Previously, Jet was emo on a bridge, Joo Dee was creepy as hell, Long Feng was revealed to be manipulating AN ENTIRE CITY, Jet was arrested for being a crazypants stalkerface, and subsequently hypnotized to stfu about the war, and Long Feng kidnapped Appa 'cause he's a douche.
Currently, Sokka is getting his art on. He actually looks like a five-year-old with a coloring book. Tongue sticking out and everything. Katara and Aang come bursting in, saying they found a printer for their posters. Being that I can't read Chinese I'm going to assume that says "LOST: One big motherfucking bison". Sokka is indignant: "I thought designing the Lost Appa posters was my job! I've been working all day on my Appa!" Keep working, sweetie. Aang: "Sokka, the arrow is on Appa's head." Sokka: "This IS his head." And Katara just cracks up in the background. Family means never having to pretend you're laughing with them. She asks why feet are coming out of Appa's head. Sokka: "THOSE ARE HIS HORNS. I haven't seen him in a while, okay?!" Toph, with barely-restrained laughter: "Looks just like him to me!" Sokka: "Thank you! I....why do you feel the need to do that?" I love that everybody is just ganging up on Sokka. Katara says they'll just go with the professional version, and he tears up his foot-headed Appa in protest. Aang and Momo take a bunch of leaflets and drop them all over town, much the same way he did Appa's fur.
Tea shop! A couple of fancy-looking gentlemen drink some of Iroh's tea, then approach him to ask about his salary. Iroh says "good tea is its own reward", which generally translates to "I get paid in coupons". The Fancy Gentleman says it doesn't have to be the only reward - "How would you like to have your own tea shop in the Upper Ring?" Iroh's mind, it is blown. The shop owner's spidey sense starts tingling, and he comes rushing over to try to stop this madness. "I WILL GIVE YOU A FANCY TITLE THAT WILL IN NO WAY RAISE YOUR SALARY." FG: "I'll give you a house." Pao: "IT'S A REALLY FANCY TITLE." Iroh promptly turns in his teapot and tells Zuko the good news. Zuko: "I'll try to contain my joy." Oh, Zuko. You don't feel joy. Only real boys do that. He slams the door and sulks outside...just in time to catch a falling Lost Appa leaflet. His eyes immediately go to the skies. He even climbs up on top of the shop to get a better look, but there's nothing. He suddenly looks very determined. I am looking through my fingers, as I facepalmed the moment he caught the leaflet. I'm convinced it's Pavlovian at this point. I mean, his dad burninated his face, kicked him out of the country, sent him on a wild goose chase just to torment him with the possibility of redemption, and then sicced his crazy-ass sister on him, fully expecting her to kill him! And yet as soon as he catches wind of the Avatar, he goes all crazy-eyed and retarded. Oh, Zuko. You need a hug in the worst way. Possibly from a straitjacket.
Avatar House. Katara: "I activate my trap card!" Aang comes in, asking if anyone's had news about Appa. Katara tells him to be patient, so he settles in to watch their game. Half a second later, someone knocks. Aang: "Patience works!" He opens the door and - GAH. Dammit, she's like number five on my list of Faces I Hoped I'd Never See Again. Sokka asked what happened to her. "Did the Dai Li throw you in jail?' Joo Dee: "What? No! The Dai Li are the protectors of our cultural heritage! They are good and kind people who never do anything wrong! Also they smell like freshly baked cupcakes!" Toph points out that she kind of disappeared for two episodes, but she just says she took a short vacation to Lake Laogai. OH HEY. Katara brings up Replacement Joo Dee. Joo Dee: "I'm Joo Dee." Aang: "We know. Unfortunately. Why are you here?" Joo Dee pulls out one of the Lost Appa posters and says they aren't allowed to distribute them within the city. "Not without proper clearance." Sokka: "Look, we don't exactly have eight to ten weeks, here." Joo Dee: "You are absolutely forbidden by the rules of the city to continue putting up posters." Aang: "SCREW THE RULES, I'M THE AVATAR." And he slams the door in Joo Dee's face. Aki: "*slow clap*" Sokka: "That might come back to bite us in the blubber." Aang: "AND?!" And Toph, in her glee at the prospect of rule-breaking, proceeds to destroy an entire corner of their house. Uncalled for, Toph. Uncalled for. As they leave the house, Dai Li are watching them from atop what I'm pretty sure is Pong's house.
