The Great Divide
Written By: John O'Bryan
Directed By: Giancarlo Volpe
Storyboard By: Michael Dante DiMartino, Giancarlo Volpe, Chris Graham, Kenji Ono
Animation By: DR Movie
Transcribers: Acastus, Unbridled Joy of Flight
(Opening shot of the sun setting behind some tall rock outcroppings. The sky is mostly cloudy and the clouds reflect the light of the dying sun. Pan down to show a patched up tent being jostled about from the inside. A rolled up tarp lies next to the tent. Inside the tent, Sokka can be heard grunting and fussing about as he tries to finish setting up the shelter.
Finally, the tent is raised and Sokka emerges from behind the tent's flap opening. As he does, Katara enters the frame, her back to the camera, carrying an arm load of wood.)
Katara: Um...aren't you forgetting the TARP?
Sokka: Right...got it.
(He picks up the rolled up tarp and throws it through the open flap and into the tent.)
Katara: (crossly) Sokka, you're supposed to put the tarp on TOP of the tent. You know, so we don't get RAINED on.
(Cut to an overhead shot of the two, Sokka gesturing widely as he replies to his sister.)
Sokka: Ordinarily you'd be right, but seeing how it's the dry season, you're not. Besides, that tarp makes a pretty warm blanket.
Katara: But what if it DOES rain?
Sokka: (spreading his arms wide in exasperation) But what if it doesn't? Then I would have put the tarp up for nothing.
Katara: (stomping the ground and gritting her teeth) Ur...arg! You're infuriating!
Sokka: Katara, why don't you worry about gathering the firewood because that kindling's looking PRETTY sorry.
(Cut to a brief close up shot of the firewood in her hands, then cut to her face.)
Katara: (looking sullen, then exploding in anger) Well if you don't like my firewood... (throws the wood at her brother) have it!
(Sokka raises his hands to shield himself, a shocked expression on his face. He stands in anger after the hail of sticks subsides.)
Sokka: Fine by me! If you're not going to do your job (he yanks the rope securing the tent to its to one of its supports. It falls down in a heap) ...urg!
(Cut to a wider shot as the tent collapses to reveal Aang approaching from behind it. His hands are full of some kind of food and Appa rests in the background. Katara and Sokka stand on opposite each sides of the screen, the fallen tent between them. They glower at each other.)
Aang: Okay, I got the grub if you guys got the... (Katara and Sokka turn away from each instantly, their arms across their chests, expressions of sullen anger on their faces) Hey, where's the campfire? And what happened to the tent?
Sokka: (still facing o.c.) Why don't you ask Miss Know It All? Queen of the Twigs!
Katara: (whipping around to yell at her brother's back) Oh yeah? (Pointing an accusatory finger) Well you're Mister Lazy Bum, King of the (she bends down quickly, picks up a twig, and throws it at her brother) ...Tents!
(The twigs hits Sokka in the back of the head. He whips around to face her.)
Aang: (laughs, and spreads his arms wide in a gesture of conciliation) Okay, listen guys. Harsh words won't solve problems, action will. Why don't you just switch jobs?
Katara: (concurrent with Sokka) Sounds good.
Sokka: (concurrent with Katara) Whatever.
(Both begin their new tasks, but each is still fuming at the other.)
Aang: (smiling in a self satisfied manner) You see that? Settling feuds and making peace. All in a days work for the Avatar.
(Aang's smile breaks as he looks off screen at the sound of Momo chittering. Cut to Momo desperately trying remove a melon that Appa is holding upright with one of the digits of his left forepaw. Momo struggles and even tries to fly away from it, but cannot move the melon. He gives up and begins to walk away, depressed. Appa groans, opens his mouth, and his tongue scoops up the melon. As he is about to close his mouth, Momo returns, grabs the melon and runs away. He runs into Aang who takes the melon, throws it into the air and slices a small piece of it off with a jet of air. The large piece lands in front of Appa who eats it, and the small piece lands in front of Momo, who turns to Aang and lets a chirp of protest.)
Aang: Come on Momo, that's fair. (Motioning to Appa) Appa's got FIVE stomachs.
(Fade to a daytime, panorama shot of a Grand Canyon like scene. The view is from the rim of the canyon looking across it. Momo flies across the screen, chittering. The camera pans right to follow him, revealing Aang, Katara and Sokka on the rim looking out over the breathtaking expanse.)
Aang: Here it is, guys, the Great Divide.
(Cut to a profile shot of Katara.)
Katara: Wow! I could just stare at it forever.
(Zoom backwards to show Sokka in the foreground.)
Sokka: (unimpressed, the music slurs to a halt in the background) Okay. I've seen enough.
Katara: How can you not be fascinated, Sokka? This is the largest canyon in the entire world.
(Cut to Sokka standing next to Appa and holding his reigns, obviously ready to leave.)
Sokka: Then I'm sure we'll be able to see it very clearly from the air while we fly away.
