After successfully making their way through the first round of the Daybreak Town Pokémon Contest, Dawn, Ursula, and Jessilina (a disguised Jessie) all face challenges in Round Two. Jessilina and Ursula are the first to face each other. Ursula and her Plusle and Minun make quick work of Jessilina and her Seviper and Yanmega. Soon, the other Coordinators and their Pokémon get eliminated, so it all boils down to the final round! Dawn, with her Cyndaquil and Mamoswine, face off against Ursula and her Plusle and Minun.
Suddenly, Ursula hits Cyndaquil and Mamoswine with the Encore attack, which allows Pokémon to use only their previous attack! Dawn's Pokémon are getting whipped, but Dawn thinks of a way out. She has her Pokémon attack each other, which sets them free from Encore. With mere seconds left on the clock, Dawn's Pokémon battle furiously...and win!
So, with Dawn's fifth Ribbon in hand, her attention focuses on the upcoming Grand Festival. A clearly bitter Ursula assures her she won't win there. But, in the meantime, it's Ash's upcoming battle at the Sunyshore Gym that's next on our heroes' schedule, as Ash shoots for his eighth Gym Badge!
Dawn and Ursula have made it past the Performance Stage and must now face each other in battle. But Ursula has a secret plan for Plusle and Minun. Will Dawn be able to defeat Ursula and win her fifth and final Contest Ribbon?
The Battle Stage of the Daybreak Contest starts with Jessilina using Seviper and Yanmega against Ursula's Plusle and Minun. Jessilina commands Seviper to use Haze and Yanmega to use SonicBoom. It creates a beautiful spinning move, taking a few points from Ursula's score. Plusle and Minun use a combined Spark to break it into a dazzling shower of sparkles, deducting more points from Jessilina's score. Yanmega lifts Seviper into the air. Plusle and Minun use Helping Hand to power up. Yanmega uses Silver Wind and Seviper charges with a Poison Tail. Silver Wind hits Seviper's tail, sending a twirl of poison beams at the Cheering Pokémon and deducting their points. To counter, they use a combined Spark attack powered by Helping Hand, creating an explosion followed by a shower of blue and green sparkles, leaving them vulnerable. Seviper is released while Plusle and Minun twirl into a tumbleweed-like formation using Spark, then at the last second they split, Plusle lunging towards Seviper while Minun launches in the air towards Yanmega. Two great balls of light appear with a popping sound. Both of Jessilina's Pokémon fall, unable to battle, and Ursula wins the match.
The episode shows many Pokémon battling, and shows part of a battle between Dawn with Mamoswine and Cyndaquil against an unnamed Coordinator with a Mightyena and a Houndoom. Cyndaquil uses Flame Wheel and Mamoswine uses Ice Shard, pulling off the first stage of flame ice. However, the ice melts halfway through, shocking Dawn and Mamoswine. Cyndaquil collides with the Dark and Bite Pokémon, creating a fire explosion. Dawn wins and moves on in the competition, but she is still disappointed that her attempt at Flame Ice was unsuccessful. She is then shown practicing the move, but--once again--the ice melts too early. Ash tries to comfort her by telling her that it looked great, but Brock suggests that she try a more reliable move. Ursula is shown hiding behind a door, grinning smugly, then walking away. Later, both Dawn and Ursula are shown winning their matches, putting them in the finals together. In the hair dressing room, they argue, Ursula pulling the Dee Dee card. Piplup looks from side to side as they argue. Ursula leaves as Dawn says to herself, "Calm down. No need to worry."
Dawn sends out Mamoswine and Cyndaquil, the Ele-Seals on their Ball Capsules creating a torrent of lightning bolts, then Cyndaquil falls playfully on Mamoswine's tusks, beautifully blasting fire. Ursula sends out Plusle and Minun, surrounded by petals created by Flora Seals. At first, no one could see her Pokémon, but then the petals scattered, revealing Plusle and Minun. When they landed, they touched their tails together, creating sparks everywhere. Johanna and her Glameow are then seen watching TV. Johanna says, "Of all the Pokémon Dawn could face, it had to be those two in the finals," referring to the Diamond-Dandruff incident that earned Dawn her nickname "Dee Dee". Dawn commands Mamoswine to use Ice Shard, which it then eats, like Ash's Grotle did with its Energy Ball. Cyndaquil uses Swift to surround Mamoswine, then lands on the ice spike, blasting fire. They charge, and Mamoswine uses Take Down. Plusle and Minun jump up to dodge, and subsequently use Encore, losing Dawn points. Mamoswine and Cyndaquil then glow a dulled color.
