It is revealed that Iroh got his nickname of "The Dragon of the West" not due to one particular incident or because of his ferocity in combat, but rather because of his proficiency with his "breath of fire."
As Iroh and Zuko turn around the corner to escape the Dai Li's fingers, we can see that Iroh is wearing green socks and regular shoes rather than brown boots.
Look Hard: After Aang falls, one of his shoes is missing and he has a small black wound under his foot. According to DVD audio commentary, the lightning that struck Aang had to exit his body, with his foot being the subject.
While Sokka argues with Aang and Iroh in their apartment, Toph can be seen standing behind Sokka in way of the door. But when Iroh grabs Sokka's shoulders, Toph suddenly appears behind Iroh to his side. But when Iroh approaches the door, he steps past Toph who is now in front of him again.
When Katara is knocked unconscious by Zuko and Azula's combined attack she lands right next to the crystal formation behind her, and when she awakens she is still right next to the crystals but when she stands up to fight the Dai Li, she is now far away from the crystals.
Just after the Earth King says that the Earth Kingdom has fallen, the green of Toph's wrist bands turns the same color as her skin.
When Ty Lee was attempting to disable Sokka, her gloves turned white, then changed back into dark green again after Sokka and Toph surrendered.
After Aang is shot by Azula, in the top view of him falling, you can see about three rows of four Dai Li each near Zuko. But when Katara's wave rolls over them, there are much more.
Appearently, Katara knew full well that the unique properties of the water from the spirit oasis related to healing. To an end, all this does is add even more confusion as to why she couldn't and/or didn't make an attempt to use it on to heal Jet's implied severe injuries in Lake Laogai.
When approaching the palace on their way to warn the Earth King about the coup, Sokka seems to sense the Dai Li agents approaching and pulls Toph and himself into hiding. Considering her superhuman perception and how close the agents were, Toph should have been the one to sense them long before Sokka.
Despite the fact that Guru Pathik openly stated in the previous episode that Aang would never be able to enter the Avatar State again for abandoning his training prior to the proper opening of all seven chakras, he does just that with little to no difficulty.
When Ty Lee is showing the king's bear how to walk on two limbs, you clearly see her 'walk' past him. When Toph traps her with earth shackles, she appears before the bear.
When Azula absorbs Katara's water attack it forms a big cloud of smoke, and then the camera zooms out. Then you can see there is a puddle of water around Katara. But when the camera zooms back in, the puddle disappeared.
When Toph hit Mai with her rock it is slanted to the right but later when Long Feng is talking to Azula it is slanted to the left.
After Zuko first fires at Aang, Azula fires at Katara which she blocks with some water, but the water magically appears from behind Katara as if it would come from her waterskin (which is not present) or from some non existent source of water behind her.
Toph's bangs momentarily stop shifting while flying to Ba Sing Se on Appa.
When Katara hugs Aang when he comes to rescue her from the Crystal Catacombs, his right hand momentarily turns the same color as Katara's skin.
When Aang and Sokka are flying back to Ba Sing Se, Sokka's ponytail momentarily stops shifting in the wind.
Earth King: Katara's fine. You have nothing to worry about.
Aang: But, in my vision. I felt so sure that she was in trouble.
Earth King: Well, she met with the Council of Generals to plan the invasion. And since then she's been off with your friends, the Kyoshi Warriors.
Sokka: See Aang? She's with Suki. They're probably back at our apartment right now, talking about make up or something.
Aang: Ok, maybe you're right.
Earth King: Believe me, if there was any danger at all, Bosco's animal instinct would sense it.
Zuko: What's taking so long?
Iroh: Maybe the Earth King overslept.
(Several Dai Li agents walk into the room from the right and form a circle around the two tea servers.)
Zuko: Something's not right.
Toph: So how did it go with the Guru? Did you master the Avatar State?
(Aang groans nervously. Flashback to The Guru.)
Guru Pathik: If you leave now, you won't be able to go into the Avatar State at all!
(End of flashback.)
Sokka: Aang, are you ok?
