Aang, Katara, Sokka and Toph are going undercover to infiltrate the Fire Nation. Their goal is to get to the Palace where they hope to confront and defeat the evil and powerful Firelord. Along the way they learn that the people of the Fire Nation have the same needs and desires as everyone else in the world.
Avatar the Last Airbender: Book 3, Volume 1
is a slightly unusual suite of episodes in the Avatar
canon, as the majority of programs are even more comical than usual. Not that the five shows included on this disc lack seriousness: the long-running series now finds young Aang (the once and future avatar destined to reunite the world’s four estranged nations) and his traveling companions behind enemy lines in the Fire Nation, disguised as colonists. In "Awakening," Aang arises--with a surprising headful of dark hair--from several weeks of unconsciousness (due to the injuries he sustained during a battle for Ba Sing Se) aboard a captured Fire Nation warship. Though he finds old friends Sokka, Toph, and Katara nearby, all urging him not to take matters in his own hands, Aang ultimately feels compelled to go head-to-head with the Fire Lord before he is ready. The result forces Aang and the others to remain incognito, setting up subsequent episodes in which the heroes are forced to lay low and find something else to do with their time besides fight adversaries. In "The Headband," Aang enrolls in a Fire Nation school, where his eyes are opened to such ordinary experiences as dealing with a campus bully and getting a hard time from strict teachers. In "The Painted Lady," Aang, Sokka, Katara, and Toph visit an impoverished fishing village and have to repress their typical instinct to help lest they be recognized as outsiders. (An alternative is found.) "Sokka’s Master," in some ways the most enjoyable episode here, finds Sokka feeling useless because he doesn’t possess powers similar to his mates. His solution: talk a master swordsman into taking him on as an apprentice. Finally, the most unexpected story in this collection is "The Beach," in which Prince Zuko, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee--all of whom are back in the Fire Nation, too--take an awkward holiday but end up learning a lot about one another.
Meanwhile, Zuko--following his extended banishment from the Fire Nation--discovers that his father welcoming again, but only because his manipulative sister, Princess Azula, has falsely told everyone that Zuko killed Aang. Fearing that his father will disown him again, Zuko chooses not to tell the truth and works on having Aang quietly assassinated. Where Zuko had been more of a complete human being during his exile, he’s back to being a monster again, going so far as to keep his dutiful uncle, Iroh, in a dark, dank prison. --Tom Keogh