Pokémon Recaps Through Adult Goggles: Episode 2 – Pokémon Emergency!
After watching a VHS tape designed to brainwash kids into loving Pokémon, I felt inclined to revisit the beloved anime series from my childhood. Pokémon: Indigo League, season one of the long running series, is the only one I finished, mostly because Brock left early in season two and the promo talking about it will forever haunt my dreams. I’ll be going through each episode in detail, so if you’ve never seen a solitary minute of this show or you’ve watched ’em all, I invite you to join my Pokémon Journey through yesteryear. Let the recaps begin!
Episode 2: Pokémon Emergency!
After Ash and Pikachu presumably murder a flock of Spearow, they arrive in Viridian City. Over the loudspeaker, a police officer yells about shady individuals who might be stealing Pokémon. She stops Ash as he runs by with a severely wounded Pikachu because children are suspicious apparently. She asks for ID, which is his Pokédex that Oak gave him previously. She knows this right away. Ash of course doesn’t know this because he doesn’t know shit. The Pokédex IS named Dexter after all, as the device briefly explains its purpose to them. The officer also remarks how Ash is the fourth person from Pallet Town to come through, further exemplifying his awfulness. They get into her motorcycle and she gives instructions to “sit back, hold on, and don’t yell!” Upon pulling out of the garage, Ash immediately yells and by episode two you already know what a fucking failure he will become.
The still unnamed redhead girl appears holding her now completely burned bicycle and yelling at Ash. Once she leaves, a random hook slowly descends and grabs a wanted poster which has two glamour shots of people wearing ugly shits with an R plastered in the middle. In a blimp with giant Meowth head keeping it afloat, the two “criminals” in the photo discuss their plans of evil out loud to themselves. A Meowth is also there and inexplicably speaks in full sentences. He asks them to remember that he’s the “top cat” and then just says his name for no reason.
Approaching the Pokémon Center, the officer displays little understanding of how parking or safety works by just driving INTO the building and stoping at the front desk. The nurse surprisingly makes a comment about it, but then just goes about her regular business. Pikachu is taken away on a stretcher by two Chansey, presumably there by force and with no pay, and the nurse chastises Ash for bringing in such an injured Pokémon. The officer notices she left the bike at the front desk and attempts to make a joke that no child would ever laugh at.
Ash sits in the absolutely desolate waiting room while a Pidgey clock literally says Pidgey eight times to tell you it is indeed eight o’clock. He places a phone call to his mom who makes mention of his absent father that we’ll never hear about again. She tells Ash to not get discouraged and consoles like any mother would. “Honey, you’re growing up right before my eyes! Spreading your wings and soaring like a Spearow!” Two things. First, no. He will grow up without you there to witness anything because this is a cold and dark world you inhabit where children are sent on suicidal monster training excursions. Second, a Spearow? Come on. Too soon Mrs. Ketchum. Too fuckin’ soon.
Ash notices a mural with four Pokémon on it: Arcanine, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. Ash, being an idiot, knows none of them and misidentifies Articuno as the Ho-Oh he saw in the last episode. Gary continues to be right, what a fucking loser. Oak calls the Center and for some reason there is a hidden screen behind the Arcanine picture. Why. He is astonished that Ash made it there so quickly and for some reason had bet Gary one million dollars that Ash would have captured at least one new Pokémon before reaching Viridian City. “Well, money isn’t everything right?” says a clearly depressed Ash. Oak then also makes fun of Ash for his claim that he saw an Articuno, even though he thinks it was Ho-Oh. The call is cut short because, of course, Oak’s pizza has arrived. It’s anchovy, spinach and pineapple pizza which he says in what I assume is a joke.
Redhead girl shows up, yells at Ash a whole lot about her bike, and falls over in another attempt at humor. Even for kids, this is pretty unbearable. The nurse wheels Pikachu out and explains that the “procedure” went well, whatever that means. Moments later, the two criminals in a blimp appear and break into the Center. Meowth reminds them he’s the top cat again, no one cares. Members Team Rocket, Jessie and James release a Koffing and Ekans to start the attack and then launch into their signature intro monologue that everyone just listens to willingly:
Jessie: To protect the world from devastation.
James: To unite all peoples within our nation.
Jessie: To denounce the evils of truth and love.
James: To extend our reach to the stars above
Jessie: Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light!
James: Surrender now or prepare to fight!
Meowth: Meowth! That’s right!
This is a recurring trend that continues to become more and more tiresome before even its first incantation is complete. Also, confusingly, part of this mantra appears to have good intentions, but it’s clear we are supposed to root against them. They say they’re after rare and unusual Pokémon so attacking a hospital for injured ones makes perfect sense. Koffing fills the room with what is presumably poison gas and Ekans destroys valuable computer equipment in an instant. Ash and company flee to a room full of Poké Balls and the power is abruptly cut. The nurse says they have their own “pika-power” and the ethics of the Pokémon Center and called strongly in question. Multiple Pikachu are shown powering up the building on some unexplained device in a march-like fashion. Again, this appears to be against their will and, to the viewers knowledge, they seem to have just been sitting there doing nothing beforehand. Are they just waiting for power to go out? Is that there entire existence in this life? Pikachu gotta be kidding me.
Also, the Pokémon Centers have some super advanced tech that allows the transfer of Poké Balls straight to another Center. This should be used for literally anything else and it’s not. They try and send as many as possible out to the nearby Pewter City, but Jessie and James find them quickly. Ash then stats lobbing what are assumed to be injured and resting Pokémon from their balls into battle with Koffing and Ekans. All of them run away immediately and Team Rocket just laughs at Ash’s shittiness. Ash also says “Poké Ball go!” every goddamn time he throws one, as though the ball is sentient and needs a command to open. The redhead throws out a Goldeen, which is a fish. it flops around, says it’s name several times, and then she calls it back.
You might guess she was doing it to buy time for Ash and the nurse to run, but you’d be wrong. The moment Ash runs away, Koffing and Ekans are on him in seconds, so I don’t know what she was doing at all. Ash runs into the burned bike and the slave Pikachu from before all jump down on the injured Pikachu. Actual clown music plays and, with extremely happy faces, the Pikachu all send horrifying electric shocks over to Team Rocker and their Pokémon. Ash’s Pikachu is now totally fine and then says “Pika” about seven times in a row as Meowth approaches to presumably murder someone. Ash somehow interprets this as “pika-power” and hops on the destroyed bike to pedal a whole bunch. This, of course, creates electricity because science. Pikachu sits on top of the bike, powers up, and then levels the entire building to the ground.
The police officer shows up to make a joke about not being too late for the fireworks. How crass. Somehow, Jessie and James are seen flying away in their blimp in the next scene and are fine. They discuss Pikachu and his extraordinary power before the balloon randomly gets a hole in it that sends them flying to their would-be doom if this show made any sense. The nurse calls her sister, also a nurse who looks identical because saving money on character animation was needed in the ’90s, and finds out the Pokémon were transferred safely. It’s not explained how she survived the massive explosion. She also says Ash and Misty, the name of the girl that no one ever said this entire episode until now, are heading their way. It is unexplained how they also survived the “fireworks show”. The officer says they should be able to take pretty good care of themselves, despite having absolutely no knowledge to back this claim up.
In the Viridian Forest, Ash and Misty run into a wild Caterpie. Misty cries about it being gross and Ash, having learned nothing at all, just throws a Poké Ball at it. He says “Poké Ball go!” again and the episode mercifully ends. Nothing of real consequence happened other than introducing what will become the staple villains of the show who suck from their first outing to their last.
Tune in next time as Ash attempts to actually be a Pokémon trainer!