The Avatar State
Written By: Aaron Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch Ehasz, Tim Hedrick, John O'Bryan
Directed By: Giancarlo Volpe
Storyboard By: Giancarlo Volpe, Ian Graham, Bobby Rubio, Oreste Canestrelli
Animation By: DR Movie
Transcribers: Nat, Pandora
(The episode begins with a shot looking up at gray clouds and the camera then pans down, looking between two spire-like towers of the Southern Air Temple at a circular platform with the peaks of mountains peaking above the clouds in the background. Cut to a shot of the Air Temple, looking up from below. Aang runs on screen from the right, pauses and looks both ways, then runs off screen to the left. Cut to a brown curtain. Aang pulls it open, looking at the screen with a surprised expression. Cut to behind Aang as he enters a room, the ceiling collapsed and a figure resembling himself sitting at the far end with his back to the screen. Aang stops. Cut to a close up of the figure at the end of the room, who turns around, revealing himself to be Aang as well. His eyes and the arrow symbol on his head are glowing blue. Cut back to Aang standing at the entrance to the room. Aang gasps. The wind blows violently around Aang. The camera pans over to the other Aang, who is surrounded in an orb of wind. Sokka and Katara are lying in the foreground, shielding themselves from the wind. Cut to a close-up of the glowing Aang, who slams his hands together. Cut back to the shot of Sokka and Katara on the ground. A bright light from Aang envelops them. Cut to the real Aang, who is hit by the powerful blast of wind and thrown backward into the Fire Temple.)
Aang: (as he falls) Aaahhh! (he lands on the floor of the Air Temple) Oof!
(Cut to behind Aang, who watches as the intricate Fire Temple door opens, revealing the glowing Aang hovering behind it. Cut to a close up of the glowing Aang, his clothing billowing in the wind. Cut to a close up of his face, an angry scowl on it. He opens his mouth and fire shoots out, and the camera pans around as he performs a strike with his hand, causing the ground beneath the real Aang to melt. He falls into the chasm. He lands on the deck of a Fire Nation ship. Cut to behind Aang, who looks up and sees the Water Spirit from "The Siege of the North, Part 2" approaching the ship. Cut to in front of Aang, the camera zooming in on his surprised face. Cut to the glowing Aang, who is surrounded by blue light. He raises an arm, ready to strike. Cut to behind the real Aang, who watches as the water spirit mimics the action. The spirit strikes the ship. Cut to the glowing Aang, who once again does the striking motion that he used to break the ground beneath Aang before.
Aang gasps awake and breathes hard. He is in a fur hammock beneath the deck of a ship. Cut to a scene of the entire room. Four such hammocks, two on each side, are in the room. Aang sits on the upper left, with Katara lying asleep in the lower right. Cut to a scene of Aang breathing hard. He jumps down from his hammock. Cut to a scene of him climbing a ladder with Katara in the foreground. She rises as he exits the screen.)
(Cut to a close up of Katara's face. Cut to full view of the ship. Cut again to above deck. Katara approaches Aang, who is looking out over the ocean.)
Katara: Do you wanna talk about it?
Aang: Nah. Just a nightmare.
(Cut to a close-up of Aang's face from above. He looks up at the camera as he talks.)
Aang: (unsettled) I was in the Avatar state, but I was outside my body watching myself. It was scary. I was scary.
(Katara puts her hand on Aang's shoulder and looks out over the ocean.
Cut to the same ship next morning. Master Pakku is on the deck of the ship with several other men from the Northern Water Tribe. He reaches into a bag and pulls out a triangle-shaped amulet.)
Master Pakku: (in a serious and ceremonial manner) Katara, I want you to have this. (Cut to a close-up of the amulet, showing that it is a triangle with a wave-shaped pattern of blue color with a crescent moon on the top.) This amulet contains water from the Spirit Oasis. (Cut to behind Master Pakku as he hands the amulet to Katara, who is standing in front of Appa and next to Aang.) The water has unique properties. Don't lose it. (His face softens.)
Katara: (respectfully) Thank you, Master Pakku.
(She embraces him and then walks off screen. Aang steps forward and Master Pakku produces an intricately-decorated brown box.)
Master Pakku: Aang, these scrolls will help you master waterbending, but remember they're no substitute for a real master.
(Aang looks up at Katara, who is on top of Appa, and then exits to the left as Sokka steps forward.)
Master Pakku: Sokka. (Sokka looks at him proudly and expectantly.) Take care, son.
(Pakku pats Sokka's arm, giving him nothing. Sokka's expression becomes very dejected and embarrassed.)
Master Pakku: Fly straight to the Earth Kingdom base to the east of here. General Fong will provide you with an escort to Omashu. There you'll be safe to begin your earthbending training with King Bumi.
Aang: Appa, yip yip!
(Aang pulls the reigns and Appa lifts off. Cut to behind Master Pakku as he waves goodbye.)
Katara: (calls back as they fly off) Say hi to Gran Gran for me! (Cut to a scene looking down at the ship as Appa flies toward the screen.)
(Cut to a bathhouse stretching over a wide river. Cut to a scene of blossoming cherry trees. The camera pans down, revealing Iroh lying on his back.)
