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Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Southern Raiders"

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Katara, with Zuko's help, confronts the man who killed her mother.

"I'll never forgive him. But I am ready to forgive you."

Our heroes are woken explosively by the arrival of a fleet of Fire Nation airships, with Azula at their head. Zuko buys time by facing her one-on-one, completing his integration into The Gaang, who now seem to have no further reservations about his presence; he even jokes about chasing Aang around for old time's sake. Only Katara continues to resist, explaining that she won't forgive him and the Fire Nation for all they've done.

That night, Zuko goes to Sokka for advice and is treated to a Flashback of how their mother Kya was killed during a Fire Nation attack on the Southern Water Tribe. The next morning, Zuko offers to help Katara hunt down those who slew her mother. Sokka and Aang are hesitant, the Avatar in particular stressing that forgiveness and not violence will bring peace, but when Aang discovers Katara preparing to steal Appa if necessary, he relents and lets them go.

Using Zuko's knowledge of Fire Nation communication channels, they identify the division which was responsible for Kya's murder, The Southern Raiders. From there, they track down the group's retired captain, Yon Rha, who now lives with his overbearing mother. Upon being confronted with this vengeful Waterbender, he expresses incredulity: he was dispatched to the Southern Water Tribe to kill their only living Waterbender, which Kya claimed to be. Katara prepares the killing blow... only to stop at the last moment. As much as she hates him, she just can't do it.

Back at the camp, Katara admits that she couldn't bring herself to kill Yon Rha to Aang with him telling her how proud he is that she was able to forgive and that it will help her heal. However she shakes her head, saying coldly "I didn't forgive him. I'll never forgive him." Katara then turns to Zuko and says "But I am ready to forgive you," before hugging him, finally allowing the two to become friends. Zuko tells Aang that he was right and violence wasn't the answer for Katara and the Avatar tells him that it never is.

However Zuko has only one question to that: what is Aang going to do when it's time to face the Fire Lord?


