The time has come for Ash to have his first Gym Battle in the Johto region, only to have it interupted when Team Rocket steals Pikachu. Just then a trainer appears and steals Pikachu back and uses his Pidgeot to stop Team Rocket. Ash was impressed the way the trainer used his Pidgeot, reminding him of his own. The trainer introduces himself as Falkner, leader of the Violet City Gym. Ash may have been grateful to him for rescuing Pikachu, but that wouldn't mean he would go easy on him. Will Ash soar and win his first badge, or will he crash and burn?
Once again, Meowth breaks the fourth wall in this episode.
In the Generation II games, Falkner didn't have a Dodrio.
This was the final American episode of the 20th century.
This episode was the first where, and in every Gym Battle episode from this point on, there would be an official gym referee to judge the battles.
During Ash's flashback, he says that the Fearow was attacking a group of Pigeot. This is wrong; the Fearow was attacking a group of Pidgey and Pigeotto. There were no Pigeots there until Ash's own Pigeotto evolved.
Despite Ash saying he will go back to see his Pigeot some day, he has yet to do so.
This is one of the few episodes where both Ash and the Gym Leader's Pokemon have their original Japanese voices crossed over to the English-language dub.
The Johto Champion theme is heard playing when Ash's Charizard and Falkner's Pidgeot begin fighting against each other.
Interestingly, Megumi Hayashibara and Shin'ichirō Miki who voiced Falkner's Pidgeot and Ash's Charizard in both the Japanese and English language versions are known for voicing Jessie and James of Team Rocket in the original Japanese version.
Ash: "These are my friends, Misty and Brock, and I'm Ash."
Falkner: "And I'm Falkner, the Violet City Gym Leader, hi."
Everyone's in shock.
Brock: "Did he say Gym Leader?!"
Misty: "That's what he said."
Falkner: "I suppose I should have mentioned that to you earlier."
"Charizard! Quick, turn around and use Fire Spin!"
Ash turning the battle around.
"You used Pidgeot's speed to your advantage, that was an excellent strategy. Well, this is what you came here for, the Zephyr Badge is yours, you've earned it."