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Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Avatar Returns"

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Gran Gran bids Katara and Sokka goodbye.

When Zuko locates the Southern Water Tribe village where Aang has been, he demands the Avatar be surrendered to him. Aang returns to the village, despite having been banished, to surrender himself to Zuko as long as he agrees to leave the village alone. Aboard Zuko's ship, Aang is at Zuko's mercy, but he eventually manages to maneuver away from the guards and to battle Zuko. Katara and Sokka take the flying bison Appa to go after Aang. Aang and his friends manage to defeat Zuko and his subordinates. Katara and Sokka decide to travel with Aang to the North Pole so that Aang can learn Waterbending from members of the Northern Water Tribe.



  • Ankle Drag: Zuko catches Aang's ankle when the latter tries to escape with his glider.
  • Bad Vibrations: The arrival of the warship is heralded by heavy vibrations at the village.
  • Boomerang Comeback: Sokka's boomerang hits Zuko square on the back of the helmet, though this does little more than frustrate him.
  • Bullet Time: Several times during Aang's escape for Zuko's ship.
  • Butt-Monkey: Zuko and Sokka. Their battle can only be described as being a Butt-Monkey contest.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Aang, in the Avatar State demonstrates in less than a minute why the adorable goofy twelve-year-old is feared by the entire Fire Nation.
    • Sokka's hilariously ineffectual (but heartwarmingly brave) attempts to fight off the Fire Nation ship also count. Props to him for seriously going for it, but he's so outmatched that Zuko & Co. don't even bother killing him.
  • Harmless Freezing: Perhaps not precisely harmless, but the way the Fire Nation soldiers on Zuko's ship are frozen would be almost guaranteedly lethal in real life, whereas here, they all survive the experience without permanent damage.
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  • He's Not My Boyfriend: Katara says this almost word for word regarding Aang, until Sokka cuts her off.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Zuko arrives at the village wearing a helmet. It does not stay on for long.
  • Heroic Second Wind: When Aang is about to drown, he goes into Super Mode and comes back to kick some serious ass.
  • History Repeats: A retroactive example. Katara and Aang looking at each other tearfully as the latter is taken prisoner by the Fire Nation mirrors exactly the last time that Kanna and Hama saw each other.
  • I Gave My Word: Not stated, but Zuko keeping his word to spare the village is a small display that there's more to him than there initially appears to be.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Aang's explanation for why he didn't tell Katara and Sokka he was the Avatar.
  • Insult Backfire: This happens to Zuko when he comments on Aang's age.
    Zuko: You're just a child.
    Aang: Well, you're just a teenager.
  • Just a Kid: Zuko calls Aang one, and gets it served right back to him, per above.
  • Mood Whiplash: Zuko's determined attempt to drag himself back onto his ship is undone by the comical sound effects that play when his head is hit.
  • Pet the Dog: Zuko keeps his word after he agrees not to harm the village if Aang surrenders.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Aang collapses after defeating Zuko.
  • Real After All: After the anti-climactic belly-flop last episode, this one shows Appa really can fly.
  • Say My Name: Katara calling out to Aang when the latter is sinking unconscious to the bottom of the ocean.
  • Ship Tease: Sokka can already see signs of Katara and Aang getting together.
  • Squee!: Sokka, despite his prior scepticism and sarcasm, is impressed at Appa being able to fly.
  • This Means Warpaint: Sokka preparing for the confrontation with the Fire Nation troops.
  • With My Hands Tied: Aang manages to escape from the warship with his hands tied behind his back.


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