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Pokemon – Season 1 Episode 2 Retro Review: Enter the Incompetent Bad Guys
Ash and Pikachu certainly aren’t having the greatest start to their journey. Pikachu is in critical condition and Ash rushes to the nearest Pokemon Center in Viridian City. As Ash arrives in Viridian City, he is stopped by Officer Jenny who suspects that he may be a Pokemon thief given that he’s carrying a Pokemon out of its pokeball. After Ash uses his Pokedex to prove that he’s Pikachu’s trainer, Officer Jenny gives Ash a ride to the Pokemon Center.
After Officer Jenny completely disregards the concept of parking the vehicle before entering the Pokemon Center, Nurse Joy and a team of Chansey cart Pikachu away so that he can get the treatment needed. While Ash waits for Pikachu to recover, he calls his mother and lets her know that he has arrived in Virdian City. During their conversation, she references Ash’s father and his own Pokemon journey. Which raises a question: where is Ash’s father? To my knowledge he has never shown up, and with Ash journeying all over the place you’d think he’d have run into his father by now.
Misty shows up with the crispy fried remains of her bike, furious. She demands that Ash pay up for destroying her bike, but her mood softens when she hears that Pikachu is in critical condition. Moments later, Pikachu is brought out and is about to be taken to recovery. A public announcement broadcasts on the speakers, warning the city of an aircraft belong to a pair of Pokemon thieves. Outside the Pokemon Center, we see a large hot air balloon that belongs to everyone’s favorite incompetent pair of villains: Jessie and James, members of Team Rocket. Then of course there is Meowth, the only talking Pokemon save for the ones encountered in the movies.
Jessie and James drop their pokeballs, unleashing Koffing and Ekans in the Pokemon Center and then jump down themselves. The two then deliver their motto that most people who watched Pokemon have likely memorized. Get used to it, they belch out that motto often. Really often. Like every episode. Jessie and James declare that they are planning on taking any rare or unusual Pokemon from the Pokemon Center. Ekans and Koffing attack, pursuing Ash, Misty, and Nurse Joy as they carry Pikachu to safety. The trio manage to hide in the Pokemon storage room. Team Rocket cuts off the power to the facility, but the back up generator powered by Pikachus activates.
Nurse Joy initiates an emergency transportation of the Pokemon to the Pokemon Center in Pewter City, but the process is interrupted by Koffing as it crashes through the door and knocks pokeballs all over the floor. While Misty yells at Ash, Ash starts picking up pokeballs and opening them in hopes of finding a Pokemon that can be used to fight against Team Rocket. When that process fails, Misty buys time for Ash to escape with Pikachu. This doesn’t last for long as Team Rocket manages to catch up with Ash. Then out of nowhere, the Pikachus that powered the generator show up and collectively electrocute Team Rocket and their Pokemon.
Pikachu seems to get a second wind from the proximity of all the electricity. Using Misty’s discard bike, Ash generates additional power for Pikachu. Pikachu electrocutes Jesse, James, and their Pokemon. Koffing emits some gas which causes a massive explosion, destroying half of the Pokemon Center. Team Rocket retreats, acknowledging that Pikachu is unusually powerful. In this episode, they come up with the plan to capture Pikachu. Meanwhile, Ash, Pikachu, and Misty enter the Viridian Forest as they head to Pewter City. The episode ends with Ash throwing a pokeball at a Caterpie they encounter.
Pokemon seems to be just picking up steam still, as we still haven’t met the full group of main characters of the first season but the story remains engaging. If I recall correctly Brock won’t show up until the fourth episode. Overall this episode doesn’t have many issues, although the part where Pikachu electrocutes Team Rocket and the the screen divides into four parts and switches between shots of Pikachu, Jesse, James, Meowth, Ekans, and Koffing was really weird and unnecessary. As far as voicing goes, I recall not being a fan of Jessie and James voices in the early episodes but they do eventually get better.
Two episodes down and many more to go, and only two more episodes until the main cast of characters is fully assembled. The journey is only just beginning, and there is many more entertaining episodes to go.