Netflix’s Avatar The Last Airbender Ending, Explained: Does Yue Die?

Image Credit: Robert Falconer/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ retells the epic story of Aang, a 12-year-old boy who is revealed to be the next Avatar, the only person in the world with the ability to control the four elements— water, air, fire, and earth. The live-action show takes us back to the beginning when Aang is still a young and carefree boy, unaware of his true identity but already a prodigy. Over the course of eight episodes, he goes through a turbulent journey and, by the end, discovers that there is still so much more to be done if he is to assume his mantle as the savior of the world. A lot more death and destruction is on the way, and he must prepare for that. SPOILERS AHEAD

Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Recap

Image Credit: Robert Falconer/Netflix

12-year-old Aang is a young Airbender who discovers that he is born as the next Avatar and must master all bending skills to take up the mantle. While part of the world waits for him to rise and bring peace, the Fire Nation is not entirely happy about it. They mount an attack on the Airbenders, killing every last one of them in the hopes of killing the young Avatar as well. However, Aang survives and, using his powers, of which he is not yet fully in control, retreats into the ice and comes out of it a hundred years later.

The world has changed a lot since Aang went missing. Fire Nation has taken whatever they could get their hands on, and while there are some who are still fighting to keep their freedom, they are holding on by bare threads. Aang is joined by siblings Katara and Sokka on his journey as they travel the world, trying to find allies, honing their skills, and, more importantly, helping Aang become the Avatar he is meant to be. Meanwhile, he is hunted by the Fire Nation, most furiously by Prince Zuko, who has been looking for the Avatar for the past three years.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Ending: How Does Yue Save Aang and the Waterbenders?

The power of bending elements comes to people from the elemental powers who grant them. In the case of the Waterbenders, there are two spirits responsible for their existence. The Ocean spirit feeds life into them, and the Moon spirit gives them the power of pushing and pulling the water like the Moon pushing and pulling the tides. They are the source of all life and power of the Waterbenders, and Zhao believes that if he kills them, at least one of them, then he will not only have won the war for Fire Nation, but he will also be establishing the Firebenders’ supremacy, once and for all.

Now, killing an Avatar, who is still human, might be easier. But killing elemental beings like the Ocean and the Moon spirits is not in the hands of humans unless you have something of the Spirit World. Zhao finds just the thing in the form of Kuruk’s knife. A previous Avatar, Kuruk had spent most of his life in the Spirit World, fighting the nefarious forces from that end to enter his world and destroy everything. He forged a knife in the spirit world to fight them. Now, that knife is in Zhao’s hands, and he has made up his mind to kill the Moon spirit to take away the power of the Waterbenders.

Against all reason, Zhao stabs the Moon spirit, who has taken a mortal form for one night, and kills it with Kuruk’s knife. The destruction of the Moon spirit throws all Waterbenders into disarray, but it also threatens an imbalance of the world that can never be restored and, hence, will lead to the end of the world. Aang realizes that the only way he can save the Waterbenders now is to let the Ocean spirit, an elemental being, channel him. However, this isn’t like the past Avatars channeling him. This means completely giving up himself. Once the Ocean spirit takes over, he will no longer be Aang.

Aang knows the risks, but he knows he must protect the Waterbenders and channel the Ocean spirit, which takes a terrifying form, unleashing its wrath on the Fire Nation army. It’s clear that Fire Nation will not be taking over Agna Qel’a this time, but it also means that Aang will forever remain trapped in the Ocean spirit, which will roam the Earth looking for its mate, the Moon spirit but will never find it. And hence, the balance of the world will forever be ruined, that is, unless the Moon spirit can be brought back to life.

The idea to bring back the Moon spirit comes to Sokka, who had only a few minutes ago seen Princess Yue bring a barely alive Momo back to life. The problem is that the Moon spirit, which was in the form of the fish, is completely dead. This is when Princess Yue remembers that not all of the Moon spirit is gone. Some of its essence is in her. When she was young, she fell sick and would have died. Her parents prayed to the Moon spirit, who gave her some of its essence to keep her alive. This is how her hair turned white, the color of the Moon.