Iroh: (contentedly, as he receives a massage from two attendants. Halfway through the speech the scene changes to show Zuko sitting to the side, his face concealed by a hat.) Aaahhh... this is what I've been missing. Who knew floating on a piece of driftwood for three weeks with no food or water and sea vultures waiting to pluck out your liver could make one so tense?
(He casts a glance at Zuko and walks over to sit beside him on the floor.)
Iroh: I see. It's the anniversary, isn't it?
(Cut to a close-up of Zuko's face, still hidden under the wide-brimmed hat.)
Zuko: (dejectedly) Three years ago today I was banished. I lost it all. (He looks up suddenly.) I want it back. I want the Avatar, I want my honor, I want my throne. I want my father not to think I'm worthless.
Iroh: (with exaggerated optimism) I'm sure he doesn't! Why would he banish you if he didn't care?
(Zuko gets up and walks away. Cut to Iroh's surprised face with the attendants in the background.)
Iroh: (negatively to himself) Erg... that came out wrong, didn't it?
(Cut to Azula's warship. Two lines of red armor-clad Fire Nation soldiers are standing on the deck, and fall to their knees as the elaborate cabin opens at the edge of the ship. Cut to a scene of four servants carrying a curtained platform between the lines of soldiers. They stop at the top of the stairs and pull apart the curtains, revealing Azula. Cut to a scene of her feet stepping out. Cut to behind her as she examines her soldiers. She raises a hand, then looks at the two rows. They rise and she begins to walk between them.)
Azula: (to her men) My brother and my uncle have disgraced the Fire Lord and brought shame on all of us. You may have mixed feelings about attacking members of the royal family; I understand. But I assure you, if you hesitate, I will not hesitate to bring you down. Dismissed.
(The troops quickly run off to the left, and a lone soldier approaches
Captain: (respectfully) Princess, I'm afraid the tides will not allow us to bring the ship in to port before nightfall.
(Cut to in front of Azula with the captain behind her. She turns and walks to the left as she speaks.)
Azula: I'm sorry, Captain, but I do not know much about the tides. Can you explain something to me?
(Cut to a profile of the captain.)
Captain: Of course, Your Highness.
(Cut to in front of Azula.)
Azula: Do the tides command this ship?
Captain: Uh... I'm afraid I do not understand.
Azula: (condescendingly) You said the tides would not allow us to bring the ship in. Do the tides command this ship?
(Cut back to the profile of the captain, who looks over at Azula nervously.)
Captain: No, Princess.
(Cut to behind Azula looking out over the ocean.)
Azula: And if I were to have you thrown overboard, would the tides think twice about smashing you against the rocky shore?
(Cut to profile of the captain, who gulps and closes his eyes.)
Captain: (nervously) No, Princess.
(Cut once more to behind Azula. She pushes a strand of hair from her face, then turns around while speaking.)
Azula: Well, then, maybe you should worry less about the tides who've already made up their mind about killing you and worry more about me, who's still mulling it over.
Captain: (quickly) I'll pull us in. (The captain bows respectfully and runs off toward the cabin. Azula glares at him as he leaves.)
(Cut to Appa flying. Sokka leans on the edge looking bored, then suddenly stands up, looking excited. Cut to behind Appa overlooking the mountainous landscape. A circular, walled tower comes into view.)
Sokka: (excitedly) There it is!
(Cut to a closer view of the walled tower from above. Appa flied down toward it. Cut to a profile of the wall. Appa lands inside. Cut to a bearded man in a green cap and brown and green armor who steps forward.)
General Fong: (graciously) Welcome, Avatar Aang!
(Cut to a scene of Sokka stretching, Katara bringing their supplies down from Appa, and Aang rubbing his behind. They stop and look up at the General Fong. Cut back to Fong, who bows along with numerous soldiers behind him, then spreads his arms in greeting.)
General Fong: I am General Fong. And welcome to all of you, great heroes! (Cut to the heroes as he mentions their names.) Appa, Momo, brave Sokka, the mighty Katara.
Katara: (pleased) "Mighty Katara"? I like that.
(Fireworks explode behind them, and the three turn to look at them. A group of four Earthbenders step forward, lifting small, green orbs from the ground and launching them into the air with their fists. Cut to a wide view of the tower with fireworks in the background. Cut back to Aang, Katara, and Sokka, who look amazed.)
Sokka: Not bad, not bad.
(Cut to inside of the base. The room is large, with green-lit columns on each side of a central walkway. A desk is seen at the far end, with a large banner showing a green circle and a brown square inside of it hanging from the ceiling. Aang, Sokka, and Katara sit in the center of the room on a mat, with Fong at the desk. The camera zooms in closer to them.)
General Fong: Avatar Aang, we were all amazed at the stories of how you single-handedly wiped out an entire Fire Navy fleet at the North Pole. (Close up of Fong, stroking his beard thoughtfully) I can't imagine what it feels like to wield such devastating power. (He stops stroking.) It's an awesome responsibility.
(Cut to the three friends on the mat.)
Aang: (humbly) I try not to think about it too much.
(Cut to a close-up of Fong's face. He smiles happily.)
General Fong: Avatar... you're ready to face the Fire Lord now.
(Cut to a close up of Aang's face. He seems content at first, but his expression quickly changes to one of surprised disbelief.)
Aang: (alarmed) What?! No I'm not!
