April 8, 2005
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Writer: Aaron Ehasz
Director: Lauren MacMullan
An Earth Kingdom village is being attacked by a monster from the Spirit World. The monster (named Hei Bai) captures Sokka, and Aang decides to go after him. Aang accidentally ends up in the Spirit World, where he is told that Avatar Roku has a message for him. Aang proceeds to calm the attacking beast, restoring peace to the village. Meanwhile, Iroh gets captured by the Earth Kingdom. This causes Zuko to stop his chase for the Avatar and instead go save Iroh.
The group arrives at an Earth Kingdom forest and sees what looks like a huge black scar in the middle of the woods. They land only to find out that it was burned down by Fire Nation soldiers. Aang feels bad that he let that happen, but Katara assures him that the forest will grow back, because of all the acorns around. The party is startled when an old man comes asking the Avatar for his help. The group arrives at Senlin Village in ruins and learns that it is being terrorized by a spirit, Hei Bai. The villagers ask Aang to help them, and he agrees although he doesn't know how. At sunset, he goes out to confront the spirit. As Aang waits, he finds no spirit. Then from behind him, the spirit appears from the forest. Aang tries to talk to the spirit, but it seems it isn't listening. Sokka runs out to help Aang, but is captured and taken away by the spirit instead. Aang, while chasing after Sokka and the spirit, mysteriously enters the spirit world. Later, Aang is confronted by a dragon, which turns out to be Avatar Roku's dragon, Fang. The dragon takes Aang to a temple on a crescent shaped island to see Avatar Roku's statue. Aang finds out that Avatar Roku wants to speak to him about a comet, and the only time they can talk is during the Winter Solstice. The dragon takes Aang back to his body, and there Aang learns why the spirit is terrorizing the village. The spirit was upset and angry that his home had been burned down. At sunset, Aang shows the spirit that the forest will grow back by giving him an acorn. The satisfied spirit (which turned into a panda bear) leaves the village, and in its trail, it left a few bamboo stalks that the captured villagers (including Sokka) come out of. The show ends with Aang telling Katara and Sokka that he needs to go to the temple (which is in the Fire Nation) to speak with Avatar Roku by sunset on the Solstice (which was the next day).
In this episode Iroh and Zuko are seen tracking Aang and his friends. Iroh is relaxing in a self-heated pool of water that he has turned into his own personal jacuzzi. Zuko is becoming very impatient and demands that his uncle get ready to leave right away. Iroh agrees, but when he stands up it is revealed that he is naked. Zuko is very embarrassed by this and covers his eyes, telling his uncle to take a few more minutes to get ready. He then gives a warning that if Iroh is not ready within a half hour, Zuko will leave without him. Iroh slumps back into the pool and falls asleep. He is awoken by a sound and prepares for a possible ambush at once. After he overcomes his disorientation, he notices a tiny field mouse and relaxes again at once. He gently takes the field mouse into his hands and begins talking to it. Iroh realizes he missed Zuko's time limit but does not seem to care saying that he had "a very sweet nap." Iroh is then ambushed for real by Earth Kingdom soldiers who capture him to bring him back to Ba Sing Se, the place where he sieged for 600 days before leaving. Zuko comes later with two soldiers and determined who his capturers were. Iroh then feigns to fall asleep, leaving his stinky sandal for Zuko to find. While Iroh is with his captors, he notices the spirit of Avatar Roku's animal guide, which is a magnificent Dragon. Iroh is shocked but quickly covers it up when the soldiers ask him what is wrong.
Iroh then tricks his captors by asking them to tighten his chains. The Captain then has one of the soldiers tighten the chains, while Iroh stealthily snorts onto the cuffs, heating them up. When the soldier touches the cuffs, he burns his hand and screams in agony. Iroh then makes a bold but ultimately failed attempt for freedom. After he is caught, the soldiers debate with themselves about what they should do. They quickly decide to crush Iroh's hands by dropping a huge rock on them. Just as the punishment is about to be inflicted, Zuko appears and kicks the rock that was about to be dropped on Iroh's hands aside. He then lifts his leg and with one swift movement breaks the chains that are binding Iroh in half, to which Iroh praisingly states "Excellent form Prince Zuko." Zuko smiles and replies "You taught me well." Iroh and Zuko then defeat the soldiers without much difficulty. After the fight Zuko exclaims, "Now would you please put on some clothes?!".
Production Notes Edit
Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar
Series Continuity Edit
- Although Aang sees a statue of a giant bear in this episode, and a Panda Bear-shaped spirit in the end, the party still expresses doubt that such an animal as a "bear" can exist in "City of Walls and Secrets."
- This episode sees the first mention by name of Ba Sing Se, the walled city to which General Iroh laid siege for 600 days and which will become important in Season 2. (It was referred to merely as the Earth Kingdom's capital city in "The Southern Air Temple".)
- The shoe that Zuko finds on the ground which belongs to Iroh is the same one he used to find him with June's shirshu, Nyla, in Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters.
- Aang mentions that Monk Gyatso told him Avatar Roku would help him. Yet in Chapter 3, he says he doesn't know how he knew the name of Roku's statue.
- This episode introduces The Spirit World and the capacity of an Avatar to contact with spirits. This will become very important in the final chapters of this book.
Character Revelations Edit
- Iroh is shown to have some connection with the Spirit World because he sees Roku's dragon while others do not. It is later revealed in "The Siege of the North (Part 2)" that he may have traveled to the Spirit World in the past.
- The episode is strongly influenced by the Hayao Miyazaki's movie "Princess Mononoke".
- When Fang shows the calendar for how the sunlight through the gem to Roku's Statue, it shows that the way the sun set is in the Avatar world Southern Hemisphere is from right to left. In the North Hemisphere the way the sun sets is from left to right due to the planet's circular formation.
- When chasing Hei Bai through the forest Aang is replaced by a CGI replica.
- In the very beginning of the episode, Aang is chewing on the end of a piece of wheat, similar to Jet.
- In this episode, The Spirit World appears to be an extension of the physical world, but in future episodes, it is an entirely different realm.
- When Aang is about to crash into his real body his cheeks blush and are temporarily red, but while in the Spirit World he must always be blue.
- When the three of them enter the village at sunset, Katara's dress is bright blue and Sokka's clothes are a dull blue. In the next shot, we see Katara and Sokka from the front, and their clothing is roughly the same color.
- When the Old Wanderer places a coat over Katara and says, "You should get some rest", his mouth doesn't move. This is when Aang is first in the Spirit World and doesn't notice until he is unseen and cannot bend air.