Balance of Power (Japanese: トウカジム戦！五つ目のバッジ！！Touka Gym! The Fifth Badge!!) is the 70th episode of Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, and the 344th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on April 1, 2004 and in the United States on March 19, 2005.
Ash challenges Gym Leader Norman for a badge. While they battle, Team Rocket is busy digging a tunnel under the Gym.
Norman's Slakoth begins with Hidden Power, and Pikachu can't hit it. Pikachu is then immobilized by Slakoth's Blizzard, so Ash switches the Electric-type out for Torkoal. Torkoal takes out Slakoth with Flamethrower.
In turn, Torkoal is taken down by a Scratch attack from Vigoroth. Ash sends Pikachu back out, and when the two Pokémon make physical contact, Vigoroth is paralyzed by Pikachu's Static ability. Pikachu uses Iron Tail to knock out Vigoroth, but also faints.
In the end Ash's Grovyle faces off against Norman's Slaking. Slaking manages to counter all of Grovyle's attacks, and then uses Earthquake. The shaking disrupts Team Rocket's plans, and puts them up against some angry Dugtrio.
Low on HP, Grovyle's Overgrow ability increases its Attack power, and the Grass-type knocks Slaking out with a combination of Pound and Leaf Blade. All his Pokémon defeated, Norman awards the Balance Badge to Ash.
However, Max is upset at his father's loss, so he runs off with the badge. Norman talks things over with Max, explaining that the experience of losing is just as important as winning. Max returns the badge to Ash, who celebrates winning his fifth Gym badge.
Ash enters the Petalburg Gym, ready for his battle against Norman. Norman tells him that he's been waiting for another fight with Ash ever since their last battle, and Ash says he's more than willing to take Norman up on his offer! Watching from the sidelines, May says she's excited to see how the match turns out. Max tells her that their dad is certain to win. Brock and Caroline tell him that he should just relax and enjoy the match without worrying about the final result. Outside of town, Team Rocket begins construction on their new secret base. Meowth says that after they finish building their base, the Boss will be certain to give them a promotion. With the thoughts of corporate credit cards as their motivation, all of Team Rocket, including Wobbuffet, begin working. Back at the Gym, Kenny is the referee announces the rules of the match: three Pokémon, but only Ash is allowed substitutions. Raising his flags, Kenny signals for the match to begin and both Ash and Norman send out their first Pokémon, Norman's Slakoth against Ash's Pikachu. Utilizing Pikachu's Speed, Ash orders Pikachu to use Quick Attack, Slakoth dodges and counterattacks with Shadow Ball. Jumping out of the way, Pikachu attacks with Iron Tail but misses once again as Slakoth leans out of the way. Dazed, Pikachu is unable to dodge Slakoth's Hidden Power, and is blasted across the arena.
On the sidelines, Brock tells May and Max what kind of attack strategy their father is using. He knew from watching Ash before that he favored using Pikachu as an opener, using its powerful speed attacks to knock the enemy off balance and gain control of the battle. By using a slow Pokémon like Slakoth who could dodge Pikachu's attacks, Norman was forcing Ash to fight at his pace, giving him control over the match. As Pikachu recovers from Hidden Power, Ash realizes that he needs to change his strategy. He decides to try Electricattacks and orders Pikachu to attack with Thunder. However, Slakoth dodges this attack as well, and responds with Blizzard. The incredible cold keeps Pikachu from attacking back, so Ash recalls him and calls out Torkoal instead. Torkoal uses Flamethrower, which easily blasts through Slakoth's Blizzard and scores a direct hit, knocking Slakoth out. With Slakoth out of commission, Norman calls out his next Pokémon, Vigoroth. Dodging Torkoal's Overheat, Vigoroth knocks Torkoal out with Scratch. With Torkoal down, Ash sends Pikachu back into the arena. Brock explains that by using the hyperactive Vigoroth right after the slow laid back Slakoth Norman is able to disorient his opponents and knock them off balance, as the skills necessary to defeat Vigoroth are completely different from those used against Slakoth. Meanwhile, Team Rocket continues construction on their new hideout. Yelling through a megaphone, Meowth orders Jessie and James to work harder. They respond by dropping a box on him and telling him to help out too.
