This is the first time Sokka has shown disappointment about not being a bender. Before, he thought it was a waste of time.
It is heavily implied Piandao is a member of the Order of the White Lotus, the mysterious organization which Iroh also belongs, first mentioned in "The Desert". He even goes as far as to give Sokka a White Lotus Pai Sho tile as a token of remembrance.
Piandao suggests Sokka to use the name "Lee" while he's in the Fire Nation. That is the same name Zuko used while living in the Earth Kingdom during season two.
When Aang, Katara, and Sokka stand to see the falling meteor, Aang's arrow tattoo reaches past his eyebrows.
After Sokka chides the others for complaining for their lack of appreciation and before Katara comments about the steamed sea slug, the yellow insignia on Aang's forehead is missing.
When Piandao defeats Sokka, the rest of the Gang rushes to help. Toph, Aang and Katara move into their fighting stances. But Katara wouldn't be able to do anything, since she is dressed as a Fire Nation citizen, and does not have her water pouch, and there was no water around.
Aang: Toph, let's make a trench to keep the fire from coming any closer.
Sokka: (dejectedly) What should I do?
Aang: Keep an eye on Momo.
(Momo flies to Sokka and lands on his head.)
Sokka: So what, I'm just a lemur-sitter?! (petting Momo's head) There, there. Feel better?
Piandao: (on Sokka's painting) You added a rainbow...
Sokka: Is that all right? (Piandao sighs)
Katara: (Piandao reveals that he always knew Sokka was a water tribe member) Why would you agree to train someone from the water tribe?
Piandao: The way of the sword doesn't belong to any one nation. Knowledge of the arts belongs to us all.
Master: (talking to Sokka) As we trained, it wasn't your skills that impressed me. No, it certainly wasn't your skills. You showed something beyond that. Creativity, versatility, intelligence. These are the traits that define a great swordsman, and these are the traits that define you.
Katara: (to Toph on Sokka) If you miss him so much, why don't you marry him?
Aang: Guess jokes don't run in the family.
Katara: Everyone's a critic.
(After Sokka got the White Lotus)
Sokka: Uh, that reminds me! Toph, I thought you might like this. Since you probably never had a chance to bend space earth before.
Toph: Sweet! … Check this out!
Katara: I don't think there is such a thing in space earth. If it's from space, then it's not really earth.
Sokka: Must you ruin everything!
Katara: (maybe just thinking this) I can't believe I missed you.
(Suddenly Toph feels somebody and sit up with a smiling face)
Toph: Sokka's coming!
Sokka: Hey guys! What are you doing?
Toph: You're back!
Katara: We missed you so… much!
Aang: Say something funny!
Sokka: Funny how? (Aang and Katara are laughing)
Sokka (asking from Toph): What's their deal?
Toph (Toph turns her back on Sokka): I don't know. They missed you or something. I didn't care. (Her face flushes)
Sokka: Thanks! That warms my heart. Anyway, I need some help.
(The gaang watches the falling stars)
Katara: Wow, this is amazing to watch!
Sokka: Kind of makes you realize how insignificant we are.
Toph: Yeah. If you've seen nothing once, you've seen it a thousand times.
Sokka: Oh man, you've never not seen anything like this!
Aang: What should we do today?
Toph: I'm tapped out. I already picked my toes..twice.
Toph: The first time's for cleaning, but the second time's just for the sweet picking sensation.
Sokka: I can't do anything.
Katara: That's not true. No one can read a map like you.
Toph: I can't read at all.
Aang: Yeah, and who keeps us laughing with sarcastic comments all the time? I mean, look at Katara's hair, right? What's up with that?
Katara (worried): What? What's wrong with my hair?
Aang: Nothing, I was just trying to-
Sokka: Look, I appreciate the effort. But the fact is, each of you is so amazing and so special and I'm...not.
Piandao is based on Sifu Kisu, the martial arts specialist for the show.
The episode was published in the book Avatar The Last Airbender: Sokka, The Sword Master.
This episode is available in the Avatar Book 3: Fire Volume 1 DVD, along with, The Awakening, The Headband, The Painted Lady, and The Beach.
Character Debuts: Piandao, Fat (Piandao's butler)
The masters castle is based in a traditional Chinese architecture style.
Aang: All I need to complete the outfit is a wind sword.
In the video game Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, one of the bosses weilds a weapon known as a Wind Sword.
Toph: And besides, its so hot today.
Aang: How hot is it?
Aang's statement is a direct reference to Match Game, an old game show which featured celebrities and contestants answering fill-in-the-blank questions. Possibly the show's most famous recurring bit had host Gene Rayburn reciting a statement along the lines of "It was so hot Monday morning..." to be answered by the audience, "HOW HOT WAS IT?," and complete the sentence with a playful hyperbole.
A sword made of a meteorite's ore appears in different movies, such as in the movie 'Ring of the Nibelungs/Curse of the Ring'(inspired by Das Nibelungenlied, however in the saga Siegfried's sword, the Balmung has a different origin), and in the movie 'Seven Swords', where The Transience Sword is one of the most powerful weapons.
When Iroh is working out non-stop in his cell, it is an allusion of 'Escape from Alcatraz', where even though the character played by Clint Eastwood is in a cramped, high-security cell with little food, he works out non-stop and ends up in the best shape of his life.
Sokka's Master is named Piandao, which in a reference to a type of Chinese sabre (dao) used during the late Ming Dynasty.
The calligraphy, rock sculptures and landscape paintings were all arts that a well trained samurai would also have mastered in feudal Japan.
In the hall where Sokka receives the made sword from his master, there are many patterns of the White Lotus behind the master and over the door.
Sokka's master is not only an expert swordsman but a master of calligraphy, like Broken Sword in wuxia movie 'Hero' (Ying Xong).
Sokka's sword: A Song of Ice and Fire
Sokka's sword is made out of meteorite. This is similar to Arthur Dayne's sword Dawn from A Song of Ice and Fire (a series of books by George R. R. Martin), which was also made out of a meteorite. Arthur Dayne was a famous knight and a member in the Kingswood Brotherhood of Aerys II Targaryen.
The armor Aang wears in the shop is reminiscent of Nightmare's alternate costume of Soulcalibur fame. Note the oversized claw on the left arm.
The animation of the ribbons trailing from Aang's helmet in the shopping area is reminiscent of the headbands seen in the miniseries Afro Samurai.
The fight between Sokka, and his master in the bamboo forest is usually a common fight sequence found in martial arts films.
Sokka's master telling him to pick a name such as Lee because "there's a million Lees" could be a allusion to how it is a common name in China.
Sokka forges his sword from the remainders of a meteorite, a common convention in mythological and fantasy stories. In actuality, iron from meteorites has been used to make tools and weapons since the Ice Age, when it was the only iron available, and some scholars believe that the story of the forging of Zeus' thunderbolts refers to meteoric iron.
When Toph makes the third shape out of the meteorite Sokka gave her it is shaped like Nickelodeon's Trademark splat symbol