Aang (smiling sheepishly): I'm great. It went great with the Guru. I completely mastered the Avatar State. Heh heh...heh. Yeah.
Iroh: Many times, I imagined myself here, at the threshold of the palace. But I always thought I would be here as a conqueror... instead, we are the Earth Kings personal guests, here to serve him tea. Destiny is a funny thing.
Zuko (cheerfully): It sure is Uncle.
Ty Lee: Nice speech Azula. It was pretty and poetic, but also scary in a good way.
Mai: Yeah, I thought you were gonna make that one guy pee his pants.
Azula: There are still a few loose ends. The Avatar, and my brother and Uncle.
Iroh: You are not the man you used to be, Zuko. You are stronger and wiser and freer than you have ever been. And now you have come to the crossroads of your destiny. It's time for you to choose. It's time for you to choose good!
Azula: I expected this kind of treachery from Uncle, but Zuko, Prince Zuko...you're a lot of things, but you're not a traitor, are you?
Zuko: Release him immediately!
Azula: It's not too late for you Zuko. You can still redeem yourself.
Iroh: The kind of redemption she offers is not for you.
Aang: Then we'll work together to fight Azula, and save Katara and Zuko.
Sokka: Whoa there. you lost me at "Zuko".
Iroh: I know how you must feel about my nephew. But believe me when i say there is good inside him.
Sokka: Good "inside" him isn't enough! Why don't you come back when it's outside him, too, okay?
(While in the tunnels)
Aang: I met with this guru who was supposed to teach me how to master the Avatar State and control this amazing power. But to do that, I had to let go of someone I loved... and I just couldn't.
Iroh: Perfection and power are overrated. I think you were wise to choose happiness and love.
Aang: But what if we can't beat Azula? Without the Avatar State, what if I'm not powerful enough?
Iroh: I don't know the answer. Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel: You can't always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving... (Reaches the end of the tunnel) You will come to a better place.
Zuko: Uncle, I don't understand. What are you doing with the Avatar?
Aang: Saving you, that's what.
Iroh: I brought someone along who might be able to help us. (goes outside and presents bound-up Dai Li agent, Toph Earthbends to stand him up)
Dai Li Agent: Azula and Long Feng are planning a coup, they're going to overthrow the Earth King.
Sokka: My sister! Where are they keeping Katara?
Dai Li Agent: In the crystal catacombs of Old Ba Sing Se. Deep beneath the palace.
Ty Lee (attempting to disable Sokka): It's like we're dancing together.
Sokka: Thank goodness we're in time.
Earth King: In time for what?
Ty Lee: Yeah, what are you in time for, (Flips over to Sokka) Cutie?
Sokka: Umm, I'm kind of involved with Suki.
Ty Lee: Who?
(She then gets hit by Toph's glavie)
Iroh (after escaping by jumping down into the garden): Come on! You'll be fine!
Zuko: No. I'm tired of running. It's time I faced Azula!
(Zuko runs back inside the Earth Kingdom Palace)
Azula: Your so dramatic. What, are you gonna challenge me to an Agni Kai?
Zuko (angry and determined): Yes! I challenge you!
Azula (smiling mockingly): No thanks.
Iroh: (Iroh takes a cup of tea and holds it in his hand) Did I ever tell you how I got the nickname the Dragon of the West?
Azula: (While examining her nails) I am not interested in a lengthy anecdote, Uncle.
Iroh: It is more of a demonstration really. (Sips his tea, Zuko smirks and then ducks behind his uncle, Iroh breathes fire and turns on the spot, aiming at the Dai Lee).
Azula: It's tea time.
Azula: Have you met the Dai Li? They're earthbenders but, they have a killer instinct that's so firebender. I just love it.
Azula (To Dai Li agents): The Earth King and the Council of Five do not trust the Dai Li. They imprisoned your leader, Long Feng, and soon they will turn on all of you and eliminate you. Seizing power today is a matter of life and death. This coup must be swift and decisive. The Earth King and each of the five generals must be taken out simultaneously. Long Feng has placed you in my command while we overthrow the government. If I sense any disloyalty, any hesitation, any weakness at all (Turns to frightened Dai Li agent) I will snuff it out!
