The scene opens as the sun hangs low over the horizon, shining in the faces of Hakoda and three of his officers as they look down on the Fire Nation shipwreck, standing in the same place Katara and Sokka stood just a few short hours before. The officer to his left, the group's lone woman, points to the wreck in the distance.
Female officer Sokka and Katara said there's a whole army hiding in there?
Hakoda Not in the ship itself. In the caverns under the ship. [Stepping over the edge and sliding down the incline on his feet, the officers following.] The rumors that the ship is haunted keep people away, making this the perfect hiding place.
Female officer Clever.
Hakoda Gilak always was a clever one.
Moments later, the four have made their way to the hole in the ship's side; Hakoda leads the way into the ship.
Hakoda Careful. This place is lined with booby traps.
After walking a short way, they come to the open trapdoors in the floor. Hakoda looks down into the blackness below.
Hakoda Here's the entrance, exactly where they said it would be. [Jumping feet-first into the void.] Follow my lead, officers!
Once all of them have made it safely to the caverns, they light torches and begin investigating the area. The passages and tunnels are utterly silent.
Hakoda Empty. They're gone. [The group enters the sleeping quarters.] Gilak knew we were going to come after him. Of course he knew. [They reach a diverging point in the tunnels, which branch off in numerous directions.] Spread out, officers! Let's find a clue as to where they went! These caverns go on for miles!
The woman and one of the men make for separate tunnels, but the third does not, staring wide-eyed, frozen to the spot, at something out of view. Regaining his faculties, he turns back toward Hakoda and yells to him, illuminating the spot with his torch.
Male officer Hakoda! Over here!
Hakoda You've found a clue?
Male officer Not a clue ...
Hakoda and the other two officers walk to the spot and find themselves looking at large, roughly written characters carved into the side of the cavern.
Female officer [Facing the others.] A message.
A small box near the bottom of the frame translates the characters: Soon I will show you the truth, Chieftain.

The scene switches to Malina and Maliq's factory, under broad daylight. As smoke rises from the numerous stacks of the factory and blows away in the wind, Sokka and Katara meet with Malina and Maliq.

Maliq Sokka and Katara, I can't tell you what a pleasure this is! Thank you for agreeing to a tour of this place!
Sokka [Energetic.] Well, that's part of a consultant's job, right? I've gotta take a look around before I can start telling people what to do.
Malina [Laughing.] Ha ha! Oh, Sokka! You've got your father's sense of humor!
Sokka I wasn't trying to be funny.
Maliq [Walking away from Sokka and Katara, with Malina by his side.] Let me start by setting the stage: Ever since I was a young exchange student at Ba Sing Se University, I've had the suspicion that there was more to the South Pole than what was apparent on the surface ...
The words Maliq are saying fade into a monotonous jumble of "blah blah blah"'s as Sokka turns his attention to Katara, who has said nothing up to this point. Their entire exchange is whispered.
Sokka Katara? You okay?
Katara I still can't get the image of Dad kissing Malina out of my head.
Sokka I know ... but Dad's a grownup. He gets to -- [Brief pause.] Ugh. Now I've got that image in my head. Thanks a lot.
Katara [They glance at the two, facing toward the factory as Maliq continues speaking.] Why'd it have to be her?
Sokka [Trying to be reasonable.] You barely even know her!
Katara I know her well enough to tell that she's not right for Dad!
Sokka [Glancing at Katara, who is staring at the distant two.] Look. I'm pretty sure that to us, nobody but Mom will ever seem right for Dad. But maybe that's okay, because Dad gets to choose who's right for Dad.
Katara And we don't get any say at all? What if they get married, Sokka? She'd be our ... our ...
She lets the thought die unspoken, averting her gaze from Maliq and Malina as the former turns around, addressing them directly.
Maliq ... And there you have it! That's our vision! That's why Malina and I came down here! Any questions?
Sokka [Raising a finger.] Just one. So, uh, what exactly is your vision, again?
Maliq [Downcast.] I -- I thought I'd just spent the last ten minutes explaining that!
Malina Ha ha. My brother can sometimes get a little carried away with his explanations! But the gist of what he's trying to tell you is this: We've discovered a huge deposit of oil here under the ice, and we're going to extract it!
Katara Oil? Like what we use for lamps?
Sokka I thought that came from whale-walrus blubber.
Maliq No, oil that's used for engine fuel, among other things!
Malina Oil is the key to finally lifting up the South!
Katara [A bit insulted.] Huh. I didn't realize we needed any "lifting up".
Malina Katara, that came out wrong. What I meant was --
Maliq [Spreading his arms wide.] This deposit isn't just big. It's the biggest in all the world. Don't you understand the implications? [Turning about to face them, excited, with a fist clenched.] Our most powerful machines run on oil-based fuel! The more oil we have, the more machines we can have! With this oil, machines can finally be everywhere, in every part of our lives!
Katara [Glancing at the factory and its blackened smokestacks.] And that's a good thing because ...?
Maliq [Closing his eyes, his tone serious.] Katara, this is hard for you to understand because you're a bender. The kind of power you possess just hasn't been available to us non-benders -- [Eyes reopening, he resumes his exultant mood.] Until now! Machines can make non-benders as powerful as benders! Machines can finally make us equal!
Katara [Eyes wide.] I guess I've just never thought of non-benders as not equal.
Sokka [Smiling.] No, no ... I get what Maliq is saying! [He speaks to Maliq with great enthusiasm, while Katara looks on, bewildered.] It's like those two production lines at the Earthen Fire Refinery, remember? One used benders and one didn't --
Maliq But they were able to perform the same tasks with nearly the same efficiency --
Sokka Because of the machines!
