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Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Boiling Rock, Part 2"

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Mai faces off against Azula after making the decision to help Zuko and the others escape.

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Sokka, Zuko, Suki, and Chit Sang create a new plan for escaping the prison after the original plan failed. Mai appears and demands to know why Zuko left her. He says he's trying to save the Fire Nation, not destroy it. They take the warden hostage to escape on the gondola over the boiling water. The guards attempt to cut the line following the warden's orders, but Mai saves them by stopping the guards. Azula is furious over their betrayal, but Mai declares she loves Zuko more than she fears Azula. After Ty Lee stops Azula's attack on Mai with Chi-blocking and tries to aid her escape, Azula furiously has them both imprisoned.


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Tropes:

  • The Alcatraz: The eponymous Boiling Rock.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Mai and Ty Lee betray Azula.
  • Badass Boast: Mai gets one after having the sheer gull to not only betray Azula, but challenge her.
    Mai: I love Zuko more than I fear you.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Sokka, dressed as a rookie prison guard, convinces an actual guard to release all of the prisoners into the yard...during a lockdown. Of course, he uses the Warden's "authority" as backup...
  • Brick Joke: In the previous episode, Sokka and Zuko claimed they were going fishing. At the very end, when they return, Toph incredulously asks about them not bringing back any food.
  • Cable-Car Action Sequence: The escape involves an epic fight over a steam-powered gondola lift.
  • Continuity Nod: Zuko uses several of the original form of firebending techniques he learned two episodes ago against Azula, which puts him on equal footing with her.
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  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Mai deals an epic one to the guards when they try to stop her efforts to save Zuko.
  • Cut the Safety Rope: Inverted. The warden manages to free himself enough so that he can yell at the guards to cut the lines holding up the gondola, knowing full well that he'll be boiled alive along with the would-be escapees when it falls. The attempt is foiled, but the warden gets points for trying.
  • Death Glare: Azula deals an especially harsh one to Mai when questioning her on her decision to help Zuko escape. Mai however is most definitely not intimidated.
    • Mai and Ty Lee both deal one to Azula right before they are imprisoned for having betrayed her just moments earlier.
  • Defecting for Love: Mai's rebellion against Azula is motivated by her love for Zuko.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Betrayal by her friends is apparently one thing Azula cannot bear.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Unlike Azula, Ty Lee actually looks upset when she retreats to leave Sokka, Zuko, Suki and Hakoda to apparently die.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Why Azula is so shocked by Mai's Heel–Face Turn.
    Azula: The thing I don't understand is why. Why would you do it? You know the consequences.
    Mai: I guess you just don't know people as well as you think you do.
  • Explosion Propulsion: Azula uses her firebending for this purpose to jump up to the cable cars and around them.
  • Face Palm: Zuko does this when Mai mentioned the Warden is her uncle, despite he already found out previously.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Between Sokka and Zuko. Sokka puts his past animosity towards Zuko to rest in this episode.
  • A Friend in Need: Ty Lee rebels against Azula when she seems to be about to kill Mai for her betrayal.
  • Great Escape: Making one of these is the point of the two-part episode.
  • Hand Behind Head: Sokka does this pose when his father tells him he should be more careful with his prison guard outfit.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Mai in order to save Zuko's life, and Ty Lee to save Mai's. They look almost as surprised at the outcome of events as Azula.
  • Held Gaze: Between Mai and Zuko after he locks her in the cell.
  • He's a Friend: Sokka has to tell Hakoda this regarding Zuko.
  • Honor Before Reason: The warden would rather die along with the escaping prisoners, than tarnish his prison's record of zero escapes.
  • Idiot Ball: The warden takes away the guard that Chit Sang singles out as an imposter, but somehow misses Sokka, who is not only much younger and shorter than the rest of the guards, but is visibly frightened out of his mind while the rest of them were not.
  • Improvised Zipline: Azula rides up the gondola cable on metal handcuffs.
  • Kill Us Both: The warden demonstrates his dedication to his job. Bonus points for having boasted about being willing to do it during Part 1.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The guard who took such pleasure in abusing Chit Sang is the one outed as a traitor when the former is ordered to identify his accomplice. Azula quickly deduces he's not the man they want, though not before he's already been subjected to interrogation by the Warden.
  • Le Parkour: Suki's sequence when she captures the warden, and Ty Lee's when she runs on the gondola cable.
