Submitted by Evan B
Ember and Wade finally declare their love for each other after surviving the flood and proving they can touch each other without either one dying. Ember gets her parents’ blessing to pursue her dream of becoming a glass architect, and she and Wade venture off together to pursue their shared future.
Bernie (voiced by Ronnie del Carmen) and Cinder (voiced by Shila Ommi) Lumen – two people made out of fire – leave their home country to seek a better life in a large metropolis called Element City. There, they are surrounded by people made out of air, land, and water. The majority of the denizens are made of water, so the city is built mainly to cater to their needs. Despite almost being put out a few times by the water flowing through the city, the Lumens settle in a neighborhood heavily populated by other fire people. Bernie finds great success in building a restaurant and general store, and he and Cinder welcome their daughter Ember (voiced by Leah Lewis) into the world. They raise her with their traditions, including protecting the blue flame they brought with them from their homeland. They also harbor a great deal of resentment towards non-fire beings.
Over time, Bernie begins training Ember to take over the family business. She is incredibly talented at making food, running deliveries, and fixing a myriad of things that break throughout the store. But she has a short temper, literally exploding when customers make her too mad. Her father says that Ember needs to master her people skills before she can take over the business. Bernie lets Ember manage the store during their big sale to practice being calm under pressure. Though she tries hard, she runs out of patience and runs into the basement to explode. When she does, she accidentally damages a pipe and water begins spraying everywhere (even though water pipes were supposed to have been shut down in the fire district). A city inspector made out of water named Wade Ripple (voiced by Mamoudou Athie) leaks out of the pipe (he accidentally went down a drain while trying to investigate reports of a leak in the empty fire district canals) and writes up citations for the numerous building violations in the store. Ember tries to stop him from submitting them. She finally gets Wade’s attention after declaring how important the store is to her family, but Wade says that he already submitted the citations to City Hall.
Regretting that his actions may result in Bernie’s business being closed down, Wade arranges an appeal for Ember to his boss Gale (voiced by Wendi McLendon-Covey), an air person. Gale agrees to revoke the citations if Ember can find the source of the leaks into the fire district. She and Wade work together to get to the source of the leaks and develop a mutual attraction. They eventually find that a gate between the water and fire canals has been breached, which is causing the leaks. Ember uses her ability to shape glass to create a new barricade out of tempered glass.
Wade, who is incredibly empathetic, helps Ember open up and get in touch with her feelings. Ember realizes she is so short-tempered because she feels so much pressure to live out her father’s dream of running the store, even though she has no interest in it. But Ember feels beholden to honor her parents’ sacrifice in coming to Element City by taking over the business. Ember becomes more conflicted about her future when Wade’s mother Brook (voiced by Catherine O’Hara) sees her glass crafting skills and offers to get her a prestigious internship at an architecture design school in another city. Meanwhile, Wade and Ember grow ever closer despite being unable to touch (Wade is worried he’ll snuff Ember out and she’s worried she could cause him to overheat and evaporate).
Noticing Ember’s more peaceful demeanor since she’s secretly been going out with Wade, Bernie finally decides to hand the business over to her. He says how happy she’s made him, recounting that it took him a long time to recover after his own father refused to give Bernie his blessing when Bernie and Cinder left their homeland for Element City. Ember visits Wade the morning of Bernie’s retirement party and the two finally touch without either killing the other (instead, they each simply steam a little when embracing). Wade tells Ember to come clean to her father about her real dreams. She angrily says that doing so is impossible given her family’s sacrifices (something a wealthy and privileged Wade couldn’t understand) and storms off. Wade follows her to the retirement party where he confesses his love for Ember in front of her family and neighbors (and in so doing, accidentally reveals that Ember broke the pipes and flooded the store). Ember angrily rejects him. A heartbroken Wade plans to leave Element City, unable to live there without Ember in his life. Bernie, angry that Ember almost destroyed everything, unretires.
Meanwhile, water has continued to build up in the water canal and it eventually breaks through the glass barricade. A huge wave of water comes down the fire canals and begins flooding the fire district. Wade sees the flooding and runs to Ember’s store where he finds her trapped inside with the blue flame from her parents’ homeland. Wade saves her and the blue flame by sweeping them into a storage room where Ember is able to heat-seal the door shut. But with no air circulation and a small enclosure, the heat in the room begins to evaporate Wade. A tearful Ember embraces him and reciprocates his love. Wade’s last words are how much he loves how Ember glows as he mists away.
After the flood recedes, Ember breaks down to her parents and tells them her dreams, desires and love for Wade. Her parents accept her, saying that the store was not their dream, Ember was their dream. This sentiment causes the walls to start “weeping” (throughout the film, Wade and all water people were prone to sentimental weeping given their liquid forms). Realizing that Wade’s essence is trapped in the walls and ceiling, the Lumens continue to say sad and sentimental things. This causes Wade to leak out of the store structure and allows him to re-form. The couple embrace and Ember’s parents give Ember their blessing to pursue her passion. Bernie hands over management of his shop to his close friends. Ember and Wade leave to seek their fortunes abroad, but make sure to come back and visit whenever they can.