If you wanted proof that Azula was a baddie, you got it here.
If you wanted an idea on who the better people on this show are, you also got it here.
Essentially, the better people realize they make mistakes and work to correct them. That’s the lesson that comes out of Appa’s molting season.
See, Appa is shedding his thick winter coat for a thinner spring one. That means a lot of hair. And that means Azula and her two woman posse of Mei and Ty-Lee can follow the hair to the Avatar, first in some kind of steampunk tank, and then later on giant lizards.
Now, what does all this have to do with admitting mistakes? Well, Toph is…not fitting in well at first. When Katara suggests Toph help set up camp for the night, the normally self-sufficient Toph states she already took care of herself and doesn’t see why she should help the others. That doesn’t make Katara a happy camper on multiple levels. For Sokka, Toph doesn’t count him when she talks about how the Aang Gang has Azula outnumbered, and when she does, he’s half a person. And then for Aang, Toph points out that Appa’s shedding is what Azula is following, so when even Aang loses his cool, she storms off.
Combine all this with how everyone got no sleep trying to evade the tank, and you have some problems.
But people learn. Aang realizes Toph was right about Appa’s hair. And Toph has a meeting with…Iroh? Wait, how did he get there?
Never mind. Iroh is cool, plus Zuko is following Azula.
Splitting up helps a bit for Team Aang. Sokka, Katara, and Appa go one way while Aang goes another with a lot of loose buffalo fur. Azula follows Aang, her friends follow the others, and Appa knocks the other two into a river before they bring the Water Tribe sibs down.
As for Toph, Iroh offers advice on how it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help and how to be better, and she listens. So, Aang and Toph each learned something about being better people.
As for Azula being awful, that comes at the end of the episode. After a threeway duel between Aang, Zuko, and Azula, the others catch up, and facing down against Iroh, Toph, Katara, Sokka, Aang, and Zuko, Azula decides the only thing to do is blast one person and escape.
She blasts Iroh.
She hurts Iroh.
YOU DO NOT HURT IROH. IROH IS AWESOME.
Zuko didn’t learn too much yet. He won’t accept help from Katara to heal Iroh. But he’s getting there if he’s back with the old man.
So, problems solved (for now) for the Aang Gang. There’s a reason for that, of course. They all learn from their mistakes.