Royal Clubhouse, No Girls Allowed. Long Feng is very disappointed in Joo Dee. "I had hoped you would be able to control the situation." Joo Dee: "They don't trust me anymore!" They trusted you to begin with? "I don't know if I can keep working like this!" Long Feng: "Joo Dee: The Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai." Joo Dee: "But I was just th - " Long Feng: "LAKE LAOGAI." Joo Dee: "I am honored to accept his invitation." And things have just taken a turn for the extremely goddamn creepy. He sends her away and starts ruminating to the two Dai Li guards in the room. "If the Avatar keeps searching for his bison, it may upset the delicate balance we've worked so hard to achieve." That would be a shame. All those kidnappings, rendered meaningless. "It could even cost us control of the Earth King." Ha, I knew Long Feng was a shadow king. He's too Lex Luthor-y not to. (Seriously, Clancy Brown, typecast much?) One of the guards asks if they should "take care of him". BITCH HE IS THE AVATAR. Long Feng says it's too dangerous to confront him directly. I would like to know exactly how he's managed to set crystals on fire. Long Feng: "Let's see if we can still handle this...quietly." Wait, are we getting ninjas now? Because that would kind of rock.
Lower Ring. Iroh is packing for the big move. Zuko comes in, and Iroh says he wants to name his tea shop "The Jasmine Dragon". "It's dramatic, poetic...has a nice ring to it." Zuko: "Hold that thought, I'm going crazy again." Iroh warns him against causing trouble. "We could lose all the good things that are happening for us." Zuko: "For you. Have you ever thought that I want more from life than a nice apartment and a job serving tea?" Iroh says there's nothing wrong with a life of peace and prosperity. Even if it involves serving tea. "I suggest you think about what you want from your life, and why." Specifically the "why" here. Why do you want to go back to a place where you were abused, both emotionally and physically? Why is it so important to you to be seen as honorable in the eyes of a man who's slaughtered thousands? See "Pavlovian", above. Zuko says he wants his destiny. Iroh: "What that means is up to you." Then, as a brain fart: "The Tea Weevil! No, that's stupid."
Elsewhere, glue! The Gaang is putting posters up all along a wall. Sokka says they'll split up to cover more area. "Toph, I guess you should just come with me." Toph: "Why? You think I can't put up posters?! I'LL SHOW YOU POSTERS! ...it's upside down, isn't it. I...I'll just go with Sokka." Katara heads off in the opposite direction, and is papering a tower near a river when: "My Smarmy Bastard senses are tingling!" Jet: "I think I can help you." Katara gets that face most people get when faced with an ex we would prefer to have seen in the obituaries. Then she goes Waterbender Rage on him, washing him down an alley. Jet: "NO WAIT I - " Katara: "Don't bother, not listening." She throws ice spikes at him, which he blocks with his hook swords before throwing them down in an attempt to prove to Katara he's a good guy now. (To be fair, he's been a good guy all along...just a crazy one.) She stops, surprised, but as he reaches behind him she pins him to the wall with ice spikes. The rest of the Gaang, apparently having heard the commotion (it's either that or ESP) comes running up. Sokka: "Katara, what is it?" Katara: "Jet's eyebrows are back. AND WE CAN'T TRUST THEM." Sokka points out they don't even know why he's there. Katara doesn't care why he's here, he's a crazypants jerkface and she wants him GONE. (Holy shit, is that ice spike going THROUGH him) Jet: "I am HERE to help you find APPA. Bitch." He unfurls one of the Lost Appa posters, and Aang says they have to give him a chance. Jet swears he's changed. "I don't even have the gang now! I've put all that behind me." Katara: "LIES. DAMNED LIES." Toph pushes past her and lays her hand on the wall next to Jet. "He's not lying." Sokka: "How can you tell?" Toph: "I'm Tim Roth!" She says she can feel his heartbeat and breathing, and that when people lie, there's a physical reaction. Jet isn't having that reaction. I want backstory for this ability. Did she keep getting swindled by Shin Fu and learn to tell when he was trying to cheat her? Did she notice a difference in the vibrations from her parents when they told people they didn't have a daughter? Was she just bored? Aang says that Jet is pretty much their only hope at this point, and Katara (grudgingly) relents. "But if you so much as THINK about CONSIDERING putting a toe out of line, I will remove parts of you you're not even sure what to DO with yet."
