The 10 best episodes of Avatar: the Last Airbender, ranked

Image: Avatar: The Last Airbender/Nickelodeon
Image: Avatar: The Last Airbender/Nickelodeon /
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9. The Boiling Rock

This two-episode arc revolves around a Fire Nation prison break. After the failure of the invasion force, a guilty Sokka asks Zuko where his dad would hypothetically be taken after arrest. Zuko tells Sokka about the Boiling Rock, the highest security prison in the Fire Nation, located in the middle of a boiling lake. Suspecting that Sokka will go there, Zuko stops him from taking Appa, and instead offers to ferry him with the war balloon.

When they arrive at the prison, they disguise themselves as guards but find that Sokka’s father is not there. The whole thing seemed like a waste of time until Sokka sees that Suki, another resistance fighter and also his girlfriend, is there. Sokka reunites with her in her cell. Meanwhile, Zuko is identified and imprisoned himself.

The group begins planning their escape. With the help of another prisoner named Chit Sang, they are able to reach the opposite shore, but Sokka wants to stay after hearing about a new group of prisoners arriving. As it happens, Sokka’s father Hakoda is one of them.

After meeting up with his dad, Sokka and Hakoda hatch a new plan to take the warden captive and use the gondola into the prison to escape. Starting a riot as a distraction, the group makes their way to the gondola, but Azula and her fellow Fire Nation fighter Ty Lee show up to fight them.

When the warden orders his men to cut the lines and sink the gondola, Zuko’s long-suffereing girlfriend (and the warden’s niece) Mai stops the guards, ensuring Zuko and Sokka’s escape. Mai and Tai Li, who up to this point had been working with Azula, turn on her, setting Zuko’s sister further down the path of insanity. Both women are thrown in prison as punishment.

This episode is a classic prison break story, and also marks the beginning of the end for the Fire Nation. The warden is unsuccessful in preventing escape, and Azula’s grip on her power slips as her friends turn on her. These events foreshadow Ozai’s eventual defeat and the end of the war.