A Friend in Deed (ライバルとうじょう！ Enter Rival!) is the 78th episode of Pokémon: Indigo League.
Having a break, Ash and co. go to a restaurant and soon meet a kid named Ritchie, who proves himself reliable after getting them out of a stuck elevator. Due to Team Rocket's plan, Ash and Ritchie give them their Poké Balls. Though they chase them, Ash and Ritchie see they have a lot in common and can teach each other...
Misty and Brock are hungry, but Ash is happy as he knows the dinner is on him, being a challenger in the League. They meet up with Delia and Oak. Ash's mom tells Ash he will make his favourite meal, though Ash wonders where would she cook, but only tells them to leave it to her. In a restaurant, mom uses the kitchen and cooks everyone a meal, surprising the local chef. Though they are not very happy with her approach, they are nevertheless happy to eat such a delicious food, complimenting her. Professor Oak asks Ash that if he wins the next battle, he would need to use six Pokémon and what would his choice be. Ash responds he needs to see before deciding. Oak tells him he will be always present to exchange Pokémon.
Oak tells Ash that he needs to do his best, as even if he loses, he needs to feel like a winner, though Delia tells that he has to try to win. They go inside an elevator and a kid yells to block the door. He goes inside and thanks Oak for blocking the door. He then sees Ash's Pikachu and asks whose is it. Ash tells Pikachu is his, while the kid goes to show affection. Ash warns him not to, but Pikachu likes his approach, so Ash calms down. The kid acknowledges Ash raised Pikachu well and Ash responds it was not easy to do so. Suddenly, the elevator stops and the lights turn off. Brock attempts to use the emergency button, but it does not work. Oak tells everyone they need to wait until the power is back. The kid rewires the wires and asks Ash to borrow his Pikachu. Ash agrees and the kid places the cabels on Pikachu's cheek. Oak knows this is a good idea to try. Pikachu uses Thundershock, making the elevator move and soon everyone is out.
The heroes thank the kid. Ash asks for his name and soon is told the kid is Ritchie. Ritchie goes away and says goodbye. Oak remarks he is mature for his age, while Misty tells "unlike someone they know", though Brock notices how he handled Ash's Pikachu well. Suddenly, they hear someone telling to give Poké Balls to the pavilion for inspection. These people are Team Rocket, who are looking forward to stealing. Ash meets up with Ritchie and tells him something is weird about this. The trainers came to the pavilion and are told they need to toss their Poké Balls for inspection, otherwise they will be disqualified. Everyone tosses in the bag their Poké Balls and Jessie goes to take Ash's Pikachu. She places in the bag, despite being electrocuted by Pikachu. James tells Jessie they finally took Pikachu, so Ritchie and Ash know they are Team Rocket. James and Jessie know they are being discovered and remove their disguise. Weezing uses Smog, causing a major distraction, as Team Rocket go away in the van.
Ash runs to the van and notices Ritchie is following him for the same reason. They see Team Rocket going down the hill, so Ritchie proposes to jump in front of the van. Ash does not support this idea and runs downhill. Ritchie tells him to stop and jumps onto him, slowing him down. Ritchie tells him he would've fallen down the cliff if he was not stopped, so they climb down. Ash and Ritchie barricade Team Rocket's path, so they go down into a river. James fell unconscious by the rough terrain, so Jessie goes to take the wheel, while Ritchie and Ash follow the van. After some time, Ritchie tells Ash they need to sleep, as it is too dark. Ash admits he is right and set up a camp, as Ritchie has an extra sleeping bag. Ash apologizes to Ritchie for stubbornness, as he would have fallen down the cliff if Ritchie has not been there to stop him, though tells him his idea of jumping in front of the van was crazy too. They admit they are Pokémaniacs, loving all sorts of Pokémon, wanting to protect them. Ash is troubled, as he may not see his Pokémon again, but Ritchie responds they will find them together, tomorrow.
Team Rocket celebrates for the theft they made. Ash sees Ritchie is doing something. Ritchie tells if one connects the stars, he can get something. They see they can get an Onix and a Pikachu. Ritchie tells he wants to become the greatest Pokémon trainer. Ash responds he wants to be the greatest Pokémon Master of the world, though Ritchie thinks this is not possible, as he wants to be the Pokémon trainer of the galaxy. Ash simply responds he will be the Pokémon Master of the universe. Next day, they track and spot some tire tracks. Team Rocket are sleeping, so they sneak near them and enter the van. Ash opens the bag and his Pikachu comes out to hug him. Suddenly, Team Rocket catches them and locks them inside, then start the van and ride. Ritchie takes his Poké Balls (as his have the star emblem on them). Ash sends a Pokémon, but it is a Drowzee and returns it. Ash uses two more Poké Balls, but they are Magikarp and Slowbro, so he returns them.
Pikachu smells a Poké Ball and confirms it is Ash's. Ash uses it and sends Bulbasaur, who tackles a wall, but does not do any effect. Bulbasaur uses Razor Leaf, but still no effect. Ritchie tells Ash to allow him, as he sends Zippo, a Charmander. Zippo uses Slash and destroys the wall, alerting Team Rocket. Jessie tells James to handle it, but he responds he is driving, so Jessie sends Arbok. Pikachu goes to use Thunderbolt, but James turns the van, so Pikachu's attack is disrupted. Arbok tackles Pikachu, but Pikachu still stands. Jessie remarks James' driving, so James tells he should get a license. Ritchie sends Sparky, a Pikachu, surprising Ash and Team Rocket. Arbok goes to attack, though Sparky and Ash's Pikachu use Agility, confusing Arbok. Sparky and Ash's Pikachu use Thunderbolt, electrocuting Team Rocket and blasting them off. Ash celebrates, but Ritchie points they will fall down.
Ash sends Pidgeotto and Ritchie Happy, his Butterfree. The Pokémon take them out of the van, which falls down. Ritchie sees they will fall down too fast, so Butterfree and Pidgeotto uses Whirlwind to make the landing softer. Ash and Ritchie think they saved each other with these ideas and soon a group of vans (inside are Ash's mom, Brock, Misty, Oak and Officer Jenny). Ash and Ritchie shake hands for this impressive teamwork. Inside the stadium, Ash fishes out a Magikarp. The receptionist tells him he will battle Ritchie. Everyone is surprised at this match-up. Meanwhile, Team Rocket are hanging from a tree, very depressed about their newest failure.
- The "Who's that Pokémon?" in this episode is Diglett.
- The episode name is a reference to idiom "A friend in deed is a friend indeed!".
- Like in the previous episode, Oak's eyebrows were discolored when he was saying how Ritchie's idea was a good one.
- When James declares to Weezing to use Smog, his glove was missing.