The episode begins with Ash and Co. arriving in Emeragrove town, and they find the Eterna City Gym Leader, Gardenia surrounded by children. When they greet each other, Brock flirts with Gardenia only to be Poison Jabbed by Croagunk. Ash and Co. find out Gardenia is promoting battles around the town.
Team Rocket is just around the corner, and they decide to get Pikachu. After their motto, Jessie calls out Seviper, while James calls out Cacnea. But then Gardenia hugs Cacnea. James grabs his Cacnea but the kids tell Gardenia about the battles she was going to host. Gardenia has an idea, a tag battle. Gardenia and James will battle Ash. So Ash decides to tell Dawn to be his partner. Gardenia calls out Turtwig, while James uses Cacnea. Ash calls out Aipom, and Dawn uses Pachirisu.
Aipom uses Swift, which hits Cacnea, while Turtwig dodges. Cacnea uses Pin Missile and Turtwig uses Leaf Storm. Both Aipom and Pachirisu dodge the attacks. Pachirisu uses Spark but misses Turtwig. Turtwig uses Bite on Pachirisu tail and Pachirisu's Discharge misses Turtwig but hits Cacnea. Now Aipom uses Focus Punch on Cacnea but it counters with Needle Arm. Team Rocket is surprised by Needle Arm's power, so Gardenia tells James that Needle Arm can be used twice in a row. Its second Needle Arm misses Pachirisu and Pachirisu hits Cacnea with Spark. Aipom prepares to attack Cacnea but Gardenia tells James to use Drain Punch. James decides to use it and Cacnea hits Aipom with Drain Punch. They all worry about Cacnea but Dawn's Pachirisu defeats Turtwig. Cacnea fails to use Drain Punch twice, which ends up losing when Aipom uses Focus Punch in it.
After the battle, Gardenia offers to train Cacnea but James decides to think about it. Jessie has an idea, to ask Ash and Co. to help them train Cacnea to use Drain Punch. Ash decides to use Pikachu against Cacnea. Cacnea's training seems to go well but Drain Punch fails once again. After battling, Chimchar and Carnivine help Cacnea using their hands as punching bags. After a while, it seems to get the hand of punching, so it uses Drain Punch again but fails. At sunset, James' is considering giving Cacnea to Gardenia.
Ash decides to use Aipom against Cacnea and Gardenia arrives to watch. The battle begins and Cacnea's Needle Arm seems to have become powerful, hitting Aipom. The battle continues on and then it tries Drain Punch which seems to be going well but it fails once again. Cacnea doesn't give up and it uses Drain Punch again, which fails. Aipom hits Cacnea with Focus Punch several times. Cacnea still doesn't give up but it too weakened to fight.
Now James decides to give Cacnea to Gardenia. Cacnea at first doesn't want to go but then it agrees. James returns Cacnea into its Poké Ball. James gives the Poké Ball to Gardenia. James runs off with Jessie and Meowth following. The next day, Ash and Co. say good bye to Gardenia.
The episode ends with James using binoculars to see his old friend Cacnea one final time.