Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King
Written By: Michael Dante DiMartino
Directed By: Ethan Spaulding
Storyboard By: Oreste Canestrelli, Michael Dante DiMartino, Elsa Garagarza, Miyuki Hoshikawa, Dean Kelly, Lauren Montgomery, Seung Hyun Oh, Ethan Spaulding, Jae Myung Yu, Tomihiro Yamaguchi
Animation By: JM Animation Co, Ltd
["Previously on Avatar" sequence, including clips from "The Ember Island Players", "The Avatar State", "The Awakening", "The Avatar and The Firelord", "The Day of Black Sun, Parts 1 & 2", "The Boiling Rock Parts 1 & 2" and "The Southern Raiders".]
(The episode opens up to an overhead view Fire Lord Ozai's old beach house on Ember Island. Cut to Aang's boot shifting to the side into a stance. Camera zooms out to reveal a full body shot of Aang practicing in front of the beach house with the rest of the Gaang resting on steps in the background. Aang proceeds to firebend arcs with his arms, right leg followed by his left leg. He walks towards the camera as he does so. Then he firebends a flurry of small shot, circles rapidly with his arms. Cut to Zuko who is looking sternly at Aang's training with his arms crossed.)
Zuko: More ferocious!
(Aang's fist firebends into the camera's view and his head comes into view as he walks forward. He has an intense look of concentration on his face.)
Zuko: Imagine striking through your opponent's heart.
(Aang firebends another big shot of fire towards the camera and turns towards Zuko with his arms in a frustrated gesture.)
Aang: Ugh! I'm trying.
Zuko: Now let me hear you roar like a tiger-dillo!
(Aang turns back to the camera instantly, stretches his arms and roars rather softly with weak streams of fire coming out from his palm and mouth. Aang grins sheepishly at his weak attempt.)
Zuko: That sounded pathetic! (Cut back to Zuko lashing out) I said roar!
(Cut to Aang's back view. Camera quickly cuts to Aang's front view. He turns around, roars ferociously and firebends rather strongly out of both hands and his mouth. The camera changes to an overhead shot to show the intensity of the flames. Momo can be seen scurrying towards Zuko. Cut to Zuko's legs as Momo seeks refuge behind them.
Camera moves up to show Zuko nodding his head in approval. Cut to Katara holding two watermelons with straws in them.)
Katara: Who wants a nice, cool glass of watermelon juice?
(Cut back to Aang who comically has an exclamation mark over his head. His eyes widen with greed.)
Aang: Ooo, ooo, (turns around) me, me, me! (he begins to run towards the house)
Zuko: Hey, (Zuko's hand comes into screen and holds Aang back by his robes) your lesson's not over yet! (Aang tries to break free of his grip and his tongue comically sticks out to show that he is thirsty.) Get back here.
(Aang gets pulled up and the camera zooms out to show Zuko pulling him up effortlessly with Aang looking rather disappointed.)
Suki: (off screen) Come on, Zuko. (Cut to Suki and Sokka lounging on the steps. Sokka drinks his watermelon juice and looks on.) Just take a break. What's the big deal?
(He releases Aang and Aang dashes off, leaving a trail of dust behind.)
Zuko: If you want to lounge around (Cut to the top of the steps to show Aang running towards Katara and accepting the watermelon with glee and proceeds to slurp the juice noisily and greedily) like a bunch of snail-sloths all day, then go ahead! (Zuko turns and walks away)
Sokka: (off screen) Maybe Zuko's right. (Cut back to Sokka.) Sitting around the house has made us pretty lazy. But I know (lays his watermelon aside and stands up slowly) just the thing to change that. Beach party!
(He removes his outer coat, revealing a pair of brown undershorts underneath and dives excitedly out of the camera's view. Camera changes scene to the ocean to show that he entered the water with a splash. Sokka surfaces with seaweed on his head and he blows water from his mouth. He grins goofily.
Cut to Katara jumping off the shore into the water as she waterbends a surfboard made of ice. She proceeds to surf as the water displaced by her movements splashes against the camera. Cut to the underside of the ice surfboard as Katara jumps off a wave of water and her image is silhouetted against the Sun. She lands back into the water with ease and continues surfing. Cut to Suki laying on a beach mat in her red beach outfit. She smiles as Sokka walks into screen carrying seaweed in his arms. She looks puzzled as Sokka grabs empty pails and exits the screen before re-entering a spilt second later with the buckets full of water and a huge smile plastered on his face.
Cut to Aang who is holding a big piece of wood in his hand. Camera zooms out to show him placing the piece of wood as a horn into his sand sculpture of Appa.)
Aang: (raises both arms) Check out my Appa sand sculpture. (Camera zooms and shows the real Appa growling at the sight. Toph walks into screen.)
Toph: Not bad, baldy. But I've been working on my sandbending (stretches and cracks her fingers) You're gonna love this.
(Cut to the area in front of Toph. She moves her hands and sends clouds of sand dust everywhere. The dust clears to reveal a miniature replica of Ba Sing Se in the sand. Cut to the top view to show the huge Earth King's palace in the middle with tiny houses surrounding it. Aang walks towards it and kneels down, scrutinising the details.)
Aang: Whoa. (he looks at the sand replica of Earth King Kuei and his bear, Bosco) Wow, you even made a little Earth King and Bosco.
(Cut to Sokka who is frantically carving at his sculpture, sending specks of sand flying everywhere. Toph & Aang walk into screen behind him.)