(Cut to the three friends, with Katara closest to the camera.)
Katara: Aang still needs to master all four elements.
(Cut to a wide shot of Fong at his desk.)
General Fong: Why? (becomes worked up as he speaks and rises from his desk) With the kind of power he possesses—power enough to destroy hundreds of battleships in a matter of minutes—he could defeat the Fire Lord now!
(Cut back to the three, with Sokka raising his hand somewhat timidly.)
Sokka: But, sir, the thing is Aang can only do those things when he's in the Avatar state.
Aang: See, it's this special state where—
(Cut to a side view of the room, with Fong at the left and the others at the right.)
General Fong: (interrupts heatedly) I'm well aware. (he continues more gently) Your eyes and tattoos glow and you're able to summon unbelievable power. (He walks around his desk, then the scene cuts to a map of the Avatar world, with Fong approaching it.) Without you we'd be slaughtered before we even reach their shores. (Cut to in front of Fong, with the others in the background.) But with you leading the way as the ultimate weapon, we could cut a swath right through to the heart of the Fire Nation. (He points at the map, drawing a line with his finger from the Earth Kingdom to the Fire Nation.)
(Cut to Aang, who looks concerned.)
Aang: (with uncertainty) Right... but I'm don't know how to get in or out of the Avatar state, much less what to do once I'm there.
(Cut back to in front of Fong. He turns around and faces the three.)
General Fong: So it's decided then. I'll help you figure out how to get into the Avatar state, and then you'll face your destiny.
(The three stand up. Sokka and Aang look surprised while Katara seems angry.)
Katara: (irritated) No, nothing's decided. We already have a plan. Aang's pursuing his destiny his way.
(Cut to behind the three. Fong is once more at his desk.)
General Fong: Well, while you take your time learning the elements, the war goes on. May I show you something?
(Fong and Aang walk over to a circular window overlooking two orange-roofed buildings. A large crowd is standing outside one.)
General Fong: That's the infirmary, and those soldiers are the lucky ones. (Cut to a scene of injured soldiers walking toward the infirmary.) They came back. (Cut to looking in at Aang and Fong from outside the window. Aang looks down sadly.) Every day the Fire Nation takes lives. People are dying, Aang! You could end it, now! Think about it.
(Cut to Azula's battle ship and her lightning bending practice. The sun is setting in the background. Azula stands on the deck and brings her arms down in front of her. Cut to two old women watching from the top of the stairs. Azula swings an arm around, electricity sparking from her left hand. She brings it around in a circle, then begins to mimic the motion with her right hand, electricity shooting from her index and middle fingers. She brings her fingers together, and then lunges forward, launching a lightning bolt from her left hand. The lightning arcs over the edge of the ship. Cut to in front of Azula, her fingers smoking and a single strand of hair dangling in front of her face. Cut to the old women on the stairs.)
Elder 1: Almost perfect.
Elder 2: One hair out of place.
(Cut to the same scene of Azula. The camera zooms in quickly as Azula glares angrily at the one strand of hair. She wipes it from her eyes.)
Azula: 'Almost' isn't good enough!
(She begins the training again and shoots lightning at the camera. Cut to Iroh being awakened, presumably by Azula's lightning. He sits up in bed and stares out the doorway.
Cut again to nightfall in the Earth Kingdom base. Cut to General Fong, looking down at a map on his desk.)
Aang: (o.c.) General Fong?
(Fong looks up, smiling. The scene cuts to a profile, with Fong at the left and Aang at the right.)
General Fong: (warmly) Come in, Aang. Have you thought about our discussion?
(The camera zooms in on Aang's face.)
Aang: (looks down in uncertainty) I'm in. (looks up with determination) I'll fight the Fire Lord.
(Cut to commercial.)
(Scene opens on the base again. Cut to the trio's room. Aang enters the dimly-lit room from a door at the right. Cut to Aang walking across the room as Katara rises from her bed in the background, Momo sitting on her lap. Aang sits down on his bed.)
Aang: (quietly) I told the general I'd help him... by going into the Avatar state.
Katara: Aang, no. This is not the right way.
(Cut to Sokka, who is lounging with his arms behind his head.)
Sokka: Why not? Remember when he took out the Fire Navy? He was incredible.
(Cut back to Aang and Katara.)
Katara: There's a right way to do this. Practice, study, and discipline.
(Cut to a close-up of Sokka's face.)
Sokka: Or just glow it up and stop that Fire Lord.
(Cut to looking over Sokka at the other two. Katara rises from her bed and approaches Aang and Sokka.)
Katara: (angrily) If you two meatheads want to throw away everything we've worked for, fine. Go ahead and glow it up! (She exits to the right. Aang rises and starts after her.)
Aang: (pleading) Katara, I'm just being realistic. I don't have time to do this the right way. (He looks sad and almost ashamed.)
(Cut to the base during the day. The camera pans to a cliff side away from the base with a small open-air building on top. Cut to a table with a steaming teapot while the teacher talks, dropping something into the teapot with chopsticks. )
Teacher: This rare chi-enhancing tea is a natural stimulant. In an ordinary warrior it improves strength and energy ten-fold. In you, it may induce the Avatar state.
(The teacher pours the team into a cup in front of Aang, who is sitting at the small table across from him and next to Fong. Sokka and Katara sit side-by-side a few feet behind Aang.)
