Crossing the Battle Line!
This episode starts with a recap of the last one and resumes with Maylene asking if Dawn could wait to battle until tomorrow. Dawn agrees and Maylene walks off. Later that night, Ash and Brock talk with Dawn both sharing their Gym Battle experience both as a leader and a challenger which seems to give Dawn more confidence heading into battle.
The next morning, Piplup is working out with Buizel and Pikachu as she says she'll use Buneary, Ambipom, and Piplup against Maylene. Meanwhile, Ash is working with Reggie to help Staravia master Brave Bird. Staravia can't quite finish the move and Reggie thinks that Staravia is having troubles at the moment of power release. He suggests a moving target, but has no clue who/what to use. Ash offers to do it himself which takes Reggie by surprise. The moving target thing works as Staravia successfully uses Brave Bird again and again with Ash running and moving out of the way at the last possible moment. Electabuzz is shocked by this while Reggie tells Brock that Ash is just the opposite of Paul.
The group joins back up in time for Dawn to challenge Maylene. Team Rocket is watching from a hilltop contemplating yet another scheme to snatch Lucario and are shocked when Dawn is the one challenging instead of Ash. Inside, the first match is Buneary vs. Meditite. Buneary goes for Bounce, but Detect lets Meditite evade without fail and it proceeds to use Meditate. This process is repeated a couple of times before Meditite finally catches Buneary with a powered-up Drain Punch. Buneary isn't out though and it intercepts with Bounce. The explosion damages both, but Buneary is unable to continue and falls backward, fainted.
Dawn uses Ambipom next as Maylene orders a Drain Punch from Meditite hoping for a quick KO. Ambipom stops Drain Punch cold and proceeds to KO Meditite on the spot with Double Hit. Maylene decides to use Lucario next. It takes a hit from Swift, but it doesn't seem to hurt that much. Then, Ambipom and Lucario face off with Double Hit and Bone Rush. After awhile, Lucario finally gains the edge and knocks Ambipom out with Bone Rush.
Dawn goes into Piplup last hoping to make a comeback. Neither one can seem to gain an edge as both Lucario and Piplup dodge most of the other's attacks. Dawn goes for Peck, but Lucario more or less sidesteps the move and blasts Piplup with a Force Palm attack. Maylene decides to try and finish it with Aura Sphere, but Piplup dodges and then hits Lucario with Whirlpool. Piplup then comes in with a strong Peck attack. Lucario seems phased, but it's still raring to go. Dawn has Piplup use Bubblebeam while Maylene has Lucario use Aura Sphere. Dawn then gets too confident and has Piplup go into the resulting smoke with Peck, however Lucario isn't where it was before the explosion. Lucario leaps off the ceiling and pins Piplup to the floor before using Force Palm. When the smoke clears Piplup is unable to battle which means Maylene is the winner.
With her confidence restored, Maylene accepts Ash's Gym Challenge, saying they'll battle tomorrow and the episode ends with Ash and Maylene looking forward to their upcoming Gym Battle. Will Ash win his 3rd Gym Badge, or will he have to go back to the drawing board? The next episodes wields the answers!