Transcript for 307 - The Runaway
The Runaway
Written By: Josh Hamilton
Directed By: Giancarlo Volpe
Storyboard By: Michael Chang, Juan Meza-Leon, Bobby Rubio, Giancarlo Volpe, Tomihiro Yamaguchi
Animation By: Moi Animation
Transcribers: Avatar_Mom, dragonofthewest

["Previously on Avatar" sequence includes clips from "The Chase" and "The Headband".]

Act I

(The episode opens with a bird's eye view of Fire Fountain Village, looking down on the giant flaming statue of Ozai that dominates the town square. The camera cuts to a close-up of the statue's face and pans down to the ground, so that we see Toph running out from a side street towards the statue. She reaches the base of the statue and turns around, only to be engulfed in a net flung from the direction of the camera. She falls to the ground, hogtied. As Fire Nation "domestic forces" approach her, she looks up accusingly.)

Toph: How could you do this to me? You betrayed me!

(Cut to Katara, standing over Toph with an angry glare.)

Katara: You brought this on yourself. I had no choice.

(She folds her arms and turns her back on Toph. The helpless earthbender is dragged away.

Cut to an isolated area somewhere in the vicinity of Fire Fountain Village,
three days prior to the scene described above. Toph and Katara face each other, apparently about to engage in combat. Aang stands up between them, tying his headband around his eyes for a blindfold.)

Aang: Ok, I'm ready for some training!

(He assumes a fighting stance and stomps on the ground with one foot. Immediately the screen switches to Toph Vision and we see concentric circles radiating out from the impact of Aang's foot: Toph is instructing him in her ability to "see" via earthbending. She bends several columns of rock in his way and he dodges them with ease. Katara attacks with a water whip and Aang evades this as well, recoiling it back onto her and simultaneously hurling a boulder at Toph. Toph catches it on the end of her fist.)

Toph: Good job, twinkle-toes. Visualize - then attack!

(She propels the boulder back towards Aang, who corkscrews into the ground to avoid it. The boulder, obeying Newton's first law, continues on its trajectory and collides with Katara's chest, bowling her over.)

Katara: (angrily) Maybe you should take your own advice, Toph.
Toph: (obnoxiously) What's the matter? Can't handle some dirt, Madame Fussy Britches?

(Katara drenches Toph with a wave.)

Katara: Oh, sorry, did I splash you, mud slug?

(Furious, they career towards each other on ramps of rock and ice, respectively, collide, and fall to the ground with shrieks of rage.)

Aang: (still blindfolded) Are we taking a break?

(Cut to Sokka, with an evil grin on his face. He rushes towards Aang from
behind, yelling.)

Sokka: Yaaaaaah, sneak attack!

(Aang bends a column of rock in his path, then removes the blindfold.)

Aang: Sokka, sneak attacks don't work if you yell it out loud.

(Cut to Katara and Toph, wrestling in a pool of mud.)

Toph: Hungry for a mud pie?

(She kicks mud in Katara's face.)

Katara: I'll give you a mud pie.

(She mudbends Toph to the ground. Toph springs back up and earthbends Katara into the air. They are about to go at it again when they are interrupted by Aang.)

Aang: Uh, guys, I thought we were supposed to be training me.
Katara: (salvaging what dignity she can) Very well, pupil. I believe we've had enough training for today.

(She walks away.)

Toph: (derisively) While Katara cleans up, let's go have some fun!
Sokka and Aang: Yes! Yeah!

(Cut to Fire Fountain Village. Aang, Sokka, and Toph are strolling down the street. Messenger hawks are continually flying about, and Sokka takes notice of them.)

Sokka: Look at all those messenger hawks. You know, I've been thinking about getting one for myself. That way, I wouldn't have to talk to anyone... I could just send them messages!
Toph: (jokingly) I gotta say, I like the idea of not talking to you.
Aang: So, guys, what are we gonna get with our last silver piece?
Toph: We can get more money. Right there. (She points to a street below, where a con man is fleecing a crowd of Fire Nation citizens with a shell game.) This is where you seeing people are at a disadvantage. Everyone guesses wrong because the dealer moves the rock at the last minute. But I can feel it with my earthbending.

(By this time the kids have descended and joined the crowd around the table. The con man spots the innocent-looking "blind" girl and decides she is an easy mark.)