Toph: Try and top that, Sokka.
(He reveals his sand sculpture with seaweed for hair, stones for eyes, a red starfish for a nose, and some stones and seashells as a smile.)
Aang: Is that a blubbering, blob monster?
Sokka: No, (stomps the ground defensively) it's Suki. (Cut to Aang with an animated look of shock and surprise on his face as both he and Toph burst into a fit of laughter.)
Toph: Suki, we'll all understand if you break up with him over this.
Suki: I think it's sweet. (Sokka runs and slides into screen on his knees as he grabs Suki by her shoulders and kisses her on the cheek.)
Aang: But it doesn't even look like...
(A burst of fire hits the sand sculpture, sending waves of send everywhere. Aang yells in surprise and shields himself from the impact. The dust clears and Aang looks up at the cliff. Cut to Zuko running and jumping off the cliff, firebending at Aang at the same time. Aang narrowly misses the flames and jumps across Toph's sand sculpture. Cut to the bottom of the sculpture as Aang flies across it. A ball of fire hits one of the sand houses, breaking it into a wave of sand instantly. Aang lands on the other side near his sand sculpture as he turns around and looks frightened. He then jumps over his sand sculpture.
Cut to the inside of Toph's sand sculpture as Zuko lands in front of it. He runs on the sculpture towards Aang. Aang peeks out from behind Appa's sand head.)
Aang: What are you doing?!
Zuko: (Cut to Zuko's boot stopping in the sand. Cut to Zuko's face.) Teaching you a lesson!
(He firebends towards the Appa sculpture. Aang looks away before the camera zooms out to show him jumping away from the impact. The stream of fire "cuts" the Appa sculpture in half, destroying it into a pile of sand.
Cut to Zuko's sidev iew as Aang lands a distance away from him. Zuko turns and firebends towards Aang but he misses as Aang jumps onto the cliff. Zuko firebends towards the cliff repeatedly as Aang struggles to run across the uneven surface. Zuko's last blast shatters the top part of the cliff into rubble. Cut to an overhead shot of Zuko as he runs towards the cliff and proceeds to scale it.
Cut to Katara who surfs back to shore.)
Katara: What happened?
Sokka: Zuko's gone crazy! I made a sand sculpture of Suki (tries to pick up the fallen sand to mould the sculpture back into shape) and he destroyed it! Oh, and he's attacking Aang.
(Suki grabs Sokka and they run back to help Aang.
Cut back to Aang with Zuko hot on his heel. Zuko firebends at him but Aang jumps out of the way in time. The fire clears and Zuko is still chasing after Aang angrily. Cut to the side of a huge rock as Aang runs to the top of it and jumps off before Zuko sends strong blasts of fire at the rock, disintegrating it into pieces. Aang grabs onto the top of a trunk of a nearby tree as Zuko jumps off the rock and somersaults to the bottom.
Cut to Zuko landing on the sand with a roll and firebending at the top of the tree. Aang jumps away. Camera zooms out to show that the tree has caught fire and Aang lands somewhere on the beach house's roof, out of view. Cut to Zuko who jumps onto the beach house's railings as he scales and flips his way to the roof. Cut to rooftop as Zuko's head appears into screen and he pushes himself with his arm and lands in a stance. Camera zooms out to show Aang waiting for him in a similar stance.)
Aang: Get a grip before I blast you off this roof!
Zuko: Go ahead and do it!
(He then firebends with his fists and feet one after another. Cut to Aang sliding down the roof as jets of fire sets the path he was on alight. Aang reaches the end of the roof and he grabs onto the edge as he swings himself into a nearby room through the window. He slides across the floor on his knees to hide behind a drawer. A huge blast of fire through the roof sends some debris into the room and Zuko lands. He gets into a stance and looks around the room warily. Aang then kicks the drawer towards Zuko. He blocks it by disintegrating the drawer into pieces with a firebending punch.
Cut to the end of the corridor as Aang runs out from the room followed shortly by Zuko. Zuko firebends huge whips and arcs of flame around himself. Cut to Zuko's back view as he sends the tunnel of fire towards Aang. Cut to Aang running away desperately and time slows down as Aang looks back to find himself being slowly engulfed by the fire. Time resumes back to normal as he airbends the fire away, creating a safe space for him to land on without get burnt. Cut to Aang's face as the fire reflects off his eyes.)
Aang: (furiously) Enough!
(He airbends a huge tunnel of air towards Zuko, extinguishing the flames at the same time. Cut to Zuko yelling in surprise as he gets pushed back by the strong air pressure. Cut to the outside of the house as its side gets ripped open by the visible tunnel of wind, throwing out some wooden debris along with Zuko. The sound effects suggests that Zuko is sliding down some tree branches. Cut to the grass as Zuko lands on it and attempts to stand up, grabbing his head and moaning slightly. The others come into screen behind Zuko.)
Katara: What's wrong with you?! (Aang jumps off the balcony and lands near the group.) You could have hurt Aang.
Zuko: What's wrong with me? What's wrong with all of you! (Cut to Zuko's front view as he stands up and throws his arm to the side in anger) How can you sit around having beach parties when Sozin's Comet (Camera slowly pans through the rest of the group who have guilty looks on their faces) is only 3 days away!
(Cut to a top view of the group.)
Zuko: Why are you all looking at me like I'm crazy?
