Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S03E13 – The Boiling Rock, Parts I & II

In the thirteenth episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka’s guilt over the failed invasion spurs him to take a dangerous mission to a secret Fire Nation prison to see if he can rescue his father. Oh, and Zuko comes along. Oh, and everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Avatar.

PART I

I really need to stop making any sort of judgments about an episode’s place in my heart in comparison to the entire season. The problem is that I am watching this at a fractured, slowed pace, and without knowing the ending, it’s getting silly how often I say I have just seen the best episode of the show.

There’s been quite a few of them, but, aside from “Zuko Alone,” none have been quite as cinematic and poetic as “The Boiling Rock.” I use the word “cinematic” because I felt as if I was watching a feature film the entire time. The writing for this specific episode was controlled to a point of perfection, allowing space for Zuko and Sokka to explore their awkward relationship with one another, for Zuko to reflect on Sokka’s obsession with honor, and for the story to give us TWO fantastically exciting prison breaks. Oh, and that ending? I know I just said I’d stray from hyperbolic statements of finality, but “The Boiling Rock” has THE BEST ending to any episode of Avatar yet.

The writers are not ignoring the plethora of options they have in taking this show into new directions now that Zuko is around, and it was a bold choice to feature an episode that did not feature Aang, Katara, or Toph. The whole time I kept waiting forΒ  the three of them to show up and help bail out Zuko and Sokka….but it never happened. There was no deus ex machina. Zuko and Sokka had to face the ramifications of their actions on their own. And…oh shucks, I’ll get there!

I’d never really given the same amount of thought to Zuko and Sokka’s obvious parallels aside from a few snippets of commentary; it’s brought out here and stretched to a forty-five minute epic about a man who gave up gaining the honor of his father working alongside someone who’s trying to earn his back. I’d expected that the failure at the Invasion of the Black Sun would eventually get to Sokka, but I didn’t think it would come so soon after the end of the battle. Still, we’re nearing the time of the arrival of Sozin’s Comet, so it’s not like we have a lot of time to address these things. (Why isn’t this series on for another 40 million seasons? Sadness forever.)

It’s funny that Zuko recognizes what Sokka’s up to so quickly. I’m sure Zuko was familiar with all of it: half-baked ideas waltzing about as “plans,” a desire to gain your honor back, wanting to impress your father…it’s all there. It’s what Zuko’s lived for over three years! That’s why it makes so much sense that Zuko wanted to come along. On top of that, I felt like he thought this was a good chance to do something to prove to at least one member of Team Avatar that he was absolutely invested in being a good person now, that it wasn’t just an act. I can’t imagine a more blatant sign than willingly choosing to help someone break in to the most heavily-guarded and geographically-nightmarish prison in the entire world.

It’s still pretty awkward, though. Even I’m still not used to all of this yet, and the writers treat the scenes between Zuko and Sokka with. What exactly are they supposed to talk about? Both characters have historically been pretty terrible with small talk, so sticking them together is like a tornado of awkward. However, when the conversation turns to girls, it does produce the greatest quote of all time:

  • “My first girlfriend turned into the moon.” “That’s rough, buddy.”

BECAUSE RIGHT.Β  What is rougher than that?

The Boiling Prison itself might be one of the most fully-realized sets that the show has ever created. From the boiling waters at the top of the volcano, to the metallic-looking shell of the prison, to the dark, crimson corridors, down to the open and angular design of the cell block, this is an immersive environment treated with a loving emphasis on detail. The same goes for the innumerable amount of side characters who inhabit the prison, many who we only see in the background for a single scene. The guard uniforms are a new design as well, one that conveniently manages to block out the identities of Zuko and Sokka, who infiltrate the prison after Zuko’s war balloon crash lands on shore.

At stake here is more than the obvious. Of course, Sokka wants to save his father to regain his perception of honor. But it’s also a chance to Zuko to fix one of his more pervasive problems: entering into situations without any sort of plan at all. Taking cues from his uncle, who warned him against this very idea, Zuko instead decides it’s best if he meticulously plans out what is to be done within the walls of the Boiling Rock. Does it work? Well…sort of? It’s nice to see that Sokka himself doesn’t want to follow along the exact same path as Zuko. (Remember his obsessive mapping and scheduling?) Regardless, for a short period of time, it seems things are going to plan. They’re able to infiltrate the prison, get believable disguises, and make headway on determining where prisoners of war might be kept.

But that’s the thing. Whether you make plans or not, sometimes it doesn’t matter. Sometimes, you can’t predict the myriad of forces that will arrive to simply mess absolutely everything up for you. I know I’m reading a lot into this (THIS IS WHAT I DO), but there’s a sense of absurdism strung throughout both parts. No matter how much planning these two do, there’s always another wrench thrown in the machine, another sign of the momentous random nature of life.

Unfortunately for Sokka, though, finding that Suki is alive and willing to join the escape plan is not enough to keep this momentum going. Finding Suki certainly is a positive moment, but…holy god, y’all, it just all dissolves into chaos so quickly. What was supposed to be a simple in-and-out mission first adds Suki. Then Chit Sang, a firebender prisoner. Oh, and the prisoners from the invasion aren’t even in this prison. I don’t even know if heartbreak is the right word. Sokka feels the most supreme sense of disappointment in the fact that he and Zuko traveled so far and lost their only war balloon on a mission that was bound for failure before they ever started. So what the hell do you do in a situation like this?

Zuko and Sokka’s answer fills me with joy: You make the best of an absurd situation.

Even though Hakoda and the other prisoners aren’t in Boiling Rock, isn’t it also honorable to save who you can? By knowing when it’s okay to give up and when it’s okay to create a new, more flexible plan, the writers show us something I would never have thought of in a million years: Zuko and Sokka make one amazing team. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the two of them so under control of their usual outbreaks: There are very few Zuko rages, and there are very few Sokka panics. Even when Zuko is discovered and thrown into a cell, I could not believe how under control this all was. I mean…Zuko WRESTLED ANOTHER GUARD TO KEEP SOKKA SAFE. This could have been far worse than it was; instead, they both figure out a way to ingeniously use this misfortune to help them escape.

Could I watch an entire season of the two of them just getting into shenanigans? Yes I could.

That being said….there’s a snag here that I knew would muddle things up in the future, regardless of any plans. The warden of the Boiling Rock is MAI’S UNCLE. Even though The Warden isn’t going to cash in the reward immediately, this is one GIGANTIC red flag. Zuko broke Mai’s heart, and even though we know it’s for a good reason, it’s still a painful thing for Mai. (Who I never really saw as a “bad” character or a villain, and the same goes for Ty Lee. They were people of circumstance and privilege, and they went along with things. They didn’t start them like Azula. But more on that later.)

I couldn’t help but be reminded of The Great Escape (ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES EVER) as Sokka and Zuko began to enact the complicated plan to be the first folks to ever escape from Boiling Rock. From the set-up that gets Zuko thrown in the Cooler, to Zuko UNSCREWING THE COOLER TO USE IT AS A FUCKING BOAT, to Sokka’s genius idea of using the cooler itself as a device to stand the boiling water, I just kept thinking to myself: This is so cool GOD I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH.

But even after accomplishing all of this, Sokka’s mission is tested: He learns that a shipment of war prisoners is on their way. And even when the escape group assembles on the shore of the prison, escape within reach, Sokka knows he cannot risk having come all this way and then turn his back on his father at the last minute. So he throws himself to chance. That’s what this is about, isn’t it? He has no reliable information about who is in that shipment of prisoners, so it’s an act of pure faith. He has to roll the dice.

As Chit Sang sails off in the cooler and Sokka, Zuko, and Suki remain behind and head back up to the prison, I knew there was still a second half to this story left. Hakoda would have to be on that lift, wouldn’t he? Where else could the story go if he didn’t? Yet even realizing this, the writers do such a good job drawing out the tension of the scene. Sokka waits, his faced pained with the hope that his father will appear out of the lift. And just when it seems impossible, the camera pans up as the last prisoner is ordered out.

Hakoda is here. There is hope that this can end well.

PART II

Well, there’s hope that it can end well for some of these characters.

It’s interesting being able to look back at this two-parter (which actually flows like a single episode, probably better than any one in the past) because it follows almost the same pattern as the first half. We begin the story feeling a lot of hope for what is about to happen, and for a second, everything looks as if it will happen according to plan. Then, one action sets everything into chaos, and it becomes an avalanche of awful. Just…one thing after another goes wrong. The only main difference is that we don’t end on a high note. Instead, we’re given a bittersweet ending, one of reunion and one of betrayal and shock.

It’s hard not to feel good at the opening of this episode. With the confirmation that Hakoda is indeed a part of this batch of prisoners, Sokka’s actions have been validated. It’s even more inspiring for him to see his father act like the most punk rock man who has ever lived. His father clearly shows the Warden that he doesn’t live in fear of him, and I’m certain Sokka now knows he cannot show fear either. That might partially be his downfall, though, because everything that Sokka does from this point is much more reckless than he is used to. Yes, Sokka is almost synonymous with “shenanigans.” It’s true! But in such a tense situation, visiting Zuko so often is a bad idea. VisitingΒ Suki in the way that he does isn’t helpful either. Sokka is generally a meticulous person, but he lets his excitement get the best of him. He doesn’t plan these things, and it comes back to haunt him.

Zuko, on the other hand, is being held in a cell, his identity exposed, and time is running out before he’s eventually turned over. Unfortunately, in one of the more shocking moments of the series, after he is moved cells due to Sokka’s “beating,” he gets his first visitor: Mai. Now, I don’t know why I thought it simply wasn’t possible that she could ever show up, but it makes sense in hindsight that the Warden would contact his niece before letting the secret out about Zuko. Still! I clamped my hand over my mouth when she arrived because my roommate was asleep and I nearly yelled at the top of my lungs.

God, what a difficult scene. The hardest part about it is that neither person is in the wrong. I have to commend the writers for creating a plot twist that would eventually lead to this moment. We know in our hearts that Zuko really is doing what’s best for the Fire Nation. We know this! Yet I cannot deny that leaving Mai the way he did (through a letter!) is a pretty awful thing for her. If we put ourselves in her shoes, he betrayed his nation, left his girlfriend (who clearly cares for him), and joined the resistance force. What is she supposed to feel? How can we justify her heartbreak if we see things from her perspective? I think even Zuko’s aware that he chose the path that was most moral for him. If he stayed with Mai, he would have been denying his self, so he sacrificed her in order to do what was right.

I LOVE AMBIGUITY.

What’s not ambiguous is the fact that everything here–Sokka’s plan, Zuko’s cover, the possibility of escape–falls apart in just minutes. It’s astound how horrific the situation seems. Chit Sang, after being tortured by the Warden’s guards, admits that someone helped him escape, and that it was someone disguised as a prison guard. Sokka is taken away moments later after leaving Suki’s cell and it seems inevitable that this plan is going to crash and burn.

And Chit Sang identifies someone else as the traitor.

Is it possible? Is it the light at the end of the tunnel? Did Chit Sang’s loyalty just save the whole escape plan?

NOPE NEVERMIND, AZULA AND TY LEE ARE HERE TOO. EVERYTHING IS AWFUL AND EVERYTHING HURTS. I groaned so loud when they showed up on scream (instantly feeling bad because of my sleeping roommate) because NOTHING COULD GO WELL FROM HERE ON OUT. Ugh, Azula, WHEN ARE YOU JUST GOING TO EXPLODE OR SOMETHING

Thankfully, Sokka has no idea that the Dangerous Ladies have arrived, so he brilliantly concocts a lie to get all of the prisoners let out of their cells for time in the yard, setting up the best possible distraction one could ask for: a prison riot. (No, I don’t think you truly know how much I adore this show and specifically this episode. A PRISON RIOT. ON AVATAR. !!!!!!!!!!!) And seriously, bless the writers for the wonderful gag about a prisoner refusing to riot because of his recent attempt at anger management, only to have Chit Sang start a riot by politely asking others to do so. It’s such a great joke and does absolutely nothing to take away from this story at all. It’s a seamless switch in tone, too, from this scene to Zuko’s escape as the riot breaks out full scale.

It’s here that “The Boiling Rock” becomes a thing of absolute beauty. The tight, complicated script winds these characters into each other to create, hands down, the most suspenseful scene I’ve come across on this show. From the masterful capturing of the warden by Suki (OH MY GOD HOW AMAZING WAS THAT), to Zuko’s clever decision to break the lever that would stop them, to the MIND-BLOWING FIVE-WAY FIGHT ON TOP OF THE GONDOLA, these scenes are written with an urgency and energy that spills through the screen. What was so great about all of this was that I honestly could not tell what was going to happen. It could go in any direction at any time because the writers had thrown in so many variables. Would they make it to the other side? Would someone get knocked off into the boiling water? Would the Ty Lee and Azula forfeit this battle to prepare for something greater?

Nope. The Warden would untie himself and scream down to his guards, ordering them to cut the cable.

The unbelievable look on all of the character’s faces, knowing that the moment of truth has come, is just HORRIFYING. There’s that small glimpse of frightened hesitation on the faces of Ty Lee and Azula; it’s short, but it’s there. And it SCARES ME. We don’t ever see them express fear, and for a brief moment in time, they do. Oh, and then they just JUMP ON TO THE OTHER GONDOLA.

I cannot imagine a bleaker scene in this whole show. This is so much worse than the end of season two, because you can at least hold on to the hope that Aang survived that moment. But we are rapidly approaching the end of the entire series, and I suddenly realized that anything could happen to these characters. Just….I watched this scene again, as the guards inch closer and closer to severing the cable, and it is just completely awful. I have never felt this kind of dread while watching Avatar.

And that’s when a variable I’d completely forgotten arrives to save the entire group: Mai. Mai!!!!! I couldn’t believe it. Was this a dream sequence? Was she actually turning on her fellow Fire Nation guards in order to save the very people who were supposedly betraying her nation? She was. She was saving that jerk who dumped her.

THERE ARE FEW WORDS OR IMAGES OR VIDEOS OR ANY SORT OF COMMUNICATION METHOD THAT COULD CONVEY WHAT I AM FEELING AT THIS VERY MOMENT!!!!!

As Team Avatar successfully escape, taking the very boat that the Dangerous Ladies arrived in, this ecstatic moment of victory is destroyed. Azula, confronting Mai, is furious, unable to understand why her friend would betray her, knowing the consequence of her actions. And Mai replies with the most beautiful response ever:

“I guess you just don’t know people as well as you think you do. You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you.”

