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A typical reaction from a fan who notices such idiocy.
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Even the cast of a great Nickelodeon cartoon aren't immune to stupidity.

NOTE: You may put examples from both the show and the graphic novels.

Season One:

  • "The King of Omashu": Aang, Sokka, and Katara sneak into the city of Omashu because Aang wants to ride on the mail-carts like he used who with his friend Bumi. They soon are riding along at breakneck speed
    You'd Expect: Aang would use his airbending to control the cart better, as Katara suggests.
    Instead: Aang uses his airbending to make the cart go faster. Rather than control the cart, he lets it spin wildly off the tracks and cause intense property damage.
    The Result: The trio are brought before the Omashu King, on charges of entering the city with false identities and destruction of cabbages.
    Fortunately: It turns out the king is Bumi one hundred years older, who recognized Aang from the mine cart trick. Rather than imprison or punish the Avatar, he subjects Aang to three challenging but harmless trials and covers Katara and Sokka in rock candy. Bumi does warn Aang that future opponents won't be as merciful and he needs to learn to think outside the box to defeat them.
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  • "Jet": The titular character encounters the Gaang after they accidentally provide a distraction. Sokka is suspicious when Jet attacks an old man and tries to kill him, on the grounds of him being a Fire Nation civilian. Katara dismisses his worries, but unknown to her Jet wants her and Aang to bend enough water into the reservoir so it will flood the nearby town. She and Aang find out when they fill it and go to surprise Jet, though Katara at first is in denial and Aang prepares to fly and warn the villagers.
    You'd Expect: Jet would quickly give the signal to blow up the dam before Aang can fly and then stall Katara and Aang by lying to them. If Aang doesn't listen, then Jet can attack.
    Instead: He admits that it's the truth and attacks Aang to keep him from flying to warn the villagers.
    The Result: While Aang gets knocked from the trees, Katara pins Jet to a tree using ice within seconds. Only then does Jet give the signal. It turns out the delay was enough time for Sokka to go and warn the town, with the old man he rescued vouching for him so no one, soldier or civilian, is hurt. On top of all that Katara is incensed that Jet lied to her and wanted her and Aang to be an accessory to murder; she leaves him covered in ice.
  • "Siege of the North":
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    • Aang has only a few months to master all four bending disciplines before Sozin's Comet arrives and the firebenders get a massive power boost, at which time they will kill many, many people.
      You'd Expect: Aang to focus on learning waterbending from Pakku as fast as possible, which is pretty fast in his case.
      Instead: When he meets Pakku, he says he'll starts after he's had a couple days to relax. Pakku smacks him down for this, and he does show up for his lessons, but spends them goofing off, to the point that Katara surpasses him by a mile. He is literally playing, rolling around in the snow in circles while laughing like a hyena, when soot starts falling from the sky.
      The Result: Aang is entirely dependent on his airbending in the ensuing fight, making him much less effective.
    • Zhao is invading the Northern Water Tribe in order to capture the Avatar. From his studies, Zhao is also aware that the Ocean and Moon spirits (which power waterbending) are in the heart of the Tribe's city. Killing the Moon Spirit would destroy waterbending, however it would also cause serious trouble for the whole world, as both Aang and Iroh warn Zhao with Iroh even threatening him to stop.
      You'd Expect: Zhao to realize that killing the moon would hurt the Fire Nation as much as the rest of the world and that he'd think of some alternative that isn't nearly as catastrophic, such as taking the moon spirit hostage to ensure the cooperation and/or surrender of the Northern Water Tribe.
      Instead: Zhao kills the moon and it becomes clear that to him, the destruction of waterbending was a bonus. He just wanted to be able to brag that he killed the moon.
      Result: Aang fuses with the now extremely pissed off Ocean spirit, transforming them into a gigantic humanoid koi monster. Koizilla proceeds to lay waste to the entire Fire Nation force, preventing Zhao's conquest of the Northern Water Tribe, and Zhao himself is later dragged underwater by the Ocean spirit. He has a cameo in The Legend of Korra, where it's revealed that he's ended up in the Fog of Lost Souls as punishment for his actions.