Maliq Exactly!
Sokka You've visited the Earthen Fire Refinery before, Maliq?
Maliq Of course! Earthen Fire Industries are our partners! We're relying on their expertise in construction! [Gesturing to a yellow forklift siting on snow to his right.] All the equipment we're using is on loan from them!
Sokka [Absolutely overjoyed, he raises he arms over his head in celebration.] Forklift! WOOHOO!
Malina Earthen Fire is sending over a representative to walk us through our refinery's expansion. [Pointing.] Here she comes now, in fact.
The frame swivels away from them to the person in question: Toph, wearing a fur-lined coat and shoes as she walks toward them, has a hand behind her head, having heard Malina's words.
Toph "Representative"?! I'm an executive partner now!
Katara and Sokka [Running to Toph and embracing her.] Toph!
Toph Katara? Sokka? I'd heard you guys might be around! Sorry for not recognizing you guys at first! [Stamping her shoe-clad feet.] These stupid things make everything all fuzzy! I can barely make out what's around me!
As she says this, she gestures widely with her arms and hits Sokka in the face with her right arm.
Sokka Ow!
Toph Oops! You see what I mean?
Sokka [Rubbing his face.] You did that on purpose!
Toph [Grinning at Sokka as Katara laughs behind her.] Hee hee!
Malina [Bowing slightly to Toph, and Maliq does the same.] Thanks for coming all the way down here for a visit, Ms. Beifong!
Toph [Stretching her hands out to stop them.] Please, call me Toph! I've been looking forward to this! I'm a big fan of the future, and from what I hear, that's what you guys are all about!
Maliq Malina and I are hosting a festival tonight in honor of our new partnership with Earthen Fire!
Malina Everyone in the city is invited, but Katara and Sokka, you've gotta come as our guests of honor! We'll have music and games and all the food you could want!
Sokka [Enthusiastically raising his hand, while Katara glares sourly at him.] Count me in! [To Katara, in a whisper.] I'm liking this lady more and more.
Katara [Whispering back, her expression still bitter.] Only because she keeps feeding you.
Sokka So?
The scene cuts to that evening, as Sokka, Katara, and Toph arrive at the festival, finding it already in full swing. Sokka and Toph are both smiling pleasantly, but Katara wears a disgruntled frown.
Sokka Check. This. Out! This might be the greatest festival in the history of Southern Water Tribe festival-ing!
The frame pulls back, becoming an overhead shot of the festival, which fills the entire square in front of the City Hall building. Several vendors are selling food or wares and operating game booths, illuminated by strings of blue and white lights hanging low over a good number of tents. In the open area just before the steps of City Hall sits an elevated stage, where a small crowd is gathered to listen to a group of musicians playing.

Cut back to Sokka, who nudges Toph's arm.

Sokka Earthen Fire needs to send representatives down here more often!
Toph [Smiling.] You mean executive partners.
Glancing to his left, Sokka sees a fairground booth that catches his attention: A man is playing a high striker. Sokka gasps.
Sokka Toph! You're not gonna believe this, but they've got the poundy-poundy game!
Toph [Cracking her knuckles excitedly.] The poundy-poundy game?! My favorite! [Walking in its direction with Sokka in tow.] Time to get paid, Sokka!
Sokka I don't think that's how it works, Toph.
As Katara watches them go, Pakku calls to her from behind.
Pakku Katara! [She turns to see him walking toward her, accompanied by two smaller girls.] I'd like you to meet my two students Siku and Sura!
Katara [Somewhat surprised.] Hey, kids!
Pakku [Looking down at the two kids, who keep their eyes on the snow reservedly.] Katara here is an incredibly accomplished waterbender, possibly the finest in all the world!
Katara [Nervously.] Please, Master -- I mean, Grandpa Pakku. No need to brag about --
Pakku It's no surprise, really. She did have the world's finest waterbending master.
Katara [Whispering.] Yourself. [Kneeling in the snow, she speaks to the kids.] So how're your lessons going?
Siku Bad.
Sura Real bad.
Siku 'Cause we're not waterbenders.
Having said this, the two girls turn and run from Katara and Pakku, disappearing into the maze of tents without a backward glance. Katara is confused.
Katara What was that about?
Pakku They've been like that the whole time they've been in the city. [Turning his gaze toward Katara.] Gran Gran and I found them in a tiny village east of here. They live about as far inland as a tribe can, well out of sight of the shore.
Katara You're sure they're benders?
Pakku [Peering around a corner.] Look.
The two girls, not knowing they are being watched by Pakku and Katara, are playing in the snow, waterbending snowballs almost as big as themselves around.
Pakku They'll do it when they think I'm not paying attention. They're very talented for their age. [Glancing away, toward where Sokka and Toph have joined the group at the high striker.] It's like they don't want to share their waterbending with anyone but themselves.
Toph [Mock-straining to lift the bulky hammer as Sokka watches confidently.] Give me -- [Grunts with exertion.] a second. After all, I'm just a poor little blind girl!
The scene changes: Hakoda and a number of his soldiers stand outside the town gates, manning a defensive blockade. As the female officer from the beginning walks up to him, pointing at and discussing something in the distance, the frame changes slightly. Hakoda and the officer are visible through two joined circles surrounded by blackness, simulating the view through binoculars. In the next frame, the person viewing them is revealed to be Gilak. He lowers his binoculars, his gaze still held on the two.
Gilak They're waiting for us.
