Challenge of The Samarai: Did Ash Deserve the Blame?

Ash running with Metapod in his arms.

In the third episode of Pokemon, Ash caught a small, catipiller-like creature called Caterpie. It evolved by the end of the episode into a cocoon-like creature called Metapod. In the 4th episode, Ash lost it, & it evolved again when he finds it. This episode has been the subject of some controvercy for a few years now. It has a moral: Ash is to blame for loosing Metapod, & he has to take responisbility for this loss to get Metapod's trust back. I've always liked that, but a lot of people blame Samarai, another trainer who challenged Ash, for the trouble. Hold on, let me explain.

In the beginning of the episode, Ash is trying to catch anothe Pokemon, a small catipillar with a stinger on its head, called Weedle. Samarai showed up, stopped Ash, & challanged him to a Pokemon Battle. Durring the fight, the Weedle gets away, & it calls its family, a huge swarm of bee-like Pokemon called Beedrill, to come take care of Ash. Everyone runs off, & the Bedrill catch & fly off with Metapod. So, let's go over the problems Ash faced which led to this situation:

Ash made some mistakes early on, before Samurai showed up. 1) He forgot that he needed to weaken a Pokémon before catching it. He caught himself before throwing a Pokeball, but the still ate up a few seconds. 2) He didn't have Pikachu's respect yet, so his first choice was asleep. 3) He decided to brag to Pikachu about how well his other Pokémon followed him.

All of this took time, which could've been used to catch Weedle.

Ash kinda stood around for a second or so when they first heard the Beedrill, unsure of what to do. A better, more experienced trainer would've known to recall his Pokémon & get out of there as soon as he heard them. Instead of recalling Metapod immediately, Ash decided to look up Beedrill in his Pokedex; that was a mistake. Immediately after that, Samurai runs off, & a Beedrill grabs Medapod.

All of this is small stuff, but it matters. Sure, Ash was about to catch Weedle when Samurai showed up, but the small things Ash did cost him the seconds he needed. Having one of his Pokémon taken by Beedrill may seem like disproportionate retribution, but sometimes the world is a harsh place. And Ash was able to rescue his Pokemon, so there wasn't any long-term harm. Plus Medapod evolved, so the outcome was eventually for his benefit, tho I'm sure all involved would've preferred a less-stressful way of getting Medapod to evolve.

They found Medapod at a tree full of Kakunah, a mid-point stage between Weedle & Beedrill. The Kakunah evolved into dangerous beedrill before Ash could get Medapod. A lot of people say Ash could've saved Medapod sooner if Samarai didn't pull Ash away during that scene. They're mis-remembering; Samurai didn't pull Ask away; no one did. Misty grabbed Ash & covered his mouth when the Kakunah evolved, but Ash & everyone else ran off at that point.

I feel like I'm ragging on Ash; I don't mean to. Tho Ash's incompetence caused the trouble, he wasn't a total idiot; he knew what Pinsr was, & he knew Butterfree's moves. Ash needed experience, & perhaps a lesson in humility, to be a good trainer. He got it in this episode. He'd have similar lessons through out the series, till the Pokemon League.

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