Fowl Play! (Japanese: いろちがいのヨルノズク！ゲットだぜ！！ Alt. Color Noctowl! Get It!!) is the 38th episode of Pokémon: The Johto Journeys.
Still on their way to Goldenrod City, Ash and friends find themselves in a forest. They notice a birdhouse and a Noctowl being shooed away. Another Noctowl comes by, only this one is a different color and smaller than a normal Noctowl. The Noctowl pecks out the man hiding in the tree. He introduces himself to Ash and friends as Dr. Wiseman, collector of Rare Pokémon, like the shiny Noctowl. Dr. Wiseman says that the Noctowl in question always outsmarts him every time he tries to catch it. Later, Team Rocket enters the scene with their own plans for Noctowl. Can Ash be able to save it? And why does Meowth always break the fourth wall?
The heroes wander through a forest. Pikachu spots on a small tree post for Flying Pokémon. Brock thinks it is too large for a Pidgey and too small for a Pidgeotto. The heroes notice a bird came to it, so go to hide to observe. It is a Noctowl and realize that even in the day, the forest is too thick and dark so Noctowl move, thinking it is night. Suddenly, a tree branch scares away Noctowl, making the heroes uneasy what they have just seen. A Noctowl appears, but with a different color. The tree branch is happy and offers it some berries. Noctowl tackles the tree, revealing the branch was a man, who falls after Noctowl pecked his fingers. The heroes apologise to the mister, who corrects them as Dr. Wiseman. Dr. Wiseman tells them he was going to capture Noctowl because of its small size and unusual coloring, but was outsmarted by it. Ash is determined to capture it, though Wiseman warns him he'll get outsmarted, too.
Ash throws his Poké Ball, but Noctowl bashes it back against his head, laughing at him. Noctowl uses a power, causing Ash to order Pikachu to attack Noctowl, but in truth, he is ordering a rock. Wiseman clarifies to Misty and Brock he has been hypnotised, as he lifts a rock and falls down, causing Noctowl to laugh more and fly away. At Wiseman's lodge, the doctor tells Ash he warned him. Wiseman tells he made a cabin to capture Noctowl, as he captures unqiue Pokémon. Misty sends her Psyduck, thinking it is a rare one. Wiseman asks what is rare about it and is told it can't fly nor swim. Misty laughs, making Wiseman annoyed, as he remembers Noctowl laughing at him. He tells he will capture it and Ash tells the same, though Wiseman warns Ash is not knowledgable about it as he is. Ash tells why didn't he captured it already and is told Wiseman has a secret trap, but does not allow Ash to see it. Brock and Misty advise Ash that using a trap will make appreciated way to capture Pokémon and makes them disrespectful. Ash promises he will capture it, though Wiseman thinks that attitude will not cause Noctowl to be captured.
As they argue, Team Rocket heard what they told and realize Noctowl will be a good present for the boss. The heroes watch as Wiseman sets the trap up. Misty thinks Noctowl may be too smart to fall for the trap, but Ash knows Wiseman is also smart as well. Wiseman is confident Noctowl will return, as it cannot pass a challenge of smarts. They see Noctowl coming, so Wiseman triggers the trap. Noctowl sees its own reflection in the mirror and uses Hypnosis, but due to the mirror, it hypnoses itself. Noctowl walks around and falls on the ground. Wiseman takes it and shows it to the heroes, but it is a rock, as Noctowl hypnotised him. The heroes see that Noctowl is also hypnotised, so Ash goes to check if it is hurt. Noctowl feels threatened and suddenly, a wind blows, causing Wiseman to be hit by a stick and regain his conciousness.
The heroes see Team Rocket is here in their robot, trying to capture the Noctowl. Wiseman is disgusted as they need such a large machine to capture one Noctowl and the heroes tell they need to use their own Pokémon to battle, but Team Rocket is not ashamed. Pikachu uses Thundershock, though the attack bounces off the machine. Ash sends Cyndaquil and Totodile to battle them. However, Team Rocket blast out a strong wind. Noctowl is knocked out, so Dr. Wiseman takes Noctowl and runs away. Team Rocket take Noctowl and throw Wiseman away, then fly away. Ash sends Chikorita and Bulbasaur, who use Vine Whip to hold the robot. Ash climbs up and jumps on the machine, trying to free Noctowl. Misty sees Psyduck and believes it wants to use Confusion, though Psyduck falls down from such "exhasution". Ash pulls the part of the machine, enough for Noctowl to get freed. However, Team Rocket cause him to fall down.
Noctowl goes to Ash's Pokémon and gives orders. Cyndaquil uses Flamethrower (despite the robot's resistance to flames), then Totodile uses Water Gun (though Team Rocket knows the robot cannot rust to that). However, the robot cracks and rattles, as the attacks caused an opening, enough for Pikachu to use Thunderbolt to electrocute Team Rocket and explode the robot, causing them to blast off. Ash is told Noctowl gave orders, making Ash to gain respect for it. Wiseman comes and believes he used his chances, so lets Ash battle Noctowl, who wants to fight him. Pikachu goes to start witha Thunderbolt, but due to Noctowl's Hypnosis, he attacks randomly. A moment later, Pikachu gains his conciousness back. Suddenly, Pikachu runs as Noctowl chases him. Pikachu closes his eyes (with Ash's command) and hearing Noctowl flapping its wings, uses Thunderbolt to electrocute it.
Ash throws his Poké Ball and captures Noctowl. Brock, Misty and Wiseman cogratulate Ash on this fine capture, who is glad to have Noctowl on his team. The heroes depart and wave to Wiseman a goodbye.
- "Meowth, that's right! And we're gonna capture that colorful Noctowl, right after we get back from the next commercial." - Meowth
- This episode is the first to debut true, shiny Pokémon.
- This is yet another episode where Meowth breaks the fourth wall.
- The "Who's that Pokémon?" in this episode is Entei.
The Poké Balls which Cyndaquil and Totodile popped out of were switched.