Avatar: The Last Airbender

Season 3 Episode 2

The Headband

2
Aired Friday 6:30 PM Sep 28, 2007 on Nickelodeon
9.4
out of 10
User Rating
552 votes
104

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
To better blend in as Fire Nation citizens, Aang enrolls in a Fire Nation school, giving himself an opportunity to learn more about the Nation while at the same enjoy life as a normal kid for the first time since he discovered he was the Avatar. Meanwhile Zuko, growing more and more paranoid about the Avatar's false demise, brings himself to confront his imprisoned uncle.
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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Footloose

    9.0
    It's pretty much Avatar doing "Footloose"; I really liked seeing Aang at a fire nation school, we really got to see the kind of education system they had and what the kids have to go though.



    Just like in the movie "Footloose" we see these kids have been deprived of the simplest joy which is dancing. And like Kevin Bacon's character Aang is the basic outsider whose mission is to bring that back.



    I'll admit there were funny moments like seeing Aang having trouble saying the pledge, but since it's toward the facist Ozai I think he did himself a favor. As well as trying to play the horn.



    But there were some serious moments that really displayed the corruption plaguing that education system. For example, Aang is getting picked on by some blowhole for no good reason; not just is the guy a blowhole but he's practically a brown noser, the guy practically has the principal and all of the other teachers at his side which makes him clean even though he's dirty. Aang goes to the office even though he didn't even hit the guy; I thought that's not fair that bully doesn't get prosecuted just because he has money, he's from an upper class, that's not right and unfortunately this is something that happens in the schools I've been in.



    But what really bugs me is the fact that as I've said the kids have been deprived of dancing. That's just stupid and it's not right, it really shows how disgraceful Ozai's ruling over the Fire Nation really is, this guy is a power addict and hypocrite, this guy just wants to control every facit of everone's lives even if it means to deny cultural practices.



    The dance party is defenately the best part of the episode, where Aang is bring back parts of the Fire Nation's lost culture. However the true highlight was seeing both Aang and Katara dance together for the first time, it was just beautiful. It was all in their movements you can easily tell both were just hot for one another, after the dance you saw both of them sweating and breathing hard while both looked at each other with joy and desire, seeing that further justifies why both should hook up and soon.



    The ending really gives you a happy feeling, and has a good lesson which is simply doing what makes you happy, just like a good dance it's a feeling that can never and should never be stopped.moreless
  • Filler episode

    3.0
    The episode was a filler and very bad one at that. Though many people may see this as inside look at fire nation culture. You learn nothing about it. You only learn from aang. Whose knowledge based on the fire nation is based on experiences from hundred years ago. Flame-o? The dancing scene was completely pointless because Aang has never showed in pervious episodes that he was keen on dancing and it seemed like a waste of time for the Avatar crew All the jokes fell flat and the characters now seem less complex as usually and now are simply anime archetypes. Nobody likes filler episode, but pervious Avatar episodes proved that some filler episodes can be good and worth watching.moreless
  • The Headband

    9.0
    The Headband was a superb and very exciting episode of Avatar The Last Airbender. I enjoyed watching this episode because Aang and the gang went undercover into the Fire Nation. Aang ends up enrolling in school and finds there are many differences in the Fire Nation's Culture. I thought it was interesting to see how the Fire Nation education system works. I thought it was cool what Aang did for the Fire Nation kids and his Dance with Katara was amazing! Meanwhile Zuko is going crazy thinking the Avatar may still be alive. He visits his uncle in prison only to find Iroh has nothing to say!!!!!!!moreless
  • Chillaxin episode and it's awesome!

    9.0
    Kind of like the Tales of Ba Sing Se episode, except in a different slice of life way. It's more akin to the Saturday morning cartoons you've all grown up with; Aang whom finds the opportunity to learn about the fire nation through elementary schooling takes the opportunity to not only get the advantage in the war, but also re-direct the lives of the young fire nation students who are suppressed by the strict lifestyle of the fire nation. Tales of Ba Sing Se was sweet and relaxing, this is more upbeat and energetic. Though it also wastes no time in advancing the story as Zuko's suspicions of the Avatar being alive are eating him alive.moreless
  • So this is the start of season 3

    8.8
    Avatar the Last Airbender,

    The Handband,

    In a effort to blend in with the fire nation people. The gaang steals clothes and dress up as citizens. They next go to a market. Aaang who took fire nation school clothes and forced to the school with momo. Their he finds it fun and interesting. And he plans to enroll. The others who are against it disaprove. But aang gets his. Great moment of katara and sokka pertending to be his parents. After saying it wasnt allowed to dance in the fire nation. Aang plans to have a dance party. With the fire nation kids. Which ends with the teachers getting it breaking up. In the end it was a ok episode. Nothing big or exciting happened. Although great moments by katara and sokka.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (11)

    • Kuzon, the Fire Nation friend Aang had 100 years ago, first mentioned in "The Blue Spirit", is mentioned once again. The town that the gang visits is said to be where Aang used to visit him and Aang uses his name as his alias while attending school.

