- This article is about the episode. For other similar uses, see Guru (disambiguation).
|"In order to master the Avatar State, you must open all the chakras."|
|— Guru Pathik to Aang.|
After the group receives letters that were confiscated by the Dai Li and splits up temporarily, Aang meets Guru Pathik, who trains him in mastery of the Avatar State through the unlocking of chakras. Sokka reunites with his father for the first time in years and Toph is captured by Xin Fu and Master Yu, who transport her to her parents' estate, though she escapes by heuristically metalbending. Azula forms a scheme with Long Feng to overthrow the Earth King and Katara is captured. Aang sees a vision of an endangered Katara and abandons the training early to save her, against the wishes of the guru.
The episode opens at Iroh and Zuko's apartment in Ba Sing Se, where Iroh is preparing a cauldron of jook. Zuko enter the room and comments on the smell of the pasty white soup. Iroh warns his nephew that he probably would not like it, but Zuko contradicts him, smelling a ladle-full and saying he would love to have some. Iroh, somewhat surprised, observes Zuko's emotional change since he recovered from the fever he had suffered. Zuko simply smiles and announces optimistically that it is a new day, Iroh's new tea shop is opening, they have a wonderful new apartment, and things in general are looking up.
Meanwhile, Aang and Sokka land at the mouth of Chameleon Bay, the alleged location of Sokka's father, Hakoda, and the rest of the Southern Water Tribe warriors. Sokka grows very nervous, however, Aang succeeds in calming him down. Sokka questions Aang on his feelings about his meeting with Guru Pathik to master the Avatar State. Aang smiles and replies that he, unlike Sokka, is not nervous in the least. He takes off on Appa, shouting back to Sokka that they will reunite in a week.
Sokka walks into the base and is greeted with warm and welcome arms by the warriors of the Southern Water Tribe. After a brief exchange of greetings, the warriors guide him to a large tent. Sokka enters the tent where several more warriors, including Bato and his father, are studying a map. Hakoda looks up, rising to embrace Sokka happily.
Back in Ba Sing Se, the Earth King entertains Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee, disguised as Kyoshi Warriors. He tells them of Long Feng's manipulation of the city to which Azula expresses false interest. The Earth King goes on to reveal the plans for the invasion of the Fire Nation during the Day of Black Sun. Azula grows surprised, but manages to suppress her shock to the point of merely expressing interest in the plan.
Meanwhile, the Council of Five reviews the invasion plan with Katara, who is accompanied by Momo. General How says that General Fong's fortress will be the staging point of the attack where they will send in troops, demonstrating the motion by earthbending several stone pieces representing Earth Kingdom forces across a world map. Momo suddenly darts across the board and knocks the pillars over. Katara laughs at the lemur's actions and attempts to joke with the five generals, who are not amused. General How asks Katara to deliver a scroll detailing the invasion plans so that it may receive the seal of the Earth King, which will finalize the plan.
Aang arrives at the Eastern Air Temple and finds Guru Pathik meditating atop the same tower where he sat before Appa's departure. Guru Pathik introduces himself as a spiritual brother to the Air Nomads and a close friend of Monk Gyatso. Aang asks Pathik how he plans on teaching him to gain control of the Avatar State, to which the guru replies that he must first bring balance to himself before he can bring balance to the world. The guru first asks Aang to drink a liquid, which the young Avatar does before spitting it out, as it is a strange combination of onion and banana juice.
Out on a road, an ostrich horse pulls a cart carrying Master Yu and Xin Fu as well as Toph, who is detained within a huge metal box. The two up front are arguing about which road leads to the Beifong estate, Toph's home, when Toph commands the two to stop arguing and let her out to go to the bathroom. Master Yu prepares to release her before Xin Fu sharply pulls him back from the action, noticing the obvious trick where his companion does not. Toph pounds against the cage, only infuriating Xin Fu more, who tells her that no matter how good an earthbender she may be, she cannot bend metal. Toph then begins to focus her hand on the cage.
