Written by: James Eagan
Head Writer: Aaron Ehasz
Directed by: Dave Filoni
Voices provided by:
Aang: Zach Tyler Eisen Katara: Mae Whitman Sokka: Jack DeSena
Appa/Momo: Dee Bradley Baker Jet: Crawford Wilson Smellerbee: Nika Futterman
The Duke: Mitch Holleman Pipsqueak: Sterling Young
We start above the red leaves of the trees and descend down to see Momo chasing after a flying insect resembling some kind of beetle. When he’s on the ground, he spots a pile of lychee nuts on a bunch of leaves. Momo leaps into the pile and gets trapped in a cage along with two other animals in similar traps, dangling from the tree branches.
Aang, Katara, and Sokka are wondering where Momo is, when they hear his cry and follow the noise. Aang frees Momo by leaping into the trees and lowering the cage. The other animals give a cry and Sokka throws his boomerang across the ropes to free the hog-monkeys. Sokka points out that the cages are fire nation traps due to the metal and the three head back to camp and pack up.
When they are getting ready to load their packs on Appa, Sokka says that they should walk instead of fly. He points out that the fire nation has been able to track them because of Appa’s humongous size. Sokka proclaims himself the leader of the group and says that a leader should rely on his instincts. Katara asks, “Who made you the leader?” After much arguing, Aang goes along with Sokka by cheerfully saying, “Who knows, walking might be fun!”
The three companions are soon tired. Aang wonders how people got anywhere without a flying bison and Katara makes fun of Sokka by saying, “Why don’t you ask Sokka’s instincts?” Sokka admits he is tired too, but before stopping, he goes through some brush and walks into the campout of fire nation soldiers.
Before they can escape back through the brush, one soldier shoots a jet of flames and catches it on fire. Sokka’s shirtsleeve also catches on fire and Katara uses the water from her waterskin to extinguish it. There is no way out now; the brush behind them is on fire, and soldiers are teeming in front of them. Sokka bluffs by saying, “We promise not to hurt you if you let us pass.” The leader of the soldiers laughs but is then hit in the back by an arrow. The trio and the Fire Nation soldiers look on in shock before kids jump down from the trees and take out the soldiers.
We are first introduced to the cunning leader, Jet, who uses Twin Tiger-Head Hook Swords, weapons that take a lot of training to use properly. Jet takes down four soldiers within seconds. Then we see Longshot sitting on a tree branch and raining arrows down on the fire soldiers who are disarmed by his accurate shots. Aang and Katara are using their bending skills and Sokka is about to attack an enemy with his boomerang until Jet interferes. Pipsqueak, a huge man who carries a log and is twice the height of the soldiers, smashes their blades into useless pieces of metal. The soldiers retreat and Jet takes out two more soldiers and ends up in front of Katara who blushes.
Aang, who is now in awe, compliments Jet and his fighters. The three are introduced to his group, calling themselves the Freedom Fighters: Sneers, Smellerbee, Longshot, The Duke, and Pipsqueak. The Freedom Fighters go through the Fire Nation soldiers’ camp and collect barrels of blasting jelly and also crates of jelly candy to take with them.
Jet waits in the shadow of a tree when Katara approaches him and thanks him for helping them. He says they were waiting for the right distraction to attack the soldiers, and at this Katara says, “We were relying on instinct.” She side-glances at Sokka when saying this. Jet responds, “You’ll get yourself killed doing that.”
Katara, Aang, and Sokka are taken to the Freedom Fighter’s hideout, which is hidden above. Jet tells Sokka to grab onto a rope launching Sokka into the trees and Aang leaps from branch to branch. Jet grabs onto a rope himself and asks for Katara to grab his hand. She willingly does so, and is spun into his arms (does that sound too mushy?). She blushes and we see Jet holding onto Katara and ascending up into the trees (Jet would be such an awesome guy if he wasn’t so twisted >_<). The hideout of the Freedom Fighters is beautiful as Katara says. They are amongst the trees with wooden steps, ropes, and bridges that transport people to and from the little huts built on the branches.
As Katara, Jet, and the Freedom Fighters walk together, Jet explains their goal, which is to free a nearby Earth Kingdom town from the Fire Nation and tells the story of some of his fighters. Longshot’s village was burned down by the fire nation and the Duke was caught stealing the Freedom Fighter’s food and is believed to have had no real home. When Katara asks Jet about his parents, he stops in the middle of the bridge and says solemnly, “My parents were killed by the fire nation. I was only eight years old at the time.” Katara tells Jet that her and Sokka’s mother died in a Fire Nation raid on her village. Jet apologizes and they stand on the bridge together in silence.