  • Ambiguous Situation: In-Universe. Katara herself doesn't know for certain if her sparing Yon Rha was a sign of weakness or strength.
  • An Aesop: Seeking closure for someone who killed a loved one is not a uniform process. While some people can process grief by focusing on their living loved ones, others need answers about why it happened and a chance of righting a wrong. And even then, such a confrontation is only the first step to healing.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The episode ends with one courtesy of Zuko.
    Zuko: You were right about what Katara needed. Violence wasn't the answer.
    Aang: It never is.
    Zuko: Then I have a question for you: what are you going to do when you face my father?
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: Zuko has a visible Oh, Crap! reaction when Katara demonstrates that she can bend people's bodily fluids to control their bodies. And considering that a few episodes Katara was threatening to kill him if he ever betrayed Aang, he realizes she was holding back on how she could do it.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Katara, despite having previously vowed never to use bloodbending again, uses it against the current leader of the Southern Raiders, believing him to be the man who murdered her mother. This technique even momentarily catches Zuko off-guard, before he regains his focus and continues to question the man.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When she is enraged, Katara's waterbending is so powerful and so precise that she can halt individual raindrops mid-fall and then turn them into a swarm of deadly ice-daggers.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While she spares him, Katara admits she will never forgive Yon Rha, meaning her pain will never entirely go away. On the other hand, the episode's adventure helps her finally forgive Zuko, now that she can heal from her past scars. Meanwhile, Zuko wonders that if violence isn't the answer, then how will Aang face Ozai?
  • Blade Brake: Azula does this with her hairpin.
  • Blunt "Yes": Katara responds with this in regards to Aang calling her out on seeking vengeance and being willing to temporarily steal Appa in order to do so.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: On one hand, Aang warns Katara that revenge will destroy her personally if she pursues it. He cites how he went berserk with the Avatar State on learning that the Fire Nation had wiped out his family and killed his friend Gyatso, and regrets how destructive he became. On the other hand, Zuko does not sugarcoat how unrealistic it is to forgive a murderer, especially when the murderer in question kills a loved one in cold blood, and he'd know because grew up under a mass murderer. In the end, Katara accepts both points. She decides to not allow revenge to consume her and not kill Yon Rha because she knows that it won't bring her mother back; at the same time, she doesn't forgive Yon Rha (and makes it clear she will never forgive him) because he still murdered her mother.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • The intended message, as stated by Aang and supported by Word of God in the DVD commentary, was that violence isn't the answer to your problems and that forgiving your enemy is the first step towards healing from trauma. However, Katara herself rebukes Aang, pointing out that she didn't forgive him, and she never will.
    • Zuko's own actions may be viewed as this. He offers to help Katara find her mother's killer so that she would forgive him for his previous betrayal. In short, Zuko is helping Katara enact her vengeance on someone else so that she will forgive him, despite the fact Zuko himself is the one advocating revenge as the better resolution.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Subverted with Yon Rha. Though he initially doesn't recognize Katara, due to only seeing her briefly once when she was a little girl, he quickly recognizes her as "the little Water Tribe girl" once he gets a good look at her, and remembers the conversation he had with Kya after she ran out of their home, right before he killed her, despite it happening years ago.
  • Cain and Abel: Azula has enjoyed messing with Zuko ever since they returned together at the start of Book 3. Now that they're on opposite sides, the need for subtlety is gone and Azula can proceed to kill him. This also marks the start of Azula's mental deterioration in the previous episode, which certainly didn't help matters.
    Zuko: What are you doing here?
    Azula: Isn't it obvious yet? I am about to celebrate becoming an only child!
  • Call-Back:
    • Aang references "The Desert" when he tells Katara he knows better than anyone what it's like to be consumed with grief and vengeance at losing a loved one. Her feelings toward her mother's killer are also very similar to Aang's feeling toward the sandbenders who kidnapped Appa.
    • Katara doesn't trust Zuko because he made her father leave again just after they reunited, and that last time he led Azula to them was back in Ba Sing Se.
  • Call to Agriculture: Yon Rha seems to enjoy gardening during his retirement, but unfortunately he lives with his demanding shrew of a mother who doesn't like his vegetables.