Back in Ba Sing Se, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee remove their disguises, where Azula presents to the girls an idea. She states they now have the perfect opportunity to conquer the Earth Kingdom from the inside and succeed where the Fire Nation has failed for a century. She proposes they stage a coup to overthrow the Earth King. Azula establishes that the determining factor in accomplishing this goal lies in the control of the Dai Li.
Back at the Eastern Air Temple, Guru Pathik begins Aang's instruction of the chakras. In order to master the Avatar State, Pathik says he must first open the seven chakras of the body. After determining that Aang has no knowledge of the nature of chakras, Pathik provides a visual representation. Using a pond clogged with algae, he successfully explains to Aang the concept of chakras, stating that by removing the clogs between pools, the water is allowed to flow, just as energy is allowed to flow through the body when the seven chakras are open. The guru explains that there are seven chakras within the body, each with a purpose and a different blockage, an intense sensation results from the opening of them all. Pathik warns that the process of opening the chakras cannot be halted once it has begun – it must be completed in order to succeed. Aang accepts this hazard and they begin the process, traveling to different areas in the Eastern Air Temple, learning about the first six chakras of earth, water, fire, air, sound, and light.
Aang has flashbacks and opens each fairly easily. The Earth chakras is at the base of the spine, deals with survival, and is blocked by fear. Aang went into meditation and saw his fears laid out before him, including the Blue Spirit charging at him with dual swords, Katara being dragged underground by General Fong, Sozin's Comet arriving, and even himself in the Avatar State destroying his surroundings. Finally, he saw himself surrounded by fire, sitting before a man who appeared to be Fire Lord Ozai. After clearing his thoughts, the images disappeared and Aang breathed a sigh of relief as he came out of meditation. Guru Pathik congratulated him and announced that the first chakra had been opened. The water chakra deals is in the sacrum, deals with pleasure, and is blocked by guilt. When asked what he blamed himself for, Aang reminisced of the day he fled the Southern Air Temple upon finding out that he was the Avatar. On top of this, he remembered the time that he hurt Earth Kingdom soldiers at General Fong's fortress while in the Avatar State. Pathik told Aang to accept that these things happened and urged him to prevent them from clouding his judgment and poison his energy; he stated that Aang must forgive himself if he wanted to be a positive influence on the world. Aang did so and successfully opened the second chakra.
Meanwhile, Toph uses her ability to sense the tiny fragments of earth left within the metal cage and learns the unique sub-skill of bending metal. During this process, she punches a huge dent through the cage doors twice and manages to escape her cell.
Back at Chameleon Bay, Sokka, his father, and the rest of the warriors prepare what Hakoda calls tangle mines. Comprised of a buoyant casing around an explosive mine, they are filled with skunk fish and seaweed. Upon detonation, the seaweed entangles itself in the propellers of Fire Nation ships, immobilizing them. Afterward, the stench of the skunk fish forces the soldiers aboard to abandon ship. Hakoda jokes that he has dubbed the plan, "The Stink and Sink", to which Sokka explodes with laughter. Bato remarks dryly on the similarities between father and son.
A scouting party returns, informing the warriors of the presence of four Fire Nation ships. Hakoda quickly acts, telling Bato to finish preparing the mines, and the rest of the warriors to prepare for battle. Sokka hesitates as the other warriors prepare for battle and asks Hakoda what he should do. In a slightly irritated, yet joking tone, Hakoda repeats pointedly that he wanted "the rest of [the] men to get ready for battle". Sokka smiles at his father's confirmation of his coming-of-age and quickly prepares himself for the encounter ahead.
In Ba Sing Se, the Jasmine Dragon finally opens with Iroh and Zuko standing proudly as customers arrive at the tea shop. Iroh says that he is in disbelief at having accomplished his dream of running his own shop. He advises Zuko to follow his own dreams as well, and Zuko congratulates him. Iroh expresses pride in his nephew for having chosen to be with him in this happy time. Zuko enthusiastically hugs his uncle, before running off to start preparing tea; Iroh soon happily joins him.
