- This article is about the fifth episode of Book One: Water. For the titular character, see Bumi. For the political position of the same name, see Monarch of Omashu. For other similar uses, see Omashu (disambiguation).
|"Instead of seeing what they want you to see, you got to open your brain to the possibilities."|
|— A young Bumi to Aang in Omashu.|
The group arrives at the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu, where Aang shows Katara and Sokka the famous mail delivery system; Aang tells them that he and his friend Bumi rode the system for fun a hundred years previously. The trio gives the chutes a try, but they are soon discovered and arrested. Omashu's old king quickly discovers Aang is the Avatar and decides to put him through three deadly challenges to test his skills. After successfully completing his challenges, Aang discovers the king is his old friend Bumi, who reveals Aang's destiny: master the other three elements and defeat Fire Lord Ozai.
Aang and his friends arrive in the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu. Sokka and Katara are amazed at the sight of Omashu, noting how they do not have any cities like Omashu back at the South Pole, including having buildings that do not melt in the heat. Aang wants to get to the city as soon as possible, but Katara stops him, pointing out that it could be dangerous if people find out that he is the Avatar, and suggests he dons a disguise for the time being. Using some of Appa's shed fur, Aang puts on a makeshift wig and a fake mustache, adopts an old man voice, and uses his staff as a walking stick. Despite Aang's complaints about the fur being itchy, Sokka and Katara are pleased with his disguise, with Sokka adding that Aang looks just like his and Katara's grandfather. Katara, noting how Aang is technically 112-years-old, points out that the disguise itself is rather fitting.
As they approach the city's walls, Aang remarks that Omashu is one of the friendliest places in the world. However, guards at the city wall are giving a cabbage merchant trouble for trying to bring rotten cabbages into the city, and earthbend his vegetable-filled cart into the valley below, prompting the dismayed merchant to scream, "No! My cabbages!" Telling Sokka and Katara to keep smiling, Aang and the siblings approach the guards, though are immediately halted by one of them levitating a boulder over Aang's head, demanding he states their business.
Aang, using his old man-voice, angrily claims that his business is his own and threatens to bend the soldier over his knee. When the guard tells him to calm down and asks for his name, Aang introduces himself as "Bonzu Pippinpaddleopsicopolis the Third" and claims that Sokka and Katara, the latter of whom introduces herself as "June Pippinpaddleopsicopolis," are his grandchildren. After eyeing them suspiciously for a moment, the guard tasks "June" with keeping her "grandfather" out of trouble in Omashu and lets them pass. However, when Sokka walks by the guard, the captain stops him, momentarily alarming Team Avatar to have been discovered, though he only wanted to berate Sokka for seemingly not respecting the elderly as he did not carry his grandfather's bag for him. Hearing this, Aang immediately tosses the bag he was carrying to Sokka. As they reach the wall, it is bent open, shocking the siblings with the immensity of the city. Walking through, the gates closing in their wake, Momo, who was hiding in Aang's wig, pokes his ears out, much to the guard captain's surprise. Before he can do anything about it, however, the gate closes and hides the threesome out of sight.
Aang shows them the Omashu delivery system, which consists of miles of tubes and chutes that send packages throughout the city via earthbending. He also tells them that, one hundred years in the past, he and his eccentric childhood friend, Bumi, would slide down the Omashu delivery system for fun. Bumi told Aang to always open his brain to the possibilities in life, and Aang affectionately called Bumi a "mad genius".
Aang promises Katara that they will go to the North Pole once they have a ride down the chutes. They go to the highest point in the city and slide down, almost getting killed by a package of spears following behind them as they slide. Aang derails them from the chute, and their bin scrapes across the rooftops of several houses. Panicking, they cannot stop and crash into the cabbage merchant's cart, who screams once again in dismay for his ruined cabbages. They are surrounded by guards and taken captive to be punished by the King of Omashu for "vandalism, traveling under false pretenses, and malicious destruction of cabbages."
The king, an aged old man, looks for a while at Aang and, instead of punishment, orders that they shall be thrown a feast, to the surprise of the guards and Team Avatar. At the feast, the king inquires about where Aang came from, to which Aang lies that he came from Kangaroo Island. The king cracks a joke, saying he is heard that place is "really hoppin'", which only Sokka laughs at. Feigning his departure from the table, the king suddenly throws a chicken drumstick at Aang, causing him to catch it with airbending out of reflex, revealing to everyone that he is the Avatar.
