The heroes encounter a Charmander laying on a rock. Going to a nearby Pokémon Center, they hear a trainer saying he abandoned the Charmander because it was weak. Ash, Brock and Misty save the Charmander from the rain and get it to Nurse Joy to be treated. However, Charmander does not want to abandon his trainer and goes to him. However, will he return back to the people that saved his life?
Ash, Misty, and Brock are still lost, making Misty very frustrated. They stop walking to look at the map Brock unfolded. Ash figures out that the path they are walking on leads to Route 24, the route to Vermilion City. Brock folds up the map and puts back into his backpack. As they start to leave, a big shadow crosses their path. Ash can't see that well, because the sun is shining right in his eyes, and he tells Pikachu to get ready to attack. Pikachu runs and hides behind Ash. The sun then stops shining so bright and Ash sees that Pokémon on the rock is a Charmander. When the group sees that the lizard Pokemon isn't as big as they thought, the fall down, anime-style.
After checking his Pokédex, Ash is happy he finally has a chance to catch a Charmander. Brock points out how small the flame on its tail is and it probably needs help. Ash throws a Poké Ball at it, but Charmander whacks it back at Ash, hitting him in the head. Ash wonders if Pikachu should weaken it and Misty suggests her water Pokémon could weaken it. But Brock says that they shouldn't because of how small the flame on its tail is.
Ash throws the Poké Ball again and this time Charmander goes in but it quickly comes back out. Pikachu climbs up on the rock and talks to Charmander. Pikachu then uses a charades display to tell Ash what Charmander said. Ash eventually figures out that Charmander is waiting on the rock for its trainer to come and pick it up. Brock says its best to leave it there. Ash, Misty, Brock, and Pikachu leave Charmander.
Further down the road, Ash and his friends find out that there is a Pokémon Center on the map. Ash says that Route 24 can't be that far away now. The moment he finishes saying that, it starts pouring rain and they run to the Pokémon Center for shelter.
A small scene shows Charmander still on the rock trying to protect its flame on its tail with a leaf. (If the flame goes out Charmander will die) Back at the Pokémon Center, Misty is serving some soup and Brock is still worried about Charmander. Ash points out to him that its trainer would have come to pick it up by now. Brock agrees.
Nearby, they hear some people laughing and they all look over to see what's going on. They see a trainer named Damian and a group of trainers who are in awe over his collection of Pokémon. One of them asks Damian what happened to the Charmander he owned. Damian said he used to have one but it was so weak that left it sitting on a rock and told it to wait for him to come back, which he plans to never do.
Ash, Misty, and Brock realize that the Charmander they saw earlier must be the one Damian had abandoned and it is still waiting for him on the rock out in the rain. This makes Brock furious and he marches over to Damian. Damian and the trainers are laughing at how Charmander was waiting for Damian to come back. Brock grabs Damian by the collar and demands him that he had better go get Charmander because out in the rain the flame on Charmander's tail might go out and if it does, Charmander could die. Damian laughs and says that it's not his problem anymore and tells Brock to buzz off. Ash and Misty come over to help Brock. This leads to an argument that almost leads to a Pokémon battle, but Nurse Joy breaks up the fight saying that Pokémon shouldn't be used in personal fights. Damian and the trainers leave, and Nurse Joy warns them that they may have a bad reputation. Brock spaces out, and Ash and Misty snap him out of it by reminding him about Charmander.
They race off back to Charmander and find that it's being attacked by a flock of Spearow. Ash tries to get them to stop by throwing a rock, and that makes the Spearow attack them. Pikachu scares off the Spearow by using ThunderShock.
They quickly wrap Charmander up in their raincoats and take Charmander back to Nurse Joy for help. Nurse Joy is angry at them for letting Charmander get hurt so bad and Ash explains that Damian abandoned it and left it on the rock. Brock begs Nurse Joy to do anything she can to make Charmander better and Nurse Joy says she will do her best.
For awhile, the three of them wait outside of the room Charmander is in for news. Nurse Joy comes out and says that Charmander will be as good as new in the morning. In the morning, Ash and Misty are asleep on couches, with Pikachu right below Ash. Ash rolls over, making his blanket fall on Pikachu. Suddenly, Brock yells that Charmander has disappeared from the Emergency Room. Ash, Misty, and Pikachu wake up immediately.
Ash is certain that Charmander went back to the rock. Brock wanted to go back and get Charmander again, but Misty told him that there's no way Charmander would disobey its (former) trainer.
A small scene shows Charmander heading back to the rock, but taking one last look back at the Pokémon Center. Ash and his friends leave the Pokémon Center soon too. Brock is sad but Misty reminds him that they are almost at Vermilion City and there are plenty of Pokémon to catch there.
Up ahead, Team Rocket is discussing their newest plan to catch Pikachu. It involves their newest robot, the "automatic super-duper high-speed whatchamacallit", which is just a machine that digs holes really well. Meowth goes crazy, saying that they had tried this before, but James tells him to relax and that they will remember where the pit is this time.
They start covering up the hole when Meowth asks them if they are sure this will work. Jessie says," Don't you think we're smarter than that?" Which puts an embarrassed look on Meowth's face. Suddenly, he sees Ash and his friends coming and warns Jessie and James. They quickly hide in the bushes and Jessie hides the robot.