Aang: About Sozin's Comet... (takes a step forward) I was actually going to wait to fight the Fire Lord until after it came.
Aang: I'm not ready. (looks unconfident and unsure) I need more time to master firebending.
Toph: And frankly, your earthbending could still use some work too. (Aang looks disappointed)
Zuko: So... You all knew Aang was going to wait?
Sokka: Honestly, if Aang tries to fight the Fire Lord right now, he's gonna lose. No offence.
Katara: The whole point of fighting the Fire Lord before the comet was to stop the Fire Nation from winning the war. But they pretty much won the war when they took Ba Sing Se. Things can't get any worse. (drops her head in worry)
Zuko: You're wrong. (turns head towards camera) It's about to get worse than you can even imagine.
(Scene fades to the corridor leading to the Fire Lord's war room.)
Zuko: (voiceover) The day before the eclipse, my Father asked me to attend an important war meeting. (Zuko's servants help him wear and tighten his armor shoulder pads as he walks towards the room) It was what I dreamed about (the servants bow in respect) and wanted (Cut to Zuko standing in front of the war room's curtain entrance) for so many years. My Father (Camera slowly zooms in on Zuko's back and he raises both hands) had finally accepted me back. (Cut to the opposite side of the curtain as Zuko thrusts the curtain apart, revealing his presence. He walks forward. Cut to the top of Fire Lord Ozai's throne to show the whole room. There is a map of the Earth Kingdom spread out on a table with generals seated around the length of the table.)
Fire Lord Ozai: Welcome, Prince Zuko. We waited for you.
(Cut to the generals glancing at Zuko. Cut to full view of the throne. Azula is already seated on Ozai's left. Ozai gestures to his son to take his seat and Zuko bows before sitting down. Cut to a close up sideview of Ozai watching his son.)
Fire Lord Ozai: General Shinu, your report.
General Shinu: (Cut to Shinu who bows his head in acknowledgement) Thank you, sir. (He stands up) Ba Sing Se is still under our control. (Cut to an area behind Ozai and shows Shinu slowly pacing his way to the end of the table) However, earthbender rebellions have prevented us from achieving total victory in the Earth Kingdom.
Fire Lord Ozai: (Cut to Ozai who frowns at the news) What is your recommendation?
General Shinu: Our army is spread too thin but once the eclipse is over and the invasion defeated, we should transfer more domestic forces into the Earth Kingdom.
(Cut back to a close up sideview shot of Ozai. Zuko is slouching and appears uninterested.)
Fire Lord Ozai: Hmm... (turns his head to his son) Prince Zuko, (Zuko looks at his father) you've been among the Earth Kingdom commoners. Do you think that adding more troops will stop these rebellions?
Zuko: (Cut to the front view of Zuko as he drops his head and thinks) The people of the Earth Kingdom are proud and strong. They can endure anything as long as they have hope.
Fire Lord Ozai: Yes, you're right. (Cut to a close up shot of his face as he gives an evil, lethal look) We need to destroy their hope.
Zuko: (Cut to a side view of Father and son) Well, that's not exactly what I...
Azula: (interrupts) I think you should take their precious hope (fingers her fringe and tosses it aside without a care) and the rest of their land, (looks at the table fiercely) and burn it all to the ground.
(The princess crosses her arms and smiles at her own brilliant suggestion.)
Fire Lord Ozai: Yes... (Smiles evilly) Yes, you're right, Azula.(Cut to Azula who smiles at her Father's acknowledgement of her plan. Ozai gets up and walks towards the table.) Sozin's Comet is almost upon us (Cut to a full view of the table and throne and Ozai stops near the edge of the table) and on that day it will endow us with the strength and power of a hundred Suns. No bender will stand a chance against us.
General Shinu: (Cut to an area behind Ozai's back as his generals and Shinu look on) What are you suggesting, sir?
Fire Lord Ozai: When the comet last came, my grandfather, Fire Lord Sozin, used it to wipe out the Air Nomads. Now, I will use its power to end the Earth Kingdom. (Cut to Zuko and the camera slowly zooms in on him. He is shocked as his Father's cruel revelation.) Permanently. (Cut to the front view of Ozai as he grins from ear to ear and walks across the table) From our airships, (Cut to the Earth Kingdom area of the map and the camera slowly zooms out as Ozai's shadow covers the East side of the continent) we will rain fire over their lands. A fire that will destroy everything. (Ozai walks across from one side of the map to middle of it) And out of the ashes, (he opens his arms to the side) a new World will be born. A World in which all the lands are Fire Nation and I am (Cut back to the front view of Ozai as he raises his arms high) the supreme ruler of everything! (the generals burst into applause.)
Zuko: (Cut to the sideview of Zuko's scarred eye as he looks down) I wanted to speak out against this horrifying plan. (Cut to an area behind Zuko's head as it slowly zooms in on the back of his head. The generals are still applauding and Ozai basks in the excitement.) But I'm ashamed to say I didn't. (Cut back to present day Zuko) My whole life I struggled to gain my Father's love and acceptance. (Cut to show the whole Gaang looking at Zuko who is sitting on a rock) But once I had it, I realized I lost myself getting there. (Katara raises her hand to her forehead in despair) I forgotten who I was.
(Katara drops down to the ground on her knees. Sokka grabs Suki by the shoulder in an assuring gesture.)
Katara: I can't believe this. (shakes her head)
Sokka: I always knew that the Fire Lord was a bad guy but his plan is just pure evil. (Suki shakes her head)
Aang: What am I going to do?
