Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Drill
June 29, 2015 7:25 AM - Season 2, Episode 13 - Subscribe

With the fabled walls of Ba Sing Se in sight, the gang are shocked to discover a giant Fire Nation drilling machine rumbling toward them and resolve themselves to saving the city. Jet, inspired by Zuko's assistance on the ferry, decides he wants to recruit him to his mission but makes a discovery that halts him in his tracks.
posted by Atreides (9 comments total)
Not so many animals this episode (other than the chattering hogmonkey), so best animal goes to Momo for his rescue of Aang as he slid off the slide of the drill.

If I remember correctly, this is the first battle situation in which Aang has had to use all 3 of his bending techniques. He looked good, but he still only barely managed to beat Azula. It's another lesson about the importance of doing your prep work beforehand, I guess.

Was that baby at the end (with Iroh) supposed to be Hope, or some other baby? I thought the family had already gotten into Ba Sing Se - they were on the wall with the Gaang (Boomer-aang is so close!) earlier, right?

posted by minsies at 10:26 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Azula using her fingernails to stop her slide down the tank aaahhhhiieeeeeeeeeee

I believe that was Hope that Iroh was complimenting at the end. The family did make it to the walls of Ba Sing Se but maybe didn't get to catch a train while all the hubbub was happening? The wall is just the border that surrounds the city - as we see later, there are several "rings" to Ba Sing Se.

Big big props to Momo for saving Aang, to Katara for slurrying Ty Lee (still love her flirtation with Sokka), and to Mai for deciding the risk of Azula's wrath was totally worth not getting into a gross tube for.
posted by angeline at 10:50 AM on June 29, 2015

Yeah, I guess I thought that Iroh/Zuko/Jet/etc. were at the same station as the one in Full Moon Bay, but it looks like they're two different stations (according to the wiki). Oh, and obviously that's true, because Full Moon Bay was a ferry station, not a train (monorail?) station.

Too bad! I was hoping riding trains around was the Earth Kingdom's prescribed method for recovering after giving birth.
posted by minsies at 10:57 AM on June 29, 2015


I was hoping for a team Bending effort with Katara and Toph, given that slurry is both water and earth. But I guess Toph wasn't so keen on the sand, so soggy earth might be even weirder to bend.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:07 AM on June 29, 2015

I have to remember when I rewatch the next series and I mutter about Korra having too much trouble with her opponents, that Aang largely spent his time running from Azula.
posted by happyroach at 10:38 PM on June 29, 2015

On the run or not, it's great to see Aang finally using all three elements in concert -- and though it might have been the slurry, Azula had to work harder against him than she has before.

This is a really well-put together episode with a genuine sense of menace. I can't quite remember whether I thought the Gaang would stop the drill in time on my first watchthrough, but after losing Omashu there was no way to be sure -- and once the drill actually broke through the outer wall, all bets were off. Backtracking a smidge, the long pan over the hulking mass of the drill is awe-inspiring in the old sense of the world -- it's also echoed back in the very last episodes of Korra with the appearance of Kuvira's ultimate weapon.

What are Fire Nation boots made of? They look flexible but Azula sliding down the drill struck sparks. Could they be fabric/leather impregnanted with some sort of firestarting material? Because that sounds dangerous, especially if you're one of the firebenders who uses their feet.
posted by bettafish at 8:24 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

The fight scene between Azula & Aang on the titular Drill is one of the great underrated action scenes of this show. Yeah, it's kind of a gimmicky "superweapon" plot, but it's a perfect execution of same.
posted by Sokka shot first at 6:14 AM on July 1, 2015

What are Fire Nation boots made of? They look flexible but Azula sliding down the drill struck sparks.

I assumed that they were hobnailed boots, and the sparks were from the contact of the hobnails on the steel shell of the drill.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:56 PM on July 1, 2015

Longer thoughts here, shorter thoughts below:

It definitely was awesome to see Aang use his three elements in battle against Azula. Ironic in a way, when Aang was knocked unconscious, he was in the midst of trying to deliver a coup de grace to the drill, and this was immediately followed by Azula preparing to do the same to him. That has to be up there in the top three closest times Aang has come to being killed by the Fire Nation.

I've always assumed it is baby Hope. Her parents first appear when Zuko is on his own, and when he decides not to steal their watermelon in "Zuko Alone," it's kind of the first true step by Zuko to hold himself accountable and do the right thing, so far as how we define a hero should behave in such a situation. The woman is pregnant, so the potential for a new life is present as Zuko goes forward into the Earth Kingdom western town. Now, as Zuko rides in a train into the vast capital of that is Ba Sing Se, he's sitting next to a baby named Hope, signifying that perhaps in Ba Sing Se, he has a hope to start a new life, himself.

I LOVED Toph's counter to Sokka complaining about seeing nothing but darkness. "Oh no! What a nightmare!" Jessie Flower NAILS IT. It's one of my favorite lines from Toph through the entire series. Perfection.

Poor Jet. The guy heads to Ba Sing Se to start a new life, to leave the one he isn't proud of behind him. Yet, as soon as he's inside it's walls, he's drawn like a moth to a flame to the likelihood that the two folks he just met are fire benders. Both him and Zuko represent individuals whose past lives are defined by an obsession; fighting the Fire Nation for the former, and pursuing the Avatar and returning home for the latter. In Ba Sing Se, these obsessions were supposed to be buried and put to rest, but one cup of hot tea has put at least one of these men's hopes of doing so in jeopardy, if not completely dashed them.
posted by Atreides at 2:22 PM on July 7, 2015

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