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Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The King of Omashu"

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King Bumi, aged 100 years since the last time Aang saw him.
"Bumi, you're a mad genius."

The next stop on the group's trip around the world is the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu. There, Aang shows Katara and Sokka the Omashu chute mail delivery system, which he and his friend Bumi (a Hindi word meaning 'Earth') used to ride for fun a hundred years ago. The trio give the chutes a try but run into trouble after their wild ride destroys a cabbage merchant's cart. Hauled in front of the crazy King of the city, the gang is unexpectedly given a feast. The King suspects that Aang is the Avatar and puts him through three deadly challenges to test his skills. After the last challenge, Aang is forced to figure out the King's name, and based on the nature of the challenges, he realizes that the King is his old friend Bumi. Bumi informs Aang of what his task as the current Avatar entails.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Absentee Actor: This is the first episode where Zuko and Iroh do not appear.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Sokka thinks this of the king's "jokes." Aang and Katara aren't amused because the jokes are pretty terrible.
  • Aerith and Bob: Aang and Katara's aliases: The Honorable Bonzu Pipinpadalopsicopolis III and his granddaughter, June.
  • An Aesop: "Open your mind to the possibilities." Creative thinking can show you an answer to what looks like an impossible task.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Zig-Zagged. Aang suggests escaping through the air vents, but Sokka notes that they couldn't fit. Aang says that even though they can't fit, Momo can. However, Momo just gets stuck halfway through the air vent hole.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: When Sokka says that Aang looks just like his grandfather after a disguise made of Appa's fur has been applied, to which Katara comments that Aang is technically 112 years old. The ambiguity is whether or not this is just a comment on Aang's actual age or whether one of their grandfathers, meaning Kanna married a man 32 years her elder, would be 112 if he was still living.
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  • Badass Boast: Bumi when he reveals himself:
    Bumi: You thought I was a frail old man, but I'm the most powerful earthbender you'll ever see.
  • Bookends: The episode ends the way Aang's flashback began; he and his friend Bumi riding down a mail chute as a slide.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Throughout the episode, Bumi is portrayed as an absentminded and silly king. However, when Aang chooses to fight him in the final challenge, he learns that Bumi is a powerful fighter.
  • The Caligula: Bumi successfully get the Gaang to assume he’s this. While eccentric, he’s actually quite benevolent.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Aang's friend Bumi shown in a brief flashback has a bigger role than he seems at first, as seen under The Reveal.
    • Fire Lord Ozai is mentioned by name the first time here.
  • Chirping Crickets: There's a Running Gag of some guy coughing in the silence following the king's crazy pronouncements or terrible jokes.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: The King's elaborate, oversized robes, which hide how ridiculously muscular he is.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: King Bumi utilizes this by throwing an object at Aang and forcing him to catch it with his airbending, revealing he is the last airbender and the Avatar.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Bumi looks like a venerable eccentric, which he is — but he is also a fearsome earthbender.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Hey, King Bumi's an Earthbender, it's his thing.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The merchant wants the crew executed for destroying his cabbage cart.
  • Exact Words: Aang tries to use this when Bumi says that he will battle whoever he points at. Rather than the two warriors on either side of him, Aang points at Bumi. Unfortunately, the king turns out to be a tougher opponent than Aang expected.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Averted mostly by Bumi most of the time, despite his goofiness. But when he orders the trio to be thrown in jail he tries to make it a dramatic announcement and it falls flat. For the audience this shows we're not meant to be too worried about their fate.
  • Fluffy Tamer: King Bumi and his legendary monster Flopsy.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: "Flopsy" turns out to be the hulking gorilla-goat, not the little cute pet rabbit. Though it winds up being just as docile as you'd expect something named "Flopsy" to be.
  • Foreshadowing: Why will the King throw a feast to three intruders unless he hasn't recognized them?
  • Fruit Cart: The Cabbage Merchant and his cabbages. Becomes a Running Gag here and in later episodes.
  • Gilligan Cut: Katara tells Aang he'll need some kind of disguise before they enter the city, and Aang sarcastically suggests that he could grow a mustache. Cut to Aang with a fake mustache and hair made of straw and Appa's fur.
  • Good All Along: The King is set up as an antagonist, but he turns out to be Aang's old friend Bumi, and the challenges were his way of helping train Aang to think creatively.
  • Hero Antagonist: Bumi is the quasi-“villain” of the episode.
  • Hey, Wait!: Aang, Katara and Sokka talk their way past the guards at the city gate, with Aang pretending to be their elderly grandfather. Just as they're being let through, one of the guards notices something and calls them back...but it turns out it was to berate Sokka (whom the guard notes seems very strong and muscular) for apparently not showing respect to the elderly by not carrying his grandfather's pack for him—Aang immediately tosses the bag he is carrying to Sokka.
