Ash rushes into Viridian City with his gravely wounded Pikachu. The city's on high alert for Pokémon thieves-thieves like Jessie, James, and Meowth of Team Rocket, a group of bad guys dedicated to stealing valuable Pokémon.
While Ash waits at the Pokémon Center for news on Pikachu's condition, Misty arrives, angry about the bike Ash wrecked-but she softens when she sees Pikachu wheeled out on a stretcher.
Team Rocket crashes through the roof of the Pokémon Center. While Nurse Joy transports Poké Balls to Pewter City for safety, Ash tries to fight off Team Rocket's Pokémon, Koffing and Ekans. Ash is having no luck battling, so his Pikachu, still recovering, teams up with a bunch of other Pikachu at the Pokémon Center to blast Team Rocket out of the building!
Having discovered that Ash's Pikachu is not your ordinary Pikachu, Jessie, James, and Meowth make it their mission to capture it.
With the bad guys expelled, Misty joins Ash and Pikachu on their journey to Pewter City. While strolling through Viridian Forest, a Caterpie makes an appearance. Ash sees an opportunity for his first Pokémon capture. Will he be successful?