Pulling back, the frame shows Thod standing next to him, as well as a number of his own troops. Behind Gilak on the snow sits a large mechanical drill mounted on tank treads.
Thod It's just as you predicted, Gilak.
Gilak Because the man is so predictable.
Putting away his binoculars, he takes his helmet in hand, speaking to his troops.
Gilak Prepare yourselves, my good warriors. [Putting on the helmet and staring determinedly ahead.] We've a big night ahead of us. For the tribe.
In response, his troops ignite the engine of the drill-tank and raise their voices as one.
Gilak's troops FOR THE TRIBE!
Back at the gates, the officer speaks to Hakoda as he stares into the distance.
Female officer You have a visitor, Hakoda.
Turning around, Hakoda is surprised to find his daughter.
Hakoda Katara! What are you doing out here?
Katara [Smiling.] Thought you might like some company. Are you guys planning to stay here all night?
Hakoda At least until the festival's over. Just in the last two days, Malina was attacked, you and your brother were almost kidnapped, and a secret army left me a threatening message in an underground cavern. We need to be vigilant.
Katara You're worried Gilak might attack the festival.
Hakoda Yes.
The two step away from the blockade for a moment; they sit down together on a long wooden crate. Nothing is said for a few moments until Hakoda speaks to Katara, who is staring at her hands in silence.
Hakoda Katara ...? [Brief pause.] You're worried about something, too. Tell me.
Katara It's nothing.
Hakoda [Genially.] It's Malina.
Katara Well ... yeah. [Another brief pause, continuing to stare away from him.] Why didn't you tell us about her?
Hakoda [Eyebrows furrowed, regretfully.] I should have, and I'm sorry about that. But I wasn't sure if you and Sokka were ready.
Katara But are you sure you're ready? [Another hesitant pause.] Can I be honest?
Hakoda Of course.
Hakoda I don't get why you'd choose her.
Hakoda I know Malina can come across as gruff --
Katara [Earnestly turning to look at him.] It's not just that, Dad. I get gruff. I'm friends with Toph! [Dropping her gaze again.] Malina doesn't really understand us.
Hakoda You mean you and Sokka?
Katara No, I mean us us. The big us. The Southern Water Tribe. [Looking back at him again.] And honestly, I don't trust her. What if she's up to something ... I don't know ... nefarious?
Hakoda [Taken aback.] "Nefarious"? Katara, I assure you. Malina is a lot of things, but nefarious isn't one of them. [He leans toward her, wrapping his arms around her.] Even if you don't trust her, you have to trust me, okay? [Smiling at Katara.] Malina still has a lot to learn about our way of life, but deep down, she has a good heart. I wouldn't have fallen in love with her otherwise.
Katara [Abruptly raising her voice in frustration, causing Hakoda to recoil a bit in surprise.] But maybe that's the problem, Dad! No offense, but what if you're being blinded by your feelings?!
Hakoda [Smiling softly.] You're old enough now that we can talk about these things. You know what it's like to be in love, right?
Katara ... Yeah.
Hakoda So you know that the right kind of love -- the kind that's real, that sacrifices -- that kind of love doesn't blind you. It actually helps you see.
Katara has no answer for her father's words and simply looks at him with wide eyes, as if realizing something for the first time. After a moment, she stands to leave. She glances upward at the sky and sees something flying above her but is unable to identify it in the darkness.
Katara [Wondering.] Is that ...?
As the dark form descends toward the ground, it passes by a large torch standing above the blockade, and its orange-yellow light reveals the flying thing to be Appa with Aang, holding the reins, sitting on his head.
Katara It is!
As Appa lands, Aang dismounts, and he and Katara run to each other. Hakoda watches their reunion with a smile on his face.
Katara Aang!
Aang Katara!
As the the two embrace tightly, they keep talking to each other but in much smaller tones.
Katara I missed you so much, Sweetie!
Aang [One eye open.] Can I kiss you, Sweetie?
Katara Maybe not in front of my dad?
Aang Okay.
They separate and start walking back toward Hakoda.
Katara How's Zuko doing? Were you guys able to get the spirits to settle down?
Aang Actually, it wasn't spirits at all. It was Azula.
Katara Oh, no!
Aang [Reassuring.] But things turned out okay. I'm just glad the Kyoshi Warriors are there to help out.
As they reach Hakoda, Aang and Hakoda bow their heads to each other.
Hakoda Avatar Aang!
Aang Good to see you, Chief Hakoda!
Katara It's actually Head Chieftain Hakoda, now.
Aang [Lifting his head.] Really? Wow! Congratulations, Head Chieftain Hakoda, sir!
Hakoda [Somewhat averse to the use of the full title.] Please, just call me "Hakoda", Aang, but thank you.
Aang [Looking around at the soldiers.] What's going on? How come you guys are out here?
Hakoda Just playing it safe. Don't worry, it's nothing my officers and I can't handle. [To both of them.] Why don't you two go enjoy the festival?
Katara [As she and Aang walk back through the city gates, she waves back at Hakoda.] Thanks, Dad. [Turning back to Aang.] My dad's always been kind to you, hasn't he?
Aang Yeah, of course ... Why do you ask?
Katara I've just been thinking ... [Casting a glance behind her at Hakoda, who is talking with another of his officers, and smiling.] I ought to do the same for him.
The scene jumps a few moments ahead: Katara and Aang have found Toph and Sokka in the maze of tents. As Sokka takes a turn at a booth, aiming to throw a small beanbag at a small mountain of stacked cups, Toph stands next to him, her arms full of stuffed animal prizes and a satisfied smile on her face. As Aang and Katara watch him, she glances around him into the crowd and sees Malina walking by, a short distance away.