(Suddenly a man in an ornate white robe rushes past Sokka from o.c. He rudely pushes Sokka out of the way.)
Scout: (aggressively) Hey! If you're looking for the Canyon Guide, I was here first!
(Cut to profile shot of Katara who is joined moments later by the Scout and Aang.)
Katara: (clasping her hands in front of her in a gesture of hope) Ooooo...canyon guide. Sounds informative.
Scout: Believe me, he's more than a tour guide, he's an earthbender. And the only way in and out of the canyon is with his help. And he's takin' MY tribe across next!
(While he is speaking, cut to a front shot of the Scout. As he yammers, Sokka emerges from behind him and silently starts to mock him by opening and closing his hand in the "this guy talk too much" gesture. At the conclusion of the Scout's talk he looks at Sokka, who feigns innocence and walks off screen to Katara and Aang.)
Sokka: Calm down, we know you're next.
Scout: (pointing at Sokka o.c.) You wouldn't be calm if the Fire Nation destroyed YOUR home and forced YOU to flee. (He gestures to the vast canyon system in front of them) My whole tribe has to walk thousands of miles to the capital city of Ba Sing Se!
Katara: You're a refugee.
Scout: Humph. Tell me somethin' I don't know.
(Cut to a frontal shot of Katara and Aang looking at the Scout o.c., then cut to a view of the path leading up the canyon rim back through the surrounding forest. In the distance, a mass of people approaches.)
Katara: Is that your tribe?
Scout: It most certainly is NOT.
(Cut to a shot of the people approaching the group. They are dressed in rude animal skins and look generally unkempt.)
Scout: (continuing from o.c.) That's the Zhang tribe. A bunch of low-life thieves. They've been the enemies of my tribe for 100 years. (Cut back to the Scout, who whistles rudely at the Zhang) Hey Zhangs! I'm savin' a spot for my tribe so don't even THINK of stealing it!
(A huge Zhang woman enters the frame and walks up to the Scout menacingly. The Scout leans back, somewhat intimidated.)
Zhang Leader: Where are the rest of the Gan Jin? Still tidying up their campsite?
Scout: (leaning forward to push the Zhang Leader back) Yes! But they sent me ahead of them to hold a spot.
Zhang Leader: I didn't know the canyon Guide took reservations.
Scout: Heh! Of course you didn't. That's the ignorance I'd expect from a messy Zhang! So unorganized and ill prepared for a journey.
(The entire Zhang tribe begins to grumble loudly at this. An angry mob is about to form. Cut to Aang and Katara looking disconcerted, Momo behind them in the background sitting on a piles of rocks on the lip of the canyon. Suddenly, the sound of moving earth is heard and the camera cuts to Momo. The rocks underneath him quiver and begin to split apart. Momo jumps out of the screen as the rocks are picked up and thrown out of the screen by an old man, the Canyon Guide, in a straw hat and green clothing.)
Canyon Guide: (grunting) Sorry about the wait, youngsters. (Gesturing to the majestic canyon below them) Who's ready to cross this here canyon?
(Cut to Katara, Sokka and Aang.)
Katara: Um... (pointing to her right, o.c.) one of them I think.
(Camera pans left to reveal the Zhang and the Scout, the latter of which runs forward.)
Scout: I was here first! My party's on their way!
Canyon Guide: I can't guide people who aren't here.
(Cut to a wider shot showing the Zhang filing past the three kids and the fuming Gan Jin Scout.)
Zhang Leader: (with mock sadness) Guess you guys'll have to make the trip tomorrow.
(The shot shifts to a close up the scout, whose eyes twitch in anger. The camera zooms backward and pans left to reveal another tribe entering the canyon entrance area. The Scout points to them in triumph.)
Scout: Wait! Here they come!
(Cut to a profile shot of several Gan Jin walking in stately order towards them. They are all dressed elegantly and wear formal expressions on their faces. The music changes to a dainty, spring ball type ballad that helps to signify the demeanor of the Gan Jin. Cut to the Zhang Leader who whips around to look at the newcomers, then cut to an overhead wide of the two tribes now facing each other with Appa and the kids between them.)
Zhang Leader: (pointing a finger at the Canyon Guide's chest) You're not seriously going to cave into these spoiled Gan Jins! I mean, we're refugees too! And we've got sick people that need shelter.
Canyon Guide: (holding out the palms of his hands in a gesture of placation) I...uh...well...
(Cut to a wide shot of the Gan Jin. A white haired man, the Gan Jin Leader, stands next to the Scout.)
Scout: We've got old people who are weary from traveling.
Zhang Leader: Sick people get priority over old people.
Gan Jin Leader: Maybe you Zhang's wouldn't have so many sick people if you weren't such slobs.
Zhang Leader: If you Gan Jins weren't so clean, (cut to the kids as the war of words between the two leaders continues o.c.) maybe you wouldn't live to be so old.
Gan Jin Leader: (from o.c.) I could smell your stink a mile away.
