DP094: Doc Brock!
Pokémon: DP Battle Dimension
Season 11, Episode 42 (DP094) Doc Brock!
Summary: Brock leaves Ash and Dawn alone to take care of all the Pokémon together at a cottage in the woods while he makes a trip to a pharmacy to stock up on medicine. He leaves them a list of chores to do and the first half of the episode basically focuses on them two working together side by side to hold down the fort. The episode really made it seem as if Ash, Dawn, and all the Pokémon were one big happy family. It demonstrated how strong of a foundation they were able to naturally and successfully create, and emphasized their closeness and unity as a family unit. It was a nice little tidbit of what parenthood or guardianship would be like for them, and that is why I consider this to be one of my favorite Pearlshipping episodes.
The opening scene of the episode shows Dawn training for the Celestic Town contest with Buneary, as Ash looks on with Pikachu. He comments on their training, “Wow, those two look super psyched!” and their hard work motivates him to brainstorm ideas on countering Fantina’s Hypnosis strategy for his gym battle in Hearthome City. There’s some significance to this because instead of Ash training with his Pokémon and Dawn looking on as a spectator, it’s Ash who takes a back seat and this time it’s his turn to be inspired by Dawn’s spirit. This shows that not only do they thrive on each other’s energy, but also that their characters are equal and that both their goals are focused on evenly in the show.
While Ash and Pikachu buckle down and think of a strategy to counter Hypnosis, Ash is once again caught in one of his dimwitted acts as he nods off at an ill-advised moment. Pikachu, annoyed with him, wakes him up and steers Ash back on track.
(Note: There will be a reference back to this scene later in the analysis.)
When Brock sets off and leaves Ash and Dawn in charge, they both agree to take on the responsibility, and here’s the split-screen image showing them as a pairing, signifying that the episode focuses on them equally and share the spotlight, despite the episode being titled “Doc Brock”. (However, the title in the Japanese version is Pachirisu Has a Fever! Two People Taking Care!?)
Their first job together is to give all of the Pokémon a bath. The two of them appear to have figured out an efficient method of carrying out that task together. First, Ash does the bathing, then Dawn does the toweling off. Looks like great teamwork! And they seem to be having fun in the process. They managed to create a hassle-free environment for themselves and the Pokémon, and as you can tell by Turtwig’s and Piplup’s expressions, the Pokémon don’t only appear to be behaving well, but also enjoying themselves, too. During this scene, Dawn remarks, “Hey! We got this down to a science!” Dawn herself thinks that she and Ash work well together. However way you see it, it’s just an effortless partnership. It’s a privilege for them to be so in tune with each other.
Piplup looks so happy to be looked after by Ash! (Personally, I think Piplup has a soft spot for Ash and would approve of the idea of him being with Dawn )
Here’s Ash, Dawn, and the gang looking like a big happy family after their baths.
The next order of business is lunchtime and Dawn jumps at the opportunity of doing the cooking for everyone. Pikachu enthusiastically volunteers to help her in preparing the meal and she happily accepts his assistance. Even Piplup volunteered immediately afterward and was eager to help cook as well, but Dawn insisted that having Pikachu was already enough, which is surprising considering Dawn and Piplup’s bond. It’s a touching sentiment that Pikachu wants to lend Dawn a hand and spend some quality bonding time with his ‘future’ mom (well, motherly figure that’s not Delia… you know what I mean). Similarly to how Piplup sees Ash, this scene is also telling of how fond Pikachu is of Dawn and how much he enjoys her company, and vice versa.
He wants to make a good impression on behalf of Ash = He’s a Pearlshipper!
Here’s just a mini Lagomorphshipping scene with Buneary and Pikachu facing each other while eating and sharing a plate.
Then it’s time for all the Pokémon to take a nap, so Ash decides to use this time to continue brainstorming ways to counter Hypnosis, which is totally ironic because, yet again, it takes its effect on him as he foolishly dozes off into a slumber. Mirroring Pikachu’s reaction in the beginning of the episode, Dawn wakes Ash up and gently scolds him, and she teasingly asks him, “Ash Ketchum! Why are you sleeping?!” with her hands on her hips and a puzzled look on her face. (I love Dawn’s playful attitude towards Ash and when she addresses him by his full name because it means she’s close enough with him that she can do that and it’s so endearing ~watch Dawn’s cameo in the opening scene of BW Rival Destinies Expedition to Onix Island~)
Also similar to the screencap shown earlier, Ash scratches his head in embarrassment and laughs at his own foolishness. Just as Pikachu does, Dawn puts Ash in line when needed, as good partners should.
After this, Pikachu alerts Ash and Dawn that something’s wrong with Pachirisu and they quickly rush to its aid.
