Ash and May have made it all the way to Petalburg City—the first city with a gym. Ash is very excited to take on the Gym Leader. May seems a little uneasy—perhaps it's because she hasn't yet told Ash that her father, Norman, is the Gym Leader in Petalburg! When Ash first gets to the gym, he meets May's little brother, Max, who is pretending to be the Gym Leader. Max knows a lot about Pokémon and can't wait until he's old enough to become a trainer. Once Ash finally meets Norman, he learns that he will need three Pokémon in order to battle at the gym. He only has Pikachu with him. When Norman agrees to an unofficial battle, Ash encounters his first Vigoroth. Ash realizes that he will have to train hard in order to win a badge in Petalburg City. After a quick scuffle with Team Rocket, Ash and May are ready to hit the road again. Max has decided to tag along, too!
Ash and May have arrived to Petalbug City where Ash hopes to fight the Gym Leader. Ash explains to May that he needs eight Badges to get into the Ever Grande Conference. May says that the Petalburg City's Gym Leader is kind and strong, while Ash proposes to go meet him. May runs off, "needing to take care of few things first".
When Ash arrives to the Gym, he finds it empty, but a child comes, recognizing Ash, as "the trainer who lost in 2nd round" and guesses Ash's name wrong. Max then recites what happened at Johto League - Blaziken and Charizard were fiercely battling one another, until Charizard had lost energy to fight.
Ash then argues with Max as to how difficult the battle was. Ash then tells him that he wants the Gym Leader, to which Max replies that it was him. Reciting the rules, he says that the Trainer needs to show their Pokémon, to which Ash argues. Suddenly, May comes to the window with her parents.
May introduces her family to Ash, while Max introduces (incorrectly) Ash as the loser of 2nd round of Johto League. May's mother then asks about May's bike, to which she replies that it got destroyed. Her father then wants to show which Pokémon she chose, and she brings her Torchic out. Max is sorely disappointed, mentioning that he would've picked Treecko instead. To that, Torchic attacks Max.
Ash then joins to the lunch. May asks her father to battle Ash. Ash asks about the (real) rules, to which Max states again that it is on 3-on-3 battle. Ash, has only Pikachu and only wants the Pokémon from Hoenn region to battle with. However, May's father makes an exception - he will battle Ash, but an unofficial one. May's father brings his Vigoroth out.
Vigoroth attacks Pikachu with Scratch attack. Pikachu was unable to dodge it, and as Vigoroth makes another attack, Pikachu manages to dodge it, while the third time he gets beaten. Pikachu strikes with Quick Attack, but Vigoroth evades and attacks Pikachu once more. Team Rocket sees the battle and plans to take both Vigoroth and Pikachu.
Pikachu attacks with Thunderbolt, but Vigoroth dodges. Pikachu strikes with Quick Attack, managing to attack the Vigoroth. Vigoroth scratches Pikachu again, defeating him. Team Rocket appears, but May's mother mistakes them to be her friends. Jessie brings her Arbok, while James his Weezing out. Weezing attacks with SmokeScreen, while Arbok uses Headbutt strike, knocking Pikachu out.
May brings her Torchic out, but while she is trying to think which move should Torchic use, Arbok knocks it out. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt attack, but with the smoke, he accidentally attacks Max. Team Rocket disappears, taking Torchic with them, strangely enough.
Jessie puts her rubber gloves on, taking Torchic (to which Team Rocket thought it was a Pikachu). Meowth then advises to use Torchic as bait for Pikachu. Norman (May's father) splits from Ash, May and Max, finding the hot air balloon Team Rocket was using. Max and May go to rescue Torchic, but fall into a hole. Norman and Caroline (May's mother) go rescue their children, but they fall as well into another hole. Ash then wanted to bring out Bayleef, but he does not have it, so Arbok attacks. Pikachu makes an counterattack. Ash helps bring Max and May, and Norman (who climbed out of the hole) brings Vigoroth out, attacking Arbok. Max sneaks to get Torchic and he manages to bring it back to May.
Arbok grapples Vigoroth, but Pikachu attacks Arbok. May orders Torchic to attack with Amber, but Max corrects her, so she orders to attack with Ember, but Torchic attacks Max. She orders to attack with Peck, but (again) Torchic attacks Max. Pikachu is knocked out by Arbok's attack. Vigoroth knocks out Team Rocket and Pikachu attacks them with Thunderbolt, sending them away.
Ash and May decide to go away. Max decides to join them, since he knows a lot about Pokémon. Norman offers May and Ash badge cases. Norman gives Max a Pokémon navigator and advises Ash to go to Rustboro City, where he may fight against the Gym Leader. The episode ends with Ash, May and Max going to the next city.
- "Hey Pika...chu?" - Jessie
- "Torchic, Amber!
You mean Ember..." May and Max
- The Pokémon featured in the Who's That Pokémon segment is Cleffa.
- This episode's name is based on the popular phrase "There's No Place Like Home".