Katara: (As Gan Jin Leader speaks) Well Aang, ready to put your peace making skills to the test?
Aang: (looking to the ground in doubt) I... don't know. A fight over chores is one thing. These people have been feuding for 100 years.
Katara: (walking forward and raising her voice to be heard by all) Everyone, listen up! (Pointing backward at Aang, a fierce look on her face) This is the Avatar! And if you give him a chance, I'm sure he can come up with a compromise that will make everyone happy.
(The two tribes look to Aang for a moment in silence. Cut to Aang, who after a moment offers an obvious solution.)
Aang: Uh...you could share the earthbender and travel together?
Gan Jin Leader: Absolutely not! We'd rather be taken by the Fire Nation (he points accusingly o.c. at the Zhang) than travel with those stinking thieves.
(Camera zooms left to the Zhang Leader, who, in turn, points an accusing finger at the Gan Jin Leader.)
Zhang Leader: We wouldn't travel with you pompous fools anyway!
Gan Jin Leader: (pompously) I am not pompous!
(General pandemonium breaks out as the tribes begin to yell at each other. This continues for a moment or two before Aang intervenes. The camera shows a close up of Aang's face as he yells.)
Aang: (Angry) Alright! Here's the deal! (Cut to a slowly panning wide shot) We're all going down together and Appa here will fly your sick and elderly across. Does that seem fair?
(The two leaders nod their grudging approval. Cut to Aang in the foreground with a small smile on his face, Katara and Sokka in the background looking happy as well. Fade to a shot of the open sky which pans down to show Appa and his saddle now full of elderly and sick Gan Jin and Zhang. The two groups eye each other suspiciously in the saddle. They sit as far away as possible from each other. Cut to a wide shot of Aang petting Appa.)
Aang: Sorry Appa. You'll have to do this on your own. (Appa grunts.)
Sokka: This feuding tribe stuff is serious business. Are you sure it's a good idea getting involved in this?
Aang: To tell the truth, I'm not sure. (Smiling widely) But when have I ever been?
Katara: (Putting a hand on Aang's shoulder) He's the Avatar, Sokka. Making peace between people is his job.
Sokka: (slumping in despair) His job's gonna make us cross this whole thing on foot, isn't it?
(Cut to an overhead wide shot of the two tribes and the others.)
Canyon Guide: Okay, now comes the bad news. (Cut to a frontal shot of the Guide) No food allowed in the canyon. It attracts (he makes motions with his hands to illustrate the skittery monsters that might lurk in the canyon) dangerous predators.
(The tribes dissatisfied cacophony rises again at the interdiction against food.)
Gan Jin Leader: No food! This is ridiculous.
Canyon Guide: Aww, you babies can go a day without food. Would you rather be hungry...or dead?
(At this, the Guide raises a pillar of stone underneath him. He now towers ten feet or more over the rest. He continues, cupping his hands to his mouth to amplify his voice.)
Canyon Guide: Now, we're headin' down in 10 minutes. All food better be in your gut, or in the garbage!
(Cut to a shot of the Zhang who whip various bits of food out of their tunics and begin to eat sloppily. Cut to the Gan Jin, who eat little bits of food with chopsticks. The dainty music plays again in the background. When the Gan Jin man in the foreground is done, he dabs his lips with a white napkin. Cut to Aang addressing the people in Appa's saddle.)
Aang: Appas's gonna take good care of you until we get there. (He drops down to the ground and addresses Appa) See ya on the other side, buddy. Yip, yip!
(Appa grunts and flies off. Cut to a wide shot of Appa making a bee-line with his passengers for the other side of the canyon. Fade to a far and wide shot of the canyon wall underneath the canyon path entrance. The Canyon Guide's outpost is still visible at the top of the screen on the canyon rim. Underneath, the tribes are walking down a steep, switch-back path.
The shot pans down, revealing more of the path in front of them. Cut to a close up shot of Aang and the Canyon Guide leading the procession. The Guide puts a hand in front of Aang to stop him as the camera pans down again to reveal a break in the path in front of them. The drop is hundreds of feet down. The Guide whirls around and makes a motion with his outstretched arm and fist. With a grunt of effort, the camera switches to wide that shows blocks of stone pushes outward from the canyon wall face to repair the path in front of them.)
Aang: Nice bending!
(They begin to move forward again.)
Canyon Guide: The job's much more than bending, kid. Folks want information.
(They stop and the Canyon Guide turns to address the crowd. He continues in a slightly bored voice while the camera shows various shots of the canyon system.)
Canyon Guide: Many of you are probably wondering how canyons are formed. Experts tell us this canyon was most likely carved into the ground by Earth Spirits who were angry at local farmers for not offering them a proper sacrifice.
(Cut to Katara and Sokka who look at each other, then gasp and look up at the sound of rumbling from o.c. Cut to a rock slide beginning above them. The rocks come down on the group, but are bent away by the Canyon Guide into the canyon below.)