Aang and the others try to leave, but are detained by the guards. The king declares that the Avatar shall face three deadly challenges the next day to win the freedom of himself and his friends, and locks them in a recently refurbished chamber.
The next day, Aang wakes and finds Sokka and Katara are missing. The king holds them hostage and promises to return them once the challenges are completed. Aang threatens the king and demands he return his friends immediately, but the king brings forth Sokka and Katara and has rings of jennamite placed on their fingers. Known as "creeping crystal", the crystals will grow until they cover the entire body, and only the king can undo the process. For the safety of his friends, Aang agrees to undertake the king's challenges.
For the first challenge, Aang must retrieve a "lunchbox" key hanging from a chain within a powerful, cascading waterfall. However, it is not as simple as it seems. The force of the water is too powerful for Aang to simply dive in or approach from below and climb the ladder. Even by using airbending, Aang cannot get to the key. The crystal creeps up to cover Katara and Sokka's arms. Aang resorts to breaking the tip of a stalagmite off, and, using airbending, shoots it like a dart into the waterfall, breaking the chain and carrying the key to the king, who is watching from a balcony.
For the second challenge, Aang must return the king's lost pet Flopsie to him. Outside, Aang sees a rabbit and chases after it, assuming it to be the King's pet, but a large goat gorilla appears and begins to chase Aang. The rabbit escapes and the monster closes in, but Aang suddenly has an idea. He turns to face the monster and realizes that this creature is the real Flopsie. Flopsie picks Aang up tenderly and gives him a huge lick before dropping Aang and running to the king, who rubs the monster's belly. Katara and Sokka are covered from head to ankle in crystal, and Aang demands the final challenge begin.
In a large arena, Aang must battle an opponent. He is allowed to choose which opponent to fight, with the king warning him to choose carefully. He can pick one of two nasty-looking gladiator-like warriors, but he realizes that he can choose to fight the king. Aang chooses the king, who declares he made the wrong choice, removing his robes to reveal a surprisingly muscular physique for such an old man. Aang recoils, realizing his mistake. The king claims he is the most powerful earthbender Aang will ever meet, and begins the battle.
The king immediately launches several boulders at Aang; the Avatar dodges, but the king taunts him for such a predictable airbender tactic. As they fight, the king continues to taunt Aang for his unwillingness to fight back. Eventually, Aang begins to counter the king. With tremendous effort, the king tears a massive chunk of earth out of the ground and holds it over his head. Aang screams in terror and begins to run in circles, airbending a tornado. The king throws the massive mound, but the tornado redirects it back at him. He bisects it neatly in two, but Aang appears out of the dust and pins the king with his staff.
The king concedes defeat, but before releasing his friends, requires the Avatar to figure out what his name is. Recalling the point of all the challenges, Aang realizes they all forced him to think differently than he usually would. He realizes who the king is, and calls his old childhood friend Bumi, now the old Monarch of Omashu, a mad genius. The two embrace, and Bumi declares Aang has not changed a bit, literally. Bumi shatters the crystal encasing Sokka and Katara, and eats a piece, revealing that jennamite is made from rock candy.
Sokka and Katara are surprised to learn that the king is actually Aang's old friend and question Bumi on why he made Aang do all those challenges instead of just telling him who he really was. Bumi explains that, aside from finding it fun to mess with people, as the Avatar, Aang has a difficult task to restore balance to the world by defeating Fire Lord Ozai. With how much the world has changed in the hundred years that he had been gone, Aang still has much to learn, and Bumi hopes that when he does, he will think "like a mad genius".
Aang thanks Bumi for all he has done and challenges the king in return. The two of them go sliding down the Omashu delivery system like they used to do a century prior, which results in them crashing into the cabbage merchant's cart, just like Team Avatar did before.
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- Main article: Transcript:The King of Omashu
- Main article: Avatar Extras for Book One: Water
- This is the first episode in which Zuko and Iroh do not appear.
- This is the first episode in which the Fire Lord is mentioned by his given name, Ozai.