Jet leads them to a warehouse. Why is it always warehouses? While the place is certainly big enough to hold Appa, I'm not sure how they'd get him in. Skylight? That's how Batman gets in. But the warehouse is empty, and Katara goes all Admiral Ackbar. Jet: "CHILL, BITCH. I work nearby." Doing what? What does a guy like Jet go to after being a Professional Crazypants Stalkerface? "Two guys were talking about some giant furry creature they had. I figured it must be Appa." In the corner, Toph finds some of Appa's fur. So Jet wasn't lying! He has reformed! And I'm sure the underground chamber I keep wanting to make into a "Lost" reference had nothing to do with it. Aang: "We missed him." The janitor comes up behind them, saying they took "that big thing" the day before. "'Bout time. I've been cleaning up fur and various, uh, 'leavings' all day." So we can't say poop now? Aang contorts himself in his excitement. The janitor says some rich family on Whale Tail Island bought him. "Probably for a zoo or somesuch. Though it could be the meat's good." Okay, I just had the mental image of Appa being one of the things you can hunt in Oregon Trail. Aang: "WE HAVE TO GET TO WHALE TAIL ISLAND. ...where's Whale Tail Island?" Sokka, apparently having whipped his map out as soon as a location was named: "Far. Very far." It's almost all the way back at the South Pole, and it'll take them weeks to get there. Aang: "I don't care. We have to try." Janitor: "Must be nice to visit an island. I haven't had a vacation in years." Katara: "The plot has advanced, Janitor MacGuffin." She says finding Appa has to be their first concern. "We can come back when we have him." Jet: "I'll come with." Katara: "SNARL." Jet: "Why won't you trust me?" Oh, I don't know, maybe because you manipulated them into helping you destroy a town full of innocent people? Because you tried to get Pipsqueak to throw Sokka off a bridge? Because you terrorized an old man and then lied about it? Katara: "GEE, I WONDER." Toph: "Was this guy your boyfriend or something?" Katara: "What? No!" Toph: "I can tell you're ly-ing~!" Katara just stomps off as I giggle madly.
Sokka says they can take the train to the wall, but after that they have to walk. "Ugh, walking." Aang: "Don't worry, on the way back we'll be flying!" Toph is just glad to be leaving Ba Sing Se. "Worst. City. Ever." SUDDENLY, SMELLERBEE. Katara: "I thought you said you didn't have your gang anymore." Jet: "I don't!" I think your gang would beg to differ, Jet. Smellerbee tackle-hugs him, which I'm pretty sure is the first "girly" thing I've seen her do. (I'm just saying, I have never seen a dude tackle-hug someone.) Smellerbee asks how he got away from the Dai Li. Katara backs away from him like he's diseased. Smellerbee tells he others he got arrested by the Dai Li "a couple weeks ago". So wait, they've been in Ba Sing Se for what, like a month now? Jet still has no idea what Smellerbee is talking about. "I've been living peacefully in the city!" Ahahaha. Haha. Ha. Right. Toph goes all human polygraph on them, and says they're both telling the truth. "Does not compute." Sokka: "Yes it does! They both think they're telling the truth, so Toph can't tell which one is lying!" I am suspicious of how easily Sokka came up with this explanation. He just found out about Toph's polygraphy like an hour ago, and he already knows how it works well enough to know what could fool it? (Maybe he really is Batman.) Sokka: "Jet's been brainwashed!" Jet: "That's crazy! It can't be! ...stay away from me!" The progression of these statements is hilarious to me for some reason.
That night, a lone Dai Li agent is walking along, probably on a patrol or something. Behind him, ninja-ing up the alley, is - oh, no. Go home, Zuko. Go home before you do something really dumb and make me want to smack you upside the head and hug you at the same time. He runs past the Dai Li agent and shoves him. "Out of my way, skinny!" One, you have no room to talk. Two, THIS IS WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT, ZUKO. The Dai Li guy takes off after him down the alley, and fires his rock hand at him to punch him in the chest. It...it goes clear through him. This is what happens when you mock other people for being skinny, Zuko. A second rockfist aims for the head, and - AAAAAAAH HIS HEAD CAME OFF. Oh. Wait. Nevermind. The dummy Blue Spirit (the one made of straw, anyway) falls over, and Zuko pops up behind the Dai Li agent with a sword at his throat. "Unless you wanna end up like him, you'll do what I say." Zuko - I - what - oh, I give up.