Canyon Guide: (laughing) Guess the spirits are still angry! Hope you all brought sacrifices.
(Cut to a wide shot of the canyon floor and the canyon wall on the right side of the screen. The view pans slowly rightward, then cut to a closer, overhead shot of the group now at the bottom of the switchback trail. They have just entered the canyon floor. The Guide stands in front of the two tribes and the kids.)
Canyon Guide: Okay...everyone stand clear of the wall.
(The Canyon Guide earthbends a nearby rock outcropping and throws it at the bridge he created earlier. The bridge is destroyed.)
Aang: Why'd you do that?
(The debris from the bridge lands behind them, raising a cloud of dust that obscures everything in the background.)
Canyon Guide: These people are fleeing the Fire Nation, aren't they? I gotta make sure we can't be followed. We'll be safe now.
(A massive, insect shaped silhouette appears in the dust behind the Guide. A pincer emerges from the dust and picks up the Guide, who yelps in surprise. Cut to Aang, who airbends the dust away with a yell. The monster is revealed. It is a huge, black insect like creature with four legs, red eyes, and a long thin mouth with teeth. The Canyon Guide is in the creature's mouth, screaming. Cut to Sokka.)
Sokka: We gotta help him!
(He throws his boomerang. It flashes through the air and strikes the beast on the head. It drops the Guide and rushes Sokka. The guide lands with a thump in the underbrush. Cut to the advancing monster. It slavers with its tongue hanging out. Cut to Sokka, running for his life, the creature close behind.)
Sokka: Okay...now you gotta help me!
(Sokka runs over a rock outcropping. The creature follows over the outcropping as Sokka doubles back. Katara arrives, opens her water bottle and whips it with the water. It smacks the creature, but has little effect. It tries to bite her, but she lunges o.c. as Aang drops into the frame and shoots a blast of at the monster. It gets blown backward, but charges again. With enough lead time before the creature reaches him, Aang is able to create a tornado with his staff. He catches the creature in the tornado and throws far up the cliff. Able to walk on the walls, the creature quickly hides in one of the canyon walls many crevices. Cut back to Aang who turns to the others, a look of concern on his face.)
Aang: What was that?
(Cut to Katara kneeling over the distressed Guide who is laid out flat on the ground.)
Canyon Guide: Canyon crawler. (In pain) Oh, ugh! And there's sure to be more.
Katara: Your arms...they're broken.
Canyon Guide: Without my arms, I got no bending. In other words...
(Cut to a frontal shot of Aang, the two tribes on either side of him. The shot zooms closer to Aang, without changing the perceived distance of the tribes behind him. This creates a distorting effect that accentuates the horror behind Aang's next pronouncement.)
Aang: ...we're trapped in this canyon.
(Cut to a wide shot of the group at the base of the canyon, then fade to black for commercial.)
(Return from break to a shot of the canyon rim. The shot pans back down to group at the base. Cut to a shot of Katara finishing a set of bandages on the Guide's arms. Aang, Sokka and the Gan Jin are visible in the background.)
Sokka: (camera zooms in on him) I thought the whole point of ditching our food was so we wouldn't have to deal with things like... canyon crawlers...
Gan Jin Leader: It's the Zhangs! They took food down here, even after the guide told them not to!
Zhang Leader: (approaching the Gan Jin Leader with an accusatory finger pointed at him) What! If there's anyone who can't go without food for a day, it's you pampered Gan Jins!
Gan Jin Leader: I hope you're happy. (Cut to Aang, Katara and the Guide behind him. He looks displeased at the resumption of the bickering) We're stuck in the canyon with no way out.
Zhang Leader: Why don't you thank yourself, food hider!
Aang: Look. Sticking together is the only way to...
Zhang Leader: (rudely interrupting the Avatar and again pointing at the Gan Jin Leader) I'm not walkin' another step with the likes of them.
Gan Jin Leader: (folding his arms across his chest) Now, there's something we can agree on.
Aang: (turning to look back o.c. at Katara and the Guide) Any ideas?
(Cut to a close shot of the Guide. The camera slowly zooms in on the Guide as he speaks, his eyes wide and getting wider as hysteria grips his mind.)
Canyon Guide: No bending. We need to get out of this canyon. I won't die down here! I won't become part of the food chain!
(Cut to Aang, the Gan Jin Leader behind him, who speaks o.c. to his Zhang counterpart.)
Gan Jin Leader: See? We're going to become part of the food chain because of YOU!
Zhang Leader: Sure. Unjustly blame the Zhangs like you ALWAYS do!
Gan Jin Leader: Gladly!
(A blast of wind tears across the screen, surprising everyone.)
Aang: ENOUGH! (Cut to Aang, angry) I thought I could help you guys get along, but I guess that's not going to happen.
(Cut to a wide shot where Aang airbends himself to the top of a small bluff. The bluff is the beginning of what amounts to a stone baulk between two canyons on either side.)