- The cabbage merchant makes his first appearance in this episode when his cart is destroyed by an earthbender on his way into the city.
- Aside from the opening sequence, this episode marks the first occurance of earthbending in the series.
- Aang reveals that he does not eat meat.
- After the guard does not allow the cabbage merchant into the city and Team Avatar walks forward, the cabbage merchant is nowhere to be seen.
- After Aang tells Bumi that he does not eat meat, Bumi shoves the chicken leg he is holding into Sokka's mouth, leaving Aang's plate empty. After Katara asks if Bumi's crown is a "little crooked", the camera angle changes to a wide shot and the chicken leg is back on Aang's plate.
- When Bumi throws a chicken leg at Aang, which he catches using airbending, there appears to be a piece of meat on his plate already. When he stops airbending the meat, however, it lands on an empty plate.
- During Aang's first deadly test, he is thrown out of the waterfall twice, but both times he emerges completely dry without using airbending to dry himself off.
- When Aang uses the stalagmite to complete his first deadly test, the key dangles from it on its chain, but after Aang demands his friends be released and the camera switches to Bumi, the key and stalagmite in the wall are gone.
- Flopsie is lowered into the pit as if he were hanging from something, but when the camera angle pans out there is nothing nearby from which he could have hung.
- When Aang finishes the second challenge and King Bumi is rubbing Flopsie's stomach, they are on the platform above the ring where Aang completed the challenge. After he talks to Sokka and Katara, however, Bumi and Flopsie are in the ring.
- In the third challenge of a duel, Aang chooses to fight Bumi with two other choices of men, with all of them on the same balcony. However, after Bumi straightens up, the other two men on the balcony disappear. In the ring, when Aang sees that Bumi is a strong earthbender, Aang points in the direction of where the man holding the ax was, although that man is already gone.
- During Bumi and Aang's duel, the earthbending symbols in the corners of the ceiling change shape with almost every shot.
- During Aang and Bumi's fight, the rocks Bumi launches at Aang frequently disappear while they continue fighting.
- During their fight, once after Aang sends a slash of wind at Bumi and once after Aang barely flies over a rock sent at him, which are right after each other, there is a scene of all the balconies, but Katara, Sokka, and the guards cannot be seen on the side balcony on either of these scenes.
- When Bumi lifts up the main balcony, Katara, Sokka, and the guards who were previously standing on a side balcony cannot be seen on it or in the hallway behind.
- When Aang and Bumi go up to the side balcony where his friends are, the guards are no longer there.
- The jennamite that exploded disappears a few seconds later, when a shot of the entire throne room is shown.
- Kangaroo Island is a real island off the coast of Southern Australia.
- The initial title of the episode was "The King and Aang", which was included on an older Nickelodeon website for the series and also seen in an image posted by Sifu Kisu of a draft of the episode.
- This episode is the first time earthbending is seen outside of the opening sequence.
- In this episode, Bumi claims he is "the most powerful earthbender that [Aang's] ever seen", though Toph also claims this multiple times throughout the series.
- This is the first and only time Katara and Sokka's grandfather is mentioned in the series.
- This episode is the only one in which the cabbage merchant's cabbages are destroyed numerous times: one time by the guards at Omashu front gate, one time by Team Avatar when riding the mail delivery system, and one time by Bumi and Aang, again using the Omashu delivery system as a game.
- This is the first of two episodes with the word "Omashu" in the episode title, the other being "Return to Omashu".
- Aang conjures a tornado to use Bumi's attack against him; this is a technique often used in waterbending, foreshadowing his quick learning of the art in "The Waterbending Scroll".
- According to Avatar Extras bonus commentary, some Avatar fans believe this episode is simply "filler", having no real plot involvement, instead focusing on developing Aang's past. Those fans are described as being as crazy as King Bumi.
- Avatar Extras bonus commentary states that Omashu's prime trade resource is making weapons for use by the Earth Kingdom against the Fire Nation.
- When Bumi tells Aang to always open his brain to the possibilities in life, Avatar Extras states that this is an example of the expression "to think outside of the box".
- Avatar Extras reveals that "initially, Bumi was supposed to have the body of a frail old man, the idea being that you don't have to have muscles to be a great earthbender, but it was decided that he looks cooler with abs."