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This article is about the Book Two: Earth episode. For other similar uses, see Omashu (disambiguation).

"Return to Omashu" is the third episode of Book Two: Earth of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the 23rd of the overall series. It debuted on April 7, 2006.


Omashu has been captured by the Fire Nation. Aang and his friends sneak into the city, and are nearly captured, but Sokka manages to fake a deadly illness called "pentapox" to scare off suspicious guards. They encounter the local resistance movement, and assist the city's Earth Kingdom residents to escape with a false epidemic. However, the Fire Nation governor's son accidentally leaves with the citizens as they are driven out. Aang attempts to trade him for King Bumi, but Princess Azula appears and halts the deal. After a confrontation with Azula, Aang manages to rescue Bumi, but the city's former ruler allows himself to be recaptured, stating that he must wait for a more appropriate time to escape. He instructs Aang to find an earthbending teacher who "waits and listens".


Aang at captured Omashu

Aang is shocked at Omashu's fall, having believed the city to be untouchable.

Even after the revelation of the Fire Nation's conquering of Omashu, Aang still insists, despite Sokka and Katara's reservations, on entering the city in search of Bumi; Aang feels he has a duty to find and rescue his friend. After entering through the sewers to remain unnoticed by the guards, they emerge into the street, and Sokka finds purple pentapi attached to his face; removing them leaves prominent red marks on his skin. As Aang removes the last one, Fire Nation soldiers approach them, accusing them of breaking curfew. Noticing the blotches, the guards inquire as to how Sokka received them, and Katara invents a cover story, telling them that they are a result of a highly contagious and deadly disease called pentapox. Believing the story, and not wanting to catch it themselves, they flee.

On her ship, Princess Azula seeks the advice of her trainers, Lo and Li, about capturing her brother and uncle. They tell her, "When tracking your brother and uncle, traveling with the Royal Procession may no longer be an option. [It] may no longer be wise if you hope to keep the element of surprise." She takes their advice and decides to put together a small, elite team to track them.

Back in the city, Aang, Katara, and Sokka decide that wherever Bumi is being held prisoner must be made entirely of metal, a step the firebenders ostensibly took to prevent him from earthbending. Just below them, the wife of the governor and their daughter, Mai, are enjoying an evening stroll. Mai complains about how boring it is in Omashu, completely unaware that above them, two earthbenders from the resistance have sent large boulders plummeting toward them. Aang sees the rocks heading toward the people below and airbends them out of the way; however, the governor's wife misunderstands the situation, and assumes Aang and his friends to be members of the resistance. Mai and the guards escorting them immediately give chase, starting a pursuit in which Mai demonstrates a natural talent for throwing knives. As Mai comes close to catching up to them, the ground opens up underneath Team Avatar, and they fall into the hole as it closes over them. While Mai abandons the chase, the team discovers that they have been saved by the resistance.

Meanwhile, Azula has tracked down the first member of her team: Ty Lee, the daughter of a nobleman. The two went to the Royal Fire Academy for Girls together, but since then, she has apparently joined the circus, which is where Azula finds her. Azula informs her that she wants her help in tracking down her "fuddy-duddy" uncle, purposefully neglecting to mention Zuko. Ty Lee declines her offer, saying she is happy with her life at the circus. Azula seemingly accepts her decision, but goes on to inform her that she is staying to watch her show, instilling an amount of nervousness in Ty Lee.

Citizen with pentapox

Omashu's citizens disguise themselves with the fake illness "pentapox".

After being rescued, Aang is informed that, before the fighting even began, King Bumi surrendered the city. Aang decides the best thing to do is get everyone out of the city, so they can "live to fight another day". Against the leader's protests, the resistance agrees. Sokka, upon realizing they need a way to get out of the city, comes up with the idea to use pentapi to give them the make-believe "pentapox", figuring that the guards will steer clear of them if they appear to be infected. After the citizens each re-create the spots on their faces, Aang goes in search of Bumi while the guards are distracted.

Back at the governor's palace, the governor himself, as well as his family, watch as the "sick" people roam the streets; he orders the guards to drive them out of the city to prevent it from spreading. In the heat of the moment, they all completely lose track of the governor's infant son, who has wandered off. Aang, meanwhile, has come across Flopsie in his search; thrilled to see him, Flopsie rushes forward, but is held back by a chain. Aang frees him by freezing the chain with ice to make it brittle and smashing it. The two go off in search of Bumi.