  • Character Development: Zuko and Katara get this the most.
    • Unlike his previous Never My Fault Hot-Blooded mode, Zuko uses his head to find out what was really bothering Katara rather than try to complete either Impossible Task that she sets for him. He knows that Ba Sing Se was his fault, but liberating it would be impossible; he goes with plan B, to help Katara find closure about her mother's death.
    • Katara allies with Zuko to find her mother's killer, talking with Aang that she needs to go on this quest to find closure. She's horrified on learning that she blood-bended the wrong man, and gives Yon Rha a chance to explain himself before terrifying him. Katara realizes that he's too pathetic to kill and leaves him to cry in the rain, while forgiving Zuko for his past misdeeds.
  • Commonality Connection: Aang reminds Katara that like her, he also lost his family. In his case, he lost all of the airbenders and admits that at one point he would have liked to avenge them when realizing the Fire Nation had wiped them all out. He advises her that forgiveness is the better way to go, because revenge won't bring the dead back.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Katara is not amused and tells him to Please Get Off Me when Zuko lies on top of her after he performed a Diving Save to save her life.
  • Cycle of Revenge: One of the episode's central themes. Katara is out for justice for her mother, but everyone else can see that it is more about revenge. The episode humanizes the murderer, from giving him a name (Yon Rha), showing that he picked up the Call to Agriculture and he kindly offers food to his cruel mother. When Katara and Zuko finally confronts him, he is framed as the victim of mysterious and monstrous assailants. While he remains a cruel man, and Katara refuses to forgive him, she does decide not to continue the cycle by killing him, even though it still leaves her conflicted.
  • Darker and Edgier: Outside of a couple moments from Sokka in the first half, this episode is possibly the most humorless episode in the series, as Katara and Zuko enact their plan for revenge with chilling severity and ruthlessness. Not even Yon Rha's pathetic situation is remotely played for laughs. It stands out starkly even in comparison to the show's other dark episodes for its near total commitment to its grim subject matter.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Katara is still pretty upset towards Zuko and his decisions prior to the episode (especially breaking her trust back at Ba Sing Se). Thanks to Sokka, Zuko figures out why she's upset and offers to join her in fulfilling her vengeance on the man who killed her (and Sokka's) mother. After they confront him and Katara finds herself unable to bring herself to exact her revenge, she finally forgives Zuko and hugs him at the end.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Katara snaps at Sokka for seemingly not being upset at their mother’s death, telling him he didn’t love her the way she did. While Sokka doesn’t argue it directly, we see that’s far from the truth. Sokka processes moments and grief very differently. When he tells Zuko what happened that day, Sokka says it’s one he doesn’t like to remember, showing he isn’t any less traumatized than Katara was.
  • Dirty Coward: Yon Rha's current title as a "miserable wretch" could be accredited to being paranoid enough over his environment to blow any random people within five feet of him without warning, but he definitely is not the Psycho for Hire Katara expected him to be. He drops the "giving the would-be assassins what's coming to them" act immediately when Zuko threatens him even though by all intents and purposes the latter is just a random citizen, starting with offering up his belongings and then his mother when a now-recognizable Katara takes the lead in the confrontation. In the end, the latter coolly addresses this behavior just before she can impale him, hammering it home that he's Not Worth Killing.
  • Disturbed Doves: These alert Aang to the first of the incoming bombs.
  • Diving Save: Zuko knocks Katara out of the path of some falling debris.
  • Dramatic Irony: Kya told Yon Rha she was the last waterbender in the Southern Water Tribe, but Katara (and the audience) knows that could not be further from the truth.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Rolls when Katara confronts Yon Rha.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Aang, disturbed by Katara’s behavior, warns her she’s starting to become like Jet. Katara responds that it’s not the same because Jet attacked the innocent, but she’s going after a war criminal and a murderer. The point Aang was trying to make was that Jet’s obsession with revenge against the Fire Nation ultimately blinded him, that he eventually started targeting even civilians.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Aang tries to invoke this by 'forgiving' Katara for trying to steal Appa, in vain hope it will set an example for her. It doesn't work.
    • In fact, it's notably averted in the end when Katara, despite sparing him, does not forgive Yon Rha for killing her and Sokka's mother (nor will she ever).