Season Two:

  • "The Avatar State":
    • A war-weary Earth Kingdom General tries to force Aang into the Avatar State to end the war with the Fire Nation early. After a Failure Montage, which includes giving Aang caffeinated tea and pouring mud on him, Aang admits that he thinks the state can only be activated when he is in danger.
      You'd Expect: The General would Know When to Fold 'Em and not try to intentionally piss off the Avatar or just realize that you cannot control a supernatural force if it needs a violent trigger.
      Instead: He has his men attack Aang in the climax, and when Aang finally does go into the Avatar State, it turns into a Curb-Stomp Battle but Aang realizes he has no control in that state and that he would not currently be an effective force against the Fire Nation.
    • Azula is assigned to bring Zuko and Iroh back to the Fire Nation as prisoners. To ensure the pair cooperate with her, Azula lies to them about the Fire Lord seeing the value of family and wanting Zuko back. Given her perfectionism, it is implied that Azula had kept her troops in the loop for the plan to work.
      You'd Expect: As one of her many troops, keep up the lie or shut up until they have the traitors secure. Messing up the plan will piss off Azula.
      Instead: One of Azula's officers refers to Zuko and Iroh as "the prisoners" on the way up the ship, leading to the pair of them realizing it's a trap and inflicting a Curb-Stomp Battle on the crew before making their escape.
  • "The Cave of Two Lovers": Iroh comes across a plant that is either "the rare white dragon bush, whose leaves make a tea so delicious it's heartbreaking!", or else "the white jade, which is poisonous."
    You'd Expect: He'd demonstrate the good sense possessed by even the most scatterbrained Cub Scout and not touch the thing with a ten-foot-pole until he's 100% certain it's the right one. This can be ascertained by testing it on the skin and then the tongue, so it's not all or nothing.
    Instead: He drinks it and almost dies.
  • "Avatar Day":
    • Aang is put on trial for the murder of Chin the Conqueror, whom Avatar Kyoshi supposedly murdered. Kyoshi appears and recounts that Chin was conquering the Earth Kingdom and brought an army to her peninsula. While we don't hear their conversation, it didn't go well for Chin; Kyoshi immediately blew off his clothes and went into the Avatar State.
      You'd Expect: Considering that Chin has his entire army, that while Kyoshi is doing her bending that they would attack her with the Worf Barrage before she can finish what she's doing. If someone is trying to fight the Avatar, they should use all they have.
      Instead: He stands there, nearly naked, and maintains a defensive earthbending position.
      The Result: Kyoshi successfully separates the peninsula from the mainland, and sends his army running. Oh, and Chin dies by refusing to budge from the cliff that has formed under him.
  • "The Blind Bandit": Lao Beifong, a wealthy Earth Kingdom merchant, discovers that Toph, the blind 12-year old daughter he kept hidden within his estate has been sneaking out to participate in quasi-legal underground pitfights. He then sees firsthand that she is a powerful and accomplished Earthbender when she beats half a dozen experienced adult earthbenders into submission.
    You'd Expect: Lao Beifong would reevaluate how he's been treating his daughter and realize she is not as fragile as he feared. This would lead to less restrictions on her travel and give her more personal agency.
    Instead: He announces that he has been permitting her too much freedom by letting her wander the gardens of the family compound on her own, and that she will be guarded 24/7 from now on. In addition, he orders the Avatar and his companions to leave at once. This ultimately causes Toph to run away completely from him. He then blames the Avatar for kidnapping his daughter and hires a team to kidnap her.
  • "The Library":
    • Sokka, seeking intel about the Fire Nation, finds out from a scholar that there's a great library in the desert, run by spirits. When they get there, the Giant Owl Librarian, Wan Shi Tong, is incredibly suspicious of the Gaang and all humans, due to his belief that humans only seek knowledge to use for war with other humans, which was supported by the fact that the last human visitor burnt down a section of his library and used his knowledge for destruction and violence.
      You'd Expect: Aang would remember that messing with spirits for their knowledge can lead to unpleasant results and would warn Sokka about this.
