Now that Zuko was a prisoner (a "special" one, according to the warden), it was harder for Sokka to get to talk with him. Fortunately, one day while Zuko was mopping like a man, he did get the chance to talk with Sokka, but they weren't alone. Suki was there being a cockblocker. She ruined the mood even more when she sourly shared the memory of Zuko burning down her village. Zuko thought in his head that he obviously didn't do a good enough job. Suki was still here. Sokka then rounded everyone up into a corner and began relaying his clever plan to them. Sokka had come up with the brilliant plot of using the prison's coolers-freezers used to punish rogue firebenders-as a boat to escape the island.
In order to get a cooler though, someone would have to unbolt it from the prison wall itself. And in order to do that, one of the prisoners would need to be sent to the cooler to be punished. Sokka magically pulled a wrench from somewhere behind him and raised his eyebrows at Zuko. Zuko immediately understood the gesture and gently grabbed the wrench. He tucked it in his pants. Sokka blushed and gave him a small smile.
Another prisoner that had joined in after hearing the plot raised his eyebrows when Sokka mentioned someone needing to be put in the cooler. "Oh, I can get you in alright."
After fighting with the other prisoner to gather a crowd, Zuko used his firebending to get sentenced to the cooler, still with the wrench in his pants.
After an hour in the cooler, Sokka came by and opened the door, telling Zuko that he could be escorted back to his cell if he'd learned his lesson. Zuko breathed out some fire, then looked up at Sokka with a seductive half-smile and replied, "Yes, I have. Completely."
When Zuko said "completely," he folded down his prison tunic to reveal the wrench along with all the bolts and screws that had been holding the cooler to the wall. Sokka stared with wide eyes. The innuendo was almost too much for Sokka to handle.
Sokka recovered from his momentary shock, raised his visor, and leaned forward to let Zuko know they wouldn't be alone for long. Zuko was desperate for more time with his beloved Sokka, so he quickly made the excuse that someone was coming before yanking him into the cooler with him. It would've been a dream come true if guards hadn't actually walked by. Sokka stayed close to the door (to eavesdrop on the guards) while Zuko remained in the bitter cold, away from Sokka's warmth. The guards began talking about new prisoners arriving, some of which were prisoners of war.
Sokka felt his stomach flip and turned to stare at Zuko for comfort. Both knew what that meant: Sokka's dad could be part of that group. They stared at each other with intense emotion. Zuko wanted to be there for Sokka in this tough time.
The two manly men discussed whether or not they should postpone their escape in order to wait for his dad. But, they had no way of knowing if his dad was coming or not, so they decided to go along with the initial plan.
By using an undisclosed method of magic, Zuko and Sokka managed to remove the cooler from the prison and roll it down the hill to the shore. Zuko had been hoping for a little more alone time with his love, but he realized this wouldn't be possible when he saw Suki and three other prisoners waiting for them on the shore. Sokka immediately lifted the rock hiding his old clothes, bringing back pleasant memories for Zuko. He quickly repressed these memories, however, knowing he needed to be fully focused on the task of escaping.
Sokka was unsure whether or not he wanted to leave with the others or wait for his dad. He didn't want to fail if he stayed back to rescue his dad. He shared these insecurities with Zuko, who did his best to comfort him.
"Look, Sokka. You're gonna fail a lot before things work out. Even though you'll probably fail over and over again, you still have to try every time. You can't quit because you might fail." Zuko had, during this motivational speech, placed his hand lovingly on Sokka's shoulder.
"Hey, if you two are done cuddling, can we get a move on?" said The Random Plot Device Character, otherwise known as the burly prisoner who had forced himself into their escape plan. Sokka decided he wanted to stay and wait, but before Zuko could say he'd join him, Suki became a cockblocker again and pledged her loyalty to Sokka first. Zuko barely waited two seconds before jumping in eagerly, saying, "I'm staying too."
The other three prisoners left in the makeshift boat anyway, so their only chance of escape was officially gone. Unfortunately, the prisoners were caught by guards in the morning, so they couldn't even replicate their plan again later.
Suki, Sokka, and Zuko stood watching the new prisoners exit the gondola. Zuko was so anxious to meet Sokka's dad that he asked, "Is that him?" about every prisoner that walked out. At first it seemed Sokka's dad wasn't there but then ... he emerged.