Aang: We should split up. Gan Jins on this side...and Zhangs on that side. We'll travel in two separate lines.
(Cut to a shot from the canyon bottom where the two leaders look up at Aang, then at each other, then nod. They and their following begin to take their separate paths, Zhang on the left, Gan Jin on the right. Aang hops down as Sokka and Katara approach him.)
Aang: Sokka, you go with the Zhangs. And Katara, you go with the Gan Jins. See if you can figure out why they hate each other so much.
(Sokka and Katara split up to follow their assigned tribes. Cut to a wide shot of the two tribes following their separate paths. The screen pans up to the sky. It fades from midday to dusk, then pans back down to Aang standing atop another bluff, surveying the two groups setting up their camps below. Cut to Sokka coming up behind the Zhang leader. He puts his hand to his chin as he observes.)
Sokka: So, you guys aren't going to put up your tarps?
Zhang Leader: What for? It's the dry season.
Sokka: (releasing suppressed exasperation) Exactly!
Zhang Leader: (turning to Sokka, smiling) Besides, we like to use the tarp as a blanket.
Sokka: Finally, someone gets it.
(Cut to a long shot of the Gan Jin camp. Their tents are pristine white and erected perfectly. The dainty music plays as we see two Gan Jin set up a tarp over one of their tents. The camera zooms back to reveal Katara speaking with the Gan Jin leader.)
Katara: You really think it'll rain?
Gan Jin Leader: No, but you can never be too careful, right?
(Katara smiles at the Gan Jin Leader, pleased at his response. Fade to a night scene. Crickets chirp as a shot of the moon pans down to the Gan Jin camp. The Gan Jin sit in a circle around the campfire. The camera pans across the group to Katara and the Gan Jin leader. After a moment, the Gan Jin leader looks around and then produces some bread from underneath his robe. Katara gasps. Soon all the Gan Jin are eating food with their chopsticks, it is clear they all violated the ban.)
Gan Jin Leader: (offering Katara some bread) Would you care for some bread, Katara?
Katara: So it was you guys who had food!
Gan Jin Leader: Oh come now. You really think that tribe of thieves isn't smuggling food? Why should MY people go hungry when the sneaky Zhangs are stuffing their faces?
Katara: (hesitating, then taking the bread) Well, I guess it's okay if everyone's doing it. (She eats a few bites, then turns back to the Gan Jin Leader) So, why does your tribe hate the Zhang so much?
Gan Jin Leader: You seem like a smart girl, Katara. I bet you would enjoy hearing some history.
(As the Leader speaks, the camera pans away to stars of the night sky. As he concludes, the camera pans down to the horizon as dawn approaches. Noble music plays in the background. The scene is of a path coming out of the mountains, the sun rising in the east behind them. The path runs through a Chinese paifang or perhaps a Japanese torii gate in the foreground. Cut to a vision of a well built, well dressed, noble looking Gan Jin warrior, his hair flowing in the wind. The style of animation is now very idealized. The Gan Jin Leader narrates the succeeding tale from o.c.)
Gan Jin Leader: The patriarch of our tribe, Jin Wei, was an earthbender warrior who was assigned an important duty; transporting our sacred orb from the Great Eastern Gate to the Great Western Gate.
(During this explanation, cut to a shot of someone holding a pink, translucent, crystal ball out to someone else, the sun and the gate visible in the background. Another pair of hands takes the offered orb. The camera rises to show the sun perfectly framed by the circular, doughnut like ornament on top of the gate. Cut to a profile shot of Jin Wei and the gate. He kneels, holding the orb out before him. It catches the rays of the sun through the gate and glows brightly.)
Gan Jin Leader: Taking the orb from the east to the west represents the sunï¿½s rising and setting. It was our tribe's ancient redemption ritual...
(Jin We runs through several different landscapes before cutting to a dusk scene on a forest path. Another paifang or torii gate arches over the path here, presumably the Great Western Gate. In the distance, Jin Wei approaches at a run, his cape flowing behind him.)
Gan Jin Leader: ...but as he approached the gate, Jin Wei was attacked by one of the Zhang!
(Jin Wei gets knocked off the path by a grubby looking newcomer, the orb flying into the air. The orb is caught by the ruffian, which glows with power as its new possessor grins sardonically with greed at his plunder.)
Gan Jin Leader: A vermin, named Wei Jin, who looked at the orb with envy. That coward, Wei Jin, knocked Jin Wei to the ground and stole our sacred orb. (Fade back to Gan Jin leader's face, his eyes closed in remembrance) Our people have never forgotten. You can never trust a Zhang.
(Cut to Katara, who looks o.c. towards the Zhang camp, an expression of hardness and suspicion spreading over her face.
The screen pans left to reveal the Zhang camp in the distance, then cut to Sokka sitting next to the Zhang leader. She produces a leg of meat from a bag and offers it to Sokka.)
Zhang Leader: Care for some meat?