Zuko: I know you're scared. (he stands up and walks towards Aang) And I know that you're not ready to save the World. But if you don't defeat the
Fire Lord before the comet comes, (Cut to Zuko who is looking very serious) there won't be a World to save anymore.
(Camera slowly zooms in on Aang who looks stunned and blur. Cut to commercial break.)
(Scene returns with Aang facing the group.)
Aang: Why (points to self) didn't you tell me (turns around and walks off screen) about your Dad's crazy plan sooner?
Zuko: (takes a step forward) I didn't think I had to. I assumed that you were still going to fight him before the comet. No one told me you decided to wait!
Aang: This is bad. (places both hands on head in despair) This is really, (shakes his head and drops to his knees) really bad. (Cut to a close up of Aang whose face is full of worry and despair)
Katara: (off screen) Aang, you (Cut to a side shot where Katara is standing behind Aang. He looks up at her) don't have to do this alone. (Toph and Zuko walk into screen)
Toph: Yeah. (Suki and Sokka join in) If we all fight the Fire Lord together, we got a shot at taking him down.
Sokka: Alright! (raises arm in enthusiasm) Team Avatar is back! (points confidently) Air. (Cut to Aang) Water. (Cut to Katara) Earth. (Cut to Toph) Fire. (Cut to Zuko) Fan (picks up a palm leaf in a shape of a fan from the ground into Suki's hands) and sword! (He thrusts a blade of leaf into the air. The background music makes a comical sound and the tip of the leaf falls)
Aang: Fighting the Fire Lord is going to be the hardest thing we've ever done together. But I wouldn't want to do it any other way. (The group laughs and they engage in a group hug but Zuko remains standing where he is)
Katara: Get over here, Zuko. Being part of the group also means being part of group hugs.
(Zuko looks to the side with a "Do I have to this " look on his face and fits into the opening Suki & Toph created. Appa growls off screen, the Gaang looks up and they get tackled to the ground by the giant sky bison. Momo chatters away on Appa's head.
Cut to an overhead view of the courtyard in the beach house.)
Zuko: There's one technique you need (Cut to a close up shot of Zuko standing in front of Aang. Katara and Momo sit at the side, spectating) to know before facing my Father. How to redirect lightning. (Aang grins with anticipation) If you let the energy in your own body flow, (He stretches his left arm out and the fingers on his right hand touch the fingers on his left hand and swiftly traces a path down his arm, shoulder, stomach and back out the other side) the lightning will follow it. (His left hand touches his right, they are parallel to each other) You turn your opponent's energy against them.
(He repeats the motion to the left side of his body.)
Aang: That's like waterbending.
Zuko: Exactly. My Uncle (Aang begins to mimic Zuko's movements) invented this technique himself by studying waterbenders.
Aang: So... Have you ever redirected lightning before?
Zuko: Once. Against my Father.
Aang: What did it feel like? (Zuko stops whatever he is doing and does a cool down motion with his hands)
Zuko: Exhilarating. (Cut to a flashback of Ozai throwing lightning at Zuko and he re-directing it back during their confrontation in "The Eclipse") But terrifying. (Cut back to Aang who has raised both arms eagerly to his chest but his face falls when Zuko says those two words) You feel so powerful (Aang's hands drops back to the side. He slouches with disappointment) holding that much energy in your body. But you know that you make the wrong move, it's over.
Aang: Heh. (laughs nervously) Well, not over over, right I mean there's always Katara and a little spirit water (moves his hand in a watery movement) action... Am I right? (turns to Katara)
Katara: (matter-of-factly) Actually I used it all up after Azula shot you.
Zuko: (stares at Aang seriously) You'll have to take the Fire Lord's life. Before he takes yours.
Aang: Yeah... I'll just do that.
(Cut to an overhead view of the courtyard as Zuko walks away. Fade to an area full of rocks at dusk.)
Sokka: (off screen) Gather round Team Avatar. (Cut to a watermelon with some face carvings resembling a jack-o-lantern being dropped onto a wooden structure with a red cloth draped over it. Camera zooms out to reveal Sokka standing in front of the Melon Lord and the rest of the group walking towards him and proceeding to sit in a circle) In order to take out the Fire Lord, or in this case, the "Melon Lord", our timing has to be perfect. (He kneels down) First, Suki and I will draw his fire. (He takes a stick and draws a line curving to the left towards the melon symbol on the ground) Then, Katara and Zuko (He draws a straight line in the middle) charge in with some liquidy hot offence and while the "Melon Lord" is distracted, Aang swoops in and "BAM!" (He draws a line curving to the right which runs through the melon symbol) He delivers the final blow. (Cut to who Aang stares at the drawing with slight disgust)
Toph: Err... (Camera shifts to the right) what about me?
Sokka: (off screen) For now, you're the Melon Lord's forces.
Toph: So I get to chuck flaming rocks at all of you?
Sokka: Whatever makes the training feel more realistic.
Toph: Sweetness. (smiles)
(Camera fades to reveal the Melon Lord with 2 sticks at arms opened up in a V-shape. Toph appears into screen in front of the scarecrow with the same pose.)
(Cut to an overhead view of Toph's area. She is surrounded by a ring of huge boulders covered with seaweed-like things. A ring of fire in bowls sits outside the boulders.
