Avatar: The Last Airbender

Season 2 Episode 11

The Desert

Aired Friday 6:30 PM Jul 14, 2006 on Nickelodeon

Episode Recap

The scene opens with the gang stuck in the desert right after Aang, Sokka, Katara and Momo exited the Library before it sank. All but Toph are looking in different directions for signs of Appa. A distraught Aang verbally goes after Toph for letting the sandbenders get away with Appa – accusing her of intentionally letting Appa be captured. Katara attempts to calm Aang down and points out that Toph saved them. Sokka doesn't help the situation by pointing out they are still in need of rescuing - as they are in the middle of the desert. Aang then lashes out at everyone by calling them selfish. Despite Katara's efforts to calm Aang, he heads out on his glider to look for Appa leaving the others behind. Katara then decides the rest of them need to start walking if they hope to get to Ba Sing Se and get the solar eclipse information to others.

While riding on the ostrich-horse, Iroh makes many sounds appearing to be pretending to be in pain in order to get Zuko to stop for a break. As soon as the duo stops, they are surrounded by five adversaries on rhino's – the same ones from Avatar Day. Iroh identifies the group as Colonel Mongke and the Rough Rhinos. Iroh greets them in a friendly manner, but takes note of where they all are as the Colonel has stated they are there to capture some fugitives (Zuko and Iroh). As the group attacks, Iroh and Zuko effectively maneuver an escape. Zuko asks Iroh if he has any old friends that don't want to attack them, giving Iroh an idea.

Katara, Sokka, Toph and Momo are tiredly walking through the desert. Sokka slows a bit and Toph runs into him prompting an irritable Sokka to begin to say "Can't you watch where you're…?" momentarily forgetting that Toph is blind. Katara parts up some of her bending water to help keep them hydrated. But is met with some criticism as Sokka realizes it's been used in the swamp. Sokka spots a cactus and slices part open to reveal water type drink inside. Momo also drinks some. Katara warns against eating strange plants where they do not know what the effects are when suddenly, Sokka's pupils dilate and both he and Momo begin acting delirious. Katara decides it's best if they do not have any more and continue looking for Aang.

Aang glides along looking for Appa – blowing his bison whistle and yelling. He then lands and in his anger he airbends a huge sand mushroom cloud. The others (seemingly a long distance away) not only see the cloud but also feel the air. Unknowingly, they decide to keep walking - away from Aang. Sokka and Momo are still delirious.

Back at the Misty Palms Oasis, Xin Fu and Master Yu get information that Aang and Toph have been there recently, but headed into the desert and may never come back. Just then, Xin Fu notices Fire Nation wanted posters as well as Iroh and Zuko arriving into the Oasis.

Nearing sunset and Aang rejoins the group – without Appa. Aang is very discouraged and seems willing to give up, but Katara pulls the group together again and they continue on even as vulture-wasp like creatures buzz overhead.

As Katara declares "I think we should stop for the night" the others gladly fall to the ground exhausted. Toph asks for water and Katara begins to ration out the last of what she has when Momo runs into the water causing it to sink into the ground. Katara manages to get most back using her waterbending. She asks Sokka for a look at some of the information from the library and Sokka (still under the effects of the cactus) accuses Momo of ratting him out by telling Katara about the information he had – forgetting Katara was with him in the library. Still in his defeatist mode, Aang says the maps won't help them find Appa, but Katara points out they will help them head to Ba Sing Se by following the stars. Katara says they should start up again in a few hours to take advantage of the cool nights.