Nighttime approaches and everyone is gathered together around a large meal table. Jet gives an inspirational speech and comments on the ambush that took place earlier. He compliments the Duke and reminds them of their role as Freedom Fighters. Jet takes his seat soon afterwards and compliments Katara and Aang on their bending skills. Katara blushes and says Aang is great and that she could do with a bit more practice. He begins to say how they can help their mission, but Sokka, who has remained skeptical, suspicious, jealous, and stubborn all at the same time, stands up and says that they will be leaving the next day. Jet tells him he had an important mission for Sokka and Sokka turns around, showing interest.
It is daytime with shafts of sunlight seeping through the foliage. Jet, Pipsqueak and The Duke are amongst the trees communicating to each other by whistling. Sokka stabs his knife in the trunk of a tree and listens for any vibrations. He hears one person approaching and reports to Jet. When Sokka sees that it is just an old man, he tells Jet, but Jet leaps down from the trees with a maniacal grin on his face. He lands in front of the old man wearing fire nation robes, who is startled. Jet starts to interrogate the old man and the old man backs away and begins to run. He runs into Pipsqueak and falls down onto the ground. Jet begins mercilessly throwing out accusations at the old man and the old man asks for mercy. Jet responds, “Does the Fire Nation have mercy?”
Before he kicks the old man who is now on all fours, Sokka catches Jet’s foot with his Water Tribe club and tells him that the man is just a harmless civilian. The three Freedom Fighter’s leave, but Sokka remains for an instant, staring down at the old man.
We are taken back to the hideout where Aang just received some firecrackers (You throw them on the ground and they spark) and throws one near Momo, scaring him. Momo then grabs them and makes Aang leap to avoid the sparkers. Katara comes and shows the hat she has made for Jet. A disgruntled Sokka tells Katara that Jet is a thug and that he attacked a harmless old man.
In Jet’s room, Katara confronts the information to him, but Jet points out that Sokka did not mention that the man was of the Fire Nation. Sokka retorts back by saying the man was a harmless civilian. Jet wins this argument when he sticks an assassin’s knife into the table, showing that there was a compartment for poison in the handle and telling the three that the man was sent to eliminate him. Sokka denies and says that the man was never armed and that he saw no knife whatsoever. Sokka storms out of Jet’s room and Jet tells Aang and Katara about the Fire Nation’s plan to burn down the forest.
Aang and Katara come back to their tent and she tells Sokka about the fire nation’s plan. Sokka says that Jet is very smooth, but he can’t be trusted. Katara then says that Sokka is just jealous of Jet because he’s is a better warrior and leader than he is. Sokka says that he’s not jealous, and that his instincts… But Katara interrupts, saying that her instincts say that they should stay a little longer and help Jet. She then leaves the tent with Aang following behind, leaving Sokka alone.
Appa is resting in the trees’ canopy underneath a full moon, and Sokka, Katara, and Aang are resting in their tent. Sokka is sleeping in his guard position and is startled awake when he hears movement outside. He looks out to see the fighters descending down ropes and follows them through the bush, branches, and brambles.
It’s almost dawn now, and they’ve stopped by the edge of a cliff with a view of the reservoir and the Earth Kingdom town. Jet explains the plan to his fellow fighters, saying that the reservoir had to be full to make sure that none of the Fire Nation soldiers survived. The Duke asks, “But what about the people in the town? Won’t they get wiped out too?” Jet says that’s the price to rid the town the Fire Nation. He then confirms again with Longshot to not blow the dam until Jet has given the signal.
All the while, Sokka is eavesdropping on Jet’s plan but is taken by surprise when Smellerbee and Pipsqueak grab him from behind. The sun has risen, and Jet and Sokka argue their different points of view on flooding the town. Sokka accuses Jet of lying to Katara and Aang about the forest fire, but Jet retorts that they don’t understand the demands of war like him and Sokka do. Sokka says he understands that there’s nothing Jet won’t do to get what he wants. When Jet realizes that Sokka will not yield on his views, Jet orders Pipsqueak and Smellerbee to take him on a long walk. As they lead him away, Jet tells Sokka with a grin to cheer up because “They’re going to win a great victory against the Fire Nation today.”