Dealer: You there. Want to play a friendly game?
Toph: How could I possibly play? I'm blind.
Dealer: You don't have to see to be lucky.

(She gropes her way to the table and lays down the last silver piece. The dealer practices his sleight of hand with the pea, sending it flying from one shell to another, but Toph can't be fooled. She guesses correctly and the dealer tosses money her way.)

Aang: Flamey-o, Toph!
Dealer: Wow, fancy guessing. You are amazing at this. Would you like to make the game a little more interesting?
Toph: More interesting? How?
Dealer: Well, let's say you toss in your friend's fine sword there. Then I'll put up twenty silver pieces against it, and that's more interesting.

(Toph grabs Sokka's sword and hands it over, to Sokka's distress.)

Toph: I'll do it for forty silver pieces.
Dealer: Forty silver pieces it is. (The shell shuffling begins again, faster and more furious. The dealer flicks the peas up into his sleeve, removing them from the game, but Toph earthbends one of them back just in time. She points at one of the shells. The dealer smugly lifts it.) Sorry, little lady, but... (to his shock, the pea is still there) ...huh?
Toph: I won!

(Cut to the gaang's campsite. Aang, Sokka, and Toph are returning, arms filled with provisions.)

Katara: (startled) Where did you guys get the money to buy all this stuff?
Aang: Toph got us money. She scammed one of those guys in town who moves the shells around all sneaky-like.
Sokka: She used earthbending to win the game. Classic!
Katara: Ah, so she cheated.
Toph: Hey, I only cheated because he was cheating. I cheated a cheater. What's wrong with that?
Katara: I'm just saying, this isn't something we should make a habit of doing.
Toph: Why? Because its fun, and you hate fun?
Katara: (indignantly) I don't hate fun. (She seizes Momo and drapes him on top of her head.) See? Fun.

(Momo slides off her head with an annoyed squawk.)

Aang: Katara, I'll personally make you an Avatar promise that we won't make a habit of doing these scams.

(He lifts his headband to reveal his arrow and solemnly bows to her.

"Avatar promises" apparently not being worth much, the scene immediately shifts back to Fire Fountain Village, where Toph uses her powers to rig a dice game, win a strongman competition, and extort a merchant after tricking him into thinking he had run her over with his carriage.

Cut back to the campsite, where Katara is remonstrating with the cash-flush flimflammers.)

Katara: Guys, I think these scams have gone far enough. If you keep doing them, something bad is gonna happen.
Toph: Could you for once stop being such a sourpuss and just lighten up?
Katara: Oh, I'm sorry. You think I should be more like you? Like some wild child?
Toph: Yeah, maybe. Maybe then, you'd see how great we have it. I mean, look at us. We're traveling around the world, making easy money, having fun, with no parents to tell us what to do.
Katara: Ah, I see. You're acting like this because of your parents.
Toph: (dismissively) Whatever.
Katara: They were controlling over you, so you ran away, and now you act like your parents don't exist. You act like you hate them, but you don't. You just feel guilty.
Toph: I do hate them!
Katara: I don't think so. I think you miss them. But you just don't want to deal with that, so instead, you act like this crazy person.
Toph: Look. I ran away to help Aang!
Katara: You know what? It doesn't matter. These scams put us all at risk, and we don't need that. We've already got some third-eyed freak after us.
Sokka: Speaking of that third-eyed freak... I think I've come up with a name for him. What do you think of..."Sparky-Sparky Boom Man"! (The gaang are unimpressed.) Just think about it.
Katara: We have enough money. You need to stop this!
Toph: I'll stop when I want to stop, and not when you tell me!

(She walks away.)

Sokka: Speaking of money, I'm off to spend some. See you guys later (Cut to Fire FountainVillage, where Sokka hasjust fulfilled his dream and bought himself a messenger hawk.) Hawky, welcome to Team Avatar. My name's Sokka, and I'm your new owner. And as such, I should warn you that there's already a lemur in our group, so I don't want to see any fighting. (He pokes the hawk affectionately and coos baby-talk at it.) Good wittle messenger Hawky. Who's got pwetty feathers? (He walks by a wanted poster of Toph, and does a double-take.) You're right, Hawky. This is bad.

Act II

(The scene opens on the campsite. Sokka, with Hawky perched on his shoulder, walks towards Toph as she sits counting money.)

Sokka: Toph, when I was in town, I found something that you're not gonna like.

