joo Dee is crying while telling Long Feng that the kids no longer trust her.
    • Longshot speaks for the first time, highlighting the severity of Jet's wounds.
    • The normally patient, collected Iroh loses his shit and yells at Zuko for his lack of forethought.
  • Pet the Dog: Zuko lets Appa go.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Jet.
  • Red Shirt: Dozens of women are brainwashed into acting as Joo Dee and agents of the Dai Li. Team Avatar has no time to help them while searching for Appa.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Played With Jet, who has reformed but while encountering Team Avatar is brainwashed into helping the Dai Li.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Toph asks if Jet was Katara's boyfriend which she vehemently denies.
  • Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet: Jet bumps into Katara, who is not happy to see him given that he used her and Aang to destroy a village, and reaches for something in his pocket; Katara pins Jet to a wall with ice daggers, but it turns out that Jet was reaching for one of Aang's fliers about Appa.
  • Shout-Out: Iroh tells Zuko he needs to ask himself the "big questions": "Who are you?" and "What do you want?"
  • Stepford Smiler: Joo Dee when appearing on the gang's doorstep to tell them to stop putting up fliers.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Longshot.
  • Terrible Artist: Sokka's attempt to make the lost offer poster for Appa is rather... bad, to say the least. It's made even better by this exchange:
    Sokka: Thank you, I worked really- *beat* Why do you feel the need to do that?
  • Trigger Phrase: The brainwashing done by the Dai Li is activated by saying "(name), the Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai," to which they respond by gaining Mind-Control Eyes and saying "I am honored to accept his invitation."
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The Gaang and Zuko's search for Appa parallel each other and intersect at the end without meeting each other.
  • Villain Ball: Long Feng sending the original Joo Dee to tell the Gaang to stop putting up posters, and then sending the Gaang on a Wild Goose Chase to find Appa. Joo Dee while crying tells Long Feng that the kids have no reason to trust her, and thus she can't do her job.
  • Wham Line: "...He's lying." Toph says this after Jet tells the Gaang that he'd be fine, after Long Feng badly wounded him with Earthbending.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't see what happens to Jet and his companions.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Toph calls Ba Sing Se the "worst city ever" when the Gaang leaves.


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