Netflix Avatar: The Last Airbender season 1 recap guide: All 8 episodes explained

Check out this extensive recap guide to the first season of Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series.

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ROBERT FALCONER/NETFLIX /
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Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024 /

Season 1 episode 5 recap: Spirited Away

The fifth episode opens with Team Avatar running away from Fire Nation members in the woods. They make it safely to Appa and ride off into the sky. As they continue on to the Northern Water Tribe, they notice smoke coming from the trees below. They go check it out. What they find is an area filled with fallen trees. Sokka finds a Fire Nation pendant and realizes what happened was the Fire Nation's work. He then spots a little girl, but she runs off. Sokka, Aang, and Katara chase after the little girl who leads them to a village.

They meet the little girl's father who informs them of what happened to the forest. He explains that the Fire Nation came and burned through the forest, and after they left, strange things started happening. He tells them that the village sent out an expedition to search for food, but they never came back. After hearing all of this, Aang makes it his mission to get the villagers back. He believes the missing villagers have somehow been taken to the Spirit World so he heads there. Meanwhile, Zuko and Iroh are on a ship trying to figure out where Team Avatar could've gone. With intel from Zuko's right-hand man, Lt. Jee, they figure out where Aang, Katara, and Sokka could be and head there.

Back at Capital City, Azula convinces Fire Lord Ozai to send more troops to Zhao to help him find the Avatar. But just before Azula walks away, the Fire Lord makes it known to Azula that he knows of her true motives. This angers Azula. Elsewhere, Team Avatar finds a shrine to the spirits in the forest. Aang's plan is to cross over to the Spirit World and rescue the missing villagers. However, he accidentally ends up bringing Katara and Sokka over too.

While in the Spirit World, they soon encounter a huge owl spirit who calls himself the Spirit of Knowledge. Aang can hear the owl speak, but Katara and Sokka can't because they're not the Avatar. The owl warns Aang that the longer Katara and Sokka stay in the Spirit World, the more dangerous it will become for them. Aang explains to the owl that they'll leave once they find the missing villagers. The owl then tells Aang that there's someone nearby who might know where the missing villagers are, but he must stay on the path and not stray away. The owl flies away, and Team Avatar ventures more into the forest.

Elsewhere, Zuko and Iroh arrive at an Earth Kingdom village that's run by the Fire Nation. They're stopped by a man begging for help. A bounty hunter (June) on a large creature called a shirshu is after him. Although Zuko doesn't like June, Iroh manages to convince him to let June help them track Aang down. Meanwhile, Azula is taking her anger out on her instructor during a training session at Capital City. She fears she'll never meet her father's standards.

As Team Avatar travels through the Spirit World, they run into a large four-armed spirit. Aang immediately recognizes that it's the spirit of the forest (Hei Bai). As the powerful spirit lashes out, Aang and Katara try to use their airbending and waterbending abilities but to no avail. Since they can't use their abilities, they're forced to flee. They all go in different directions. Sokka encounters a fox spirit who explains to him that the four-armed spirit isn't a monster and that it's in pain. Meanwhile, Katara tries to see through the fog in the forest, and a spirit that looks like a younger version of herself rushes her.

When she stands back up, she finds herself in a dream-like state. She's reliving the day the Fire Nation attacked Wolf Cove and killed her mother. She's back at home and is elated to be reunited with her mom. But their reunion is short-lived when the Fire Nation arrives and attacks Wolf Cove. After watching a Fire Nation member burn her mother alive, Katara is once again rushed by a spirit.

We then cut back to Sokka who has now entered a dream-like state. He's reliving the day he passed his ice-dodging trials. After being praised by his father, he goes to tell his sister about his accomplishment. But as he walks away from the hut, he overhears his father and Bato talking about him in a negative way. Deeply saddened by what he's hearing, he hears a voice telling him to give in to his despair before a spirit rushes him.

Then, the spirit tries its tactics on Aang by showing him the restored Southern Air Temple, but Aang quickly recognizes it's an illusion and walks away. Aang then finds himself walking into a cave, where he meets a huge centipede-like evil spirit who we later learn is named Koh, the face stealer. After seeing Aang in person, Koh quickly realizes that the reason why he wasn't affected by his tricks is because he's the Avatar. Koh explains to Aang that one of his previous incarnations tried to kill him because he stole the face of someone they loved. He also tells Aang that one of his past lives stole something from him, and he wants it back. Aang tells Koh he doesn't know what he's talking about and then runs away.

He stumbles into a cottage and sees his old mentor and friend, Gyatso. Aang is hesitant to believe that he's really seeing Gyatso, but Gyatso insists that he's not an illusion. He explains to Aang that the fog is dangerous and can imprison people in their darkest memories. He tells him that Koh preys on those paralyzed by despair and doubt. That's what we saw happening to Sokka and Katara earlier.

With all this being said, Aang realizes that Koh has the missing villagers and possibly his friends. Gyatso tells Aang that Koh likely took the missing villagers to his lair and will hold them there until he's ready to feed. He explains that once Koh eats them, their souls will be lost forever. In order to save the missing villagers, Aang realizes that he has to return what Koh said was stolen from him.

Gyatso tells Aang there are rumors that Avatar Roku once got the best of Koh. With this new information learned, Aang sets out on a journey to Fire Nation territory so that he can speak with Avatar Roku's spirit. His hope is to get information from Roku about what Koh wants. Aang exits the Spirit World into the real world and tells Appa and Momo to watch over Katara and Sokka while he's gone. The episode ends with Aang flying through the sky, headed for Fire Nation territory.