The episode starts out nicely with Dragonite and Crustle
working together to fend off Team Plasma's pokemon and the pokemon belonging to Professor Juniper's assistants. It was nice to see Iris
and Cilan working together for once; usually we have Ash/Iris or Ash/Cilan cooperating with one another. It almost felt that these two characters were in unison, and I am glad how much they contributed here considering the small amount of focus they got since Episode N began. The battles are proceeding into stalemates, with Colress (finally) deciding to control Dragonite/Crustle with his machine. In one of his rarest instances of straightforwardness and sincerity, Cedric Juniper tells Iris and Cilan to return their pokemon before they get controlled. This succeeds, but for some reason Axew
gets a bit angry at Team Plasma, with Iris telling him to stop making noise or he too will be controlled.
Meanwhile, inside the depths of the White Ruins, Ash and Pikachu
work together to escape their entrapment. N is still upset, but Ash convinces him to not give up even though the chips may be down. Ash decides to send out all of his pokemon to help them escape.
This episode is one of the very few times in this series in which Ash actually uses all of his pokemon to help out during an effort, and even one of the rarer instances in which Ash's team has displayed unique personalities and emotions, especially towards each other. It was funny to see Pignite attempting to mimic Charizard by blowing flames out of its nose when he was sent out, while Oshawott
was standing next to him looking very nervous. Pignite definitely looks up to Charizard when he was trying to protect Charizard after it got knocked to the ground later on in the episode. When Krookodile
got sent out alongside Snivy
, he was folding his arms (as usual) and tilting his head to show off. Snivy turns away in mild disgust. Unfortunately, the pokemon aren't always drawn to scale during the scenes in which they are together. In one instance, Pignite was nearly as tall as Krookodile was, even though it should have been much smaller.
The pokemon (and soon enough Ash) work together to solve their problem, which greatly astonishes N since he was under the impression that pokemon must be separated from people. He helps out eventually.
With Iris, Cilan, and Juniper incapicitated, Angie orders Brad to have the pokemon find N and the Light Stone. With this in mind, the pokemon attack the ground. Krookodile pops out using Dig, and although he pretends to be calm when he sees the angry-looking pokemon, he quickly flees into his hole. This scene cements Krookodile as one of Ash's comic relief pokemon; most of the time he pretends to be the coolest pokemon around, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. Charizard then shows up out of the ground and makes a ferocious roar. Krookodile, the other pokemon, and the humans rise up from the ground behind Charizard, seemingly more confident now that they have a true powerhouse backing them up. LOL Krookodile.
The next scene involves Charizard taking a few Shadow Balls from the Liepard
, and is seemingly okay. But then Golurk
's Shadow Ball knocks it to the ground... Many people think Charizard should have been much stronger than this, so it's a shame that Charizard got knocked down here, even though this scene led to Pignite's "older brother-younger brother" relationship growing. But even so, Charizard got back up immediately after Pignite protected it from another round of Shadow Balls. N notices how strong the bond between the two Fire-types is, before Ash commands his Pokemon to use double Flamethrower. Once again, Krookodile wants to prove how cool he is and creates a storm of dust and gravel using Dig. Oshawott and Snivy are impressed and don't want to fall behind. Ash has them use their respective strongest moves--Hydro Pump and Leaf Storm--on the pokemon. All five stand confidently together, with Pikachu cheering them from behind. N is amazed at how Ash is able to bond with his pokemon, so the writers having the pokemon work together kills two birds with one stone--having the pokemon show off their unique personalities and to work together, and to convince N that not all trainers harm pokemon.
Colress, once again, decides to use the machine to control Ash's pokemon. Iris and the others warn Ash to return his pokemon to their balls. Looker finally shows up out of the shadows to stop Colress from activating his machine, but he gets pushed back by Brad and the other grunts. Wow, Looker has been useless in this arc... Ash returns his five pokemon back just in time, but he does not do anything about Pikachu because Pikachu doesn't want to be in its Poke Ball. In the end, even Pikachu gets controlled by Team Plasma and starts to attack Ash's friends. Ash stands in front of Pikachu, telling him to stop attacking. However, the influence from Colress' machine is much stronger, and Pikachu electrocuted Ash. Ash still gets back up with the belief that Pikachu can break free of the control.
N realizes how fruitless Ash's actions are, and tells Colress that he will give up the Light Stone if Colress stops the machine. Colress agrees and N decides to give the Light Stone and himself to Team Plasma. Ghetsis finally shows up to the White Ruins via helicopter, and he decides to begin the ritual to revive Reshiram
. N warns Ghetsis not to revive Reshiram
, but he does not listen. Ghetsis' staff is glowing and the fire from the torches envelop the ritual site. A seal appears on the ground that continues to increase in size. Just as Ghetsis is about to summon Reshiram, N begs Reshiram not to come out and destroy them. The episode ends with Reshiram's revival ritual going on. Reshiram will be revived next episode.
Again, the good parts of the episode are that the pokemon and humans are cooperating with nearly balanced amounts of screentime, Ash sending all of his pokemon out at once, and Ash's pokemon showing up with their unique personalities in tow. Episode N had been very boring up to this point, even with Charizard's inclusion, so it is nice that the events of this episode remind us that it was not a waste of time for the writers to bring Charizard back. Even if Charizard was not brought back here and another one of Ash's Unova reserves showed up to collaborate with the other pokemon, it would not have been as momentous. Pignite probably would not have given way to protect Boldore
or another pokemon if it got hit by Shadow Ball. Up until this point, Pignite was beginning to look up to and respect Charizard, which culminated in a mutual friendship with one another. We also got to see how much N has respected Ash since the start of the series; at first, he didn't agree with Ash using pokemon for battle, but then he was willing to give his life up so Pikachu won't be controlled by Colress' machine.
While this episode was very great in my opinion, I do fear that the finale of Episode N will be very rushed. It is expected that Reshiram will be revived and stopped, Team Plasma arrested, Team Rocket and Looker working together to stop Team Plasma, Iris and the others being saved by Axew, and N saying farewells to Ash and co. will be resolved in twenty minutes. Not a good sign. But at least Episode N can say that it will end strongly.