Pokemon Episode 24 Analysis: Haunter Versus Kadabra

Pokemon ep 24 title

Gym Leader – REMATCH: Sabrina

Reappear?: No

Pokemon: Still Kadabra, and befriends/maybe ‘captures’ Haunter.

Badge:

Marsh_Badge-3

Plot: Ash has finally returned to Saffron City with his new Ghost Pokemon friend, Haunter, ready and raring to help him beat Sabrina and get a Marsh Badge.

Ash faces Sabrina yet again, despite the bet that yet again he, Misty and Brock will have to ‘play’ with her if he loses. Sabrina sends out Kadabra and Ash calls for Haunter….

…..And finds Haunter has literally left the building. Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Pikachu refuse to battle out of fear of both Sabrina and Kadabra. Left with no Pokemon to use (Because Pidgeotto doesn’t exist), Ash is forced to forfeit.

He and the others try to run away only to find that the Gym is going on lockdown to keep them in. Since Ash technically lost again, he has to keep his end of the bargain and play with Sabrina. Little Sabrina turns Misty and Brock into dolls. Just as she’s about to do the same to Ash, the same mysterious man from before shows up and teleports them out of there.

The man explains that Sabrina wasn’t always such a frightening person. She used to be a nice little girl, but then she developed her psychic powers quickly at a very young age, and she became consumed with her training. She wouldn’t let anyone stand in the way of her practice and even ended up pushing her parents away and destroying their house with her psychic powers.

Presented with a picture of Sabrina as a child with her parents that is identical to one Sabrina had in her room, the audience is made aware that this man is Sabrina’s father, even thought Ash is too dense to connect the dots.

Sabrina’s Father explains that the only way to save Misty and Brock is by beating Sabrina in a Pokemon battle – Meaning he has no choice but to find Haunter and face her once more.

Haunter is having fun messing with Team Rocket as they attempt to take Pikachu again, and Ash finds it after it causes them to fall from their window washing platform.

Meanwhile, Brock and Misty, now dolls in Sabrina’s dollhouse, meet Sabrina’s mom, who has also been turned into a doll.

Ash returns to the Gym and challenges Sabrina to yet another rematch. This time, if he wins, he not only gets the Marsh Badge, but Sabrina also has to turn Misty and Brock back to normal. However, the bet if he loses remains – If he loses, he also has to be turned into a doll.

She accepts and sends out Kadabra yet again for a one-on-one match. Ash chooses Haunter again….

And Haunter has gone missing yet again. On the verge of forfeit and doll-dom, Ash collapses in defeat, but Pikachu enters the arena, ready to battle. Ash tries to convince him not to do it, but Pikachu is determined to try and save his friend.

The battle begins and Pikachu starts with a Thundershock, but Kadabra easily avoids it with Teleport. Kadabra counters with Psywave, confusing Pikachu. Pikachu is able to get back up and hit Kadabra with a good Thunderbolt, but Kadabra is able to restore its energy with Recover.

Just as they’re about to go at it again, Haunter returns and starts making goofy faces at Sabrina. After detonating a (mostly harmless) bomb, Sabrina smiles and starts laughing. Sabrina’s dad appears again and expresses his great joy at seeing Sabrina finally smile again.

Ash is not pleased, though, because he still believes this means he’ll be turned into a doll. However, Sabrina’s father points out that Kadabra is incapacitated since Sabrina is laughing uncontrollably, and due to their psychic bond, he is doing the same.

The doll Sabrina smiles and vanishes, and Misty and Brock are returned to normal. Since Kadabra is unable to battle, Sabrina’s dad calls the match in Ash’s favor, winning him the Marsh Badge.

Now it’s on to Celadon City for Ash’s next Gym match!

—————————

Narrator: *recap* “Ash had a high-flying adventure…” Yeah, the adventure of borderline death.

– I think this is the first time in history someone’s said ‘You paralyzed her!’ immediately followed by ‘it’s not that big of a deal.’ And yes, those are in the same scene and context.