(He unfurls the wanted poster.)

Toph: Well, it sounds like a sheet of paper, but I guess you're referring to what's on the sheet of paper.
Sokka: It's a wanted poster. Of you. They've nicknamed you "The Runaway."
Toph: (enthused) A wanted poster. That's so great. "The Runaway". I love my new nickname. Is there a picture of me? Does it look good?

(He checks her against her likeness.)

Sokka: Well, yeah, actually, it does look pretty good. But Toph, you're missing the point. Maybe Katara was right. These scams are drawing too much attention to us.
Toph: Don't be such a worrywart like your sister. Think of it this way. Now you have plenty of money to help with the invasion plan!

(She dangles a sack of money before him.)

Sokka: Well, that is true. I had this idea of making armor for Appa.
Toph: Here's a little extra so you can get yourself a nice map of the Fire Nation. You know what? Make it an atlas.

(She hands him the entire bag.)

Sokka: I do like expensive atlases.
Toph: Of course you do. And that's why this wanted poster is going to stay our little secret.

(She snatches it from him, hides it beneath her vest and walks away as Aang and Katara walk up.)

Katara: Sokka, tell me you didn't buy a bird.
Sokka: Not just a bird. A messenger bird! Now we can send messages all over the world, even to Gran-Gran.
Aang: Wow, how does it work?
Sokka: Hm, uh, I never actually thought about that. Hawky: Gran-Gran, South Pole. (He points helpfully. Hawky shakes his head in confusion.) I think he gets it. (Momo appears over Aang's shoulder and dashes at his new rival. They wheel furiously about Sokka's head as he tries to calm them.) Hawky, make nice! Bad Hawky!

(Later in the day. Sokka and Toph are returning from further hijinks in town, arms loaded with money.)

Katara: Well, look who decided to join us. Where have you two been? Off scamming again?
Toph: Yes, we were.
Katara: And I suppose you don't think what you're doing is dangerous at all?
Toph: No, I don't.
Katara: Really?
Toph: Yes, really.
Katara: Well then, what's this?

(She flourishes the wanted poster before Toph.)

Toph: (exasperated) I don't know! I mean, seriously, what's with you people I'm blind!
Katara: It's a wanted poster of you. "The Runaway". Is that what you're called now? Are you proud of this?
Toph: Where did you get that?!
Katara: It doesn't matter where I got it. The fact is...
Toph: You went through my stuff! You had no right.
Katara: Your stuff was messy, and I was just straightening up and I happened to stumble across it.
Toph: That's a lie! You're lying, Katara.
Katara: Fine! It's a lie. But you've been so out of control lately, I knew something was up. I knew you were hiding something, and you were. (Toph knocks the poster from Katara's hand and walks away.) Don't you walk away from me while I'm talking to you!
Toph: Oh, really, Mom? Or what are you going to do? Send me to my room?
Katara: I wish I could.
Toph: Well, you can't. Because you're not my mom, and you're not their mom.

(She points to Aang and Sokka.)

Katara: I never said I was!
Toph: No, but you certainly act like it. You think it's your job to boss everyone around, but it's not. You're just a regular kid like the rest of us, so stop acting like you can tell me what to do. I can do whatever I want!
Katara: (chagrined) I don't act that way. (in a shrill and anxious voice) Sokka, do I act motherly?

(Sokka, alarmed, decides discretion is the better part of valor.)

Sokka: Hey - I'm staying out of this one.
Katara: What do you think, Aang? Do I act like a mom?
Aang: (digging nervously at his eye) Well, I...
Katara: Stop rubbing your eye and speak clearly when you talk!
Aang: (chastened) Yes, ma'am.
Toph: I can't be around you right now!
Katara: Well, I can't be around you!

(They storm off. Hawky squawks plaintively.)

Sokka: I know, Hawky. Why can't they just get along?

(Still later in the day. Aang and Sokka, sitting together, observe Katara and Toph sitting resentfully at opposite ends of the camp.)

Sokka: Hey, Aang, you want to test out my messenger hawk with me? I've got an idea.
Aang: Sure.
Sokka: I'm gonna send a note to Katara and say it's from Toph, who wants to apologize. Then everyone will be friends again.
Aang: I gotta say, Sokka, you continue to impress me with your ideas.
Sokka: Eh, it's a gift. (He takes pen and paper and composes a missive.) Dear Katara. Sorry for everything. Your friend, Toph.

