Chapter Eleven:
The Great Divide

Written by: John O'Bryan
Head Writer: Aaron Ehasz
Directed by: Giancarlo Volpe

Voices provided by:
Aang: Zach Tyler Eisen   Katara: Mae Whitman   Sokka: Jack DeSena
Appa/Momo: Dee Bradley Baker   Zhang Leader: Roberta Farkas  
Gan Jin Leader: Rene Auberjonois Canyon Guide: Leonard Stone  
Gan Jin Scout: Scott Menville

Episode Recap

Aang, Katara, and Sokka are camping out in the rocky crags, close to the largest canyon in the world. Sokka is setting up the tent when Katara approaches with some firewood. Katara asks why the tarp isn’t up and Sokka says because it’s the dry season and the tarp makes a pretty warm blanket. The two are arguing when Aang comes with the food and sees the two not facing each other. In order to solve the dispute, he tells them, “Harsh words won’t solve problems; action will.” He suggests for Sokka and Katara to switch jobs and they agree without complaint. Momo and Appa are fighting over a melon-like fruit and Aang comes over and chops it into fair portions, Appa getting more since he has five stomachs.

The next day they arrive at the Great Divide, the largest canyon in the world. Katara gazes at it with awe while Sokka looks once and then starts to board onto Appa.

A scout dressed in vanilla yellow robes runs up to them and makes it apparent that his tribe is next to be guided by the canyon guide. He tells them that the Fire Nation destroyed his tribe’s town. As he’s explaining this, the Zhang tribe approaches dressed in fur clothing and barbaric-like. The Scout tells them that his tribe is first because he’s holding their spot. Just then, the canyon guide removes some boulders from the entrance of the canyon and says, “I can’t guide people who aren’t here.”

As the Zhangs make their way toward the canyon, the Gan Jin tribe approaches with their hair in top buns, in yellow robes, and with a gait to match their elegance. An argument ensues between the two tribes for who should go first. The Zhangs argue that sick people have more priority over old people. Katara introduces Aang to the two tribes and his suggestion is that they should travel together while Appa carries the sick and elderly people across the canyon.

After this is settled, the canyon guide says that there is to be no food allowed in the canyons since it attracts unwanted predators. Both tribes are outraged, but end up consuming the food they brought. The Gan Jin eat with chopsticks and etiquette while the Zhangs consume meat with their bare hands (I’m just pointing out differences. I actually prefer the Zhangs over the Gan Jins).

The two tribes follow the canyon guide as he tells the story about the formation of the Great Divide. Experts believed earth spirits that were angered formed it because local farmers did not offer the proper sacrifices. After the canyon guide says this, a shower of rocks slide down towards them but the canyon guide directs it past them. Once at the bottom he destroys the bridge they went over in order not to be followed, but out of the dust, a canyon crawler hungrily grabs him. Sokka uses his boomerang to make it release the guide, and Katara uses her waterbending and Aang his airbending to scare the canyon crawler off after smacking it against the canyon walls.

The Earthbender’s arms are now broken, meaning that they are trapped in the canyon. While Katara tends to the guide’s wounds, the two tribes begin to argue once more. The Gan Jin’s leader accuses the Zhangs for bringing food into the canyon and the Zhang’s leader says, “Unjustly blame the Zhangs like you always do.” Aang solves this problem by separating the two tribes temporarily down different paths. The Zhangs go to the left while the Gan Jins go to the right.

The sun is beginning to set, creating a dull red across the canyon walls. Sokka is camping out with the Zhangs and notices that they don’t put up the tarps over the tents. He points this out to the leader and she responds that the tarp makes a better blanket during the dry season.

Meanwhile, Katara is camping out with the Gan Jins who agree with her point of view that you could never be too sure whether it will rain or not.

When all is dark, the Gan Jins reveal bread from their sleeves and Katara is shocked by this. The Gan Jin leader explains by saying that the Zhangs probably brought food themselves. “Why should we go hungry when the messy Zhangs are stuffing their faces?” Katara asks why the two tribes have such conflict and he begins to unfold their history.

According to the Gan Jins, their patriarch, Jin Wei was transporting the sacred orb from the eastern gate to the western gate. Doing this represented the rising and setting of the sun, and was their ancient redemption ritual. But as Jin Wei approached the western gate, a scoundrel named Wei Jin attacked him and stole the sacred orb. The Gan Jin have never forgotten this, and leader finishes by saying, “You can never trust a Zhang.” Katara looks at the Zhang’s campout in disgust after this tale.