Aang and Katara are walking with Jet along an almost dry riverbed to the place where they will be helping out. Katara apologizes for Sokka’s behavior and Jet says that Sokka already apologized. Aang and Katara look at each other in shock, and Jet says it might have been something they said to him. Jet goes on to say that Sokka was on a scouting mission with Pipsqueak and Smellerbee. Aang is suddenly blasted into the air from a stream of hot air, and Jet says that they’ve arrived. He explains to them that there’s underground water trying to escape through the vents in the ground, and that they were to fill the reservoir by using their bending skills to extract water from the geysers. Katara is unsure she can do this, but Jet gives her confidence by assuring her she can. Aang asks “What about me?” and Jet says he knows the Avatar can do it. After watching Aang and Katara bend water out of one of the geysers, Jet tells them to continue filling the reservoir and to meet him back at the hideout once their done. He leaves and they continue to work. Finishing early, Katara decides that they should meet Jet at the reservoir instead, thinking that he’ll be “happy to see us.”
Meanwhile, Sokka tries to talk some sense into his captors’ heads. But when they remain loyal to Jet and his views, Sokka sees the traps Momo got caught in earlier and runs towards them. Quickly following after him, Smellerbee and Pipsqueak are oblivious to the traps and get caught. Sokka unknots the ropes tying his hands and walks off.
At the reservoir, Katara and Aang see barrels of blasting jelly lined up in front of the dam. Aang is the first to realize Jet’s plan to blow up the dam, but Katara does not believe him. Aang heads toward the dam on his glider, but Jet intercedes and disarms him. Jet admits his plan to destroy the town along with its inhabitants and tries to convince Katara that what he is doing is right. He says, “I want you to understand me Katara; I thought your brother would understand.” At this, Katara asks, “Where’s Sokka?” She begins to cry and when Jet comfortingly holds the side of her head (aww…) she uses the water from her waterskin and pushes him away (such a soap opera moment).
Aang tries to grab the glider, but Jet uses his T-hook swords to pull it away and begins to attack him. Aang leaps onto a tree branch and says he will not fight Jet, but Jet says he’ll have to if he wants his glider back. Jet then leaps up onto the branch and they end up battling in the trees (such an awesome battle). This is one of the greatest battles ever with Jet and Aang leaping from branch to branch and balancing on the broad branches. Jet’s awesome skill with the T-hooks is shown in this scene when he attaches them together and doubles his range. Aang avoids the attacks and uses his airbending skills to blow Jet off the branch. He succeeds, but Jet catches hold of a branch with his T-hooks. In the process, he drops the glider and Aang begins to plummet down towards his glider. Jet releases himself from the branch and increases his speed by plummeting straight down. He grabs hold of a limber branch and swats Aang into another branch. Aang falls to the ground and lands on his back with a hard thud.
Jet jumps down and begins to approach Aang when a jet of water knocks him away. They are near the river, and Katara whips Jet stream after stream of water until he is backed up against a tree. She then blows out a mist and freezes the water. Jet, now covered in the water, drops his T-hooks and is soon frozen against the tree. In anger and betrayal, Katara asks Jet why he did it, saying, “I can’t believe I trusted you. You lied to me; you’re sick and I trusted you!”
They’re interrupted by a birdcall coming from the reservoir, and Jet signals back by whistling another bird call. Katara looks at him with wide eyes and asks what he’s doing, and Jet says, “You’re too late.”
They turn toward the dam and Aang attempts to stop it, but his glider is ripped and he falls back to the ground. Katara comes up to him as he says that “Sokka is still out there; he’s our only chance.” But they watch on in horror as the dam explodes from the fire arrow shot by Longshot. The town is flooded and a doll floats by among the wreckage. Katara calls Jet a monster for destroying all of those people, but Jet dismisses it, telling her it was a victory. “The Fire Nation is gone and this valley will be safe.”
“It will be safe -- without you.” Says Sokka, arriving on Appa. Aang and Katara are happy and relieved to see him, and he says that he had warned the villagers just in time. “At first they didn’t believe me. The Fire Nation soldiers assumed I was a spy. But one man vouched for me - the old man *you* attacked. He urged them to trust me, and we got everyone out in time.”
The villagers stand on higher ground above their flooded town, and a little girl runs down to the stream to rescue her doll from the water. Jet calls Sokka a fool, saying that they could have freed this valley. “Who would be free?” Sokka asks, “Everyone would be dead.” Jet glares and calls him a traitor, but Sokka says, “No, Jet. You became the traitor when you stopped protecting innocent people.” Jet entreats Katara to help him, but without even a backward glance, Katara says, “Goodbye Jet.”
Aang, Katara, and Sokka leave on Appa’s back and Aang asks why Sokka went to the town instead of the dam. In response, Katara says, “Let me guess, your instincts told you?” Sokka replies, “Hey sometimes they’re right.”
Aang side-glances at Katara and says, “Um, Sokka, you know we’re going the wrong way, right?” Sokka replies with, “And… sometimes they’re wrong,” and they smilingly turn into the opposite direction and fly off.
-- Recap by Daxiaoqiao