Just when I thought my heart could swell no larger, Azula prepares to end Mai’s life in a rush of anger, and TY LEE BLOCKS AZULA’S CHI AND PREVENTS HER FROM KILLING HER FRIEND. I ALMOST FELL OUT OF MY BED IN SHOCK. WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!! MAI AND TY LEE TURNED AGAINST AZULA. I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS THIS IS THE GREATEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN EVER.

Unfortunately, even these feelings are short-lived: Mai and Ty Lee fail to escape, and Azula orders that they be locked away, left to rot so that she will never have to see their faces again.

But.
But.
But.

That can’t be it, right? You can’t just….oh my god what have you done????

As I said before, the ending to “The Boiling Rock” is bittersweet. Team Avatar are victorious in bringing back Hakoda, and the reunion is wonderful. (Well, maybe not for Toph, who didn’t get the meat she was so looking forward to.) But miles away, two characters who chose to stand up to someone who is essentially the world’s worst bully are being locked away for all eternity.

I can’t really feel happy about that.

THOUGHTS

  • “Get the fugitives and throw them in the cooler!” “Uh, sir, they are in the cooler.”
  • “Last time I checked, Fire Nation prisons don’t have bison day cares.” WELL THEY SHOULD.
  • “What would uncle say?Β Sometimes, clouds have two sides…a dark and light and a silver lining in between, it’s like a silver sandwich! Sooo…when life seems down, take a bite out of the sandwich…?”

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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331 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S03E13 – The Boiling Rock, Parts I & II

  1. Reactions to Prediction K [K. And let’s now turn towards the serious: Azula will be double-crossed by Ty Lee after Ty Lee witnesses Azula doing something that disappoints her or breaks her heart. (WHAT. I THINK IT WOULD BE AN INTERESTING STORY TO PURSUE.)] on Mark Spoils

    spectralbovine
    HOLY SHIT HOW DID HE CALL THAT.

    arctic_hare
    I WAS JUST COMING HERE TO SAY THAT

    HOLY SHIT

    echinodermata
    SOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOD – read that and IMMEDIATELY came here; haven't even finished reading the rest yet.

    alexamarie0813
    SO MUCH ACCURACY.
    guys what if in reality mark has watched the entire series and he's just playing us.
    WHAT IF.

    Anne
    I TOTALLY GASPED WHEN I READ THAT.

    HE IS A PSYCHIC.

    Tauriel_
    HOLY FUCK. O.o

    Elexus Calcearius
    I KNOW

    • dcpierce says:

      RIGHT?!?! I absolutely LOST IT when I read that the first time! I mean, how…just, HOW?!

      Love. This. Show.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Hehe, yeah, I remember someone speculating that Mark had actually already secretly watched the whole series and was simply trolling us… XD

      • nanceoir says:

        That… might have been me? I said in reply to alexamarie0813 (quoted above), "Are you suggesting that Mark is the bizarre love-child/troll of Iroh and Moffat?"

        TELL US, MARK, YOU ARE, AREN'T YOU?

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      SERIOUSLY I HAD NO IDEA.

      The reason I said that was because Ty Lee always had this like…puppy dog adoration for Azula. And in my blackest of black hearts, I was like, WHAT IF THAT IS CRUSHED COMPLETELY?

      Oh gosh, were any of you around for that troll during Mark Reads Harry Potter who insisted I was just trolling the HP fandom? That I had made up the ENTIRE thing?

      • dragonsong12 says:

        I didn't read a lot of the comments on MRHP, but they showed up on Fandom Secrets as well. We were mostly like "…okay…goodie for you for believing that? Why? We don't know, but whatever makes you happy." *goes back to enjoying posts*

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          OH MY GOD. I ALMOST POSTED ON THAT THREAD ON FANDOM SECRETS. I have a Google Alert set up for myself (DON'T JUDGE IT TOTALLY WORKS) and that popped up like the day after it went up. Holy shit, some people were RUTHLESS. I just wanted to troll them further, but chose to take the Internet High Road and just pass it along to my friends so that we could laugh at it.

          • Elexus Calcearius says:

            God, that's pretty ridiculous. I do remember the whole 'Kasper is a Sock-Puppet' thing; honestly, if I'd been in that situation, I think I couldn't have avoided the temptation to troll those threads.

            (On the topic of Sock-Puppets, you should now be able to watch the first 'Avatar; the Last Puppetbender' on youtube. Not the second, River Song would tell you why.)

      • Tauriel_ says:

        That sounds pretty awful. Then again, Internet is full of assholes, and you can never completely avoid them… πŸ™

      • myshadow says:

        I remember that and I think someone said on Fandom!Secrets about Kasper being a sock puppet or something?

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          YES!!!!!!!! oh my god, that is still the funniest thing between Kasper and I. I mean….HE LIVED AT MY HOUSE FOR TWO MONTHS. how is that a sock puppet

          • Danel says:

            To be fair, HP fandom does have previous of stuff almost exactly like that; I think the whole Ms. Scribe affair had an obvious sockpuppet who was supposedly her live-in babysitter or something.

            • calimie says:

              If someone is interested, this is an excellent account of what happened. It's long, but it reads like a crime novel on what depths some fen would sink for a taste of BNFdom.
              And yes, "my babysitter used my computer" is used. http://www.journalfen.net/users/charlottelennox/7

              • arctic_hare says:

                Wow, that is kind of mindblowingly wacky. I'm not sure if I'm sorry I missed that – not having been heavily involved with the fandom at that point beyond reading the occasional fic – or glad I evaded the drama. That whole saga makes the drama I've seen seem so mild in comparison. Bizarro stuff.

                • affableevil says:

                  It's very surreal, isn't it? One woman's rise to BNFdom in the Harry Potter fandom through intricate sockpuppetry and lies.

                  • arctic_hare says:

                    It really is. I mean, for context, I've seen smaller scale stuff and people faking their own deaths on the internet, but nothing like this, it dwarfs all of that. I cannot fathom what would make a person go to those ridiculous lengths. Over Harry Potter fanfiction. @_@

              • AnonAndi says:

                Oh dear lawd. I'm trying to read through this and these people are just…. well I can't think of nice words so I'm going to stop there. But seriously?! Over fanfic? My mind is blown by the sheer absurdity.

              • lossthief says:

                By the gods. This is absolutely fascinating. I've always been interested in different online interactions (I've recently been reading about the absolutely bizarre EVE Online community, especially the economy). I just love seeing the lengths people will go for stuff ON THE INTERNET. It's so bizarre and enlightening. How will some people act when given the chance to craft an entirely new persona on the internet?

                THANK YOU SO MUCH, for posting that link, because it is one of the greatest things I've ever read. For Srs.

          • Does that mean potato babies are a lie? πŸ™

    • tigerpetals says:

      I had a heart attack.

      I love when he's right about things.

    • alexamarie0813 says:

      mark, i still think you're psychic.

  2. lilah80 says:

    "Dear Diary,
    Azula tried to kill me again, but I have the coolest girlfriend in the world. Sokka punched me in the shoulder when I said so, to defend Suki's honor, but it's true. Mai is my gloomy little soulmate, the flame of my heart's desire. As soon as we set down in the Western Air Temple again, I'm carving our names into a wall as a monument to our love. I thought about drawing "Mai + Zuko 4-Ever" in skywriting from Azula's war balloon, but Hakoda said we should probably just make our escape." – Zuko

  3. monkeybutter says:

    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/23vl1yr.png"&gt;
    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/apjpm0.gif"&gt;
    She’s a people person.

    “The Boiling Rock” episodes are so damn satisfying. I can watch them over and over again, and never get tired. As much as I love Zuko and Aang, Zuko and Sokka as travelling buddies is a million times better. How can you top “My first girlfriend turned into the moon.” “That’s rough buddy”? Only by taking a bite out a silver sandwich stuffed with the meat of friendship and fatherhood, that’s how. They’re adorkable squared, and I love that their combined planning and non-planning somehow makes success. Zuko’s words about perseverance in the face of failure meant a lot after all they’ve both been through.

    And to make it even better, Suki’s back! She’s my favorite minor character, and for the longest time, I was afraid that she had died off-screen like Jet, but she’s alive and well! She also seems to have been taking the Iroh Prison Escape course; these episodes completely make up for not seeing Iroh break out of jail. Her acrobatics are a bit out there, but it’s such a fun scene and sets her up for an even match against Ty Lee on the gondola. I like to think that she would have broken out on her own eventually.

    <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/adz3nl.gif"&gt;
    I’m a sucker for all of the happy reunions in this episode. I tear up when Hakoda does, and I like that Sokka gets to be the hero and take the lead on their escape plan. I know Hakoda already told him that he’s proud of the man that he’s become, but it’s nice to see him fulfilling the role he’s dreamed of and being the hero. I love Sokka and Hakoda’s relationship.

    <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/2u61c3d.gif"&gt;
    But holy crap, the best part is at the end. I’ve always wished that Mai and Ty Lee weren’t Azula’s flunkies, because they really do seem like better people than she is. Their betrayal fills me with glee. I like to think that Zuko and Mai had a chat about why he left that we missed, but she’s always been less devoted to and scared of Azula than Ty Lee, so I was delighted that she broke away first. Ty Lee’s worried look as they leapt off the doomed gondola was a great subtle sign that she was disturbed by Azula’s willingness to let her brother die. I was so giddy when she intervened to save Mai. Who better to take Azula down than the people who know her best? I can’t watch “The Guru” without cracking a grin knowing that her trust is misplaced, and that she can’t rule her friends in fear anymore than Long Feng could Ba Sing Se. It’s funny how Zuko, who really only had his mother and uncle on his side, is making friends while Azula is losing all of hers.

    • tigerpetals says:

      Yes especially to your last paragraph, and you've made me realize something I hadn't before: Ty Lee has never witnessed the full extent of Azula's ruthlessness. She wasn't there when she first tried to kill Zuko, when she tried to kill Iroh, and when she shot Aang- even though she must have known about that one-actually, must she have? Azula could have hidden the fact that she was the one who shot Aang from her too. I don't remember now whether I noticed that worried look of hers, but reading that in your comment felt odd. Why should she be worried? Then I came to that realization.

      • tigerpetals says:

        Also, while it's obvious that Ty Lee and Mai are better people than Azula- which isn't saying much, as a porcupine or a snail is a better human being than Azula- I would like to see her turning out better too. Not that I think it would happen, but for me she overshadows them and I can't help but wonder how much I would adore her if she combined her fascinatingness and magnetism with different actions, motivations, etcetera. I'm more into her than I am into Mai and Ty Lee, who don't feel as well-developed to me (Ty Lee especially), and are more normal.

        Though I wonder about an AU Avatar in which the principal villain facing the heroes was not Azula but a Mai/Ty Lee combo (Fire Lord doesn't count because he's barely there). They aren't evil like Azula, but would still be an opposing side, without Zuko's extreme of a fucked-up family. It would be more of a middle ground, rather than "Azula is evil and Zuko is a fucked-up idiot for returning to his family," creating more ambiguity in the plotline. But then we'd lose an awesome villain.

        Oh, and Hakoda with Sokka was very sweet and darling.

        • monkeybutter says:

          Yeah, Ty Lee admires and respects Azula because she's fierce, but she hasn't really seen how terrible she can be. I think it also helped that there was a face on the victim this time (though Azula didn't give the order, she isn't exactly broken up about it); it's one thing to try to bring Zuko in line and hunt down enemies of the Fire Nation, but it's another to watch a boy you've grown up with plunge into a boiling lake.

          I agree that it would be interesting to see Azula's magnetism and strength pointed in a more positive direction, but I also love her as a villain.

        • majere616 says:

          The look on Azula's face is magical.

    • That .gif of Suki tying up the Warden is made of pure win and awesome. *saves*

  4. An Excerpt from My TWoP Post on April 26, 2008

    "The Boiling Rock" is AWESOMECAKES.

    People have already made note of some of the classic exchanges*, so I'll throw in:

    Zuko: How did you know I was here?
    Mai: Because I know you so well.
    Zuko: But…how?
    Mai: The warden's my uncle, you idiot.

    I loved how fucking Prison Break it all was. No one's ever broken out! Some guy hears the plan and gets himself in on it! Will he rat them out? Maybe he will! Maybe he won't! WHERE ARE YOUR TATTOOS, SOKKA??

    Suki looks so different without her makeup. I wouldn't have recognized her. But she's cute. And BADASS. Holy shit, that scene was amaaaaazing. Stepping on people's heads! Climbing up walls! Doing gymnastics! Taking out guards! Capturing the warden! ALL BY HERSELF.

    And Azula!! "I'm a people person." Ahahahaha. And she busted out the rockets again!! And Zuko and Suki both get a rematch!

    And Mai! Saves the day! And finally stands up to Azula! And Azula is totally taken aback and surprised because she does not understand the concept of love. And then Ty Lee comes out of motherfucking nowhere and keeps her from roasting Mai. Looks like she loves Mai more than she fears Azula.

    Hakoda did not even suck that much in this episode! Well done.

    I am also wary of that new prisoner guy. They don't know anything about him. He could be a liability, or he could be an asset. At least he has good grammar and a sense of humor.

    My Avatar squee is totally back. I've been TALKING IN ALL-CAPS for the last half hour.

    *Classic Exchanges

    Sokka: Fine, you caught me, I'm gonna rescue my dad. You happy now?
    Zuko: I'm NEVER happy.

    Sokka: My first girlfriend turned into the moon.
    Zuko: That's rough, buddy.

    Zuko: Err, what would Uncle say? Sometimes clouds have two sides, a dark and light. And a silver lining in between. It's like a silver sandwich. So…when life seems hard…take a bite out of the silver sandwich.
    Sokka: Maybe we haven't failed after all.
    Zuko: That's the spirit. I can't believe that worked. I didn't even know what I was saying.
    Sokka: No, what you said made no sense at all. But look, it's Suki!

    Sokka: Oh, good. You guys have met.
    Suki: Actually, we met a long time ago.
    Zuko: We did?
    Suki: Yeah, you kind of burned down my village.
    Zuko: Oh. Sorry about that.

    Guard: What are you doing?!
    Mai: Saving the jerk who dumped me.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Sokka: Fine, you caught me, I'm gonna rescue my dad. You happy now?
      Zuko: I'm NEVER happy.

      Katara (to Aang in the Northern Water Tribe): That way, you have someone to practice with, and I'll learn waterbending! Everybody's happy!
      Sokka: I'm not happy.
      Katara: But you're never happy.

      SOKKA AND ZUKO SHOULD TOTALLY START THE "NEVER HAPPY" CLUB, Y/Y?

    • tigerpetals says:

      "And Azula is totally taken aback and surprised because she does not understand the concept of love."

      She is now Voldemort. But scarier and prettier, I think.

      "I'm NEVER happy."

