I remember way back in a review of one of my episodes that I made promise that I would try to use Brock better in my series than he was used during the later half of his run in the show. It may be nearly 70 episodes later, but I like to think that I am now fulfilling my promise. I completely admit that I let Brock drift to the side and haven’t given him anywhere near the focus he deserves. For real this time, I promise that that will change now. The concept of this episode is something that I’ve been toying around with for quite a while now. I realized that if I were to redefine Brock’s goals just a little bit, and gave him some sort of equivalent to a trainer earning badges or coordinator ribbons, that he could be written in a much better way. Of course, that left me with the question of what that should be. How does a Pokémon doctor-in-training go about having physical representations of his progress akin to a badge? Obviously it couldn’t be any sort of competitive nature, as being a doctor should be anything but competitive. But without competition, where would the drama come from? I even considered just forgetting the doctor stuff and having Brock enter Pokemon breeding contests, something akin to real-world dog shows, but decided in the end that that would just be backwards progress for Brock. I needed something that would progress him towards his current goal of being a Pokémon doctor. Finally I settled on what you see in this episode. The curing of previously-incurable ailments to earn a medical degree without the normal schooling. One thing that works quite well about it is that it helps me justify taking Brock out of medical school and putting him back in the field. My previous excuse was tenuous at best. Speaking of, that was the other big purpose of this episode, fully justifying why Brock’s time isn’t better spent in medical school. It was all designed to prove that he gets just as valuable experience, if not more, traveling around the world with Ash. We’re entering a new age with Brock here, and hopefully it’s a change for the better.
One other topic I want to address quickly is Team Rocket’s appearance in this episode. In case you didn’t understand the blatant joke, the entire scene was making fun of the fact that it’s essentially a rule that Team Rocket has to appear at least once in every episode (unless said episode takes place in Unova, which is a major part of the reason why Unova was my least favorite series). The reason I made this joke is because when trying to figure out how to work Team Rocket into this episode, I realized that I was literally just shoehorning them in like people often complain about. Personally, I want to see them every episode, even if they are shoehorned in, but I decided that this would be the perfect time to use Team Rocket’s outrageous personality and ability to break the fourth wall to make light of the scenario.