Previously, Toph called Katara a Sugar Queen, Zuko hired a maybe-prostitute, maybe-assassin who then went after the Gaang and they decided they were pretty well fucked.
Presently (OR IS IT), Toph gets netted by a trio of lady guards in front of a giant flaming statue of Ozai. She screams at someone that they betrayed her, and that someone turns out to be...Katara! "You brought this on yourself. I had no choice." And Toph gets dragged away. I wonder once again what that looks like to her, given how she sees.
Three days before! Toph and Katara are sparring, earth against water. Only this is for the benefit of Aang, whom Toph has apparently taught to see like she does. (Nerd squee: he still has the burn scar on his foot where Azula zapped him.) He avoids the pillars Toph throws at him, then ducks a few water whips before launching a rock ball at Toph. She fires it back and Aang ducks it by drilling into the ground, the unfortunate side effect of this being that it catches Katara in the stomach. When she complains, Toph calls her "Madam Fussybritches", a term I have since adopted for the girls in my daycare classes. Katara takes exception to this and sends a wall of water at Toph. "I'm sorry, did I splash you, mud slug?" For some reason I associate that with "nerf herder" in my head. They go after each other and Aang asks if they're taking a break, Sokka running up behind him yelling "SNEAK ATTACK!"
Back over here, Katara and Toph are fighting. In a giant mud puddle. Yes, this show just went there. Toph: "Hungry for a mud pie?!" Katara: "I'll give YOU a mud pie!" They slam each other around for probably as long as they could get away with, until Aang interrupts and says he thought they were supposed to be training him. Katara goes to clean up and Toph (who just has to Bend the gunk off of her) takes the boys into town for some down time. Sokka sees the messenger hawks and says he wants one. "Then I wouldn't have to talk to anyone! I could just send them messages!" Toph: "I gotta say, I like the idea of not talking to you." Aang asks what they want to get with their last silver piece. Toph says they can get more money. How? Why, gambling, of course!
They spot a shell game in an alley and Toph says she has an advantage; she can feel the rock being moved at the last minute, unlike the poor shmuck in front of them who is led off crying. The guy spots Toph, sees the cataracts over her eyes, and decides he's found his next mark. Toph protests that she's blind, but she "doesn't have to see to be lucky". I have decided that this guy's a douche. He does his spiel, showing the rock under the cups (presumably for Sokka and Aang's benefit) before shuffling them around. He moves the rock via his sleeves, which of course Toph picks up on. She gets it right and the guy says he'll put 20 silver pieces against Sokka's sword - you know, the meteor one - for the next game. Toph says she'll do it for 40, and he adds what looks like six extra pieces to the bag. Not wanting to let
They head back to camp with baskets of food, and Katara asks where they got the money for it, linefacing at them when they explain. "So she cheated." Toph: "I cheated a cheater! What's wrong with that?" Katara: "I'm just saying, this isn't something we should make a habit out of." Toph: "Why? Because it's fun, and you hate fun?" I kind of love Toph and Katara's interactions in this episode. But that might just be because I love ALL OF TOPH'S LINES. Reaching Iroh levels of love, here. Katara puts Momo on her head to prove she doesn't hate fun, which Momo does not appreciate in the least. Aang makes her an Avatar Promise that they won't make a habit of it.
Avatar Promises mean dick, because cue scam montage! Everything from the continued ravaging of street games to Bending a hammer into a test-of-strength thing at a fair to pulling a Flopsie on a carriage. (The carriage is pulled by what /looks/ like a mooselion, but has fins on either side of its face...? I want an Avatar encylopedia. Just a list of these animals and their names.) But Katara is convinced something bad is going to happen if they keep it up. Toph tells her to lighten up. Katara: "Oh, you think I should be more like you? Like some wild child?" Toph: "Yeah!" Katara then proceeds to go all Freud all over everything and say Toph is acting how she is because of her parents, saying she feels guilty underneath her hardass facade. Toph: "I ran away to help Aang." Katara: "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHY YOU RAN AWAY. These scams put us all at risk and we don't need that! We've already got a third-eyed freak coming after us!" Gee, Katara, way to be optical-normative. Sokka busts in with a name for said third-eyed freak: "SPARKY SPARKY BOOM MAN." He is mostly ignored, as Katara and Toph are still bucking at each other. Katara: "We don't need any more money! You need to stop this!" Toph: "I'll stop when I damn well feel like it!" She deposits herself in the Angry Dome and Sokka goes off to spend some of his hard-stolen money.