Sokka: Would I!?
(Sokka grabs the leg and begins to eat hungrily.)
Zhang Leader: I know what you must be thinking. We're horrible for endangering everybody by bringing food down here.
Sokka: (munching, barely paying attention) Mm hmm!
Zhang Leader: The Gan Jin think so badly of us they probably assumed we brought food in and decided to bring food in themselves. That's why we brought food in.
Sokka: (still munching) Mmmm!
Zhang Leader: Our conflict with the Gan Jin goes back over a hundred years...
(The camera again pans to the stars as the Zhang Leader narrates her story from o.c. The scene reforms around a very cartoonish portrayal of another gate. Tribal music plays in the background. The animation here is very rustic.)
Zhang Leader: Our forefather, Wei Jin, was leaving the western gate of our village...
(A figure, Wei Jin, runs east through the gate, cut to a close up of Wei Jin, who looks almost as bad as he did in the Gan Jin version.)
Zhang Leader: ...when he saw a figure in the distance. It was a man of the Gan Jin tribe, Jin Wei, collapsed on the ground.
(Wei Jin stops in mid stride in surprise. Cut to a shot of a man crawling in the distance. It is Jin Wei, crawling on the ground, obviously in distress. The camera pans back slightly to reveal Wei Jin standing above him.)
Zhang Leader: Noble Wei Jin stopped to help him. (Wei Jin bends to help, but Jin Wei points ahead. The camera zooms out to show the orb.) Jin Wei was transporting a sacred orb, a very powerful relic used in his tribe's redemption ritual. Wei Jin tried to tend to the man's wounds, but Jin Wei insisted the orb was more important, (Jin Wei makes dramatic gestures of self sacrifice at this pronouncement) and asked him to take it back to his tribe. (Wei Jin grabs the orb and begins to run) Kind Wei Jin promised to send help for the man as soon as he could, but as Wei Jin crossed the border to return the orb into Gan Jin territory he was arrested!
(As Wei Jin runs through another gate, his path is blocked by three thuggish Gan Jin warriors with drawn swords. He is smacked down and he drops the orb. Cut to the inside of a jail cell, the door of which opens and Wei Jin is thrown inside.)
Zhang Leader: Instead of thanking him for his kind and selfless deed, they sentenced him to twenty long years in prison. (Cut back to Zhang Leader who continues bitterly) We Zhang's will never forget that injustice.
(Cut to wider shot of her and Sokka.)
Sokka: That's just terrible. (Pointing to her leg of meat) You gonna finish that?
(She takes a bite in response. Sokka looks depressed and slumps a bit.
Cut to Aang and Momo looking down at the camps below with longing, backs to the camera.)
Aang: Sure would be nice to be around one of those campfires, telling stories and laughing. (Momo chitters as the screen cuts to a frontal shot of Aang and his lemur.) It's okay, Momo, we'll be out of here soon enough and then we can eat our weight in leechy nuts!
(Momo hears a flying bug, catches it and offers it to Aang.)
Aang: Nah, I'll wait for the leechy nuts.
(Momo begins chomping.)
Canyon Guide: (from o.c. as Aang turns to the voice) It's lonely, isn't it? (Cut to the Guide walking up to him.) Being impartial.
Aang: I wish I could help these people get along, but it just seems impossible. Anyhow, I guess our biggest problem is getting out of here.
Canyon Guide: (lying down next to Aang) I'm not so sure the two problems are unrelated.
(The Guide nods off to sleep, then cut to Aang who looks away sadly.
Fade to a morning shot of the sky. The camera pans down to reveal the Guide and Aang atop the baulk, the two tribes continuing their trek on either side.)
Canyon Guide: All clear! (Pointing to somewhere below) We're almost to the other side.
(A few shots of the tribes walking reveal that the baulk, or rock separator of the canyons that the tribes have been using for travel, is coming to an end. The tribes are now in site of each other, Aang and the Canyon Guide between them. Katara and Sokka bring up the rear of each.)
Aang: Katara, Sokka, will these people cooperate long enough to get out of the canyon?
Katara: (somewhat harshly) I don't think so, Aang, the Zhang's really wronged the Gan Jins. They ambushed Jin We and stole the sacred orb.
Aang: What are you talking about?
Sokka: Yeh, Katara, what are you talking about? We Jin didn't steal the orb, he was returning it to their village gate and was wrongfully punished by the Gan Jin.
Katara: (arms across her chest) Not punished enough if you ask me!
(Sokka makes angry, frustrated noises as Aang replies.)
Aang: Okay! Okay! I get it! Now I need your help. Let's get everyone together at the base of the canyon wall.
(Aang then opens his glider and flies off. Cut to an overhead shot of the canyon floor and wall. The two tribes are once again facing each other. Aang lands between them. They are arguing once again. He fold his glider up and addresses the crowd.)
Aang: Please everyone! As soon as we get out of here we can eat, and then go our separate ways, but I need you all to put your heads together and figure out a way up this cliff.