Meanwhile, Mai and Ty Lee, in Kyoshi Warrior garb, lounge on the front steps of the Earth King's palace. Mai complains about her outfit and the tasks involved in being the Earth King's audience, primarily cleaning up after the king's pet bear. Ty Lee advises Mai to be patient and repeats aloud the plan Azula has formed. Mai quickly snaps at her to be quiet, as she will reveal they are from the Fire Nation to anyone within earshot. A small group of Dai Li agents, who have been spying from their hiding spots, clinging to several pillars, quickly and stealthily crawl off. Once they are gone, Azula emerges and compliments her friends on their acting job, as Long Feng will surely be informed of their plans now.
Aang and Pathik arrive at the fire chakra, located in the stomach, dealing with willpower, and blocked by shame. Guru Pathik proceeds with the unlocking of Aang's third chakra by asking the Avatar of what he was ashamed and for what reason he was disappointed in himself. Aang had a vision of when he first attempted firebending and severely burned Katara's hands. He told Pathik that he would never firebend again. Pathik responded that in order to obtain balance, he must accept all the aspects of his life. Aang was the Avatar and therefore he was a firebender. Aang accepted his duty and successfully opened the third chakra. The next chakra is air, located in the heart, dealing with love, and blocked by grief. Laying his grief before him, Aang saw all of the Air Nomads who were eliminated by the Fire Nation during the Air Nomad Genocide in the early stages of the Hundred Year War, with Gyatso being the first among them. They faded away and became smoke. Love, according to Pathik, was a form of energy that swirled all around people. He stated that the Air Nomads' love for Aang still existed inside Aang's heart and was reborn anew, in the form of new love — Katara. With his tears, Aang also let his pain flow away. He asks for more banana-onion juice. Next is the sound chakra, located in the throat, dealing with truth, and blocked by lies. Aang remembered the instance when he concealed his true identity from Sokka and Katara, stating that he did not tell them that he was the Avatar at first, because he never wanted to be. Pathik said that Aang could not lie about his own nature and that he needed to accept his destiny as the Avatar. With a sigh and a vision, Aang accepted this idea and successfully opened the Sound Chakra. He is congratulated by Pathik, who beigins to explain the light charkra: located in the forehead, dealing with insight, and blocked by illuision. He begins explaining that began by explaining that the greatest illusion of the world was the one of separation; things thought to be separate and different were in fact one and the same. Aang instantly connected this concept with the four nations and Pathik told him that every individual was part of one collective people, yet lived as if divided. Aang realized that Pathik was saying that everyone was connected, thus making divisions meaningless. Pathik continued to explain that even the separation of the four elements was an illusion, as they are four parts of the same whole. He continued by stating that even metal was simply refined and purified earth, concurrent with Toph's discovery of metalbending elsewhere.
Toph is focusing her earthbending on the metal, denting the cage, much to her surprise. She then breaks up.
Katara and Momo decide to stop at the new tea house just before going to see the Earth King. As she enters, Katara hears and sees Zuko reciting an order for tea to Iroh in the back of the shop and gasps in surprise before running off to warn the Earth King.
Pathik congratulates Aang and states that with the final chakra's opening, he will be able to willfully enter and exit the Avatar State, as well as control his actions within it. The thought chakra, located at the crown of the head, deals with cosmic energy and is blocked by earthly attachment. Aang is asked to meditate on what he is attached to and images of Katara flood his mind. Now that Aang has focused on that to which he is attached, Pathik instructs him to let the attachments go. Aang suddenly becomes angry, finding the idea of letting go of Katara ludicrous, as he loves her. He questions why he should not allow himself to feel this love, when Pathik stated previously that it was beneficial to him. Pathik narrows his eyes, but remains calm and states that if Aang ever wants the pure cosmic energy to enter him, he must let go of all earthly attachments, including Katara.
Katara rushes into the palace and tells Azula, whom she believes is Suki, that Zuko and Iroh have infiltrated the city. She tells them urgently to inform the Earth King. As Azula calmly replies that will not be necessary, Katara realizes her mistake – she recognizes the distinct golden hue of Azula's eyes. However, Katara's realization is too late; Ty Lee hurtles into the air and disables her. Azula and her friends stand over Katara's prone form, where she remarks that it is time she and Zuko encounter each other again.