Katara Malina! Wait up!
Hearing the yell, Malina stops and quickly finds Katara walking up to her.
Katara Hey, listen. I just wanted to say, um, thank you for inviting my brother and me to this festival. He's having a lot of fun. Actually, we're both having a lot of fun.
Malina [Smiling.] Oh, don't mention it, Katara! Having you here is thanks enough! You know Maliq and I think the world of you two! [Glances to her right.] Wait -- is that the Avatar?!
Malina watches as Aang, standing at the booth with Sokka, airbends the beanbag through the stack of cups, sending them flying.
Katara It sure is. I'd be happy to introduce you, if you'd like.
Malina [Clasping her hands in front of her as she turns back toward Katara, thrilled.] I wouldn't just like that, I'd love that!
Maliq Malina!
Maliq has found them in the crowd; his expression betrays a sense of urgency as he steps between them.
Maliq Apologies for pulling her away from you, but it's time for our announcement!
Katara [Somewhat disappointed.] I'll introduce you after you're done. He'll still be here, I'll make sure of it!
Malina Thanks a million, Katara!
A quick cut shows a sewn beanbag, thrown by Sokka, smashing into another stack of cups and knocking them all down. As the frame pulls back, Sokka, still with Toph and Aang, celebrates his achievement.
Sokka [Raising a fist triumphantly.] Woohoo! Come one and all! Come marvel at Sokka of the Water Tribe's manly, manly beanbag-tossing skills!
Toph [Still holding her jumble of prizes.] I'm marveling, I'm marveling.
While they two of them have been focused on the game, Aang's attention is pulled to the crowd, who are focused on the stage a short distance away.
Aang Guys, I think someone's about to give a speech!
Toph [Dismissive.] Whatever. I only like speeches if they're by me.
Sokka Hold on. Let me claim my prize first!
The frame moves to Malina, now standing on the stage with Maliq shadowing her. She speaks to the crowd.
Malina Good evening, my brothers and sisters of the South! Are you having a good time?
As one, the crowd replies with an emphatic "YEAH!".
Malina My name is Malina. As many of you already know, my brother Maliq and I were brought here as part of the Southern Reconstruction Project! Together with you, we are going to usher the South Pole into a brand-new age!
Cut to Sokka, who is pointing to trying to a large stuffed polar bear dog on the top shelf of the game booth.
Sokka [To the game's handler.] I'd like that giant polar bear dog, please.
Man in game booth [Indifferently.] Sorry, fella. For that, you gotta do what you just did seven more times. Here's yer prize.
As Sokka cups his hands, the man drops a tiny stuffed snow rat into them. Sokka's disappointment is easily readable.
Sokka Aw.
Back to Malina on stage, as she continues.
Malina We'll help you make the most of your natural resources, so you can finally establish a presence for yourselves on the world stage!
Her words bring a wave of applause, but a glance at the faces in the crowd betrays their uncertainty. An older man asks a woman on his right for clarity.
Old man in crowd So ... that's a good thing, right?
The woman, seemingly unsure of the answer herself, has no answer for him. Cut to Toph and Sokka; the former has suddenly dropped her prizes on the snow, and they lay there in a heap as she stares at the blank, white surface.
Toph [Questioning.] What is that ...?
Sokka [Walking toward her from a short distance away, his mind still on the stuffed snow rat.] I know, right? What a rip-off.
Toph No, not that ... [Kneeling in the snow, she touches her left hand to the surface, focusing.] Underground ... I feel something ... someone coming toward us! Would've felt it sooner if it weren't for these stupid things!
Having cursed her seismic-sense-muffling shoes, she quickly rises to her feet and yells at Katara and Aang, who are standing a short distance away, listening to the speech.
Toph Heads up, Team Avatar!
They turns their heads toward Toph, taken aback by her sudden outburst. An older woman nearby takes exception to it.
Old woman in crowd Shhh! Some of us are trying to listen!
Malina [Gesturing widely to the crowd.] Tonight, we're thrilled to announce a new partner in this venture: Earthen Fire Industries! Representative Toph Beifong --
Maliq [Quietly, over her shoulder.] I think she prefers executive partner.
Malina Executive partner Toph Beifong, where are you? Would you like to come up here and say a few words?
Toph [Running full tilt through the crowd toward the stage, yelling.] Yeah, I'd like to say a few words! Everybody get out of here!
Mere seconds later, the steel drill bursts from beneath the surface, sending the few who failed to heed Toph's warning scrambling for cover. As the civilians finish fleeing to the edges of the plaza and the dust settles, armed soldiers exit the drill and set themselves against Malina and Maliq, who remained on the stage. Lastly, Gilak and Thod climb onto the drill's roof and stare in the siblings' direction; Gilak holds his sword while Thod carries Maliq's briefcase in his right hand.
Gilak Hear me, people of the Southern Water Tribe! I am Gilak, your true brother! Many of you know me! [Cut to a number of people, their hair grayed by age.] We came of age together! [Cut to two women, each holding a child.] We've shared meals together! [Cut to a group of stone-faced men, looking at Gilak uncertainly.] We've bled together in foreign lands! [Cut back to a close-up of Gilak's face.] You know that I am blood of your blood and flesh of your flesh!
As the frame swings toward Malina and Maliq from a perspective close to Gilak, he brandishes his blade at them, the sharpened steel swinging into the frame.
Gilak So you must believe me when I tell you that these two scoundrels from our so-called "sister tribe" are not here to help us! They are here to subjugate and humiliate us! They want to strip our land and destroy everything we are!
