You know, I'm glad I didn't look at the pictures for this episode once since they were first posted. I totally forgot about Max spazzing out there at the end. I think that was definitely the first time that someone protested about Ash winning a badge completely legitimately (as opposed to Ash's protests about not legitimately winning in "Showdown at Pewter City", "Pokemon Scent-Sation", "A Dairy Tale Ending", and "Watt's with Wattson", and Misty's two separate protests in "The Waterflowers of Cerulean City"). I knew that something had to happen after all the buildup about Ash coming to battle Norman, but Max's reaction was unexpected for me. It certainly made for an interesting dramatic moment.
Great gym battle too. Oh, and I forgot, great line from Jessie and James telling Meowth they don't outsource. Hey, Team Rocket can't be *that* evil.