Gan Jin Leader: Maybe the Zhang can climb the walls with their long, disgusting fingernails.
Zhang Leader: Oh, sorry! I forgot that to the Gan Jin, unclipped fingernails is a crime punishable by twenty years in jail!
Gan Jin Leader: Why you dirty thief!
Zhang Leader: You pompous fool!
(The tribes begin taunting and arguing with each other again, this time joined by Katara and Sokka who have become partisans of their respective tribes.)
Aang: Guys! FOCUS! How many times do I have to say it? Harsh words won't solve problems, ACTION will!
Zhang Leader: Perhaps the Avatar is right.
Gan Jin Leader: Yes, perhaps he is.
(Cut to Aang, whose eyes are shiny with hope. He smiles widely. Cut back to a zooming close up of the Zhang Leader.)
Zhang Leader: Harsh words will never solve our problems...
Gan Jin Leader: (cut to zooming close up of him) ...action will!
(Both leaders draw their swords and approach each other. They cross swords in front of Aang, who draws back with a cry of surprise and fear. Fade to commercial break.)
(The show returns to an overhead shot of the two leaders facing off against one another, the tribes watching the spectacle.)
Gan Jin Leader: To the death! And let this be the end of this rivalry!
Aang: (nervously) You know, I take it back! Harsh words aren't so bad!
(The leaders ignore him and begin the fight in earnest. After several feints and thrusts, they push each other apart. The Gan Jin's lower beard falls off, and one of the Zhang's hair braids falls off. They rush at each other again, but as they meet Aang brings his stuff down and blows the two sides backwards.
Cut to Aang breathing heavily, a savage look on his face. He looks over to the Gan Jin on his left and his jaw drops. Cut to the Gan Jin, where a wrapped blanket of food has opened and spilled its contents all over. One of the Gan Jin kicks the blanket cover back over some of the food.)
Aang: Is that... food? (In disbelief) Everyone smuggled food down here!? (Turning back to the Zhang) UNBELIEVABLE! You guys put our lives in danger because you couldn't go without a snack for a day!? You are all...AWFUL!
(Aang eyes suddenly become huge as he spies something among the Zhang. Cut to a shot of the Zhang with various bits of food lying about. On a blanket is a pie, which the camera zooms in on. It is instantly highlighted with a shaft of light as if from heaven. Cut to Aang grabbing his gurgling stomach, then pan to his face, his eyes still huge.)
Aang: So hungry... (he points at the pie, desperately trying to retain self control) is that...egg custard in that tart?
(The camera pans over Aang's left shoulder and zooms slowly to the cliff wall. Many canyon crawlers emerge simultaneously, attracted by the scent of food. The monsters are soon upon them and the tribes flee. Katara and Sokka get behind the nearest rock.)
Katara: Oh no! That's a lot of canyon crawlers!
Sokka: (drawing out his boomerang) We barely survived one!
(The Canyon Guide appears in the background, walking backwards in terror.)
Canyon Guide: They're coming back for me! They've had a taste, and they're coming back for me!
(Sokka moves to leave the shelter of the rock and attack, an expression of determination on his face, but he is grabbed by Katara.)
Katara: Sokka, wait! I don't care about this stupid feud! I just want us to get out of here alive.
Sokka: (looking chagrined) Me too. I only took their side because they fed me.
(They both run from behind the rock, then cut to canyon crawlers charging the camera. Aang lifts on his glider, lands, and airbends a gale at a wall of the insects. It has no effect. They charge and butt heads as Aang jumps into the air just as they reach him. He blasts them away from each other as he falls back down. This stuns them momentarily, but they get back up.
General melee now begins as the creatures attack the tribes. The Zhang leader forces one back with her curved sword, while Katara water whips another that is threatening two Gan Jins. Another monster breaks her whip, however, and she loses the water. Sokka is chased by a crawler, but he hits it with his boomerang. Aang airbends four more crawlers out of his way. A quick pan shot, though, reveals that the crawlers have cornered small bands of tribes people all over the place. Aang looks over to see the crawlers chewing food, their heads inside the food bags.)
Aang: (shouting) Everybody! Watch me! (He raises a food bag to show everybody) Do what I do!
(He leaps toward the nearest bunch of crawlers and throws a piece of food at them. One of the crawlers catches the food in its mouth and eats it. The crawler runs to him, but he puts the bag over its snout. He then catapults himself onto its bag and uses the bag straps as reigns. The two tribes now work together, repeating the process to turn the monsters into riding mounts. Soon all the tribes people have a canyon crawler mount.)
Aang : (shouting) Now, follow me! We're riding out of this hole!
(Grinning evilly, Aang swings a rod with a bag of food on the end in front of his mount, which turns around and starts climbing the climb. He is soon joined by the rest. Cut to a wide shot of the whole troop moving up the cliff. Momo flies up on his own. Soon Aang and his ride mount the cliff. He dismounts.)
