Avatar: The Last Airbender Newbie Recap: “The Boiling Rock, Part 2”
This piece was originally posted on Cinefeels and has been republished here with permission.
Will Sokka and Zuko successfully rescue Sokka’s father? Will Zuko continue to be bad at life? Will Katara slap Sokka when she finds out she wasn’t invited on the prison rescue mission? Let’s find out!
As with part one of The Boiling Rock, the warden proves that, though his prison may be scary and inescapable, it’s also incredibly poorly run. Sokka is so obviously not a guard, and yet he can run around chatting with his dad, Suki, and Zuko without raising any eyebrows. His cover’s still pretty precarious, though, because Chit Sang, under interrogation, spills the fact that a fake guard came up with that cooler trick.
So Sokka and Hakoda come up with another escape plan: They’ll use a prison riot as cover to hijack one of the gondolas used to transfer prisoners, taking the warden hostage so he can’t order the cables cut. I don’t know what I like most about Sokka and Hakoda’s reunion: Hakoda’s “bitch, please” face on being told Zuko’s on their side now
…or Sokka defending Zuko, saying he wasn’t sure about his loyalties at first, either, but he’s proven himself as a good ally.
After being told that an escape plan is in the works, Zuko is taken to an interrogation room, where who is there but MAI! She’s completely pissed—not to mention genuinely upset—about Zuko ditching her via a Dear John letter. I get where she’s coming from—for him to leave without saying anything is shitty. But he was in a pretty bad situation, too; keeping your intentions to join up with your dad’s archenemy close to the chest can be pretty tough when your girlfriend is best friends with your dad’s Mini Me. Zuko’s life motto:
Well, not everything. Chit Sang doesn’t suck. Instead of ratting out Sokka, he says the fake guard is the real guard who was giving him shit last episode. The warden believes him, because there’s no way a prisoner would lie in order to protect and ally an while simultaneously fucking over someone he has a grudge against. The warden is an idiot.
You know who doesn’t like idiots?
HIYOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, QUEEN BITCH IS HERE!
Of course she and Ty Lee are at Boiling Rock if Mai is. Azula tells the warden that Asshole Guard isn’t the real traitor, which she knows because “I’m a people person.” Meanwhile, Sokka gets another guard to let all prisoners out into the yard, even though they’re supposed to be in a lockdown. Seriously, what is this prison?! Next step: Start a riot, which Chit Sing does by telling his fellow prisoners “Hey, let’s have a prison riot! Yeah? We good?”
He and the Boulder would get along so well.
Zuko uses the distraction provided by the arrival of a guard (who wants to “protect” Mai, LOLOL) to escape, locking Mai in his cell in the process. Holy FUCK is she pissed.
Out in the ward, it’s time to kidnap the warden, aka Suki’s time to shine.
That stepping on heads was beautiful. She’d make Crocodile Dundee proud.
Zuko rigs the gondola so the guards won’t be able to stop it, and off they all go. Ty Lee and Azula follow, getting on top of the gondola using, respectively, acrobatic skills and a LIGHTNING POWER JET PACK.
Up on top of the gondola, it’s Zuko and Sokka vs Azula and Suki vs Ty Lee. Inside the gondola, the warden manages to get free long enough to yell at the guards to cut the line, even though he knows full well that will probably kill him. …Huh. I like that, actually. It’s a nice bit of complexity for this character. He’s an idiot, and he’s a shitbagel, but he’s willing to die for his beliefs, which isn’t something every minion can say.
Azula and Ty Lee get to safety by jumping (or LIGHTNING JETPACKING) to the opposite gondola, but everyone else is about to DIE. Until! Mai shows up to “[save] the jerk who dumped me” because, as she tells Azula, “I love Zuko more than I fear you.”
Son of a bitch, that is good! Azula’s pissed—though, notably, her anger doesn’t appear to come from a sense of betrayal so much as it does from indignation that she didn’t see it coming. She doesn’t like not being right. She doesn’t like not being perfect. Ty Lee, who just a few seconds earlier was shown being scared shitless, steps in when Azula and Mai are about to fight, Vulcan neckpinching Azula and sending her to the ground. Ty Lee and Mai are arrested, Azula telling the guards to lock them up somewhere she’ll never have to see their faces again.
Azula’s hubris-related downfall—IT BEGINS. Zuko, you’re gonna try and help Mai, right? I mean, I know there are only a few episodes left and there are other things on your mind, but don’t be a dick, here.
The good guys complete their escape with the help of Azula’s war balloon, booking it back to the Western Air Temple for a dramatic reunion with the rest of the gaang. When I say dramatic, I mean Zuko and Sokka get out of the balloon first, then Chit Sang, Hakota, and Suki a few seconds later for maximum chipmunk drama zoom shock value. Earlier, I’d have said Sokka was definitely the one who planned that, but given the last few episodes I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t Zuko.
Rebecca (@RebeccaPahle) used to work for The Mary Sue before she cruelly abandoned them for Film Journal International, where she is currently the Assistant Editor. Still, she couldn’t stop doing Avatar recaps. Rebecca also writes for Pajiba and Phactual in addition to her personal website, Cinefeels.