Goal: Write 1 thought every day re: why I love ATLA
#72: Uncle Iroh’s capture by earthbenders in “The Spirit World (Winter Solstice Part 1).”
The entire B-plot of this episode, which deals with Uncle Iroh’s capture by earthbenders (and Zuko’s rescue of Iroh) is well worth watching.
First, we get introduced to Uncle Iroh’s infamous foul-smelling sandal …
… which, incredibly, reappears as a plot point in Sozin’s Comet Part 2: The Old Masters. It’s how the GAang (including Zuko) locate Iroh and the White Lotus by way of shirshu (which means Zuko hung onto it the WHOLE TIME):
Second, we are treated to the scene below, in which Zuko spots Appa and starts to turn his war rhino to follow. But then Zuko changes his mind and turns back to follow the tracks to rescue his Uncle. It shows the importance of Zuko and Uncle’s relationship – the show had already established Zuko’s obsession with the Avatar, so the fact that he chose Uncle instead of chasing the Avatar is significant. The framing of the two scenes again highlights Zuko’s duality. In the first scene, the audience sees Zuko’s scar as he yearns toward the Avatar. In the second scene, we see Zuko’s “good side” as he looks back at the path toward Uncle.