      Oh god, I can't believe I missed that line.

      I liked Chit Seng, but I agree about not trusting him. On the other hand, he wanted to get his girlfriend and a friend out, so he's not totally self-centered. On the third hand, they could be a trio of loving murderers. Or they suspected him of having a plan and were going to get him in trouble if he didn't tell them. He does seem to get in trouble ouf of pride a lot; the guards would believe them.

      I liked him because of that pride and because he was looking for the way out. He doesn't rat out Sokka because he might still be useful. On the other hand, dipping a metal paddle in boiling water was the height of stupidity. It's the Boiling Rock for a reason, man. On the infinite hand, I guess he didn't know metal conducts heat, especially since he wad riding in the metal thing anyway (insulated somehow, but he wouldn't know how that worked).

    • @maybegenius says:

      Zuko saying "I'm NEVER happy" never fails to make me crack up. It's kind of sad, but it's so in character while poking fun at that part of his characterization.

    • eleniel says:

      Zuko's deadpan is my favorite thing.

      • eleniel says:

        Except for maybe his extreme dorkitude when he says "What if there's an incident?" to the guards on break when the tell him to take his helmet off. Who knew dweebiness could be useful for espionage?

    • @redbeardjim says:

      Sokka: Oh, good. You guys have met.
      Suki: Actually, we met a long time ago.
      Zuko: We did?
      Suki: Yeah, you kind of burned down my village.
      Zuko: For me, it was Tuesday.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        Ah, TVtropes has gotten to you! There is no hope! Just try resisting the urge to call everyone a time-lord.

    • Patrick721 says:

      she does not understand the concept of love
      UNDERSTAND UNDERSTAND
      UNDERSTAND UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF LOVE
      UNDERSTAND UNDERSTAND
      UNDERSTAND UNDERSTAND
      UNDERSTAND UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF LOVE

  5. arctic_hare says:

    We continue to ride the train of awesome with this two-parter, which sees Sokka getting his turn to go on a special field trip with Zuko. I love typing that. πŸ˜€ Oh man, Zuko's utter failure at telling Iroh's joke is priceless. HE IS SO ADORKABLE MY HEART CANNOT STAND IT. <3 <3 <3 Let's hope that he at least has learned more about tea-brewing since Bitter Work (odds are fairly good, considering that he helped run Iroh's tea shop for a short while).

    He's no fool, though, which you'd have to be to not see through Sokka's act after hearing about the Boiling Rock. You know right off when you don't see him lying there asleep as Sokka sneaks off that he's going to be waiting for him somewhere, which turns out to be on Appa. Which allows us the hilarious moment of Sokka falling off Appa. πŸ˜€ Their dynamic while traveling starts out so awkward, but Sokka manages to break the ice with the mention of who designed the war balloon they're riding in, which starts off an interesting conversational chain. Zuko is still troubled by what happened between him and Iroh, and by having to leave Mai behind. I love the smile on his face when he talks about her. Awwww. πŸ˜€ They are so cute. But even more than that, I love when Sokka says that his first girlfriend turned into the moon, and Zuko responds with "That's rough, buddy." GREATEST EXCHANGE EVER, Y/Y? Y, FER SURE. I also love that Sokka tells Zuko that he thinks Iroh would be proud of him for what he's done in leaving the Fire Nation behind to help them. I think so too. *sniffle*

    You know, Sokka, when Zuko, king of not thinking a cunning plan all the way through, is chastising your cunning plan… you might want to rethink your strategy. Just a thought.

    Unfortunately, it all seems like their daring act of stealth has been for nothing… until Sokka spots Suki! The question of where she was taken after we last saw her in Appa's Lost Days has finally been answered: after her defeat at Azula's hands, she was carted off to the Boiling Rock. I'd wondered after Day of Black Sun if we were ever going to see her again, and so I was very excited to see her. I love how their reunion starts off with Sokka pulling the same thing on her as she did on him back in Serpent's Pass… only it doesn't work quite as planned. I LOVE SOKKA SO MUCH. AND SUKI. Plus, not that we needed the confirmation, but here's one more thing Azula lied about: Suki didn't give up on him. Aaawww.

    Of course, this leads to Zuko getting himself arrested and oh shit the Warden is Mai's uncle. That can't be good. On the upside, this leads to a delightfully awkward moment between him and Suki as they mop the floor.

    I have to hand it to Sokka, the plan with the cooler was a good one. And it might have worked too, except – now there's the possibility that if they wait around another night, Hakoda will be there. They have no way of knowing if he's one of the prisoners of war – in fact, I'd say there's a good chance it's not him, considering there are probably tons of those – but in the end, Sokka chooses to stay behind and try, after an odd yet effective little pep talk from Zuko. Who, as we all know, knows a thing or two about not giving up even in the face of repeated failures. Sokka knows this too; after all, he was counting on this trait of Zuko's back at the North Pole. I think he has that in mind after listening to what Zuko has to say, and it helps him make the decision to remain at the Boiling Rock in hopes of being able to free his father. Suki and Zuko choose to stay with him, which I really love; it'll be risky as hell for all of them, but now Sokka won't be alone. He has friends with him (and how cool is it that Zuko can now be considered Sokka's friend? VERY INTENSELY COOL).

    The plan fails anyway, but luckily, they haven't made a huge mistake, as Sokka worries: Hakoda is among the new prisoners! Now they just have to figure out a new way to get him, and themselves, safely out of there. Onwards to part two!

    <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/25s8z1x.png&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    • arctic_hare says:

      When Sokka expresses his worry to Hakoda about not knowing if there's another way off the Boiling Rock, all I could think of was the Eleventh Doctor at the end of Time of Angels: "There's always a way out."

      OH SHIT MAI IS HERE. And boy, is she pissed. With good reason. She's right: it was a shitty thing for Zuko to do, breaking up with her in a letter like that. I can't say I blame her for being so angry at him. And of course, to her, what he's done would look like treason. He sees it differently, and so do I: he's betraying his father and thus technically his country, in order to save it. It needs saving, Zuko and I both know that. But Mai hasn't had the same experiences he has, she doesn't know what we viewers know. It's harder for her to understand, and so she and Zuko are at an impasse. It's pretty sad for me to watch, because I love them together; but it'd be unrealistic for her to behave otherwise here. Poor Mai. Poor Zuko. Especially when Zuko escapes from the cell as the riot starts, and they stare at each other through the door. Just their eyes say so much.

      Once Chit Sang admitted that someone else disguised as a guard had come up with the escape plan, my heart sank: of course he'd betrayed Sokka. It made sense: he didn't strike me as the brightest guy, and to be fair, he didn't really know them or have much reason for loyalty. The feeling of dread grew as Sokka was carted off to be put in the lineup. But then he picks the same guard who'd been fucking with him back in part one. πŸ˜€ Which also makes a lot of sense: revenge on that douchebag, protecting the guy who'd tried to help him escape, and getting the warden off his back. Perfection. Particularly since that asshole had thrown him in the very cooler he'd tried to use to escape. Seems to be going fairly smoothly, right?

      … ah, but then, a certain musical theme heralds the arrival of A MONKEY WRENCH IN THE MACHINERY, in the form of Azula and Ty Lee. Of course, we should've expected this once we saw Mai with Zuko. I have to say, I love how well they used the soundtrack here: you know Azula's there a second before you even see her, thanks to that distinctive music that by now ought to send a chill down your spine at the sound of it. Bravo, Track Team.

      The fight scene that follows the riot (in which Suki is a supreme badass and wins my heart for all of time) is one of my favorites. It's very tense and exciting because of the location, and the history between all the players. Suki has a score to settle with Azula and Ty Lee, as do Zuko and Sokka, and we know that our two Dangerous Ladies very much live up to that nickname. Suki's holding her own against Ty Lee this time, though, and it's great to see Sokka and Zuko (whose firebending has gotten even better since his lesson from the masters) team up against Azula.

      • arctic_hare says:

        And then… oh man. Let's flash back for a second, to Mark's Book Three predictions.

        And let’s now turn towards the serious: Azula will be double-crossed by Ty Lee after Ty Lee witnesses Azula doing something that disappoints her or breaks her heart. (WHAT. I THINK IT WOULD BE AN INTERESTING STORY TO PURSUE.)

        I'm not sure if you actually expected this to happen when you made that prediction, Mark, but those of us who had seen the whole series before flipped our shit when we read that because OMG BOILING ROCK. It's not just Ty Lee betraying her either: she did it because Mai did it first, and Mai was in danger from Azula, and when push came to shove, Ty Lee valued Mai's life more (and that of Zuko's, too – look at her face as they ride the other gondola away, she's not smiling like Azula is at the prospect of his death), and chose to act in her defense despite her deep fear of Azula. It's a really stunning thing to watch, and even Ty Lee herself looks shocked that she did it. And how awesome is Mai's line? "You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you." Looking back, all the signs that it might come to this were subtly laid out for us. Mai, to my mind, never seemed to fear Azula quite as much as Ty Lee did. Look at how she just didn't give a shit about possible repurcussions for not jumping into the slurry in The Drill. Then, when Azula interrupts her date with Zuko in The Headband, Mai gives her this side-eye as she walks away that in hindsight is brilliant, subtle foreshadowing of what's to come. I'm sad that my Dangerous Ladies OT3 has been broken up, but at the same time, I'm so impressed with how it was executed that it lessens my sadness.

        In a way, I almost feel sorry for Azula, as she's clearly gutpunched by this betrayal of those closest to her, and has to be hurting underneath the shock and anger, but – this is what happens when you try to control your friends through fear. One day, that's just not going to be enough, and they're going to find the courage to stand up to you, as Mai and Ty Lee did here. It's an important lesson she needs to learn; this young woman who knows so little about actually relating to people in a normal, healthy way (as we saw in The Beach). It will be very interesting to see how her story unfolds from here, now that she's lost her most trusted comrades.

        Other stuff:

        – Haha, I love that Zuko assigned Aang homework while he's off to mount a prison break. πŸ˜€ He's a good teacher.

        – It occurred to me during the crash scene that they were technically doing exactly what Sokka mentioned last episode: jump into a volcano.

        – "take a bite of the silver sandwich" hahaha oh my god this is seriously the best Zuko

        – I love them faking Sokka "roughing up" Zuko. They are hilarious together.

        – The prisoner that Hakoda picks to try and start the riot is amazing.

        – I will never not find the nervous guard crabwalking out of sight of the warden completely hilarious.

        – Awww, the way Zuko smiles and says that Mai doesn't need any protection from the riot. So sweet. &lt;3

        – SUKI IS UTTERLY FANTASTIC AND BADASS. I LOVE HER. THE GUYS ARE MORE OUT OF BREATH JUST RUNNING UP THERE TO MEET HER. FLAWLESS. <3 <3 <3

        – "Saving the jerk who dumped me." I stared at the screen in complete and total shock as the sheer badassery began to unfold. SO MUCH LOVE. MAI, YOU ARE INCREDIBLE. Seeing her take down all those firebenders with ease… UNF. MAJOR FANGIRL MOMENT. <3

        • brotorious says:

          yes! this. all of this, everything.

          but a million times this:
          even Ty Lee herself looks shocked that she did it.

          i've seen the episode and that .gif a countless number of times, and i always get a tinge of that feeling from the first time i saw it.

          • Danel says:

            Yeah – I'm genuinely not sure who's more surprised by it: Mai, Azula, or Ty Lee herself.

        • tigerpetals says:

          The homework bit. Aang, you can't slack off now, more than ever.

          I wanted to say "Good on you, sir!" to the prisoner who took anger management. And a little bit sad that the riot had to set back his progress.

          I love that comment from Zuko too. They have only been together in noncombat situations, but I would love to see them fulfill the Combat Couple trope. They'd be so badass together.

          Concurring with the fangirl moment.

        • bookgal12 says:

          I am with you as being a fangirl for Mai. I was so pumped to see her, I wish they had a cool intro for her.

    • tigerpetals says:

      I forgot to mention that, but yes, I love that joke and tea moment. And that even though Katara make a pointed comment, she and everyone else accepted his tea without acting like it was lava. It must at least be decent, or they'd have been ribbing him for it.

      Of course Suki will defend herself against sexual harassment. And who knows how many times a guard tried that on her. Though possibly none, since I'd imagine she'd get punished for defending herself against a guard.

      It occurs to me now that there was a stronger chance Hakoda would be there than they thought. They put Suki in there and not the other Kyoshis because she was the leader. So of the war prisoners put in the Boiling Rock, they'd put the leader in there too.

      I hope this doesn't come off wrong, but does the length of a post correspond the number of reputation points? I've noticed that I have to splice mine up a lot, but they're usually no longer than yours; shorter, actually.

      • arctic_hare says:

        IIRC it has to do with the browser you're using.

        • tigerpetals says:

          Oh, thank you! I guess that also explains why sometimes the browser freezes when I'm viewing the threads. I thought it was my computer or Internet connection.

  6. Amanda Violet says:

    This is the episode when I abandoned Zutara and never looked back.

    Maiko forever, baby.

    • affableevil says:

      Heh, I just multiship.

      • Amanda Violet says:

        Yeah, me too, but there are some things I ship more than others and some things that I don't ship at all.

        • affableevil says:

          Oh yeah I didn't mean to imply anything like IF THERE ARE SOME PAIRINGS YOU JUST CAN'T GET INTO YOU'RE WROOOOONNGGG

          Just, personally, I find it hard to pick one pairing in Avatar. So I just kind of pair everybody up with everybody and have like twenty different headcanon universes. Alongside the canon.

          Shipping: It's serious business.

      • icingflarewhite says:

        I don't ship anything, but that's just me.

    • tigerpetals says:

      This is the episode that converted me too, but I still like Zutara.

      Maiko and Sokka/Suki are my favorite canon Avatar ships now.

      One of the things I like about Zutara is also what has made me ship Mai/Zuko. This key thing is conflict. They're on opposing sides. Of course this doesn't last long (not counting season two and restricting myself to between Black Sun and now), but it was always an interesting dynamic because you knew Zuko could change sides in the war, but what about Mai?
      cont'd

      • tigerpetals says:

        Of course one of the arguments for Zutara and against Maiko before this episode was that same thing about opposing sides. Zutara fans expected Zuko to join the Avatar at some point, but didn't expect the same thing from Mai and didn't always appreciate/get her character. It took a while for me to get her too.

        So some of the thinking from this side was that Zuko would change and then get together with Katara -and there were many fics in which Katara was somehow his way into the group through being nice to him- and then a lack of certainty concerning what Mai would do about this.

