This episode gives us an incredibly lackluster conclusion to the enticing dilemma our heroes were left in. If you'll recall, Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio were all stuck in the cave with no way out; trying to leave would cause snakes to bite them. What ingenious plan would they come up with? Apparently none. Just Gon turning into a superhuman character in order to solve the problems.
This reminds me a lot of my Pokemon fanfics. Once upon a time, I used to write Pokemon fanfics. I'm not saying they were bad, but I seemed to always have a way of painting myself into a corner. I'd make a villainess or even a heroine (because they were always female) so powerful that she would have no way of being defeated. Thus I'd have to come up with some unknown power by her opponent in order to make up for it. I'm not saying it was deus ex machina, but maybe it was.
The same thing happens here. Gon just reaches in and grabs the antidote, which makes little sense. First of all, why didn't Gon get bitten? No explanation is given. Second, why did the guy even have an antidote? Didn't that defeat the purpose of being a snake charmer if he very conveniently had on him the remedy for the poison? Then Gon comes up with another superhuman skill, the ability to hold his breath beyond the amount any normal human can. By doing so, he is able to save everyone including Ponzu and escape the cave.
What happens next is just as bad. Gon, the same character who threw a temper tantrum because Hisoka just gave him his badge, goes ahead and grabs Ponzu's badge for Leorio even though Leorio did nothing to deserve it. Let's reason here: Gon thought it to be a bad thing that Hisoka just let him have his badge. But Gon now does the exact same thing Hisoka did, in order to help Leorio. He really seems to have changed his tune in a matter of days.
Finally, to top off the negativity for this episode, Ponzu does not pass the exam, leaving us still without a female character of note (unless you count Kurapika). Tonpa doesn't pass either, leaving us without a comic relief character. The rest of the episode is pointless, the only thing I took away from it was that Killua really has a crush on Gon. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
Character of the episode: Ponzu
I refuse to give it to Gon, who has powers beyond the reasonable stretches of believability.
Episode rating (out of four stars): *½