      Instead: Aang vouches for Sokka and doesn't warn him about the danger of messing with spirits. He also doesn't rebuke Sokka for slipping various scrolls into his sack. So when Wan Shi Tong catches them, Aang can only offer a weak apology that they're trying to do the right thing. But Wan Shi Tong points out that all humans believe that they are doing the right thing, and he's not going to let them abuse his knowledge anymore and decides to sink his library into the desert with the Gaang still inside.
    • Sokka knows that the owl doesn't want his knowledge to be used for war.
      You'd Expect: He would exercise some discretion in searching for the knowledge that a powerful spirit possesses.
      Instead: When the Gaang realizes that firebenders lose their powers doing a solar eclipse, Sokka excitedly says that they'll invade the Fire Nation during one and jubilantly declares, "The Fire Lord is going down!" right as Wan Shi Tong shows up.
      The Result: When Wan Shi Tong sinks the library, Toph is forced to hold it up so the Gaang can get out, and is unable to stop the sandbenders from abducting Appa.
  • "The Drill": Iroh and Zuko have just made it into the heavily-defended Earth Kingdom city of Ba Sing Se alongside a boatload of Earth Kingdom refugees, who do not look kindly upon the Fire Nation. He has just gotten a cup of tea that's not hot at all.
    You'd Expect: Iroh would just put the tea aside and wait to get something better or hold on to it until they're in private before Firebending to warm it up.
    Instead: He makes a loud fuss about the tea being cold, and THEN uses Firebending to heat the tea up, putting himself and Zuko in danger of being discovered as Fire Nation spies. Even so, he does get noticed by Jet, which causes complications in later episodes.
  • "City of Walls and Secrets":
    • Upon realizing Iroh is a firebender, Jet tries to get proof and expose him. Unfortunately, he finds that since Zuko chided him, Iroh is more cautious and does not firebend even in private.
      You'd Expect: Jet to let it go, as his friends advise him. They're starting a new life, and so far Iroh and Zuko aren't posing a threat. He can act later if he sees anything suspicious.
      Instead: Jet storms into the tea shop and threatens Iroh at swordpoint hoping to provoke him into defending himself with firebending. Zuko defends his uncle using only his swords, and holds off Jet long enough for the police to arrest him.
    • The entire Dai Li conspiracy plot. Nothing Long Feng does serves his interests. The Gaang comes into Ba Sing Se with intelligence that could turn the tide of the war.
      You'd Expect: Long Feng to say the King is a figurehead and direct them to talk to the general on the outer wall. Ba Sing Se just had its outer wall breached the day before. Even if he keeps up The Masquerade, it will be pointless when the Fire Nation literally burns the truth into the city's citizens.
      Instead: He refuses to help Team Avatar at all and actively conspires against him even though the Fire Nation winning the war would not help the Dai Li or himself.
    • Long Feng obtains Appa.
      You'd Expect: Long Feng to give them Appa and tell them to get out.
      Instead: He keeps Appa hostage, indirectly trapping the Gaang in the city.
      The Result They now HAVE to bring down Long Feng and do so. It is no wonder Azula says he was never a player.
  • "Lake Laogai": Zuko finds out that Aang in in Ba Sing Se, too, thanks to the "lost pet" flyer about Appa and it reignites his desire to capture the Avatar and restore his honor.
    You'd Expect: If Zuko really wants to take up chasing Aang again, he make use of Aang's address written on the flyer and take him on without the advantage of having his Bison.
    Instead: He infiltrates the base of the local Secret Police, which is made up mostly of elite Earthbenders, planning to steal a huge, flying bison with horns that has no reason to be cooperative. Zuko has no idea whatsoever what he's going to do if he actually rescues Appa. In fact, Iroh who follows him to the base even points out the flaws in his plan and how he's blindly following someone else's will to snap him out of it.
  • "The Crossroads of Destiny": It's the final battle of Ba Sing Se. Zuko and Katara have just been rescued by Iroh and Aang respectively, and they have to rescue the Earth King from a Dai Li coup. Azula approaches Zuko in the middle of battle and promises that if he helps her win then she'll reward him and help him come home with honor. Katara in the meantime has started to bond with Zuko, even considering that she could heal his scar.