In the arena, Vigoroth dodges a Thunderbolt from Pikachu and attacks with Scratch. Pikachu blocks the attack with Iron Tail, but is hit with a surprise attack when Vigoroth uses Flamethrower. Max says that it's amazing that Vigoroth can use an attack like Flamethrower, causing Caroline to tell him that Norman is fighting Ash more seriously then he fights normal Trainers. May says that Ash should substitute Pikachu, but Brock tells her that if he does that, his only reserve Pokémon will be the already injured Pikachu. He has no choice but to use Pikachu as long as possible. Sizing up Vigoroth, Ash suddenly comes up with a plan. He orders Pikachu to use Quick Attack, dodging a Flamethrower from Vigoroth. As Pikachu closes the distance, Norman orders Vigoroth to use Scratch, but is surprised when Ash tells Pikachu to take the hit. Vigoroth's Scratch attack hits home, but the powerful Pokémon is suddenly paralyzed by Pikachu's innate StaticAbility. Seizing the opportunity, Pikachu attacks with Iron Tail, knocking Vigoroth out. However the effort is too much for Pikachu and he passes out as well, resulting in a double KO. After removing Pikachu from the battlefield, Ash and Norman send out their last remaining Pokémon, pitting Slaking against Grovyle. Ash attacks first by ordering Grovyle to use Bullet Seed, but Slaking easily blocks the attack with its hands, sustaining no damage at all. Grovyle attacks again with Leaf Blade, but Slaking grabs it mid attack and tosses Grovyle back across the arena. Slaking begins to attack with Focus Punch but is stopped after Grovyle hits it in the face with Bullet Seed. The attack angers Slaking, who begins to go into a rage. It attacks with a powerful Earthquake.
In their new hideout, Team Rocket feels the effects of Slaking's Earthquake, which rouses a group of nearby Dugtrio. Blaming the Dugtrio for the Earthquake, Jessie kicks a rock at them. Angrily, the Dugtrio begin to chase Team Rocket around their cave. Meanwhile, Grovyle dodges the Earthquake by jumping. It attempts a Pound attack, but Slaking grabs it in midair and tosses Grovyle into the ceiling. Grovyle counterattacks with Bullet Seed, but Slaking blocks with a powerful Hyper Beam, which cuts through the Bullet Seed and sends Grovyle flying. Watching Grovyle struggle to its feet, Norman suggests that Ash withdraw from the match for Grovyle's safety. Ash begins to consider it, but stops when Grovyle indicates that it wants to keep fighting. Ash tells Grovyle to show Norman what it's made out of. Inspired by Ash's confidence, Grovyle activates its Overgrow Ability, which powers up its Grass-type attacks.
Leaping back into combat, Grovyle dodges both an Earthquake and Slaking's clumsy attempts to grab it. It begins bouncing around the arena. Dodging a Hyper Beam, Grovyle hits Slaking with a powerful Pound. Norman congratulates Ash for his recovery, but tells him that he'll need more than just speed to beat Slaking. He orders Slaking to attack with Focus Punch while Ash tells Grovyle to use Leaf Blade. The two attack each other at the same time, and after a moment's pause, Slaking falls to the ground. Shocked at his father's loss, Max can only stare in disbelief as Brock and May congratulate Ash on his victory. Later, Norman presents Ash with the Balance Badge - however, before he can give it away, Max grabs it and runs away. Locking himself in the Gym's greenhouse, he tells everybody gathered outside that it was unacceptable for his dad to lose the match and that it's not okay for a Trainer like him to lose in a Pokémon battle. Norman tells him that losing is just as important as winning, and that sometimes life's most important lessons are learned through losing. Ash tells Max that he really doesn't need the Badge, beating Norman in a fight taught him enough that he'd be satisfied without one. Touched by their words, Max comes out and gives the Badge back, but not before promising his Dad that they'll battle too, once he becomes a Trainer.