Every two weeks, I explore a new episode of Pokemon using the Fast Track Viewing List. This week, Pokemon Catch-Up is covering yet another big gym battle for Ash. Will he win his 6th badge? We’ll see!

Today’s episode: Season 1 (Indigo League), Episode 32: “The Ninja Poké-Showdown”

Synopsis

We open to Ash and his friends trying to find Fuchsia City and its gym. And as always, they’re in the woods and as always, they’re lost.

After a short break, Ash stands up and prompts the group to keep going. Misty waits for her Psyduck to drink some water and they’re off. Wait, Psyduck?

That’s right, so the Fast Track Viewing List is centered around Ash and his journey which means that an episode on Misty’s Psyduck wouldn’t cut it. You can watch episode 27: “Hypno’s Naptime” to see Psyduck’s origin story.

And there’s Vulpix. Brock acquired this Pokemon from Suzie in episode 28: “Pokemon Fashion Flash”. Misty tries to trade Brock’s Pokemon with her Psyduck. But Brock refuses.

Meanwhile, Ash and his friends are crossing a chasm on a plank of wood. Ash is visibly distressed while the rest don’t care. Finally, a large building comes into view.

The group enters the large complex of buildings and find it empty. Misty disappears through a secret door in one of the buildings. Inside, they find a Venonat. It runs off and beckons the group to follow it. They run after but Ash falls into a trap that shocks him, a Voltorb in the floor.

Ash runs into yet another trap upstairs, an invisible wall. Brock and Misty decide to run away with Ash but they are surrounded by invisible walls.

Ash leans on an actual wall and it falls over, almost throwing Ash to his death into the chasm they crossed earlier. But he hangs on and is saved.

He runs after Venonat in anger but falls into yet another trap!

Each one seemingly deadlier than the last. Aya, a ninja warrior jumps into the scene. Ash schools Aya on the safety of using throwing stars while Brock starts hitting on her.

It turns out, the building complex was a training ground and Aya will not let Ash leave until he battles her. Her Venonat steps out from behind her.

A few insults from Aya later, Ash accepts her challenge. One pokemon per each trainer. Ash calls out Bulbasaur. Aya chooses her Venonat.

Venonat uses Stun Spore and Bulbasaur somehow uses Whirlwind. It then uses Vine Whip but Venonat dodges. It shoots back with Psybeam.

Bulbasaur shakes it off and uses Leech Seed which wraps up Venonat.

Leech Seed saps Venonat’s power and Aya calls her Pokemon off. She grits her teeth and a Voltorb makes its appearance. It blows up and from within the smoke steps out a man, Aya’s brother.

The man informs the group that they will have to battle him in order to be allowed to leave the complex. It also turns out, he’s Koga, the Gym Leader. And the building complex is actually a Gym!

Meanwhile, Team Rocket set its site on the Gym and they get excited about stealing some poisonous Pokemon.

Ash calls out his Pidgeotto while Koga summons his Venonat. Venonat spontaneously evolves into a Venomoth. A little strange, but okay. It uses Stun Spore and Pidgeotto responds with a Whirlwind. Pidgeotto still gets a face-full. One Sleep Powder later, and Ash is calling out Charmander.

Charmander counters the Stun Spore with a Flamethrower. And the ceiling of the building caves in, revealing Team Rocket in costumes singing their intro.

Meowth demands the poisonous Pokemon and Jessie and James fell over on it because the costumes did not allow for movement. They throw their costumes off and call out Arbok and Weezing. When Pikachu, Charmander, and Venomoth try to attack, Jessie and James cover them with what looks like String Shot.

Misty tries to call out a Starmie, but Psyduck makes it way out! Psyduck cowers behind Misty and that just sets her off.

Ash asks Pokedex for Psyduck’s attacks which Misty calls out at the Pokemon. Psyduck tries to use Tail Whip but fails. Its Scratch attack fails as well as Arbok grabs its head with its mouth.

Koga pulls on a rope and a score of Voltorb fall from the ceiling.

Jessie uses String Shot again and pulls all the Voltorb toward her. The Voltorb blows up.

Meanwhile, Ash and his friends walk into a slanted room with Koga. He tries to take the gunk off his Pokemon but it’s stuck.

Team Rocket blast into the room with all the Voltorb they encountered earlier. Meowth throws one on the ball like a bowling ball and it blows up on Ash, Misty, and Brock.

Misty tries to recall Psyduck but he won’t go back and ends up in the arms of Team Rocket.

Meowth kicks Psyduck away which causes him to have a headache. Which triggers a series of Psyduck’s Psychic attacks. And eventually, he makes Team Rocket blast off.

Psyduck also rids the Pokemon of the gunk. Ash and his friends find out that headaches affect Psyduck’s abilities.

Koga and his sister offer for Psyduck but Misty refuses.

Ash and Koga resume their match outside with Golba on Koga’s side and a Charmander on Ash’s side.

Golbat uses Wing Attack and Charmander uses Ember while spinning in a circle. It keeps Golbat away until it uses Screech attack. Charmander response with Flamethrower but accidentally scorches Brock.

It then uses Fire Spin and traps the Golbat in a tornado of fire.

Koga thanks the group for their help with Team Rocket and gives Ash a soul badge.

Our heroes continue along in their Pokemon journey.

I found this episode to be kind of fun and telling. Misty’s and Psyduck’s relationship was always on the rocks in the entire series; however, in this episode already, they’re building that long-lasting bond.

Meanwhile, Ash actually beat his opponent for a badge!

Trivia

  • Misty’s Psyduck escapes his Pokeball for the first time in the series! He will do so again and again.
  • The Gym is located in Fuchsia City in the game; however, the city was never shown in this episode and won’t appear until nearly 400 episodes later