Ash and his friends are watching some Wailmer bouncing on a beach when a distressed Lapras approaches them. Almost immediately, Ash recognizes this Lapras as the same one that he met back at the Orange Islands. He and Lapras share a happy embrace before Lapras motions him and his friends to come with it. As such, the group boards Lapras, who leads them and the Wailmer from the beach to a small rocky island filled with holes and caves. The reason behind Lapras's distressed state is soon made clear as the group spots a Wailmer stuck in a hole, having apparently gotten stuck in it after bouncing too high. Ash promises Wailmer to help it, with an invisible Latias arriving to observe the scene. Unnoticed by the group, the periscope of Team Rocket's Magikarp submarine surfaces nearby and spies on all the Water-type Pokémon gathered on and around the island, the trio planning to nab them and Pikachu.
After failing to get Wailmer unstuck by hand, Ash calls out Kingler and Sirfetch'd to help Pikachu smash the rocks around Wailmer. However, the rock the island is made of proves too hard to break, with Wailmer's bouncy body sending everyone flying back. Ash lands in a cave, but gets out easily with Heracross's help. Misty is the next one to offer a solution, suggesting she and Ash try to pull Wailmer out with their fishing rods. Ash approves the idea and calls out Bayleef to help, getting affectionately hugged by her immediately after she appears. Once she's calmed down, Ash has her hold onto Misty with Vine Whip, while Heracross holds onto him. They both throw their lures into Wailmer's mouth and start to pull. Ash receives additional help from Kingler, while Brock calls out Marshtomp to support Misty and Bayleef. With extreme effort, they manage to pull Wailmer out of the hole, but just when the situation seems to be over, Wailmer jumps so high up out of happiness that it falls into a cave. It then proceeds to unexpectedly evolve into Wailord, causing it to get stuck again.
With Wailord's new size, the fishing rods are out of the question. While the group tries to think up something, Pikachu notices Team Rocket's periscope and gets an idea, climbing onto the periscope and peeking inside to startle Rocket trio into surfacing. He then threatens to shock the trio unless they help, which they reluctantly agree to do, deadpanning at the twerps' ignorance of the fact that their submarine is man-powered. Ash calls out his Torterra and explains his plan as it's put into action: Brock and Torterra ride the submarine, with Brock having Torterra use Frenzy Plant to bind Wailord, the group of Wailmer helping to give the submarine an extra boost, and Pikachu standing inside the submersible to make sure Team Rocket does their part. Misty, meanwhile, has all the Pokémon on land and in the water, including her Gyarados, pull on Torterra's Frenzy Plant to add more force to the pull. Lastly, Ash enters the cave with Heracross and Bayleef, the three of them joining together in tickling Wailord to help it squirm its way to freedom. In the middle of the rescue operation, Wailord starts to glow as it uses Heavy Slam, successfully freeing itself. Team Rocket plans to steal Pikachu now, but he simply busts the submarine's hatch off and jumps off with Brock and Torterra, giving the trio a watery sendoff.
However, even though Wailord is now safe, its escape caused a cave-in that blocked off the cave entrance, leaving Ash trapped just as the tide begins to rise. To save him, Lapras uses Ice Beam to freeze the water flowing into the cave, after which Wailord uses Weather Ball to create an ice tunnel all the way to Ash's location. Lapras reaches Ash by sliding through the tunnel, and they slide out together. After Ash has thanked Wailord for its part in helping him, Lapras takes the group back to the beach, where Ash and Lapras share one more hug before Lapras swims away to reunite with its herd. No sooner has Lapras left, though, when Misty realizes they could've gotten Wailmer out of the hole by just briefly putting it in a Poké Ball. Regardless, Ash says he found the experience a fun one.
This episode marks the first time that Ash's journey through the Orange Archipelago is directly referenced in Pokémon Journeys: The Series. With this, all the regions that Ash has traveled to during his Pokémon journey have been recalled during Pokémon Journeys: The Series.
This is the first episode of the Aim to Be a Pokémon Master arc in which Ash has a Pokémon caught in Pokémon Journeys in his active party.
As such, as of this episode, at least one of Ash's Pokémon from each region he has visited has been in Ash's active party during this arc.
This is the only episode of the Aim to be a Pokémon Master arc where Ash is shown with a full team of six Pokémon on hand.