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What struck me the most in her special is how Iris was now showing how she was able to reach for others / to be reached herself?

There were scenes that, I think, were there to remind us of her flashbacks in Souryuu City (BW101): the way Fukamaru climbed the clock tower because he missed home and, maybe, the sharp contrast in the way Iris came out of this (scolded for going there as a child; receiving applause for her actions now). Even the wind: it was something that gave her the impression of feeling home (BW101), and was now something dangerous that could cause her downfall (heights weren’t a safe place and Iris knew it). It’s significant, though, that in a variation of that scene, it was resolved happily because Iris managed to reach and receive - something before the activation of her power, and probably the way her power got activated in the first place.

It’s heartwarming to see how Iris, who was characterized by her evasiveness in her first appearances, was so at ease, now, in getting involved. She has her biases, of course (it was a dragon-type), but she was trying to understand and to solve the problems around Fukamaru, and it was presented as a natural and pretty casual act (the small crisis in the tower happened, but there was something before and after).

We still don’t know everything about her powers: but Iris noted that it was maybe a matter of knowing Kibago for a long time on her first try. What we saw after is that apparently, it needs her trying to reach and the Pokémon granting the emotional contact - so, a mutual allowance and an expression of consent.

I think the physical gesture Iris used in all the cases (even in BW139 with Kibago, although accidentally) is quite representative of what her power is emotionally: it’s not a matter of direct contact, but of willpower and of concern for the other. So, really, trying to reach.

And even socially! She isn’t travelling with Satoshi and Dent anymore (they were the ones whose presences highlighted the difference in her now, from the lonely child of before, in Souryuu), but Iris knows now how to accept light scoldings meant to push her forwards, and marks of affection.

Basically, the lonely child is not alone wherever she goes anymore!