Aang: Ten-fold energy, huh? (slurps; twitch, twitch, twitch)
(Aang begins to race around the small structure on his air ball while the others remain motionless.)
Aang: (speaking in a fast, high-pitched, hyper voice while zipping everywhere on his air-scooter) Is it working, is it working? I can't tell! Somebody tell me if I'm in the Avatar state 'cause I don't have a good view of myself! Am I talking too loud?
Sokka: (Looking bored.) I guess he could talk the Fire Lord to death.
Aang: (collides with a column, his air ball disappear and his shawl falling over his head.) Ooof!
(Cut to outside at the entrance gate to the base. Aang and Katara sit on the ground while Fong stands behind them, stroking his beard. Sokka is in the foreground, his back to the camera and his arms folded behind his back.)
Sokka: Maybe I can shock you into the Avatar state.
Aang: (cheerfully) I love surprises.
(Cut to Aang's point of view. Katara covers his eyes with her hands. When she removes them, Momo's head has replaced Sokka's.)
(Cut to Aang, who lurches backward.)
Aang: Aaahhh! (looks at his hands and holds them up) Still not glowing.
(Sokka loses his balance. He yells while Momo chatters and they both topple over. Cut to General Fong, who just shakes his head.
Cut to the inside of a temple. Aang stands in the center wearing a ridiculous hat with leaves coming out of the top and a blue cape. Fong, Sokka, and Katara stand at the right side of the screen. A priest is in the distance near a stairway.)
Priest: (pretentiously) You are wearing a ceremonial piece of clothing from each of the bending nations. Now I will join the four elements into one! (As he mentions each element, he throws a pan of water, dirt, a torch, and blows air into a mixture.) Water, earth, fire, air! Four elements together as one! (throws mixture at Aang)
(The mixture splatters over Aang, covering him in mud.)
Aang: This is just mud!
(Cut to the priest, who gives Aang an odd look.)
Priest: So... do you feel anything?
(Cut back to Aang, whose nose begins to twitch. He lifts up a finger. Cut to Fong, Sokka, and Katara, who look hopeful. Cut back to Aang as he sneezes.)
(Cut back to the others, who get sprayed by mud from Aang's sneeze. Fong wipes his face.)
General Fong: (determined) We have to find a way.
(Cut to the bathhouse. Iroh empties a bag of seashells on a table. He lifts a few, inspecting them.)
Iroh: Look at these magnificent shells! I'll enjoy these keepsakes for years to come.
Zuko: We don't need anymore useless things. You forget we have to carry everything ourselves now.
Azula: (o.c.) Hello, brother. Uncle.
(The camera pans out, revealing Azula at a table in the foreground, her hand on a seashell. Cut to Zuko and Iroh, who look surprised, and then angry. Zuko steps forward.)
Zuko: (accusingly) What are you doing here?
(Cut back to Azula. The camera looks up at her from below. She seems utterly unaffected by their glares. She toys with the seashell in her hand.)
Azula: (arrogantly) In my country, we exchange a pleasant 'hello' before asking questions. (She gets up and walks over to face Zuko.) Have you become uncivilized so soon, Zuzu?
Zuko: (furiously) Don't call me that!
Iroh: To what do we owe this honor?
(Cut to a close-up of Azula, still holding the seashell.)
Azula: Hmm... must be a family trait. Both of you so quick to get to the point. (She shatters one of Iroh's shells with her sharp nails on this last word. Iroh's face darkens.) I've come with a message from home. Father's changed his mind. Family is suddenly very important to him. He's heard rumors of plans to overthrow him—treacherous plots. Family are the only ones you can really trust. (Her voice and face soften.) Father regrets your banishment. He wants you home.
(Cut to Zuko, who looks out the window. The camera pans toward Azula.)
Azula: (o.c.) Did you hear me? You should be happy. Excited. Grateful. (Camera returns to show her pleasant expression.) I just gave you great news.
Iroh: I'm sure your brother just needs a moment to—
Azula: (interrupting him angrily) Don't interrupt, Uncle! (addresses Zuko. The camera pans to show his scarred face in the foreground, and Azula walks up beside him.) I still haven't heard my thank you. I am not a messenger. I didn't have to come all this way.
Zuko: (with shocked and quiet disbelief) Father regrets? He... wants me back?
Azula: I can see you need time to take this in. I'll come to call on you tomorrow. Good evening. (Azula walks off screen to the right.)
(Cut to the base in the evening. Aang and Katara are standing on the wall.)
Katara: (o.c.) Can we talk about something?
Aang: (o.c.) Sure.
Katara: Do you remember when we were at the air temple and you found Monk Gyatso's skeleton? It must have been so horrible and traumatic for you. I saw you get so upset that you weren't even you anymore. I'm not saying the Avatar state doesn't have incredible—and helpful power. But you have to understand, for the people who love you, watching you be in that much rage and pain is really scary.
Aang: I'm really glad you told me that. But I still need to do this.
Katara: I don't understand.
Aang: No, you don't. Every day more and more people die. I'm already a hundred years late. Defeating the Fire Lord is the only way to stop this war. I have to try it.
Katara: (quietly) I can't watch you do this to yourself. I'm not coming tomorrow. (She begins to walk off toward the screen, but pauses.) Goodnight. (She exits off screen.)
