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Throwing in the Noctowl

This episode might seem like an interesting diversion at first, but it was fairly similar to "A Scare in the Air" (I think that was the name), the Orange Islands episode where the trio is on a blimp that starts falling apart. Man, you'd think there'd be a little more quality control in the Pokemon world when it comes to aircraft. :-p So anyway, the similarities won't help its score, but the episode was fairly entertaining in its own right.
Getting to see Wings' Pokemon was cool. They must be leftovers from his younger days as a trainer. The trio of course agreed to help him feed them before they left, and it was cool how he didn't charge them for the plane ride in exchange. Of course, the way things turned out, it wouldn't have been right for him to charge them anyway, but of course they didn't know that at the time. I liked Brock's comment:

"There's nothing like cleaning out a smelly Ponyta stable to get me in the mood to watch one of Ash's Gym battles!"

Wings' stories about him and his Hoothoot during his days as a trainer were cool. During the flashbacks it even attacked an...Onix? Oh well, just because we saw it attack doesn't necessarily mean it won the battle. Then we saw the flashback of it evolving into Noctowl, the same one that was now aged and sitting in the copilot's seat next to Wings. I guess this episode proved that Pokemon can age in the anime.
Later, when they were in the plane, how in the world could they hear Team Rocket's cries for help from their balloon? That was a bit unrealistic, but it didn't make much difference. Wings would've probably decided to help them anyway even if they couldn't hear them, because they were obviously in trouble. TR's fake attempts at sounding like they'd behave were lame, but funny. When they fell through the floor and were barely hanging on, it was really ironic that they had to be the ones to save Togepi, with Jessie saying something like: "Meowth, I don't care if you have to wrap yourself around that thing, just don't let anything happen to it!" They had no choice--if they didn't/couldn't save Togepi, who knows, Misty might have forced them to hang like that for the rest of the trip, or maybe something worse.
When the plane started having trouble and Ash climbed up the side, how could he hang on? There must have been little rungs that we couldn't see, but the animators could have at least shown them. Seeing all the Pokemon work together to help out was cool. Crobat steadied Ash, Bulbasaur and Bayleef used their vines to tie down the propellors, and Staryu and Poliwhirl used Water Gun to push the plane away from the ocean. A dumb little script mistake was there though...Ash told Bulbasaur to "use Vine Whip to tie down the engine" when he should have said "propellor".
Jigglypuff, who had been floating around because of the storm, then landed on the wing. TR noticed this and got quite scared, with good reason. Heh, who knew a singing Jigglypuff could be so dangerous? Good thing it got knocked off the plane by another lightning bolt, hope it landed somewhere safe. Then everyone woke up just in time to keep the plane in the air again.
Pikachu using Thunderbolt to keep the lightning away was a cool idea as well. TR falling through the floor again after Wobbuffet popped out was funny:

Misty: "What happened to Team Rocket?"
Brock: "I guess it was their stop."

A slightly unoriginal and unrealistic, but still entertaining episode. Not as good as some of the previous episodes, but it made viewers look forward to the excellent Gym battle in the next one.

Geodude's rating: 7.5 out of 10