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Recap / Avatar The Last Airbender The Fortune Teller

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Aunt Wu makes her prediction that the village will not be destroyed by the volcano behind it.
"Man, sometimes I forget what a powerful bender that kid is."
Sokka, about Aang

One particular morning, Aang comes to a stunning revelation: Katara is hot.note  This revelation becomes even stronger when they meet a renowned fortune teller, Aunt Wu, and he overhears part of her prediction to Katara that "You are going to marry a powerful bender," but is dismayed when his fortune contains only a tiny (fake) counterpart love prediction. Later, Aunt Wu does her annual cloud reading and predicts that her village will not be destroyed by the nearby volcano. Meanwhile, Sokka tries to convince the locals that Aunt Wu's predictions are either false or can be explained by science. When Aang comes to him for advice, Sokka misinterprets it to mean he likes a local girl, and tells Aang to be aloof. This doesn't work, so Aang instead tries a rare flower that only grows on the rim of the volcano. When the group discover that the volcano's ready to blow, they have to convince the whole town that Aunt Wu was wrong and band together to avert the catastrophe.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Meng has a crush on Aang, but he is not interested as he developed a crush on Katara, who in turn is not requiting his least, not yet.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Sokka lives in a world where his sister and best friend control the elements and spirits walk the earth, but he's insistent that fortune-telling is impossible.
  • Bowel-Breaking Bricks: The platypus-bear lays an egg in fear when Appa comes to Aang's defense.
  • Breather Episode: A light-hearted episode in which absolutely none of the Fire Nation is anywhere to be seen.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sokka, as Aunt Wu manages to figure out with just one look at him. He also gets attacked by a duck, and driven mad by the villagers and their cheerful blind obedience to Aunt Wu's predictions.
  • Captain Obvious: Aunt Wu reads Aang's future, and sees an epic battle, a struggle that will determine the fate of the world! ...except Aang (and the audience for that matter) knows that already. note  He was hoping to learn if he and Katara would ever get together.
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  • Cassandra Truth: The villagers refuse to listen to Sokka warning them about the volcano because he's been telling them that Aunt Wu is wrong.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Yes, it does erupt, as per the trope.
  • Childish Tooth Gap: Meng has a visible tooth gap.
  • Chirping Crickets: Done with a duck.
  • Constantly Curious: Katara does this to Aunt Wu over her future, from how long she will live to what she should have for breakfast.
  • Continuity Nod: Aang makes Katara a new necklace to replace the one she lost back in “Imprisoned” (which is currently in Zuko’s possession).
  • Convection Schmonvection: The extreme heat of the lava is not addressed.
  • Cool Old Gal: Aunt Wu. She could easily be scamming everyone by telling them their futures… except she doesn't even charge them. And when the Gaang have to steal her book to shape the clouds in a matching way so she'll warn the villagers, she's amused and says that the plan was very clever.
  • Crush Filter:
    • Aang sees Katara in this way with the sun shining down on her as she asks him how she looks with her new necklace on.
    • Also done for Meng towards Aang, who kinda ruins the mood by acting aloof.
  • Exact Words: Aunt Wu predicts that the town won't be destroyed by a volcano this year. After the group discovers that the volcano is about to blow, and they only just barely manage to divert all the lava and smoke, Sokka explains that Aunt Wu was wrong. The townsman they met at the beginning of the episode points out that she was right: She never said that the volcano wouldn't erupt, she said - correctly - that the town wouldn't be destroyed. Sokka doesn't take this well.
    Sokka: I hate you.
  • Expressive Hair: Meng’s pigtails normally stand up on their own. However, they droop down whenever she’s sad.
  • Flower from the Mountaintop: Aang decides to pick a panda lily as a sign of affection for Katara. He finds one at the top of the volcano, which is when he finds out that it's about to erupt.
