While journeying along our heroes run straight into a lost child poster for James of all people. The trio are whisked away in a limo when they tell Hopkins, a butler that they know the child in the picture. Ash and co. are brought to a giant mansion, a mansion with a hundred room doghouse. Team Rocket follow them, but only Jessie and Meowth are excited to see the mansion.
Inside the mansion Hopkins reveals James’ parents passed away that morning. It’s revealed James ran away from home. Now that his parents are gone James has 24 hours to marry his fiancé to earn his inheritance. No one questions that James has to get married. Ash, Misty, and Brock believe it’s best to find him so he cans at goodbye to his parents. Team Rocket bursts in on them as they wonder how they’ll find James. James is against going to the funeral and earning his inheritance. He claims that he has no childhood, he froze to death as a street urchin. Everyone cries at the revelation except Misty who clearly sees James did not die ever.
Jessie and Meowth decide to force James to get married. They just want to split his money. Their plan involves gagging James, dressing in black, and forcing him inside the mansion while speaking for him. The butler buys this plan and shows James his parent’s coffins. It’s revealed that James’ parents faked their death to lure him home.
His parents are all prepared for James to get married. The biggest shock of the episode is revealed; James’ fiancé is Jessie! Well not actually, her name is Jessebelle and is basically identical to Jessie in every way. Jessie and Meowth are still set on making James marry Jessebelle just to get his money.
Jessebelle takes James (and Jessie and Meowth) to the family vault. It turns out to be a trap. It’s also revealed everyone saw through Team Rocket’s weird disguise. They just ignored it to get James down to the vault. Jessebelle tries battling James into submission with her Vileplume. After James is stunned by a nasty stun spore, Jessebelle orders Hopkins to remove our heroes and the rest of Team Rocket. When hope seems lost for James his beloved Growlithe, Growlie is broken out of the mansion sized doghouse to save it’s master.
Before James is married off Growlie saves the day. It carries James away from that nastly Jessebelle. It’s revealed she’s the reason James ran away from home. They were arranged to be married as children and she’s always been a pain. Jessebelle won’t let James go that easily. Pikachu steps in with an “electric shock” as Ash puts it. This along with Growlie’s fire attack is enough to drive Vileplume and it’s trainer away. James decides to leave again and entrusts Growlie to take care of his parents. Jessie and Meowth were worried James stayed with his family, but the three share a little reunion. In a twist Team Rocket gets the happy ending and Ash, Brock, and Misty end the episode still running away from Jessebelle.
- The Growlithe has it’s own giant mansion
- James is rich
- James is engaged
- James flunking Pokémon Tech and being Little Jim in a bike gang is referenced
- Everyone but Misty believes James when he says he died as a child
- James’ parents are almost papa from The Kangaskhan Kid levels of bad (just almost)
- There is a noose joke like what the heck Pokemon
- Ash and co. get stuck with the bad ending this time
Team Rocket is probably the most mysterious members of the cast. Besides little snippets here and there we never learn anything about this trio’s life before they ran into Ash. I actually like a lot that they have an episode dedicated to James’ past. It all makes sense too, he had a stifling childhood and that’s why he chose the freedom of Team Rocket. This episode isn’t perfect.
I found it odd how Jessie and Meowth went against Jame’s wishes just for money. This was shortsighted and selfish even for them. Also when Jessebelle was fighting James the first time why didn’t he use Weezing to defend himself? There’s no reason he should have just sat and took her attack. It didn’t even make the battle with Growlie any more impressive. Actually speaking of, the only battle in this episode was really weak visually. It’s also insultingly short with Ash mispronouncing an attack. Fortunately this odd choices are made up for by the strength of the plot.
The plot is pretty well done. It starts off with a huge surprise in James being the lost child of an extremely wealthy family. It turns to intense with the reveal that his parents died and he stands to earn a ridiculously large amount of money. Then we’re treated to two twists in a row. First James’ parents are alive and are just tricking him into returning. . His parents are awful. They aren’t abusive like some parents in this show, but they’re manipulation is something just unseen in Pokémon. James knows they’re master manipulators too. He doesn’t care that they’re alive, he’s all like yeah that figures. The second is that his fiancé is a Jessie clone that’s even worse than Jessie. This gives the episode some high stakes. James is essentially stuck and thanks to Jessie and Meowth is driven very deep into this toxic web.
James basically has no way to get help. The only thing that actually helps him throughout this whole episode is Growlie. Another strength this episode has is showing how close Pokémon and trainer remain after many years. It’s kinda a shame he left Growlie behind. I can see it being a viable member of his team. If anything the episode answers why James is the way he is.