– Any reason why Ash let out all of his Pokemon (Besides Pidgeotto of course 😐 ) before he even got in the Gym?

– Did Kadabra get a voice change since the last Gym match? He sounds higher pitched and ridiculous.

– Ah, so Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle were let out so we could easily see that they’re too scared to fight. Still doesn’t justify him completely ignoring Pidgeotto.

– Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the only time that Ash has lost against a Gym Leader twice?

– Whoa whoa, wait. Back up a minute….Sabrina turned Misty and Brock into dolls….She also turned her mother into a doll….It’s safe to assume that all of the dolls in her toybox were once people….so that means….the naked lady in the bathtub from the last Gym episode….was a legit naked lady?…..I don’t know what to feel right now.

– Aw, it’s so cute to see Charmander playing with Squirtle and Bulbasaur napping. The only thing that could make it cuter is if Ash wasn’t a Pidgeotto-forgetting asswad.

– Looking back, it’d be rather easy to claim that Sabrina has deep-seated mental problems. Becoming emotionless, uncaring of others and incredibly destructive at such a young age is indicative of sociopathic tendencies. Plus, the fact that she views other people as mere objects for her amusement. It’s interesting, yet at the same time makes the finale of this episode all the more annoying.

Also, Sabrina chose at an incredibly young age to do all of those things. I can’t see why her personality would split into two beings; one of which being a more innocent child who merely wants to make friends. I can’t even tell when that picture that her father has was even taken considering how young she was when she became obsessed.

It’s like they’re trying to make a claim that Sabrina was forced into being this emotionless shell while also saying she made the choice to be that way. This would’ve worked a bit better if someone taught her to be that way instead of just saying she is that way by choice but that’s not really the way she is.

Or, hell, maybe that is a psychological issue. She made the choice to do those things, but she wouldn’t have if she were more mentally sound. She’s essentially a prisoner of her own mind, which is a bit poetic for a psychic….

Why does this show continuously make me feel like writing psychological analyses?

– Gotta love Haunter trying to straight up murder Team Rocket.

– Even though it’s clearly a pop gun, I’m very surprised 4Kids left in Haunter’s gun.

– Meowth: “She’s gonna die laughin’” Wow, and a mention of death? Ah, young 4Kids.

– Why does Ash just assume Haunter saved Pikachu from getting captured by Team Rocket? The only thing he confirmed about their presence was that they just fell 100 stories into solid concrete and that Haunter was there.

– Isn’t it weird that Sabrina has dark green hair but her mom has brown hair and her dad’s is dark blue? It’s interesting to note, however, that the young girl Sabrina/the Sabrina doll has blue hair. I have no clue why this is. I guess it’s possible she dyed it, but considering Sabrina’s personality I don’t see why she’d bother.

– Also, why does Sabrina’s father not seem at all concerned about his dollified wife? I imagine she’s been like that for probably over a decade.

– It is still very much unfair that Brock and Misty are even a part of this, let alone the only ones who turn into dolls. Ash is the one who keeps making these bets and Ash is the one who keeps losing yet Misty and Brock keep having to suffer for it. Hell, he forced them into coming with him in the Gym this time.

– Oh so now Pikachu’s all brave and will try to battle Kadabra to save his friends. Where were you in the last rematch?

– Why did Sabrina allow Kadabra to get hit this time? Last time, Pikachu couldn’t land a thing because Sabrina was commanding Kadabra to psychically direct all attacks away from it. There was plenty of notice given to redirect that Thunderbolt away with its psychic abilities, yet she commanded nothing.

– Okay, I’ve been wanting to lay into this ending for a long time. So let’s dive into ‘A Bunch of Stupid Reasons Why The Ending of The Marsh Badge Match is Crap’

1 – They avoid the two on one rule breaking by saying Haunter is just playing around, not battling, so it’s not really a two on one. However, not only has Haunter been accepted as being technically Ash’s Pokemon, for this match anyway, since he was trying to use him in battle, but also Haunter is clearly doing something to benefit Ash. If this were something negatively affecting both sides, there wouldn’t be an issue. But when you declare a Pokemon’s on your side and then that Pokemon starts doing something inside of the match that directly benefits you, that’s pretty much having another Pokemon on your side.

