To continue the redevelopment of the South, Toph brings her metalbending students over to help with construction, while Hakoda invites Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei over to discuss a collaborative reconstruction effort between the three nations. The meeting is interrupted when Gilak and his nationalists escape their imprisonment and force their way into the meeting room, kidnapping Kuei during the subsequent fight. Gilak, who by now considers Hakoda a traitor to the South due to his willingness to collaborate with foreigners, demands that Hakoda turn himself over in exchange for Kuei's return.
The two groups meet at the Bridge of No Return, a rope bridge once used to exile Southern Water Tribe criminals. As part of the exchange agreement, Aang, Katara, Toph and Zuko agree to be chi-blocked by the nationalists, before Hakoda and Kuei are sent across the bridge. Once the two men are in the middle of the bridge, Gilak attempts to collapse it and kill them both, but he is foiled by Malina and Toph's metalbending students, who had sneaked over to the other side of the bridge prior to the exchange. Aang, Katara and Toph then subdue the nationalists on their side of the bridge, having used chainmail armor designed by Sokka and the metalbending students to avoid being chi-blocked.
His forces beaten, Gilak destroys the bridge in order to kill Hakoda, while Malina tries to stop him. Aang barely manages to carry the three of them whilst flying his glider, but Gilak's attempts to kill Hakoda cause him to lose his grip and fall to his death. Fearing that Aang will not be able to carry both her and Hakoda, Malina attempts to sacrifice herself for the other two by letting go of Hakoda's hand, professing her love for him as she does so, but she is saved by Katara.
The next day, Katara and Sokka visits their mother Kya's grave, and Katara admits that her ideal Southern Water Tribe would be one where her beloved mother was still alive. She then states that she has felt her mother's spirit support her last night, and on her previous adventures, and with this belief that her mother has been with her all along, she is subsequently able to accept the changes happening in the South more easily. The characters then meet up in Gran-Gran's hut for a feast that includes cuisine from all of their cultures.