CotD(s): None, really.
Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive in a gross, desolate factory town called Gringy City. This area used to be a great and bustling factory town, but became nearly abandoned and loaded with pollution after the town became too saturated with factories.
Pikachu suddenly falls very ill, so Ash rushes him to the nearby Pokemon Center. The odd and seemingly uncaring Nurse Joy claims Pikachu has a cold and takes him in, but the power quickly goes out. The Pokemon in the ICU will be in grave danger if they don’t get the power back on, so Ash and the others go to the police station to get some answers.
Jenny tells them that she’s been trying to contact the people at the power plant to see what’s going on, but there’s no answer. Ash and the others are about to make their way towards the plant to investigate when Pikachu suddenly emerges from the bushes, still incredibly weak and unsteady on its feet. Misty tells Ash that Pikachu is probably scared that Ash will abandon him there, so he agrees to take Pikachu with them.
When they arrive, they find the place seemingly deserted, but Misty gets the sneaking suspicion that they’re being followed. Her suspicions are realized when they see Pikachu being accosted by the sudden appearance of a Magnemite.
Misty surmises that the mysterious Electric Pokemon caused the power outage so Ash decides to capture it until he realizes that Magnemite is acting strangely around Pikachu, like it’s in love. However, Brock questions how an inorganic Pokemon can be in love with an organic animal Pokemon.
Ash manages to shoo the Magnemite away when they’re met with yet another problem – a legion of Grimer invading the hallways. They are easily angered when called stinky or smelly, and a Muk emerges when Misty yells out that they smell bad.
They run from the Grimer and Muk, and they soon bump into two of the power plant’s employees. They hole themselves up in a room and the employees tell them that the water intake for the generator is plugged with Grimer. Without water, the generator cannot run, but they can’t take on so many Grimer without Pokemon of their own. They suggest Ash, Misty and Brock take care of the Grimer problem for them so they can get the power back up and running, but Ash doesn’t believe Pikachu is well enough for the job.
Finding no other option, Pikachu goes out into battle and Ash reluctantly agrees to let him battle. However, his efforts make little headway. A swarm of Magnemite and Magneton emerge from the ducts and shock the Grimer away from the halls and from the water intake, allowing the generator to turn back on.
While the Grimer flee, the Muk remains and challenges Ash. Pikachu steps up, but its Thunderbolt isn’t quite strong enough to take down the huge pile of sludge. Its friend, the ‘Stalker’ Magnemite from before, comes back and helps take it down with a Thunderbolt of its own.
Ash captured Muk, but is quickly disgusted when he realizes that the stench of Muk comes through the Pokeball.
Later, Pikachu is fully recovered, and one of the power plant employees states that Pikachu sometimes enter states of seeming illness when they have too much electrical energy built up. When Pikachu battled, it had discharged enough to make it feel better. The Magnemite ‘stalker’ starts to ignore Pikachu, and it’s revealed that it was only attracted to Pikachu because it was magnetized when it was sick. Now that it’s better, it has no desire to follow him.
Ash, Misty and Brock chastise Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny for the state of their waterways and tell them to clean up the pollution to help stop the Grimer from returning. Ash and the others continue on their journey, but not before sending the smelly Pokeball of Muk to Professor Oak so they won’t have to deal with the stench.
– With a name like Gringy City, you’re basically damning the place to eventually earn the monikers of ‘depressing’ and ‘desolate’, Mr. Narrator.
– It’s no shock (puns!) that there’s an environmentalist message in this episode, even if there’s something odd that I’ll have to address about it near the end. However, this is one of those times where it might be justified for two reasons. 1) It fits well with the capture and Pokemon featured in this episode. 2) The inspiration of this episode very loosely stems from the novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, which focuses on a post-apocalyptic world ruined by radioactive nuclear fallout. Obviously, it’s toned way down just to show a, well, gringy, city ruined by pollution, but still.