Aang: (sadly) Goodnight.
(Cut to nightfall at the bathhouse.)
Zuko: (o.c., happily) We're going home. After three long years. It's unbelievable. (Zuko walks behind a thoughtful Iroh, carrying some folded clothing. He walks off to the right of the screen.)
Iroh: (skeptically) It is unbelievable. I have never known my brother to regret anything.
(Cut to a close-up of Zuko. At first he sounds surprised, and then forceful.)
Zuko: Did you listen to Azula? Father's realized how important family is to him. He cares about me.
Iroh: I care about you. And if Ozai wants you back... well, I think it may not be for the reasons you imagine.
Zuko: (defensively, turning his back to Iroh) You don't know how my father feels about me. (He stiffens) You don't know anything.
(Cut to the scarred portion of Zuko's face in the foreground with Iroh talking over his shoulder.)
Iroh: (gently) Zuko, I only meant that in our family things are not always what they seem.
(Zuko whirls around angrily and faces Iroh, leaning in as he accuses him.)
Zuko: (nastily) I think you are exactly what you seem: a lazy, mistrustful, shallow old man who has always been jealous of his brother.
(Zuko turns and walks away. Iroh looks on sadly, then closes his eyes.)
(Cut to Aang's dream. A river with icy cliffs on both banks is shown. Aang, glowing in the Avatar State, explodes from the river in a tall column of swirling water. He sours through the sky, then turns down toward a Fire Nation ship with the real Aang standing on the deck. The glowing Aang lands on the deck and swings his vortex of water like a whip at Aang.)
Aang: (as the water vortex knocks him overboard) Aaahhh!
(The glowing Aang stands in the foreground, with Zuko looking on behind him. The glowing Aang turns around, and Zuko briefly assumes a defensive stance before turning and running. Aang, no longer glowing, launches a water attack at him.
Aang starts awake in bed and gasps. He turns over toward Sokka.)
Aang: (softly) Sokka. Sokka, wake up.
Sokka: (groggily) Wha...?
(Aang sits up, looking weary.)
Aang: I don't think we should be trying to bring on the Avatar state.
(Sokka looks over. His hair is down for once.)
Sokka: You sure?
Sokka: (accepting) Okay.
Aang: (apprehensive) Do you think the general will be mad?
Sokka: What can he say? You're the Avatar. Who knows better than you?
(Sokka rolls over. Aang looks away, then lies back down, folding his arms behind his head.)
(Cut to the stairway outside of the bathhouse. Zuko is descending quickly, a bag over his shoulder. He pauses for a moment and looks down at the Fire Nation ship in the bay below, then turns to continue on.)
Iroh: (calling out urgently) Wait! (Cut to a full view of the staircase, with Iroh descending and waving behind Zuko.) Don't leave without me!
Zuko: (happily surprised) Uncle! You've changed your mind!
Iroh: Family sticks together, right?
(Cut to a close-up of Zuko's face as Iroh puts a hand on his shoulder. He smiles happily. There is a sudden flashback to Iroh's hand on the back of a young Zuko. Return to the present, and Zuko and Iroh both turn and look down at the ship below.)
Zuko: We're finally going home.
(Zuko continues on, but Iroh takes a second glance at the ship. The camera zooms in on it. Cut back to Iroh, who looks skeptical.)
(Cut back to the Earth Kingdom base. Aang stands inside the base in front of Fong's desk.)
Aang: The thing is, I don't think we'll ever be able to trigger it on purpose. So, I guess that's it.
(Cut to Fong, who sounds disappointed when speaking.)
General Fong: Sure I can't change your mind?
(Cut to Aang, who looks down sadly.)
Aang: I'm sure. I can only reach the Avatar state when I'm in genuine danger.
(Cut to Fong, who looks away.)
General Fong: I see. I was afraid you'd say that.
(Cut to Fong's foot as he steps back, causing a small shock wave. He pushes forward, sending his desk flying at Aang. Cut to Aang, who looks surprised as the desk rams into him.)
Aang: (gets hit with the desk) Ugh!
(The desk rockets toward a window. Cut to Sokka, who tries to go after him, but is restrained by two guards.)
(Cut to outside the tower. The desk crashes through the wall. Both Aang and the desk fall toward the ground.)
Aang: (about to hit the ground) Aaahhh!
(Using his Airbender abilities, Aang slows his fall with a gust of air. He tumbles forward, and the desk crashes and breaks apart behind him. Fong runs to the destroyed wall and points angrily at Aang.)
General Fong: Men! Attack the Avatar!
(Aang's eyes widen in surprise as four groups of three guards close in around him.)
(Cut to commercial)
(Aang looks up in surprise. Cut to Fong, who leaps down from the Tower and lands in front of Aang, sending a wave of moving earth toward Aang. He leaps over the wave.)
Aang: What are you doing?
(Cut to Fong, looking sinister.)
General Fong: I believe we are about to get results.
(The six Earthbenders on either side of Aang lift circular discs of earth with square holes in the middle around themselves, then hurl them at Aang. Cut to behind Aang. The first two roll toward him from both sides, and he steps backward, avoiding them. He leaps into the air and spreads his body horizontally as two discs fly above and below him. He sours toward the screen, then lands and peers over his shoulder. Other Earthbenders stand ready with more discs behind him.)
