Talkin' 'Bout an Evolution (ワタルとあかいギャラドス！ Lance and the Red Gyarados!) is the 26th episode of Pokémon: Master Quest.
With Mahogany Town just a stone's throw away Ash gets psyched to battle the Gym Leader, but soon notices Pikachu's not doing too well. Worried about the local Pokémon, they decide to investigate, only to find a Red Gyarados and Team Rocket involved, but they are saved by none other than Lance, member of the Kanto Elite Four and Johto region Champion. After saying their goodbyes Lance disguises himself as a Rocket Grunt and learns of Project R. What is Project R and how can Ash and co. help the Red Gyarados?
As Ash plans on entering the League, he notices Pikachu being ill. Misty notices Togepi is like that as well, but does not feel it has fever. Brock thinks they have been walking in circles, while they also notice the Pokémon of the forest being ill as well. They hear a roar and upon coming to a lake, encounter a red Gyarados. It seems hurt, then uses Hydro Pump (which the heroes evade). Misty suggests to leave, but members of Team Rocket appear before them. Their leader sends a Fearow and Ash sends Totodile. Ash orders a Water Gun, but Totodile begins to feel ill. Fearow uses Drill Peck, but gets attacked by an Thunder Wave.
A man and his Dragonite appear. The man orders the heroes to retreat into the forest. Ash calls Totodile back and retreats with Misty and Brock. Team Rocket goes after them, but Dragonite stops them, blowing a strong wind away. The Team Rocket leader promises he will get him next time. The man comes back and Ash is grateful. Pikachu is feeling better, and so is Togepi. The heroes tell they got lost on their way to Mahogany Town. Misty and Brock recognize the man being Lance, the Champion. Ash heard he is the undefeatable Dragonite trainer and introduces himself and so do Misty and Brock. Lance claims he came to uncover the truth about the red Gyarados and Team Rocket. The heroes decide to help out, but Lance refuses, since it is too dangerous. He points at a path and tells the heroes to go to Mahogany Town.
Jessie, James and Meowth are tired and lost. They notice a strange farmhouse and think there is food inside, so go in it. The Team Rocket leader comes to Prof. Sebastian and reports the success. Sebastian is pleased, as they will have radiowaves that will affect all Pokémon. The leader knows they would craft a Pokémon army. Sebastian knows the equipment is inferior to record the radio-waves of red Gyarados, so the leader sees they need to lure it to the surface. A grunt reports intruders in the base, who are Jessie, James and Meowth. Jessie, James and Meowth notice a lot of Persian statues. Meowth has a feeling they are watched. James thinks there is nothing but statues and touches one. The statue glows, causing them to be captured behind metal bars. The leader comes and wants to know who they are. Jessie, James and Meowth chant their motto, while a grunt reports they have been demoted to rookies with 0% contributions.
Jessie and James object on that. The leader sees they are hungry and thinks there is a job they can participate in. After a big meal, the leader orders Jessie, James and Meowth to come with him. They notice Prof. Sebastian, who reports the Project R will grant Team Rocket power. The leader gives them the order of capturing a Gyarados, surprising Jessie, James and Meowth. Sebastian tells them it lives at the bottom of the lake, while the leader lets them know they will be recorded in Team Rocket history if they succeed. The trio is interested in this work. Lance snuck into the base and put on a Team Rocket grunt's uniform. As the heroes continue on, Ash feels he has to go back and save Gyarados, who is in pain. Brock believes that Gyarados can be used to hurt other Pokémon if not stopped. With that argument, the heroes decide to go back.
Team Rocket got on a spot at the lake, where Gyarados lives. James thinks they should use Poké Balls, but Meowth knows that it needs to be kept wild. Jessie knows this is for the boss, duty and country, so dives with James and Meowth. James dives further, but Jessie and Meowth think they need to oversee the operation. James believes they are scared, but Meowth and Jessie deny that. James thinks they shouldn't be afraid, while a pair of red eyes appear behind James. Jessie and Meowth are scared, and so is James, when he sees the red Gyarados. They come out of the water, while the leader orders the torpedo to be launched. The net is released, capturing the red Gyarados and the trio, then get electrocuted. The red Gyarados is pulled away, with the trio. The heroes observe, so Ash sends Totodile and Misty Poliwhirl, who go to help Gyarados.
Totodile gnaws on the net, but ends up chewing Jessie's hair. The leader and Lance (disguised) notice the twerps, but Sebastian thinks they can test the radio-waves. These radio-waves affect Poliwhirl, Totodile (who are called back) and Meowth, shocking Jessie and James at his odd behavior. Pikachu and Togepi are affected, so Brock sees this radio-waves experiment causes them to be ill. The leader throws the rings, causing the twerps to be captured. With everything done, Jessie and James are pleased, while Sebastian lets the heroes know about Project R(evolution), which manipulates Pokémon, forcing them to evolve. Sebastian points at the red Gyarados, who is the proof of success. With its rage, the radio-waves will force weak Pokémon to evolve into mighty ones.
Jessie and James see that would allow Meowth to evolve into a Persian. Sebastian knows that if they complete Gyarados' analysis, they will be able to conduct the experiment, allowing them to build a Pokémon army. The heroes protest, but the leader locks them in a cage. Jessie, James and Wobbuffet eat the food, while the leader orders them to watch over the equipment. The Gyarados is being transported, while among the grunts is Lance. The heroes see that they must do something and cannot give up.
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