  • Fortune Teller: Aunt Wu's occupation. Her methods range from palm-reading, to throwing bones into a fire, observing the clouds, or just reading her customer's face. While Sokka firmly believes that she's a fraud, most of her predictions turn out to be true in one way or another.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Meng does not have a good opinion of Katara, nor does she take the fact that Aang likes her more very well.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Poi and Ping are identical, save for Poi going barefoot to be closer to the earth, which identifies him as an earthbender and his brother Ping, who wears shoes, as a non-bender.
  • Laugh of Love: Meng giggles when Aang catches her hands as she accidentally trips while carrying a tray full of snacks, and later when she admits that she's been stalking him.
  • Love Epiphany:
    • This is the first episode where Aang shows a clear attraction to Katara.
    • Similarly, Katara gets a whiff of one when Sokka says the page quote above after Aang saves the town, which has her recalling her fortune of marrying "a powerful bender."
  • Magic Versus Science: Sokka versus the villagers tends to move into this.
    Villager: Can your science explains why it rains?
    Sokka: YES! Yes, it can!
  • Meaningful Name: Meng can mean "dream," which is one way of predicting the future.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Lampshaded. The fortuneteller's town has normal, non-hybrid ducks, and Sokka is shown to be baffled by them, since most of the animals in the Avatar world are of the mix-and-match variety.
  • Mood Whiplash: At the very end, Meng and Katara seem to come to an understanding, the Gaang leaves, and suddenly Meng is glaring.
    Meng: Floozy.
  • No Antagonist: The only danger comes from the volcano. In many stories like this, Aunt Wu would be a malicious conwoman, but there's no indication given that she doesn't believe in her own abilities (although she does admit to reshaping predictions so as to be more palatable for the people who receive them, and she's clearly making stuff up when Katara starts asking her questions about everything). In fact, she explicitly doesn't even charge for her services.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: The scholar being attacked by the platypus-bear at the beginning is perfectly at ease because Aunt Wu said that he'd stay safe on his travels. Implicitly, this means she knew he'd have no trouble dodging the bear's attacks.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Aang asks Sokka for help with wooing a certain someone, with Sokka being more than supportive of his choice. However, Aang is referring to Katara, while Sokka thinks he's crushing on Meng.
  • Playing Hard to Get: Sokka tells Aang to act aloof towards his love interest.
    Sokka: If you want to keep her interested, you have to act aloof, like you don't really care one way or the other.
  • Screw Destiny: Wu, despite being a fortune teller, ends the episode telling the Gaang to shape their own destinies.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • Wu predicts that the village will not be destroyed by the volcano, and it takes Aang going to the volcano to get a "panda lily" that shows the volcano is about to erupt. They act to prevent this, so in the end, the village really was not destroyed.
    • One man is told that he will be wearing a certain pair of shoes when he meets his true love. So of course, he wears them every day. Hearing this one drives Sokka nuts.
      Sokka: Then of course it's gonna come true!
      Villager: Do you really think so?
  • Ship Tease: Katara's prediction does double duty as both this and Ship Sinking. It disqualifies any non-benders (Jet) for her canon ship while promoting the two main ships (Aang/Zuko), although it mostly promotes Kataang. It could also have included Haru, whom the team already met ("Imprisoned") as an impressive self-taught earthbender.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Meng follows Aang around after crushing on him. She even admits it when she tells him how she knew that he was looking for Aunt Wu’s book.
  • Tempting Fate: Sokka manages to get the rain to stop just by doing this.
    Sokka: It's going to keep drizzling. [beat] See?
    [The weather instantly clears]
    Aang: Not everyone has the gift, Sokka.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: Aunt Wu makes predictions based on cloud shapes.
    Aang: That cloud kinda looks like a fluffy bunny!
    Villager: You'd better hope that's not a bunny. The Fluffy Bunny cloud forecasts doom and destruction.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Wu predicts "a great battle between the forces of good and evil" for Aang but does not elaborate. It's subverted in that Aang knows full well what she's referring to, as it's what they've been preparing for the entire series thus far.
  • Who's on First?: A mild version.
    "Aunt who?" "No, Aunt Wu!"