Cut to Zuko and Katara who are hiding behind some rocks, looking at Toph. Zuko turns his head. Cut to Aang who appears out from behind another hiding spot with Momo in tow. He looks to the side. Cut to Suki and Sokka who peer out of their own hiding places. Sokka is wearing his Water Tribe wolf armor. Cut to the area where Toph is and the camera zooms out rapidly to reveal Sokka who signals with his arm to go.
Cut to an overhead view of where the rest are hiding. Sokka, Suki, Zuko and Katara all make their way towards Toph except for Aang who stays put.
Cut to Sokka and Suki who run before the ground shakes and pops up an army of Fire Nation soldiers made of rock charging at them. Cut to a side view of Sokka who cuts the rock in half. Suki jumps into camera as she spins and delivers a kick to another rock soldier, knocking it down. They continue to run before a flaming boulder drops into screen. Cut to a pair of hands touching the rock and the camera zooms out to reveal Suki cart wheeling over it. Cut to Sokka who is lying on the ground with his face mere inches away from being crushed.)
Sokka: (shakes his fist) Watch it, Toph!
Toph: (Cut back to Toph who is clearly enjoying herself) I am not Toph, I am "Melon Lord"! Muahahahahaha!
(She earthbends a rock over the bowl of fire and it gets ignited immediately and she sends it towards Zuko and Katara who dodge it. Cut to an overhead view of Zuko and Katara running as a ring of rock soldiers surround them. Camera rotates around the duo as they fight back to back with fire and waterbending to destroy the rocks.)
Sokka: (Cut back to Sokka who is running with his sword. Flaming rocks are being sent over his head continuously) Now, Aang!
(Cut to Aang's boot sole as he propels himself from the rock with his arms holding his staff in a ready to strike position. Cut to Aang's serious face as he descends. Cut to the Melon Lord scarecrow from his point of view. Cut back to Aang as his face softens. Cut back to the scarecrow. Cut to a sideview of the scarecrow as Aang lands and brings his staff over his head but doesn't deliver the final blow. The staff pauses inches away from the watermelon head. He looks at the scarecrow before slouching and pulling his staff back.)
Zuko: (Cut to the group who are hiding behind a rock behind him) What are you waiting for? Take him out! (Camera slowly pans to Aang who looks unwillingly to perform the action)
Aang: (shakes head) I can't.
(Cut to the sideview of the slope leading to the scarecrow. Sokka enters the screen and trudges up the slope. Cut to a closeup of Aang as Sokka walks up in front of him.)
Sokka: What's wrong with you? (points accusingly at Aang) If this was the real deal, (points at Aang again) you'd be shot full of lightning (he makes a beheading gesture against his neck) right now.
Aang: I'm sorry, but it just didn't feel right. I didn't feel like myself.
(Cut to Sokka who unsheathes his sword. Cut back to Aang as a slashing and squishing sound implies that Sokka cuts the watermelon off screen. He closes his eyes and grimaces at the act.)
Sokka: (off screen) There. (Aang opens his eyes in shock) That's how it's done.
(A piece of the watermelon falls off and hits the ground. Momo runs forward and begins to lick the insides.
Camera zooms in on Aang who has a look of disbelief on his face. Scene changes to night time back at the courtyard. Cut to a plate of untouched food on Aang's lap. Camera slowly pans up to reveal Aang looking down sadly while the rest of the group are heartily tucking in to their dinner. Katara walks in with a long scroll in her hands.)
Katara: I have a surprise for everyone!
Toph: (Cut to Toph holding her chopsticks in her bowl of rice) I knew it! You did have a secret thing with Haru!
(She smiles while Katara gives an expressionless look in the background. Cut to Sokka, Suki and Zuko who are also equally expressionless.
Camera zooms out to show the 3 of them staring at Katara while Toph is picking at her food.)
Katara: Er, no. (All 4 of them suddenly start to shove rice into their mouths) I was looking for cooking pots in the attic and I found this. (Throws scroll downwards as it unrolls by itself.) Look at baby Zuko! (Camera zooms onto the scroll and reveals a baby smiling happily with his arms in the air, enjoying himself at the beach.) Isn't he cute?
(Katara coos as everyone gushes and laughs. Cut back to Zuko with his eyes closed.)
Katara: (off screen) Oh lighten up, I was just teasing.
Zuko: (opens his eyes) That's not me. It's my Father. (Camera zooms out to show them again as Katara rapidly rolls the scroll)
Suki: (points at the scroll and looks at Zuko) But he looked so sweet and innocent.
Zuko: Well that sweet little kid grew up to be a monster. And the worst Father in the history of Fathers.
Aang: But he is still a human being. (Everyone looks at him as the camera pans to Aang)
Zuko: You're going to defend him?
Aang: No, I agree with you. Fire Lord Ozai (stands up and faces the group) is a horrible person and the World will probably be better off without him. There's gotta be another way.
Zuko: (off screen) Like what?
Aang: (shrugs) I don't know. Maybe (raises both arms as if he was holding a bowl) we can make some big pots of glue and then I can use gluebending to stick his arms and legs together so he can't bend anymore.
Zuko: (sarcastically) Yeah. Then you can show him his baby pictures and all those happy memories (everyone starts to laugh and snicker) will make him good again.
Aang: (naively) Do you really think that would work?
Zuko: (seriously and sternly) No!
Aang: (drops his head and sighs) This goes against (paces up and down, looking at his hands) everything I learned from the monks. I can't just go around wiping out people I don't like...