Yue realizes that she could give back that essence to the Moon spirit to bring it back to life, but that would mean giving herself over to the elemental spirit, just like Aang had done with the Ocean spirit. It would mean giving up her life, but she knows that she would have died a long time ago if it wasn’t for the Moon spirit. It is time for her to give back that gift, and she doesn’t hesitate one bit before doing so.

Yue walks into the Spirit Oasis, the magical waters where she’d brought Momo back to life with the Moon spirit’s mortal body, and once she gives back its essence, the Moon Spirit comes back to life, but Yue is gone forever. The return of the Moon spirit allows the Ocean spirit to let go of Aang, and it returns to its abode. It also brings back the powers of the Waterbenders and restores balance in the world, all because of Yue’s sacrifice.

Now that she is no longer around, does it mean Yue is dead? In some ways, she is gone. Or at least, her mortal body is gone. In truth, she has become one with the Moon spirit, and as long as that lives, Yue will live in it. It’s best to say that she has completely moved on to the Spirit world, and perhaps she might return again as a spirit, like the three-tailed fox form she appeared in Sokka. But in terms of her human life and form, Yue is gone.

What Happens to King Bumi? How Does Omashu Fall to the Fire Nation?

While Zhao and Prince Zuko are busy with the Waterbenders in the North, Fire Lord Ozai uses this as the opportunity to turn his attention somewhere else. He uses the trick that his ancestor, Fire Lord Sozin, used a hundred years ago when he attacked the Airbenders while making it look like he was about to attack the other party. But while Sozin went to battle himself, Ozai sends his daughter, Princess Azula, who had been hungry to prove herself all this while.

Before Aang and his friends left for Agna Qel’a, they spent some time in the Earthbender territory, Omashu, ruled by Aang’s old friend, King Bumi. Over the years, Bumi had turned into an ineffective ruler who didn’t seem to care what was going on with his subjects. He barricaded Omashu by increasing security so that his kingdom became invulnerable to attacks by outsiders, especially Fire Nation. Another thing keeping the enemies at bay was people like the Mechanist, who kept the Fire Nation at bay by working for them and feeding them enough not to attack Omashu.

The arrival of Aang changes everything, and the Mechanist gives up his connection with the Fire Nation spies in Omashu, declaring that he would no longer be working for them. King Bumi also takes his role as the king seriously and sends away Aang and his friends while himself preparing for war. While Bumi anticipated the attack, he didn’t realize how much manpower Ozai was ready to send to Omashu. Azula herself was powerful enough to take down their defenses and was driven by the desire to prove herself capable to her father so he would make her his heir, not her brother, Zuko.

When Zhao loses the battle in Agna Qel’a, Ozai is not bothered because he never expected Zhao and his army to win. Whatever reinforcements he sent their way, it was to make it look like the Fire Nation was focused on Agna Qel’a and take Omashu by surprise. It was all a ruse from the beginning, and with King Bumi in his captivity and his kingdom in his hands, Ozai has taken another step to consolidate his position as the ruler of the world.

What Does the Return of Sozin’s Comet Mean?

Image Credit: Robert Falconer/Netflix

After Zhao has lost in Agna Qel’a and Azula has taken over Omashu, we find Ozai with his advisor, who reveals that they have read the star pattern and the movement of the constellations and discovered that the comet that passed about a hundred years ago is going to come back again. The prospect of the comet’s return excites Ozai, but why is this so important? What does the return of the comet mean?

The comet, named after Fire Lord Sozin, is the same that appeared on the night the Airbenders were wiped out. While Sozin could have attacked the Airbenders on any other day, he knew that the passing comet would give the Firebenders “the power of a thousand suns.” The comet passes by so close, just touching the atmosphere of the Earth, that the Firebenders can harness its energy, which is unlike anything else in the world. On this day, they are so powerful that nothing can stand against them, which is why Sozin chose the night of the Great Comet to mount his attack.

Now, the comet is back, or at least, it’s on its way. Ozai has been waiting for it because once the comet is here, it would bring back the unimaginable source of power for the Firebenders, and with that, Ozai and the Fire Nation would be indestructible. They could use it as the opportunity to mount the final attack on the yet unconquered territories and bring the whole world under the rule of the Fire Nation. Considering how powerful Ozai already is and how much more powerful he can become on the night of the comet, it becomes even more imperative for Aang to master all elements and tap into his powers as an Avatar while he still can.

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