Hmmmm... I thought they were actually gonna go somewhere storywise with Ricky cheating with his Elgyem's psychic powers. Not much happened with that, it was just there. But that's barely a complaint, just an off prediction. The episode was decent stuff. Action? Well, there was no real battling in this episode, so I don't think action was the point. But comedy-wise this is one of my picks. And I like the funnier episodes, they'd like slices of Pokémon life, except better than most slice of life stories.
The scavenger hunt had a nice throwback to how Fishing Connoisseur is one of the many hats that Cilan wears, I noticed that. But the Thunderstone scene was definitely for fans like me, who are afraid of Pikachu evolving and really believe there's a threat of that now. This gen has been full of changes, particularly on the games end of things. The anime could follow suit. This might be where the series takes a canonical turn for the new. But some things, like Pikachu not becoming Raichu or living in a Pokéball, these things can never change. So much already has. That was a close one.
For some reason, despite having seen Ash dress like a girl plenty a time, seeing Cilan "crossplay" as Elesa was disturbing. But in all the RIGHT ways. Also, if Skyla's grandfather likes Elesa so much, what wasn't she an option in the Nurse Joy vs. Officer Jenny preference quiz? Ash and Pikachu, seasoned vets at this "dressing up like other people and Pokémon" thing, were A+ material. I always like how Pikachu really gets into character. He was seriously all "RAWR I'm a Bouffalant!" But Cilan shoulda got through, he took some serious and rewarding risks in his performance as Elesa. He even cuts a similar figure! Maybe that's why I find it so disturbing. But at this point it was time to thin the herd, and fancy pants "doesn't believe in The Force" Cilan was a fair pick to go. He didn't even believe in the powers of the bell.
Another note was when Iris got hit with Confuse Ray in the forest and thought she was crossing the finish line? And then all those wild Pokémon walked up to her? If you're trippin' in the woods, it's nice to know nature cares about you. Ricky's cheating was a little light in this part, I think, especially considering that battling the wild Pokémon probably would've been welcome. But he was back in form in the final stage.
Final stage, the stair race. I don't know how safe it was using Litwick for this, didn't a bunch of rogue Litwick slowly drag a bunch of kids and two adults and all their Pokémon to Hell or something in a mansion a while back? Also, can you blow out the flame of a Litwick safely? Or does that hurt them? But, they didn't know they were actual living Litwick, I don't think. Which begs the question, why would Litwick volunteer to be a part of this thing? To steal souls again?
In the end, the bell's ring went to the best man for the prize. But Stefan's wish didn't come true. But it doesn't need to, it was about the journey, not the goal, this was a grade A episode, probably worth a rewatch solely for the impersonation competition. But is anyone else getting a "dress up" vibe from Cilan? Unlike most, I haven't seen the 20 episodes that Japan has seen ahead of us, so I'm wondering, is dressing up in extravagant costumes gonna be a Cilan thing?