Malina What are you talking about?!
Gilak [To the people.] Recently, they discovered oil beneath our homeland --
Malina [Earnestly.] Oil that will bring prosperity to your people!
Gilak Oil they're going to claim for the North!
In the silence that follows, the frame focuses on Team Avatar for a moment, showing the concern on their faces.
Toph [Disbelieving and irate.] Wait. What?!
Malina No! That's not true!
As Malina denounces his words, Gilak takes the briefcase from Thod and thrusts it toward her.
Gilak I have proof!
Maliq My briefcase!
Gilak I've read through your documents! I know all about your plan to make the Southern Water Tribe a colony of the North!
Malina That's preposterous!
Gilak You want the Northern Water Tribe to decide how the oil's extracted, what it's used for, and where it's shipped! [Raising his blade against them again.] What would the South be then, if not a colony?
Malina That is not our plan!
A silence falls after these words. Moments later, Malina's gaze drops to the floor beneath her, and her face takes on a somber, regretful expression.
Malina But it used to be. We never used the word "colony" ... [Frame cuts briefly to Katara and Sokka; his face betrays a sense of strong surprise, while Katara's brow has furrowed deeply in distaste.] But we did worry that the South wasn't ready to handle such an important resource. [She raises her eyes to the crowd, her tone adamant.] We were wrong.
Maliq [His expression frustrated.] No! No, we weren't! I tried to tell you, but you wouldn't listen, Malina! I never destroyed those documents! I never canceled the plans!
Malina [Swiveling to face Maliq, confused and incredulous.] What?!
Maliq [Dispassionate.] You would've found out sooner or later. [He turns to the crowd and yells.] As would you all, so I may as well tell you now! [Pointing behind himself at Gilak.] The man in that ... that ridiculous tribal getup speaks the truth!
Malina [Horrified.] Maliq! What are you doing?!
Maliq Once that oil is out of the ground -- [The frame cuts to the people in the crowd, their faces shifting to shock.] -- it will be under Northern control!
Among the people in the crowd are Noa, Kam, and Soonjei. As Maliq finishes his sentence, Noa turns his head toward the other two.
Noa Come on, boys. I got a feeling Malina and Maliq are gonna need us.
Maliq [Frame returning to him.] It's what has to be done!
Malina What he's saying isn't true!
Gilak Can you believe the gall of these Northerners?! During the war, our blood kept them safe! And as if that wasn't enough, now they want our oil to make them rich!
Maliq You think this is about money?! You have no idea what this oil means, not just for your own little backward society, but for the world!
Malina Maliq!
Maliq [Yelling at the top of his lungs.] This oil changes everything!
Malina [More authoritatively.] Stop!
Maliq [He extends a hand over the crowd.] This oil is our pathway to a future of equality! And we can't trust the future to a culture so mired in the past!
Malina [Seeming to realize he has passed the point of no return.] Please ...
Maliq [Frame cuts to Sokka and Katara; the latter is decidedly unhappy, while the former has an eye squinted in unease.] You Southerners need the oversight of an actual civilization! You can't even come up with a coherent set of laws --
Malina [Grabbing him firmly by the shoulder ans screaming directly into his face.] Stop talking!
Maliq finally falls silent, and Malina turns her attention to the crowd.
Malina People of the Southern Water Tribe, I deeply regret the hurt that my crew and I have caused. We are stepping down from the Southern Reconstruction Project, effective immediately. We'll leave the South Pole first thing in the morning.
The frame cuts to a close-up of the face of Gilak, vindicated and concealing rage of his own.
Gilak Oh no. After what you've done, you don't get to just leave.
Lifting the arm with the briefcase, he points at Malina and Maliq and raises his voice in a war cry. His soldiers set off at a sprint toward Malina and Maliq, sending the crowd into a full-fledged panic as they race for the alleys leading out of the square.
Gilak For the tribe!
Gilak's soldiers FOR THE TRIBE!
Malina jumps in front of Maliq, raising a wall of snow between them and the oncoming soldiers.
Malina Maliq, I told you to stay quiet! Stay behind me!
Noa [Running full-tilt through the parting crowd, Kam and Soonjei on his heels.] Told ya they'd need our help!
The frame cuts to Team Avatar, standing still in the now-open square. Their expressions, which moments ago were angry, have become something more akin to conflicted concern.
Aang Look, whatever Malina and Maliq have done, they don't deserve to die!
He takes off running toward the stage, and Katara follows him as he yells over his shoulder at Toph and Sokka.
Aang Katara and I will get them someplace safe --
Toph While Captain Boomerang and I keep everyone else from pummeling each other!
Sokka "Captain Boomerang"?!
Toph Oh, don't act like you don't love it when I call you that, Captain Boomerang!
The frame jumps to the city gates, as a guard comes rushing out to Hakoda.
Guard [Panicked.] Hakoda --
Hakoda I hear it! Gilak got past us somehow! [Sprinting into the city, guards in tow.] Hurry!
Back at the scene of the unfolding melee, Aang and Katara race to cut off the advancing soldiers.
Katara Aang --
Aang I'll take care of Gilak's troops! You go!
Jumping into the air, Katara bends a stream of water into a pathway of ice and uses it to skate quickly over the soldiers' heads and onto the stage. Looking up, one of the soldiers stares wide-eyed at her. Aang blasts a number of soldiers off their feet with a gust of air, but another soldier still finds the opportunity to hurl a spear at Malina's snow wall.
Soldier Northern scum!