2 – Even if this weren’t technically cheating, the match should still be delegitimized on the grounds of the results of the match being influenced by an outside source. No, Haunter is not technically Ash’s Pokemon. But Pikachu is already partaking in this no-switching one on one match. The interference of another Pokemon making the opponent distracted or otherwise incapacitated, causing the debilitation of the other trainer’s Pokemon no less, should not be considered a legitimate victory.

A legit Pokemon victory is called when one trainer’s Pokemon KO’s or otherwise debilitates the opponent’s Pokemon. If the other Pokemon is weakened, KO’d, injured or otherwise debilitated by outside means, that means, technically, you did not win the match with your Pokemon. You won because of uncontrollable outside sources.

Imagine if this wasn’t Haunter goofing around. Imagine if Pikachu decided to sneak over to a Gym Leader while he was battling Ash and tried to distract him or did something to him to make his skills in the battle much worse. This would be seen as cheating or at least unfair and the match would be called off for third-party BS, even if Ash didn’t command Pikachu to do such a thing.

Case and point; Ash’s match against Brock. He found it to be cheating if he used the sprinkler activating and weakening Onix because he wouldn’t have been able to beat him if that accident, a third-party event, didn’t happen. Even if powering up his Pikachu with a water wheel is already on questionable ethical grounds.

3 – Does Kadabra not have a will of his own? In these two episodes only, psychics are the only ones who can control Psychic type Pokemon, and they do share a psychic link. However, just because Sabrina’s laughing doesn’t mean Kadabra should be laughing uncontrollably too. As an Abra, it was sleeping when it was released but Sabrina wasn’t sleeping. When Kadabra takes damage, Sabrina doesn’t feel it. They shouldn’t be linked that strongly for this laughing crap to work.

4 – Yes, Sabrina laughing at physical comedy is what cures her of her decades long sociopathic personality and her psychic physically manifested dissociative identity disorder. That’s what finally makes her creepy doll version of herself go away and finally turn her ‘back’ into a kind-hearted individual. Maybe this is why you don’t see many psychiatrists on Pokemon. There’s no need when there’s laughter.

5 – You’re telling me that in over ten years, no one has been able to make Sabrina laugh? Even when stupid slapstick is her tipping point?

6 – Despite Ash’s reaction to all of this BS mirroring mine

Pokemon ep 24 1

he still accepts the win with no argument. He didn’t train Haunter. He didn’t command Haunter. He doesn’t even own Haunter. And he was definitely going to lose with Pikachu. Yet he has no qualms about winning because of Haunter. What? Is the justification “I lead Haunter here, so that has to be enough for me to earn this badge”?

7 – Being fair, Ash does ask his friends if he really earned the badge (while admiring it and walking away from the Gym, of course) and, oh wait, they totally do offer a justification. Misty says that making Haunter laugh her Kadabra into submission is a great strategy…..It wasn’t a strategy. Haunter came out of nowhere and started doing his schtick completely outside of Ash’s commands. Ash wouldn’t have been able to come up with such a strategy anyway. He was totally unaware that incapacitating Sabrina meant incapacitating Kadabra. He meant for Haunter to battle Kadabra legitimately.

Brock: “Keep it up and you’ll be known as the funniest Pokemon Master of all time!” Ash wasn’t even the one making the jokes! It’s like you’re taking the piss out of the fact that this resolution was BS.

– I get that it’s a joke, but those cement guys are seriously pouring cement down a hole made by Team Rocket (after their fall….because cartoons) and not only didn’t bother to check if anyone was down there, but repeatedly ignore cries for help and to stop pouring cement. Cries that even Ash heard? Negligent is a massive understatement.