The argument continues back at the Eastern Air Temple, with Pathik telling Aang he must open all the chakras to master the Avatar State. Aang decides to try and do so, and he begins to visualize an image of Katara disappearing into space and himself being taken high above the planet to walk along a purple stream of cosmic energy. The stream is radiating from a gigantic image of himself in the Avatar State, which surrounds him in a sphere of energy radiating from its palms. Aang is suddenly surprised, however, when an image of Katara, captured underground, appears behind him. He abandons the Avatar State-induced figure and begins running toward the image, causing the stream of cosmic energy to dissipate, and Aang to plummet to the Earth. Jolting awake from his meditation, Aang desperately says that Katara is in trouble and he must go back to Ba Sing Se to aid her. Pathik tries to stop him, telling him that by choosing attachment, the last chakra has become blocked and if he leaves now, he will not be able trigger the Avatar State at all. Aang hesitates, but continues on without looking back or responding, to Pathik's dismay.
Meanwhile, Master Yu and Xin Fu are startled by a tearing sound from the back of the wagon and go to investigate, b. They discover a massive hole has been created in the back of Toph's prison, which is empty. Toph emerges from several feet away and uses earthbending to thrust Xin Fu and Yu into the chamber. After taking a few moments to bask in her triumph and state "I am the greatest earthbender in the world, don't you two dunderheads ever forget it." Toph rapidly journeys toward Ba Sing Se by surfing along a self-made wave of earth. This leaves Xin Fu and Yu locked very uncomfortably within the coffin, with Xin Fu frustrated as ever at having to spend time with his companion, who claims that he has to go to the bathroom.
Sokka and the rest of Hakoda's warriors finish preparation of their ships for attack. Sokka assures his father that he will make him proud and prove his skill as a warrior. Hakoda smiles and replies that he has always known his son to be a great warrior. This heartfelt moment is cut short, however, by the sudden appearance of Aang and Appa. Witnessing the worried expression on the Avatar's face, he realizes the urgency of the situation and bids farewell to his father.
In the prisons of Ba Sing Se, a group of Dai Li agents escorts a restrained and complaining Azula to Long Feng's cell. Upon their arrival, she demands to know why she has been brought to the prison in the middle of the night. Long Feng smiles craftily and reveals his knowledge of her true identity. He states that he wants to make a deal with her in an attempt to regain control of the city. He explains the Earth King's trust in Azula is the key factor that will lead to the success of this scheme. In return for her help, Long Feng promises the Avatar will be delivered to her, to which Azula smirks before the proposal continues.
At the Jasmine Dragon, Iroh and Zuko are surprised when a messenger delivers wonderful news — they have been invited to serve tea to the Earth King. Zuko, looking extremely content and happy for his uncle's good fortune, continues working in the shop. Meanwhile, Azula is escorted back to her apartment by the Dai Li, smirking.
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- Main article: Transcript:The Guru
- Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar
- Main article: Avatar Extras for Book Two: Earth
- Hakoda's method of sinking Fire Nation ship, the Stink 'n' Sink, mirrors what the mechanist says: "Never underestimate the power of stink".
- This is the second time in the series where Aang says the phrase "Everything is connected". The first time he said it was in "The Swamp".
- While Aang is unlocking the Sound Chakra, a vision can be seen of him overlooking mountains that are taken directly from the opening sequence; the angle switches to a previously unseen view of his determined face.
- Bato's arm bears burn scars from the injury he sustained prior to his stay at an Earth Kingdom abbey in "Bato of the Water Tribe".
- Pathik mentions that the four nations are all one people that are living as if divided, which is similar to what Huu told Aang in "The Swamp".
- Chameleon Bay was visited centuries earlier by Kyoshi and Rangi in "The Introduction".
- When Zuko enters the kitchen, Iroh is tasting the jook with a spoon. However, when Zuko asks for some, the spoon suddenly becomes a ladle.
- When Zuko sits down on the floor with his bowl of jook, he sits at the end of the table closest to Iroh, but in the next frame when he says, "Things are looking up, Uncle," he is sitting at the end furthest away from Iroh.
