On the one hand, everything that happened in this episode was hardly unexpected.
On the other, it showed how good both Azula and her father are with just their mouths…like Batman…only evil.
That’s basically what happened. Aang goes back to the front, revealing the capital is empty, but everyone couldn’t have gotten too far. Sokka and Toph return to the volcano with Aang while Katara cares for her wounded father to keep the battle going.
And yes, Azula knew the invasion was coming, but I knew she knew, so the only real shock was Aang and Co. didn’t know. There is a hidden complex in the volcano, and Aang and his friends get down there at the same time that Zuko goes down to confront his father before he departs.
Yes, that is what Zuko would do.
And while the eclipse renders the firebenders powerless, that doesn’t make the Fire Lord or his daughter helpless. Aang doesn’t find the Fire Lord. He finds Azula. And all she has to do, with the help of a couple earthbending flunkies, is keep Aang, Sokka, and Toph busy for eight minutes.
Zuko, meanwhile, decided not only is he going to throw his lot in with the Avatar, but that it isn’t his place to take out the Fire Lord. It’s Aang’s. That’s a remarkable level of maturity.
Likewise, Zuko realized Iroh was the real father figure in his life. That’s an even more remarkable level of maturity.
By then, with time ticking down, even with Toph finally immobilizing Azula, all the Aang Gang has to do is walk away. And then Azula says the one thing that gets them back, particularly Sokka, the one who figured out her plan: she mentions how Suki is locked up in a nearby prison.
The Fire Lord, meanwhile, keeps Zuko from leaving by saying what happened to Zuko’s mother. She helped her husband become Fire Lord after the previous Lord ordered Zuko’s death, and it was the only way she could keep her son alive.
Wow. What awful people.
Point is, the punishment for her actions, since it was technically treason, was banishment. She’s probably still alive out there somewhere.
And then the eclipse ends. The Fire Lord shoots lightning at his son (Zuko deflects) and Azula easily breaks her bonds and Aang and the others need to flee.
So, opportunity wasted. The only thing to do is try to get the invasion force to escape. But then the Fire Nation reveals they have war balloons, including some very large, armored ones, and they decide to bomb the subs, cutting off escape for the invasion force. Hakoda suggests the kids, all the kids, flee on Appa while the adults surrender and take their chances in a Fire Nation prison. Some of the invaders have experience with that sort of thing. And that’s what happens. Aang loads all the smaller folks on Appa and they flies away, Azula opting to let them run since they were too fast for her blimp.
Anyway, there may be some good news. Zuko went to free Iroh, only to find Iroh freed himself and made it look easy. And as for Zuko, he found a spare blimp to follow Aang to the Western Air Temple.
More allies after you lost a number of them is always a good thing. Otherwise, the Fire Nation might continue to talk its way out trouble.