Breaking Down the Ending of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’

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Breaking Down the Ending of ‘ATLA’ Netflix

Avatar: The Last Airbender is back and while we didn't have to wait 100 years for its big return, we still have a lot of questions about it especially since there were some changes even towards the end. No matter how many times you've seen the series, you might be surprised to see where the show's first season ended and what it might mean for the future, especially when it comes to Aang's upcoming journey towards the Earth Kingdom. So what big surprises bent the end of the season?

Here is the ultimate break down of the Avatar: The Last Airbender season finale.

So we're in the Northern Water Tribe...

Team Avatar has finally made it to their big destination and Aang and Katara have been working hard on their Waterbending skills. Unfortunately for them, the Fire Nation is coming to attack (you know, they usually do) and they have to be prepared for anything.

Meanwhile, Prince Zuko decides to head out on his own to try to capture the Avatar before Zhao makes his way over to the Northern Water Tribe and kidnap him for himself. Shortly afterwards, Iroh discovers that Zhao also has the air balloons that The Mechanist was creating for the Fire Nation which will allow them to attack from both the sea and from the air.

The Fire Nation surprises the Northern Water Tribe and the big fight begins...

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But, of course, they're Zhao's true plan.

Iroh tries to convince Zhao to stop attacking since it's a full moon, a moment in time where Waterbending is at its most powerful. However, Zhao also discovers that it is the strongest point where the Spirit World and the real world meet, making it the perfect time to attack one of the spirit koi fish, known as Tui and La, in order to get rid of the moon and put the world into eternal darkness.

Momo gets badly attacked during the fight and Yue takes him to a special spirit oasis where she is able to heal him with her Moon powers. Sokka is surprised to hear about them, but they soon realize that Zhao knows where they are and what he intends to do.

As he infiltrates the Northern Water Tribe, Zuko faces against Katara and she uses her ice ability to keep him at bay for a bit until he can free himself from the ice. Zhao decides to go ahead with his plan, despite the fact that everyone warns him that it would make the world unbalanced for eternity, and it keeps the Waterbenders for bending, giving the Fire Nation a big advantage in their fight.

Is the world forever unbalanced?

Aang decides to merge himself with La, the Ocean spirit, and go into the Avatar State to help take down the Fire Nation. Zuko reunites with Iroh who tells him that the Avatar is now gone after Aang merged with La and that they need to escape. They see Zhao also leaving and Zuko attacks him for taking everything from him.

Zhao takes this moment to go against Zuko and tell him that he was never going to win his father's approval and that the only reason why he is still alive is to motivate Azula. In his anger, he tries to kill Zhao, but unsuccessfully does so before he leaves with Iroh.

Aang continues to take down the rest of the Fire Nation army while Katara tries to call him back in order to cancel the merge. However, Yue tells Sokka that it will continue as La's rage will have him searching for his partner for all of eternity. Yue then decides to give the part of her soul that is tied to the Moon Spirit back to it in order to bring Tui back to life, but sacrificing her own self in the process.

La, realizing that the moon is back and so is Tui, returns back to a normal state and untethers itself to Aang who returns back to normal.

avatar the last airbender ken leung as zhao in season 1 of avatar the last airbender cr robert falconernetflix © 2023
Robert Falconer - Netflix

What happens after the battle?

It is revealed that many of the Water Tribe warriors died in the battle, including Hahn. Master Pakku says that despite their losses, the Northern Water Tribe will rise again. He gives Katara water from the oasis and tells her that she is now a master of Waterbending and thus can teach Aang the skills he needs as he continues his training as the Avatar.

Aang finally understands that he does need his friends with him to be a successful Avatar and the group decided to head back to the Earth Kingdom to find him a master to teach him how to Earthbend.

Back in the Fire Nation, Fire Lord Ozai learns that the army was unsuccessful in taking down the Northern Water Tribe and that Zuko has gone missing and featured for dead. He admits that he didn't really want to take them down, but rather, it was a distraction for something bigger: taking down Omashu with Azula now leading an army. Bumi has surrendered and Team Avatar continue on their way...

avatar the last airbender elizabeth yu as azula in season 1 of avatar the last airbender cr robert falconernetflix © 2024
Robert Falconer - Netflix

Wait, what happened in the pre-credits?

Oh yeah, there's a special scene that you may have missed. Fire Lord Ozai discovers that Sozin's Comet will be passing by soon, giving him immense power and finally giving him the advantage he needs to take over the world...

So what does this mean for next season?

Well, Azula's journey will definitely be different as she will not really be tracking down Zuko like in the original series, but trying to continue to prove her worth to her father. Zuko will definitely find out that Aang is back to normal, so his search will no doubt continue.

Meanwhile, the gaang is now heading over to the Earth Kingdom to find an Earthbending master. With Omashu now gone, they'll have to find one somewhere else and we're going to have to wait and see who that'll be (or, you know, you can just check out the original series too).

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