- When Aang first meets Guru Pathik, he hands him a bowl of banana and onion juice from behind his back. Before Aang lands, there is a shot of the Guru from behind, showing his back, with no bowl behind him. He is sitting in the middle of open ground with no bowl near him and he does not move until Aang arrives, so there is no way he could have gotten the bowl.
- In the shot where Mai complains about wearing the Kyoshi Warrior disguise, her long bangs are clearly behind her head, but in the next shot of the front of her, her bangs are in their usual place hanging over her shoulders.
- After receiving a scroll from General How that was supposed to be taken to the Earth King, Katara goes to the Jasmine Dragon with Momo. However, the scroll in her hand is visibly different than the one the general gave to her.
- Between Katara stating in the afternoon that she will take the plan for the invasion of the Fire Nation to the Earth King right away and her passing of the Jasmine Dragon, asking Momo, "A cup of tea before we get back to the king?", implying that she still needs to visit him, Azula and Aang have had a couple of scenes during night time.
- The part in Sokka's hair switches from side to side and disappears completely many times throughout the episode.
- The scene between Aang and Pathik is reminiscent of one of the Dagobah scenes of Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, in which Luke (Aang) leaves Yoda (Pathik) after seeing a vision of Leia (Katara) and the others in trouble despite Yoda telling him that this Jedi training must be finished before he leaves. Also, in an interview, Dave Filoni commented that Aang received very Jedi-like training.
- Some satellite services, such as DirecTV, as well as Netflix, and in Canada, Telus, list this and the following episode together as one episode, under the title "The Guru; The Crossroads of Destiny".
- Azula's line, "It's terrible when you can't trust the people who are closest to you", which she says to the Earth King, refers overtly to the fact that she, Ty Lee, and Mai are imitating the Kyoshi Warriors, in whom the Earth King places great trust. It also, considering that she is flanked by Ty Lee and Mai when she says it, references her own betrayal by the pair in "The Boiling Rock, Part 2".
- This is the first time metalbending has been introduced to the series.
- This episode makes one of three references in the entire series that the Earth Kingdom has any formal navy. The other references are made in "The Southern Air Temple" and in "The Earth King", when the Earth Kingdom Navy is searching for Team Avatar.
- The colors of Aang's visions for each of his chakras mirror the colors traditionally associated with the corresponding chakras: Red for the first (lowest), orange for the second (second lowest), yellow for the third (third lowest), through to purple, which coincidentally is the same order in which they are arranged in the visible spectrum, red having the lowest frequency, orange the second lowest, yellow, the third, through to violet, having the highest.
- This is the first time Aang openly admits his love for Katara.
- Though Aang visits all four air temples in the series, this is the only episode not to be named after the temple. He visits the Eastern Air Temple in this episode which is the first time he does since he was freed from the iceberg.
- The two Dai Li agents that bring Azula to Long Feng are the same ones that arrested him in the previous episode, "The Earth King".
- The changing hand positions used by Aang while opening the chakras are actual positions used in real life, called mudrās, to open the chakras while meditating.
- This episode aired in the US along with "The Crossroads of Destiny" as the one hour season finale of Book Two.
- Initially concerned about how the episode would be received, Bryan Konietzko would later learn from friends of his, who worked as professional yoga and meditation instructors, that they used the lessons imparted in the episode with their own students.
- A dream sequence while Aang was trying to unlock his air chakra was left unused during this episode's production and was replaced by a memory of the monks and nuns from the air temples. Its storyboard was shared by Giancarlo Volpe, the episode's director, on Tumblr in 2015. In the dream, Aang and Gyatso were riding on a flying bison with several fruit pies placed on its saddle. The duo then interrupted a class of female airbenders by tossing the pies onto their faces using airbending, to which the teacher and the students enjoyably retaliated. After that, Aang turned his attention to Gyatso only to find him transformed into a skeleton before the dream ended.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Dos Santos, Joaquim & Zuckerman, Jeremy (July 1, 2014). "Light in the Dark" commentary. Book Two: Spirits Blu-ray.
- Unused dream sequence from Avatar the Last Airbender episode 219, "The Guru". Giancarlo Volpe Tumblr account (2015-05-08). Retrieved on March 15, 2021.