  • Hidden Purpose Test: The King is Bumi, and the tasks are partly a test to see if Aang can think creatively.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Aang's statement, "The people here are the friendliest in the world," is immediately challenged by the guards mistreating the cabbage vendor.
  • It Amused Me: When Sokka and Katara question Bumi on why he didn't just tell Aang who he was instead of making him do the three challenges, Bumi admits that he finds it fun to mess with people. The other reason was to get Aang to think creatively, which will help him when he faces off against the Fire Lord.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: After Bumi's identity is revealed:
    Katara: So this crazy king is your old friend, Bumi?
    Bumi: Hey! Who are you calling "old"?!note 
  • Kick the Dog: Okay, so those cabbages couldn't come into the city, but did the guards need to catapult them into a ravine?
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Aang eventually rises to all Bumi's challenges. Including starting a mini-cyclone to send Bumi's giant rock back at him.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: The heroes' prison cell is newly refurbished and looks like a nice hotel room.
  • Mad Eye: Bumi.
  • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: A hundred years have naturally changed Bumi's appearance, and though the clues are there (his Mismatched Eyes, squint and missing tooth), it's his personality that Aang recognizes him by.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: When the Gaang are arrested, the king proclaims their sentence: "THROW THEM...a feast!"
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Aang does it when the king eyes our destructive heroes, about to pass judgment on them.
  • Off with His Head!: The cabbage merchant suggests this punishment.
    Cabbage Merchant: Off with their heads! One for each head of cabbage!
  • Oh, Crap!: Aang, when he finds out that King Bumi isn't some weak and wimpy-looking old man, but is in fact "the most powerful earthbender you will ever see."
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Aang, when turning around to see the real Flopsy, is indeed nervous.
  • Old Friend: Bumi to Aang.
  • Overly Long Name: Aang initially identifies himself as "Bonzu Pipinpadalopsicopolis III," with Katara introducing herself as "June Pipinpadalopsicopolis."
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Katara tries this to get King Bumi to be lenient in his punishments.
  • Pun: Quite a few, thanks to King Bumi, such as turning Katara's demand that he "let us leave!" into "lettuce leaf".
  • Recurring Extra: The poor cabbage merchant's first appearance.
  • The Reveal: It may be It Was His Sled nowadays, but the King turning out to be Aang's friend Bumi was very surprising when it first aired.
  • Reverse Psychology: In a way—the king's first two tests are to see whether or not Aang can creatively work out of tough situations, but the third test punishes Aang for creatively using the King's Exact Words for an easier solution.
  • Running Gag:
    • This episode not only debuts the series-wide cabbage gag, but it also counts within the episode itself. First the gate guards inspect the cabbage cart and throw it off a cliff, then the Gaang knock over the cart while surfing the delivery rails, and one more time offscreen when Aang and Bumi go rail surfing.
    • A quiet cough heard after a bad pun.
  • Signature Laugh: Bumi's snort filled laughter. Once Aang reveals he knows who the king is, the king gives the same laugh to confirm he is indeed Bumi.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: While downplayed as Aang and his friends were never in any real danger, they didn’t know that. Suffice to say, Bumi takes the kiddie gloves off when testing his old friend because he knows the Fire Lord won’t.
  • Stealth Mentor: While his admitted love of Trolling plays a part, the main reason why Bumi acted how he did was to prepare Aang to eventually face the Fire Lord.
  • Taking a Third Option: In the final test, the king tells Aang to pick a strong warrior to fight against and presents him with two intimidating options. Aang chooses the king himself, hoping for an easy fight, but it backfires as the king turns out to be an extremely powerful earthbender.
  • Third Time's the Charm: Aang is able to fetch the key from the waterfall on his third attempt.
  • Unpronounceable Alias: See Overly Long Name above. Though Katara and Bumi can keep up with it just fine.
  • Villain of the Week: Bumi, but he turns out to actually be a Hero Antagonist.
  • Wham Line: When Aang chooses the King as his opponent. It doubles as a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner.
    King: Wrong choice.
  • The Window or the Stairs: The titular King is putting Aang through a series of tests. For the last one, he tells Aang to choose a warrior to fight. Aang tries to Take a Third Option and choose the old, crazy King himself—but he was expecting this, informing Aang that he's an incredibly powerful earthbender and a tougher opponent than either of the warriors presented. In fact, he's the strongest in the entire series until Toph comes along, and even then it's debatable (even in-universe) who is the better earthbender.
    His Majesty: Heh heh, wrong choice!
  • World's Best Warrior: Bumi proclaims himself the strongest Earthbender Aang will ever see.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Aang thinks he's outwitted Bumi by choosing to face him rather than one of the two warriors provided. Instead, he walks right into Bumi's trap.
    Bumi: I'd hoped the Avatar would be less predictable!


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