Elsewhere, in what I'm assuming is Jet's apartment, Katara susses that the Dai Li sent Jet and the Janitor to mislead them. Aang: "I bet they have Appa here in the city! Maybe he's in the same place they took Jet!" Unfortunately, Jet doesn't remember anything. Aang says they need to find a way to jog his real memories. Sokka: "Maybe Katara could kiss him. That should bring something back." Katara: "Maybe you should kiss him." Aki: "Yes. Maybe you should." Sokka: "It's just an idea." Aang: "A bad one." I love tiny jealous Aang. But Sokka has another idea! "WHALES! No, wait." I knew something was missing from Jet's outfit. Jet: "I don't think it's working. And why is my mattress full of grass?" Toph tells him to remember a particularly emotional memory. Smellerbee: "The Fire Nation! Remember what they did to your family." I'm pretty sure being fixated on the Fire Nation was what was wrong with old Jet, 'Bee. But he focuses on it, and we see his village burning, and Jet stands there and watches as - oh hey, it's that guy. We're getting a nice closed circle of characters, here. Jet's brain forces him out of the memory with a particularly Narmful "it's too painful", and Katara uses her healing powers on his head. Which I'm not sure would actually work. They didn't actually change anything physically, they just convinced his subconscious that it was for the best that he forget certain things. But the floorboards seem to stretch out into the distance, and suddenly, Long Feng! At a lake! Or rather on a lake, as he seems to have gotten ahold of a pair of Air Jesus shoes. Under the lake, in a series of catacombs, we see the room they had him trapped in before. He says it's an underwater headquarters and Sokka susses that it's the place Joo Dee was talking about, Lake Laogai. As much as I love Sokka being all...deductive, his observations seem a little too convenient here. First the brainwashing reveal and now this. But Jet says he's right, and so off they go! Toph's superpowers detect a tunnel, and she Earthbends it up where they can get to it. They ninja their way down the corridors, past a room where a Dai Li agent is programming a room full of Joo Dees. Remember when I said the show was taking a turn for the extremely creepy? WELL GUESS WHAT IT GOT THERE. Jet says he thinks there's a cell big enough to hold Appa, and when they open the door - look! It's Appa! Now we get the happy reunion we've been - Zuko? I'm not sure what's going on here, but the Blue Spirit is in the room, agitating the bison. When is this?
Well, apparently it's before the Gaang (and company) got there, because AMBUSH. Long Feng orders the Dai Li to take them all into custody. Uh-huh. Sure. Toph ends up taking like four of them on by herself, because she's motherfucking Toph, before a flying rock hand grabs her by the shirt and she has to be rescued by Jet randomly Tarzanning past. I really love watching Jet fight with those hook swords. Long Feng, like the Luthor expy he is, goes running into the next room and Aang and Jet go after him. Long Feng taunts Aang with Appa's location, saying he'll tell Aang where he is if Aang agrees to book it right after, and not tell the King about all the pies Long Feng's got his fingers in. (That is a baffling phrase.) Jet says he's in no position to bargain. Long Feng: "Jet. The Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai." Oh. Crap. Jet starts wailing on Aang (despite receiving no orders to do so), and Aang - oh hey let's go back over here.
In what I'm still assuming is the past, Appa is telling Zuko in no uncertain terms that if he gets any closer he will eat him. Zuko: "You're mine now." Woah. The door opens behind him and he whirls, swords drawn, ready to face - Iroh? Can we please have a door open and someone we expect be behind it?! Zuko: "Uncle? I mean. Fuck!" Iroh asks him what exactly he plans to do with Appa now that he's found him. "Keep him locked in our new apartment?" Zuko: "First I have to get it out of here." How? Strap him to your back? Fireman's carry? Iroh: "And then what? You never think these things through! This is exactly what happened when you captured the Avatar at the North Pole. You had him, and then you had nowhere to go!" Zuko says he would have figured something out. Iroh begs to differ. "If his friends hadn't found you, you would have frozen to death!" Iroh is getting genuinely upset here, and I'm pretty sure it's not at Zuko, at least not entirely. He's more worried than angry, that eventually Zuko's going to do something retarded and no one's going to be around to save his emo little ass. Zuko says he knows his own destiny. Iroh asks if it's his destiny, or one someone else (*cough*Flo*cough*) has tried to force him into. Zuko just wants him to stop. Just stop, and go away, and let him do what he has to do. Iroh: "I'm begging you, Prince Zuko! It's time for you to look inward, and begin asking yourself the big questions. Who are you, and what do you want?" Zuko just roars and throws down his mask and swords, the scream echoing around the cavern.
