Ash and Kiawe are training with Litten on the beach as Pikachu and Rockruff play with a mysterious shovel that seems to be moving around on its own—until it rises out of the sand to reveal a dangerous Sandygast! When Rockruff attacks it, the shovel is launched into the sea, and the furious Sandygast evolves into Palossand and traps Ash and Litten inside!
Everyone works together to stop the rampaging Palossand—with a star performance from Snowy—as Popplio and Pikachu venture into the sea to find the shovel. After its shovel is returned, Palossand expresses its thanks by enveloping Professor Kukui’s house in a big hug!
Down on the beach, Ash is helping Litten master Fire Fang with Kiawe and Turtonator, but with no success. Later, Pikachu and Rockruff are playing when Pikachu spots something in the sand. Ash has Litten absorb air to help increase the power of the fire inside its body. Litten does it and attacks with Fire Fang, only to trip on a can. Pikachu and Rockruff get his attention and they notice a shovel in the sand. Kiawe recognizes it as belonging to a Sandygast and warns them that they have to be careful of it, recalling how his grandfather would advise him to be careful of any shovel that appeared stuck in the sand. Sandygast turns towards Rockruff and Pikachu, about to attack. Rockruff uses Rock Throw on Sandygast, knocking the shovel off its body, sending it flying into the sea, which ends up making it angrier.
Sandygast searches for its shovel as Kiawe prepares to go and search for it when Rotom stops him. The shovel could be replaced with something else and Ash looks around before looking at Rotom and has an idea. Ash grabs Rotom and starts walking towards Sandygast and tells Rotom to be a shovel for a bit, much to Rotom's horror. Ash tells him to relax and places Rotom on Sandygast's head but this only makes Sandygast more furious and causes Sandygast to evolve into Palossand. Kiawe orders everyone to get back but Ash stays near Palossand, concerned for Rotom. Ash tells Rotom to get away but Rotom isn't able to as he is stuck. Palossand collapses on top of Ash as Pikachu watches in horror before lifting its body from the sand, with Ash now trapped inside.
Pikachu launches a Thunderbolt on Palossand but Ash stops him. Ash tries to climb Palossand's wall but the sand creates difficulty but he soon makes it. Reaching the window, he tells Kiawe they need to find that shovel and fast. Lana, Mallow, Lillie, and Sophocles arrive and spot Palossand. Rockruff goes to attack Palossand but Palossand goes to eat Rockruff, Litten kicks Rockruff out of the way, resulting in Litten getting eaten instead. Litten ends up inside Palossand's body with Ash. Ash drops down to the floor to pick Litten up as Litten and Rotom start to glow green. Kiawe fills the others in on what has happened. Ash tells them that Litten is glowing green. Lillie guesses from her reading that Palossand is absorbing their energy in order to maintain its giant size as Ash tries to throw Litten out but a force sends Litten back in. Lana has Popplio attack Palossand, only for Water Compaction to activate, healing the damage and making it tougher.
Kiawe tells them that Palossand is looking for the shovel that should be on its head but it got knocked into the ocean. Lana realizes that they can use Popplio to search and Popplio can make a balloon to avoid touching the shovel. Pikachu is keen to help so Popplio makes a balloon for Pikachu to allow it to go underwater as well and they head into the ocean with Kiawe wishing them luck. The others come up with an idea to have Snowy use Powder Snow to freeze Palossand. Kiawe has Turtonator and Charizard get ready and Mallow and Sophocles get ready to back up Snowy with Steenee and Togedemaru so they can distract Palossand. Popplio and Pikachu are searching underwater for the shovel. On shore, Kiawe instructs Turtonator and Charizard, Rockruff and Rowlet to attack. Lillie has Snowy use Powder Snow which doesn't do much. Sophocles realizes that Palossand is too much for Snowy as Mallow gets a large leaf and starts fanning it which helps to increase the Powder Snow as Mallow tells Lana and Sophocles to do the same. Their efforts combined with help from Steenee help Powder Snow start to freeze Palossand.
Underwater, Pikachu spots the shovel but as Popplio forms a balloon to put the shovel in, several Pokémon end up going inside the balloon. On the shore, Palossand is soon frozen solid. Underwater, their efforts have been interrupted by more Pokémon who have ended up in Popplio's balloons. With Palossand now frozen, Litten fires up its body and attacks the ice with Fire Fang to break through the window to the outside. Ash and Litten jump from Charizard to on top of Palossand's head and Ash tells Litten to use Ember to melt the ice that Rotom is stuck in which Litten does just as Palossand starts to break free of the ice. The shovel now in a balloon pops out of the water as Pikachu and Popplio emerge. Ash struggles to free Rotom as Popplio brings the balloon with the shovel and the balloon moved to above Palossand's head where the balloon is popped. As the shovel falls towards Palossand's head, Ash frees Rotom just in time as the shovel lands on Palossand's head. Palossand is happy to have its shovel back and goes down under the sand. Ash apologizes to Rotom for his actions as Rotom is left still feeling cold and they know to be more careful of shovels in the sand in future. Back at Professor Kukui's house, Professor Kukui says that he had a busy day as Ash changes his shirt and tells Professor Kukui that Litten has mastered Fire Fang as it goes dark outside. Professor Kukui goes outside, wondering why it has gotten dark only to find Palossand who gives the house a hug.