On a messenger hawk, what else? He names it Hawky (because Sokka) and welcomes it to Team Avatar. By which he obviously means the Gaang and is just being dumb. As he's warning him not to fight with the lemur, he passes a poster with a rather familiar face on it. Sokka: "You're right, Hawky. This is bad." Hawky underlines the severity of the situation by taking a dump on Sokka's hand. He goes back to camp and finds Toph, sitting by herself while Aang and Katara do some Waterbending in the river below. He brandishes the poster at her, which of course does no good because OH HEY SHE'S BLIND. He explains it to her, and she is of course ecstatic about it, and her new nickname - The Runaway (oh hey). After assuring her that the poster does in fact resemble her tiny demonic self, Sokka says she's missing the point. "Maybe Katara was right. These scams are drawing too much attention to us." Toph: "Shut up and have some money." Aang and Katara walk up, not having heard a word of the previous conversation, and Katara scolds Sokka for having bought a bird. Sokka: "But it's a messenger bird! We can send messages to Gran-Gran!" Aang: "How does it work?" Sokka: "...work?" Momo launches himself at the intruder while Sokka yells at Hawky to "make nice".
Sokka and Toph walk up as Katara feeds Appa what looks like an entire potful of soup, and she gets on their case about running more scams. "I suppose you don't think what you're doing is dangerous?" Toph: "Nope." Katara: "LIES. LOOK AT THIS." Toph: "JESUS FUCKING CHRIST I AM BLIND." Katara's brandishing the poster at her, and Toph demands to know where she got it. Katara says that doesn't matter, but Toph calls her out on being a snooping privacy-invading snoop. She tries to fib about straightening Toph's stuff, but Toph has Magic Lie-Detector Feet. Toph stomps off while Katara goes into full-fledged Team Mom mode, and not in a good way. Toph tells her to chill the fuck out, and Katara tries to drag the boys into it - proving Toph's point immediately. They march off in opposite directions. Hawky: "Bitches is crazy."
That evening, as Katara and Toph sulk on opposite sides of the camp, Sokka has an idea. He's going to use Hawky to send a message to Katara, saying it's from Toph. "And then everyone will be friends." Aang is impressed, but the idea goes slightly awry. Katara: "I KNOW THIS IS FROM YOU, SOKKA. TOPH CAN'T WRITE." She stomps off, unable to deal with these shenanigans. Aang: "We could send a note to Toph, saying it's from Katara?" Sokka: "I get the feeling we'd run into a similar problem." So Sokka deals with this the old-fashioned way: talking to people. He tells Toph they need to talk, and while she doesn't look happy, she doesn't throw things at his head, either. This is because they are BFFs.
Katara is having a soak in a pool under the cliff (ZOMG NUDITY) where Sokka and Toph decide to have their heart-to-heart. Sokka agrees with Toph that Katara's pretty much a pain (making Katara pull a sulky face), but that he's come to rely on it. Sokka tells her about how Katara stepped up when their mom died, something Toph never considered. Sokka: "I'm gonna tell you something crazy. I've never told anyone this before, but...I'm not sure I can remember what my mother looked like. It really seems like my whole life, Katara's been the one looking out for me. She's always been the one that's...there. And now, when I try to remember my mom, Katara's is the only face I can picture." Now Katara is crying. I'm not, though. That would be silly. Absolutely preposterous. Toph says Katara's motherliness isn't always a bad thing. "She cares about me. Y'know - " Pause to wipe away tears. "The real me." She then punches Sokka and orders him to never tell her she said that. Sokka: "My lips are sealed." Because they are BFFs.