(He slides the note into Hawky's dispatch tube and the bird sails over to Katara, who reads the message and stands up facing the boys.)

Katara: I know this is from you, Sokka. Toph can't write. Ugh, you're all driving me crazy!

(She walks away.)

Aang: I can't believe we forgot Toph can't write.
Sokka: Yep, we're idiots.
Aang: I guess plan B is, we send a note to Toph pretending it's from Katara.
Sokka: I think we're gonna run into a similar problem. Sorry, Hawky. Looks like I'm gonna have to do this without your help. (He walks over to Toph.) Come on, we need to talk.

(They repair to an overhanging cliff, unaware that Katara is bathing in the water below. Their entire conversation is audible to her.)

Toph: So let me guess. You brought me out here to tell me your sister's not as annoying as I make her out to be.
Sokka: Nah, she's pretty much a pain. (Katara scowls.) She's always got to be right about everything, and she gets all bossy, and involved, and in your business.
Toph: Yeah, I don't know how you can deal with it.
Sokka: Actually, in a way, I rely on it.
Toph: I don't understand.
Sokka: When our mom died, that was the hardest time in my life. Our family was a mess, but Katara, she had so much strength. She stepped up and took on so much responsibility. She helped fill the void that was left by our mom.
Toph: I guess I never thought about that.
Sokka: I'm gonna tell you something crazy. I never told anyone this before, but honestly, I'm not sure I can remember what my mother looked like. It really seems like, my whole life, Katara's been the one looking out for me. She's always been the one that's there, and now, when I try to remember my mom, Katara's is the only face I can picture.

(Katara is overcome with emotion.)

Toph: The truth is, sometimes Katara does act motherly, but that's not always a bad thing. She's compassionate and kind, and she actually cares about me. You know, the real me. That's more than my own mom. (Katara lowers her head, in sadness or perhaps shame.) Don't ever tell her I said any of this.

(She punches Sokka in the shoulder.)

Sokka: Hey, my lips are sealed.

(As the sun sets, the kids reunite at the camp.)

Katara: Hi, Toph. Um, I want to...
Toph: Katara, stop. You don't need to apologize. I was the one being stupid. These scams are out of control, and I'm done with them.
Katara: (slyly) Actually, I wasn't going to apologize. I was gonna say... I want to pull a scam with you!

(Aang and Sokka gape in astonishment.)

Toph: What? You want to pull a scam?
Katara: Not just any scam...the ultimate scam! (The boys collapse, stupefied.) What do you say, Toph? Just me and you... one last go. You in?
Toph: You know I'm in! Now what's this idea of yours?

(The two conspirators walk off together. The boys lie supine on the ground, foaming at the mouth.)


(The campsite at sunset. Toph and Katara plot.)

Katara: The plan is simple. This wanted poster says you're worth a lot of money. (Cut to Fire Fountain Village, presumably the next day. The scene from the beginning of the episode replays, with Katara's plan as a voice-over.) Ten times more than you've made in all your scams. So I'm gonna turn you in and collect the reward. Then you metalbend yourself out of jail, and we're on our way.

(By this time, Toph is captured and falls to the ground.)

Toph: How could you do this to me? You betrayed me.
Katara: You brought this on yourself. I had no choice.

(The mayor walks up to Katara as Toph is dragged away.)

Mayor: You did the right thing by turning in "The Runaway".
Katara: (sanctimoniously) The right thing is its own reward.
Mayor: Well, I'm happy to hear you say that.
Katara: (disconcerted) But... I still want the actual reward.
Mayor: Of course. Right this way.

(Cut to the town jail. Toph is dragged past a metal cell and flung into a wooden one. She gropes around and is dismayed to find her "sight" inoperative.)

Toph: (alarmed) Hey, what kind of cell is this?
Female Fire Nation Officer: (through the bars) A wooden one.

(Cut to the mayor's office. The mayor is opening a moneybox for Katara when the door creaks open. The mayor points to Katara and speaks to a person in the doorway.)

Mayor: That's her. That's the girl you were looking for.

(Katara turns around to see the hulking figure of Combustion Man looming over her.

Cut back to the campsite, where Aang is pacing back and forth.)

Aang: Do you think this scam of theirs should be taking this long?
Sokka: I was just wondering the same thing. We'd better check it out. (Leaving, he admonishes Hawky and Momo.) You two behave. Appa's in charge.