Speaking of looking inward, Aang knows Jet is in there somewhere, and he's got gonna fight him. Wait, where'd his glidey stick go? He had it the last time we saw him. Aang: "He can't make you do this! You're a Freedom Fighter." And those words spark his memory, bring forth images of Longshot, Smellerbee, the Duke and Pipsqueak. Of triumphant speeches and standing for something. Of bringing small liberties to people, even if he couldn't get them the big ones yet. And even, occasionally, of Katara. Long Feng demands he attack, and he does - launching one of his swords at Long Feng's face with a scream of rage. Long Feng dodges and fires a pillar towards Jet, hitting him in the chest and knocking him on his back. Aang runs to his friend, and Long Feng earthavators himself up to a tunnel. "Foolish boy. You've chosen your own demise." Wait, what? He - he's not gonna die, right? No one's died on-screen yet! I mean, yes, okay, Yue, but that was more of an ascension thing. And Zhao was more carted away towards his death. This is Avatar! People don't die here! ...right?
Jet apologizes, and Aang tells him to stuff it, he's got nothing to apologize for. The group shows up then (I'm going to assume Long Feng was keeping the door locked with Earthbending before), and Katara starts trying to heal him. "This isn't good." Smellerbee tells them to go find Appa; they'll take care of Jet. Katara says they're not going to leave them. Well, she says "you", and she's looking at Smellerbee, but in my head she was talking to Jet. English is useful that way. Longshot says there's no time. ...hold on, what? He's not a mute? I feel betrayed somehow. "We'll take care of him. He's our leader." Jet tells Katara not to worry. "I'll be fine." With a little smirk, somehow more sincere than his usual cocky grin. They walk away, and Toph tells Sokka, quietly and sadly: "He's lying." The Gaang leaves, and Smellerbee starts crying openly. Longshot just draws an arrow and stands guard.
What? No, I'm just - I'm not - it's dusty in here, okay? I have allergies.
They find the room Appa was supposed to be in (and Aang has his stick back now, what the hell), but it's empty. Sokka says maybe if they keep moving they can catch up. They make their way out of the lake, followed by a hoarde of Dai Li agents. Sokka: "You think we can outrun them?" Aang: "I don't think it's gonna matter!" Because there are Dai Li agents in front of them, too! Oh, and Long Feng, who I now have an inexplicable urge to punch in the face, Lex Luthor expy or no. They get blocked in on all sides, but then Momo (who decided going underground was for retards and left them earlier) comes swooping down, chattering. Aang: "What, Momo, I'm kinda busy." Momo just flies back up, past Long Feng, and into the sun. And who should come flying back with him but APPA! Appa's back, you guys! I mean, for real this time! He busts through the walls the Dai Li had erected, leaving Toph and Aang free to throw the rest of the agents in the lake. Appa lands in front of Long Feng. Heavily. Long Feng: "I can handle you by myself." Oh ho ho ho ho, can you now. Appa: "I've been wanting to do this since I got here." So he throws Long Feng in the lake (he skips! Like three times!) and the Gaang goes running over to throw themselves on him affectionately. Aang: "I missed you, buddy." I wonder what they told Zach Tyler Eisen to think about to make him sound SO UNBEARABLY SAD in that line. It's making me...my allergies act up again.
They fly off, Katara looking down at the lake with tears in her eyes. Aang lays a hand on her shoulder, and they share a group hug as they head back towards the city. Below them, Zuko and Iroh emerge from the tunnel, Iroh telling Zuko he did the right thing. I guess he let Appa go, then, instead of Appa eating him when he tried to kidnap him like I thought. Zuko pulls out his mask and stares at it for a minute, until Iroh tells him to leave it behind. Zuko tosses it in the lake, and they watch it sink.
Two men died under Lake Laogai. One fighting for the future of the world, one fighting because he didn't know what else he could do.