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The episode begins with Lillian announcing to the audience that with the appeal stages over with, it's time for the battle stage to begin! Pointing towards a screen inside the Contest Hall, we see the various battle match-ups which make up the battle round: Jessie going up against a young female coordinator first, and May against a male coordinator with light brown hair. Amidst the cheering crowds, excited at the prospect of thrilling battles, Harley smirks confidently to himself- This time, he will come out on top.
Back inside the coordinator waiting room, Max is staring happily at the battle match-ups, while Brock and Ash encourage her to do her best. May thanks them, and says that she'll do just that. Someone isn't impressed by her confidence, as Jessie, (Who May still doesn't realise is Jessie.) walks over and laughs, saying that it'll be her that will be getting to the Final Stage and winning the ribbon... but it'll be interesting to see May try. May shouts back, which causes Jessie to step back in surprise at the vigour in May's voice. May then goes on to say that its her faith and combinations with her Pokemon that are important, and that that will help her win. Jessie laughs and lets slip about Harley, but then walks off laughing nervously as May stares at her, puzzled at the mentioning of the name of one of her rivals.
Just behind Jessie as she walks out of the waiting room is Drew with his Roselia. Drew looks inside the room, smiles to Roselia and walks off, to check out the Contest Hall some more. Ash, Brock and Max soon follow Jessie out of the waiting room, but are stopped by James and Meowth disguised as Contest Hall technicians. James asks Ash if he is Ash from Pallet Town, and Ash says that he is, a little confused. James tells him that there's a call for him, from his mother. Ash looks at him, further confused, wondering why his mother would call him now. James asks them to follow him, and they do so. Drew is silently watching however, having smelt a rat.
In the Contest Hall main arena, with Lillian announcing that the next battle is about to begin. Jessie is battling, and she sends out the Banette that Harley lent her.
James takes Ash and co. to a door, and ask them to walk inside. They do so, and James quickly places a lock on the door to ensure that they can't escape. Realising that they've been had, Ash, Max and Brock all bang on the door while James and Meowth listen from outside. James tells Meowth that it's time to go, and Meowth presses a button on a handy remote he pulled from... somewhere. Pressing it, the walls of the outside room fall apart to reveal that the 'room' that Ash, Max and Brock walked into was a big metal cage attached to Team Rocket's Meowth balloon. The balloon inflates, with the force of it doing so shaking the inside of the cage and causing Ash to wonder what in the world is going on. With the balloon fully inflated, it begins to float off, taking the cage with it and sending Ash, Max and Brock flung across it. James pulls out a phone and calls Harley. James tells his 'master' that everything has gone according to plan, and that the twerps won't be interferingwith his plans anymore. Harley smile while watching Jessie's battle against a Noctowl, happy to see his precious Banette take it down with such ease. Jessie is proclaimed the winner, and Harley is pleased that he chose her to represent his plan in this contest.
Back with Ash and co., Ash is trying to get them out of the cage. Thinking that an attack from Pikachu will do the job, Ash orders Pikachu to use Thunderbolt to smash open the cage. Pikachu does so, but the attack simply bounces off the walls forcing the group to duck in fear of the attack hitting them. Ash gets up, not willing to give up. Just as he's about to send out Donphan to smash through the wall, a force shakes through the whole cage. Ash wonders what is going on, as something appears to have smashed into the balloon and ripped a hole into it causing it to fall fast. A Flygon then appears, and uses Sandstorm to guide the cage back to safety.
Back in the Contest Hall, May sends out Squirtle and the male coordinator she's facing off against sends out Skarmory. Lillian comments on Skarmory's hard steel body, which the male coordinator uses to his full advantage by ordering a Steel Wing attack. Reacting quickly, May orders Squirtle to counter with Rapid Spin. Skarmory dives towards Squirtle, but Squirtle's Rapid Spin power proves too much for Skarmory and the spinning attack sends the Steel type Pokemon flying back. The male coordinator's points go down, Harley smiles why watching the battle- He wants May to the Final Stage, so she can go up against, and lose to, his Banette.
Back with Ash and co., we find them watching and waiting as something, or someone, burns a hole through the cage wall. As the hole becomes bigger, and entrance forms... smoke clouds their vision, but eventually clears to reveal Drew, using his Flygon's Flamethrower to release them! Back in the Contest Hall, May's battle with Skarmory continues. May orders Squirtle to use Ice Beam, and the male coordinator orders his Skarmory to use Swift to counter. May counters back, telling Squirtle to use Bubble, which breaks up the Swift attack and... but it's too late for the battle to continue, as time runs out and May is declared the winner!