Aang: Everyone! Get off!
(Katara, Sokka, and the two leaders dismount.)
Zhang Leader: (to Gan Jin Leader) We made it!
(The Canyon Guide falls off his mount. Cut to Aang who throws a bag of food over the cliff, dropping food as it falls. The crawlers run after it. Cut back to the tribes as the crawlers leave, then a close up of the two leaders.)
Zhang Leader: I never thought a Gan Jin could get his hands dirty like that.
Gan Jin Leader: And I never knew you Zhang's were so reliable in a pinch.
Zhang Leader: Perhaps we're not so different after all.
(Cut to Aang, Sokka and Katara behind him. He sighs happily. Cut back to Gan Jin Leader.)
Gan Jin Leader: Too bad we can't rewrite history. (He draws his sword and points it at the Zhang leader.) You thieves stole our sacred orb from Jin Wei!
Zhang Leader: (drawing her sword) You tyrants unjustly imprisoned We Jin for twenty long years!
(Cut to Aang who cries out and grabs the side of his face in frustration. Then an idea lights up his face.)
Aang: Wait a second! Jin Wei? Wei Jin? I know those guys!
Gan Jin Leader: Yes, yes, we're all aware of the story.
Aang: No! (the leaders lower their weapons and turn to Aang) I mean I really knew them. I may not look it, but I'm 112 years old. I was there a hundred years ago on the day you're talking about...
(The scene fades to a vision of Aang's version of events. It too is stylized, though different than either partisan version. Aang narrates from o.c. during his recounting. The scene begins with the idealized versions of Jin Wei and Wei Jin facing each other with swords drawn.)
Aang: There seems to be a lot of confusion about what happened. First of all, Jin Wei and Wei Jin weren't enemies, they were brothers (the two stop fighting and look at each other in shock), twins in fact (they change instantly with a popping sound to look alike except for their clothes) and they were eight (the scene splits to reveal very young, chibi versions of the two characters, music box like music begins to play in the background) and most importantly, they were just playing a game! (The two kids smile and open their mouths in laughter). The sacred orb from the legend (a balls drops between the two kids) ...that was the ball. And the eastern and western gates were the goal posts (screen widens to show a playing field with two gate-like goal posts). Jin Wei had the ball and was running toward the goal when he fell and fumbled it. Win Jei didn't steal the ball, he picked it up and started running it back toward the other goal. But he stepped out of bounds (a referee in the shape of a panda appears, waving a red flag and blowing a whistle), so the official put him in the penalty box, not for twenty long years, but for two short minutes.
(Jin Wei appears, laughing and pointing at the unhappy Wei Jin. Fade back to the present.)
Aang: There was no stealing and no putting anyone in prison. Just a game.
Zhang Leader: You're saying the sacred orb was actually a sacred ball?
Aang: Nope, just a regular ball.
Scout: What about our tribe's redemption ritual?
Aang: That's what the game was called, Redemption. As soon as someone got the ball from one goal to the other everyone would yell, "redemption!" (The leaders look at each other) Don't get me wrong, Wei Jin was kind of a slob and Jin Wei was a little stuffy, that much is true, but they respected each others differences enough to share the same playing field.
Zhang Leader: (to Gan Jin Leader) I suppose it's time we forget the past...
Gan Jin Leader: (bowing to Zhang Leader) ...and look to the future.
(The Zhang Leader bows in turn as Aang, smiling, looks on.
Fade to a daylight scene of the area. Camera pans down to show the two tribes still at the canyon rim. Appa and the elderly and sick are there. Cut to a close up on Aang hugging Appa. Sokka, Katara and the Guide are in the background.)
Aang: Good to see ya, boy! Did you miss me?
(Appa licks Aang as the Gan Jin leaders approaches.)
Gan Jin Leader: I cannot thank you enough, Avatar.
Aang: (turning to him, drenched in Appa's saliva) Well, you know, I try.
(The Gan Jin Leader shrinks in horror from the horror of Aang's slimed body. Cut back to the Gan Jin Leader approaching his Zhang counterpart.)
Zhang Leader: (to the crowd) Let us travel to the Earth Kingdom capital as one tribe!
(The crowd cheers and follows the leaders down the path. Cut to the Canyon Guide running between the kids to follow the path.)
Canyon Guide: I'm goin' too! I'm sick of this place!
Sokka: That's some luck you knew Jin Wei and Wei Jin.
Aang: (smiling) You could call it luck. (Grinning evilly) Or, you could call it... lying!
(Cut to Katara holding Momo in shock and Sokka angry at this pronouncement.)
Aang: (sheepishly) I made the whole thing up.
Katara: (in disbelief) You did not! (Then in devilish admiration) That is so wrong.
Aang: (looking around) Now where's that custard tart? (Cut to wide shot of them moving to get on Appa) I'm starving!
(Shot pans up to the late afternoon sky, then fade to white.)
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