Ash and the others arrive in Emeragrove Town, where the Eterna City Gym Leader, Gardenia, just happens to be. Team Rocket decides to steal Pikachu, but when James calls out Cacnea, Gardenia swoons over it and asks to have a tag battle. The battle ends up being Ash and Dawn vs. James and Gardenia. During the battle, Cacnea pulls off the move Drain Punch. James tries to use it a second time, but it does not work. Gardenia then tells James he needs to be in perfect sync with Cacnea for the move to work and asks if she can train Cacnea. James starts to think about it, and decides to try and train Cacnea himself. Jessie and Meowth think that Drain Punch would be a good move for them to have, so they convince Ash to help James train. However, will James' training work?
The heroes come to a town and are surprised to see Gardenia, with a lot of kids that come as fans. Brock flirts with her and gets jabbed. She tells she is promoting Pokémon battles by fighting around the area. Team Rocket sees this and charge to steal the Pokémon. Jessie sends Seviper and James his Cacnea. As Pikachu goes to electrocute them, Gardenia hugs Cancea. Gardenia would like to get it, but James knows giving it to her would mean permanent. The kids would like a battle, so Gardenia proposes a tag battle with James against Ash and his companion. James hesitates, but the kids taunt him, so he is forced to battle. Ash and Dawn agree to battle, while Jessie and Meowth are confused.
Gardenia sends Turtwig, while Ash his Aipom, Dawn her Pachirisu and James his Cacnea. Aipom uses Swift - Turtwig dodges, while Cacnea gets hit. Cacnea uses Pin Missile and Turtwig Leaf Storm, though Aipom and Pachirisu evade. Gardenia is amazed by Pin Missile. Pachirisu uses Spark, but misses Turtwig, though it gets bitten by it. Pachirisu uses Discharge and goes to hit everything, but only attacks Cancea. Cacnea counters Focus Punch with Needle Arm and sends Aipom away. Gardenia studies for a bit and advises James to order two Needle Arms in a row.
Pachirisu uses Spark, so Cacnea goes to attack with Needle Arm, but misses, and gets attacked. Aipom goes to use Focus Punch, while Gardenia tells James to order Cacnea to use Drain Punch. Even if it did not use the move, Cacnea should just roll its arm. James orders this, preventing Aipom to attack. Gardenia was focused on Cacnea that Turtwig got defeated by Spark. Aipom uses Swift and Cacnea goes to counter with Drain Punch, but it fails and gets knocked out, then gets defeated by Focus Punch, while going to attack with Drain Punch. Ash and Dawn win the battle. The kids are disappointed to see Gardenia lost and blame James. James holds his Cacnea, so Gardenia was right - it has potential to learn Drain Punch.
Gardenia thinks Cacnea is special and Drain Punch worked at first. Still, Cacnea needs a lot of training, something the trainer needs to work on. James thinks it is his fault, so Gardenia proposes to take it with her to train that move. The kids want Gardenia to show more Pokémon, so they go to the Center to show. James ponders Gardenia's offer and Jessie has enough of it - Team Rocket should not give Pokémon away. Meowth translates Cacnea wants to learn that move, so James and Cacnea go to practice to use the move. Jessie sees the twerps and has an idea - with some persuasion, the twerps could teach Cacnea Drain Punch. Cacnea tries several times, but cannot use Drain Punch.
Jessie and Meowth are sad to see there is no training partner, giving Ash an idea to help James and Cacnea. Dawn is skeptical, as it would threaten them, but Ash knows they have to help everyone who wants their Pokémon trained. Ash tells Cacnea with Needle Arm move, it could easily use Drain Punch. Pikachu starts with Quick Attack, so Cacnea uses Needle Arm, colliding the Pokémon. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt and attacks, though Cacnea evades, the attack hits James. Cacnea uses Needle Arm and gets stopped by Iron Tail, but Pikachu gets pushed away. With the same principle, Cacnea uses Drain Punch, but fails and trips over a rock. Brock knows the timing and the commands are bad, depressing James a lot. James sent Carnivine and Ash Chimchar so Cacnea can train with them. Ash knows with this training, Cacnea will have the Drain Punch learned in no time.
Cacnea accidentally attacked Chimchar and manages to use Drain Punch, though with no intensity. Before the end of the day, James still ponders if he should give away Cacnea. James thinks by having Cacnea stay it will never be truly happy. Still, he re-gains confidence and goes to do more training. Ash is glad to hear that and will send Aipom. Gardenia comes to see what the training resulted in. Ash sends Aipom to battle. Cacnea uses Needle Arm and dodges Aipom's Focus Punch to hit it. Cacnea goes to use Needle Arm again, but gets hit by Focus Punch. Cacnea hits Aipom with Needle Arm and charges with Drain Punch, but fails.
Cacnea gets bashed to a rock, but continues to fight. Cacnea goes to use Drain Punch, but fails and gets hit by Focus Punch. Cacnea continues, but gets hit every time. Though Cacnea still goes to fight, James stops it. Ash calls Aipom back. James takes a few steps and tells Cacnea to stay. James decides to have Cacnea being trained under Gardenia's tutoring. Cacnea wants to stay with James, but understands and obeys his last order. James recalls his memories and calls it back, then gives it to Gardenia. Gardenia promises to take care of it. James runs away, so Meowth and Jessie follow him. Next day, the heroes depart, while James has the last look on Cacnea.
- Ash and Dawn narrate the next episode preview.
- Jessie breaks the fourth wall when she says to start up the season in style with the old get-up and go strategy. This is the second episode of the season.
Once again, the black part under Gardenia's mantle is invisible.
- When Gardenia is explaining Drain Punch to James, she mentions it is stronger than Needle Arm, which, at the time, was incorrect. Both Drain Punch and Needle Arm had the same base power of 60. After Generation V was introduced, however, the statement would then become true, as Drain Punch's base power was increased to 75, while Needle Arm's would remain the same.