        So it actually happened in opposites. Katara is the least welcoming member of the group, Mai switched Vehicles because of Zuko instead of Katara causing Zuko to change sides, and Mai/Zuko was the ship with the conflicted sides angst to contrast with Sokka/Suki and Kataang when many shippers contrasted Zutara as passionate angst with the innocence/childishness of Kataang and the perceived normalness of Sokka/Suki.

        Some shippers were very displeased.

    • Talie says:

      Yeah, I may be a multishipper, but this episode kinda sealed things in for me, as far as rooting for Maiko (and Zutara and Kataang–I love multishipping). Although, I did like Maiko waaay back, when it was hinted at in "Zuko Alone". Mai is so awesome.

      • tigerpetals says:

        I love that you rooted for all three! All kinds of pairings are fun in Avatarland. Fun and worth investing in emotionally, even if they are farfetched.

      • brotorious says:

        oh no! i'm trying so hard to resist!

        shamefully, i have to admit: i'm a veteran of the great avatar ship wars. it'll never leave me. the things i've seen…

        i've been trying to keep my distance, keep my allegiances hidden, but all this talk of multi-shipping and the fifth of vodka i drank a half-hour ago leaves me helpless.

        <img src="http://img560.imageshack.us/img560/486/129573243985.png"&gt;

        brotip: katara doesn't leave after this.

        • Jay Gatsby says:

          "Shipping brings only destruction and pain. It forces those of us burdened with its care to walk a razor's edge between humanity and savagery. Eventually, we are torn apart."

          -Jeong Jeong

  7. brotorious says:

    has it ever been mentioned that azula/ty lee is a ship?

    effect this episode had on it: none

    <img src="http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/1253/1211739921177.png"&gt;

  8. chichichimaera says:

    Another review actually typed up ahead of time for once:

    This starts off excellently with Zuko trying so hard to make everyone in the group like him. Evidently he’s managed to improve his tea-making skills since ‘Bitter Work’ (or should that be ‘Bitter Tea’? sorry), unless the Gaang just don’t have so refined a palate as Iroh does. A pity his joke making skills haven’t improved, if he even had any in the first place. Mind you, from the hint of a smile while the others are laughing, I think Zuko gets now that this is the kind of joking done amongst friends, not the cruel kind he’s probably more used to.

    However, all is not well. I think it’s pretty cool though that Sokka’s very understandable if not really justified feelings of guilt for the failure of the invasion plan gives us a chance to get to know more about Fire Nation prisons. ATLA in general is really good at letting us get a ‘glimpse behind the curtain’ of the goings on of the war. It’s not all just battles; we get to see the aftermath, how it’s affecting people of all walks of life, of different social classes and nations. (I also enjoy the background music that plays whilst Zuko is explaining about the Boiling Rock. It’s awesome.)

    Zuko, paranoid? After living with Azula for so long, I think he has a right to be. Also, re: Azula; you didn’t really think you were going to fool him, did you Sokka? You’re nowhere near as good a liar as she is. And of course Zuko agrees to help after Sokka brings up honour. MOAR BONDING TIME! (Also, I love that Zuko has set Aang homework!)

    Awkward conversations time!

    My first girlfriend turned into the moon… That’s rough buddy.

    It’s a balloon. But for war.

    PHYSICS!!!! Physics crash landing! <3 <3

    I enjoy the design of the uniforms for the guards at the Boiling Rock, and I enjoy even more the fact that some of them are female. Fuck Yeah Not!Sexism! (Unfortunately the FN have done too many unpleasant things for this to balance them out and for me to say Fuck Yeah Fire Nation.) FireWhip!Guy is a real nasty piece of work however, so I’m very glad he gets his comeuppance, even if Azula comes along later to get him out of it. The scene in the mess hall is very ‘Death Star Canteen’. Oh ATLA. Show of my heart.

    Sokka really ought to have known better than to try and repeat the ‘mysterious kiss’ from the Ba Sing Se arc without taking his helmet off first. But he can fail to think of these kind of things sometimes. It also hints at a rather darker side of prison without coming right out and saying it, which is pretty bold considering this is an all ages show. (Although it’s not as if kids are likely to pick up on those kind of implications any more than Sokka did.) Suki had a lot of time to prove her awesomeness this episode, ninjaing her way up the tower and capturing the Warden. She and Sokka fighting together are going to be unstoppable one day.

    Sokka is also awesome this episode with all his escape plans. Of course, Zuko being able to use the Breath of Fire helped a lot with the first one. And when they decided to stay, Zuko’s way of giving advice might have been a bit… harsh… but it was pretty good advice. The second escape plan was probably a better plan in any case. And I love that it gives an excuse to use the old but still good cliche of pretending to beat someone up when you’re actually having a chat with them.

    (cont.)

    • chichichimaera says:

      Aaaand then the Dangerous Ladies show up. Well fuck. Mai seems to be here primarily to make Zuko realise how douchey it was to break up by letter, but Azula seems to have been told by Ozai that Zuko was intending to hook up with the Gaang, as she clearly sees something deeper going on here. This results in an excellent climactic sequence. The battle on top of the cable car is really nicely done, and it looks like Azula has been taking a few acrobatics lessons from Ty Lee, oh AND DID WE MENTION SHE’S A FUCKING ROCKET NOW?!! FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! (Mind you, at least this might explain how at least some of the FN army made their way up to the Air Temples.

      Mai choosing Zuko over Azula and Ty Lee joining her rebellion (to her own surprise) is a simply perfect devolpment, although you have to feel rather worried for their fates. Azula is not someone to take such a betrayal easily.

      Fuck Yeah stealing a Zepplin! As Sokka says, we found the best meat of all! the meat of friendship and fatherhood! Oh Sokka. :3 And lol Chit Sang: I’m new! Finally we round this off with a lovely family hug. <3 <3

      Now, warning for a masive image:
      <img src="http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i95/Gestalt1/Suki_Matrix.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    • notemily says:

      [youtube Sv5iEK-IEzw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv5iEK-IEzw youtube]

      You'll still need a tray!

    • Kit says:

      Sokka in Suki's cell was also very "aren't you a little short to be a storm trooper?" at first. ;p

  9. majere616 says:

    The Incoherent Ramblings of an Obsessive Fanboy:

    First and foremost, Suki you're a great girl and I love you to death, but I'm gonna tell you the same thing I told Ginny:
    <img src="http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lmah4hWeio1qignq2o1_500.gif&quot; border="0"/>

    I love how Chit Sang starts the riot, and I suspect his method operates in a way similar to the Steel Chair Effect.

    My reaction when Azula FINALLY gets put in her place:
    <img src="http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lllw11KAgz1qzbq04.gif&quot; border="0"/>

    Say what you will about his methods, but you've gotta respect the Wardens dedication. He was willing to be boiled alive to insure the fulfillment of his duty.

    I love how Fire Nation prisons have the cold box in a parallel to the hot boxes of our world.

  10. Depths_of_Sea says:

    ASFJAKLSFJALSKFALAKSFHA! "THE BOILING ROCK"! SOKKA AND ZUKO! SUKI!

    MAAAAAIIIIIIIII!

    First off, let's talk about Sokka and his Failure Issues. Along with Aang, Sokka views their loss on the Day of Black Sun as a personal failure. Aang seems to have mostly accepted his failure and gotten over it, put it away in a little box with all his other angst issues and decided to project a cheerful front again. But Sokka still feels like he needs to redeem himself and make up for "letting" his Dad get captured, as he sees it. And I love how Zuko sees right through it, and offers his help.

    Oh gosh I could watch Sokka and Zuko's AWKWARD WAR BALLOON CONVERSATION all day. They make small talk about the clouds! And then they commiserate about lost girlfriends! Can… can I just take Zuko and Sokka (and Aang!) and put them all in a room together and just listen to them gush about their ladies for a while?

    I especially like how Zuko mentions Mai as the only thing he found hard to leave and Sokka leans forward in distinct interest and says, "That gloomy girl who sighs a lot?" with this expression and body posture that makes it seem like he want to add, "And is, like, really hot?" Sokka totes approves of the Zuko/Mai y'all. And then Zuko gets this adorable dorky dreamy look and sighs, "Yeeeaah…" HHHNNGGH DYING OF CUTE BRB.

    It was interesting how they contrasted Sokka and Zuko's planning methedologies. Zuko usually rushes into things without much forethought and Sokka tends to be more of a thinker and planner and has to strategize before he goes in. But here it's almost reversed on occasion-Sokka is the one being impulsive and Zuko is the one trying to remain rational and think things through. It manages to balance out though.

    Oh, and Zuko trying to channel Uncle Iroh's wisdom is hilariously priceless. And Sokka even lampshades it: "No no, what you said made no sense at all." NEVER CHANGE SOKKA.

    I like "The Boiling Rock" a lot more than "Imprisoned" back in Season One I have to say. Since they're both prison break episodes I can't help but connect and compare them in my head. Boiling Rock comes out on top because of better, more suspenseful storytelling construction. It feels more tricky and difficult to escape from the Boiling Rock, since unlike in "Imprisoned" they don't have the option of a quick ride out on Appa. Also, Boiling Rock has The Warden AKA Mai's uncle oh my gosh flailing forever. And he's all like, "You broke my niece's heart YOU JERK." to Zuko. I have this headcanon theory that The Warden is one of the only people who actually cares about Mai's emotional well-being, in lieu of how her parents didn't. I mean think about it, aside from Zuko this is the only other person on the show who has expressed honest concern for Mai and her feelings. That's pretty darn depressing.

    I'm a little "Meh." on Chit Zang. He's kind of a plot device character. Doesn't really do much. It was also kind of weird how at the first escape attempt he brought along his girl and some friends and then in the next episode he… just sort of forgets about them. But he does have a few nice funny moments that bring the lulz.

    And SUKI! We finally get Suki back! And she's okay and she never gave up faith in Sokka and they had an epic fraught reunion of destiny! And she was willing to stay with Sokka and wait with him to see if they could save Hakoda, even if they might not get another chance to escape! They are so much OTP I love them.

    (cont.)

    • Depths_of_Sea says:

      And then in Part 2 we had ANOTHER fraught reunion of destiny between Zuko and Mai, and I love how hurt Mai sounds here as she's calling Zuko out all like, "You don't text-message break up you douchenozzle!" And there's so much strain and tension and emotion in their conversation here. I utterly adore the moment when the riot breaks out and the guard comes in to try and escort Mai and she snaps at him because she's trying to understand her traitor/patriot boyfriend dammit and she feels safe around Zuko and knows he won't hurt her. And he gushes about her "I don't need any protection." badassery because he's so totally still hopelessly in love with her. And then he takes the opportunity to flee and Mai runs after him because even though she doesn't understand his reasons or why Zuko has defected and joined the Avatar, she wants to. She wants to be with him and stay by his side, and not be left behind again. And the CLOSE UP OF THEIR EYES HOLY COW with Mai crying and giving him this look that's so very hurt and, "Don't you dare leave me again." But Zuko's just trying to protect her and if she comes with him it'll be branding her a traitor too, and he doesn't want to put her through that. It's an inept attempt, because he shouldn't try to control Mai's actions like that (at least not without explaining why he's shutting her out), but it's because he loves her and doesn't want to see her hurt so his intentions are noble at least.

      AND THEN THE EPISODE SEALS MY LOVE FOR SUKI BY HAVING SUKI BE ALL SPIDERWOMAN CLIMBING UP WALLS AND CAPTURING THE WARDEN ALL BY HERSELF. ILU SUKI.

      I also love how they animated and coreograhed the Zuko-Sokka-Suki-Azula-Ty Lee fight. I got a kick out of Sokka using Zuko as a fire shield before he darts out and stabs at Azula.

      OH AND THEN THE EPISODE SEALS MY LOVE FOR MAI BY HAVING HER SAVE THE DAY IN EPIC BADASS FASHION. Since it's too late for her to go with Zuko herself, she's going to do everything in her power to make sure he gets away safely. Even if it means turning on Azula holy crap that takes some fortitude. She does what Zuko could not in "Crossroads of Destiny", and stands up to her Princess and says, "No. You don't control me." She doesn't even have the frame of reference Zuko had for how the Fire Nation's war is actually unjust and cruel, and how Ozai et all. are in the wrong, and she does it anyway because she loves Zuko and trusts him, and believes in him even when he appears to be wrong.

      "I guess you just don't know people as well as you think you do. You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you." BEST LINE EVER MAI I LOVE YOU. To Azula, the perfectionist Master Tactician who plans for everything and self-proclaimed "people person", this is an epic burn. Azula takes pride in the fact that she can predict and control every action the people around her will take. And yet Mai surprises her, catches her off-guard, and makes a fool out of her. For a girl obsessed with control to suddenly lose control of one of her closest henchwomen and have her say straight to her face, "I'm not afraid of you."? I'm not suprised that Azula just snapped with rage and tried to kill Mai. (And Mai looked like she was fully prepared to go down fighting oh my gosh.) The Power of Love triumphs over fear and all Azula knows to do is respond with violence.

      AND THEN TY LEE TURNS ON HER TOO. I love the voice-acting here where Azula gasps in shock.

      And then Hakoda is renuntied with Katara and there are hugs and tears and I love this show forever.

      Miscellaneous Things-

      -The note Sokka left for the rest of the Gaang lol. "Gone to get meat."
      -"My first girlfriend turned into the moon." "…That's rough buddy." ENDLESS HILARITY.
      -Even when a prisoner Hakoda is BAMF forever.
      -Chit Zang's insta-riot.
      -"That's some girl!" "Tell me about it." I love how this show just loves its badass ladies.
      -"Saving the jerk who dumped me." Oh ~Mai~.
      -TOPH JUST WANTS TO KNOW IF THEY BROUGHT BACK ANY MEAT YOU GUYS.

      (Can we get picspams/gifspams of Mai in here?)

      • CCdd says:

        Have you listened to the Sick Fish Podcast of the Boiling Rock episode then?

        • Depths_of_Sea says:

          Ha ha, yep. I just love rawles's way of talking about Zuko/Mai.

          ("Fraught reunion of destiny" became something of a meme with us Maiko fans after Day of Black Sun, during that long waiting period when no new episodes were coming out. It was awesome.)

      • tigerpetals says:

        Oh, good point about Crossroads of Destiny. She did for Zuko what he didn't do for Iroh.

      • notemily says:

        I'm kind of in love with both of your comments, jsyk.

    • WHATATWIST says:

      Also, Boiling Rock has The Warden AKA Mai's uncle oh my gosh flailing forever. And he's all like, "You broke my niece's heart YOU JERK." to Zuko. I have this headcanon theory that The Warden is one of the only people who actually cares about Mai's emotional well-being, in lieu of how her parents didn't. I mean think about it, aside from Zuko this is the only other person on the show who has expressed honest concern for Mai and her feelings. That's pretty darn depressing

      The Boiling Rock Warden is pretty awesome, but the Imprisoned Warden was George Fucking Takei.