    • When Toph warns the others that the students are coming, the red part of Katara's sandals is gone.

    • Mai is seen wearing her gloves during her and Zuko's picnic and making out, but when Mai stands to leave, her gloves are gone.

    • When Aang and Katara first begin the dance and the students form a circle around them, the lower part of the students' uniforms beneath their belt/headband are missing from some students.

    • When Mai gets up to leave, Zuko's shadow disappears from the rock behind him.

    • When Sokka peers behind a rock after first landing on the island, we can see that Katara's robe doesn't have the fur lining, but when we can see this part again, the fur returns.

    • When Katara calls the silk robe and climbs over the rocks to the cloth lines, her eyes turn brown.

    • Why didn't Toph change her hairstyle to fit in with the Fire Nation crowd like the others?

    • Appa's horns extend sideways, but when Aang dances and explains its importance to Sokka, his horns are extended in front of him.

    • At first, there were two piles of fire on each side of the stage on Aang's dance party, but a second later, the two piles of fire disappeared.

    • When the students first recited the Fire Nation Oath, there were no lanterns beside the picture of Fire Lord Ozai, but later there were two extra lanterns on each side of the picture.

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Headmaster: Thank you for coming, Mr. and Mrs...
      Sokka: Fire. Wang Fire. This is my wife Saph Fire.
      Katara: Sapphire Fire, nice to meet you.

    • Toph: Who knew twinkle toes could dance? (Slams down cup)

    • Sokka: Wow, they look pretty good together.
      Katara: Eh, if that's what you like.

    • Zuko: (to Iroh) I admit it... I have everything I always wanted, but it's not at all how I thought it would be. The truth is...I need your advice. I think the Avatar is still alive. I know he's out there. I'm losing my mind. Please, uncle, I'm so confused. I need your help. (no response) Forget it! I'll solve this myself. Waste away in here for all I care.

    • Headmaster: If he acts up one more time, I'll have him sent to reform school! By which I mean the coal mines. Are we clear?
      Sokka: (using his adult sounding voice) Don't you worry, Mr. Headmaster. I'll straighten this boy out something fierce. (Yelling at Aang) Young man, as soon as we get home you're gonna get the punishment of a lifetime!! (Aang and Katara are visibly frightened)
      Headmaster: That's what I like to hear.

    • Aang: I don't know about this. These clothes belong to somebody...
      Katara: I call the silk robe!

    • Aang: Oh, we're going to a meat place?
      Sokka: Come on, Aang. Every one here eats meat...even the meat!

    • Aang (lets Momo's head out of his vest): We did it, Momo! We made it through the day.
      On Ji: Don't let the headmaster catch you with that monkey.
      Aang: (tucking Momo back into his vest) What monkey?

    • Sokka (while clapping): Flameo, sir. Flameo.

    • Kid: This is incredible! It's like my inhibitions just disappear! (The Headmaster enters the room, everyone stops dancing) Okay... they're back again.

    • Katara: Sokka, we're safe. You can take off the fake mustache.
      Sokka: No I can't. It's permanently glued to my skin.

    • (Mai and Zuko are watching the sunset.)
      Mai: Orange is such an awful color.
      Zuko: You're so beautiful when you hate the world.
      Mai: I don't hate you.
      Zuko: I don't hate you too.

    • Music Teacher: Kuzon!
      Aang: I know. I'm a terrible Sunghi Hornist.
      Music Teacher: No child, that hullabaloo going on with your feet. Is that a nervous disorder?

    • Sokka: That's it! No more school for you!
      Aang: But I'm not ready to leave. I'm having fun for once. Just being a normal kid. You don't know what it's like, Sokka. You get to be normal all the time.
      Toph: Ha, ha.
      Aang: Listen guys. Those kids at school are the future of the fire nation. If we want to change this place for the better, we need to show them a little taste of freedom.
      Sokka: What could you possible do for a country of depraved, little fire monsters?
      Aang: I'm going to throw them, a secret dance party.
      (Aang does a short dance)
      Sokka (points to the left): Go to your room!

    • Aang: Sorry buddy. You should probably wait out back.
      (Appa roars.)
      Aang: I know. You've got fancier feet then anybody. And six of 'em!

    • Aang: I already have a picture of Fire Lord Ozai. And here's one that I made out of noodles!
      Sokka: Impressive, I admit... but I still think it's too dangerous.
      Aang: I guess we'll never find out about the secret river then. It goes right to the Fire Lord's palace. We were supposed to learn about it in class tomorrow.
      Sokka: Hmmm, I am a fan of secret rivers.

    • Sokka: Great job with the cloud camo, but next time let's disguise ourselves as the kind of cloud who knows how to keep its mouth shut.
      Toph: Yeah, we wouldn't want a bird to hear us chatting up there and turn us in.
      Sokka: Hey, we're in enemy territory. Those are enemy birds!

    • Zuko: (speaking to Iroh) You brought this on yourself, you know. We could have returned together, you could have been a hero. You have no right to judge me, Uncle, I did what I had to do in Ba Sing Se. You're not going to say anything? (kicks a chair and firebends in anger) You're a crazy old man! You're crazy, and if you weren't in jail, you'd be sleeping in the gutter!