    You'd Expect: Zuko would remember that "Azula always lies, Azula always lies," and she has always been a manipulative liar since they were children. She tried to deceive him at the beginning of season two so as to capture him and deliver him in chains to their father. Also, she just captured him with the Dai Li's help.
    Instead: He trusts her and saves her from Katara. This allows Azula an opportunity to shoot Aang while he's in the Avatar State, nearly killing him and destroying the Avatar Cycle. In fact, as far as Zuko and Azula know, the Avatar is dead.
    The Result: Iroh sacrifices himself to help Aang and Katara escape so he is captured and returned to the Fire Nation as a prisoner causing a rising sense of guilt in Zuko at his betrayal. Azula keeps half her word: she helps Zuko regain his reputation and father's approval so that he is no longer exiled, but she believes Zuko may be withholding information on the Avatar's possible survival so she credits him for killing the Avatar. Now Zuko has the constant worry of how his restored reputation will fail if the Avatar is discovered to be alive.

Season Three:

  • "The Awakening": Even after Ba Sing Se is taken and they fail to use the Earth King's armies to launch an invasion on the Fire Nation, the gang continues with their plans and decides to recruit a group comprised of their allies they've met on their travels to help with the invasion. Meanwhile, the Earth King decided to travel the world in disguise.
    You'd Expect: For him to tell the heroes that he blabbed about the invasion plans in front of a disguised Azula before leaving, meaning that the element of surprise is no more. Even if the Fire Nation is caught off guard by Team Avatar recruiting their own inner circle of allies to replace the Earth King's armies, this doesn't change the fact that the Fire Nation is made aware of the solar eclipse and would have measures prepared.
    Instead: He doesn't inform them of this.
    The Result: The invasion fails because the heroes still think they have the element of surprise and were caught off guard when that isn't the case. Not to mention, Aang was revealed to be alive to the Fire Nation.
  • "The Headband": While hiding within the Fire Nation, Aang decides to attend a Fire Nation school to try and learn more about the Fire Lord.
    You'd Expect: Aang to keep his head down, stay quiet, and learn all he can without drawing attention to himself.
    Instead: During the daily oath to the Fire Lord, which he doesn't know, tosses out random Fire Nation-related words loud enough for everyone to hear. He also questions the official story of the Air Nation having an army, plays too loudly during music practice, and gets in a fight with a local rich bully.
    The Result: Aang needs to bring in his "parents" for a conference, with Katara and Sokka putting on a Paper-Thin Disguise to counter the principal possibly sending "Kuzon" to the colonies for disruptive behavior and separate him from his family.
  • "The Avatar and the Fire Lord": Avatar Roku learns that his best friend, Fire Lord Sozin is cultivating feelings of nationalist expansion and wants to spread Fire Nation colonies throughout the world.
    You'd Expect: Roku to do everything in his power to quell Sozin's expansionist thoughts using everything he learning in traveling the world to explain or demonstrate why such expansion is a bad idea and make sure that Sozin has been convinced of this fact.
    Instead: Roku blows Sozin off and tells him to just forget it. And when Sozin implores him to listen, Roku says that he doesn't want to hear anymore of this, leaving Sozin feeling betrayed by his best friend, bitter and isolated and proceeds to establish colonies anyway.
  • "The Puppetmaster": Many years ago, a Waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe by the name of Hama was captured by the Fire Nation. She eventually escaped by developing Bloodbending and using it to incapacitate her guards. As a result of the torment she suffered at their hands, Hama hates the Fire Nation and everyone in it. Meanwhile, she hopes to pass on Bloodbending to the next generation of Waterbenders.
    You'd Expect: Hama to try and contribute to the war effort against the Fire Nation, thereby using her hatred of them constructively, and/or seek out one of the three Water Tribes in the world, so that she'll have more of a chance of passing on her technique.
    Instead: Hama just stays near a non-military Fire Nation village, and her revenge consists of her using Bloodbending to abduct a few of the villagers every full moon. It is only by sheer luck that Katara encounters her allowing the technique to be passed on.