– And here’s one of the things about this aspect of the episode that does piss me off a tad, Nurse Joy. Since we have to shove the green message down our throats, obviously they have to come across someone who is a lazy, inconsiderate ass wipe. The Nurse Joy they come across is constantly yawning, doesn’t even give the clearly sickly Pikachu a second look and brushes it all off as a cold. Even if she does provide evidence towards her claims (that electric mouse Pokemon discharge sparks from their cheeks when they’re getting a cold) the damn thing is still barely able to walk and needs treatment.
To be fair, she mostly drops this behavior after the power outage occurs, but still.
– Another goddamn Pokemon Center without it’s own generator? As someone who is also much further ahead, technically, on an unrelated viewing of the series, this is practically a trope at this point.
– Oh good, Joy’s also an incompetent boob who let Pikachu escape. Also, to get this out of the way, we see later that she neither seems to notice nor care. Good job.
– Uh, Jenny, why are you not going to the power plant? I mean, what the hell are you planning on doing about this problem while they go there? It’s nice to know you give a crap, but sending a bunch of children off to do something that seems to be your job seems ill-advised……are you….are you the only cop on duty? I know this place is basically a ghost town, but it seems like plenty of people still need power around there. Several factories seem to still be functional when they get there, hence why the pollution in the air is still an issue……wait a damn minute…..they have power at the police station! They have power or a generator there but not at the Pokemon Center? The hell?
– How does Misty know Pikachu is worried Ash and the others will leave and never come back? They’ve been separated several times at this point and this never came up. In fact, when Pikachu and the other Pokemon were stranded on the Island of Giant Pokemon, he had complete confidence Ash and the others didn’t abandon them and that they’d find them. He leaves for all of 30 seconds, telling Pikachu he’ll come right back after he gets the power to come back on and Pikachu has a panic attack and runs after him. I don’t get it.
– Oh yeah, Ash. Your extremely ill Pikachu is suddenly screaming out in discomfort so just tell it to shut up over and over without even looking back to see if it’s okay. Best. Pokemon. Trainer. Ever.
– Dexter: “This very mysterious Pokemon is of the electric type.”
Ash: “What’s a Pokemon like that doing here?”
What’s an Electric Pokemon…..doing…..at…..….……..a………….Power plant…….…
Mystery of the goddamn century.
– Misty: “It caused the blackout! Magnemite shut down the power plant!”
Brock: “This one? By itself? No way!”
Misty: “Well….Dexter said it’s mysterious.”
Well, gosh, since when did being mysterious mean you’re instantly guilty? I hope our court system doesn’t work that way.
“Well, the evidence presented here is mostly melted Skittles from the prosecutor’s pocket, and some of the documents are written in crayon and finger paints, but I don’t know what makes you tick. Why you are who you are. Where you came from and what your goals are. Your eyes are dark and seem to see right through me, whilst I cannot do the same…..GUILTY.”
– Ash: “These things really stink!”
*Grimer get agitated*
Brock: “Ash! Don’t say anything that might insult their Pokemon pride, or make them mad!”
You’d think Pokemon that are literally living piles of sludge would be prideful of their stink. Erika’s Gloom never seemed to have esteem issues about it.
– I’m actually impressed that Ash knew immediately that Muk was a different Pokemon and not just a huge Grimer, considering the fact that it’s dark in that hallway and Muk really does just look like a huge, slightly darker colored Grimer.
– Ash, stop yelling at the poor power plant employees about the power outage. Isn’t it obvious that the place is being overrun by tons of Pokemon and that the blackouts are out of their control?
– *explanation as to why the plant’s not working – lots of Grimer mucking (more puns!) up the water intake and causing the generator to fail*
Ash – “SO DO SOMETHING!”
Oh sure, they look like experienced Pokemon trainers and it’s not like they’re not obviously trapped in the place by legions of Grimer and you’re being an asshole, stop it.
– Misty: “I hate to say it, but if we don’t act fast, we’ll be on the menu!”
….What makes you think the Grimer are going to eat you?
– Oh boy, let’s rage me up!
Dick: (their canon, non-spoken names are Dick and Philip, based on the author of the novel, but I don’t know who is who so pbbt.) You guys are all Pokemon Trainers aren’t you? You’ve got to use your Pokemon to help us out!
