The episode begins with May riding her bike towards Littleroot Town. Although today is the day she will receive her first Pokémon from Professor Birch, she admits that she would rather just travel, and is not really interested in training Pokémon. Suddenly, a Duskull appears next to her and scares her. She speeds off, loses control and crashes into a tree. She continues onward, until she reaches a cliff overlooking Littleroot Town.
Meanwhile, Ash is also arriving in Littleroot Town but all he can think about is trying to heal Pikachu. He then wonders if there's a Pokémon Center in town, and hopes that Nurse Joy can inspect Pikachu to see if he's okay. On the upper deck, Team Rocket hears the call for Littleroot Town. All are eager to enter this new land except for Jessie, who seems to be depressed for some unknown reason.
When the boat docks, Ash disembarks and asks the port attendant where the Pokémon Center is. He is saddened to learn that there is none in the small town. He is about to give up when he remembers Professor Birch, and wonders if he has any capabilities of healing Pikachu. He calls Birch's lab, only to find that he is out doing field work. Joshua, his assistant, informs Ash that he will let the professor know of the situation as soon as possible.
In the meantime, Ash waits on the bench, anxious for any word from the professor. Out of the blue, Ash hears a screeching noise. He looks up to see Professor Birch in a SUV. Birch asks if Ash is the one who called about Pikachu, and he immediately responds. He carries Pikachu into the SUV and they speed off. Along the way back to the lab, Birch begins to figure out what's happening with Pikachu; he is suffering from an electric overload after being strapped to Team Rocket's giant magnet. If the Electric Pokémon doesn't receive immediate attention, he might explode from all the energy. Their only hope is to drain all of it out of Pikachu. Once at the lab, the professor attaches the machine to Pikachu, while Joshua turns it on. Pikachu's electricity levels are so high, they cause the machine to explode. Pikachu then escapes, and Ash runs after him. Upon finding out Ash isn't carrying any other Pokémon, Birch grabs the three starter Pokémon and runs after the young Trainer. Joshua reminds Birch that the starters are supposed to be for May who is due to arrive that day, and Birch tells Joshua to ask May to wait until he gets back. As he explains this, Ash is desperately calling out and searching for Pikachu, but the Pokémon is nowhere to be found.
Meanwhile, May arrives at the lab. Joshua tells her that the professor will be right back, but she ignores him and goes looking for Birch. She is unaware that he has fallen off a cliff and landed on top of a Poochyena while looking for Pikachu. After recovering, he apologizes to the Pokémon, but it just appears to get angrier. Two more appear and they all begin to growl at the professor. He realizes that they're about to use Rage. Although initially proud of his knowledge, he soon realizes that their move is directed at him, and runs away trying to escape from them.
As he takes shelter in a tree, May arrives and inquires as to why he is climbing a tree. Relieved that somebody has arrived, he tells May to get one of his Pokémon to ward off the Poochyena. Hesitantly, she takes out a Poké Ball and sends out Mudkip. The professor tells her to command it to use an attack, but May is unfamiliar with the Pokémon's moves. Birch tells her to have it use Water Gun. When she commands it, the Water-type Pokémon sprays her in the face. Frustrated, Birch falls from his branch and is being pursued once again. He calls after Mudkip, who follows him. Birch commands the Pokémon to use Water Gun on the Poochyena, scaring them off. Birch then realizes that Ash and Pikachu are still missing, and has May follow him.
Pikachu continues to weaken and become frightened. When he hears Ash's voice, he sees him as a silhouette and hears "Pikachu, just stay right here…" before his voice becomes unrecognizable and the silhouette changes shape. Pikachu's eyes glow red as he furiously attacks him with Thunderbolt, thinking he's an enemy. Prof. Birch and May reach the area and see Ash dive off a cliff to save his friend. Luckily, he manages to grab onto a branch, but he is far from danger. Pikachu continues shocking him, and even bites him at one point to try to get away. Eventually, Ash calms Pikachu down, and he slowly realizes who is holding him. The Trainer makes it back up the cliff and meets up with the professor and May.
Just when things start looking well, Team Rocket appears in their latest mecha, a giant battery robot. When May and Birch inquire about them, Ash lets them know about the trio and their evil ways. Meowth begins bragging about how this is their best robot ever, and grabs Pikachu with one of the machine's arms. Team Rocket then has the machine put suction cups on Pikachu's cheeks to absorb his electricity. As James and Meowth celebrate the fact the machine is filling up with energy, Jessie yells at them, saying that Pikachu is getting stronger. After getting most of the energy drained, Pikachu shocks the machine, and a stray bolt of electricity fries May's bike. Then, the robot explodes, sending Team Rocket blasting off once again. This time, Jessie is happy, claiming she feels completely recharged thanks to Pikachu. The electric Pokémon then collapses on the ground, causing Ash to panic once again.
Back at Birch's lab, he determines that Team Rocket's machine drained all the excess energy out of Pikachu until his levels were at what they were supposed to be. After a rest, he says that Pikachu should make a full recovery. With that situation over, Birch now turns his attention to May and her first Pokémon. He first shows her Treecko, but May thinks the Grass-type looks scary. Mudkip is next, but May says she doesn't want it because it refused to listen to her. Finally, the professor reveals Torchic, a Fire-type. The Pokémon hops up to May and begins rubbing against her leg. She then decides that she will take Torchic as her first Pokémon. Birch gives her six empty Poké Balls and a Pokédex. She makes a few comments about this, Birch wondering what she said before she tries to cover it up.
The next morning May looks at her bike, angry that it has been destroyed. She goes to find Ash and scold him, but when she opens the door, she finds Ash still asleep. May softens up and watches as Ash mutters a few things in his sleep and Pikachu awakens. The Pokémon then wakes up Ash, causing both to be happy that they're both okay. May then realizes that her bike can wait.
Outside, May releases Torchic and Ash soon comes outside. May greets him and Pikachu hops off Ash to meet Torchic. The two Pokémon soon play around, and Ash comments on how Pikachu already made his first friend in the Hoenn region. Birch and Joshua soon tell them that they have to go to Oldale Town's Pokémon Center to register for the league. May makes a few remarks about going alone. Then she purposely says she would have, but Pikachu destroyed her bike. May asks Ash if she could come along with him, and Ash agrees to go. And so, they head off to Oldale Town.