As Maliq ducks his head in fear, the spear easily pierces the wall and, missing them as it passes through, embeds itself in the wall behind it. A split second later, Katara lands on the stage and bends water into two arm-like appendages. Freezing the end of one of them, she strikes the offending soldier with it.
Maliq [Poking his head out from behind the wall.] Thank you, Katara! I knew you were different from the rest of them!
Malina Katara, let me explain --
Katara [Turning her head toward Malina.] Not now!
In the brief moment in which Katara takes her eyes off the fight, one of the decorative columns standing around the stage collides end-first with her from behind. Caught off-guard, she tumbles from the stage, the water on her arms falling away, and lands hard on the snow below, semi-conscious. The frame shifts, showing Noa standing over her unresponsive body and seeming angrily vindicated. Kam and Soonjei stand behind him, wearing similar expressions.
Noa [Arms crossed, staring down at her.] Ha ha! Payback!
Malina [Desperate and outraged.] You idiots! She was saving us!
Noa You think you can trust any of these people?! You and your brother get outta here! Soonjei, Kam, and me are gonna crack some Southern heads!
Malina We have to make sure Katara's all right!
Noa No, we gotta make sure you're all right! She'll be fine! They're used to that kinda brutality down here!
Katara stirs on the snow below and, sitting up, glances back at Maliq as he pulls Malina off the stage.
Maliq We have to go, Malina! Now!
As she tries to stand, she realizes Thod is standing next to her, offering her a hand.
Thod Do you finally grasp the point of my story, Katara?
Katara [Surprised and not thrilled.] You again!
Thod [Maintaining his cordial mien as she stands.] They may invite you to their campfire. They may flatter you with pretty words. They may even put together a lovely festival for you. But make no mistake. [His expression becomes deadly serious.] In their eyes, you'll never be anything more than a snow rat. [Katara stares at him in silence.] We must remove the foreigners from our midst or they will destroy us. Now will you join Gilak's cause?
After another long moment, Katara removes her gaze from Thod and look at Aang to her right as he airbends several soldiers backward along with a number of wooden barrels. When she returns her gaze to Thod, her expression is more set than ever.
Katara No.
Thod [Sighing in disappointment.] I believed in you, young Katara, I really did.
In a split second, Thod's demeanor shifts from calm to a raging aggression. He lashes out at Katara, who is completely unprepared for the sudden attack, and, extending the second and third fingers of both his hands, strikes her with the outstretched fingers on either side of her neck, around her collarbones.
Thod But being away from home for so long has made you forget where your loyalties belong!
Katara's arms go limp as she falls to the snow, horror etched on her face.
Katara Y-you're a chi blocker!
As Katara falls, Aang is still occupied with the soldiers. As he airbends two more soldiers off their feet, two more soldiers attack him from behind, grabbing him by his arms. He struggles for a moment, glancing from one soldier to the other in shock. The soldier on his right laughs at his panic, while the one on his left taunts him.
Soldier You can't bend if you can't move!
The frame moves to a view at their backs; the tank is bearing down on them from behind. A glance behind him tells Aang that the tank is headed straight for him. Using the soldiers as leverage, he lifts himself into the air, using his feet to send a blast of air at the tank, launching it into the air. As he flips over, landing on the snow between the two soldiers, now shocked themselves, the tank crashes to the snow roof-first, and Aang blasts the two soldiers with airbending at close range, sending them flying.

Cut to Sokka and Toph, running toward Noa, Kam, and Soonjei, who are fighting soldiers on the stage.

Sokka [To Toph.] Hey! So what are the chances of getting everybody to drop their weapons and sit down for a nice, calm discussion about all this over some delicious puffin-seal sausages?
Toph [As a soldier goes flying past their heads.] I'm guessing not good.
Cut to a close-up of the three fighters on the stage, each bending their element; the shot's focus is on Soonjei, who has shards of earth fashioned around his hands, as if he is wearing gloves of stone. Toph, out of frame, takes notice and yells at him.
Toph Hey, nice earth gauntlets!
The frame cuts to Toph, who has followed Soonjei's lead, with the exception that she has made hers many times larger than his: each one of them is nearly as large as her.
Toph Oh, look! I made myself a pair, too!
A close-up of Toph's face shows a devilish, toothy grin to be covering her face. Cut to a view of the three, their faces painted with anger and terror, before Toph unleashes the gauntlets on them; one punch is enough to send all three tumbling helplessly through the air, unconscious. As this is happening, two soldiers confront Sokka; their boomerangs are drawn, but they are not attacking him.
Soldier #1 You hear what those Northerners have planned!
Soldier #2 Join our cause, brother!
Sokka Join you in hunting down my dad's girlfriend? No thanks.
The two soldiers hurl their boomerangs at Sokka as they charge at him.
Soldier #2 You're just like them!
Soldier #1 You think you're better than us!
Sokka [Leaping over the flying boomerangs as they sweep under his feet.] Better than you as a person? No. [Landing and hurling his own boomerang at them.] Better than you as a boomeranger? Absolutely!
The boomerang, on its arcing trajectory, slams into both of the soldiers one after the other. Both of them emit stiff grunts of pain and fall to the snow as Sokka's boomerang begins arcing back toward him.
Sokka After all, there can be only one -- [Catching his boomerang.] Captain Boomerang!
Cut back to Katara, who has regained her feet. Her arms swinging like a ragdoll's, she spins on her right foot, swinging her left foot in an upward kick at the air with great effort.
Katara YAAAH!
With a whoosh, the snow around Thod surprises him by rising against him. As it converges on him, it freezes solid, turning into a block of ice and immobilizing him.