———————————————

This whole Gym arc had a lot of potential. It’s one of the only Gym confrontations that technically spans three episodes. I believe it’s the only time Ash has needed two Gym rematches (though don’t quote me on that) It’s Ash’s first confrontation with a Psychic Pokemon. It’s with the most fleshed out, interesting and intimidating Gym Leader so far (She crushed her house with psychic abilities when she was like four. I don’t see how really any Gym Leader to date beats that). It has a good backstory for Sabrina, even if it’s a bit silly and doesn’t make full sense. It could’ve had a great climax yet we just end with a stupid fizzle instead of fireworks. They don’t even talk to Sabrina after it happens, at least on screen.

What’s worse, I can easily make the ending with Haunter work legitimately.

Ash calls out Haunter and he actually shows up. The battle between the two begins. Since Psychic moves don’t work on Ghosts in this Gen, the match is a joke. I mean, since Haunter’s strong against Psychic types, he’s easily countering Kadabra. Haunter’s not even taking the match seriously and is instead goofing off. He decides to start doing his schtick in the middle of battle, much to the annoyance of Ash. Getting fed up, Ash believes he’ll lose on technicality (Haunter basically refusing to battle) and end up as a doll, but he’s broken out of his worry when he hears Sabrina laughing. At the sound, Sabrina’s dad shows up and starts tearing up at the sights and sounds of her laughing, realizing his kind-hearted Sabrina is back.

Due to Sabrina losing focus or regaining her humanity or what have you, the doll version of herself disappears and Misty and Brock turn to normal. Ash inquires about the match and Sabrina’s dad points out that not only did Haunter get Sabrina laughing uncontrollably, but Kadabra also found his hijinks hilarious, rendering him unable to battle. Ash is completely baffled by the turn of events, but accepts the Marsh Badge anyway since Kadabra was technically incapacitated by a Pokemon Ash was using, there’s nothing in the rules about using comedy in battle and Ash likely would’ve won anyway with how easily Haunter was countering Kadabra (and the whole immune to Psychic damage stuff.)

Or as an alternative, Ash could’ve realized that Haunter was making Kadabra laugh a little with his schtick and since Haunter didn’t seem like he would battle seriously, he’d fight using laughter. Ash tells him to keep it up in order to distract Kadabra and make it so he’s not attempting to battle anymore. Then he comes to realization that the plan won’t work because Sabrina’s psychic link with Kadabra might pull him out of his laughter. Then Sabrina’s dad shows up and points out that that’s not a worry since Sabrina is also laughing uncontrollably, effectively incapacitating both of them.

And, really, what purpose did Pikachu have for battling anyway, storywise? Outside of giving it a modicum of redemption for the last time it faced Kadabra. There’s absolutely no reason why this couldn’t have worked out with Haunter actually legitimately fighting on Ash’s side. We just have to keep having Pikachu get some glory in practically every episode.

The whole thing seems like such a big waste. Two episodes of buildup for pbbtt.

Next episode, Ash catches a Primeape. Oh and there will donuts.

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3 thoughts on “Pokemon Episode 24 Analysis: Haunter Versus Kadabra

  1. Those construction guys must have been undercover bounty hunters who wanted to take down Team Rocket once and for all. 2 Goons down, a bunch left to go!

    It’s cool that you’re reviewing these classic episodes. It’s been so long since I saw them, but the screenshots and review is very nostalgic. Ah, the good ole days

    • The only problem with that theory is proving to the cops that they’re in there. “Alright! We got Team Rocket! Time to collect the bounty!……Uhhh…..Hmmm…Dammit, we didn’t think this through. Get the jackhammer, Bill, this is going to be a long night!” lol

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the reviews, and thanks for reading. 🙂

      • A long night indeed! Yeah, your site seems pretty awesome so I’ll definitely be sticking around. I’m not as familiar with some of the other shows, but I’ll definitely be a regular with the Pokemon reviews and any other title that I recognize in the meantime. I made it all the way to season 2 of Diamond and Pearl back when I used to watch the show. I’m still planning to get back to it someday, but the show’s length is always daunting

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