Sokka: Sure, you can. You're the Avatar. If it's in the name of keeping balance, (Aang balls up his fist as he struggles to contain his temper) I'm pretty sure the Universe will forgive you.
Aang: (Cut to Aang's back as he rapidly turns around and bursts out) This isn't a joke, Sokka! None of you understands the position I'm in!
Katara: Aang, we do understand. It's just...
Aang: (rudely interrupts) Just what, Katara?! What?
Katara: (Cut back to Katara who is visibly annoyed) We're trying to help.
Aang: (Cut back to Aang) Then when you (points at Katara) figure out a way for me (brings his hands back to his chest) to beat the Fire Lord without (makes a "no" gesture with his arm) taking his life, I love to hear it! (Raises his arms in exasperation and walks away.)
Katara: Aang, don't walk away from this. (She begins to walk towards him as a hand touches her shoulder to stop her from doing so.)
Zuko: Let him go. He needs time to sort it out by himself.
(Cut to an overhead view of the trees surrounding the house and the balcony Aang is sitting on. There is a table of fire in front of him. Cut to an area behind Aang's shoulder to reveal 4 candles and some offerings consisting of bread, water and fruit on a tray. Cut to an area behind the candles as the camera slowly pans up to reveal Aang in the lotus position. Cut to Aang's head and the camera slowly zooms up. Cut to Aang's sideview as Momo glides in and tries to get Aang's attention by touching his lap.)
Aang: Hey, Momo. (pats Momo's head) I don't suppose you know what I should do. (Cut to Momo who makes a sound) I didn't think so.
(Momo lies on its side while Aang returns back to meditating. Camera fades to some moments later to reveal that Aang is fast asleep, lying on his side near Momo. The candles are already extinguished. Cut to the ocean in front of the house and camera zooms out in a rapid motion. Cut again to an area with trees on the ocean, still facing the house. Aang suddenly opens his eyes and sits up.
Chanting starts to play continuously in the background. Camera slowly pans up from the balcony to reveal a forested area at the edge of the shore. Aang stands up, walks over the tray and climbs over the balcony railing. Momo is awakened and looks at his master. He jumps to the railing before flying off. Cut to a sideview of Aang who walks briskly on the path to the ocean as Momo circles around him in the air. Cut to a close up of Aang who appears to be sleepwalking. Cut to a path of footprints on the beach. The camera pans up to reveal Aang and Momo reaching the edge of the shore. Cut to Aang walking into the water and starts to swim. Cut to Momo who is still on the beach, watching his master swim out to sea, towards the forested area. Momo begins to fly after him. The chanting ends.
Cut to commercial break.)
(Scene opens up to the sea the next morning. Camera pans down to the courtyard where everyone is gathered around Appa.)
Sokka: Okay, that's everything.
Toph: (Cut to Toph's back view. She is sitting on some stone steps) No, it's not. (Everyone turns to face her) Where's Aang? (Cut back to the rest who look surprised and run off to look for him. Cut to Appa who eats his hay nonchalantly.)
Zuko: (Cut back to inside the house. Everyone runs up the steps to the corridor and looks around.) Aang? Aang!
Toph: Come on lazy bones, let's go.
(Suki, Sokka & Katara head to the right of the corridor while Toph & Zuko head in the opposite direction. Cut to the inside of a dark room as the door is suddenly thrown open to reveal Zuko. He walks out of the room and meets Toph who does a "nothing" gesture with her hands. They walk off. Cut to the railing of the balcony. Aang's staff is lying on it. Sokka walks onto the balcony, scratching his head. He sees the staff and looks surprised as the camera zooms out and Suki & Katara walk in.)
Sokka: (his gloved hand grabs the staff) He left his staff. That's so strange.
Zuko: Aang's not in the house. Let's check the beach. (He turns his head towards the beach and the camera zooms in onto the ocean. Cut to a broken docking area on the edge of the sea as 2 seagulls fly pass. The remaining of the Gaang can be seen near the shore as black shadows. )
Sokka: Look! There's his footprints. (Camera pans up to the path of footprints leading to the sea.) The trail ends here.
Suki: So... He went for a midnight swim and never came back?
Katara: Maybe he was captured.
Sokka: I don't think so. There's no sign of a struggle.
Toph: (bends down) I bet he ran away again.
Sokka: Ah-uh. He left behind his glider and Appa.
Toph: Then what do you think happened to him oh sleuthy one?
Sokka: It's pretty obvious. (stands up and throws his hands to the side) Aang mysteriously disappears before an important battle? He's definitely on a Spirit World journey. (His finger points up in an "I got it!" position)
Zuko: But if he was, wouldn't his body still be here?
Sokka: (slumps) Oh yeah, forgot about that.
Katara: Then he's gotta be somewhere on Ember Island. Let's split up and look for him.
Toph: (grabs Zuko's arm swiftly and he blushes) I'm going with Zuko! (Camera pans out to show the rest looking at her curiously) What? Everyone else went on a life changing fieldtrip with Zuko. Now it's my turn. (She hugs him tighter and Zuko is still blushing)
(Cut to the camera being somewhere on the sea. Appa flies out from behind a cliff. Cut to Sokka on Appa's head, looking around with a serious look on his face.
Cut to the bustling town area of Ember Island. There's a crowd surrounding someone in an air nomad outfit and they cheer for "Aang" repeatedly. Camera slowly zooms in on Suki & Katara who are shocked to hear his name. They quickly run to the crowd and breaks a section apart.)
