Challenge of the Samurai
Following the strong set trend of last episode, this episode begins with the familiar screaming of Misty in response to the bugs of Viridian Forest. Ash takes advantage of this by making jokes toward her when a Weedle suddenly appears. His first choice for the battle is Pikachu but the little mouse-like creature is asleep, so he declares he's happy because he still has two other Pokémon who would be more than happy to do it for him. Misty's attraction for Bug Pokémon continues, as Weedle shows a liking toward her. Typical Misty runs off to hide away from the big scary bug while Ash calls out Pidgeotto to help him gain his next catch of the forest.
Feeling safe at a distance, Misty allows herself to relax when suddenly she has a sword pointed toward her. She looks up to meet Samurai, with a fire in his eyes who demands to know if she is from the place of Pallet Town. She of course says no, to which he apologizes for the inconvenience before walking off. It then clicks with Misty, who realizes the trainer he is looking for is none other than Ash.
Back at the battle ground, Ash has just defeated his foe. He readies himself to capture another friend when the samurai suddenly appears on the scene wanting to know if he's from Pallet Town. Ash says yes, with Misty running into the scene screaming at Ash to watch himself. The samurai points his sword again, issuing his challenge of a battle. Ash quickly remembers Weedle and turns around but it's already made it's escape. This riles up Ash, who turns around to shout at the samurai and blame him for the loss of a could-be Pokémon partner. The samurai, however, turns it around and says it's because Ash is a poor trainer. With tempers flaring, the only way to sort it out is to accept the challenge and battle it out.
Ash having developed a love of Pidgeotto's strength and determination, calls it out immediately. The samurai calls out Pinsir, a rare Bug type Pokémon. With the simple use of Tackle, Pinsir takes it out. Ash follows this up by sending out his newly evolved Metapod and tells it to use the move Harden. Pinsir proceeds to pick it up to crush it though the hardened shell proves too much and breaks it's horns. Samurai calls Pinsir back to it's Pokéball and then sends out his second Pokémon, another Metapod. This leads to a stagnant battle field, with both trainers continuously calling out Harden. In a comical mockery of the situation, Misty and Pikachu settle down on deckchairs to get in some sun baking.
As this drawn out battle pursues, we find out that Team Rocket is looting around the forest with a tank they've made out of cardboard, which is suggested to be tough enough to protect them from any Beedrill attacks. They debate a little, as they move on in search of Pikachu.
Back at the battle, nothing has progressed with both Metapods just hardening to a point of diamond-like strength. Given the dangers the forest presents, they suddenly find themselves in the path of an entire swarm of Beedrill. The samurai explains that the Weedle must have retreated to it's family for revenge, both trainers grab their Metapod and run for it. They manage to escape, cleverly hiding behind a bush, which halts being clever once they realize it's the nest of a group of Kakuna who choose that unfortunate time to evolve and break their cocoon to become Beedrill. Ash's Metapod has bounced too close and he calls out to it. They manage to make it away in one piece, taking shelter in the home of the samurai. Though Ash's Metapod is still at the nest.
Inside the cabin, the samurai confronts Ash again pointing out how useless he is for letting the Weedle get away. He furthers this by saying he's a huge moron for getting his Metapod into a dangerous situation like that. This leads him to remember where Ash is from, so he reminisces about the other trainers from Pallet Town and how amazing they were. He says how the battles were brilliant, which is why he was looking for the next trainer from that town. Ash quietens down and resolves that he will save Metapod tomorrow.
At the break of morning, we find Ash sneaking back to the nest to carry out his rescue attempt. With their terrible timing, Team Rocket turns up and begins their chant. He tells them to stop before the Beedrill wake up, which only encourages them to sing it louder. This of course gets the desired affect, angering the freshly awakened Beedrill. They swoop to attack, with Ash dodging out of the way and Team Rocket being entangled with the mess. Team Rocket unperturbed put on their tank, which has been eaten by Weedle and so they make a dash for it. Ash retrieves his Metapod, saying it was samurai's fault he was left behind. Ash ends up tripping over a rock, which makes him realise he shouldn't be blaming other Pokémon and makes a self promise to always look after his friends and put them first from this day on. Metapod is emotionally moved by his vow as the others from the cabin arrive after looking for Ash. They warn him as a Beedrill flies down to attack him but is blocked by Metapod who hurls himself into the Beedrill's path to protect his trainer. Beedrill's stinger is broken in the collision, but so is Metapod's cocoon as a huge hold is opened. Ash is upset by this turn of events, fearing the worst for his friend. He is relieved, however, when a Butterfree emerges. The swarm is making it's return as Butterfree shows Ash it wants to take them on in battle. He agrees and tells it to use Sleep Powder. This proves effective and puts the group into a deep sleep. Having watched the display, the samurai's view of Ash changes by the event and he finds himself finally having respect for him as a trainer.
The episode ends with the pair promising each other to meet up again one day for another battle, one which will be of an epic nature. It then flips over to Team Rocket, who are hiding out in Kakuna replicating suits, but to no avail as they are once again attacked as the episode draws to a close.