Thod [His demeanor becoming placid again.] Oh, dear.
Katara Good thing I don't need my arms to waterbend.
Water Tribe policeman [Running up behind Katara.] Katara! I'll take him in!
Katara Thank you, officer. Have you seen my father?
Water Tribe policeman I lost track of him at the city gates!
Aang joins them, landing in the snow nearby.
Aang Sweetie!
Katara Aang!
Aang Your arms!
Katara They'll be okay. They're already starting to tingle. [The two take off running toward the gates.] Come on. I want to make sure my dad's okay.
As they take off running, the frame moves to Malina and Maliq; the two have just run through the gates, scrambling through the snow with the latter in the lead.
Maliq This way, this way!
Out of nowhere, the boy and girl who stole his briefcase appear in front of Maliq, and the boy punches him in the face. The blow stuns Maliq and sends him straight to the snow. Malina falls to her knees beside him.
Boy Guess they don't teach you how to fight up north, eh?
Malina Brother!
As Maliq moans painfully and the boy and girl look on, Gilak and his men rush through the gates a short distance away, having caught up with their prey.
Gilak Good work, kids.
Malina [Looking up at Gilak as he stands over her.] I-I don't want to fight you!
Maliq [Now sitting up.] Please --
Malina You have my word that we'll leave the South Pole first thing in the morning!
Gilak That isn't good enough.
As soon as he says this, a soldier, sword drawn, sprints at the two from behind, letting out a war cry as he races toward them. Malina rounds on him and waterbends a large amount of snow directly into his face. As he drops his sword and tumbles backward, letting out a grunt of pain, two more soldiers throw a net over Malina and Maliq.
Maliq No!
Malina You don't want to do this!
The kids chi-block her by striking at her shoulder blades. She falls silent for a moment, slumping over under the net.
Gilak Chi blocking. Impressive.
Boy Thod taught us well, Master Gilak.
Malina [She gazes up at Gilak again, desperate.] My brother didn't know what he was saying! Forgive him, Gilak! Forgive the both of us!
Gilak [Reaching behind his back and drawing his sword.] Forgiveness between family is easy. But you aren't family, are you? You may look like us and dress like us, but you were never a part of the tribe. [Frame zooms on his eye, glaring and angry.] Now the tribe needs the two of you to serve as an example.
Maliq [His eyes are wide, and his voice feeble.] No ...!
As Gilak raises the sword over his head, Malina, gritting her teeth, drops her head and closes her eyes.
Gilak Your demise will be a warning to all foreign powers who think they can come trample over our people -- that they need to think again!
Gilak brings the sword down , but before the blade can touch its targets, a hand clasps itself firmly around Gilak's wrist, stopping its progress. Glancing up, Gilak finds Hakoda staring determinedly into his eyes.
Hakoda Let them go, Gilak!
Gilak Hakoda! Hear me out, brother! I have proof that --
Hakoda That when Malina first came here, she'd planned to bring us under Northern control. I know.
Gilak [Stunned.] What?! Then how can you defend her?!
Hakoda [Glancing down at Malina.] Because after she got to know our people, she changed her mind.
Gilak It's a ruse, Hakoda! To gain your trust!
Hakoda Fire Lord Zuko was once our sworn enemy. He's now one of our fiercest allies. I believe people can change.
Gilak [His eyebrows furrowing slightly] And sadly, I now believe it, too. Because you've changed, Hakoda. [Pulling his sword-wielding arm out of Hakoda's grasp.] I used to think that you were simply blinded by your idealism, but now I see the truth: You're a traitor!
Gilak swings the sword downward again, trying to catch Hakoda off-guard, but the chief steps backward quickly, and the blade meets nothing but air. As Hakoda steps back, he reaches over his shoulder and draws his own club, using it to block Gilak's next swing and following it up by kicking him in the stomach as he winds up for his next swing. Gilak gasps and staggers for a moment, but he recovers himself in a matter of seconds and charges Hakoda again, letting out a maddened yell of fury. Hakoda hits him on his sword arm with his club; it hits the metal band around Gilak's forearm, letting out a high-pitched kwing, and Gilak staggers back again, holding his arm.
Hakoda Gilak, do you remember Whale Tail Island?
Gilak [Still holding his arm.] Yes. Of course. Those two Fire Nation guards got the jump on you --
Hakoda And I almost broke my neck trying to escape. [Smiles.] But then you saved me. And we defeated those two guards together. [Extending a hand.] Despite all that's happened in the last couple of days, that's how I think of you still. That's who you are to me. So let's talk through this, Gilak. As brothers.
Gilak stares at Hakoda's outstretched hand in silence. When he finally reaches for the hand and takes it, he simultaneously reaches around his back with his other hand, grasping the hilt of the knife hanging on his belt.
Gilak Yes ... you're right ... Brother!
Pulling Hakoda close to him, he plunges the knife deep into his chest. An unnatural, guttural noise leaks from Hakoda's mouth, and his eyes widen as pain washes over him. Beside them, Maliq, his eyes still shut tightly, is unaware of what has happened, but Malina has seen it all. Her hands are raised to her face, her mouth open in a scream of raw horror.
Malina NOOO!
The frame cuts to Katara and Aang, sprinting through the snow, as they watch Hakoda's stabbing from a short distance away. Aang's face is nothing but shock and distress, while the tears stream from Katara's eyes.
Katara DAD!
The gap between them and Gilak closes in a matter of seconds. Katara raises jagged, towering shards of ice from the snow around Gilak to trap him, leaving him utterly terrified.
