Ash and Brock face off for a friendly training battle. Ash pits his Torkoal against Brock's Lombre, which it seems like a mismatch until Torkoal lets loose with Overheat, sending Lombre rocketing across the forest. The kids run after it, where they meet a Mawile that's become quite attracted to Lombre, along with its Trainer Samantha. Brock sees Mawile's crush as a way to get close to Samantha, and begs Lombre to be nice.
Samantha performs ribbon dances with Mawile, so the two of them demonstrate. The entire group starts walking to a nearby town, when Brock spots a bouquet on the road. He goes to grab it, but it's a Team Rocket trap. They grab Mawile, and Lombre doesn't put up much of a fight. It takes Torkoal and Corphish to sort things out, and Corphish develops a crush on Mawile! But Mawile doesn't like Corphish, breaking its heart.
That night, Samantha and Mawile are set to perform for a huge crowd, but the show is interrupted by Team Rocket once again. In a cloud of smoke, they grab a Pokémon—Lombre!
Jessie and James are dismayed to find they made a mistake, though Lombre and Wobbuffet get along well. Leaving Brock behind to manage the crowd (with Corphish's help), the others catch up to the thieves, and Jessie puts up a fight simply because Ash wants Lombre back. Lombre finally puts up a fight, protecting Mawile. After the thieves blast off again, the kids return Lombre to Brock.
During Samantha and Mawile's performance, Lombre wanders over to Samantha's backpack, taking a Water Stone out of it—and evolving into Ludicolo! It jumps on stage and joins the performance, amusing the crowd. The show is a success, but Mawile doesn't like Ludicolo now. A disappointed Brock joins Ludicolo in a happy dance to recover from their heartbreak.