Pikachu goes up to the pit and walks over it. He was apparently too light to set it off. Jessie and James fight over who messed up this time when Meowth makes them shut up by scratching their faces. Ash, Misty, and Brock were too heavy and they fall down into the pit. Team Rocket comes out of hiding, laughing because their plan worked. Pikachu tries to shock them, but they are wearing in rubber uniforms that don't conduct electricity. Pikachu tries to make a run for it, but they fire the" Anti-Pikachu Rubber Balloon Bazooka" which quickly catches Pikachu. Ash realizes that Pikachu is in trouble, so he quickly tries to climb out of the pit, but fails. He asks Misty and Brock to help him up but he is standing on them.
Team Rocket gloats for a little bit, then turn to leave and see Charmander blocking their way. Charmander, with Meowth translating, orders Team Rocket to give back Pikachu. Team Rocket refuses and tells Charmander to beat it. Charmander instead closes his eyes, focuses, and uses a huge Flamethrower attack that roasts Team Rocket. They drop Pikachu and run off. James yells at Jessie and Meowth that they should have had fireproof suits to which Jessie yells to shut up and run.
Ash, Misty, and Brock have gotten out of the pit and they thank Charmander. Ash asks Charmander if he wants to come with them, but Damian shows up saying he wants Charmander back after seeing how strong he is. Ash is mad, saying that Damian had bragged about abandoning Charmander. Damian laughs and says he did that to toughen Charmander up. He also says, "What's wrong with dumping a weak Pokémon?" Damian also brags that he didn't have to toughen Charmander up, making Brock yell at him that a Trainer raises a Pokémon himself; the Pokémon doesn't do it alone. Damian flings a Poké Ball at Charmander. Realizing that Damian doesn't care about him, Charmander whacks the Poké Ball back into Damian's face. Furious, Damian threatens to use all of his Pokémon on Charmander, but Charmander uses Flamethrower on him and Pikachu used ThunderShock on him, and the singed Damian runs off sobbing.
Ash and the gang cheer at Charmander for making a very noble decision. Brock tells Ash to go ahead and catch Charmander and that Charmander will be a good Pokémon for him. Ash agrees and throws out a Poké Ball. Charmander dives in, eager to be Ash's Pokémon. Ash and his friends continue to Vermilion City.
- "Uh, there's a bug right on your-" - Brock
- "GAAAH! Ohh! Uhh! (jumps on Ash's back) Get it away!" - Misty
- "Ah, it was just a piece of grass. (laughs)" - Brock
- (Misty gets angry and kicks Brock in the face)
- "AGH! Ohhhh..." - Brock
- "She sure is pretty. I've never seen anyone as pretty as her." - Brock
- "What're you talking about? She looks just like all the other Joy's." - Misty
- "Yeah, it's a...Joy-ful...world. All right, snap out of it." - Ash
- "So what does this thing do anyway?" - Meowth. The machine drills a hole.
- "Not another hole driller! We *tried* that already!" - Meowth
- "If at first you don't succeed..." - Jessie
- "This time we'll remember where the hole is." - James
- "Come on you, guys, get up. We gotta do something!" - Ash
- "We'd love to get up, Ash. Unfortunately, you're *standing* on us." - Misty
- "You see? Didn't I tell you we needed fireproof uniforms?" - James
- "Shut up and keep running!" - Jessie
- "Some geniuses, Meowth!" - Meowth
- "Looks like Team Rockets blasting off again! - Team Rocket
- "Charmander Return!" - Damian. Damian throws Poké ball at Charmander but Charmander whips its tail to knock back Poké Ball to Damians face. Ash, Misty, Brock, and Pikachu are shocked as Damian is angered.
- "That does it I'll crush you with every Pokémon I've got!" - Damian. Charmander and Pikachu burn and shock Damian.
- "(sobbing as he runs away) Ooh mommy ooh!" - Damian
- "Way to go!" - Brock
- "Who's That Pokémon?:" Charmander (JA and EN)
- Damian was seen with between 15-25 Poké Balls, each one containing a Pokémon; however, all Trainers carry only six Pokémon at a time.
- This is the first episode where a Pokémon willingly gets captured.
- Misty stated that Ash and co. have been looking for Vermilion City for 10 days since the last episode. Adding the time since Ash started his journey, he has been a trainer for more than 10 weeks.
- This is the first episode where Ash helps a Pokémon that isn't his.
- This is the first time Meowth translates Pokemon Language.
- Eric Stuart stands in for Nicholas James Tate as the Pokédex for this episode. He would later assume the role proper in "Who Gets To Keep Togepi?"
- This episode aired on Megan Hollingshead (voice of Nurse Joy)'s 30th birthday.
- The episode's plot is very similar to Evolution by Fire from the Black and White Rival Destinies series.
- In some scenes, Ash is seen without the cheek marks.
- When Misty and Ash commented on Damian, Ash's jacket blends in with the background.
- In the games, Route 24 did not take the player character to Vermilion City. It is North of Cerulean City.
- In the original Japanese version, Damian mentions to his friends that his Charmander was so weak that it couldn't defeat a Poliwag. The English version changes it into the weakest opponents, which created a dialogue error when Brock immediately remarks Charmander is naturally weak against Water-type Pokémon.
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