      Also, I'm pretty sure Ty Lee has expressed genuine concern for Mai and her feelings, hasn't she?

      • Depths_of_Sea says:

        Not… particularly from what I recall. They don't interact very much anyway and when they do it's usually about whatever mission they're on at the moment. I guess maybe when she was urging Mai to follow her into the sludge in "The Drill" so she wouldn't cross Azula but other than that, nothing springs to mind.

    • notemily says:

      That exchange between Sokka and Zuko about Mai is one of my favorite things ever.

  11. Tauriel_ says:

    <img src="http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c251/Tauriel/starting_a_riot.jpg"&gt;

    I love The Boiling Rock. It's nice to see Sokka and Zuko – well, not exactly bonding, but at least becoming a pretty good team, nicely complementing each other's skills.

    The chat about their girlfriends, especially when Sokka mentions Yue turning into a moon and Zuko sympathising with him, is pretty touching.

    SUKI!!! Fuck yeah! Her appearance was unexpected, but very welcome. And the way she just went ahead and single-handedly captured the warden, while Sokka and the others were still debating how to do it, was pretty awesome. And it's nice to see Sokka fully appreciate her skills without being overly protective of her. πŸ™‚

    Chit Sang is pretty funny – I loved the ease with which he started the riot. For some reason, I find the sudden random blasts of fire flying everywhere totally hilarious. πŸ˜€

    The fight on the gondola was pretty amazing, and I loved the way Sokka was able to contribute (again, nice coordination and complementation of attacks with Zuko).

    AND FUCK YEAH, MAI AND TY LEE REBELLED AGAINST AZULA!!! <3 <3 <3

    And now, when at last Suki has joined Team Avatar, this pic is in order:

    <img src="http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2010/308/8/9/my_nick_avatar_fanart_entry_by_booter_freak-d1in98g.png"&gt;

    Source

    πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    • Kylie says:

      That poster is the single most awesome poster that has ever been postered.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        My favourite bit is Zuko and Toph on that skull-decorated motorbike, which is rivalled in coolness and badassery only by Paul Kidby's rendition of Death riding a magical motorbike with a black rose from Soul Music.

        That, and the Star Wars-style pose of Sokka Wang Fire and Suki. XD

        • Lycanthromancer says:

          Someone needs to convince Mark to read Discworld next (starting with Equal Rites).

          • Tauriel_ says:

            It's already been posted in the Suggestions thread of Mark Reads.

            Though I personally think he should start with the Tiffany Aching books, since he obviously likes literature/films/TV shows that are mainly intended for children, but are not condescending or stupid (case in point: HP, ATLA, HDM).

            And Equal Rites is still one of the early books in which Pratchett's style wasn't as refined as in the later ones, IMHO.

            • Elanor Pam says:

              I'd vote for "Guards! Guards!", rather than Tiffany Aching.

              I mean, that's really when the Discworld style was fully refined, and it introduces Samuel Fucking Vimes. You can't go wrong with Vimes, he's the biggest badass in the Disk (…outside of the Silver Horde).

              • SisterCoyote says:

                Sam Vimes is the best character. The Best.

                • Tauriel_ says:

                  I dunno, Vetinari could give him the run for his money… πŸ˜‰ Seriously, I love them both.

              • Tauriel_ says:

                Well, yeah, I mean, the Watch books are my top favourites too, but I just felt that Mark would really really like Tiffany, which would help him fall in love with Discworld. πŸ™‚

            • notemily says:

              Equal Rites is definitely different from later Discworld, but I think it's a pretty good stand-alone, even if you never read anything else about Granny Weatherwax (WHICH YOU SHOULD BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY).

        • monkeybutter says:

          I thought Wang Fire and Suki were a Frazetta homage.

        • Elanor Pam says:

          Detail of particular note: Toph is BLIND.

          Think on that for a moment.

          • Tauriel_ says:

            (Rot13'd for spoilers) Terng! Yrg gur oyvaq tvey fgrre gur tvnag nvefuvc. Be zbgbeovxr. XD

    • jubilantia says:

      OH MY HEAVENS THAT IS THE BEST THING EVER. ohmygod

    • viyamusic says:

      Now I love Wang Fire even more!!! OMG

    • eleniel says:

      omg, tears in my eyes, from the laughter

    • easily_amused says:

      YES! I was waiting for this to not be spoilery so someone could post the movie poster. I mean, NOTHING beats that tag line.

    • @redbeardjim says:

      FOOD EATS MOMO!!!

  12. monkeybutter says:

    (Why isn’t this series on for another 40 million seasons? Sadness forever.)

    Your best hope is that some dude on the internet will watch it, and then you live vicariously through him. Your shock and joy and excitement warm my heart.

  13. MissDirect says:

    Just so y'all know, ever since this episode aired the phrase "that's rough, buddy" has become the ultimate expression of sympathy among me and my friends.

    Also, Suki is an amazing badass. I would not be in the least surprised to find out she spent most of her time in prison training to take the dangerous ladies down and here we see the fruits of her efforts. Also totally destroying the scale of badassery with sheer awesomeness is Mai. I loved her from the very beginning, but well, her betrayal of Azula? Best thing ever. Zutara shippers need to take a step back, and really reflect on HOW YOU COULD POSSIBLY DISLIKE THIS CHARACTER IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM.

    • H. Torrance Griffin says:

      How could people hate Mai? Well from my observations….

      She is not cute (the relatively small eyes seem to be the big deal).
      She does not gush.
      She failed to freak out over her brother.
      She lives the high life.
      She fails to coddle Zuko when he is being a jerk or angsting excessively.
      Most Importantly, she stands in the way of the Epic Romance Between Fire And Water/Good And Evil/Prince And Pauper that segments of fandom have projected onto the show.

  14. Jenny_M says:

    "My first girlfriend turned into the moon." "That's rough, buddy."

    Hands down, no questions asked, my favorite line of dialogue from this show ever full stop thank you. I actually spit out what I was drinking when I first heard it. It just comes out of NOWHERE and it's so, so perfect.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      The best part is how SINCERE it is.

      • breesquared says:

        If you think about it, Zuko was at that scene, if not the moment Yue became the spirit, but he may have seen her with Sokka. And Iroh WAS there and may have briefed him on all the weird crap happening while he was off.
        So, yeah, he really is sincere ^_^

  15. Tauriel_ says:

    The guard uniforms are a new design as well, one that conveniently manages to block out the identities of Zuko and Sokka

    Firelord Ozai has clearly never read the Evil Overlord List, especially about the bit with the guards helmets not obscuring their faces – this is the second time (after The Siege of the North) Zuko has been able to mask as a random guard/soldier. πŸ˜€

  16. echinodermata says:

    So wow, the Fire Nation is imprisoning its own people, in addition to war prisoners. Are these just criminals in the usual sense, with nothing to do with the war?

    And then it's Suki! Looking good in red tones, I must say. Love that she throws Sokka against the wall for that kissing thing from a 'random Fire Nation guard,' cause that's a skeevy thing to do. Although of course she would have gotten in trouble for it were it not Sokka. But really, Sokka, think these things through. Anyway, Suki's amazing.
    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/2znn5up.gif"&gt;

    And the warden is Mai's uncle! Who tells us Zuko broke Mai's heart, and really Zuko, what did you expect. Like Sokka, think things through! And then Mai's at the prison, and yessssss go tell him, Mai. Her boyfriend leaves her a damn note that he's leaving and betraying his country. "Dear Mai, I'm sorry that you have to find out this way, but I'm leaving." Seriously Zuko, shut up and let her vent because c'mon.
    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/nmg5u8.gif"&gt;
    And instead, you lock her up in a prison cell. Ffs, you're kind of an awful boyfriend. What what what are you doing.
    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/afiz5f.gif"&gt;

    Also, it's Ty Lee! Who's been missing through a lot of S3 so far! And, of course, Azula. Who uses her bending as a sort of rocket propulsion holy shit!
    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/ae3xmw.gif"&gt;

    And then Mai saves the jerk who dumped her. And so Mai became one of my absolute favorite characters on this show – girl, congratulations for being awesome and a way better girlfriend than Zuko ever deserved. You poisitively own this episode for me. I honestly don't get how people still dislike Mai after this episode: she has the tenacity to side against the princess of the Fire Nation, who happens to be one of her best friends, who by the way is a ruthless, scary person who could likely kill her. Mai, in that decision, became a traitor to her country. But it's not about country for her – she has little interest in the war, she just wants her own happiness. And Zuko made her happy. Because love triumphs fear. Because she may be cynical and sarcastic, but she lets her heart guide her. She saves the dude who could make her smile, even if he was such a shit to her in these past couple episodes. Mai is amazing, and I have to say, if you dislike Mai after this episode, you are no friend of mine.
    <img src="http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lh3djrgBAY1qblfibo1_500.gif"&gt;(source)

    Mark, you thought Ty Lee would be the one to betray Azula. Well, she did, but only because Mai did it first. Goddamn.

    (And so I mourn my Dangerous Ladies ot3.)

    • monkeybutter says:

      I love how Mai stands up to both Zuko and Azula in this episode, guided by her heart. I appreciate the way Book 3 delves past her sarcastic, gloomy exeterior, and we get to see some heartfelt emotion (oops, the snide fireside psychoanalysis really backfired on Azula). I'm sorry for your ot3, but I love Mai and Ty Lee better without Azula leading them around by their noses.

    • Shay_Guy says:

      I honestly don't get how people still dislike Mai after this episode

      How about if they'd enjoyed hating her previously, and now they hate her for making it impossible to hate her?

      • echinodermata says:

        ~no friend of mine~

        (Without jest this time, I'm grateful some Mai haters acknowledged how awesome she was in this ep. Better than not conceding anything.)

  17. dragonsong12 says:

    Sooooo yesterday when you were talking about how great Zuko and Aang were together, all I was thinking was THIS and how awesome the Zuko and Sokka team is.

    And Mai. MAI. This is where I wanted to jump into the screen and make it all real and give her a hug. And one for Ty Lee while we're at it.

    This is really Azula's first failure, losing control of her friends, and we've never seen her lose control of ANYTHING…but then you stop and realize, she NEVER controlled Mai. Azula rules by fear, we saw that with Ty Lee, but Mai never really feared her. "She can shoot all the lightning she wants at me, I'm not going down there." It was inevitable, and sowed into the series so subtly.
    God, I love you, Avatar.

  18. affableevil says:

    The Waterbending Master, Book 1, Chapter 18
    "Katara: Why didn't I think of that! At night you can teach me whatever moves you learned from master Pakku. That way you have someone to practice with and I get to learn waterbending! Everyone's happy!
    Sokka: I'm not happy.
    Katara: But you're never happy."

    The Boiling Rock Part One, Book 3, Chapter Whatever You Want To Number It As Since The Numbering In Season Three Gets Kind Of Weird
    "Zuko: Not up to anything, huh?
    Sokka: Fine. You caught me. I'm going to rescue my father. Happy now?
    Zuko: I'm never happy. "

    πŸ˜€

    • affableevil says:

      I think everyone else will probably cover all my reactions to this episode!

      • nanceoir says:

        Yeah, same here. I'm reading through what everyone's saying, thinking, "This… this… definitely this… yeah, that was fabulous…."

    • Shay_Guy says:

      What's weird about the numbering? There aren't any disputes.

      • affableevil says:

        Well, I'm used to seeing The Boiling Rock Episodes as 14/15, respectively, but it looks like for the purposes of this blog they're 13/14. I remember there being general confusion over whether or not to count the Day Of Black Sun episode(s) as one or two, so some people number The Western Air Temple as 11 and some as 12, which if you go with the latter pushes back the rest of the season's numbering.

        So, depending on who you listen to, there are 21 episodes in season three with each multi-parter being split up with numbers, or 20 episodes with DoBS being counted as one.

    • Cakemage says:

      And this is why, as adorable as Zuko/Aang would be, Zuko/Sokka is my maleslash OTP of Avatar. Except I'd feel really guilty for leaving out Mai and Suki, so it's more like Mai/Zuko/Sokka/Suki. That way, everyone's happy! Except Zuko and Sokka, 'cause…well, yeah.

  19. Kaci says:

    I wish I could be coherent about how much I love this episode, but unfortunately it's a lot of me flailing about over how well this show writes its female characters. YES I KNOW I TALK ABOUT THIS ALMOST EVERY DAY BUT SERIOUSLY.

    Can we just take a moment to watch Suki lay the epic royal smack down on the warden? And then can we deal with the fact that she's also quite tender in her moments alone with Sokka? So often I feel like, when a show DOES give me a badass female warrior, they do it by completely stripping away any hint of having a soft side. And hey, some people, male and female, don't have a soft side, so that's okay, to an extent, but what I love most about Suki is that she's a badass female warrior and then she can also have sweet moments, too. As she said way back when she was introduced, she IS a warrior, but she's a girl, too. And there's nothing wrong with that.

    Then, to the flip side, we have Mai, who so rarely lets her soft side show ("I don't hate you…"), and who is also undeniably a bad ass warrior. Under other hands, the story of "a woman who betrays her female friend for a man" could be SO offensive. Like, boil that down, and it's such a stereotype. But this show manages to put so much nuance and care and detail into it that it rises above that and I never once think about that stereotype while watching it. Especially since the way she phrases it–"I love Zuko more than I fear you," rather than the stereotype, which is, "I love Zuko more than I love you." (Note, to any Azula/Mai shippers, if they exist, I mean platonically, FYI!) And it works and comes off as this moment that I cheer for every single time I watch it. And same for Ty Lee's siding with Mai–it's a moment to celebrate and that is entirely to the writer's credits for never once making me think of awful female stereotypes on TV.

    And just to finish this comment off, "That's rough, buddy," has to be one of the greatest line readings in history.

    • echinodermata says:

      "Note, to any Azula/Mai shippers, if they exist,"

      If they exist? If?! (Okay admittedly I ship them as an ot3 with Ty Lee, but the point still stands.)

      • Kaci says:

        Totally fair point. While I've been a fan of the show since it began, I've never stepped foot into the fandom, so I honestly didn't know if anyone shipped them. No offense was meant at all!

        • Amanda Violet says:

          In the Avatar fandom, if you can think of it, it has been shipped. It's kind of like our version of Rule 34 (though that exists, too…)

        • echinodermata says:

          Oh no, no offense was taken in the first place! It just that well, it's kinda an obvious ship, plus it's my ship.

    • jubilantia says:

      heee AMEN. To all of the above. I hate when women, in fiction or real life, think they have to be "one of the guys" in order to be accepted and not be a "girly girl."

