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After a short recap of the events of the previous episode, [[Lilian Meridian|Lilian]] officially begins the [[Saffron City]] [[Pokémon Contest]] by showcasing prize [[Ribbon]] the stagewinning {{pkmn|Coordinator}} will receive and explaining the prizes and rules. {{an|May}} watches via television in the contestants' room and confirms to {{TP|May|Squirtle}} that they will win the Saffron [[Ribbon]]. [[Harley]] interrupts and apologizes for what he did, but May sees through his devious talk and reaffirms that they will win. Harley quickly drops the act and contemptuously proclaims that he will defeat her.
Lilian then introduces the [[Contest Judge|judges]] of the Saffron Contest: [[Raoul Contesta]] from the [[Pokémon Activities Committee]], [[Mr. Sukizo]], andfrom the [[SaffronPokémon CityFan Club]]'s, and the [[Nurse Joy]] from the local [[Pokémon Center]]. She asks the crowd if they are ready to begin, prompting uproarious cheers. In the audience, [[James]] wonders if [[Jessie]] might actually win this one, but {{MTR}} replies saying that she doesn't stand a chance.
Harley is the first contestant and calls upon his Cacturne, who starts things off with {{m|Cotton Spore}}. The spores slowly rotate in the air while Harley calls for {{m|Needle Arm}}. Cacturne stands motionless for some time before suddenly protruding spikes from its whole body through all of the spores, creating an interesting display.
Lilian then introduces the last contestant, May, with her Squirtle at her side. Squirtle seems uneasy at the sight of the mass of people in the stands, but May says that it'll get over it. She calls upon {{TP|May|Combusken}}, who twists and flips to the ground like a gymnast after coming out of its [[Poké Ball]]. May then unties and throws her bandanna toward Combusken as tells it to use {{m|Fire Spin}} and {{m|Sky Uppercut}}. Combusken propels the bandanna upward with Fire Spin, leaps through the spiraling fire, and hits it repeatedly with Sky Uppercut, tying it back to its normal state. Combusken then delivers one last blow to send the retied bandanna right back onto May's head. Combusken lands in front of May and the two pose for the finish. The crowd goes wild, shouting and cheering. Squirtle looks on admiringly and everyone seems to be pleased with her performance, except for Harley, who looks disappointed with her success.
The eight [[Pokémon Coordinator]]sCoordinators moving on to the [[Contest Battle]]s are then announced, which include May, Jessie, and Harley. James and Max are surprised at Jessie's success and wonder if she might actually win. The contestants' battle match-ups are randomly selected, and it is revealed that Jessie will face Harley and May will battle another participant in the second round of the Contest. May is very exuberant and excited about her performance as Harley interrupts her again. He then begins off with his usual threats and May fires back quickly.
A strange person wrapped in mummy-like cloth interrupts the argument. The unknown person then removes the cloth and reveals herself to be the "Empress Coordinator" Jessibella. Harley and Jessibella then both mention that they're going to beat each other and then May. The Battle Stage begins with Lilian introducing the first match, Jessie versus Harley. Harley sends out his {{TP|Harley|Ariados}} while Jessie calls upon {{TP|Jessie|Wobbuffet}}. Both James and Meowth are confused about Jessie's choice of Wobbuffet for the second round. Jessie's plan is to have Wobbuffet use {{m|Counter}} just as Ariados fires an attack to reflect it back at double the power. Harley catches on and is reluctant to make the first move, knowing it would only backfire. After neither player makes a move after a while, Lilian announces that she has no choice but to give them each a yellow card, which subtracts half the points from both participants' scores. Contesta tells Harley and Jessie if they get another yellow card, they will both be disqualified. Both Harley and Jessie argue back and forth and Lilian is about to disqualify both of them for not battling until Harley declares that he will make a move. Upon realizing that he doesn't need to make an attack that's offensive, Harley tells Ariados to use {{m|String Shot}} on Wobbuffet. Seizing the opportunity, Jessie directs Wobbuffet to use Counter, but Wobbuffet becomes helplessly wrapped by the maneuver. Harley explains that {{m|Mirror Coat}} and Counter will not work against [[Status move|defensive moves]], a strategy that Brock commends. Ariados then manipulates Wobbuffet like a puppet with its attached strings, as points are gradually deducted from Jessie's score. The crowd begins to laugh at the puppet show on display, which is ended when Ariados is told to throw Wobbuffet. It tumbles through the air and lands on Ariados's back. The rest of Jessie's points are deducted and Harley advances to the next round. Jessie, James, and Meowth then fall to the ground, turning white from disbelief.