Philip: “That’s right! If you can get rid of the Grimer, the generator will work!”
Why, what a logical and completely smart suggestion, Dick and Philip. I’m certain this will be responded to with the same amount of logi–
Ash: “What do you expect us to do!? Pikachu is sick! It won’t be able to take out all of those Grimer at once!”
Ash…..are you fucking kidding me!? I know you’re notorious for derping out on the fact that you have more than Messiahchu in your party, but this is like epic levels of ‘what are these things on my belt for again?’ dumb. Is the pollution killing off one of the two brain cells you have left?
And, what, ladeeda, the few people in this place that actually have the means and abilities to take care of the Grimer can’t do a damn thing. You better feel like an asshole for yelling at Dick and Philip now.
What’s even worse is, obviously, Ash isn’t the only one derping on the ‘I have Pokeemanz?!’ front for a change. Misty, Brock, you’re forgetting that you also have at least half teams of Pokemon with you? Brock, let out Onix for God’s sake. It may wreck some stuff, but it would plow through those Grimer like they were silly putty on a driveway in July. Vulpix would reduce them to smelly puddles.
Why do characters always have to be turned into idiots for plot convenience?
– And let’s just go further with this, because there’s a bigger issue here.
Ash: “Pikachu, you’re the only one who can help!…You…you’re our last chance!”
Yes, my clearly sickly Pokemon who can barely stand! I am forcing you out into battle, possibly killing you right now! I have no choice but to do this, ya know. You’re our last chance….out a totally honest one chances. Not twelve, the amount of Pokemon we have collectively! I am absolutely abysmal at Pokemon training. But hey, at least we get a LITERAL MARTYR SCENE FOR MESSIAHCHU.
– Ash: “An adult Muk, and its child!”
This shot always confused the hell out of me, even as a kid. There’s so much wrong with this one sentence it’s actually intriguing. First, there is clearly only one Muk in the room. I guess 4Kids thought that since the front shot of the Muk didn’t mesh up well with the side view that immediately follows, they assumed there were two Muk there?
Second, saying a Muk is an ‘adult’ is both incorrect and correct. An evolved Pokemon is typically considered ‘adult’ by default considering how much time usually has to go by for evolution to happen and just going by stages, but there can be no ‘child’ Muk because an offspring of a Muk would be a Grimer. They are born at base evo stage. Unless they’re saying that the shot looks like a Grimer, which is possible, even though it’s obviously the same Muk. I guess you really have to give 4Kids slack when it comes to evos that look so similar to their pre-evos. Afterall, it’s not like paying an iota of attention to what’s happening on screen or, oh I dunno, reading the original script, would help them at all.
Finally, Ash captures Muk, but the supposed ‘child’ vanishes. We’re left to assume Ash just technically orphaned a young Grimer. Nice.
– You wanna talk captures that weren’t really earned? Muk was only captured because Magnemite lent Pikachu a hand….err….magnet. Also, I thought you were firmly against matches in which the sides aren’t even, Ashy boy?
– Ash: “I did it! I captured Muk! Ash Ketchum saves the day once again!”
You unfairly captured Muk with the assistance of a wild Pokemon and using a two-on-one approach. You didn’t save anything. You needlessly put your Pokemon in insane amounts of danger, letting it head off into a one-on-possibly hundreds match when it’s sick as hell and you all have plenty of Pokemon who could’ve handled it easily. The lone Muk posed no threat to the power plant, either. The only reason anything was saved was because the Magnemite and Magneton burst in to help Pikachu because one of them was attracted to it (PUNNZZZZ).
You are an egotistical dumbass of a person who is more disgustingly slimy in this episode than the Grimer and Muk combined.
– Dick: “Ah, when an Electric Mouse Pokemon builds up too much electrical energy, it becomes magnetized and seems like it has a cold.”
….Why a random power plant worker seems to know Pikachu physiology like the back of his hand, even moreso than a Nurse Joy, aside……..how little training is Ash doing that Pikachu is actually getting sick because he hasn’t discharged enough electricity?
