Welcome to Pokemon Catch-Up for another article reviewing yet another episode of Pokemon. Don’t worry, we have almost two hundred episodes to go.

I’m using the Fast Track Viewing List which outlines only the most important episodes in the series. It was created by a reddit user and has since then come to be known by all Pokemon redditors.

On a side note, we’ve so far done every episode from the beginning but we’ll actually skip episode 6 in lieu of episode 7. Episode 6 is a side story about the mythology behind Clefairy and the moon stone that evolves it.

Today’s episode: Season 1 (Indigo League), Episode 5: “Showdown in Pewter City”

Synopsis

As you might imagine by the episode title, today’s episode features Ash squaring off against Brock. But before he gets to Brock, we have a story to follow.

The episode starts out with Team Rocket digging one of their iconic holes.

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Fun fact, this is the first time we see Team Rocket employing this successful technique. I say successful because they get people to fall in them, it’s the rest that Team Rocket usually messes up. They are setting up their trap for Ash who they know is on his way to Pewter City.

The kicker? They lose track of where their trap lies and fall into it themselves! I do wonder if we’ll see them again this episode.

The scene switches to Ash who had just arrived at Pewter City and what a beautiful city is.

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When Ash sits down with Pikachu and Misty looks on the city, we meet a stranger with a thick beard and a husky voice.

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This man introduces us to Pewter City, a town grey in color just like stone. Apparently, Pewter City is pretty famous for its stone. The man’s name is Flint and he sells rocks as souvenirs. I think we can appreciate the theme here.

Flint takes the trio to the Pokemon center so that Pikachu can get some rest which is when we meet Nurse Joy…errr…the other Nurse Joy. Well, you see, there are many Nurse Joy and they’re all related.

But enough about that. As Ash explores the center, he notices a peculiar poster.

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Yep! We get our first introduction to the Pokemon League and Ash finds out all about the gyms, and how winning against a gym will yield a badge that can be used to enter the Regional Championship. So Ash decides to challenge the Pewter City gym leader, Brock.

Flint laughs in Ash’s face when he hears that and after he leaves, Ash and Misty go out for lunch. Misty offers her advice about gym leaders but Ash, obviously, doesn’t need any help. But anyways, what does Misty know about gyms, right? Right?

Back in the Pokemon center, Pikachu is doing great!

Ash decides to visit the Pewter City gym and its leader: Brock.

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Brock quickly schools Ash on the nature of official league competition and notes that while Pikachu is cute, it won’t win. The gym transforms itself into a field of rocks and sand and the match starts.

Ash chooses Pikachu, obviously, while Brock calls forth Onix. Pikachu is a little surprised and a little scared to be facing such an enormous opponent.

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Pikachu runs away and tries to call forth Pidgeotto by climbing up Ash’s leg and attempting to take the Pokeball. Onix wraps itself around Pikachu whose electric attack does no damage. When Ash can’t take seeing Pikachu hurt anymore, he surrenders and the match is over.

The boy carries his Pikachu when he runs into Flint again who helps take care of the Pokemon.

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Our hero takes the loss heavily. The upside is that throughout the show, he’s definitely learned how to bounce back from failure but he’s not there yet. Ash wonders why, if Brock is so good, he’s never been in a regional championship himself. It just doesn’t make sense.

And that’s when we get some backstory on the hardcore rock-type gym leader.

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It turns out, Brock spends his time taking care of his family. He has ten little brothers and sisters. Let me just show you this awesome screenshot with Brock in action:

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First of all: wow, that’s a lot of siblings. Second of all, where are the parents? Brock’s father left for a Pokemon journey and his mother died soon after. Ash finds all this out from Flint. I wonder how he knew all of this.

Anyways, Ash decides that if he can power-up Pikachu enough, he can beat Brock in a match.

Flint and Ash make their way to a rudimentary hydro-electric plant. The two hook Pikachu up to a generator and Ash manually spins the water mill since the river is too low.

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As you can see, Ash is very hands-on with his training. Pikachu has a hard time absorbing the power but they keep it up.

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Misty walks up to Ash and offers her help again but Ash is stubborn as always, refusing Misty’s help.

The next day, Ash challenges Brock again. Brock opens with Geodude and Ash opens with Pidgeotto. But it turns out flying Pokemon are weak against rock types. Geodude easily overpowers Pidgeotto.

Next up? Pikachu. But whatever Ash did seems to have worked because in a single attack, Geodude faints!

Brock calls Geodude back and sends out Onyx. This is it. Pikachu opens with a powerful electric attack.

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The attack hits Onix but also the playing field and almost Ash. It seems to not be in control of its new-found power. Like before, Onix wraps itself around it using Bind. Pikachu exhausts all of its electrical charge but Onix keeps its Bind.

Brock stops the match because he doesn’t want to hurt Ash’s Pokemon. It seems like the match is done. However, one of Pikachu’s electric bolts seems to have hit the ceiling and started a small fire. You guessed it, the sprinklers go off and soak Onix.

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Misty calls out to Ash from the stands, letting him know that rock Pokemon are weak to water. Pikachu shocks Onix and the Pokemon is suddenly on the verge of fainting.

Just as Ash is about to call Pikachu to finish it off, Brock’s siblings stop him. Well, Ash thinks it’s his conscience but it turns out to be Brock’s siblings. They call Ash a bully.

Brock tells his siblings to let Ash go so they can finish the match. It’s an official match after all.

In an uncharacteristic move, Ash calls Pikachu back. He remembered how, just a few seconds ago, Brock called of its Onix when Pikachu was down. Good on you, Ash!

Ash quickly admits to Brock that had the sprinklers not gone off, he would have lost and that he’d beat him fair and square next time.

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Our hero decides to leave town but the gym leader catches up to him and gives him the Boulder badge. Ash refuses it, he didn’t beat Brock in a fair match.

But Brock admits defeat and recognizes that Ash is, somehow, more kind to Pokemon than he is. Brock confesses that he is more interested in raising Pokemon and would like to leave Pewter City to pursue his dreams of becoming the world’s best breeder. Alas, he can’t leave because he has to take care of his siblings.

Brock offers the badge and tells Ash to fulfill his dream. The boy agrees.

But before we leave our hero to his adventures, Flint makes his last appearance. He takes off his shaggy beard and his hat to reveal…

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Gasp! it’s Brock’s father! It turns out, Flint was too embarrassed to come back home after he failed to become a champion. He offers to finally take up the responsibility of being a father and take care of the kids while Brock can go off. As a side note, this is pretty bad. I mean, Brock has been watching all these kids, sacrificing any childhood/teenagerhood he had and all the while, Flint was just on the edge of town selling rocks.

Brock doesn’t hesitate to quickly recite all of his siblings’ individual needs.

Ash and Brock team up for their journey while Misty still trails along, waiting to get her bike replacement.

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So our trio is complete and we have the full crew ready to take on the Kanto region! It’s amazing to see the start of their friendship, especially since Brock stayed on the anime all the way through Pokemon XYZ and who knows, possibly into Sun & Moon.

Don’t forget that we’re skipping episode 6 which covers the travel through Mt. Moon and going straight to Cerulean City.