Ash, Max, Brock and Drew continue running back to the Contest Hall in order to get to May's battle in time to support her. However, the ground suddenly breaks away under their feet and the group is sent falling into a pitfall. James and Meowth then come along, and place a metal barrier over the top of the hole, preventing their escape. They laugh at the fallen group, while Ash and Brock what they want and telling them to let them go. James smiles, and says that they are just following the orders of their new master, Harley. Ash grits his teeth as he realises that Harley is once again pulling some dirty trick. As Team Rocket run off to leave them to stew, Max worries that they won't be able to get to May in time to support her before her final match. Brock however, steps forward and tells everyone to get back... he's gonna get them out. Brock then sends out Forretress and use Rapid Spin to smash the metal guard over the hole.
Back in the Contest Hall, Lillian runs into the middle of the contest arena, and says that now that all other battles are done, it's time to move onto the Final Stage of the Contest: The match that will decide the winner and the person who receives the ribbon. After many hard battles, May and Jessie are the only ones left standing which means they'll go head to head in the Final Stage. A spotlight hits the arena, and May runs in while Lillian explains that she managed to get into the last Grand Festival. Then Jessie runs in, followed by a spotlight and smiling happily at the thought that she's managed to finally, after so much hard work and failure, get to the Final Stage of a Contest.
Below the Contest Hall, Harley is standing waiting for James and Meowth, who appear and tell him that everything is going exactly how he planned. Harley smiles, and says that the next stage is about to begin, and they'll need James' Pokemon to do it. James sends out Cacnea and Mime.Jr, and Harley says that with his Ariados, they'll be able to ensure Jessie's victory over May. Just then, Ash, Max, Brock and Drew run up to confront Team Rocket. Ash asks why in the world they are trying to interfere with the Contest, and James blurts out that they are just trying to help Jessie. Brock is taken aback, realise that the rather attractive coordinator that May is about to go up against is really Jessie. Max shouts at Harley for scheming again, and Harley shouts back, saying that he should mind his own business.
Harley shoves past Team Rocket, and glares past Ash, Max and Brock and at Drew. Harley remarks that Drew's here again to interfere, and Drew snaps quickly back- He won't let Harley get away with the stuff hes been doing. Harley doesn't seem to care anyway, and tells Drew that with his powered up Banette, May won't stand a chance. Max then realises that the Cacturne Jessie was using must have come from Harley too. Ash shouts at Harley, saying that isn't fair, but Harkey was prepared for this, and says that there's no rule against one coordinator giving a Pokemon to another for use in Contests. And thus, Jessie will use his Pokemon to great success, and win the Contest and beat May. Harley and Drew then share a brief back and forth about the Grand Festival, and Harley walks off, followed by Team Rocket.
Back in the Contest Hall arena, Lillian starts the Final Stage battle off. May sends out Squirtle, and Jessie sends out Banette. May tells Squirtle that it's now or never... they're in the final, so now it's time to do their best.
Jessie starts things off straight away by ordering Banette to use Thunder. Banette does so, firing out a thunderbolt which hits Squirtle square on the chest and sends it flying back. May loses points, and Jessie tells Banette a job well done. Ash shouts encouragement to Squirtle, having found seats in the audience for the battle, while Brock comments on Banette's amazing power. James rubs his hands together from a nearby waiting room, while watching the battle on screen. Meowth remarks that Banette is really powerful, as Harley smirks thinking he has this one in the bag. May urges Squirtle to get back up, and it does, and May smiles and tells it to use Ice Beam. Squirtle does so, and the attack hits and freezes Banette. Not willing to let it faze her, Jessie orders Banette to use Will o Wisp. Banette breaks out of the ice it's incased in, and fires off the attack. May then counters by ordering for another Rapid Spin, which allows Squirtle to pass through the blue flames. The force of the attack on the flams causes them to burst and shower the arena in sparkles however, and the crowd claps in approval. Banette dances in happiness, and the judges praise it for its beautiful display via its attacks. Nurse Joy is even more impressed, seeing as how she never expected it from a Ghost type.
Jessie then orders Thunder once again, with May countering by telling Squirtle to use Bubble. The attacks collide, but Bubble somehow overcomes the much stronger Thunder attack and hits Banette square on the chest and sending it flying back. Jessie loses points, and the crowd cheers for May. Jessie isn't impressed, and shouts at Banette, saying that it's losing and letting its master down. Banette turns to Jessie, confused at her outburst. Jessie asks what it's looking at, and in anger, orders Banette to use the dreaded Frustration attack. Lillian is shocked at her attack choice, as Banette goes totally berserk at Squirtle. The attack starts off with Banette flailing its arms around and kicking and punching Squirtle. Banette then starts to headbutt Squirtle over and over again, and then starts to thumping into it with his body. May, worried about Squirtle, tells it to use Withdraw to protect itself from Banette attacks. Banette doesn't stop however, since it's in the middle of a berserk attack. From the crod, Ash and co. talk about the Frustration attack Banette is using. Brock comments that the attack is based on the relationship between the trainer and the Pokemon. The weaker it is, the more stronger the attack, which is based on anger. Ash mutters to himself that since Banette has never been used by Jessie before, their relationship is poor, and that's bad news for May.
