Episode #271 - Gotta Catch Ya Later!
Ash, Misty, and Brock reach the Viridian City Pokemon Centre. Brock flirts with her, but she doesn't know him because she recently replaced the Joy that was here before. She tells Misty that she has a message from her sisters in Cerulean City to call them.
Misty calls her sisters and finds out that they won a trip around the world. They want her to come home and manage the Gym while they're away. Nurse Joy brings out Misty's old bike, now all fixed up. Ash is happy that her bike is fixed, but Misty gets upset and runs out. Brock thinks that she wanted to continue travelling with them.
Outside, Misty wonders if Ash really cares about her. Three brothers appear and challenge her to a Pokemon match, so she releases her Politoed to battle a Hitmonchan. However, when she gains the upper hand, the other two brothers let out a Hitmonlee and Hitmontop, making things unfair. Ash and Brock show up and even the odds with Pikachu and Forretress, and Misty is happy that her friends are there for her.
Team Rocket watches from the sidelines and decides to change their plan. They activate a trap, causing two soccer nets to clamp together and imprison everyone! The three brothers argue, saying Team Rocket were supposed to pay them to battle Misty, and cut themselves out of the nets with scissors. This gives our heroes the chance to escape and send Team Rocket blasting off.
Brock and Ash walk Misty to the crossroads, and she gets sad again. Ash believes that they were all meant to become best friends, and promises Misty that they'll see each other again. Suddenly Brock remembers that he has to go home too, he has some errands to take care of. As parting gifts, Brock gives Ash a lunchbox and cutlery, and Misty gives him a handkerchief to wrap the box in. Ash gets all choked up. Misty pedals off on her bike, happy that now she knows how Ash feels about her. Brock walks away toward Pewter City. Ash watches them go.
When Ash arrives home to Pallet Town, his mother tells him that Gary has been home too. However when he runs up to Professor Oak's place, he learns that Gary left already. He left behind all his Pokemon except his Blastoise because he wanted to make a fresh start. Ash races off and catches up to Gary, and gives him half of their PokeBall again. Gary understands and suggests that Ash spend some time thinking about what he wants to do next.
Ash isn't sure what he wants to do. As he thinks, he spots Ho-oh flying in the direction of the Houen Region and realises that's where he has to go too. He heads home but falls into a hole! It's Team Rocket yet again, threatening to take Pikachu away. They try to smother Ash with Weezing's Smokescreen, and he briefly despairs at the absence of his friends.
Then he realises he's not truly alone! He gives Misty's hanky to Pikachu to filter the smoke, and uses the cutlery from Brock's lunchbox to climb out of the hole. Once he's back on the surface he and Pikachu send Team Rocket blasting off again.
Back at Professor Oak's, he says he wants to make a fresh start with Pikachu. His mother gives him new clothes and a backpack, along with a ferry ticket to Houen. Professor Oak gives him a new Pokedex. Tracey promises he'll take care of Ash's other Pokemon for him. A new Pokemon journey awaits.