(Long Feng enters throne room with several Dai Li agents behind him.)
Long Feng: Now comes the part where I double-cross you. Dai Li, arrest the Fire Nation princess. (the Dai Li do nothing) I said, arrest her! What is wrong with you?!
Azula: It's because they haven't made up their minds. They're waiting to see how this is going to end.
Long Feng: What are you talking about?
Azula: I can see your whole history in your eyes. You were born with nothing, so you've had to struggle, connive, and claw your way to power. But true power: the divine right to rule, is something you're born with. The fact is, they don't know which one of us is going to be sitting on that throne, and which one is going to be bowing down. But I know, and you know. (takes a seat on the throne) Well?
(Long Feng is stunned by Azula's speech, but eventually relents, and kneels before her.)
Long Feng: You've beaten me at my own game.
Azula: Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player.
Aang: I'm sorry Katara.
Iroh: You've got to get out of here. I'll hold them off as long as I can.
Ty Lee: Come on it's easy. Just walk on your front paws instead of your rear ones, like this. (demonstrates by walking on her hands but then gets stuck to the ground by Toph)
Toph: That is a nice trick. (gets ready to attack Mai)
Mai: Just take the bear.
Earth King: Bosco! (hugs Bosco)
Bosco (happily): Aahrhh!
Toph: See any Dai Li agents nearby?
Sokka: Nope. All clear. (Toph cracks her knuckles, walks over to the door and crumples it right off its hinges and tosses it into the hallway) Let's go.
Earth King (as he's being pulled out the doorway by Sokka): I'm not leaving without Bosco.
Sokka: The coup is happening right now. We've got to warn the Earth King.
Katara: I'm sorry I yelled at you before.
Zuko: It doesn't matter.
Katara: It's just that, for so long now, whenever I would imagine the face of the enemy, it was your face.
Zuko: My face (touches his scar) I see.
Katara: No, no, that's... that's not what I meant.
Zuko: It's okay. I used to think this scar marked me. The mark of the banished prince cursed to chase the Avatar forever. But lately, I've realized I'm free to determine my own destiny. Even if I'll never be free of my mark.
Katara: Maybe you could be free of it.
Katara: I have healing abilities.
Zuko: It's a scar. It can't be healed.
Katara (reaches around her neck and holds out a vial): This is water from the spirit oasis at the North Pole. It has special properties so I've been saving it for something important. (walks to Zuko) I don't know if it would work but... (Zuko closes his eyes and Katara touches his scar but they are interrupted by a blast)
Katara: Why did they throw you in here? Oh wait, let me guess, it's a trap. So that when Aang shows up to help me you can finally have him in your little Fire Nation clutches. (Zuko just looks at Katara and turns back around) You're a terrible person, you know that, always following us, hunting the Avatar, trying to capture the world's last hope for peace. But what do you care. You're the Fire Lord's son. Spreading war and hatred is in your blood.
Zuko: You don't know what you're talking about.
Katara: I DON'T! How dare you! You have no idea what this war has put me through, me personally. (she sits down with her back to Zuko and starts to cry) The Fire Nation took my mother away from me.
Zuko (looks toward Katara): I'm sorry. (Katara sobs into her arms; Zuko turns toward her): That's something we have in common.
(Katara stops crying and looks up and wipes a tear away)
Toph: There is someone at the door, in fact, he is an old friend of mine. (turns and opens the door and waves)
(Aang and Sokka get into a ready battle stance)
Iroh: I need your help.
Earth King: The Earth Kingdom.... has fallen.
Azula (sitting on the Earth King's throne): We've done it, Zuko. It's taken a 100 years, but the Fire Nation has conquered Ba Sing Se.
Zuko (looks away from Azula): I betrayed uncle…
Azula: No, he betrayed you. Zuko, (stands up) when you return home, father will welcome you as a war hero.
Zuko: But I don't have the Avatar. What if father doesn't restore my honor?
Azula (puts a hand on Zuko's shoulder): He doesn't need to, Zuko. Today, you restored your own honor.
Sokka: So what kind of trouble is Katara in?