The sight of Katara's bending is more than enough to strike fear into the rest of Gilak's men. They turn and run for their lives, as do the boy and girl.
Girl [Pointing.] It's that waterbender girl again!
Boy [Terrified.] Run!
Aang Oh, no you don't!
Aang briefly gives chase. He stops and slams a fist into the snow, which rises around the fleeing soldiers' feet in tentacle-like fingers and grabs them. As they struggle to free themselves, the troops following Aang descend on them and subdue them. As they bind the prisoners, Aang turns and runs to Katara, who kneels before her father, fallen on his back in the snow with his eyes closed. He is not moving.
Katara [Tear-filled eyes staring vacantly at Hakoda.] No no no no -- Dad ...?
She reaches out to him, and a bit of snow melts into water beside her, rising to wrap itself around her outstretched hand. She places it on the dark stain spreading from his wound, and the water begins to hum and glow a bluish-white.
Katara Daddy ...?
The frame, zoomed on her hands, pulls back, revealing Aang kneeling beside her.
Katara I'm here, Daddy. Stay with me.
The frame pulls back further, revealing Malina and Maliq, freed from the net, standing beside them, looking down at Hakoda.
Katara Stay with me.
The scene changes. The sun has not yet risen, and it has begun to snow as Aang and Toph stand outside Kanna's hut. Inside the hut, Kanna and Pakku cook in a iron pot over a fire in the center of the room, while Katara and Sokka kneel next to the unconscious Hakoda, his wounds now bandaged. As they look at him in uncertain, tense silence, his eyes open. When he speaks, his voice is small and weak.
Hakoda [Smiling.] Katara ...
Katara Dad!
Hakoda You ... saved my life. [As Katara leans over to hug him, burying her face in his chest.] Thank you ... for being here ... kids.
Sokka You had us scared for a bit, Dad.
Kanna [Rising to her feet and addressing the siblings.] Don't you worry. Pakku and I will take good care of him. Let him rest. You can come see him in the morning. [Pauses for a moment, her eyes narrowing in thought.] You know this isn't good. You coming to visit my hut twice in two days ... This isn't good at all. [Raising a finger wisely.] Wounds flow from wrong actions. Wrong actions flow from wrong beliefs. Someone needs to reexamine their beliefs.
Sokka [Confidently.] Yeah, and that someone is Gilak! Hope that's what he's doing while he sits in jail tonight!
Katara You mean, those someones are Malina and Maliq!
Sokka [Both of them quickly become angry.] Look, obviously giving all that oil over to the North is crazy --
Katara Taking the oil out of the ground in the first place is crazy!
Sokka No! Malina and Maliq's overall plan for the South Pole is a good one! The war is over! It's a brand-new era! We gotta get with the times.
Katara [Walking away from him to the door of the hut.] Not if it means forgetting who we are.
Sokka grabs his coat and follows her from the hut, where the two find Toph and Aang waiting for them.
Aang Sweetie? How is he?
Katara He woke up.
Toph Then he'll be all right?
Sokka [Finishing putting on his coat.] Yeah. He'll be all right.
Toph [To Katara, dead serious.] Listen, Katara, if I'd known what Malina and Maliq were up to, I never would've let Earthen Fire Industries do business with them.
Katara I know, Toph, I --
Glancing to her right, the words die on her lips. Malina is standing a short distance away, looking at Katara with a deeply subdued expression.
Malina [Thinly.] Hey.
Katara [Unhappily.] What are you doing here?!
Malina [As the frame moves to the side, showing Katara confronting her while the others look on in surprise.] I swear to you, all those things my brother said, I don't believe them.
Katara Anymore.
Malina What do you mean?
Katara You don't believe them anymore, not after you "fell in love" with my dad. But what happens when you fall out of love, Malina?
Malina Katara, it goes deeper than that.
Katara [Furrowing her eyebrows angrily at Malina's response.] I'm going to ask you again -- What are you doing here?!
Malina My brother and the rest of my crew were released from custody on the condition that we leave tomorrow. I came to say goodbye to your father.
Katara You don't deserve to say goodbye.
Sokka [Walking to his sister's side and placing a hand on her shoulder. He seems shocked by her bitterness.] Katara ...
Malina [Turning away from them, beginning to walk away, as she waves him off.] No, no. I get it.
Kanna Malina!
The door to the hut is open, and Kanna stands in the doorway, illuminated from behind by the warmth of the yellowish light pouring through it. Hearing the voice calling her, Malina stops and turns around, looking at Kanna.
Kanna Hakoda wants to see you.
Malina turns and walks toward the open door. As she passes Katara, Katara crosses her arms and closes her eyes, averting her gaze from Malina.

The scene changes. A short view of the exterior of the Southern water Tribe prison cuts to a dark interior cell block where Gilak sits on his small cot, eyes closed and fists clenched, as if meditating. In the near-darkness, a voice calls his name.

Female officer Gilak.
The woman speaking is the same officer who aided Hakoda in investigating the shipwreck. She now holds a tray of food in her hands. Gilak makes no movement to indicate he has heard her.
Female officer A few of the other inmates told me about your speech tonight, about what you're trying to do.
Gilak's left eye cracks open, its gaze swinging over to regard her.
Gilak And?
Female officer [Bending down and sliding the tray under the bars.] And ... you make a lot of sense. [She stands as Gilak moves from the cot to the tray.] I've never trusted the Northerners.
As Gilak looks at the tray, the frame zooms on it as well: next to the bowl of soup is the key to his cell. Gilak's eyebrows furrow, and a dark smile spreads across his face.






See also