Quick advice if you're playing the game for the first time, or replaying to get more plot: never go to the Hotspots first. Hotspots advance story. You will never accidentally advance the story by doing non-Hotspot missions. Do as many as you can before you start the Hotspots.
Also, in Chapter 3, there's a point at which the game suggests that you ought to head straight for Djose. Go to Bevelle first. This is Very Important. You'll thank me for it later, I promise.
I beat the Ronso without catnip! First time ever. Songstress Yuna blinds them, Alchemist Rikku dispels their Mighty Guard, and Berserker Paine cuts them to bits. Easy as pie. Well, pie that takes a little while to bake, anyway. Still, I am quite proud of this accomplishment. The thing that gave me the second most trouble was Yojimbo's cave. First the fiends, then Yojimbo himself. Damn Zanmato. But some Mega-Potion management got me through. The thing that gave me the most trouble? Catching a freaking chocobo. They wouldn't show up in battle. They'd run away. They'd cast Meteor on me. (How the heck does a chocobo learn Meteor, anyway? Stupid bird.) Finally I got one on the Thunder Plains. Probably I should go collect more, but for now, I'm pretty frustrated with it. Later; there will be plenty of time in Chapter 5. I think.
And finally, finally I set up the Mi'ihen Mystery properly. Yeah, it took a walkthrough. No, I don't care. I will see some ending other than the stupid chocobo eater, yes I will.
Okay, enough game mechanics. Lots of story tidbits thrown at you in this chapter -- Gippal's little speech to Yuna about not needing to save Spira every time something comes up (although he's probably wrong about that in the end, at least in the case of Vegnagun), the Ronso battle, Leblanc's despondency and Logos and Ormi's reaction (I love the bit where they're trying, badly, to imitate Nooj), the battle for the temple in Besaid. But of course the biggest plot movement moment of them all is in this chapter, my favorite moment in the game: the confrontation in the Bevelle Underground. I love that scene, I could watch it over and over again, and I was so excited to get to it. Never mind that I have it saved on my computer; there was something about seeing it in the context of the plot again. And full size, and on a larger screen. Oh yeah.
There is so much to like about that scene. So many nuances of body language and facial expression and voice inflection. The tension between Baralai and Nooj builds so effectively. This time I also really noticed Gippal in the background trying to keep calm, but then he deflates when Baralai starts talking about the shooting -- he's not going to get angry about it like Baralai does, but it bothers him, the weight of it dragging down his shoulders. And then the re-creation of the triangle of death from the Den of Woe (and how must Paine have felt, to see that again? And yet she stays in hiding until Nooj's life is in immediate peril. Hmmmmm....) followed by Shuyin's takeover of Baralai. "Seeking your own death... now you can have it!" That line will always give me shivers. Always.
And then of course Yuna on the Farplane, meeting Shuyin, and he turns into Baralai. Getting two more spheres. Yuna deserted, and then Tidus reappears, sort of, if you hit X at the right time. Which I did. Score.
I doubt I will have time to play again before vacation but that's okay. This gives me much to mull over until I get back. But first, we pack.