  • "The Day of Black Sun":
    • Aang discovers that the Fire Nation is made aware of the eclipse, with Fire Lord Ozai hidden away. He flies back and informs the rest of the invasion force about the discovery.
      You'd Expect: For the heroes to cut their losses and bail in the submarines alongside their friends. A conveniently empty city pretty much screams TRAP. If they still want to exploit the window of opportunity provided by the eclipse, have only Team Avatar break into the bunker as only Toph can metalbend an entryway while the rest who can't fight underground escape.
      Instead: Under the logic that the empty Royal Palace needs securing, the entire invasion force presses on and enters the empty Fire Nation capital, gaining practically zero tactical value while making escaping all the more harder.
      The Result: When the airships are deployed, the entire invasion force is unable to escape in time before the subs are destroyed. In a single day, the Fire Nation effectively has all opposing resistance captured and served to them on a silver platter with most of Team Avatar's allies were imprisoned. In "The Boiling Rock", Sokka even says that they should have cut their losses when they had the chance.
    • Azula taunts Sokka with the revelation that she's got Suki prisoner. Toph pins her to a wall while Sokka rages out and demands to know where Suki is. Aang says, correctly, that she won't talk.
      You'd Expect: Sokka would stab Azula in the heart with his sword, considering that interrogating her is pointless and she's going to regain her powers any second.
      Alternatively: If Sokka's own morality along with the show's age rating prevents him from going that far, at least take the chance to properly subdue her like cuffs around the hand and feet with some nearby earth or metal.
      Instead: He just repeats, "Where is Suki?!" Yeah, because it was so effective the first time.
      The Result: She breaks free seconds later, and they still don't know where Suki is. She continues to menace them right up to the finale, including almost killing Sokka's sister.
  • "The Boiling Rock":
    • Zuko and Sokka sneak into the Boiling Rock prison to find Hakoda. While he doesn't arrive, Sokka does notice that Suki is there and goes to reunite with her. As they have a Big Damn Kiss, Zuko knocks urgently when a guard approaches and wants to enter the cell.
      You'd Expect: Zuko would tell the female guard that another guard is already in there checking on the prisoner for misbehavior, and loudly announce it so Sokka can appear before their cover is blown. Suki apparently is checked on regularly, given her Seen It All reaction to Sokka appearing in her cell and trying to kiss her before taking off his helmet; that earns him a punch before she recognizes him.
      Instead: He lies that the lights are broken in the cell and the prisoner can ambush her. When she doesn't buy it, he attacks her.
      The Result: The female guard calls for help, and Sokka has to "arrest" Zuko to keep his cover.
    • The Warden then confronts a bound Zuko. It turns out he is Mai's uncle, and is angry on her behalf about Zuko writing her a "Dear John" Letter before defecting. On the other hand, he doesn't know why a traitor prince would sneak into a Fire Nation cell rather than the other way around. Zuko tells him he could just turn in the traitor and win a bounty; the Warden says that's not happening. We find out it's because Mai wanted a chance to confront Zuko about his breaking up with her.
      You'd Expect: He would interrogate Zuko about why he's here, and why he seemingly came alone. Then keep him away from the other prisoners.
      Instead: He releases Zuko into the general inmate populace, warning him that most of them would want him dead if they knew he was the Prince.
      Predictably: Zuko nearly escapes that night with Sokka and another inmate who's a firebender but doesn't even know who Zuko is or why he should be hated. The next day, Zuko's talk with Mai in an interrogation room unwittingly convinces her to save him, Sokka and Suki when they make an escape with the Warden as a hostage. Cue the Boiling Rock having its perfect escape-proof record broken, Azula losing her two female friends, and Mai arrested for treason.
  • "Sozin's Comet - Part 1". Aang has decided that he has not had enough time to train properly to take down the Fire Lord and decides it would be better to wait until after Sozin's comet passes before he fights him. Zuko reveals that his father will use the enhanced firebending power granted by the comet to raze the Earth Kingdom and defeat the last great threat to his power. That's why he switched sides to help Team Avatar because he feels guilty about not speaking against it.
    You'd Expect: He would have told the Gaang about the Fire Lord's plans as soon as he was accepted by the group enough to trust his information.
