Japanese Title: Hikozaru vs. Zangoose! Destined Battle!!
Original Airdate: October 18, 2007
US Airdate: February 1, 2008
The Hearthome Tag Battle Tournament continues, as does Ash's frustration with Paul's unwillingness to cooperate. But when things don't go well in the next battle, Paul decides he's had enough of Chimchar, forcing Ash to carry the tag battle all by himself. Perhaps this is exactly what the abused Fire type needs.
This episode contains examples of the following tropes:
- Brains and Brawn: Ash and Paul's second pair of opponents are clearly based on a Psychic and a Black Belt, a trainer duo that will be explicitly referred to as "Brains and Brawn" in future installments of Pokémon games.
- Doctor's Orders: Nurse Joy explicitly orders Paul to bench the injured and exhausted Chimchar in the next round of battles. Yeah, like Paul really gives a damn...
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even Team Rocket felt sorry for Chimchar and felt disgusted by Paul's harsh training methods.
- Facing Your Fears: Chimchar may be terrified of Zangoose, freezing up every time the big cat-mongoose gets near, but when it's Turtwig who's in trouble from Zangoose's Fire Blast, Chimmy jumps in to protect its partner.
- Heroic Second Wind: What got Paul interested in Chimchar — he saw the little fire monkey release a burst of Blaze power that took out an entire pack of Zangoose. Since then, he's been trying to force Chimchar to recreate that moment, with less-than-successful results.
- Rage Quit: Deciding that he's not going to get the battle performance he wants from Chimchar, Paul simply turns away in the middle of the battle and refuses to give it anymore commands, forcing Ash to take over and carry them to victory himself.
- Reality Ensues: As it turns out, putting a Pokémon through Training from Hell the night before sending it into battle against the species that it fears the most won't trip its Super Mode; it'll instead trigger a panicked Heroic BSoD.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Holly is impressed with Brock's compassion for Pokémon at least as much as for his skills in battle. No wonder she has hearts in her eyes the next day.
- Slasher Smile: Zangoose has this look during an up-close moment with Chimchar. No wonder the little guy looks terrified.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Once again, Paul refuses to cooperate with Ash, instead opting to follow his own cruel agenda.
- Training from Hell: Ash catches a glimpse of what Paul puts Chimchar through.
- Wham Episode: Paul finally releases Chimchar, and Ash offers it a spot on his team. This has a profound effect on Chimchar's development over the rest of the saga and completely reshapes the rivalry between Ash and Paul.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Paul gets this from everybody regarding his treatment of Chimchar. This includes Nurse Joy, who insists that Paul bench Chimchar for the next battle. Naturally, he doesn't listen.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Zangoose is the Pokémon that Chimchar fears the most, so of course that's the opponent that it faces.
- You Have Failed Me: Paul finally decides he's done and releases Chimchar, an action that the whole season was building towards.Paul: You're outta here.