Aang: I am not your enemy! I won't fight you!
(Four discs are launched at Aang, and he leaps over them as they collide right where he was standing. He lands on one of the upright discs, and another flies from the left and knocks it over. As he falls, two of the other upright discs close in around him. Cut to a profile, with Aang scrunched in the square holes in the discs as they begin to roll. The discs roll into an Earthbender, who shatters them. Aang goes flying and skids along the ground. He stands up, surveying the troops around him.)
(Cut to Sokka, who is still being held by two guards in the tower. He lifts up his legs and slams his feet down on those of the guards. They look pained, and Sokka escapes as they fall down. He runs to the broken wall that Aang fell out of and looks down.)
(Cut back to Aang. Four Earthbenders surround him, throwing their stone discs. Two collide horizontally and Aang leaps over them. The other two try to smash him between them, and he leaps through the hole in the middle of the one on the right. He zooms off on his ball of air while three Earthbenders try to raise walls of earth to stop him. He zig-zags between them. He shoots past two spear-wielding guards on ostrich-like creatures. They begin to chase after him. He starts up the wall of the base with the creatures in pursuit. He begins to tire out toward the top, his ball of wind disappearing and he just runs. The creatures close, and Aang barely misses their spears and begins to fall.)
(Aang hits the ground and tumbles forward, the creatures jumping down behind him. He stumbles forward onto one of the disc-shaped portions of the floor. Fong lifts it up with his Earthbending skills, trapping Aang in the center hold and bringing him to him.)
General Fong: You can't run forever!
Aang: You can't fight forever!
(Fong leaps forward, smashing the ring with his foot. Aang leaps away.)
(Cut to Azula's ship. A group of Fire Nation soldiers form two ranks along the path leading to the ship. Zuko and Iroh walk toward them. Cut to Azula, standing at the top of the stairs leading onto her ship, a soldier on each side. Cut back to Zuko and Iroh as they walk between the soldiers. Zuko looks content, while Iroh eyes them suspiciously. Cut to Azula, who raises her arms in greeting and bows to them.)
Azula: Brother! Uncle! (Cut back to Zuko and Iroh, both bowing. Iroh opens one eye slightly, watching the soldiers beside him.) Welcome. I'm so glad you decided to come.
(The two files of soldiers close in behind Zuko and Iroh.)
Captain: Are we ready to depart, Your Highness?
Azula: (pleasantly) Set our course for home, Captain.
Zuko: (wistfully) Home...
(Zuko and Iroh begin to climb the stairs onto the ship, the captain leading the way.)
Captain: (to the other men) You heard the princess! Raise the anchors! We're taking the prisoners ho— (stops abruptly, realizing his mistake)
(Zuko and Iroh stop, looking surprised. Cut to Azula, who looks enraged. Cut back to the captain, his eyes wide.)
Captain: (mortified) Your Highness... I...
(Cut to Zuko, his eyes widening. Cut to Iroh, who looks to his left, then spins around, backhanding a guard off of the ship and kicking another down the incline. Another guard approaches from his left. He elbows him off the incline. He punches another that approaches from his right and grabs another, spinning him around and tossing him.)
(Cut to Zuko. He grabs one guard, throwing him off the incline and into the water. He stalks up the incline, furious.)
Zuko: You lied to me!
(Cut to Azula, who appears confident.)
Azula: (smugly) Like I've never done that before.
(She turns and walks away, and two guards launch fire at the camera. Zuko brushes the fire aside and charges forward, screaming.)
(Cut to the Earth Kingdom Base training yard o' doom. Aang ruins away from the camera as four discs fall from the sky. He turns and begins to run to the left, with a disc rolling after him.)
(Cut to Katara and Momo in the upstairs room. Katara sits on her bed, her knees tucked up. The room shakes, and she and Momo look toward the camera. She glances down at Momo.)
Katara: I wonder what crazy thing they're trying now. (Cut to Momo, who makes a purring noise and closes his eyes.) Maybe we should just make sure Aang's okay.
(She gets up and leaves the room. Cut to outside the tower, where both Katara and Sokka are running down the stairs. They meet at the bottom.)
Katara: (to Sokka) What's going on?
Sokka: The general's gone crazy. He's trying to force Aang into the Avatar state!
(Sokka and Katara watch as Aang runs between two groups of soldiers. Sokka pulls out his boomerang and tosses it. Cut to behind one Earthbender. Right as he's about to throw his disc at Aang, the Boomerange hits his helmet and knocks him out cold. His disc falls over.)
(Cut to Aang, who is running from one of the birdlike creatures. Cut to his pursuer. Something shoots by, and he suddenly realizes that his spear his been cut in half. Cut to Katara, who has sliced the spear with a stream of water.)
(Cut to Sokka, who is approaching one of the birdlike creatures, its rider unconscious on the ground. He has his arms lifted in the air as he slowly approaches.)
Sokka: (nervous coaxing) Good bird/horse thingy.
(He grabs the reins and leaps on the back of the creature. It takes off running. Katara remains stationary, and the camera zooms back, showing Fong in the foreground, lining up a group of discs around Katara. Cut to in front of him. Aang climbs the stairway of the tower behind him. He looks over his shoulder.)