      >>(Note, to any Azula/Mai shippers, if they exist, I mean platonically, FYI!)<<
      heh. aheh. Silly rabbit. Of course there are Azula/Mai shippers. I'm pretty sure there are shippers for every conceivable- and inconceivable- pairing on this show. And the creators totally run with it. If you've seen the whole series, you should go to Youtube and watch the video from I think the San Diego Comic Con- it's called "Book 4: Air" and is the creator's tribute to fan art over the years and it is GOLD, but there are some major spoilers. <a href="http://(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SNz1sMRh2Y)” target=”_blank”>(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SNz1sMRh2Y)

      >>;And just to finish this comment off, "That's rough, buddy," has to be one of the greatest line readings in history. <<
      RIGHT? Dante Basco for the win!

    • Shay_Guy says:

      Can we just take a moment to watch Suki lay the epic royal smack down on the warden? And then can we deal with the fact that she's also quite tender in her moments alone with Sokka?

      Not to mention her means of and skill at rapidly subduing the warden and its implications for her moments alone with Sokka.

    • tigerpetals says:

      I actually did think of that stereotype, and the one where the girlfriend stands by her man because she loves him and not because she agrees with him or has strong opinions about anything but him and their love, only Mai does it with knives.

    • @Ahavah22 says:

      I really like Azula/Mai, because Azula's behavior reminds me of a jealous, controlling lover, and Mai is the girl she *can't *control, which makes Azula's behavior even more creepy…

      Okay, I don't *like* it as much as I'm fascinated by those types of dysfunctional relationships in fiction.

      I really want to do an Azula/Mai AMV set to this song:

      Sonos-I Want You Back (The most awesome accappella cover of a Jackson 5 song, EVER!)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paJS3QX4HIk

      [youtube paJS3QX4HIk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paJS3QX4HIk youtube]

    • Hyatt says:

      The stereotype of "a woman who betrays her female friend for a man" doesn't usually involve the female friend trying to kill a bunch of people along with the boyfriend and the woman's betrayal being about saving them. That probably also helps tone down the offensiveness.

  20. Anne says:

    Suki! SOOKEH. (Had to)

    How much of a stone cold BAMF is she? That scene! THAT SCENE!

  21. Narrative Priorities says:

    TIME FOR ANOTHER SILLY VIDEO I GUESS!

    [youtube B2eZWGQ1puQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2eZWGQ1puQ youtube]

    But seriously, this episode…it does things to my heart.

  22. NIghtstar says:

    I know everyone else will say how awesome this episode is better than me, so let me just leave you with this little video. The video shouldn’t have any spoilers (If there are spoilers I missed please take it down), but be careful of the recommended videos at the end.

    [youtube 0MvTIowgbs4&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MvTIowgbs4&feature=related youtube]

    If the embed didn’t work, here is the link

  23. Christie says:

    Sokka and Zuko's rad bromance makes me very, very happy. I imagine that they'll be the most awesomest of bro's when this is all over. Perhaps one day we'll see Firelord Wang Fire, his name given to him by his honorary uncle Sokka?

  24. Lariren says:

    I was literally watching this episode two days ago (finishing the series with some friends) and when they got to the "My first girlfriend turned into the moon." "That's rough buddy." exhchange we all decided this needed to be on a t-shirt.

    It's a hell of an episode and I love it…aw hell I love all of season 3 starting with The Day of Black Sun on.

    When you predicted that Ty Lee would turn against Azula my first reaction was "YOU ARE NOT PREPARED FOR HOW SHE'S GOING TO DO IT!"

    Other thoughts:
    -there needs to be just a whole season of Zuko and Sokka.

    -In the "Avatar Extras" version of this episode they have a bubble saying its not a good to break up with your girlfriend in a letter…and its even worse to break up with her in a text." I laughed so hard when I read that.

    -SUKI WINS AT LIFE

    -ALSO WHY DON'T THE OTHER PRISONERS RECOGNIZE ZUKO?! It's almost like he has the most identifying face and everyone just ignores it.

    • FlameRaven says:

      I guess you could argue that if a bunch of Fire Nation teenage nobility didn't recognize Zuko and Azula on the beach at Ember Island, a bunch of prisoners and criminals wouldn't recognize him either. Honestly, Zuko did spend the last three years out of the country, and he's grown up a lot. Even if people had seen the prince at 13, they might not recognize the scarred 17 year old who shows up later.

      • Lariren says:

        Who also had a wanted post with his face on it. I would be ok with that if that hadn't happened. I totally get not recognizing Azula if she doesn't say who she is. But wanted poster.

        • FlameRaven says:

          Yeah, but the wanted posters were mostly in the Earth Kingdom, and it seems like these prisoners are mostly from the Fire Nation. Why would they have seen posters from the Earth Kingdom?

          It is kind of a weird issue though. Personally, I always wondered why it was that Zuko's own crew on the ship didn't know what had happened to him, but that random earth kingdom guy from 'Zuko Alone' knew that "his own father burned and disowned him." WTF, earth kingdom guy?

          • affableevil says:

            Maybe his history was publicized on the aforementioned wanted posters? Because Season Two is when he made the transition from disgraced prince to actual traitor/criminal. So a brief history might have been put on the posters, to further shame him and make sure everyone knew about it. And I guess the guy saw the poster but he didn't connect Zuko's face to it until he announced his name?

            (This is all very fragile reasoning; far more likely is that it's just a plot hole x.x)

          • herpestidae says:

            And they don't put Wanted Posters in prisons. For obvious reasons.

    • D.W. says:

      Re: not recognizing Zuko, I'm betting in a nation full of firebenders that Zuko's not the only one with a burn on his face (especially in a FN prison). It's probably a pretty common type of scar among those who have "wronged" the government or gotten themselves into Agni Kais.

      • calimie says:

        That's true, but I can't remember anyone else in the series having a burn scar other that Song, and hers were in her legs. It's weird.

    • notemily says:

      I would buy that t-shirt.

  25. Senna says:

    So many incredible, incredible moments, but others are talking about them so much better than I can, so just two from me.

    1. How GREAT is it that this show repeatedly gives us fights between women which are neither dumbed down nor fetishized. Until I really watched this show, I never understood how badly I wanted MORE of THAT. And Avatar, oh gosh, Avatar delivers better than almost anything I've ever seen.

    2. To this day I can never tell quite what Ty Lee's expression during the showdown between Azula conveys – if this is something she always feared would happen, or something she honestly never thought would actually happen despite the danger Azula was happy to put her in to get her help in the first place? Either way, you can see the same war that Mai had already fought – her desire to protect someone she cares about vs her fear of Azula – happening in that one, devastated moment.

    • audzilla says:

      I also read Ty Lee's expression as shock at her own actions. Neither she nor Mai expected that to work out like it did! (and I love that.)

      And I agree so much about the awesome ladies fighting.

  26. Manself says:

    One bit of foreshadowing that blew my mind upon rewatching Part 1:

    Warden: "No one has ever, ever escaped from here. I'd sooner jump in the boiling lake myself than let that record fall. Don't forget it."

  27. kartikeya200 says:

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/kartikeya/Avatar/boiling6.jpg"&gt;

    "I never expected this from you. The thing I don't understand is why. Why would you do it? You know the consequences."

    "I guess you just don't know people as well as you think you do. You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you."

    I'm sorry, HATERS TO THE LEFT. It's not like I ever disliked Mai, it's not like there was a point where I didn't actually like her quite a bit, but this, right here, this moment where she gives up everything to save Zuko and proceeds to lay a knife filled smackdown to an ENTIRE ARMY OF PRISON GUARDS ENTIRELY ON HER OWN, and then has the sheer spine to say that to Azula's face, in her usual 'I'm not bothered' monotone, while knowing exactly what the response will be because this woman has terrorized her since they were children…

    This was the episode where I really really really appreciated Mai forever.

    And THEN, Ty Lee intervenes and I literally shouted at my screen. At, I think, three in the morning the first time I saw this? I probably woke up half the house DON'T CARE.

    Azula has always controlled people through fear. She boasts earlier that she's a 'people person'. She is completely and always entirely confident in her ability to manipulate others, to read them, to predict what they're going to do and exactly how to make them do what she wants.

    And right here, she failed to do so with the two people closest to her. You miscalculated, Azula.

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/kartikeya/Avatar/boiling.jpg"&gt;

    Sokka and Zuko don prison-guard outfits to infiltrate the Boiling Rock. This really reminded us of Han and Luke disguised in stormtrooper outfits.

    I love Zuko's speech to Sokka about never giving up, no matter how often you fail or how much you might fear failing again. It's humorous, but it's also the very essence of who Zuko is. He never ever ever gives up, and that's what's brought him so far. I find it interesting that Zuko's first attempt at trying to encourage Sokka involves him trying to directly emulate something Iroh might say…but he actually succeeds when he emulates what Iroh would actually be doing while saying that; drawing on personal experience to impart wisdom.

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/kartikeya/Avatar/boiling2.jpg"&gt;

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/kartikeya/Avatar/boiling3.jpg"&gt;

    Seung Hyun Oh and Jae Myung Yu make another cameo appearance, this time as the warden of the Boiling Rock and prisoner Chit Sang, respectively.

    If you'll remember, Seung Hyun Oh was the supervising director of season three at JM Animation and also their karaoke buddy, previously seen as a certain pirate.

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/kartikeya/Avatar/pirates2.jpg"&gt;

    Jae Myung Yu was also an animation director, but I'm afraid I can't find whom he previously cameo'd as. If I were to make a guess though, I'd say probably Xin Fu. (bottom left)

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/kartikeya/Avatar/bandit6.jpg"&gt;

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/kartikeya/Avatar/boiling5.jpg"&gt;

    The Alcatraz-inspired Boiling Rock sits within a steaming volcanic vent.

    This episode is so full of badass moments. Hakoda refusing to look the Warden in the eye and then tripping him when he makes him kneel. Suki. OH MY GOSH SUKI. Suki runs on OTHER PRISONERS' HEADS and then Suki is SPIDER-MAN you guys. Except a woman. You know. That entire fight on the Gondola. Ty Lee running on the line. Azula FLYING WITH FIREBENDING WHAT. Mai taking out dozens of guards with a slight smile.

    Chit Sang's prison riot, lawl. But my favorite thing from him was "I think you mean 'whom' I'm shoving!"

    <img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y29/kartikeya/Avatar/boiling4.jpg"&gt;

  28. kartikeya200 says:

    And I can finally post this. I love most of the videos this person has done, they're all pretty excellent, but be aware the others are probably all spoilers through the end of the series (we're so close, whyyy?). This is just Boiling Rock though:

    [youtube EMujfbDR4lk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMujfbDR4lk youtube]

    • hungriestgame says:

      i love her trailers. raven was single-handedly responsible for my happiness during the entire month of november 2009.

  29. LoonyLu says:

    Yay! I can finally post this video. It's really silly you guys. And be careful of the recommended videos at the end.
    [youtube __KgemxrNag http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__KgemxrNag youtube]

    Oh and this one too! It's a favorite of mine and it shouldn't have any spoilers in it. But the recommended videos might so be careful.
    [youtube 0MvTIowgbs4&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MvTIowgbs4&feature=related youtube]

    Here are the links in case the videos don't work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__KgemxrNag http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MvTIowgbs4&fe

  30. Hotaru_hime says:

    "You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you."

    I jumped on the Mai ship and have never gotten off. FUCK YEAH MAI, YOU GO GIRL!
    Zuko and Sokka make a surprising good team. Their teamwork was practically seamless, considering they were enemies not too long ago.

  31. MocataJoy says:

    We have seen Mai continually stand up to Azula throughout this series. Though I was just as shocked as everyone else the first time I watched the end of this, looking back now it makes complete sense. Remember when Mai wouldn't jump in the sludge on the drill, and said that Azula could "shoot all the lightning she wants" at her? It seemed like a small thing then…..or the angry look that Mai shoots Azula when Azula interrupted Mai's makeout session to tell her to help Ty Lee "untangle her braid?" Again, it seemed small…or what about when Mai straight up YELLED "Leave me alone!" in Azula's face during "The Beach"? Though it was direct, it was still easy to miss in the midst of such a silly episode.

    But those things have a much different tone in retrospect, and I realize that this was just brilliant, brilliant writing all the way through. Especially when you consider that Mai is the ONLY FIRE NATION CITIZEN IN THE ENTIRE WORLD OF AVATAR (besides Zuko) who has ever stood up to Azula.

    Oh, and she also straight up admitted that her "friendship" with Azula was COMPLETELY BASED ON MANIPULATION AND FEAR AND EVERYONE KNEW IT THE WHOLE TIME.

    Holy. Fucking. Shit. Mai is a BADASS.

  32. Pelleloguin says:

    I love this episode(s) so much. Why? Character development! Zuko is thinking things through, Sokka is making hard and serious life choices, and Mai and Ty Lee go against Azula. I could only stare at the screen in horror when that happened. The look on Azula's face made me wonder if she'd have them executed on the spot. She is not a person who thinks they could be betrayed, and it shows. You can hear the emotional turmoil she is dealing with through her voice when she tells the guards to let them rot where she can never see them again. She's lost control of something, and she loses some of the control of her self in the process. It's subtle, but I think the writers are trying to show us that Azula is actually a fragile person under all of the fire.

  33. arnenieberding says:

    MAI BETRAYING AZULA

    HOLY MOTHER OF WIZARD GOD

    <img src="http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y219/EmMahLee_/gifs/ohmygod.gif"&gt;

    TY LEE BETRAYING AZULA

    OH LAWD, TY LEE! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!
    <img src="http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lnhqyuI6em1qafk16.gif"&gt;

  34. tigerpetals says:

    Minor correction: Zuko wasn't moved because of Sokka's beating, Sokka had to "beat" him to talk to him because he was being moved.

    Can I just say that I nearly cried in the second half of the episode. Watching it was so beautiful and I became a Mai/Zuko shipper even though I'm a Zutara shipper. Which I still like, by the way.

    I actually disagree with your contention that Mai and Ty Lee aren't villains. They were before this episode, at least as much as, say, the Fire Nation army and its representatives are villains, and as much as Zuko was a villain in season one and from Crossroads of Destiny till Black Sun. Just not evil, which is different. Of course there are ambiguous lines between villain, antagonist, and evil. A character can be one, two, or all three of these things.

    I liked Chit Sang. In a little bit I'll be able to tell you about a false prediction I made concerning him. I won't tell you how long that little bit is.