Also, if Pikachu was magnetized, so strong to the point of basically making a Magnemite fall in love with it, why was the magnetic pull not affecting anything else? Ash and co. don’t have anything metal with them? Dexter wasn’t screwing up?
– Yes, Ash, Misty and Brock. It’s totally Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny’s responsibility and/or fault that the pollution in the water is so bad. I’m so sure they’ll get right on cleaning up the entirety of the fucking ocean. Especially considering they seem to have such a vast and helpful community to give them a hand for all that. Maybe their mayor is an avocado and hasn’t noticed the massive pollution problem. Maybe they have hundreds of millions of dollars to convert their factories over to greener solutions. I’m also certain that cleaning the place up and making it as bustling as it was won’t start the whole vicious cycle all over again. A bunch of ten year old kids surely opened the eyes of seemingly two of four confirmed residents of this giant PSA town.
– Nurse Joy: “Thank you Ash” Don’t thank him. “You worked so hard to make sure all of these Pokemon survived” No he didn’t “that you’ve inspired me to be a better nurse.” You better become a better nurse because, as of now, Dick and Philip seem far more qualified for your job than you are. Pikachu could’ve blown up under your care for all we know.
Jenny: “We salute your fine work!” Stop feeding his stupid ego.
– Well, whatever. At least now Ash has a pretty powerful Pokemon taking up his sixth party seat. I can’t wait to see how much Muk will help him…………Ah, how nice. A random check-in with Professor Oak. Wonder what he’s up to.
Oh look…..he’s getting a Pokemon from…Ash…..
Alright, look, I will tell you a secret. The main reason I’m upset about this minor twist is because the whole crap about Muk’s Pokeball being smelly, and, hell, him being unbearably smelly at all, isn’t a thing after this episode. Meaning the reason Ash had for sending Oak Muk is just a pointless plot device so Ash won’t have a Pokemon that’s even marginally high-powered (besides Messiahchu of course) on his team. I just don’t get why they don’t want him to have strong Pokemon. Having stronger Pokemon on your team and facing greater challenges based on how powerful your Pokemon are is part of the growth of this journey…..it’s kinda….the point of the game it’s based on too. I always feel like they’re stunting his growth as a trainer when they take away these strong Pokemon.
I wasn’t that upset back when I first watched this because I thought the reasoning was good enough, even if the fact of Pokeballs being unable to contain smell when they do all sorts of unrealistic stuff for the sake of convenience (Ex.: weight, temperature, other powers etc. don’t matter when contained in a Pokeball) was a bit dumb. Now that I know Muk can be carried around without issue, it pisses me off a little.
This episode was stupid. I don’t even really feel like elaborating all that much. It was stupid. I will admit, it was an interesting and rare instance of having four Pokemon debut in the same episode (Magnemite, Magneton, Grimer and Muk) but, outside of that, hardly any part of this episode makes sense.
You’re either being force-fed environmentalist messages that don’t work too well in context (or out, for that matter. They’re literally just suggesting ‘hey kids, clean up the air and water! We won’t give suggestions on how to do that, but just do it.’) or you’re following a non-sensical pile of stupid, irrational decisions and plot conveniences for the sake of ‘we don’t like to put effort in writing’.
And some of these decisions are worthy of your anger because Ash is being an arrogant hypocritical jack-off, 10x stupider than he normally is, putting his Pokemon in life-threatening danger for absolutely no reason followed by him ditching a newly captured powerhouse for the sake of avoiding an issue that isn’t even an issue in the future.
It just seems like an incredibly sloppy way of getting Ash another Pokemon while also patting themselves on the back for eeking out an environmentalist message of some sort at the same time. (Pollution is bad. Stop it, okay?)
Next episode, Gary makes a surprise appearance when there’s a huge rush to capture some trouble-making Diglett. And there’s a surprising development with Team Rocket.
……Oh right! Yeah! Team Rocket was in this episode….they just didn’t interact with the group, didn’t do anything important and didn’t say or do anything interesting or funny so I just omitted them from the plot synopsis…..yep.