    • Katara: (while she and Aang are dancing) Aang, everyone's watching.
      Aang: Don't worry about them. It's you and me right now.
      (Katara blushes)

    • (Aang offers his hand to Katara who is sitting downcast at a table)
      Katara: (nervously) I don't know Aang, these shoes aren't really good for dancing. A-and I'm not sure I know how to--
      Aang: Take my hand.
      Katara: ....Okay.

    • The Fire Nation Oath:
      My life I give to my country,
      With my hands I fight for Fire Lord Ozai,
      And our forefathers before him,
      And with my mind I seek ways to better my country,
      And with my feet may our march to civilization continue...

    • Sokka: I can't believe we're having a dance party. It seems so silly.
      Aang: Don't think of it as a dance party, but as a cultural event celebrating the art of fancy footwork.

  • NOTES (4)

  • ALLUSIONS (19)

    • After Zuko pushes the guard up against the wall and threatens him to stand watch and not to tell anybody, the camera pans to a shot of his face with his hood on walking forward. This shot is very similar to a scene in Star Wars Episode 3, when Anakin Skywalker has turned to the dark side and is leading an army of clones to attack the Jedi temple. Interestingly, Anakin's eyes were also gold just like Zuko's, making the similarity more uncanny.

    • Combustion Man's metal arm and leg loosely resemble Ed's automail in the show FullMetal Alchemist. The only placement differences are that Combustion Man's arm starts at his elbow instead of his shoulder, and they are both on the same side of his body. (Ed has a metal arm on his right and a metal leg on his left.)

    • A type of Japanese headband, called a hachimaki, symbolizes endurance and determination. The headband Aang puts on is a symbol of the renewed determination Aang gets after the previous episode. It symbolizes that he's the avatar, and even though he's undercover, he's still going to do whatever it takes to stop the Fire Nation.

    • Bokko

      The Combustion Man resembles the character Kakuri from the manga, Bokko, by Mori Hideki.
      Kakuri is a master strategist, raised by the Bokk Clan. Furthermore, Kakuri is bald and has a beard just like Combustion Man's. By the second volume, he receives a wound on his forehead, making him even further similar to the Combustion Man.

    • Flameo
      In sound and in its use, this Fire Nation term appears to be taken from the British word "cheerio".

    • When all the kids at the dance pary put on headbands to help disguise Aang, it is simular to the movie Spartacus. At the end of the movie when soldiers ask for Spartatcus to come forward, every one of Spartacus's men get to their feet and claim that they are Spartacus in order to protect him from the soldiers.

    • V For Vendetta
      Aang is able to escape capture thanks to the kids all donning headbands identical to the one he wears. This seems to be a lift from similar scene in V For Vendetta, in which the citizens all wear Guy Fawkes masks in rebellion against their oppressive government.

    • The town the gang visits seems to be based on Chinese-Tibetan architecture.

    • The scene where everyone has headbands is reminiscent of an Irish tale where a man learns that a leprechaun hid a pot of gold under a daisy in a field of daisies. He ties a ribbon around the daisy, tells the leprechaun not to remove the ribbon, and goes home for the shovel. Upon returning, he finds a ribbon around every daisy in the field.

    • In the sequence where one boy performs extremely complicated "freestyle" moves, the pose he invokes at the very end pays homage to John Travolta's famous disco dancing scene in Saturday Night Fever.

    • The Fire Nation Oath the children say in the classroom is loosely similar to the 4-H pledge, which mentions many of the same things:
      I pledge my head to clearer thinking
      My heart to greater loyalty
      My hands to larger service
      And my health to better living
      For my club, my community, my country, and my world.

      Side note: 4-H is a club for kids ranging from ages as young as 4 to 18 that allows them to participate in various community actions, activities, and local fairs.

    • Zuko meeting the hitman at the end down by the docks and asking if he came alone seems to be a nod towards crime genre.

    • Capoeira and Nèijiā
      It would seem that during the final dance scene between Aang and Katara they are performing a Capoeira style dance with hints of a Neijia (A Tai Chi martial art style).

    • The assassin Zuko hires at the end is shown to retain a tattoo of an eye on his forehead. His Third Eye tattoo could be seen as a allusion to Shiva's third eye, that when opened causes the eventual destruction of the universe. The Third Eye is also a name for the Light Chakra which is the main chakra of the human body.

    • The Fire Nation Oath seems to be based on militaristic oaths/songs children would sing in schools in dictator-ruled societies, ranging from Nazi Germany, to Imperial Japan during World War II, and the Mao era of China.

    • One of the Fire Nation students is seen doing a dance move commonly known as the sprinkler.

    • The subplot of not dancing in the Fire Nation seems to be a allusion to the 1984 movie Footloose.

    • The school bell used to to dismiss classes appears to be modeled after the style of the Japanese Peace Bell.

    • It would appear that Fire Nation citizens use volcanic steam to clean their clothes, much in the way of modern day steam cleaning.

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