Katara gets back to camp before Toph and Sokka, and Katara approaches Toph to apologize. Toph stops her, and says the scams are out of control, and she'll stop. Katara: "Actually, I want to pull a scam with you." Toph: "Bitch say what." As Aang and Sokka fall over comatose in the background, Katara and Toph walk off to initate their scam, which involves Toph's wanted poster and brings us back to the start of the episode.
Katara goes to collect the reward for turning Toph in, expecting that Toph will Metalbend herself out of prison and they can run off with the cash. Buuuuut that's not going to happen, specifically because they have thrown Toph into a wooden cell. Just to add another layer of "well and truly fucked", as Katara goes to collect her reward, the warden (I assume) turns her over to the person who was looking for her: Exploding Vagina-Head Man. (That sounds a lot less intimidating when you say it out loud.) Aang and Sokka get somewhat of an idea that Shit Has Gone Wrong, and leave Appa in charge of Hawky and Momo. Pretty sure he could just eat one of them and solve everyone's problems.
In the Non-Bendable Cell, Toph declares that it's a trap (insert your own jokes here), prompting an avalanche of sarcasm from Katara. Toph: "Not for us, Katara; we're the bait! He wants Aang!" Katara: ".....well, fuck." They have a brief bonding moment, where Toph says she doesn't hate Katara and Katara apologizes for prodding into Toph's relationship with her parents, which leads to Toph's second teary moment in this episode.
As Aang and Sokka look for them in the weirdly-deserted city, EVHM watches from the rooftops, readying a forehead-blast that Aang senses before it happens. Aang: "It's Sparky-Sparky Boom Man!" Sokka: "Y'know, I'm starting to think that name doesn't quite fit." The follow-up attack shakes the ceiling of Non-Bendable Cell, where Toph is trying in vain to budge the door. Katara suggests her meteor bracelet, but Toph left it at camp for fear of it being confiscated. Katara wipes sweat away from her forehead - and is struck with inspiration. She starts running in place, working up more of a sweat, and Toph inquires as to her well-being. Katara: "I'm making my own water." ...there's a joke I could make here, but I think I'll let it be. She starts using the sweat to slice at the bars, causing Toph to proclaim her "a sweaty, stinky genius". As Katara sticks her hands under her arms to get more Bending material. There are two things about this scene: one, take notes on the whole "Bending bodily fluids" thing. Two, I cannot remember a single other show that admits girls sweat, let alone makes it a plot point. Thank you, Avatar.
Aang and Sokka are still running from EVHM, and Aang suggest they split up. "He can't chase us both!" He doesn't have to, Aang, he's just after you. EVHM blasts him off a rooftop and onto Ozai's spectacular pectorals, probably concussing him slightly as he falls to the ground. He at least lands on his feet before collapsing, and EVHM looms over him to HOLY SHIT DID KATARA JUST BLOW HIS HEAD OFF. Okay, no, no, it's still there, it's just frozen in a solid block of ice. Jesus Christ that looked like a decapitation. EVHM punches it off, suffering no damages from having his HEAD FROZEN, and you know what I just realized that ice is probably made of Katara's sweat.
Toph throws a boulder at him to aid their escape, and he (predictably) blows it up. A single pebble shoots towards him, hitting him square in the vagina. ...you know what I mean. He tries to shoot them again, but just ends up making kind of a light show before blasting himself backwards into a wall. Sokka comes up with a name for him - "Combustion Man" - as they run off. I still like mine better.
Appa takes them to a new campsite, and Toph stops Katara. "I need you to write some things down for me. I want to write a letter to my parents." Katara writes the letter and they send it off with Hawky, whom Sokka immediately inquires after. You bird-stealing bitches.
Next episode oh god no Hama take it away take it awaaaaaay