Aang: I don't know. In my vision, I just knew she needed help.
Sokka: You know, it'd be nice if your Avatar powers were a little more specific from time to time. (spots a dust cloud speeding across the plain) What is that?!
(flies up next to Toph)
Sokka: Need a ride?
Toph: Whooaaa! Ahhhhh! (falls off 'earth wave')
Aang and Sokka: Ooooh.
Aang: So, Toph thinks you give pretty good advice, and great tea.
Uncle Iroh: The key to both is proper aging.
(Katara is battling Zuko)
Katara: I thought you had changed!
Zuko: I have changed.
(About to search for Zuko and Katara)
Toph: Well what do you know! There is an ancient city down there! (earthbends a large hole)
Sokka: We should split up. Aang you go with Iroh to look for Katara and the angry jerk. (to Iroh) No offense!
Iroh: None taken.
Azula: I need you Zuko. I've plotted every move of this day. This glorious day in Fire Nation history, and the only way we win, is together. At the end of this day you will have your honor back, you will have fathers love, you will have anything you want.
Iroh (still captured): Zuko, I am begging you, look into your heart and see what is right.
Azula: You are free to choose. (walks away)
This episode is available in the Avatar Book 2: Earth, Volume 4 DVD, along with, Appa's Lost Days, Lake Laogai, The Earth King, and The Guru.
The finale produced a enormous amount of controversy among viewers. The co-creators even received letters asking for it to be rewritten, and they have them posted on their walls.
This is the first episode that co-creator Micheal Dante DiMartino has directed for the series.
This is the final episode of Book 2: Earth (Season 2).
When Aang uses the green crystal to make a suit of armor, he resembles the alien Diamond Head from the Ben 10 series.
The crystal rock that is shown in this episode is also shown in Book 1 episode 5, The King of Omashu.
When Zuko was attacking Aang with his fully charged fireball, the stance and execution of the move is similar to Ryu in the Street Fighter series with his trademark 'Hadoken'.
The Legendary City of Troy.
Legend has it that the city of Troy was besieged for ten years during the Trojan War. Its high walls and mighty people kept it safe from its enemies, just as Ba Sing Se had done. Due to the trickery of the Greeks, the city fell by infiltrating it through the Trojan Horse, which allowed for the Greeks to be brought into the city because they were inside the horse. This is very similar to how Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee infiltrated the city in disguise and we're not suspected of a thing until they struck. Just as the city of Troy fell, so did Ba Sing Se from the inside out.
When Iroh talks about being called The Dragon of the West, it is an allusion to Dragon King of the West Sea, sometimes also called The Dragon of the West, in Chinese mythology. Also, The Dragon King of the West Sea appears in some works of literature, such as Journey to the West, where a character receives a gift from him.
The crystal cocoon that Aang engenders and uses as a meditation chamber was reminiscent to a miniature version of the Fortress of Solitude of the Superman franchise.
When we see Zuko deciding which side to choose, each side of his face is portrayed as good and evil. His left side, having the scar, is the "evil" side. This dates back to an age-old superstition that states that people who are left handed are to be thought of as evil, and your left side in general is supposed to be evil half of the body.
The way Katara holds Aang after he was hit by lightning is reminiscnet of the statue 'La Pieta' by Michaelangelo.
The Earth Kingdom palace is shown from the air in this episode and it resembles the palace and its grounds of the one in Siam, and also the palace in 'Anna and the King' which the setting is based on.
Long Feng: Now comes the part where I double-cross you.
Long Feng's voice actor, Clancy Brown, is best know for playing the roles of an impressive amount of nefarious, villainous characters in both live-action and animated (most noteably D.C. comic animated universe's Lex Luthor) series. As a result, he has performed this particular action quite a few times. .
Apparently, Azula believes in divine right. Divine right was an idea held by monarchs and rulers who believed that his or her power and right to rule came directly from the will of a deity.
After Katara heals Aang, he awakens and, in that moment, as the two look at each other, it is reminiscent of the first episode of the series when Aang awakens from his 100-year entombment in the ice glacier and sees her for the first time.