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Recap / Pokémon S1E63 "The Battle of the Badge"

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I'd like to test out this Pokémon of mine in battle. And go ahead, use more than one Pokémon if you're afraid of losing."

Japanese Title: Tokiwa Gym! The Last Badge!

Original Airdate: September 17th, 1998

US Airdate: September 25th, 1999
Dude, that's messed up.

Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, is revealed to be the Leader of Viridian Gym. He also has possession of a unique Pokémon that handily destroys Gary. But he must depart for other duties, so he leaves Jessie, James, and Meowth in charge of his Gym when Ash shows up to claim the Earth Badge, the final badge he needs to enter the Indigo Plateau Conference.

This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adapted Out: Out of all the Pokémon that Giovanni uses in Red & Blue, only Rhydon made it to the anime. The others seen in this episode (Golem, Kingler, Machamp, and Cloyster) are unique to the anime.
  • Adult Fear: Misty losing Togepi is almost like being separated from your child in a large city.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Team Rocket is this to Ash when Giovanni has to step aside, incidentally their status as Gym Leaders are also revealed.
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  • Break the Haughty: Gary is clearly shaken after what's probably his first loss, as well as by being Mind Raped by Mewtwo.
  • Character Development: This episode is the turning point when Ash and Gary's relationship would start to evolve beyond petty rivalry.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The remote control detonator.
  • Collapsing Lair: The Team Rocket-controlled Viridian Gym is destroyed after Ash defeats Jessie.
  • Continuity Nod: In Japan, this episode aired two months after Pokémon: The First Movie debuted in theaters, for which the flip was true when it aired in North America. Gary is briefly shown among the montage of trainers being defeated by Giovanni and Mewtwo. This episode expands on the fight, indicating the movie's canonicity.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Mewtwo delivers one to Gary.
  • Determinator: Even after being electrocuted, Ash still continues his battle with Team Rocket, impressing Gary.
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  • Deus Exit Machina: Giovanni leaves the gym to attend to emergency business, conveniently getting him out of the way so that Ash doesn't have to face him for the Earth Badge.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Team Rocket traps Ash in a platform that electrocutes him whenever his Pokémon take damage during the battle; however, this plan backfires because James also rigged Jessie's own platform to do the same to her, because he never thought Ash would actually turn the tables on them this time (they were using stronger Pokémon loaned to them by Giovanni instead of their own, weaker ones, making them more confident).
    Jessie: AAAAAAH! James! Why did you set it up to give shocks on both sides?! Turn it off! TURN IT OFF!
    James: I didn't think it would matter! It never occurred to me that we could lose!
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Discounting Mewtwo and Mew's appearance in the opening theme song, this episode marks Mewtwo's first appearance in the anime, beginning the countdown for the movie.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Mewtwo's armour is a lot more cartoony in this episode, than the elaborate design seen elsewhere.
  • Electric Torture: The platforms Ash and Jessie battle on have been rigged to give electric shocks to the trainer whose Pokemon is currently being attacked.
  • Eye Catch: The Who's That Pokémon? is Arcanine in the Japanese version and Mr. Mime in the dub.
  • Eyelid Pull Taunt: It's hard to make out since she's seen from behind, but Jessie does this when refusing to give Ash the Earth Badge.
  • Genre Blind: Apparently only one platform was supposed to be set up to give out electric shocks, but James set both of them up that way because, as he puts it; "it never occurred to me that we would lose."
  • Impact Silhouette: Jessie makes one after falling from the building near the beginning of the episode.
  • Karma Houdini: As always, Giovanni manages to avoid legal punishment for doing things that are illegal. His status as Team Rocket's boss aside, he uses an unknown Pokemon that cannot be identified by any Pokè Dex and is not sent out by a Pokè Ball like regular Pokemon against unsuspecting trainers and he has that Pokemon physically harm the trainers. This goes against legal conduct for a Gym Leader but Giovanni somehow manages to keep Mewtwo's existence and his usage of it a secret.
  • Kick the Dog: Giovanni not only uses Mewtwo to attack Gary, but also his innocent cheerleading squad.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Gary's response to Giovanni baiting him into going against Mewtwo (as quoted at the top of the page) is an indignant "I'm not afraid of anything!"
  • No Fair Cheating: Team Rocket's not afraid to resort to dirty tactics to keep Ash from winning. Even when they fail, Jessie still refuses to hand over the badge. She drops it when the trio are sent blasting off again, allowing him to claim it.
    Ash: Hey, that's cheating!
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We don't see exactly what Mewtwo did to Gary and his cheerleaders that rendered all of them unconscious, as the scene ends just as Mewtwo begins its attack on Gary's Pokémon.
  • Oh, Crap!: Gary, as he watches Mewtwo make short work of his Arcanine and Nidoking and realizes what he's up against.
  • Pet the Dog: Gary gets quite a few of these moments —
    • When he sees Ash getting shocked by the platform, he shows concern for his well-being.
    • He tackles Meowth to prevent him from blowing up the platform that Ash is standing on.
    • Gary admits to himself that Ash is actually a pretty good trainer.
    • He yells for everyone to evacuate when the gym starts collapsing at the end of the episode.
  • The Reveal: Giovanni's face is shown fully for the first time, as well as his status as both leader of Team Rocket and Viridian City Gym Leader.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The Machamp, Kingler, and Rhydon Giovanni loaned to the Team Rocket trio high tail it out of the arena after Pikachu lets off the finishing blow to them and the Team Rocket trio.
  • Sequel Hook: Giovanni's absence, which is used to set up Pokémon: The First Movie.
  • The Unfought: Only Gary battles Giovanni. Ash, much to his disappointment, gets stuck battling Jessie, James, and Meowth for the badge instead.
  • Those Two Guys: The two men who stop Ash from following Gary into the gym, as only one trainer can be allowed inside at a time.

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