The episode begins with Officer Jenny making an important announcement with the news that there are dangerous Pokemon thieves on the loose and that people should take caution. Carrying on from the previous episode, Ash is then seen running toward her booth carrying his injured partner Pikachu. She quickly intercepts him, accusing him of being the Pokemon thief. He shows her Pikachu, to make her realize he's trying to help an injured Pokemon, and she then decides she needs some identification. Ash clarifies he has none, however Officer Jenny spots the Pokédex and opens it up to activate the trainer identification system. It gives the information that Ash is a trainer from Pallet Town and now clear of mind, Officer Jenny offers him a ride on her motorcycle to get to the Pokémon Center as fast as possible. As they head off, Misty is pictured in the distance chasing Ash to get her revenge over her stolen bicycle.
The sign that Officer Jenny had placed is then removed by figures in a hot-air balloon. This becomes the introduction for the main antagonists of the show. They are Jessie, James and Meowth of Team Rocket. Angered by this up rise against their cause, they decide they need to exact revenge on the town of Viridian. Meowth, being the one with his head on right, reminds them that their true cause is to find the rare Pokémon and capture it for Team Rocket.
We then return to Officer Jenny, who flies into the Pokémon Center still on her motorcycle, skidding to a halt to allow Ash to treat Pikachu. Nurse Joy and Chansey then disappear into the emergency room with Pikachu so see what they can do, after a stern telling off by Joy. Feeling down, Ash farewells Officer Jenny and uses the phone to call his mum. She attempts to cheer him up, which doesn't work, so she puts him on to Professor Oak.
It turns out that the other three trainers, who had all beaten Ash to the orientation day of choosing their Pokémon, had already beaten him to this town as well. Professor Oak and his mum still congratulate, however, as the event is still a pleasant surprise giving his quick timing. Remembering due to the large stone tablet behind him (depicting Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos and Arcanine) Ash retells his story so far and brings up the golden bird he'd seen flying across the sky. Oak is then somewhat rude to Ash, stating there is no way he could have seen such a Pokémon as trainers who have spent a lifetime looking for it have not.
Following the end of his call to Professor Oak, Ash is confronted by Misty. She demands a new bike, with Ash explaining that while Pikachu is recovering there is nothing he can do about it. Due to her love of Pokémon Misty quickly changes moods, feeling sad for Pikachu.
Suddenly, Officer Jenny is brought back into it as she states the Pokémon thieves are at it again and that everyone needs to be on alert. This is interrupted by Team Rocket making an entrance, with their Pokémon Ekans and Koffing out with them and begin to sing their iconic motto. They announce their plans to take Pokémon and destroy the place. Nurse Joy, Ash and Misty quickly remove Pikachu to a room to hide. The power is then abruptly cut, with the building running off backup power which is generated through a plethora of Pikachu kept at the center. Nurse Joy decides the best action is to call an emergency evacuation, teleporting all the Pokemon to Pewter City. Team Rocket figures out where they are and breaks in, being fought off with the Pokémon which are supposed to be evacuating but lose however with Misty having to create a distraction for Ash to escape. Trying to evade Ekans and Koffing, Ash ends up tripping over the mangled bike Misty had left back at the front. This accident causes Pikachu to wake up, who calls out to his Pikachu brethren who shock Team Rocket. Pikachu then tells Ash to give him more power, requiring Ash to hop on the bicycle and pedal. This allows Pikachu to release a powerful electric surge at Team Rocket, which causes a large explosion. Officer Jenny finally arrives to help but is too late as Team Rocket make a hasty get away in their balloon still planning to steal Pikachu for their own purposes.
The end of the episode depicts the start of a new day, with the Nurse Jenny of Pewter City making contact to tell them the Pokémon are safe. Ash and Misty head off together into Viridian Forest with Officer Jenny worried for their safety. They then encounter a new Pokémon, called Caterpie, which causes Misty to scream and Ash to pick up one of his Pokéballs to try and catch this new Pokémon.
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