Actress Aang: (The tattooed head turns around) Avatar State, yip yip! (Actor Toph lifts her up in the air as she poses in a flying position as the crowd cheers wildly.
Cut back to Suki & Katara who have an exaggerated anime look of anger and "WHAT?!" on their faces.)
Toph: (Cut to some beach houses and camera pans down to Toph in her Fire Nation outfit & Zuko walking around) And then when I was nine, I ran away again.
Toph: I know I shouldn't complain, (Closes her eyes and opens her hands to the side. Zuko appears disinterested and looks away.) my parents gave me everything that I ever asked for. But they never gave me the one thing that I really wanted. Their love. You know what I mean? (Zuko drops his head and sighs audibly)
Zuko: (Cut back to Zuko who turns around and looks at her) Look, I know you had a rough childhood but we should really focus on finding Aang. (Cut to the top view of the scene with 2 white birds feeding on a branch. Zuko walks on.)
Toph: (Cut back to Toph who looks disappointed) This is the worst fieldtrip ever.
(She blows her fringe in irritation. Cut back to the roof of Ozai's beach house as the camera pans down to the group sitting on the steps despondently. Toph & Katara are back in their respective nation's outfits. Appa lands onto screen and growls.)
Sokka: Judging by the looks on your faces, I'm guessing you guys didn't find Aang either. (Cut back to the steps as Sokka jumps and lands in front of them)
Zuko: No. It's like he just... disappeared.
Toph: (sits up) Hey, wait a minute, has anyone noticed that Momo's missing too?
Sokka: (turns around in horror) Oh no! (kneels down and camera cuts to the top view of Sokka who is behaving hysterically) I knew it was only a matter of time. Appa ate Momo! (Cut to Appa as Sokka jumps in and lifts Appa's jaws to peer into his mouth) Momo, (Cut to the inside of the mouth with the camera looking at Sokka) I'm coming for ya, buddy (Sokka climbs onto Appa's tongue and tries to crawl his way in.)
Katara: (Cut back to Katara who staring calmly at her brother) Sokka, Appa didn't eat Momo. He's probably with Aang.
Sokka: (Cut to outside Appa's mouth as he turns around and looks at his sister) That's just what Appa wants you to think. (He climbs further in and Appa closes his mouth around Sokka's legs as they flail around.)
Zuko: (off screen) Get out of the bison's mouth, Sokka. (Cut back to Zuko who is not looking very pleased) We have a real problem here. Aang is nowhere to be found and the comet is only 2 days away.
Katara: (Cut to the girls who are looking up at him) What should we do Zuko? (In the background, Sokka slides out of Appa's mouth and his entire body is covered in Appa's saliva.)
Zuko: (stands up) I don't know. (Cut to the rest who continue to stare at him) Why are you all looking at me? (Cut back to Zuko who looks around)
Katara: (Cut back to the rest) Well, you are kind of the expert on tracking Aang.
Toph: (In the background, Sokka is seen standing up and trying to rub off the spit.) Yeah, if anyone's got experience hunting the Avatar,(Sokka takes a step and slips as he hits the ground with a very loud groan) it's you. (Cut back to Zuko's scarred side as he looks down. Cut to the ocean near dusk as Appa flies swiftly towards some dark clouds.
Cut to the front of Zuko who is on Appa's head while the rest watch him
from the saddle.)
Sokka: Zuko, I don't want to tell you how to do your job but why are we heading towards the Earth Kingdom? There's no way Aang's there.
Zuko: (Cut to Zuko's unscarred side as his eye is shown looking back at Sokka) Just trust me.
(Cut to Appa who picks up the pace and soars into the horizon and growls.
Cut to an overhead view of the royal plaza in the Fire Nation. There's a ship docked near the port and some contigents are seen on both sides of the red carpet. Cut to a group of Fire Nation citizens bowing down to a palanquin passing by with a silhouette of a person inside. Cut to a close up to Ozai's face to reveal that he is the one currently in the palanquin. Cut to an overhead shot of the red carpet as Ozai's palanquin proceeds forward.
Camera pans up to reveal another palanquin a fair distance behind. Cut to the inside of that palanquin to reveal Azula sitting crossed legged and looking rather impatient as her eyes darts to the side. Cut to outside the palanquin as Azula throws the veil open.)
Azula: Come on slowpokes, faster!
(The palanquin bearers pick up the pace but they are visibly struggling with the weight. Cut back to Azula who is still not looking very pleased. Cut to an overhead view of the plaza as the palanquin is seen travelling to the port at a very fast speed.
Cut to Ozai's palanquin as a servant holds the veil aside. Cut to Ozai's red and gold boot stepping out. Camera zooms out to reveal a crownless Ozai walking past a line of elite firebenders.
Cut to the front of Ozai as he walks up the steps, leaving the plaza behind him. Azula comes into screen behind him and kneels down.)
Azula: Sorry I'm late, Father. Good palanquin bearers (Her eyes look to the side< menancingly) are so hard to come by these days. So, is everything ready for our departure? (turns her head to the side leisurely)
Fire Lord Ozai: (off screen) There has been a change of plans, Azula.
Azula: (She turns her head back and her eyes widen in shock) What?
Fire Lord Ozai: (Cut to Ozai's back) I've decided to lead the fleet of airships to Ba Sing Se alone. (Cut to Azula who is still looking shocked.) You will remain here in the Fire Nation.
