As is made obvious by this episode, Allen is a ufologist, a person who scientifically attempts to study and search for evidence of reports of UFOs and alien visitation. I figured, what better way to introduce a ufologist character than an episode based around a good old-fashioned alien/UFO/men in black story? The story wasn’t based off of any single story, though the ending was heavily inspired by the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Butch and Cassidy played the part of the men in black, shady figures dressed entirely in black who reportedly appear to people who claim to have seen UFOs/aliens in order to intimidate them into not telling anyone else of their experience. Fun fact, Team Interplanetary is also based off of the men in black.
Of important note in the episode is the two new Pokémon introduced in this episode, Eatyai and Yuifoe. For those who didn’t know, the names of Elgyem and Beheeyem are meant to be pronounced as one would pronounce the letters LGM and BEM. LGM stands for little green men, as in the classic term for the stereotypical alien, while BEM stands for bug-eyed monster, an old sci-fi term for aliens with big bug eyes. Both Eatyai and Yuifoe are meant to invoke this same naming pattern. Eatyai is meant to be pronounced something like ETI, which stands for extraterrestrial intelligence, as seen in SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Yuifoe is probably obvious, but it’s a spelling of UFO for unidentified flying object.
Speaking of SETI, that’s obviously what I based SETP off of in the episode. It’s a program that uses radio telescopes to search the skies for signals from alien worlds. The name Allen is a double pun. On one hand, it sounds like alien, but the other part is that one of SETI’s major telescope arrays is known as the Allen Telescope Array.
This episode is of note because it was the longest episode written for Cosmic Quest so far. Most episodes average between 4,000-5,000 words, with some of the lager episodes, normally the specials, having a word count in the low 6,000s. This episode had nearly 7,000 words. It could have been split into two small episodes if I wanted. The reason it was so long is because I had to cram in three independent battles with two Pokémon each plus a battle against Team Rocket. That’s a whole lot, but I couldn’t cut any of it out, as all three battles had some sort of importance to them. Brock and James was James’ Astro Camp finale, to which he has been so dedicated, as well as a rare chance for Brock to battle. Brenda and Michelle’s was the true beginning of the next part of Brenda’s story arc. And Ash and Braydon’s battle was the start of their rivalry, which will continue on into the future, as well as Elgyem’s finale.
I’m sure it’s obvious at this point, but the over-arching story of Professor Pine’s Astro Camp is the story of Ash and Elgyem. While the last episode focused more on Ash having to gain Elgyem’s trust, this episode was Ash gaining its friendship, and helping it to overcome its issues. Elgyem wasn’t timid simply because it was born that way, it went through a traumatic experience in its life, and this episode was all about exploring and paralleling that experience, which would eventually lead to Elgyem overcoming its fears.
Another aspect of this episode was the subplot with Brenda and Michelle. For now I can say is that it is obvious that something is brewing. Now if you had the feeling that this episode felt incomplete as far as their story goes, you would be right, but remember, we’re in the middle of a multi-episode arc, so things aren’t quite done yet.