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April 15, 2005
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Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino
Director: Giancarlo Volpe
Aang travels to the Fire Temple to receive the message from Avatar Roku on the Winter Solstice. They are chased by Zuko and attacked by a Fire Nation blockade led by Zhao. When Aang gets to the temple he is shocked to learn that the five Fire Sages there are no longer the Avatar's allies. However, a friendly sage helps Aang get the message, where Roku then informs Aang about Sozin's Comet which will give the Fire Nation the power to finish the war. Aang defeats Zhao, Zuko and the Sages when he manifests the spirit of Roku, who destroys the temple.
The episode starts with Aang packing his things on Appa; Aang doesn’t want to endanger his friends' lives so he intends to go alone. As he is about to set off, Katara and Sokka stop him and tell him that they are going with him. Aang tells them that it is too dangerous, but his friends won’t hear of it so it looks like Aang’s not traveling alone. One of the villagers gives Aang some more supplies and tells him that it is a long journey to Avatar Roku’s temple and if they want to get there before the Solstice is over they must leave immediately. Aang tries to thank him for his kindness, but the villager tells them to leave that instant and so they do. Later on that night, there is a knock at the door of that same villager’s house; he opens it to find Prince Zuko. Zuko pushes the man and demands to know where the Avatar went.
It is now day time; as Appa flies through the sky, that is when Katara spots Zuko’s Ship as it is trailing them. On Zuko’s ship Iroh scolds his nephew, reminding him that he is banished from the Fire Nation and if he enters their waters he will be arrested. Zuko tells him that since he is chasing the Avatar, his father will understand. Iroh states that his brother isn’t an understanding person. Back on Appa, Katara and Sokka see that something is coming out of Zuko’s ship; it is a catapult. The catapult's missile is set on fire and sent hurtling towards Appa. Aang is able to help Appa dodge the shot but just barely. After missing, Zuko orders for the catapult to be reloaded when he sees in the distance a blockade of Fire Nation ships in the way. Iroh tells Zuko that since he is still in Earth Kingdom waters, if he turns back now he won’t be arrested. Zuko refuses to turn away and orders the ship forward.
As luck would have it, the man in control over the blockade is no other than Commander Zhao. He orders his ships to open fire on the Avatar. One of his men tells Zhao that there is a Fire Nation ship out in the water. After Zhao sees it’s Zuko, he claims it belongs to a traitor and re-orders the attack on the Avatar. As a horde of shots from dozens of blockade catapults are fired towards Appa, Aang prepares to dodge the barrage of attacks as the first few whiz by Appa. Zuko isn’t as lucky, as one of the shots hits Zuko’s ship in the back causing the ship to smoke heavily. One of his men explains what was damaged and that they need to stop for repairs, but Zuko still won't back off as he charges forward again.
As Aang continues to dodge a swarm of shots, the force of one knocks Sokka from Appa sending him plummeting. Appa dives down and narrowly catches him. Aang has Appa charge right down the middle towards the blockade, while Zhao takes one last shot. But Aang is able to destroy it with Airbending, and they soar past the blockade and past Zhao. Less than pleased with the fact that the Avatar made it through the blockade, Zhao knows he has to follow him but he doesn’t know where he’s going. That’s when he sees Zuko’s ship approach and, instead of arresting him, he allows him to pass through the blockade untouched so he can follow him to the Avatar.
Back on Appa, they spend hours flying through the air. It is almost dusk when Appa finally makes it to the crescent-shaped island where Roku’s dragon Fang took Aang when he was in the Spirit World. When they land, Appa takes a well-deserved rest while the others enter the temple. It is empty when they enter the temple’s first room, but behind them are five men dressed in red robes. Aang, knowing they are Fire Sages, thinks that they will try to help him, but after telling them he is the Avatar they attack him. Aang blocks the attacks, and Aang and the others run from the five sages and go down many different halls until they reach a dead end. As they go to turn around, one of the five sages is in front of them. Aang prepares to fight him, but the sage explains that he is on Aang’s side. They at first don’t believe him, but when they hear the others approach, the sage opens a secret passageway and they escape from the other sages.
Back with Zuko, he is confused as to why Zhao let him pass. Iroh states that it is most likely because he wants to use Zuko to find the Avatar. Hearing his uncle’s theory, Zuko is at a loss for what to do.
Back with Aang, the sage that helped them tells them that his name is Shyu. He goes further by saying that when Avatar Roku died, the other sages and his grandfather waited for the new Avatar to appear, but he never did. Then Fire Lord Sozin started the war and forced the sages to serve him. After time, they did and only Shyu’s family stayed loyal to the Avatar. He explains that when the sages found out that Aang was alive, Shyu knew that he would have to betray the others and help Aang. They eventually arrive on a higher level of the temple in front of them is a huge door. Shyu tells them that it must have recently been closed and only a fully realized Avatar or five fire blasts from five different Firebenders can only open it. None of them know how to open the door… no one but Sokka.
Back with Zuko, he has come up with an idea. Since Zhao is following the smoke from his ship, he will take a smaller vessel and sneak past Zhao under the smoke. We see Zhao a distance back as he looks at the smoke of Zuko’s ship with a suspicious look on his face.
Sokka reveals his plan; he makes five small oil-based lamps and places each in one of the five areas where the door takes in the fire. He has Shyu light the fuse and they stand back; a huge explosion rips through the room. Aang rushes to the door, but it isn’t open. Aang begins to send waves of air to try to open the door, but to no avail. Sokka doesn’t understand why the door didn’t open, stating that it didn’t work. Katara says that it may not have worked but it looks like it did. Understandably, the group is confused.