Azula: (whines and begins to behave like a spoilt child) But I thought we were going to do this together.
Fire Lord Ozai: (Cut back to Ozai's back again) My decision is final.
Azula: (Cut back to Azula who looks very unhappy) You... (Stands up and talks back to her Father) you can't treat me like this. (Her face scrunches up into anger and annoyance) You can't treat me like Zuko! (Throws her head forward to make her point)
Fire Lord Ozai: (Cut to Ozai's side view) Azula, silence yourself. (He frowns slightly)
Azula: (Cut back to Azula who whines even more) But it was my idea (clenches her fist towards herself) to burn everything to the ground! I deserve to be by your side!
Fire Lord Ozai: (Turns his head back fiercely and raises his voice sharply) Azula! (Azula stills her temper, closes her eyes and lowers her head in obedience) Listen to me. (Cut to an overhead view of where they are standing on. They are standing on a giant red and gold phoenix motif on the ground surrounded by a handful of fire sages and some elite firebenders. There's a set of armor on a small platform in front of them.) I need you here to watch over the homeland, it's a very important job (Cut back to Azula who opens her eyes) that I can only entrust to you.
Azula: (looks up in disbelief) Really?
Fire Lord Ozai: And for your loyalty, (turns to face his daughter) I've decided to declare you the new Fire Lord.
Azula: (Cut to a close up of her face) Fire Lord Azula? (Her face suddenly looks happy and turns her head to the side) It does seem appropriate. But, (turns her head back) what about you?
Fire Lord Ozai: (Cut to Ozai's face) Fire Lord Ozai is no more. Just as the World will be reborn in fire, (Camera zooms out as the fire sages put on golden phoenix shoulder pad armor on him) I shall be reborn (a phoenix helmet is placed on his head) as the supreme ruler of the World. (Cut to a side view of Ozai) From this moment on, I will be known as... (raises his arms proudly) the "Phoenix King"!
(A large, maroon phoenix motif banner is raised behind him. Cut to the line of firebenders holding the normal, red Fire Lord banners as another group of firebenders in front of them bring up the new, maroon Phoenix King banners. Cut to the other side as they do the same. Cut to 2 firebenders poised beside a giant urn at the bottom of a pillar. Camera zooms in on the urn as they firebend into 2 openings at the side of the urn. Camera pans up the pillar as fire lights up at the top. Cut to the citizens as they bow down. The pillars on each side of the banner light up to resemble a pair of phoenix wings. Cut back to Ozai in his full phoenix armor as the camera slowly zooms out to show the banner and the fire pillars.
Cut to a 3 storey building in the middle of a forested area. A group of people can be seen walking towards the door. Cut to the inside of the noisy building as dancing music from "The Headband" plays. Some patrons are gasping in shock and staring at something. Camera pans to the side as the door opens to reveal Zuko and the rest of the group)
Katara: (observing warily) And the reason you brought us to a seedy Earth Kingdom tavern is what now?
(Raises his arm and points. Cut to June sitting dismissively and sipping her tea as a huge burly man lunges as her. She stops him with her leg and pushes him down effortlessly as the man groans. The crowd gasps and are stunned. Junes miles at her success.)
Sokka: (off screen) Oh yeah (Cut to a close up of June's eye) that weird bounty hunter with the giant mole.
Suki: (off screen) Mole? Her skin is flawless.
(Camera zooms out to show June quickly getting off her seat as another opponent dressed like Ryu from Street Fighter crashes into her bench, breaking it into pieces. The previous opponent quickly scrambles away as "Ryu" takes another shot.)
Sokka: (off screen) No, (June deftly dodges and spins away with her tea cup still in hand. "Ryu" continues to fight) she has this giant mole creature she rides around on.
Zuko: (Cut back to the group standing at the doorway) Her shirshu. (groans can be heard from the fight) It's the only animal that can track Aang's scent anywhere in the World. It's the one shot we have of finding him.
(Cut back to the fight as "Ryu" tries to throw punches at June. It narrowly misses her tea cup as she throws it up into the air and time slows down and the tea cup rotates slowly. Cut back to an angry and annoyed June and time resumes back to normal as she throws "Ryu" over her shoulder when he lunges at her. Cut to a table at a corner of the tavern as the patrons widen their eyes and scramble away. "Ryu" lands on the table a second later, knocking off all the dishes on the table. Cut back to June as she grabs her falling tea cup without spilling any of its contents and the music ends. She turns away and drinks her tea.)
Toph: (Cut back to the group at the doorway) I don't know who this June lady is but (crosses her arms and smiles widely) I like her.
(Scene changes to Aang's sleeping form in the forested area and the camera zooms in on his body. Cut to Aang's face as Momo's licks it. He stirs and begins to wake up.)
Aang: (groans from sleepiness) Hey Momo, (sits up and rubs his head. Momo is clutching Aang's head protectively as it looks around) I just had the strangest dream. (He opens his eyes with a surprised look on his face and surveys his surroundings. He turns his head towards the ocean) Wait...
(Camera suddenly zooms in on the ocean and mysterious, eerie, chanting music plays. Cut back to Aang & Momo as the camera rotates slightly around them. Cut to an area in the water looking at the forested area and zooms out. Scene fades to the vast ocean with the forested area appearing to be in the middle of no where)
Aang: (off screen) Where are we?
(The music speeds up a little and ends abruptly. Fade to white.)
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