    • Subverted with Zuko, as it took Katara a few episodes after his Heel–Face Turn to finally forgive him.
  • Empathic Environment: An ominous thunderstorm rolls over the hills as Yon Rha walks back from the market.
  • Everyone Has Standards: From the very beginning, Sokka has hated the Fire Nation. Even around the start of the third season, he says he and the Gaang are now in enemy territory. However, he sees no benefit in getting revenge on Yon Rha, even though the man killed his and Katara's mother. It may very well be that Sokka already accepted his mother's death, and the only way to go is forward.
  • Exact Words: When Zuko bumps into a flustered Suki nears Sokka's tent, he asks her, "Do you need to talk Sokka, too?", and she insists, "Nope, not me!" Based on what Zuko saw when he entered the tent, she truly wasn't going there to talk to him...
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Katara gains some when flying Appa overnight. Zuko was concerned that she should get some sleep, but she doesn't want to as she was too angry.
  • Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: Unsurprisingly, the world that has platypus-bears, wolfbats, and flying bison also has "tomato-carrots."
  • Flashback: Sokka, and later Katara telling Zuko about the fateful day when they lost their mother during a Fire Nation raid.
  • Flechette Storm: Katara almost does this to Yon Rha, freezing the rain around her into sharp icicles, as seen in the page image.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Azula's brief appearance in the start has her slightly more psychotic and uncontrolled than normal in the wake of Mai and Ty Lee's betrayal, foreshadowing the events of the finale.
    • The full moon is in display when Zuko and Katara fly to the Southern Raiders ship, foreshadowing Katara being able to bloodbend.
    • Zuko is clearly regretful about Azula falling to her death, but has no regrets regarding Ozai's own fate in the hands of Aang. In the finale, we know exactly why.
  • Forgiveness: Played with; while Katara does decide not to get revenge on Yon Rha for the death of her mother, she doesn't forgive him and makes it clear she will never forgive him. However, the whole adventure finally allows her to forgive Zuko and accept him as a member of Team Avatar.
  • Good Is Not Nice: It's made quite clear in this episode that while Zuko is a much better person now, his roots as a 'bad guy' have not changed. He's harsher and more pessimistic than the others, readily supporting Katara's quest for vengeance and seeing Aang's pacifism as childish and unrealistic.
  • Harmful to Minors: A flashback to Katara's childhood, which has her witness her mother get killed, and it only spirals from there.
  • Happy Ending Override: All the work Sokka did in the previous two episodes to reunite with his dad is undone in the first five minutes. At least Hakoda is out of jail this time.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: It is revealed that Kya turned herself in as the last waterbender to save her daughter's life.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Katara comes very close to crossing this line, to the point of resorting to bloodbending, but holds herself back at literally the last second.
  • Hypocrite: Zuko. He mocks Aang's principles on forgiveness and argues that Katara should seek revenge instead. But Zuko's own motivation in the episode is to make amends with Katara, who is still angry with him. Essentially, Zuko wants Katara to forgive him, which she does by the end of the episode. While Zuko may have had to work for Katara's forgiveness, he still openly advocated that revenge is a better option, while Aang was the one advocating forgiveness, making Zuko's argument against him somewhat short-sighted.
  • Impossible Task: When Zuko asks Katara what he can do to make up his earlier betrayal to her, she gives him two options: recapture Ba Sing Se in the name of the Earth King, or bring her mother back to life. He decides to Take a Third Option and figures out what really is bothering her— her mother's death— to give Katara closure.
  • Innocence Lost: The moment 8-year-old Katara saw her mother get killed in front of her by the Southern Raiders does she experience firsthand that War Is Hell.
  • Irony:
    • Katara keeps referencing "The Crossroads of Destiny," where Zuko betrayed her in favor of saving Azula and overthrowing Ba Sing Se. Fittingly, this episode is where Azula declares she wants to murder Zuko for the previous episode's humiliation and Zuko works to earn back Katara's trust.
    • On the fateful day he killed Kya, Yon Rha was out to kill the last Waterbender in the southern tribe. But unknown to him at the time, the last Waterbender left just moments ago, whilst he ended up killing the wrong one.