At the Zhang’s camp, the leader offers Sokka some meat. She says her tribe brought it because the Gan Jins thought so badly of them, they probably thought the Zhangs would bring food, so they would bring in food themselves too. That’s why the Zhangs brought food in. She then begins the history of the rivalry, which took place over 100 years ago.

According to the Zhangs, their forefather, Wei Jin was leaving the western gate when he saw a figure collapsed in the distance. Wei Jin tried to help the man, but Jin Wei insisted that the orb was more important, and told him to bring it back to his tribe. Before Wei Jin passed the eastern gate, he was arrested and sentenced for twenty long years in prison. The Zhang will never forgive the Gan Jin for that injustice.

Aang and Momo are watching the two separate tribes, Aang not only wishing for food, but also for the two tribes to get along. He conveys his worries about the tribes and getting out of the canyon to the guide. The canyon guide says wisely, “I’m not so sure the two problems are unrelated.”

The next day, the two tribes meet once again and Katara and Sokka relate the two tribes’ stories. Both tribes meet at the base of the canyon, trying to figure out a way up the canyon wall. The Gan Jin leader begins the argument yet again when he says the Zhangs could use their “long, disgusting fingernails” to climb the wall. They begin to call each other name’s such as “pompous fool” and “dirty thieves.” Trying to solve the argument, Aang says once more, “Harsh word won’t solve anything; action will.” The two leaders look at each other. The Zhang leader says, “Harsh words won’t solve anything…” The Gan Jin leader completes this statement by saying, “Action will”

Aang has this innocent happy look in his eyes when they say this, but backs away when he sees the two unsheathe their weapons and begin a skilled sword fight. The Zhang leader manages to cut off the Gan Jin’s leader’s beard; the Gan Jin leader manages to cut off one of the pigtails in the Zhang’s leader’s hair.

Aang blows the two apart, seething openly. He sees the food scattered all over the ground from his blow and reprimands both tribes. “You people are awful!” he shouts. He spots a custard tart and his stomach begins to growl.

A swarm of canyon crawlers approach. Aang forms them into a mass and slices down the middle of the horde. The canyon crawlers scatter but are still alive and begin to attack. Katara uses her waterbending; Sokka hits and runs with his boomerang; and uses his airbending while the Zhangs and Gan Jins flee. But none of it seems to be working, and that’s when Aang spots the food bags (similar to a duffel bag) with straps that can adjust the opening. He holds up the bag and shouts to everyone, “Watch me and do what I do!” He throws a piece of food at a crawler to get it’s attention, then waves the bag like a bullfighter. The canyon crawler charges at him but at the last moment, Aang leaps onto its back while putting the bag over the canyon crawler’s muzzle, then pulls at the straps to tighten the bag. Together, the Zhang and Gan Jin restrain the beasts. Aang grabs all of the food into one bag and tells everybody to follow him on the backs of canyon crawlers. He holds the food bag in front of his canyon crawler and all of them follow close behind, following the scent of food up the canyon wall. Once on the edge of the cliff, Aang tells the people to jump off and tosses the bag of food off the cliff and the crawlers go after it.

The Zhangs and Gan Jins are surprised how each of them handled the situation. Aang lets out a sigh of relief, but instead of reaching an agreement, the two tribes argue once more. Aang clings at his face in frustration, but gets the attention of the tribes by explaining to them the true story of what happened 100 years ago.

According to Aang, Jin Wei and Wei Jin were twin brothers who were playing a game when they were 8. The sacred orb turned out to be just a ball, and the two gates in the story were the goal posts. Jin Wei fumbled the ball, so Wei Jin grabbed it and tried to bring it to his goal post. But he ended up stepping out of bounds and was sent to the penalty box for two short minutes. Aang concludes that there was no fighting and that it was all just a game. When they scored a goal, they would yell “redemption!” In addition, Aang admits that Wei Jin was somewhat of a slob and Jin Wei was pretty stuffy. The moral was that they respected each other’s differences enough to play on the same field.

The two tribe leaders look at each other and realize it is time to put the past behind and look forward to the future. They bow to each other and a reunion between Appa and Aang occurs. Aang is covered by Appa’s saliva when the Gan Jin leader comes over to thank Aang and shudders at the sight of him. The final words, “Let us travel as one” end the long feud between the two tribes.

Sokka is surprised that Aang knew of Wei Jin and Jin Wei. Aang has this mischievous grin when Sokka asks him this and tells Katara and Sokka that he made the whole thing up. Aang is starved by now, and together they head to the marketplace to continue their journey.

-- Recap by Daxiaoqiao