    Instead: He doesn't reveal this until only a few days before the Comet's arrival.
    The Result: Aang freaks out as he feels completely unprepared to face the Fire Lord especially since the Avatar state is blocked. His friends keep pressuring him to simply focus on killing Ozai as it presents his best chance for success but it clashes painfully with the pacifist beliefs of his Air-Nomad heritage. This spiritual crisis causes Aang to be drawn to a mysterious island that may present a way out of his dilemma but he leaves without telling the rest of the Gaang. His unexpected disappearance leaves them in a panicked state to try and come up with an plan to deal with the Fire Lord without Aang.

Graphic Novels:

  • The Promise:
    • Following Ozai's defeat and the subsequent end of the Hundred Year War, the Harmony Restoration Movement is established to remove the Fire Nation's colonies in the Earth Kingdom. It hits a snag when it comes to the older colony of Yu Dao, where the Fire Nation colonists and the Earth Kingdom citizens have intermarried and integrated deeply with one another over the last century, to the point that forcibly relocating the colonists would cause more problems than it would solve.
      You'd Expect: The city mayor and his family to contact Zuko and explain Yu Dao's situation to him, and try and persuade him to leave Yu Dao alone. It also wouldn't hurt to remain polite and respectful during any negotiations, considering that Zuko is their freaking head of state.
      Instead: Kori Morishita, the mayor's daughter, attempts to assassinate Zuko, which results in her arrest, and Zuko storming over to Yu Dao to personally enforce the Harmony Restoration Movement there. While he's there, Kori and Mayor Morishita frequently belittle him, even comparing him negatively to Fire Lord Ozai. You know, the genocidal and maniacal tyrant who abused Zuko for most of his childhood.
      Result: The only thing that stops Zuko from imprisoning Kori and her father for the rest of their lives is Mrs Morishita — practically the Only Sane Man in the family at this point — diffusing the situation, after which Zuko proves to be a Reasonable Authority Figure who would have been perfectly willing to help Yu Dao, if only he'd been made aware of what was going on beforehand.
    • As a result of the above, Zuko decides to end his support for the Harmony Restoration Movement.
      You'd Expect: That before taking any "drastic" action, Zuko would get in contact with Aang and/or the Earth King, explain the situation to them, and see if they could work things out peacefully.
      Instead: Zuko publicly withdraws his support for the Harmony Restoration Movement, orders the departing colonials to return to the colonies and fortifies Yu Dao, not letting anyone in or out, and makes no attempt to talk to anyone. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people see this as Zuko refusing to give up his colonies, and another war nearly starts.
      Bonus Idiocy: Much like Zuko himself, Kuei turns out to be a Reasonable Authority Figure once he's made aware of the true nature of Yu Dao. Zuko made the exact same mistake Kori did.
    • Shortly after Zuko does this, Aang and Katara show up in Yu Dao hoping to talk to him. A Fire Nation soldier orders them to leave, and Aang explains that he just wants to talk with Zuko.
      You'd Expect: That Zuko would have anticipated Aang showing up, and given his guards sensible instructions on what to do if and when he arrived. Even if Zuko didn't, there is nothing stopping the guard from simply asking Aang to just wait at the gates while he goes to find Zuko.
      You'd Also Expect: Zuko, who has known Aang and Katara for over a year by this point, to know that they're not going to attack his troops for no good reason.
      Instead: The guards attack Aang and Katara, and keep doing so even when Aang insists that he only wants to talk. Then when Zuko shows up, he immediately tries to restrain Katara rather than asking for an explanation. This causes Aang to go into and out of control of the Avatar State, and the only thing stopping him from turning Zuko into a smear on the street is Katara talking him out of it. And after all the above, Zuko has the gall to tell Aang that they both need to calm down and talk, even though, as Aang rightly pointed out, that was what he had wanted to do in the first place.
    • Zuko is clearly conflicted on what to do regarding the colonies and decides to ask someone for help.
      You'd Expect: That he would consult his uncle, who has always given him good advice, or perhaps someone from the Gaang, who could surely help him with the whole Harmony issue.
