Today, I’m going to cover yet another episode of Pokemon from the Fast Track Viewing List, a community-curated list of “important” episodes that can get you up to speed with the anime.

So far, we haven’t skipped any episodes but as we get through the first few episodes, we’ll quickly gain speed and skip several episodes at a time. Keep that in mind as you read through the titles of this article series.

Today’s episode: Season 1 (Indigo League), Episode 3: “Ash Catches A Pokemon”

Synopsis

Based on how the last episode left off and the title of this episode, you shouldn’t be surprised to see Ash catch his first Pokemon: an adorable little green critter called Caterpie.

We enter the scene to see Ash pull his hat back, throw a Pokeball at Caterpie that transforms into a red light and enters the Pokeball. We’re in Viridian Forest, and Misty along with Pikachu watch as the Pokeball stops shaking.

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Ash gets pretty excited about it and sees it as his first step toward being a Pokemon Master. We find out that Misty is horribly repulsed and grossed out by bug Pokemon.

Ash vows to catch many more friends to accompany him and Pikachu on their journey. He lets his brand-new Caterpie out of the ball and Misty goes running off almost immediately.

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In response, Caterpie runs up to Misty and starts rubbing up against her leg. It turns out Caterpie really likes Misty! Too bad its feelings of affection aren’t returned. Instead, Misty demonstrates her affection toward Pikachu. We’re left with a sad Caterpie being rejected.

We also find out that Misty doesn’t like carrots and peppers. Ash gets up in Misty’s face because he doesn’t want Caterpie’s feelings hurt. Caterpie climbs up on Ash’s shoulder and he decides to leave Misty behind.

Misty trails the group anyways. And when Ash finds out, they get into a verbal fight. It’s obvious the two of them aren’t getting along well.

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At night time, Ash and Misty setup their sleeping bags while Pikachu and Caterpie enjoy the beautiful full moon. We get to watch the two Pokemon become friends, joke around, and talk. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to Ash’s and Misty’s rocky start. We also get to watch how a Caterpie doesn’t mind being caught and have a Pokemon trainer. In fact, it seems pretty happy.

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Caterpie shares its dream of becoming a Butterfree and flying through the skies which is quite a touching scene but it despairs at its current situation: Misty doesn’t like it and Caterpie doesn’t know what to do to change that.

The next morning, Misty wakes up to Caterpie sleeping next to her and screams loud enough to wake everyone up.

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Caterpie’s struggle continues and finally, it relents and puts itself back into its Pokeball after Misty yells at it again. Throughout all this, Ash is pretty strongly defensive of Caterpie which is nice to see.

After Ash’s pep talk to Caterpie, a Pidgeotto lands nearby and Ash gets excited about catching it. As a sidenote, when Pidgeotto lands, it starts eating a worm, an actual worm, not another Pokemon.

Ash starts another one of his trends in this episode, sending out a type-mismatched Pokemon, when he sends a Caterpie to battle the Pidgeotto. And obviously, Caterpie gets the short of the stick in the battle.

After Caterpie gets its butt kicked, Ash calls out Pikachu who paralyzes Pidgeotto. Ash subsequently throws his Pokeball and catches it!

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As Ash does his happy dance, Misty scolds him for putting Caterpie in danger. We get a short lecture on Pokemon typing and Misty shows just how knowledgeable she is.

But wait, who is this entering the scene?

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After Team Rocket does their motto, Ash tries to blow them off. We find out that Team Rocket is after Pikachu because it’s “rare” and its powers are “impressive”. By the way, why hasn’t anyone remarked yet that the Meowth is talking?

Anyways, a battle ensues. Koffing and Ekans take Pikachu out right away by blinding it.

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Ash sends out his Pidgeotto who struggles to fight the uneven two-against-one fight. You see, Ash doesn’t want to break the one-on-one Pokemon battle rule. Unfortunately, Pidgeotto suffers a defeat because of that which is when Ash runs out to physically assault Jessie and James. They tell him to buzz off.

So Ash sends out a tired Caterpie who shakes in fear. It fires off a string shot, does a tackle and defeats both Koffing and Ekans. When Meowth tries to enter the fight, Caterpie takes him out as well!

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Team Rocket runs off, woohoo!

Ash commends Caterpie and so does Misty. In fact, Misty overcomes her fear and disgust of bug Pokemon and tries to pet it. That’s when Caterpie starts to evolve!

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I’d like to point out that this is probably one of the cooler evolution animations. Usually, the Pokemon just glow and their shapes turns into their evolution but Caterpie’s evolution involves shooting string shot all around itself until it forms the shape of a Metapod.

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Pikachu remembers Caterpie’s dream to evolve into a Butterfree one day and now, it’s on its way.

Before the episode ends, Misty remarks that Ash is different and that he really does love Pokemon. I think the episode is quite demonstrative of that.

The future looks bright for our heroes now, but, up ahead, the Viridan Forest is deeper and darker than they know and a dangerous new challenge is waiting.

Join me next time on Pokemon Catch-Up when I cover episode 4: “Challenge of the Samurai”.