  • It's Personal: Katara takes the Gaang's ride and flies off after the Southern Raiders, and actually tells Sokka to his face that he didn't love their mother as much as she did because he's not willing to take a huge detour to pursue a grudge. She gets over it by the episode's end though.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Katara when pointing out to Zuko that while everyone began to trust him, she was the very first in the gang to do so in Ba Sing Se, and was betrayed during their escape from the kingdom; she doesn't even have to mention that Aang nearly died as a result. Zuko is stunned and actually can't contest that. So for that she has every right to be bitter and hostile to him.
    • Aang notes that Katara is starting to sound like Jet when she wants to find Yon Rha and get revenge on him. Katara immediately retorts that she's nothing like Jet because he attacked innocent people who had nothing to do with his parents' deaths while she only wants to go after the one man who's guilty of her mother's death. Although Aang may be right, Jet's hunger for revenge against the Fire Nation civilians must have begun somewhere...
    • While Zuko does mock Aang's pacifistic beliefs and his ideas on forgiveness (rather hypocritically because he's attempting to earn Katara's forgiveness in this episode), he's not wrong to point out how hard and unrealistic it is to forgive a murderer, especially when they kill a loved one in cold blood. While he does concede that Aang was right that Katara getting revenge on Yon Rha wasn't the answer to her making peace with her mother's death, the episode ends with him asking Aang how he plans to defeat Ozai if he doesn't believe violence is the way to defeat him.
  • Kick the Dog: It's one thing for Katara to be venomous towards Zuko, but it's another thing when she accuses Sokka of "not loving [their mother] the way [she] did" after he refuses to help her search for their mother's murderer in clear revenge. Sokka is hurt that his sister would make up such a wild accusation.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Aang at first tries to dissuade Katara from finding her mother's killer, not because they're in hiding but because he's worried about what revenge will do to her. He cites that revenge only poisons the person taking it. Katara says she's going anyway and don't try to stop her. Aang says he won't, and gives his blessing for her and Zuko to use Appa because she's a good person and he trusts her to do the right thing.
  • Lampshade Hanging: There's a bit of this when Katara marches up to Aang and requests the usage of Appa. Aang, noticing Zuko standing behind her, is quick to jokingly ask if it's her turn to "take a little field trip" with him, just as Aang and Sokka did in the preceding episodesnote . Katara's answer is a Blunt "Yes", which leaves Aang momentarily startled.
  • Large Ham: Azula's sheer joy at getting to "celebrate becoming an only child" makes her release her usual self-control a bit. While it's true she might have needed to shout to be heard at that distance anyway, it is quite clear that's not the reason for her hamminess at this point. It's clear that her Villainous Breakdown has begun after the perceived betrayal of her two friends.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Katara discovers that karma beat her to Yon Rha a long time ago: his life is completely miserable and he's stuck farming with his overbearing, hateful mother. She points out he's nothing but a pathetic, empty person.
  • Let's Get Out of Here: Sokka tells Aang that they gotta get out of there when Azula arrives.
  • Mama Bear: Kya would rather give herself up as the Last Waterbender than sell out her young daughter.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: When Sokka tells the flashback story of the Fire Nation soldiers attacking the Southern Water Tribe, the fight begins with the two sides running and combating or dodging/moving past each other.
  • Moment Killer: Zuko picks the worst possible time to talk to Sokka- right when he's about to have some alone time with Suki. Fortunately the couple is implied to have gotten together afterwards.
  • Moment of Weakness: Katara considers her trusting Zuko in Ba Sing Se this, where they bonded over not growing up with their mothers. She tells him if he wants to make up his betrayal to her, then either recapture Ba Sing Se since it was his fault it was overthrown or bring her mother back to life. Zuko then understands that Katara hated how he took advantage of her vulnerability and works to show he can be trusted.
  • Mood Whiplash: Katara and Zuko head off on Appa so Katara can pursue her goal of exacting vengeance on her mother's killer. Immediately after, Sokka asks if he can borrow Momo for a week, much to Aang's confusion.
  • Mook Horror Show: Yon Rha's introduction is played for creepiness from his perspective, with him going to the nearly empty market, the approaching storm, the feeling he gets that someone is following him, the almost total lack of noise, and all of a sudden two teenagers out for blood jump him.