      Instead: He consults the Jerkass and manipulative Ozai. While Ozai does give Zuko advice regarding leadership, the way he gives it makes Zuko reluctant to take it, for fear that he'll be acting just like his father.
  • The Rift:
    • Aang decides to celebrate Yangchen's festival, an old Air Nomad holiday, with the rest of the Gaang and the Air Acolytes. Toph soon stops enjoying the holiday when Aang insists on following through with the ceremonies of the holiday despite not knowing any of their purposes, since it reminds her of her unenjoyable childhood. It gets to the point that she becomes visibly upset, and Aang notices.
      You'd Expect: That Toph would explain her issues with participating in the holiday to Aang, and either ask if she can be excused from the celebrations or just suck it up and stick it out. Aang may have been a bit overly-enthusiastic about celebrating Yangchen's Festival with his friends, but it's not like he chained her up and dragged her along. Alternatively, Aang could just ask Toph what her problem is.
      Instead: Toph pretty much decides to behave like a spoiled brat, whereas Aang immediately treats her like such without ever thinking that she might have a reason for her behaviour.
    • As Aang prepares to destroy the Earthern Fire Refinery and the surrounding town in order to try and pacify General Old Iron, Toph appears and demands to know what's going on, being one of the biggest fans of the refinery and all it represents. Aang now has to give her an explanation.
      You'd Expect: "There's a giant, all-powerful spirit who's going to go to war with humanity if this land isn't returned to its natural state!"
      Instead: (paraphrased) "One of the previous Avatars made a deal with a giant, ancient spirit, then humans built over this land and the spirit's probably coming back now...you know what, forget it! I have to do this, so just trust me!"
      Result: This explanation completely fails to satisfy Toph, who assumes that Aang is once again putting his people's traditions over the rest of the world, and the two of them get into a battle that could have ended in one of them getting killed if Old Iron hadn't shown up when he did.
  • Smoke and Shadow:
    • Spirits known as the Kemurikage are going around kidnapping children in the Fire Nation. Ukano, who is the leader of the reactionary New Ozai Society seeking to overthrow Zuko, urges him to declare a curfew and set up a task force to fight the spirits, in order to make Zuko look like a tyrant. Aang meanwhile tells Zuko that such things won't work, and that they should investigate things more closely before they take any action.
      You'd Expect: Both Aang and Ukano have good ideas — albeit unintentionally on Ukano's part. Zuko can have a task force set up or perhaps assign more guards to watch out for the Kemurikage while he investigates the kidnappings and tries to find a better solution. Even if a task force or additional guards are unlikely to be of use, the move will at least reassure the people that Zuko's watching out for them. And who knows, the task force or guards might get lucky and stop one of the spirits.
      Instead: Zuko only takes Aang's advice, and as far as we can tell, leaves his people completely unprotected from the Kemurikage. As a result, Ukano is subsequently able to undermine Zuko by producing his own task force, the Safe Nation Society, and having them "fight off" the Kemurikage.
    • After an investigation and subsequent fight with the Kemurikage, Zuko discovers that the "spirits" are in fact fakes. The next morning he learns from Mai, Ukano's daughter, that Ukano is the leader of the New Ozai Society, and deduces that he might be behind the fake Kemurikage.
      You'd Expect: Zuko to make public his discovery that the Kemurikage are fakes, as well as Mai's testimony against Ukano. While that's happening, he can have his guards search for Ukano and/or allow Aang to go and try to talk to him.
      Instead: While Zuko does have his men look for Ukano, he also has the Capital City sealed off, an unnecessary move that does nothing but drive up fears among his people. Then to add insult to injury, his soldiers try to arrest the members of the Safe Nation Society - who by this point are regarded as heroes by the people - and anyone else remotely connected to Ukano, despite there being no proof that these people are involved with Ukano's conspiracy. Cue massive unrest and disorder.
      Bonus Idiocy: Zuko's rationale for doing the above is that Aang's more moderate approach didn't work — except that the main purpose of said approach was to gather information and nothing more, something it quite clearly did. Which Zuko then proceeded to practically ignore. Fittingly, one of the last scenes in the comic is Zuko apologizing to his people for all his recent screwups.
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