General Fong: Maybe you can avoid me, but she can't.
(The Earthbenders use their discs to create a v-shaped wall, making sure that the only means of escape is by General Fong. Katara throws her stream of water at Fong, but he raises a patch of dirt, creating a patch of mud. He takes up a fighting stance. Cut back to Katara, who spins around and begins to sink into the ground. She is up to her knees in dirt. She struggles to escape but doesn't budge.)
Katara: Aaahhh! (grunts, straining) I can't move!
(Cut to Aang, who looks enraged.)
Aang: Don't hurt her!
(He leaps down from the staircase and shoots a stream of air at Fong. Cut to Fong, who looks surprised, but quickly raises a wall of earth to protect himself. He lowers the wall, the turns back to Katara, who sinks deeper into the ground.)
Katara: (sinking deeper) Aaahhh!
(Cut to Sokka, who rides out from behind one of the discs on his birdlike creature. He charges toward Fong.)
Sokka: Katara! No! (Fong sinks the bird creature's legs into the dirt and Sokka gets tossed from his ostrich, landing in the hole of one of the discs.) Waaaahhh! Oof!
(Aang runs to to Fong, grabbing his arm.)
Aang: Stop this! You have to let her go.
(Fong looks down at Aang angrily.)
General Fong: (maliciously) You could save her if you were in the Avatar state.
(Cut to Aang's face. He appears frustrated and desperate. Tears begin to form in his eyes.)
Aang: (desperately) I'm trying... I'm trying!
(Cut to Katara, who continues to sink further into the ground. She is now up to her armpits.)
Katara: Aang, I'm sinking!
(Cut back to Fong, whose tone sounds mocking.)
General Fong: I don't see glowing.
(Fong pushes his fist toward the ground, and Katara sinks further, only her head remaining above ground.)
Katara: (terrified) Aaahhh! Please!
(Aang drops to the ground at Fongs feet, still clutching his hand.)
Aang: (hysterical) You don't need to do this!
General Fong: Apparently I do.
(Fong clenches his fist and Katara disappears totally into the ground. Aang dives for her, just barely missing her hands. Cut to the back of his head. The arrow mark on his head begins to glow, and he turns around, revealing that the Avatar State has been activated. He glares angrily at Fong as he rises.)
(Cut to Fong, who lifts his fist into the air in victory.)
General Fong: (exulting) It worked. It worked!
(A strong blast of wind hits Fong, and he shields himself with his arms. Cut to Aang, who is standing in front of him, wind billowing around him. Cut back to Fong, who smiles, but the grin quickly fades as he becomes terrified. Cut back to Aang, who launches a karate chop-like attack at the screen. Cut to Fong, who goes flying backward. He lands at the base of the tower. Cut back to Aang, who lifts himself up in a vortex of dirt. The camera pans up into the sky, and the scene changes to Zuko leaping onto Azula's ship.)
(Cut to Azula's ship. Zuko leaps on board, knocking two guards on either side out of the way with flames shooting from his arm and leg. Cut to a profile of the deck of the ship. Zuko takes up a fighting stance at the left while Azula remains motionless, her back to her brother. Cut to in front of Azula. She glances to her left and grins evilly. Cut to behind Zuko, who brings his arms down, fire daggers appearing in his fists. )
(Cut to Iroh, who is fighting soldiers on the path leading to the ship. A soldier launches a kick at him, but a blast of fire from Iroh sends him flying. Two other soldiers approach from each side, and Iroh sends two blasts of fire at them, knocking them from the path. Another guard launches a fireball at Iroh's face, but he avoids it, grabbing the soldier's arm and putting a hand on his neck. Holding the guard, he turns toward the ship.)
Iroh: Zuko! Let's go!
(He tosses the guard off the side of the path. Another approaches, throwing fire at the screen, but Iroh steps to the side and pushes him away with a palm to the face.)
(Cut to the deck of the ship and Zuko. He swings his fire daggers at the camera ferociously. He swings his daggers at Azula repeatedly, but she simply avoid them. She grabs his arm and spins him around. Zuko is breathing hard.)
Azula: You know Father blames Uncle for the loss at the North Pole. And he considers you a miserable failure for not finding the Avatar. (o.c.) Why would he want you back home, except to lock you up where you can no longer embarrass him?
(Zuko brings out his fire daggers again and leaps at Azula, throwing a flaming kick at her head. She leaps back, nimbly dodging his blows. She swipes at his face with her fingernails. Zuko staggers back, revealing three cuts on his forehead. He charges forward and screams, swiping his daggers at Azula. She blocks his blows effortlessly and the fight continues up the stairs toward the cabin of the ship. She kicks Zuko, knocking him down the stairs a bit. He recovers quickly and charges back toward Azula. She blocks his fist and grabs his arm, bringing it down harmlessly. She glares at him, and Zuko's eyes widen. She tosses a blue flame at his head, sending him tumbling down the incline. He lands with a thud and pulls himself up, looking back at the incline. Cut to Zuko's point of view. His vision is blurry and shaky as he tries to locate Azula. She is standing at the top of the incline and begins to swing her arms in arcs around, lightning arcing around her. It is the same maneuver she was practicing earlier. She aims her fingers at Zuko and a lightning bolt shoots toward him.)
