First off, let me admit what I see as a major flaw of this episode, and my Wallace Cup arc as a whole. When Dawn won the Wallace Cup in Sinnoh, she only had one ribbon at the time, and I always felt like it was odd for a coordinator with only one ribbon to be winning a tournament that attracts the best coordinators from around the world. It just seemed too forced to me. Sadly, that’s exactly what I had happen to Brenda. Of course, I didn’t do this for no reason at all, Brenda’s current character arc needed to happen sooner rather than later, and the Wallace Cup was the perfect place to resolve that arc. I did try to justify the win by having it shown how much Brenda can accomplish when she combines her natural talent with intense training, but I’m not sure that would satisfy me if I were simply a viewer. Anyways, on the topic of the battles, there was actually a little bit of symbolism for me behind Brenda and Dawn’s battle. Personally, I never much liked that Dawn’s Piplup never evolved. I know that Ash often doesn’t evolve his Pokémon, but the Sinnoh Region was different, as he actually ended up evolving most of them. It was a little annoying to have Piplup not evolve in contrast (That being said, I must admit that a lot of this resentment towards it not evolving stems from the fact that Piplup always annoyed me, and I would guess a Prinplup and Empoleon would be less annoying). So having Kappaqua evolve in a battle against Piplup was a bit of a reference to what I think should have happened to Piplup.