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Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Swamp"

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Aang sees a hallucination of a young girl he doesn't recognize.

"Time is an illusion and so is death."

While flying, Aang and friends are attracted to a mysterious swamp and get separated from one another. They begin to see unique illusions in the swamp: Sokka sees Princess Yue, Katara sees her dead mother and Aang sees a mysterious girl. They are reunited and attacked by a swamp monster who turns out to be a wise man from a tribe of swamp waterbenders. He explains that all beings are connected, as the swamp is a single large tree, and the visions are of people they have met or will meet. Meanwhile Zuko, disgusted with having to live as a beggar, dons the mask of the Blue Spirit once again.



  • Alice Allusion:
    Aang: I heard laughing and I saw some girl in a fancy dress.
    Sokka: Well, there must be a tea party here and we just didn't get our invitations!
  • Asshole Victim: The guy who forces Iroh to sing and dance for a gold coin. While Zuko doesn't kill him, he at least jumps him and takes his swords.
  • Bullet Dancing: One man wants Iroh to sing and dance for a gold piece. Iroh starts singing and the man swings his dual swords at the old man's feet to make him dance.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A very, very long (as in, 70 years long) one, but the swamp's mysterious nature is revealed more in Book 4 of Legend of Korra, when the swamp's spirit vines become a major plot point.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The barefooted girl with the flying-boar.
  • Continuity Nod: An elbow leech attaches to Sokka's elbow. In the previous episode, a purple pentapus (or two) attached to his face.
    "Why do things keep attaching to me?!"
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  • Cute, but Cacophonic: The Screeching Bird which reappears at the end.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: There are eyes in the dark starring back at the gang making them realizes they're NOT alone in the swamp.
  • Diagonal Cut: Katara slices the swamp monster this way.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Averted.
  • Entitled Bastard: Zuko is vocally unhappy with being a wanted beggar living on the street, complaining to his uncle that the people should be giving them whatever they want due to their status as royalty. Later, he reassumes his Blue Spirit alter-ego to steal not only essential supplies but also riches and valuable treasures.
    Zuko: This is humiliating! We're royalty! These people should be giving us whatever we want.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Foggy Swamp Tribe is depicted as the Avatar world counterpart of stereotypical bayou-dwelling hillbillies from the Deep South. They also take some inspiration from various hill tribes from Southeast Asia.
  • Fire of Comfort: When it gets spooky at the swamp, Sokka suggests building a fire.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Sokka, to a hilarious extent. He sees a vision of Yue, fights a giant tentacley vine monster, and a tornado appears out of nowhere, and yet he's still convinced there's nothing strange about the swamp. When Aang points out he used the tree's connecting power to find Appa and Momo, Sokka shrugs it off as "avatar stuff".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The mask cart that passes Iroh and Zuko in the opening scene bears the Blue Spirit mask. At the end of the episode, Zuko reassumes his Blue Spirit alter-ego.
    • The Foggy Swamp Tribe's unorthodox application of waterbending (bending the water within the plants) foreshadows darker applications of the art shown later.
      • Metalbending is also based on the same principle, applied to unpurified earth in metal rather than water in vines.
    • The spirit vine that hits the bird at the end, and the swamp itself, which foreshadow a big revelation in Legend of Korra about the Spirit World.
    • While begging for money, Iroh sings a song about how great the girls from Ba Sing Se are, much to Zuko's irritation. Later, Iroh hooks Zuko up with a Ba Sing Se girl.
  • Genius Loci: The titular swamp, complete with World Tree.
    Katara: Something about this place feels... alive.
  • Healing Factor: The swamp monster can regrow its limbs.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: Some shots from the POV of the swamp monster observing the Gaang.
  • Mistaken from Behind: A variation. While lost in the swamp, Katara has a vision of her dead mother facing away from her. Thinking the vision is real, Katara runs up, puts a hand on her mother's shoulder to spin her around...and suddenly it is not her mother at all, only a tall stump sticking out of the water.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Zuko stealing the broadswords from the SOB who forced Iroh into Bullet Dancing.
  • Psychological Torment Zone: Katara and Sokka endure this. Katara thinks she sees her dead mother, only to sadly discover that it was an illusion. Sokka sees Yue out in an open area and hears her claim that he didn't protect her before she fades away.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The difference between the siblings is once again illustrated in their reactions to visions of their dead loved ones: Katara is saddened while Sokka is angered.
  • Security Cling: Aang and his friends do this a couple of times.
  • Soft Water: The Gaang falls from great height into the swamp without taking any damage.
  • Tears of Joy: Katara has them in her eyes when she runs towards the figure who looks like her mother from behind.
  • Tempting Fate: Sokka's statement "There's nothing magical happening here" is followed by the swamp monster attacking the group.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Zig-zagged. There is a separate subplot with Zuko and Iroh, but they're only seen at the beginning and end of the episode (and Iroh is seen only at the beginning). A more played straight version is the trio's fight with the swamp monster contrasted with Appa and Momo's flight from the local waterbenders.
  • World Tree: The entire swamp is one giant Banyan tree, with a central trunk the size of a mountain.
  • The Worm That Walks: Huu's swamp monster disguise.


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