Iroh and Zuko are inside the same establishment where Aang's crew met the Professor in the previous episode. Iroh spots someone at the Pai Sho table and believes this may be the friend they are looking for. As they head over, Xin Fu wants to go after them, but Master Yu points out they may be in over their heads given where they are and they should show patience and wait for the right moment to go after Zuko and Iroh. Iroh approaches the Pai Sho table and asks to play. After beginning with the Lotus tile, the friend and Iroh begin what appears to be a ritualistic game understood by the two of them. Xin Fu loses his patience goes for Iroh and Zuko, but their new friend creates a diversion causing the rest of the people in the establishment to fight with two would-be captors while Iroh and Zuko escape.
Meanwhile, Katara is rousing everyone awake to take advantage of the night. Aang mistakes a cloud for Appa. When Katara asks him to waterbend the cloud into her water-skin, Aang angrily does so. After Katara comment on how little water there was from the cloud, Aang blows up at her asking her what she's doing… to which he quietly states "trying to keep everyone together". As they head out, Toph bangs her foot against what she calls a boat and Aang uncovers a glider like the sandbenders used. There's a compass aboard and the group decides to use the glider to try to get out of the desert. Sokka and Momo are still delirious.

Iroh and Zuko are led into a building (flower shop) by their friend who tells Iroh what an honor it is to have such a high ranking member of the Order of the White Lotus. Zuko, still unconvinced as to how Pai Sho playing will help them, makes a derisive statement about flower arranging. Iroh apologizes to their new friend about Zuko lack of appreciation for their group. After a cryptic exchange through a speakeasy type opening, Iroh and the new friend are let into a back room, but Zuko is shut out and made to wait in the flower shop as it is "member's only".

Aang uses his airbending to move the glider over the sand. Katara mentions that she doesn't think the compass is pointing north and suddenly they see a huge rock formation ahead. Toph is excited to get to the rock while Aang appears to be maliciously hoping there are sandbenders there.

When they reach the top of the huge rock, Toph falls back to make a rock angel to show her joy at being back on solid ground. The crew goes into some caves and Sokka says he thinks his head is starting to clear up, but then proceeds to eat a gooey substance from the walls which tastes terrible. Suddenly, Toph realizes these aren't natural caves and there is something buzzing that is coming toward them.

Huge buzzard-wasp like animals swarms out. Toph's aim is hampered by the fact the creatures are flying and Katara is out of water for bending. Momo is snatched by one of the buzzing creatures and Aang goes after them. He successfully frees Momo, while the others work their way down the rock. It appears Aang used his airbending to kill the creature after Momo was freed, showing a sinister side to Aang. The rest of the group are fighting off the swarm when suddenly, huge sandblasts shoo them back to the top. When the sand clears there are several sandbenders, Aang returns and lands in between his group and the sandbenders.

Iroh finally emerges from the back room and awakens Zuko as he's sleeping standing up. He tells Zuko they will be heading to Ba Sing Se and hiding in plain sight. Unfortunately, Xin Fu and Master Yu are still looking for them.

The sandbenders ask why they have one of their vessels and Katara explains they found it and that their Bison was stolen. Toph recognizes one of the voices as one who took Appa. Suddenly Aang demands to know where his bison is and when his accusation is challenged he destroys one of the gliders and makes his demand again.

Xin Fu and Master Yu head into the flower shop looking for Zuko and Iroh, but they are not to be found – even after Xin Fu knocks down the door to the back room. A cart with two potted plants is being taken out of the Oasis and suddenly we see Iroh and Zuko are hiding in the pots.

Aang again demands to know where Appa is and destroys another glider. The leader turns to his son and asks what he did. The son denies any wrong doing, but Toph she heard the son say to put a muzzle on Appa, Hearing this, Aang gets angry and goes instantly into the Avatar state and destroys another glider. The son confesses he took the Bison, but didn't know it was the Avatar's. Aang (in a menacing Avatar voice on top of his own) demands to know Appa's location and the son says he traded Appa to merchant and that he's probably in Ba Sing Se by now. Avatar Aang begins to form an air ball around him similar to when he was in the Southern Air Temple and had found Gyatso. Sokka takes Toph by the shoulders and says run. As Avatar Aang begins rising into the air, Katara approaches him, grabs his wrist, pulls Aang down and embraces him – eventually bringing Aang out of the Avatar State and it is revealed that tears are streaming down his face.