Here’s the gang all huddled up expressing concern for a member of their family.
We learn later in the episode that Pachirisu has a fever due to excess electricity build-up, but seeing as there’s no Pokémon Center nearby, Ash and Dawn have to deal with this problem on their own.
In this image, Ash and Dawn both look distressed because they both have a mutual concern for Pachirisu’s wellbeing, although it being Dawn’s Pokémon.
Dawn paces back and forth panicking about what to do, and it looks like she’s cradling Pachirisu as if it were their baby.
Here’s Ash looking out for Dawn’s Pokémon just as if it were his own. It says a lot when two trainers care about each other’s Pokémon just as much as their own, as Ash and Dawn exhibit.
Here’s the family tending to Pachirisu at its side and anxiously awaiting its recovery.
Ash improvises a way to create an ice pack for Pachirisu with the help of Buneary’s Ice Beam and Happiny’s Pound. It says a lot that Buneary willingly obeys Ash’s commands just as if he were her own trainer. This is because, like Piplup, Buneary recognizes the close bond between him and Dawn, and she fully trusts and respects him as a trainer.
I previously stated how the following screencaps show evidence of how Ash and Dawn’s Pokémon are Pearlshippers themselves. The first image shows an example of how Piplup and Pikachu are Pearlshippers because they both simultaneously make an effort to settle the two down by extending their arms out in front of their respective trainers.
The second image shows that in addition to Piplup and Pikachu, the rest of the gang could be considered to be Pearlshippers, as well. The rest of the Pokémon there that are present follow suit and give Piplup and Pikachu a hand by collectively jumping in and intervene before matters got any uglier. Contrary to being bystanders as they were seen in the first screencap, you can now see Sudowoodo and Ambipom closing in to restrain them from behind, Buneary and Turtwig tugging at their legs, Buizel using his arms and body as a barrier between them, and now Piplup and Pikachu actually applying physical contact on their trainers. And all the while, you can see the worried looks on their faces. They don’t want to see the two of them argue!
So Brock finally makes his way back to Ash and Dawn and is able to run damage control on the whole Pachirisu situation. He provides some words of wisdom as usual and offers them guidance on what to do if something like this happens again in the future.
It’s like Brock is the family pediatrician and Ash and Dawn are the parents being told his diagnosis.
Dawn apologizes to Pachirisu and begins to cry because she feels that she’s an awful trainer, but Ash is quick to console her and says, “Dawn, don’t cry…” with a sympathetic look on his face, to which she listens.
This may be borderline going off on a tangent, but at the end of the episode Brock says, “All right, who’s ready for food?” Not surprisingly, Ash says, “My stomach’s making all sorts of noise!” but Dawn unabashedly responds, “Mine, TOO!” This is a nice little parallel because it shows Ash and Dawn to have similar appetites and she is not afraid to show it (refer to ice cream scene in Tanks for the Memories). There’s something (sort of) strangely appealing about a couple that’s comfortable enough to “pig out” on food once in a while together. It’s liberating for them to know that they could just be themselves with each other without having to worry, and I bet that that’s a huge reason why Ash and Dawn enjoy each other’s company so much. As Lyra coined it later in the series, they’re like two peas in a pod.
In conclusion, without Ash and Dawn’s teamwork and cooperation together, matters could have turned out to be much worse before Brock came in to save the day. Their nurturing and shared love for their Pokémon is really what limited any trouble to a minimum. They took equal part in helping Pachirisu and went above and beyond as caretakers as exemplified by sending Staravia and Gliscor to go fetch Brock, keeping Pachirisu tucked under layers of blankets, creating an ice pack to keep on its head, and going out to find Oran Berries.
Tackling an experience like this is a prime example of how they learn together and grow together. The two of them encountered an obstacle, and for the most part, were able to weather the storm until they finally had the luxury of relying on Brock’s expertise. Their limits were pushed, and not only they themselves were tested, but their relationship was tested, as well. Yes, they had a moment of weakness in which they fought, but they both were able to quickly rise above it, and in the end, they came out stronger, and wiser, but more importantly, closer. It’s events like these that really bring people closer together and establish an everlasting, unbreakable bond between them. At any point in time you can look back and say “Wow, that one time with ~So-and-So~ was one heck of a roller coaster ride…” and it’s memories like these that people cherish, and keep people connected. Time and time again, Ash and Dawn overcome obstacles together and make lemons into lemonade, and considering they’re never alone in the struggle, there will always be a sense of gratitude between them. Ultimately, what we learned from this episode confirms just what High Touch suggests… “As long as [they’re] together / [They’ll] escape from any kind of pinch!”