  • My Beloved Smother: Yon Rha's mother is so overbearing that he offers to let Katara kill her so she can claim Revenge by Proxy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Katara is pretty shaken when she realizes the Southern Raider who she just blood-bended is not the man who murdered her mother.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Zuko and Sokka busting Hakoda and Suki out of the Boiling Rock meant that Azula wasted no time in tracking them down. She shows up before they have any time to properly evacuate.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Lampshaded when Azula gets knocked into an apparently-bottomless pit: "She's not gonna make it," Zuko exclaims in equal parts apprehension and relief. She then uses a Blade Brake against a cliff wall and saves herself; "Of course she did," Zuko says in equal parts disbelief and relief.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Aang points out that Katara is acting extremely similar to Jet with her need for vengeance, though Katara denies that she's anything like Jet, since he attacked the innocent while she is going after a known murderer. However, she later bloodbends the man she believes killed her mother, only to realize that while he likely isn't an 'innocent', he's not the one she was after.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We don't see exactly what Yon Rha did to kill Kya. Poor little Katara did, though.
  • Not Worth Killing: Katara is all but willing to take revenge on the person who killed her mother. She only pulls back at the last second because she took pity on such a pathetic person after seeing how he has since turned out.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Zuko and Azula when they fall off the blimp.
    • Zuko has this reaction when Katara demonstrates what blood-bending is on the man they assume is the killer.
    • Yon Rha audibly gulps when he recognizes Katara as the little girl whose mother he killed. And that she was the "last waterbender" all along.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Katara still hasn't forgiven Zuko for betraying her in Ba Sing Se. While she's mad that he led Azula to their hiding place, separating her and Sokka from their father, she's visibly traumatized by how Aang nearly died and the Fire Nation won the war. Zuko realizes that she has a point — they did bond and she was vulnerable towards him — and decides to fix his mistake.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • From her behavior in this episode, it's clear that Azula is beginning to lose it. For one, she's sporting a manic grin instead of her usual smirk and is acting openly emotional instead of cold and collected. Her fighting has also become sloppier; she uses her fists to swing her fire around instead of two fingers to concentrate the blasts like she's done before.
    • Katara hated the fact that she was tricked into learning bloodbending. The fact that she uses it willingly here shows just how serious she is about possibly killing the man responsible for her mother's murder.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Katara's motivation for this episode. She even cites this trope as the reason that she isn't like Jet, as the person she's after has murdered an innocent woman.
  • Pet the Dog: Even after being an Ungrateful Bitch to Zuko earlier, Katara, of all people, catches Zuko mid-fall and saves him.
  • Punch Parry: A pretty damn epic one between Zuko and Azula, as they're just about to shoot fire at each other. This results in a rather huge explosion.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Zuko wanders into Sokka's tent for a talk and finds Sokka half-undressed and posed seductively in a lovenest of candles and roses, obviously expecting someone else to wander in. Just before that, Zuko had bumped into Sokka's girlfriend Suki trying to sneak into the tent.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Katara gives a very potent one to Yon Rha. No more than he deserves.
  • Recurring Camera Shot: Katara's flashback to her mother's death and her climactic confrontation with Yon Rha mirror each other; Yon Rha staring down at young Katara in the Iglo, and Katara staring down at a much older Yon Rha in her sphere waterbent rain. The victim has become the aggressor, and the aggressor has become the victim.
  • Rejected Apology: Yon Rha acts remorseful for what he did to Katara's mother, but one can interpret he's only "sorry" because Katara was about to impale him. On the basis he won't regret it of his own accord, Katara will never ever forgive him.
  • Retired Monster: Yon Rha lives quietly (albeit miserably) with his mother after retiring from the Southern Raiders. It is clear that he does not regret his past at all, and he will still gladly commit murder on any would-be assassins.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Yon Rha eagerly offers Katara this opportunity, but this only emphasizes how pathetic he is.
  • Revenge Is Not Justice: Aang says this to Katara once he finds out that she intends to kill Yon Rha.
    Aang: The monks used to say that revenge is like a two-headed rat viper. While you watch your enemy go down, you're being poisoned yourself.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Zuko and Azula are both in free-fall, Zuko is caught by Katara, while Azula has to catch herself, reflecting how Zuko has always had a support net (first Ursa, then Iroh, and now his new friends in the Gaang) that Azula lacked.
  • Sanity Slippage: Azula has started hers, going from calm and deceptive to Large Ham.