Dawn commands Mamoswine to use Hidden Power and Cyndaquil to use Flame Wheel, but instead they use Take Down and Swift because of Encore, as Ursula explains. Plusle and Minun use Helping Hand and then Charge Beam, hitting them Dawn's Pokémon and taking away more points from her. As Ash realizes the severity of the situation Dawn is in, Brock adds that Encore is "as scary of a move as you can get," because of the time limit that Contest Battles have. Jessie remarks that she is "officially impressed" by Ursula's tactic, while James and Meowth express that they feel sorry for Dawn's situation. Then the Cheering Pokémon use Spark, deducting more points. Mamoswine and Cyndaquil attempt to dodge, but go back to their regular attacks, leading to both of them taking direct hits. Plusle and Minun use Spark once again, making Dawn drop to 1/2 of her total points and causing her Pokémon to fly back into her. As the dust settles, Dawn, Mamoswine, and Cyndaquil's hair have all lit up, causing laughs from Team Rocket. Dawn realizes what has happened and screams in horror, hiding her head below her hand as the crowd is viewing exactly what she hoped would never be revealed. Ash tells her to snap out of it, as the battle is still going on. Mamoswine and Cyndaquil's voices manage to snap Dawn out of it, their hair dying down. She then realizes that they can still move.
She stands up and straightens her hair. Dawn commands, to everyone's shock, for Cyndaquil and Mamoswine to attack each other. She says to trust her, but she loses more points, bringing her down to 3/8ths of her original score. Encore wears off, much to Ursula's surprise, which Dawn attributes to Encore's inability to block a Pokémon's spirit. Ursula snidely praises Dawn's resourcefulness and Ash commends the latter's idea, but Brock notices the time: there are only 30 seconds left. Plusle and Minun use Charge Beam, but Cyndaquil and Mamoswine dodge by jumping in the air, much to Ursula's chagrin. Dawn tells her team the only way for them to win is to use Flame Ice. Commanding Cyndaquil and Mamoswine to use Flame Wheel and Ice Shard, the two pull off the combination perfectly, causing Ursula to lose nearly a quarter of her points. Marian is in awe of Dawn's attack, while Ash and Brock praise Dawn's comeback move. Cyndaquil shoots fire and launches itself forward faster, managing to smash directly into Plusle and Minun, who are thrown into the air. As Ursula's points drop to 1/2 of her original value, she orders Plusle and Minun to use Spark in the air, but Cyndaquil uses SmokeScreen to break their combination. Mamoswine uses Hidden Power on Plusle, launching it backward, while Cyndaquil uses Swift on Minun, scoring another direct hit. The Cheering Pokémon start to charge up for a double Spark, but time runs out before they can execute the attack. As everyone looks at the scoreboard, Dawn's comeback has been achieved: Ursula only has 1/4th of her points remaining, while Dawn still has 3/8ths left. Dawn is overjoyed, while Ursula contributes her loss once again to Dawn "making the time limit work for her." As Dawn is awarded the Daybreak Ribbon, Mr. Contesta congratulates her on earning her fifth Ribbon, saying the Grand Festival is her next destination.
As Dawn begins to change out of her clothes in the dressing room, Ursula walks in and angrily states that while Dawn may have been lucky today, she won't be at the Grand Festival. Jessilina walks in and mocks Ursula, saying that she will be the winner, to which Ursula scoffs at and begins arguing with, much to Dawn's embarrassment. As she walks out, Ash and Brock congratulate her comeback victory and her perfected Flame Ice, to which she states that her new Ribbon is the best one of all.