The next scene has Shyu yelling to the other sages to come to the door. He states that the Avatar has entered the room behind the door. They don’t know how he could have, but Shyu points out the burn marks on the door and points to a shadow coming from the other side. The sages instantly open the door with their Firebending to discover that the shadow was only the lemur and that it must have crawled through the pipes. Now Katara’s plan springs to action as each of the four sages are grabbed by Shyu, Katara, Sokka, and Momo. Katara yells to Aang to enter the chamber, but there is no answer from him. Then Zuko appears from behind a pillar with Aang. In their surprise, they each in turn lose control over the sages, who now hold them down. Zuko tells the sages to close the door immediately; Aang turns to see the others being tied up to a pillar, struggles free from Zuko, and races to the door. The sages attempt to stop him, but he makes it inside before the doors close. Then a bright light comes from the room and dies away.
Aang, now in the chamber where he had been with Roku’s dragon, sees only a statue of Avatar Roku and doesn’t know what to do now. Outside the doors, Zuko and the four sages attempt to open the door, but now it won’t. One of the sages states that it must be Avatar Roku and that he doesn’t want them to enter. Aang calls to Roku asking for his help; then a wind spirals around Aang and he is in front of Roku on the top of a mountain range. Roku says hello to Aang and asks what took him so long. Back outside the doors, Zuko asks Shyu why he helped Aang; Shyu says that it was once the Fire Sage’s duty to help the Avatar and that it still is. This moment in interrupted by Zhao and a group of soldiers. Zhao places Zuko under arrest and claims that he will simply wait for the Avatar to come out.
Roku begins to tell Aang why he had to meet him; he tells him that one hundred years ago a comet came, and Sozin used its power to start the war and deal a deadly first strike against the other nations. Roku continues by saying that the comet gave them great power and that the comet is coming back. Roku tells Aang that he must master the other three elements before summer's end, for that is when the comet returns. If he hasn’t mastered the elements by then, there will be nothing he can do, as Fire Lord Ozai will use its power to finish the war. Aang is understandably shocked at what he has just heard and doesn’t think he can do it in such a short time, but Roku has confidence in him because he has done it before. Roku senses that there is a great danger waiting outside the doors of the chamber and offers his help if Aang thinks he’s ready. As Aang’s avatar spirit activates, he claims that he is. Then we see the mountain range disappear, and we are back outside of the doors where Zhao and the others are braced to attack Aang the moment he steps out. Then with another flash of light, the door opens and they attack the figure behind the door. They see it is not Aang but Avatar Roku that stands before them; he sends the fire back with great force and knocks the group back. The heat of the fire melts the chains that hold Katara and the others. Zuko takes this opportunity to run back to his boat. Shyu tells Katara and Sokka to run from the temple because Avatar Roku is going to destroy it; they refuse to leave without Aang. We see Roku split the ground, and he brings lava up from beneath the temple and sends it up through the temple. We see Zhao and his men retreat back to their boats before the temple begins to fall. The sun sets, and with that the solstice is over. Roku with one last breath is enveloped in a current of wind, and when the dust clears Aang remains. He collapses and is picked up by Katara and Sokka. As the temple is falling apart, they have no way to get out of the temple as all the ways are blocked by debris. Then Appa appears, and they jump onto his back and fly away from the temple that falls moments after they leave.
Zhao looks up and sees the Avatar fly away from his sight; he is not pleased as he has lost any chance of capturing the Avatar or Prince Zuko. But as a consolation he claims he has five traitors; we see all five sages including Shyu. The Sages say that only Shyu helped the Avatar, but Zhao isn’t interested in their story and has them thrown into the prison hold of his ship. We then see Zuko on his smaller ship also looking at the Avatar as he flies away. As the episode ends, Katara and Sokka group around Aang and comfort him, as they fly away.
Production Notes Edit
- At the end of the Winter Solstice Part 1: The Spirit World there was a new crescent moon, but in the beginning of the episode there was a full. It couldn't be possible for the moon to change that fast. Every week the moon turns into one complete phase; new, first quarter, full, and last quarter and then new etc.
- When Avatar Roku hit the floor of the temple before he destroys it, his voice is actually Shyu's voice.
Series Continuity Edit
- This episode introduces Sozin's comet, a returning comet which will give the Fire Nation army the power to conquer the territory still not under its control; the comet returns once every hundred years and greatly increases the power of the Fire Nation's Firebenders. Aang must master all four elements before the comets arrival, or he will be unable to defeat the Fire Lord before the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes completely lose the war. Basically, this is when we learn that Aang has a time limit to complete his destiny.
- As of this episode, Aang and his friends have been to each of the four nations.
- This is the first time Fire Lord Ozai is shown (only his shadow).
- This is the first episode in which another avatar shows themselves through Aang's body, the other being Avatar Day.
- This is the first time the Buddhist chant, "Na Mo A Mi Tuo Fo Shin Di" (spellings vary) is heard. The chant can be very faintly heard before Aang merges with La in The Siege of the North, Part 2. It is later heard in "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King" when Aang meditates, when Aang meets the Lion Turtle in Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters, and also when Aang begins to Energybend Fire Lord Ozai in Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang.
- The reason Avatar Roku freed Zuko was because Roku is Zuko's great-grandfather on his mother's side of the family.