While on the way to Azalea Town Ash and co get separated while Ash looks for a Cyndaquil. He manages to find one but an abusive trainer named Koji has his eyes set on it. Who will capture the Cyndaquil first? Will Ash ever find Misty and Brock again? And why does Team Rocket's Mecha look like Meowth?
The heroes stop as Brock studies the map, seeing something wrong is with it. Ash thinks they can just go through the forest to the road, though Misty yells they could've left a trail of bread crumbs. They are approached by a boy named Koji, who asks them if they found any Cyndaquil. Ash hears those words and searches for them intensively, ignoring the boy's threats not to find any Cyndaquil. Misty and Brock know that anyone has a right to catch Pokémon, including Cyndaquil, if they found it first, but Koji rudely tells them to stay out of his way. As Koji leaves, Misty and Brock notice Ash is gone, who is still searching with Pikachu for a Cyndaquil.
Misty and Brock search for Ash, while Team Rocket observes. Jessie, Meowth and James remember they had to save a lot and work a lot to hatch a great plan. They see that it has paid off, being inspired by a shiny star in the sky. Misty and Brock hear Team Rocket, who appear in a giant Meowth-like robot. Suddenly, Team Rocket sees the twerp with Pikachu is not present, so go away to search for the twerp. Ash and Pikachu search and encounter Team Rocket in the robot. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, but the robot absorbs it, then launches giant bubble gum to entangle Ash and Pikachu, who barely dodge the blasts. They run past the robot, who falls down. Ash and Pikachu run and hide in the woods. The robot detects them and releases gum, but misses. Ash and Pikachu run away and the robot follows them, but trips over a root.
Ash and Pikachu come to a mountain and detect Cyndaquil, so climb to it. The boy from before sees him and Cyndaquil, so sends Sandslash, who runs up and uses Sand Attack on Ash, causing him to fall down. Ash sees that was not fair, but Koji clarifies he got first and chases Cyndaquil. Ash climbs up and Team Rocket appear in the machine. Ash states he does not have time to deal with a bucket of bolts and runs into the cave, so James activates a part of the robot. While Ash sees Cyndaquil, he trips over Sandslash, whose trainer taunts Ash. James activates the cannon (making Jessie pound him, as he makes strange statements before activating), so a giant ball comes in the cave. As Ash walks through the cave, he sees the giant bouncing ball and runs away from it. Sandslash uses Poison Sting on Cyndaquil, who dodges, so Ash holds Cyndaquil and escapes. The boy goes to get him, but gets hit by the giant ball.
The ball explodes, so Ash, Pikachu and Cyndaquil are blown out of the cave, unhurt. However, the Team Rocket machine looks at them. Team Rocket release the gum, which binds Ash and Pikachu to a rock. Team Rocket celebrates and Meowth detects Cyndaquil, causing Ash to warn Cyndaquil about them. Cyndaquil heeds the advice, but is stopped by Team Rocket's machine. They go to punch it, so Cyndaquil ignites the machine. However, Team Rocket are safe inside, but the machine begins to twitch, as if about to explode. Per Ash's order, Pikachu electrocutes him, causing the gum to shatter. Ash throws the Poké Ball on Cyndaquil, so it gets inside, while Team Rocket's machine explodes, blasting Team Rocket off. Upon the blast, Ash goes to get his Poké Ball and sends Cyndaquil, who is unhurt. Ash sees that Cyndaquil is not only powerful, but nice as well. Misty and Brock arrive and see Ash with Cyndaquil. He tells what happened, though suddenly, the boy comes.
The boy goes to capture Cyndaquil, but Ash warns him he caught it already, so needs to walk away. However, Cyndaquil walks away, making Ash hold it, as he meant for the boy. The boy challenges him to a match and the winner keeps Cyndaquil. Brock wonders why'd he do that, since Ash caught it already. The boy taunts Ash, so Ash accepts the match using Cyndaquil, seeing what it had done to Team Rocket. Sandslash starts with Fury Swipes and Ash orders Cyndaquil to dodge, but goes to wake up Cyndaquil, who fell asleep. Cyndaquil wakes up, but does not obey Ash's order of Flamethrower. Sandslash goes to use Slash, but misses Cyndaquil and ends up cutting trees. Sandslash continues using Fury Swipes, but Cyndaquil evades those attacks. Ash, Brock and Misty are amazed by its defensive power.
Sandslash is worn out. Ash tells Cyndaquil it can attack, but Cyndaquil fails. Sandslash uses Fury Swipes and since it does not do a thing, it uses Sand Attack on Cyndaquil, blinding him for a moment. Sandslash uses Swift, so Cyndaquil uses Flamethrower, but the move fails and gets hit. The boy tells Cyndaquil cannot handle basic attack skills. Ash responds he is wrong, but wonders why Cyndaquil cannot use the attacks, thinking it needs time to heat up. Sandslash uses Swift, hitting Cyndaquil. Ash tells it can win by dodging the attacks, so Cyndaquil evades Sandslash's Scratch. However, Cyndaquil gets hit, so Ash tells it needs to be a step ahead of Sandslash. Sandslash strikes, so Cyndaquil jumps, causing Sandslash to have its claw binded in a tree. By tackling, Cyndaquil defeats Sandslash.
Koji refused to accept defeat as he calls Sandslash back and unfolds the net to capture Cyndaquil, but gets engulfed by Cyndaquil's Flamethrower, and runs away as Misty and Brock berate the Koji for his nasty attitude and attempted to steal the Cyndaquil. Ash goes to hug it, but gets his hands burned by the flames on its back. Cyndaquil douses the fire and hugs Ash. Ash sees that he will count on Cyndaquil a lot. Team Rocket see the shiny star and get inspired, but a man yells at them, so they start working.
- Unlike Charmander, Chimchar and Tepig, Cyndaquil was saved from being caught by an abusive trainer.
- The "Who's that Pokémon?" in this episode is Slowking.
- The episode name is a reference to the 1997 film Good Will Hunting.