Hungry, Momo finds some berries inside a room where the young infant has wandered off. Intrigued by Momo's tail, the infant quickly grasps it, spooking Momo and causing him to attempt to escape his clutches. Momo inadvertently half flies, half drags the infant across the city until the boy finally falls off Momo's tail; landing on the ground, he notices the mob of people leaving the city and wanders off further toward the open gates.

At the circus, the ringmaster, Shuzumu, addresses his audience, declaring that the presence of the Fire Lord's daughter is an honor; after taking a seat beside hers, he asks her to inform him of any way in which he can make the show more to her liking. She accepts his offer with a smirk. Soon after, Ty Lee performs a feat of balance on the high wire. Azula asks the ringmaster if he believes she will fall; he confidently replies, "Of course not." Azula then asks the ringmaster to have the net, which is positioned below Ty Lee, removed, decides it would be more interesting if she did it without the safety net; when the ringmaster tries to object, Azula relents for a moment before deciding to have the net set on fire. Unwilling to refuse a direct order from a member of the Fire Nation Royal Family, he concedes and sets it ablaze. As the fire grows, Ty Lee becomes more and more anxious; the ringmaster is also clearly worried for Ty Lee's safety. Azula subsequently orders the ringmaster to release all of his dangerous animals inside the tent; again, the ringmaster fearfully complies.


The citizens leave Omashu by pretending to be deadly ill with pentapox.

After successfully and safely escaping the city, the resistance leader, Yung, informs the gang that they have one more person than they should – Tom-Tom, the infant. Back in Omashu, the governor and his family have become aware that Tom-Tom is missing; believing the resistance has kidnapped him, the governor ponders on how to get him back.

Backstage at the circus, Azula congratulates her friend on the show, wondering aloud how she will supersede her act the next day; Ty Lee then tells Azula that there will be no performance, as she is leaving the circus. She states that "the universe is giving [her] strong hints" that she should go with Azula.

As Katara plays with Tom-Tom, Yung offers the opinion that he will not be "so cute", in Katara's words, when he is older; he believes that the child will grow up to be a killer. At that moment, a messenger hawk arrives from the city, telling them that the governor is willing to trade King Bumi for his son; they decide to accept the offer, and the next day, Aang, Katara, and Sokka take the child back to the city on Appa. Sokka believes they are walking into a trap, but Aang says he has a good feeling about this.

Back inside Omashu, Azula, entering on her throne, and Ty Lee approach Mai. Mai jokingly asks if Azula has come to kill her; the two embrace. When told of Azula's mission, Mai accepts immediately, thrilled to help Azula and looking for anything to get her out of Omashu. Azula confronts the governor, who pleads with her for forgiveness. However, Azula tells the governor he has direly mishandled the situation. She then corrects him, telling him that there is no more "Omashu". She renames the city New Ozai in honor of her father and places Mai in charge of handling the trade, excluding the governor completely.

In front of Fire Lord Ozai's statue, Aang, Katara, and Sokka approach Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai, who are ready to trade. They lower Bumi, who is trapped in midair in a metal coffin on the end of a long chain. Before the trade can commence, Azula comments on how trading a powerful, earthbending king for a two-year-old is not a fair exchange. As a result, Mai agrees and calls off the deal. They hoist Bumi upward, and Aang, angered by the double-cross, jumps into the air after him as Azula attacks him. As he opens his glider, the turban covering his head slips off, and Azula, seeing his arrow, immediately realizes that he is the Avatar. Without a second thought, she abandons the original plan and rushes for him. Aang jumps onto Bumi's coffin and starts trying to freeze the chain as Azula closes in on him.

Duel at Omashu

Katara fights Mai.

Back down on the platform, Katara prepares to defend herself from Ty Lee and Mai while Sokka calls Appa. Ty Lee rushes for Sokka; after blocking an attack from Mai, Katara gives Sokka some cover so he can move Tom-Tom to safety.

Nearly to the top of the statue, Aang has almost completely frozen the chain, but Bumi tells him to stop. Before he can react, Azula emerges from the top and shoots a blast of fire at them, breaking the chain and sending them plummeting toward the mail system. She continues her pursuit by jumping into a cart and riding after them. Aang happily tells Bumi that "It's just like old times", but Bumi, oddly serious, says he needs to talk to him. Azula, still in pursuit, fires at them before Aang can reply.