May suddenly remembers her battle with Skarmory, and tells Squirtle to use Rapid Spin. Squirtle does so, spinning around just as Banette is on top kicking it. The force of the spinning spins Banette around and eventually throws the Ghost Pokemon off. Jessie screams at the Pokemon to get up, and use Will o Wisp. Banette fires off its attack, and May tells Squirtle to use Rapid Spin to dodge it. Squirtle does so, bouncing around the arena while Ash comments on its amazing speed. The judges are also impressed, but Jessie is becoming more and more annoyed. Frustrated, she orders another Thunder attack, which Squirtle manages to dodge once again. Spinning quickly, May uses the speed to her advantage and orders Squirtle to use Tackle. Squirtle does so, emerging out of its shell and smashing straight into Banette and sending it down and out.
Harley curses May from his watching spot, as James and Meowth watch nervously. Banette gets up, and Jessie orders it to attack. Just as May is about to order Squirtle to use Ie Beam, the time runs out on May once again. Lillian takes a look at the scores, and it appears that both May and Jessie are tied! May looks on, confused at what will happen, and Jessie shouts in anger. Lillian however, keeps things flowing by telling the audience, and the coordinators, that the final battle that will decide if one of them will get into the Grand Festival, will be decided on an exciting 'extra time' battle! May looks confused, but Jessie is confident she can win, as Brock remarks that in this extra time battle, neither coordinator can afford to make mistakes.
May shouts encourage to Squirtle, who tenses up. Jessie simply tells Banette not to let her down so she can win the ribbon. Jessie starts things off again by ordering Banette to use Thunder, and May counters by ordering Squirtle to use Ice Beam. Squirtle dodges the attack, and fires the cold beam at Banette, who is ordered to dodge on Jessie's command. Jessie then orders another Will o Wisp, and May tells Squirtle to use Rapid Spin. Squirtle withdraws into its shell, and then uses Bubble on May's order. The attack fires off and destroys Banette's Will o Wisp, and causes an explosion which sends Banette flying back. Jessie asks Banette what it's doing, losing like this, and the judges comment that Jessie's combinations with Banette don't seem too good and very distant. May then orders Ice Beam again, and the attack freezes Banette. May then follows up by ordering Squirtle to use Rapid Spin. Squirtle starts spinning again, and smashes into Banette, breaking it out of the ice prison. The force of the attack alo sends Banette flying back, and out for the count. This time however, for good. Jessie's point counter goes down to zero, and May has officially won the match.
Jessie doesn't realise what has happened, and asks Lillian as such. Lillian explains that since her counter went down to zero, she lost. Jessie repeats what Lillian says, and falls down to the ground in shock. Lillian then announces that May is the winner and receiver of the last ribbon! The crowd cheer for May, and Lillian asks for the audience to give Jessie a cheer too for her battling, but Jessie isn't impressed. May thanks her Squirtle, and hugs it for its hard work which means she'll be able to attain the Grand Festival.
May is then presented the ribbon, and Mr. Contesta tells her that this Contest was amazing. May celebrates with her Combusken and Squirtle, as Lillian announces that the Grand Festival will take place at the Indigo Plateau. Ash is excited to hear the place of his first Pokemon League, as the crowd continues to cheer.
Outside, soon after the battle, Harley cuddles Banette's Pokeball before shouting at Team Rocket for their defeat. Jessie tries to explain, but Harley isn't having none of it, and snaps back at her, saying that he did everything for her, yet she still managed to mess it up. James tries to mutter an apology, but Harley isn't having non of it, and walks off, pondering his next move at the Grand Festival.
Meanwhile, Ash and Max are congratulating May on her new ribbon, and May thanks them. Brock asks what May has in her hand, and May explains that it's an invitation to the Grand Festival. Just then, May notices Drew approaching, and is confused to see him. Ash explains that Drew was a big help when it came to dealing with Team Rocket, and May walks to talk to Drew. Drew congratulates her on her ribbon, and says that it looks like she'll be in the Grand Festival after all. May smiles and nods, and Drew begins to walk off. May calls to him, and says that she'll be looking forward to facing him soon. Drew waves without turning around. Ash makes a comment about their rivalry, and May turns to him and wishes him luck for his future battles, which reminds Ash of his next challenge in the Battle Pyramid.
The episode ends with the group looking towards the sunset, pondering their next adventures.
Thanks to Alfonso for writing this for us
451: Going for Choke!
451: May VS Jessie! The Final Contest!
May goes against Jessie in the contest finals
May defeats Jessie and earns her final Kanto Ribbon