Performing a Pathway to the Future! (エルVSセレナ！開け未来への扉！！ Aria VS Serena! Open the Door to the Future!!) is the 20th episode of Pokémon the Series: XYZ.
Serena stands with Shauna and Jessilee on the stage. This excites Clemont too much to see the semi-finals, while James cheers on for Jessilee and her Pokémon. Pierre announces in semi-finals the Performers can use two Pokémon for free performances. Shauna and Serena swear not to leave any regrets, as the next round begins. The first Performer is Jessilee, who starts her performance by having Gourgeist use Leech Seed, causing plants to grow. Jessilee, Meowth and Gourgeist start dancing, as the plants push Jessilee up. Gourgeist launches Seed Bomb, creating fireworks. Meowth uses Fury Swipes, cutting the plants and causing Jessilee to land down, leaving sparkles behind. The next Performer is Shauna, whose Ivysaur uses Vine Whip to carry her around the stage, while Flabébé uses Fairy Wind to leave dust behind her. After forming a circle, Ivysaur uses Vine Whip to create a pink tornado. Ivysaur and Flabébé collide their attacks by using Solar Beam and Moonblast, releasing shiny sparkles. Shauna finishes, amazing Bonnie by her coolness.
The final Performer, Serena, appears. Grace watches, while Serena's friends cheer her on. Sylveon starts with Swift, creating shiny stars. While dancing and leaping, Pancham uses Stone Edge, creating pillars. Sylveon jumps on them and uses Fairy Wind on Serena and Pancham, lifting them in mid-air. Pancham, Sylveon and Serena land on their hands, but Serena hurts her hand. Sylveon immediately pulls Serena, who gracefully lands down and finishes the performance. Serena thanks Sylveon for the help. Ash, Bonnie and Clemont are amazed, while Dedenne and Chespin cry for this wonderful performance. The voting for the finalist starts - in the end, Serena is voted to become Aria's challenger. This makes Serena astounded, with Sylveon and Pancham hugging her. The heroes are happy Serena won, while Grace shouts that's her daughter. Meowth and Gourgeist are scared of Jessie, who claims the people of Kalos are aware of her beauty, at least. Shauna approaches Serena, wanting to ask of her something. Shauna starts hugging Serena, saddened by her loss, but asks of Serena to think of people that lost, during the match against Aria.
Serena goes to the waiting room and sees she injured her hand badly. Serena claims it is no big deal. Suddenly, Palermo enters the room and asks her to show her injured hand, since Palermo was perceptive enough. Serena shows her hand, forcing Palermo to ask Serena to withdraw from the finals, else she cannot make a proper performance, especially against Aria. Serena recalls she and her Pokémon have come this far, to live this dream they are hoping to achieve. Serena refuses, for she does not want to give up until the end. Palermo recalls hearing the same words from Aria when she was younger. Palermo allows Serena one performance as she bandages her hand, but asks of her to see the doctor after all this is over. Pierre announces the start of the finals, where everyone can use as many Pokémon as they feel needed. Serena comes with her Pokémon, but so does Aria, with Delphox, Aromatisse and Vivillion. Serena walks down the stairs, while Ash and Bonnie hope she does her best and Shauna, Miette and Nini hope she won't lose.
Serena and her Pokémon start dancing. Braixen uses Flamethrower and Pancham Dark Pulse, causing the attacks to collide with each other. Sylveon uses Swift, creating sparkles, as everyone dances. Braixen lits part of the stage with fire and gives her twig to Serena, who forms the flames in a circle. Sylveon releases Fairy Wind to blow the flames away, while Pancham uses Stone Edge for Sylveon to jump on and lift everyone in mid-air. Pancham uses Dark Pulse, Sylveon Swift and Braixen Flamethrower, creating a flower-like pattern. After dancing some more, Serena finishes her performance, aware they did as much as they could. Next is Aria, whose Delphox starts with Mystical Fire and Vivillion with Psybeam, creating a dazzling sight. Aromatisse uses Reflect, causing Aria to dance a bit and be lifted into air by Vivillion. Serena watches, noticing Aria's smile gives everyone strength. Aria's Delphox released fire in mid-air and they all finish the performance. The voting starts for the next Kalos Queen. The spotlights turn on and show Aria is the one that retains her title. The heroes are sad, but Ash reminds them Serena's dream is not over yet.
Pierre's Klefki places a tiara on Aria's head, marking her as the Kalos Queen. Serena claps for Aria, who turns to her, admitting that was a fun time. Aria asks of her to meet once more on the stage. Serena promises that, hoping she will surpass Aria one day. Serena, Aria and their Pokémon wave hands towards the audience, with the Master Class' end. Later, at the waiting room, the doctor bandages Serena's arm, advising to get some rest. Palermo approaches Serena, claiming she should not be reckless when facing Aria. Grace comes to the room, hearing the conversation. Serena admits Palermo was right, for Serena only managed to see during Aria's performance what Aria has and Serena does not. Serena sees she lacks experience, for she was saved by her Pokémon, while Aria can give smiles, hope and even advice. Serena sees being a Kalos Queen means giving people such things. Palermo smiles, replying that is what would make a good Performer. Palermo offers Serena to come with her and to teach her about being a Performer.
Palermo walks away, telling Serena she has time to make such a decision. Palermo walks away, while Grace wonders about Serena. Outside the castle, as Smoochum tries to kiss Pancham, Shauna, Miette and Nini promise to train new performances. Serena promises not to fall behind, while Miette reminds Serena not to fall behind "that department", showing Ash and making Serena blush. Smoochum kisses Pancham and Nini, Shauna and Miette bid farewell, then walk away. James, Meowth and the Pokémon walk behind Jessie, thinking she is upset at the loss. Jessie proposes to go to a restaurant, surprising everyone. Jessie states she could not make it this far without her friends, making Inkay, Gourgeist, Wobbuffet, Meowth and James touched, who jump on her in happiness. Later, at the Pokémon Center, Serena speaks to Grace, who is aware Serena gave her best. Grace bids them farewell; Serena tries to say something, but ignores that and bids farewell to her mother.
Serena is outside the Pokémon Center and Ash approaches her. Serena admits she is thinking of her next performance. Ash understands, since he always thinks of the strategy he uses when he loses a battle. Serena admires Ash's optimism, but Ash confesses he gets worried from time to time, but feels he needs to make a move in such times. Even if it ends in a loss, Ash thinks it is not pointless, for something is still given. With the matter settled, the two go to bed. The next morning, Serena comes to Palermo, who is about to leave. Serena appreciates Palermo's offer, but refuses to go. Serena confesses she has still a journey left to finish with her friends first. Serena confesses she only wanted to leave the house at first, but now is more determined to find out certain answers and to finish the journey. Palermo enters her car and gives Serena the phone number, asking when Serena finds her calling, she should phone Palermo for the offer. Later on, Serena tells Ash it is his time for the Gym Battle. Ash approves, while Serena feels she cannot fall behind, either.
- "Pokémon Quiz": Braixen (Serena's; JP)
- "Who's That Pokémon?:" Aromatisse (US)
- DreamDream was used as the ending theme, with scenes of Serena's journey being a Performer, instead of Squishy's Song.
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