Pokemon Emergency!

Continuing on from the previous episode, Ash is rushing to Viridian City in hopes of getting Pikachu to a Pokemon Centre as soon as possible. As he reaches the city limit heís stopped by an Officer named Jenny. She asks for his ID, Ash doesnít think he has any, though Jenny spies the Pokedex in his pocket and shows him how it can be used as an ID. She apologises as she was on lookout for suspicious Pokemon thieves (she overblows this a little really as Ash looks nothing like the people on the wanted poster) and gives him a ride to the Pokemon Centre on her motorcycle. As they drive off, the girl from the previous episode just catches up with her wrecked bike.

We get a closer view of the wanted poster as its being hooked away from the board. The two ďsuspiciousĒ individuals in question survey the poster in their hot air balloon. They are Jessie and James, members of Team rocket with their Pokemon, a talking Meowth. Jessie teases James about the picture catching the real side of him and James coolly mentions possibility of revenge. Meowth chimes in and tells the duo to remember they are there to steal precious and rare Pokemon. Itís clear from this first scene that the actors havenít really gotten acquainted or settled into their characters yet. The lines are a bit dry, Meowth especially who gives a lousy line delivery with an awkward pause and bad gag.

Meanwhile Jenny zooms into the Pokemon Centre. Ash remarks the Centre is huge, this is possibly the biggest Pokemon Centre seen in the series, most are big, but donít tower over everything quite like Viridanís, though this is fixed by the end of the episode. The Nurse is indignant at Officer Jennyís entrance, but she and Ash insist this is due to Pikachu needing medical care fast. She quickly arranges a bed for Pikachu. The Nurse then lectures Ash on letting his Pokemon get so worn out, figuring itís from too many battles. Ash tries to explain and asks to help, but the Nurse tells him whatís past is past and to leave it to her. Itís good to see as main character Ash isnít infallible or that everyone will let him get away with rookie mistakes. The lesson of responsibility is something Ash starts to learn early on in the series.

In the meantime Ash waits around for news of Pikachuís condition, he decides to call home (the dub has a very annoying phone ring by the way), his mother is overjoyed at receiving a call and praises him for getting to Viridian already. Ash isnít so confident in his skills but his mother tells him to have a little more confidence and keep going. Right after Oak calls and briefly speaks to Ash, heís pleased he got so far and scoffs at Ashís suggestion of the Pokemon he saw at the end of the last episode. Itís a random exchange but the beginning of a good friendship between the two. Then the girl from last episode turns up with her wrecked bike, about ready to wreck Ash herself for it when he mentions he had to get Pikachu to the Centre fast. She calms down but before they can really talk the bad guys bust in. Thus we meet Jessie, James and Meowth, members of the fearsome Team Rocket.

During the early episodes of the series, the Team Rocket trio are played more serious and initially pose more of a threat to Ash and Co. James is still vain and Jessieís still mean but those parts of their personas have a bit more edge. Even their Pokemon put up a good fight in this episode. Nurse Joy is desperate to get all the Pokemon sent to Pewter City Pokemon Centre, meanwhile, caught out with few Pokemon. Ash and the girl known as Misty throw a few random pokeballs in hopes of getting a good Pokemon, till Misty actually remembers she has some Pokemon, though even those end up getting defeated. The little (so cute) Pikachu that helped shock the power generator of the centre back into operation after Team Rocket broke in then all belly flops on Ashís Pikachu and thundershock him awake. Pikachuís near death experience seems to have had some effect as itís now listening to Ash and generally of a more cute and cheery disposition. It takes on both Ekans and Koffing, then jumps onto Mistyís wrecked bike and manage to communicate to Ash it wants some pedal power (apparently a bike light is a massive power source in the Pokemon world). It lets rip another highly charged attack, which sends the villains ďBlasting off againĒ for the very first time. Though the Pokemon Centre is now wrecked. Ash apologises to Joy for the hassle, and Officer Jenny returns to give them a quick ride to the outskirts of town.

I always though Ash got off quite lightly in this episode, considering Pikachu played a part in the Pokemon Centreís destruction, but I suppose Joy and Jenny understand it was exceptional circumstances and couldnít be helped. In any case Misty and Ash are dropped off by Viridian Forest and told to make their way through there for Pewter. They get a little ways in to the forest when Ash spots a Caterpie and goes to catch it, ending on a cliffhanger.

While the series always ends with the ďTo be continuedĒ tag, this is one of few episodes outside of proper 2 part episodes that starts a second storyline after the main episode to end in a cliffhanger. Itís a good hook though and many people saw this episode first so I imagine that spurred on a lot more kids to watch. This episode also introduces us to Misty, so now we have 2/3ís of the main characters for the first 9 seasons and introduced to Team Rocket, whom while in an earlier form certainly make their impression as they are practically in every episode of Pokemon made forever after.