    Can I say it makes me happy when you call things? It makes me happy when you call things.

    cont'd

    • tigerpetals says:

      I never felt this was more bleak as Crossroads of Destiny. Being in peril is a standard of action scenes, and this two-parter was basically an action movie. Those never have a big emotional impact on me. Things happen to quickly. The things that did have an impact were the Mai scenes, and some other character scenes.

      I was actually annoyed during the five-way fight. Because Sokka just waved the tip of his sword in Azula's face. He could have at least gouged out her eye with it or something. That just takes the tension right out. Other than that, he and Zuko teaming up was great and funny. I enjoy how often Zuko facepalms and flails and groans in these episodes.

      Suki is awe-inspiring.
      cont'd

      • tigerpetals says:

        The ending wasn't that bleak. I mean, it was sad, but Azula had them put in prison when she was previously going to execute one of them, and she never wants to see them again. That's an improvement. Especially if the Warden decides to keep them safe by virtue of Mai being his niece. He was already willing to delay complying with what he should do for his nation -turning Zuko in- for the benefit of his niece.

        Zuko has to realize that Mai is going to get in serious trouble for what she did for him. I wonder if he was thinking about that when he was looking for how she arrived.

        cont'd

        • tigerpetals says:

          I never got honor. It's a silly, vague word used to justify things that are ridiculous, stupid, and/or bad. It makes more sense to say: I feel like I failed him at the invasion, so I want to make up for that. He was I was the hope of ending the war. Something like that. Someone at the Television Without Pity thread postulated that Sokka was using the word to convince Zuko to give him the information.

          Zuko's inspirational speech really isn't as bleak as some have said it was over the years. It's basic advice about trying things.

          I'm using the word bleak a lot.

          This episode inspired a subgenre of Avatar fanfic: the Sokka/Zuko bromance. People seem to love male bonding.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Oh, oops! You are indeed correct about Zuko. I got mixed up there. Thanks!

  35. Patrick721 says:

    "My girlfriend turned into the moon."
    "That's rough, buddy."

    SOKKA+ZUKO=GREATEST BROMANCE OF ALL TIME. WE NEED TO SEE THEM JUST HANGING OUT, PARTYING IN BA SING SE OR SOMETHING.
    -Haiku Rematch
    -Getting drunk on Cactus Juice
    -Shenanigans
    -Drunken Antics
    -And Iroh!

    Someone needs to write that fanfic.

  36. Helldars says:

    Guess who voiced the Warden ?

    <img src="http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg853/scaled.php?server=853&filename=prisonbreak7wadewilliam.jpg&res=medium&quot;

    That’s right.

    The one and only Wade Williams, who also played Captain Brad Bellick in Prison Break, neat uh ?

    • Perfect! Especially because I was totally thinking of Prison Break during this episode because, you know, it was about a prison break. (Fixed your image, by the way.)

      • Helldars says:

        Thanks ! And yes, this two-parter feels like one giant hommage to pretty much any great prison escape movie/series/book/ anything !

  37. viyamusic says:

    So, Hakoda mentions that he met the Oshinama fighters… I mean, the Kyoshi Warriors before he was transferred.

    Do you think that Hakoda was the one to mention his son Sokka or were the ladies the one to mention Sokka first?

    All I am betting is that there was a whole lot of giggling when those girls met the handsome Hakoda, and that he ended up hearing the story about how they met Sokka… and how he became a proud, honorary Kyoshi warrior, uniform and all!
    πŸ™‚

  38. @Ahavah22 says:

    The first episode of "The Boiling Rock" was the first episode of Avatar that I really watched, and it was the conversation between Zuko and Sokka that blew me away and made me want to watch the entire series. Imagine my surprise when I realized how long it took Zuko to officially join the group.

    But in my mind, Zuko and Sokka are BFF!

    • Veronica says:

      Same here! I saw this episode and i was like why am I just watching this show now?!?! And then I watched the entire series from the start with my mind completely blown that Zuko was a bad guy.

  39. NopeJustMe says:

    When Suki threw Sokka for making the kissing-face, that really freaked me out. I immediately thought 'what if a guard has done that to her before?' to give her those kind of reflexs. Then I remember that she's trained to flip people and this is a KID'S SHOW. Whhhhhyyyyyyyy. Stupid brain.

    It's official though, Zuko is now shippable with every main character.

    Suki is a well-designed character. I would have normally shipped Sokka/Toph as they're both my favourite characters (yes, my reasoning is baseless and probably shallow) but Suki made me appreciate the canon pairing.

    I love that, with every awesome character that starts off as a bad guy, the Avatar team clearly don't want fans to suffer the whole 'they're bad! but they're awesome! oooh, I'm torn!' by going 'Look, they're good now! Squee away!' Though it was definitely coming with Ty Lee and Mai (I didn't think they'd betray her to that extent, but I thought there would be some calling-out)

  40. sam says:

    "You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you."

    …….

    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/29ebt0.gif"&gt;

    <img src="http://i51.tinypic.com/2nhjq84.gif"&gt;

    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/2vvwgtl.gif"&gt;

  41. Mauve_Avenger says:

    This two-parter…

    Sokka finds out that his father is probably imprisoned on a tiny volcanic island in the middle of a boiling lake.
    <img src="http://oi55.tinypic.com/10da52h.jpg"&gt;
    They find the Boiling Rock island and disguise themselves as prison guards without a hitch. Sokka finds Suki again and they bring her into the fold, planning an ingenious method of escape.
    <img src="http://oi52.tinypic.com/72po3k.jpg"&gt;
    Chit Sang finds out their plan and threatens to blab if they don't include him and his girlfriend and friend. When the time comes they get captured and the entire prison is set to lockdown.
    <img src="http://oi55.tinypic.com/10da52h.jpg"&gt;
    A new batch of prisoners comes, and Sokka finds out that his father is one of the new arrivals. They meet and hatch another plan to escape from the Boiling Rock.
    <img src="http://oi52.tinypic.com/72po3k.jpg"&gt;
    Chit Sang (partially) blabs about the escape attempt, Mai shows up and confronts Zuko while showing no signs that she agrees with his new perspective, and Azula and Ty Lee arrive.
    <img src="http://oi55.tinypic.com/10da52h.jpg"&gt;
    Sokka tricks a guard into breaking the prison lockdown, Chit Sang starts a very successful prison riot, and Suki kicks ass and takes the Warden hostage.
    <img src="http://oi52.tinypic.com/72po3k.jpg"&gt;
    On the gondola, Azula and Ty Lee catch up with the escapees, and a fight ensues. The Warden manages to partially escape and order the gondola cables cut. Azula and Ty Lee manage to get to the other gondola in time, but the rest are stuck in the gondola that's about to crash land into the boiling lake.
    <img src="http://oi55.tinypic.com/10da52h.jpg"&gt;
    Mai has a change of heart and stops the gondola cables being cut, allowing the others to escape safely. Azula confronts her and tries to attack, but Ty Lee takes her down.
    <img src="http://oi52.tinypic.com/72po3k.jpg"&gt;
    Azula orders the guards to imprison Ty Lee and Mai and let them rot, and I realize that Chit Sang just left his girlfriend and best friend in prison without a single backward glance.
    <img src="http://oi56.tinypic.com/9gads8.jpg"&gt;

  42. lossthief says:

    So let's see if I can't express my feelings for this episode through nonsensical images:

    Sokka's way of going about reuniting with Suki:
    <img src="http://chzgifs.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/9d0d3be9-a705-4101-bf45-689c7fb9e1e5.gif"&gt;

    Chit Sang trying to escape:
    <img src="http://chzgifs.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/6a98fc5b-4191-4b77-ba35-a67788747abf.gif"&gt;

    Sokka's lack of planning ahead:
    <img src="http://chzgifs.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/bluebadgeofcouragep1.gif"&gt;

    Sokka's plan to escape in the cooler:
    <img src="http://chzgifs.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/inp1.gif"&gt;

    They're going to escape! Oh wait, Azula's here:
    <img src="http://chzgifs.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/721cd4d4-b444-420b-a0ec-ba479b4181e1.gif"&gt;

    HOLYFUCKDIDTYLEEJUSTATTACKGODDAMNEDAZULA?!?!?!?!?!?!?!:
    <img src="http://chzgifs.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/facekickp1.gif"&gt;

    now to see if I actually did the code right.

  43. bookling says:

    I FUCKING LOVE MAI AND TY LEE SO MUCH IN THIS EPISODE. I cheer every time! FUCK YOU AZULA, YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS.

  44. Sue Deuxnim says:

    I think these two episodes are part of the reason I didn't rage quit when I got my copy of the Season 3 DVD that had pretty much only episodes I had watched on it. I had already watched Western Air Temple and Firebending Masters through less than legal means, but I was hoping Boiling Rock would be enough to justify me buying this DVD. It totally was.

    I was spoiled for the twist of Boiling Rock (Seriously the last half of season 3 was like a Spoilerpalooza in the fandom) with Ty Lee and Mai, but it was still so satisfying to see. I never would have guessed that they'd turn on her and when I saw your predictions I was convinced you were trolling us and had watched ahead. That or you had randomly developed physic powers or something.

  45. Lavanya6 says:

    The Sokka/Suki reunion scene had gloriously dark undertones, didn't it? Suki's terse, "I'm tired of this shit" delivery when she asks if she did anything wrong… to a masked guard who shows up in her cell in the middle of the night. This is clearly not a strange occurrence to her. Maybe she's only heard about it, or been warned about it by the other prisoners, but when Sokka makes her move she attacks a guard rather than let him do whatever it is he's trying. Because to Suki, the beating and subsequent freezer time she'll get for causing trouble is better than the other fate awaiting her.

    And that female guard that unmasks Zuko? As she's just patrolling, that quick glance she gives to Zuko — a male standing guard outside a random cell in the female cell block — tells us everything we need. She insists on getting into Suki's cell because she wants to *save* Suki.

    • calimie says:

      Good catch on the female guard's actions, I hadn't noticed. Good for her!

      BTW: Suki wouldn't have been thrown into the freeze, that's only for firebenders.

  46. Saphling says:

    “I guess you just don’t know people as well as you think you do. You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you.”

    Why, yes. Mai did just pull a Snape. ^_______^

  47. Evil Midnight Lurker says:

    Casting joke: The Warden is voiced by the guy who plays the warden in Jailbreak.

  48. Veronica says:

    I love this episode so much! Iv'e seen it a million times and it still never gets old. I mean Suki! Hakoda! Chit Sang! Azula backstabbing! Whats better then that? Besides Zuko and Sokka together. That's two members of the gaang down for Zuko! Plus all the great lines! Yes Sokka when in doubt about getting your escape plan found out call it an egg. That'll fool'em! Plus after I watched this episode I always say "Not me, I'm out." whenever I don't want to do something. I LOVE IT ALL!

  49. jubilantia says:

    LOOOOOOOOOVE

    Awkward teenage boy conversations about girrrrrrrls? Oh. Man. shoot me now they are so hilariously adorable. The girlfriend quote could be single best thing to ever have thinged.

    Suki continues to be my girl crush for this show. I mean, along with all the girls on this show. I think we've even reached the point that there are more girls in the main cast than guys! How awesome is that? I love that Suki's the one to parkour in and get shit done. AND MAI. AND TY-LEE. Yay for all characters having dimension and development, even the Dangerous Ladies! That part is so ridiculously awesome.

    Plus, I love that all the characters have believable issues for the world they are in. Sokka starts out as the cynical comic relief, and he becomes such a wonderful character, with real uncertainties and lessons learned. Daddy Issues for everyone! But I guess those are simply a way to project your insecurities onto someone else, like a parent can project their own feelings of inadequacy or regret onto their child.

    It's lovely that Sokka's Daddy Issues were unnecessary because Hakoda's pretty much the polar opposite of Ozai.

  50. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Can I just say how much I love Zuko impersonating Iroh?? I hope he never stops doing this. Siriusly, it just cracks me up every time.

    You know, I don't think I can deal with good!Zuko. He's just too awesome. Gorram it Zuko stop making yourself sexier every episode.

  51. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    Seriously the comments today are just….they are a thing of beauty. Pure beauty.

  52. Rachael says:

    Don't know if anyone else thought of this but to me, the scene where they fight on the gondala seems to have been inspired by a fight onboard a cable car in the war movie; Where Eagles Dare

    • Murph says:

      The Bond flick "Moonraker" also had a gondola fight scene between Bond and JAWS πŸ˜€

  53. Lycanthromancer says:

    Oh, Mark. Mark! No matter how much you loved these last few episodes…

    …….YOU ARE SO, *SO* UNPREPARED!!!!!

    I can't talk about the upcoming plot without spoiling anything, but OMG…

  54. bookgal12 says:

    This is another episode I never saw before (shame on me), and now that I have seen it I am so glad I saw it this time around. I always wondered if Zuko would have one on one adventures with the rest of the group or not. I was happy to see that it was Sokka who in trying to sneak off to the boiling rock got Zuko to follow him. What follows is some of the most awkward conversation known to this show. Neither of these characters have been alone for enough time to garner conversations. "My first girlfriend turned into the moon" "That's rough buddy." <—-One of the funniest lines ever. So, they make it to boiling rock which fills me with dread at the fact its in the middle of a volcano. I saw the Alcatraz similarity right away.

    Once they get in, now comes the let down that there are no war prisoners and for a moment I held my breath, hoping for something. That comes in the form of Suki, and that is enough for Sokka to be inspired to free her. I love that when they first meet, she tries to hit him only to realize who he is and they kiss.
    <img src="http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQn1Kz7rcEsJckz9HLyh1bZygzaaa08LG1L8vxBjIriy_4pPgoh"&gt;
    Aww, how romantic :).

    Moving onwards, Sokka with the aide of Zuko as a prisoner makes the plan to unbolt a cooler that will act like a boat across the boiling lake of doom. Unfortunatly they are over heard by the prisoner Chit Sang. He gets himself in the group and the plan works out until Zuko and Sokka hear there is a shipment of new prisoners arriving tomorrow. Sokka knows deep inside that his father would be among them. But, he also doesn't want to abandon his girlfriend and Zuko. So, he lets Chit Sang leave and hopes for the best. I was biting my nails until they showed Hakoda at which point I was like "Alright, now they just need a new plan..".

    I was blown away at Hakoda and Sokka's reunion, it made me all sorts of tingly and happy to see father and son reunited. With their brilliant minds together they hatch a new plan to get a riot going and then escape with the warden as their captive on the Gondola. Little do Hakoda, Suki and Sokka know but the Dangerous Ladies have arrived and I knew that they would do something to impede the escape. Zuko gets thrown into a cell where he is confronted by Mai. I am glad Mai was able to see Zuko and show her heartbreak to him. He should have told her face to face instead of just in a note. Zuko explains himself or at least tries to before escaping his cell. The riot scene is fantastic as I hoped it would be and it was perfectly puncuated with Suki's capture of the Warden. I already liked Suki, so this episode just made me like her more.