  • Let's Get Out of Here: Ty Lee tries this once she betrays Azula too, but Mai won't budge and they're quickly surrounded.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: Zuko with Mai.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: "You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you."
  • Manly Tears: Hakoda sheds a few when he's reunited with Sokka.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Mai and Ty Lee betray Azula.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Azula and Ty Lee leave Zuko and the rest of their friends to die on the gondola when the guards prepare to cut the lines. And then Mai arrives on the scene...
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Mai and Ty Lee to Azula. Granted, Mai was never one to openly display any real fear of her, but also would not challenge Azula directly for she knew she was outmatched. She drops all pretense however when Azula leaves Zuko to perish in the lake, and upon saving him declares that she is done doing her bidding. Ty Lee, the more openly fearful of the two momentarily abandons her fear of Azula to protect Mai, and is just as defiant when Azula orders them both imprisoned.
  • No, You: Azula to Mai in a rare frightening example. Mai has shown full defiance and the first time Azula's own beliefs about using fear to control people and how to calculate and control other people were both not all-encompassing and fallible. Weirdly, it's a case of words that fall flat; yet show brilliantly good writing: As the calculated, snarky Azula had absolutely no words against Mai; prompting the line below; and showing the first hints of a Villainous Breakdown.
    "No, you miscalculated! You should have feared me more!"
  • Oh, Crap!: The Warden after snapping at the person who just interrupted his interrogation of one of the guards; that person being Azula.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Azula's already cold and lethal nature takes a far darker turn when her usual calm is replaced by frustration and rage the moment Mai tells her off. It all goes downhill from there...
    • The easily intimidated and blindly loyal Ty Lee finally strikes down Azula the moment she is prepared to attack Mai. Doubly so for Mai herself, who is at a complete loss for words when this happens.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Chit Sang is tortured into telling the Warden which guard helped him try to escape. Instead of Sokka, though, he fingers the guard that was abusing him in the previous episode. This little bit of payback works to the others' advantage. The guard had arbitrarily sent Chit Sang to the cooler, which is how he attempted to make his escape, which in turn is why the Warden thinks the accusation is true.
  • Pose of Supplication: Prison staff assume this pose when Azula shows up in the doorway.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: Chit Sang ignites one.
  • The Power of Love: Mai values this more than her fear of Azula.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    Guard: What are you doing?
    Mai: Saving the jerk who dumped me.
  • Prison Riot: Sokka, Suki, Zuko, and Hakoda plan one as part of their escape plan.
  • Rabble Rouser: Played With; first Hakota tries by shoving the biggest meanest looking guy he can find, and actually asking "Aren't you gonna hit me?" but the guy claims he's been learning to control his anger. Then Chit Sang starts the riot by grabbing a smaller man lifting him over his head and yelling "Hey, RIOT!"
  • Shout-Out: The manner in which Azula uses her firebending to fly is very reminiscent of Iron Man's repulsors.
  • The Social Expert: Azula. However, even she didn't see Mai and Ty Lee's Heel–Face Turn coming.
  • Take My Hand: Zuko pulls Sokka up by the hand when the latter is about to fall from the gondola roof.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Shortly after arriving, Azula boasts about being a "people person". By the end of the episode, the limits of her ability to understand and handle people leads to Mai and then Ty Lee turning on her.
    • Also, the warden bragging about his record of having had no escape from his prison.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Suki manages to hold her own against Ty Lee, while fighting on a moving gondola.
  • Tranquil Fury: Azula when she confronts Mai on her actions in saving Zuko and with him the other prisoners. Things quickly boil over when Mai tells her off...
  • Villainous Breakdown: The first cracks in Azula's demeanor begin to show...
  • Villainous Valor: The warden is willing to sacrifice his own life to prevent prisoners from escaping.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Mai.
  • Wardens Are Evil: The warden tortures a prisoner into revealing escape plans.
  • Wham Shot: Ty Lee attacking Azula just as she's about to strike Mai, a moment that leaves all three girls just as shocked as the audience is.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The previous episode, Chit Sang made a point of bringing his best friend and girlfriend along for the escape attempt. This time he doesn't even mention them.
  • With Friends Like These...: Well, from Azula's perspective. The closest thing she has to friends and those she thought she had under her thumb turned on her without hesitation because she went too far. Even though Azula doesn't actually understand true friendship (to the point where Mai points out they put up with her out of fear), the whole thing still feels like a massive betrayal.
  • Woman Scorned: Also Mai.

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