On their way to Rustboro our heroes stumble upon a pokemon preserve. They meet the ranger, Katrina and her pack of Mightyena. There’s one Poochyena though and it’s been down since all of it’s friends have evolved. Max takes his chance to coach the little pokemon.
Once again Max learns his book knowledge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s very satisfying to see May through all the smack Max has been through right back in his face. It’s a good look inside Max’s head though. It’s never said, but is still pretty clear that Max is projecting on this pokemon. He gets so defensive in hearing Poochyena may never evolve and is so passionate about the weak getting stronger. Maybe Max has more depth that initially realized.
This episode has a surprisingly good purpose. It introduces the concept of evolution to new viewers without the permeance of evolving a main character’s pokemon. Heck Brock even gets a segment explaining the difference between level and stone evolution. It’s a clever way to show new fans this. Max might not have been the best candidate to star though. He’s still a brat about it even when some depth shines through. It makes me almost not want Poochyena to evolve.
Overall even with the problems with Max the episode overall is good. Watching Max act as the viewer surrogate for the topic of evolution was a good choice. I wish he could have grown as well a bit more, but that’s just wishful thinking. What really helps is how well the episode flows, it never dragged once even with Max being so Max about everything.