(Cut to Iroh, who suddenly appears and grabs Azula's fingers in his hand. He channels the electricity through his body and shoots it from his other hand, letting it explode harmlessly into the cliffside. He turns back to Azula and kicks her, sending her flying overboard. She splashes into the water. Cut to Iroh and Zuko, who are running down the path from the ship.)
(Cut back to the Earth Kingdom base. Aang is still swirling in his vortex of dust with General Fong in the foreground. Cut to a close up of Fong, who cups his hands and shouts at Aang.)
General Fong: Avatar Aang, can you hear me?! Your friend is safe! (He raises his arms and Katara emerges from the ground, gasping.) It was just a trick to trigger the Avatar state, AND IT WORKED!
(Aang whirls around, his face angry. The vortex suddenly collapses and Aang slams into the ground, a cloud of dust shooting forward. Fong is sent flying. Large chunks of earth rise from the ground, sending Earth Kingdom soldiers into the air. The wave of destruction crashes into the buildings around the base, cracking them apart.)
(Cut to Aang, who is hovering. His body suddenly glows blue, a surprised expression on his face. This blue spirit form leaves his glowing body and rises into the sky. Cut to a scene overlooking the wrecked base. Roku and Aang fly by quickly on Roku's dragon. Cut to the two on the dragon, Roku looking back at Aang.)
Roku: It's time you learned.
(The dragon flies off into golden clouds. Cut to a view of the clouds. There are figures standing on them. The dragon flies by. Cut to a close-up of Roku and Aang.)
Roku: The Avatar state is a defense mechanism, designed to empower you with the skills and knowledge of all the past Avatars.
(Cut to a female Avatar in a green robe and mask, holding fans. Her eyes glow briefly and she takes up a fighting stance. The camera zooms out, revealing two huge statues of mole-like creatures. They lift into the air and fly toward the screen.)
Roku: The glow is the combination of all your past lives, focusing their energy through your body.
(Cut to a male Avatar on the end of a ship. He's wearing a blue coat and a white hat, presumably made of animal skin. His eyes blink as well, and the camera zooms out, revealing a huge tidal wave behind the ship.)
(Cut to another female Avatar, whose eyes blink. She shoves her hands forward and the camera zooms out. Strong winds blow the yellow grass and trees in the distance.)
Roku: In the avatar state you are at your most powerful, (Cut to another male Avatar in red armor. He lifts his arms and four volcanoes erupt in the background. The lava covers the screen. Cut back to Roku and Aang on the dragon.) but you are also at your most vulnerable.
Aang: What do you mean?
(Cut to a close-up of Roku's face. The Avatars shown earlier can be seen on the clouds in the background. Roku and the Avatars suddenly vanish. They appear in a single-file line, their eyes glowing.)
Roku: If you are killed in the Avatar state, the reincarnation cycle will be broken and the Avatar will cease to exist.
(The Avatars vanish, ending with Roku, who fades away. Aang looks away sadly. Cut to the dragon, which spirals down toward the base. Cut to Aang's physical body, a sphere of wind surrounding him. The dragon crashes into his body and disappears, as does the sphere of wind. His body goes limp, and Aang falls to the ground, no longer glowing. The glances at the ruins of the base around him.)
(Cut to Katara, who runs toward the screen. Cut back to Aang, who is sitting on the ground with his arms on his knees. Katara runs up beside him and they embrace.)
Aang: (tired and remorseful) I'm sorry, Katara. I hope you never have to see me like that again. (The two look up as Fong begins to speak.)
(Cut to Fong, who walks forward, spreading his arms.)
General Fong: Hah! Are you joking? That was almost perfect! We just have to find a way to control you when you're like that.
Aang: You're out of your mind.
General Fong: (ignoring him) I guess we'll figure that out on the way to the Fire Nation.
(Sokka rides up behind him on the birdlike creature, holding his boomerang.)
Sokka: (bonks Fong on the head and knocks him out) Anybody got a problem with that? (Soldiers all shake their heads in unison)
(Sokka dismounts from the creature. The soldiers approach the others and bow. The creature runs off in the background.)
Soldier: Do you still want an escort to Omashu?
Katara: I think we're all set.
(Momo lands in Aang's arms.)
(Cut to outside the base. Appa flies off toward the screen.)
(Cut to the bathhouse. Azula stands in the foreground, holding up a poster with pictures of Iroh and Zuko and some writing.)
Azula: Anyone who harbors these traitors will face the wrath of the Fire Lord.
(Cut to a group of citizens looking up at Azula from below. Civilians cower in fear. Cut to a close-up of Azula's angry face.)
Azula: (menacingly) There will be no place left to hide.
(Cut to Zuko and Iroh on the run. Zuko's shadow is seen in a river. The two run down a path, pausing at a small body of water at the side of the river. They collapse onto their knees.)
Iroh: I think we're safe here.
(Zuko brings out a knife with some writing on the blade. He stares at it for a moment. Iroh nods solemnly and turns to Zuko. Zuko takes the knife and brings it behind his head and... cuts off his pony tail. He passes the knife to Iroh, who does the same. Cut to a close-up of Zuko's hand as he releases the pony tail, letting it fall into the water. Zuko and Iroh's hair are seen floating down the river. Cut back to Zuko and Iroh, their backs to the camera as they look into the distance.)
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