Back at the platform, Katara and Mai exchange blows. From behind, Ty Lee strikes Katara in three different pressure points, rendering her unable to bend. With no way of her blocking any attack, Mai pulls out a three-pronged knife, taunting Katara's defenselessness, but Sokka, from Appa's back, throws his boomerang and knocks her weapon from her hand. Appa smacks his tail to the ground, and knocks Ty Lee and Mai off the platform. Katara and Sokka find Aang being chased by Azula; once close enough to Appa, Aang shoots himself and Bumi off the track, but overshoots, and lands back on the track with Azula. She continues blasting at Aang, but Bumi, still trapped inside his coffin, earthbends a barrier in the track by using his uncovered face; Azula barely avoids the obstacle and is forced to come to a stop.

At the bottom of the tracks, Aang expresses his surprise that Bumi is still able to earthbend, to which the old man replies that they did not cover his face. Aang angrily asks why he did not defend himself and why he surrendered Omashu when they were being invaded. Bumi begins to explain to Aang the concept of jing, though Aang states brusquely that he is already aware of it: fighting is positive jing and retreating is negative jing. However, Bumi notes a third form of jing: neutral jing, which consists of doing neither and waiting for the opportune moment to strike, which is why he surrendered the city and why he must go back to his captors. Before leaving, however, he tells Aang he must learn from a master who has mastered neutral jing, someone who waits and listens before striking, and that he will see him again when the time is right. He then topples himself over and begins pushing himself up the chute with earthbending, laughing as he goes.

Aang returns Tom-Tom

Aang returns Tom-Tom to his parents.

Departing from the city, Azula rides in her palanquin with Mai and Ty Lee beside her. Ty Lee asks Mai if "it'll be interesting seeing Zuko again", and Mai harbors a smile. Ignoring the comment, Azula tells them that, in addition to Zuko and Iroh, they now have a third target to pursue: the Avatar.

That evening, as the governor and his wife stand on their porch, Aang, unseen by them, lands behind them with Tom-Tom. Setting the child on the ground, he jumps to the roof as his parents turn around and joyously reunite with their son. Aang smiles, then turns away and disappears into the night.


Production notes[]


Main article: Transcript:Return to Omashu


Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar

Avatar Extras[]

Main article: Avatar Extras for Book Two: Earth

Series continuity[]

  • Katara and Sokka were wearing the same cloaks to hide in disguise when they went to the Fire Nation Festival in "The Deserter".[1]
  • The Fire Nation circus that Ty Lee was performing with is the same one that Appa was sold to in "Appa's Lost Days".

Character revelations[]

  • King Bumi can earthbend without being connected to the earth.


  • The gang enters the secret passage in this order: Aang first, followed by Sokka and finally Katara, but in the next shot it shows them in the passage with Katara in front of Sokka.
  • When Azula is talking to Ty Lee after her show, the band on Ty Lee's headdress disappears and reappears.
  • When Azula and Ty Lee approach Mai for the first time, right before Mai gives Ty Lee a hug, her fingernails are shown short and non-colored, but in the next scene when Mai hugs Ty Lee her nails are shown much longer and painted.
  • When Sokka tells the people they need to act sick, there is no one beside him. After the old man's demonstration, there is another person right next to him.
  • When Aang is attempting to free King Bumi, he freezes a segment of the chain by blowing on it, but when he strikes the chain with his staff, it breaks on a non-frozen part.
  • In the scene above, Aang and Bumi are suspended high above the floor where Katara fights Mai and Ty Lee. When the chain is broken, Aang and Bumi fall onto a mail chute; they should have fallen through the wooden floor.
  • When Azula gets into one of the earth mail boxes to chase Aang and King Bumi, her two bangs are missing.
  • When Azula is chasing Aang via the Omashu delivery system, she is shown entering a "tunnel" of overhead beams, after Aang destroys those beams she is seen entering them again.
  • When Azula was chasing Aang and Bumi with the cord going up the statue of Ozai there were two cords, in the next scene there was one.


  • In the unaired pilot, Aang fought Zuko on a scaffolding much like the one he and Azula fight on in this episode.
  • In "Return to Omashu" with Avatar Extras bonus commentary, it was mentioned that the Fire Nation's plan was to make the entire city of Omashu earthbending proof. To this extent they began covering the entire city in metal.
  • When the "infected" crowd is first seen, they move and sound much like classic horror-movie zombies.
  • Bumi told Aang that they would meet again, but the two of them are never shown together again in the series.
  • This episode features a segment of music that is identical to the opening music from "The Southern Air Temple".
  • This is the only episode of the series where Azula appears without Zuko in the episode, as well.


  1. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (October 21, 2005). "The Deserter". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.