  • Somewhere, a Mammalogist Is Crying: Invoked by Sokka, who wants to borrow Momo for a week so that he won't be tempted to join Katara and Zuko in getting to fight a Fire Nation soldier due to having the most experience, much to Aang's confusion.
  • Spared, but Not Forgiven: What Katara ultimately decides to do to Yon Rha.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Happens to Azula during her fight with her brother.
  • Snow Means Death: A variant; while it presumably snows quite often in the south pole, it started snowing black snow—snow mixed with soot from the Fire Nation ships—on the day that Kya was killed.
  • Surprise Vehicle: Twice during the confrontation with Azula. First, it's Azula's surprise appearance on her airship and a little later it's Zuko pulling the same trick on her emerging on his Zeppelin behind her. Zeppelins produce little noise so these are justified examples.
  • Sword Drag: Azula stops her fall from the Zeppelin by sticking her hairpin into the rock face.
  • Sword over Head: Katara has her mother's killer at her mercy but stops the finishing move because she cannot bring herself to commit this crime.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: After they are both blown off the blimp, Zuko is rescued by his friends while Azula is left to her fate tumbling into the endless ravine below. Zuko laments that Azula will not survive the plunge, only to stand corrected when Azula manages to break her fall.
  • Take No Prisoners: The flashbacks show Yon Rha was ordered to find one potential Waterbender in the Southern Tribe. Kya, Sokka and Katara's mother, offers herself, lying that she is the Waterbender, in exchange for sparing the rest of the tribe. While it has been established that the Fire Nation capturing Waterbenders is common, Yon Rha had a different plan in mind...
    Kya: Take me as your prisoner.
    Yon Rha: I'm afraid I'm not taking prisoners today ...
  • This Is Reality: Aang tries to reason Katara not to pursue revenge using an allegory about handling a two-headed rat viper. Zuko has this to say:
    Zuko: That's cute, but this isn't Air Temple Preschool. It's the real world.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Maybe not by herself, but same thing. Aang may be opposed to Katara's quest for vengeance. Nonetheless, he relents and allows Katara to use Appa for it, seeing she needs to face her mother's killer in order to find closure.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Katara ends the episode without having forgiven her mother's murderer and emphatically stating that she never will.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Katara following Azula's ambush, a sign of her going down the path of He Who Fights Monsters; it's implied that she's angry at Zuko since he indirectly caused her father to leave again and blaming him for leading Azula to the Gaang to ambush them in the first place. She then deliberately goads Zuko to be modest about helping the Gaang when the others cheer him, calls out Zuko for expecting her to trust him given what happened in Ba Sing Se, and accuses Sokka of not loving their mother as much as she did. Ouch... Fortunately, she finally calms down after finding closure, and being able to forgive Zuko.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Katara is still being awful towards Zuko, even though he just helped to rescue her father and saved her from the falling rock about to fatally hit her.
    Zuko: I'll take that as a thank you.
  • Unishment: When Katara faces Yon Rha, he begs for mercy and offers up his mother's life to pay for his killing of Kya- only minutes after it's shown that his mother is awful and treats him badly.
  • Villains Want Mercy: The murderer begs Katara to spare him.
  • Visual Pun: The morning after, Sokka is fiddling with a necklace of flowers. To indicate that, you know, he got lei'd and/or that Suki was de-flowered.
  • War Is Hell: War turned a man into a cruel sadist, then turned that same man into a pathetic wreck. War turned a young girl who lost her mother into a woman hellbent on seeking revenge. War makes us all less.
  • We Are Not Going Through That Again: Katara gets hit with this twice thanks to Azula's attack:
    • First is that she knows Zuko and Sokka busted her father out of prison, and presumably that was explained during their reunion. Then Azula shows up and breaks up the happy family. Katara after they all escape gets furious with herself for trusting Zuko and remains cold to him, remembering that he and Azula are not a good combination.
    • Hakoda decides that the team needs to split up so that Azula can't recapture them. Katara protests this because she and Sokka just got their father back. She reluctantly agrees on realizing there is no choice.
  • You Killed My Father: Yon Rha was responsible for Kya's death. Because of this, Katara seems him out to get revenge for her mother's death.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Zuko takes on his sister alone so that the others can escape.


Video Example(s):


Sokka in his tent

Sokka was clearly expecting someone else to enter the tent.

How well does it match the trope?

4.97 (35 votes)

Example of:

Main / ReadyForLovemaking

Media sources: