Game Winning Assist (Japanese: エネコとねこのて！ドンメルの牧場！Eneco & Cat's Paw! Meadow of Donmel!) is the 53rd episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 327th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on November 27, 2003 and in the United States on November 13, 2004.
Ash and friends are fleeing a group of rampaging Slugma along the Fiery Path, when they escape down a hill and end up on a Numel ranch. They are greeted by the owner Julie and her Furret.
Brock and Max offer to help with the chores on the ranch while Julie and May have a Pokémon battle. May looks up attacks in her Pokédex, and orders Skitty to use the move Assist against Julie's Furret. To May's surprise, Skitty uses Ember, then Silver Wind. Julie defeats May in the battle, and explains that the move Assist allows a Pokémon to use any of the moves known by their Trainer's other Pokémon.
That night, while everyone is sleeping, Team Rocket shows up in a robotic Numel to steal the sleeping Numel. The kids wake up, and try to stop them. May and Skitty are captured by the robot.
Inside the robot, Skitty wakes up the still-sleeping Numel and they try to escape. Team Rocket activates internal sprinklers to prevent the Numel from using their Ember attacks. Skitty uses Assist to recharge, and the Numel burn through the robot's shell to break free.
Team Rocket tries to battle May and her friends, but they are quickly zapped by Pikachu. The next morning, Julie gives the kids directions to Lavaridge Town and they depart.
Ash and his friends rush through Fiery Path after May's Skitty disturbed a group of wildSlugma. A crack in the cavern walls offers a glimmer of hope, so Ash has Pikachu use Iron Tail to create an escape route. As they run to safety, the group slips down a steep embankment and finds themselves on an open plain. Skitty runs off again, this time it locates a resting Numel. Before Skitty can do any more harm, May quickly recalls it. A woman named Julie approaches the group and introduces herself before inviting them to rest at her Numel ranch for a bit. Interested in the Numel, Brock and Max get some firsthand experience with the Numel by helping Julie do her daily chores. Meanwhile, May decides that the best way to redirect her Skitty's energy would be by teaching it how to battle. She asks Ash to battle with her, but Julie arrives and suggests she battle her Furret instead. Skitty, however, is too distracted by Furret's tail and its opponent evades all of its efforts. Julie suggests May consult her Pokédex. During the battle, May discovers that Skitty knows an attack called Assist, which allows it to copy attacks from other Pokémon on May's team, like Torchic's Ember or Beautifly's Silver Wind. However, even Assist isn't enough to turn the battle around, and Furret easily defeats Skitty with a Slam attack.
Everyone returns to Julie's house to rest up. As Skitty enjoys the homemade Pokéblock, Julie admits that she used to be a Pokémon Coordinator. She commends May on Skitty's speed and power, declaring that May will become a strong Coordinator in the future. Max enters the room and guides them through to the dining table, which is full of a banquet of Brock's cooking.
Elsewhere, Jessie, James, and Meowth find the Numel ranch as well, and decide to steal the Numel so they can make money selling them as personal heaters. Late at night they sneak onto the ranch and begin stealing the Numel using a gigantic Numel shaped robot. Hearing the machine's noise, Furret and Pikachu manage to wake everybody up, and they stumble out of bed to confront the Team Rocket. Ash orders Pikachu to attack the machine with Thunderbolt but finds that it has no effect. With all of the Numel inside their robot, Team Rocket prepares to leave. Suddenly Skitty runs towards the machine and latches onto one of its arms. May rushes after Skitty, and the two wind up being trapped in the machine as well. With May, Skitty, and the Numel trapped inside their machine, Team Rocket beats a hasty retreat. Intent on getting her Numel back, Julie gets into her truck, and with Ash and the rest in the back they begin to follow Team Rocket's trail.
Inside the robot, May and Skitty try to rouse the sleeping Numel. They finally manage to do it, but the Numel fall back asleep after Team Rocket uses a hidden sprinkler system to cool down their bodies. Thinking quickly, May orders Skitty to use Assist to hit one of the Numel with Ember. The attack wakes it up and the Numel quickly wakes up the remaining Numel with Flamethrower. The Numel begin to melt through the side of the robot with their Fire attacks, causing Team Rocket to use the sprinkler system again. This time May is prepared, and has Skitty destroy the sprinkler with Double Slap. Combining their Flamethrowers, the Numel succeed in destroying the robot and are able to escape. Climbing out of the wreckage, Team Rocket prepares to recapture the Numel, but are interrupted by the arrival of Julie's truck. Jessie and James call out Seviper and Cacnea respectively to battle, but the combined forces of Furret and Pikachu are enough to send them blasting off again. The next morning, Julie shows the group to the route to Mt. Chimney and Lavaridge Town. After waving goodbye, Ash and his friends continue on their way.
The dub title is a pun on "game winning goal", a term in ice hockey. Also in ice hockey, an "assist" goes to the last two teammates to touch the puck before the player who scored the goal.
James mentions how his grandfather bought him some Numel to keep him warm in the winter. A later episode introduces Pop-Pop, James's grandfather, but it is unclear if James was referring to him in this episode, or the grandfather on the other side of his family.
In one scene the "pins" on May's Skitty's tail were the same color as its body.
When Max wakes up his eyes are purple instead of brown.
In the Hindi Hungama TV dub of the episode, Julie says that Assist can execute any random move, instead of stating that it can only randomly select and perform moves already known to the other members of the Trainer's party.