I really want to have fun with this review and just have a laugh at myself. See, I had this review in mind back when I was doing the Tag Battle tournament reviews; I was going to use this review as another example of the writers having to make an adjustment to the story. Just based on this episode alone, Paul's capture of Gliscor and Ash's capture of Gligar looks to be something that might push their rivalry further. But that honestly never happens. Now the reason why the writers never took this further, I believed for a long time, is b/c one of Paul's other pokemon turned out to be much, much stronger than anticipated. There just wasn't any room for Paul's Gliscor on his team, or so I thought. But a few days ago, Paul's team to be used against Ash in the Sinnoh League was revealed, and goodness it's a surprise. So the pt I was going to make with this review has been totally struck down, and only good fortune has kept me from looking like a total idiot. That's life, I suppose. Well, on to the review.
This episode breaks away from Dawn's confidence problems, so it sort of feels out of place. I also think Paul's appearance here is one of his weakest ones, since many of the things he does here are pretty stereotypical for him; Paul catches Gliscor and then leaves w/o caring about what the other Gligar might do to the town if they can't return to the forest. As Ash says, "Just like Paul." The writers have Paul in this episode to simply act like a jerk and nothing more, with the reasoning being we expect him to act like a jerk. So, really, Paul isn't needed in this episode at all, though I did laugh at seeing Paul and his pokemon get knocked down while trying to catch Gliscor, since he tends to avoid comedic moments like that. Something else out of character for him, I think, is his lack of respect for Ash, considering what happened at the Tag Battle Tournament. That, plus no attention on what Dawn has been going through recently (which maybe is the pt of this episode, to give a relief?) really makes me think this episode would have been more enjoyable and made more sense if it happened before the Tag Battle Tournament episodes.
Gligar is my favorite of Ash's Sinnoh captures. It's a harmless show-off, a scared teary-eyed pokemon at heart, yet sincere in how it likes Ash. I think the way Ash trains Gligar in future episodes is the most entertaining training Ash does in Sinnoh.
Gosh, this episode is so action-packed that there is not that much to say. Turtwig masters Energy Ball in this episode (with Ash showing a great deal of faith in it to use it at the time he did; although he was not totally reckless, he did try to use Pikachu's thunderbolt first on Team Rocket's balloon and only resorted to Turtwig's energy ball when he had no other option). I think this episode may also be the start of the time where Piplup stays out its pokeball, just like Pikachu does.