(The two creatures begin to squabble anyway, but a reproving roar from Appa puts a quick stop to that.

Cut back to the jail, where Katara has joined Toph in her cell.)

Toph: Wait. It's a trap!
Katara: Really? No kidding. Is that why we're sitting in a wooden cage right now? Gee, how'd you figure out it was a trap?
Toph: Not for us, Katara. We're the bait. He wants Aang.
Katara: I can't believe I was so stupid. See, this is exactly why I'm against these scams. I knew this would happen.
Toph: But...this was your idea.
Katara: I know. I wanted to show you that I'm not so motherly. I wanted to show you that I can have fun too.
Toph: Katara, you are fun. If nothing else, you're at least fun to argue with.
Katara: I know your relationship with your parents is complicated, and I shouldn't have said what I said.
Toph: It's ok. I was really mad when you said that because; well, because maybe it's true. I try not to think about it, but when I left, I probably really hurt them.

(She sobs. Katara comforts her with a hug.

Cut to the strangely deserted streets of Fire Fountain Village, where Aang and Sokka are searching for the girls.)

Sokka: Where do you think they might be?
Aang: Where do you think anyone is? (Combustion Man appears on a rooftop, just above the boys. As he draws in his breath preparatory to firebending at them, Aang hears the intake of breath and, looking upward, spots him.) Sokka, watch out! (Combustion Man lets loose a blast; the boys barely manage to dodge it.) It's "Sparky-Sparky Boom Man"!
Sokka: You know, I'm starting to think that name doesn't quite fit.

(Combustion Man leaps to the ground and fires another shot at them.

Cut back to the jail cell, where Katara and Toph can hear the sounds of the fight.)

Katara: What are we gonna do?
Toph: I don't know! I wish we had some earth or water. We need bendables!
Katara: What about your meteor bracelet? You could make a saw.
Toph: I left it back at camp. I was worried they would take it. (Katara wipes sweat from her forehead... and has an idea. She stands up and begins running in place. Toph is understandably puzzled.) Um, Katara...are you ok?
Katara: Just fine.
Toph: Well, what are you doing?
Katara: I'm making my own water!

(She dashes the sweat now pouring from her face against the cell bars, cutting deep swipes in them.)

Toph: Katara, you're a genius! A sweaty, stinky genius!

(Katara sticks her hands beneath her armpits and flings the sweat from them towards the bars.

Cut to the town square, where Aang and Sokka are frantically eluding Combustion Man's assaults.)

Sokka: This guy is too good. He shoots fire from his brain!
Aang: We should split up. He can't chase us both.

(They split. As Aang runs along a roof, Combustion Man spots him and fires. The blast sends Aang careering into the chest of the statue of Ozai, whence he falls to the ground, prostrate. Combustion Man walks up to him and is about to deliver the coup de grace, when a bolt of ice suddenly encases his head. He stumbles away to reveal Katara and the gaang behind him.)

Katara: Aang, get up!
Toph: Let's get out of here.

(The gaang flees, but not before Combustion Man shatters his ice muzzle. As he prepares to fire at them, Toph bends a rock at him. He destroys it with a fire blast, but a piece of the rubble flies into his forehead and strikes his tattoo, knocking him to the ground and apparently causing him extreme pain. He gets up and tries to resume his attack, but his power has somehow been turned against him; as he tries to focus his "laser beam", the air around him ignites and explodes.

Cut to the kids, running out of the village.)

Sokka: Hey, I got it. The perfect name for that guy! "Combustion Man"!
Toph: Good job, Sokka. Now let's get out of here before "Combustion Man" catches us!
Sokka: See? It fits so well.

(Cut to the kids on Appa, descending towards a new campsite. It is nighttime. Sokka yawns and stretches as they land.)

Sokka: Well, I'm exhausted. Hawky, how about you, buddy? (affectionately) Yeah, you're such a lazy little bird.
Toph: Katara, I need your help.
Katara: What is it, Toph?
Toph: I need you to write some things down for me. I want to send a letter to my parents.
Katara: I'll be happy to help.

(The letter written, Toph slips it into Hawky's dispatch tube and the bird soars into the night air. It takes only a few seconds, however, for Sokka to notice that someone is missing.)

Sokka: Hey, where'd Hawky go?

[End Credits]

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