    • viyamusic says:

      But I think he left a note because if he had to tell her face to face, she might have convinced him to stay, or at least he might not have had the courage to do what he finally knew was right. If there was anything left to convince him to stay- it was her. And he couldn't take that chance.

      • H. Torrance Griffin says:

        Alternately, had he put her into a position where she would be obliged to stop him and she did not (or worse, she went along with him) she would be dragged into treason and is at least as much danger as he. Come to think of it, the bonehead said just as much.

        Zuko: Everyone in the Fire Nation thinks I'm a traitor. I couldn't drag her into it.

        (Yes, considering her capabilities and the odds of her vetoing the confrontation with Daddy Dearest I call him a bonehead)

  55. cypsiman2 says:

    While I did enjoy The Boiling Rock, I've increasingly been of the feeling that there was no good reason for it to have been a two-parter; we could easily had both Hakoda and Suki already at the prison, skip over the random prisoner dude who keeps getting involved, cutting out huge chunks of, albeit amusing, padding.

  56. Megan says:

    <img src="http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lh3djrgBAY1qblfibo1_500.gif"&gt;

    I don't even like Mai all that much but this line always gives me chills. Hell, the entire scene does. And then Ty Lee turns against Azula, too… proof that fear isn't the best way to get people to like and respect you. God, I love this show.

  57. Annabelle Diamond says:

    I love this episode. Period.
    I think I love this episode so much was everything is finally falling into place. I mean Mai and Ty Lee turned on Azula. epic sequels. Also I think one of the reasons is I just watched like a billion depressing Tourchwood episodes.
    rating for episode 10…… hundred million.

  58. Violets are Blue says:

    I love the field trips. Because this is what it is: Field Trips with Zuko. WHY CAN'T I HAVE ONE? So jealous.

  59. Moon_Shadow says:

    [SUKI kidnaps the Warden]

    ME: YAY SUKI YOU ARE THE BEST EVER

    [MAI stands up to Azula]

    ME: …or maybe Mai is…

    [TY LEE takes Azula down]

    ME: …

    I think what I love most about this episode is Mai's storyline: here we see her heartbroken, confronting Zuko when neither of them have a way to make things right, and then he betrays her more directly and we see her reaction to that — and then she faces down Azula anyway. It's beautiful.

    (But Suki? Kidnapped the Warden WITH HER BARE HANDS. That's not quite Iroh-level but it's pretty good.)

  60. @magfrypie says:

    I cannot believe no one has posted this yet!

    [youtube GL37UEdQTvA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL37UEdQTvA youtube]

  61. kori says:

    [youtube c0Q8Tlpy8Co&feature=player_detailpage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Q8Tlpy8Co&feature=player_detailpage youtube]

    Note: I don't think there's any spoilers in the recommended videos but just in case…

  62. rainbowsinside says:

    This is the first episode my boyfriend saw. Me and my friend wanted to watch it since it had just aired and he just happened to be with us. So when it got to the "My girlfriend turned into the moon" line, me and her were laughing hysterically and he just looked really confused.

  63. @magfrypie says:

    Meanwhile, wayyyyy back when you reviewed "The Avatar Returns" where Sokka pokes Zuko with the butt of his spear to send him flying off the boat, all I could think of was this icon:

    [IMG ]http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s5/huofeng/atla_01_02_27.png[/IMG]

    Just love that parallel.

    [IMG ]http://i52.tinypic.com/10er2b7.jpg[/IMG]

    Zuko + Sokka + shenanigans = ME IN LOVE.

  64. @magfrypie says:

    Meanwhile, wayyyyy back when you reviewed "The Avatar Returns" where Sokka pokes Zuko with the butt of his spear to send him flying off the boat, all I could think of was this icon:

    <img src="http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s5/huofeng/atla_01_02_27.png"&gt;

    Just love that parallel.

    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/10er2b7.jpg"&gt;

    Zuko + Sokka + shenanigans = ME IN LOVE.

  65. Elanor Pam says:

    Doesn't Mai's betrayal bring all her previous actions into perspective?

    For all we know, back in season 2, she only went along with Azula's plans so she could meet Zuko again!

  66. fantasylover120 says:

    My reaction to this ep can be summed up like this: Prison episode on Avatar starring Zuko and Sokka? BRING IT!
    It exceeded my expectations.

  67. Matt_Thermo says:

    The reaction I had when Ty Lee jumped into the fray and took out Azula was roughly equivalent to the same kind of reaction a football fan would have when their team scores a touchdown in the Superbowl. I jumped off my couch and screamed "FUCK YEAH!"

    Which may have been followed by several variations of loudly exclaiming "Yes!", "Fuck Yes!", "That was frikin' awesome!" and possibly a "You go girl!"

    Luckily, I was living alone at the time, so I was able to fully unleash my raging fanboy (…that sounds dirtier than intended). I think more than anything, why this was one of the most "HOLY SHIT" moments for me in a show full of holy shit moments, was because I just never ever expected Ty Lee to stand up to Azula. As odd as it sounds, a large part of my excitement in that moment was due to how proud I was for Ty Lee.

  68. Fishylungs says:

    I think my favorite thing about this episode is the turning of Ty Lee and Mai. At first it felt a little abrupt, like it was done without reason. But Ty Lee already mentioned in "The Beach" how she hated the fact she was just being used by her family to be part of a proper little set, and Mai was told by her parents to do as they say and fit into the little space in THEIR world and that she wasn't to do anything.

    Their turning on Azula fits because Azula has spent pretty much all their friendship telling them what to do and where to go. Mai finally finds Zuko as an emotional outlet but that's threatened when Azula plans to crispy-fry her brother, while Ty Lee was taken from her life as a Circus performer, a job she was very happy to be at.

    Their betrayal of Azula completes their journey to be free women. The Dangerous Ladies are no more.

  69. Macy says:

    I was never really fond of Mai before this ep. Her personality always kind of annoyed me. BUT DAYUM GURL. Totally kick-ass.

  70. hhgrrl says:

    So, Mark. Dothinkyouareprepared?doyouthinkyouwilleverbeprepared?gladyouareenjoyingyourself!Idon'tthinkyouwilleverbePREPARED!iwatchedtheseriesfinaleacoupleofdaysagoandeventhoughisawitbefore,itBLEWMYMIND!
    *onmajorsugarrush…

  71. Colin says:

    FINALLY found the feminist-centred review of Avatar: http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/04/rehttp://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/04/rehttp://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/04/rehttp://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/05/re… (WARNING SPOILERS)

    She makes some bloody excellent points, and squees over Toph, which makes her all right in my book. πŸ˜‰

    • Helldars says:

      I knew about this great review for years and I never posted the links…what is wrong with me ?
      Excellent initiative by the way !

  72. simplefaith08 says:

    SO MUCH HAPPENED. AND IT IS GLORIOUS.

    Best exchange of all time: "My girlfriend turned into the moon." "That's rough, buddy." Seriously, nothing will ever top that. And this whole season, really, is just full of excellent dialogue (not that it was at all bad in one or two, just that it got kicked up a notch in three)

    Suki's back! And she's badass, per usual.

    Also, when Mai told Azula that she "miscalculated," I was like "OH SNAP >:D" because I don't think Azua has ever heard that before, that she's not as good as she thinks she is, that she can't control everything around her in her personal game of chess, and it's so cathartic. And for one of the few people she considers a "friend" (in the only way she knows to have them) to tell her straight up that she miscalculated is *beautiful*. But what's even better is Ty Lee's betrayal. Like, you may not expect Mai's betrayal, but given her characterization, the fact that she never seemed that attached to Azula, it's more of a cold burn. But Ty lee, who practically fangirls Azula, watching Azula about to kill her other best friend deciding that she has to choose? It's amazing, and I love it so.

    I also loved that Azula, for the first time really, sounded genuinely hurt. I mean, it comes across as anger, but she's so shocked and betrayed, and I can't tell if she really thought they were her "friends" (on her terms of friendship) or if she was just angry that she was wrong, or if it's a bit of both and she's frustrated at showing "weakness."

  73. Chris says:

    First time poster, long time reader!!! hello there, folks!!!!!I LOVE THIS EPISODE(S?)!!!!

    I've always liked Suki but this is the episode that made me fucking love her cuz she is a BAMF!

    – She will totally kick a guards ass if they try to take advantage of her being a prisoner (Oh Sokka, you obviously didn't think that through what that looked like from her perspective)

    – While the guys are arguing she RUNS ON PEOPLES HEADS, CLIMBS A WALL, DOES SOME ACROBATIC MOVE THEN PROCEEDS TO TAKE OUT MULTIPLE FIRE BENDING GUARDS THEN CAPTURES THE WARDEN. BY HERSELF. People I believe she's a ninja!

    -"This is a rematch I've been waiting for." HELL YEA.

    cont

    • Chris says:

      -THE FIGHT BETWEEN SUKI AND TY LEE!!! Tthe only dissapointing thing about this episode is that we didn't get to see the full fight between them. πŸ™

      First off if I remember correctly, this is the first NON BENDER HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT we've seen and its between TWO BADASS CHICKS STRIAGHT UP GOING TO THROWDOWN! Just look at their faces during this scene. These girls are not playing! O yea and it's while on top of a gondola SUSPENED OVER A BOILING LAKE IN THE MIDDLE OF A VOLCANO WHILE AZULA AND ZUKO ARE BLASTING FIRE ON THE OPPOSITE END! FUCK YES!

      cont…

      • Chris says:

        And can't forget about Mai. First off, I love that she confronted Zuko for breaking up with her in the letter. From our perspective and deductions yea it was probably best that way so that she doesn't get labled a traitor or as some above said she's be the one person who couldv'e possibly convinced him not to join Team Avatar.

        -She is also a BAMF for stopping the FIREBENDING GUARDS BY HERSELF WITH HER THROWING KNIVES from cutting the line thus saving Zuko and co. In a long dress btw. Anyone else find her sliding across the ground AS SHE'S THROWING KNIVES just like freakin awesome? I love throwing knives.

        – "I love Zuko more then I fear you." <- THIS.

        -Also I don't think anyone else has mentioned this: Azula not only going to kill her but IIRC, it looked like she was GOING TO LIGHTNING BOLT HER! and I LOVED that we get a split second at Mai's expression that says BRING IT. (Thank you fantastic animators!) She knows that she is probably about to die and yet has a knife out because despite her small chance of winning this fight against Azula, she is NOT GOING DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT. <3

        Just all the <3 for these ladies.

  74. notemily says:

    Hee hee, Zuko's attempt at telling Iroh's tea joke. And then he smiles! OMG. ZUKO SMILED.

    "My first girlfriend turned into the moon." "That's rough, buddy." CLASSIC.

    My other favorite part is the exchange about Mai. "That gloomy girl who sighs a lot?" "Yeah!" AND HE SMILES AGAIN. Aww, emo Zuko loves gloomy Mai.

    "Prisoners! Am I right?"

    "I think you mean WHOM I'm shoving!"

    I love that even after being "put in his place," Hakoda TRIPS THE WARDEN with his shackles. I also love Anger Management Guy. "That really hurt my feelings!"

    How awesome is the scene where Suki RUNS UP THE WALLS OF THE PRISON in order to get the Warden, and then the guys follow her and they're all out of breath? Hee hee, Suki wins at life.

    This is truly Mai's moment of triumph. I don't know how anyone can hate her after this episode, honestly. Even if you're a Zutara shipper, Mai brings the awesome here. And so does Ty Lee!

    "The best meat of all. The meat of friendship and fatherhood!"

    (I have very few thoughts to add to yours except quoting everything in the episode apparently)

  75. Jay Gatsby says:

    I feel like if the writers of ATLA were made to write a show about potatoes, they could write an Emmy winning show. They are THAT good!

  76. Jupiter Star says:

    "Ugh, Azula, WHEN ARE YOU JUST GOING TO EXPLODE OR SOMETHING"

    I guess it would be spoilery to mention that the first episode of season nine is "The Exploded Princess?"

  77. MichelleZB says:

    I can't even write everything. Like, honestly. SO MANY FEELINGS OF JOY ABOUT THIS EPISODE.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  78. Evil Midnight Lurker says:

    My favorite image: the look on Ty Lee's face. OMG DID MY HANDS JUST DO THAT?! THEY TOTALLY DID.

  79. Avatar_fan_mom says:

    Re: Mai's motivations here…
    Ok, is Mai just doing all of this because of her love for Zuko, or does she also believe in his cause? I mean, I just don't see Mai as the blindly supportive girlfriend – standing by her man no matter what. Truly, I think that part of her must see how messed up the Fire Nation has become and can see where Zuko is coming from. Mai grew up seeing the inside politics of the FN and was suppressed for so long that this kind of rebellion only seems natural. Don't get me wrong…I think her love for Zuko has a lot to do with what happened here in the Boiling Rock. However, its not just that she loves Zuko that she does this – but rather that her love for Zuko is inspiring a transformation within her self.

    • @redbeardjim says:

      Well, there's a difference between "standing by your man no matter what" and "stopping people from dropping your man into a lake of boiling water".

      • Hyatt says:

        Correction; "stopping people from dropping a bunch of people including your man and your uncle into a lake of boiling water". Despite using knives, Mai's fighting style is about disabling opponents without harming them at all. She's not the killing type, at all.

  80. teaspooncapacity says:

    This two-parter never ceases to blow my mind. Seriously, Sokka and Zuko together? My favorite, attractive, snarky boys trying to infiltrate and then escape a jail?! BEST THING EVER. Especially their dialogue together. It is PERFECT. "I'm never happy." "My girlfriend turned into the moon." "That's rough, buddy." THIS IS SCRIPT WRITING GOLD.

    Also, fucking Suki Possible. She is so ninja she outninjas ninjas.

    Last but not least, this episode made me like Mai. She was snarky and could throw knives, but otherwise her character was so bland to me. BUT THIS EPISODE. It touched me how Mai cared so much for Zuko, and how both Mai and Ty Lee were oppressed by Azula's manipulation and overall evilness. I was (and still am) a Zutarian, and they made me care about Mai, not to mention Mai and Zuko together. Major props.

  81. Sam says:

    <iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/1TKIM4WcQxg&quot; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Finally posting this! Best thing ever!

  82. Bay Area Food Blog says:

    Did anyone feel a bit cheated we didn't get a throwdown between Azula and Mai. That would have been epic.

  83. grav_ity says:

    The "you miscalculated" exchange might be my favourite moment of the entire series.

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