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Pokemon – Season 1 Episode 5 Retro Review: Enter Brock
Well we won’t have to worry about Team Rocket this episode. They decide to make a pit trap to catch Ash and Misty as they walk along the road to Pewter City, however they forget where the trap is and end up falling into it themselves. Certainly won’t be the last time that this trio prove to be completely incompetent.
Ash and Misty arrive in Pewter City and encounter a strange older man that is selling giant slabs of rock as “Pewter City Souvenirs”. I thought gift shops could be bad, but this takes the concept to a whole new level but it is certainly perfect if you are looking for a pet rock. The rock seller notices that Pikachu seems tired and offers to show Ash and Misty where the Pokemon Center is, after charging them two dollars for unknowingly sitting on some of his merchandise.
The scene then jumps ahead to the Pokemon Center where Ash gives his Pokemon to Nurse Joy. It may seem strange that there are two Nurse Joys who look exactly alike, but you’ll have to get used to it. All the Nurse Joys and Officer Jennys in the world are actually all clones as part of a cloning conspiracy to create people who are born for a specific job. No but seriously, the art team was probably too lazy to come up with anyone else but Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy.
While Ash is waiting he sees a poster for the Pokemon League. Misty explains to him that in order to compete he will have to get eight badges from across the region in various towns by defeating Gym Leaders. As it turns out one of those Gym Leaders is in Pewter City. The rock seller laughs at Ash for thinking that he can defeat Brock, the Gym Leader of Pewter City. At lunch, Misty offers to help Ash achieve victory at the Gym. However, Ash arrogantly turns her down since he believes that he can handle it himself.
After Ash’s Pokemon are fully healed he and Pikachu head to the Pewter City Gym. They go inside and meet Brock himself. Based on what Ash tells Brock when he asks about Pikachu it is apparent that Ash was in the Viridian Forest for a lot longer than two days, apparently it took an entire week to get through there. Brock explains how they will use two Pokemon each and then starts the match. Ash sends in Pikachu and Brock sends in Onix.
Upon seeing that he is clearly at a major disadvantage when facing against Onix, Pikachu basically says “Oh hell no!” then runs off the field and tries to summon Pidgeotto out of its pokeball. Ash tells Pikachu to get back into the arena and he reluctantly complies. It isn’t long before Pikachu gets beat up to the point that Ash has to surrender. As Ash walks away with an injured Pikachu in his arms he is stopped by the rock seller who tells him to follow him. He takes Ash to his home and lets Pikachu rest while trying to cheer Ash up a bit.
The rock seller says that Brock is talented enough to be more than just a Gym Leader and Ash asks why Brock has never bothered to compete in the league. The rock seller takes Ash to the outside of Brock’s home where he sees Brock taking care of a large family of his. The family consists of ten younger brothers and sisters, their father left a long time ago to become a Pokemon Trainer and their mother passed away some time ago.
Ash’s determination to beat Brock is renewed and the rock seller offers Ash a plan on how to increase Pikachu’s power. How does this work? They take Pikachu to a local watermill and use the wheel outside to generate electricity. However there is no water, but they find a work around. Ash climbs onto the wheel as the rock seller attaches Pikachu to a generator. While Ash turns the wheel Pikachu gets charged with enough electricity that makes even him uncomfortable.
The next day, Ash and Pikachu return to the Pewter City Gym for a rematch. This time, the match is being watched by Brocks siblings and Misty. Ash summons Pidgeotto and Brock summons Geodude. Geodude makes short work of Pidgeotto, but then Pikachu jumps in and is able to fry Geodude. How exactly that worked is beyond me given that electricity moves hardly ever did much damage to rock Pokemon in the games.
Brock then summons Onix. Pikachu panics and starts shooting out lightning everywhere, he hits the lights and causes a fire. After a reenactment of the first battle, Brock calls off Onix as he says that he doesn’t want to hurt Pikachu. Then without warning the sprinklers go off due to the fires caused by Pikachu. Onix gets coated in water, and Misty tells Ash that rock Pokemon are weak to water. Ash takes advantage of this by having Pikachu zap Onix, which somehow ends up being super effective.
Onix is down but not out, and as Ash is about to finish the match he is stopped by all of Brock’s brothers and sisters. Brock tells them to back off but they refuse to let Onix get hit by another attack. Ash recalls the mercy that Brock showed him and decides to call off Pikachu. He leaves claiming that the sprinklers were an accident and that he wants to beat Brock fairly.
As they leave, Ash and Pikachu are stopped by Brock who gives Ash the Boulder Badge. Brock insists that Ash takes it and fulfill both their dreams. Brock wants to be a Pokemon Breeder and not a Gym Leader, but he can’t leave as he has to take care of his family. Then the rock seller shows up and reveals his true identity, Brock’s Father. He tells Brock to go off and pursue his dreams and that he will take care of the family from here on out.
Later that night, Ash and Brock start leaving Pewter City. They are followed by Misty who insists that she will follow Ash until he pays her back for what he did to her bike. Ash and Brock try to lose Misty as they run away, and the episode ends there.
I do love how they gave Brock some background story and character development. Those things didn’t exist in the game as Brock served only as a boss that the player has to fight. That and I really liked how they depicted the interior of the Pewter City Gym. Although the tactics they use in this episode are rather unconventional. Pikachu would have to be a ridiculously higher level than Onix and Geodude to do any damage to them with an electric attack. But overall I really liked this episode, the next review will be posted soon so stay tuned.