A Venipede Stampede! (Japanese: ヒウンシティ！フシデパニック！！Hiun City! Fushide Panic!!) is the 22nd episode of the Best Wishes series, and the 679th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on March 10, 2011 and in the United States on July 2, 2011.
On their way to the Castelia City Gym for Ash’s next Gym Battle, our heroes encounter Gym Leader Burgh, who says he can’t answer Ash’s challenge until he figures out what’s been bothering his Bug-type Pokémon. Ash and friends pitch in to help him investigate. Together, they discover a Venipede in distress, and of course Ash wants to help it!
Upon further investigation, the gang learns that the whole city is being overrun by a gigantic colony of angry Venipede! The townspeople are in a panic, and the mayor of Castelia City declares that something must be done at once. Ash’s rival Trip is also in town, and he suggests that battling the raging Venipede is the only way to stop them. Burgh counters with a plan to round them up and herd them into the city’s Central Plaza until Professor Juniper can figure out what’s going on.
Working together, the three Trainers find every last Venipede and bring them all to the plaza. Soon, Professor Juniper discovers an unusual energy emanating from the Desert Resort, just outside Castelia City! She concludes that the underground energy flow must be what disturbed the Venipede. The professor and Officer Jenny take off to find out exactly what’s happening in the desert, while Burgh stays behind to look after the Venipede—and Ash’s thoughts turn to his next Gym Battle!
As Ash and his friends admire the scenery of Castelia City, they bump into Burgh and he explains something is not right. Just then, Pikachu hears weird sounds coming from the sewers. They go down to investigate when they find a Venipede stuck in a pipe. Ash pulls it out and the scared Venipede immediately Screeches to harm everyone, but stops because of injury it has on its head. Ash then notices the injury and explains that he wants to help the Venipede, but it attacks Ash instead. Ash holds the confused creature and tells it he still wants to help with its injury. Venipede finally seems convinced as Ash falls to the floor not feeling so well. Ash wakes up when Cilan feeds him some antidote and Venipede is bandaged by Iris and Burgh. Iris then sprays Venipede with a Super Potion and feeds it an Oran Berry which it happily sucks the juices from. They then notice a huge swarm of Venipede marching through the sewers.
The Venipede use Screech to harm everyone, and they then attack with Sludge Bombs that Ash and his friends narrowly avoid. The swarm of Venipede start chasing after them as the bandaged Venipede decides to stay behind in the sewers. When everyone gets out, they realize the Venipede are invading the city. Officer Jenny appears and explains that the Venipede came out from the sewers. They suddenly hear an explosion coming from downtown to which they immediately run to. They see a group of Trainers attacking the Venipede with their Fire-type Pokémon. One of the Trainers is Trip, who is using his Lampent to take on the Venipede. Ash tries to tell the Trainers to stop attacking the Venipede, but the Mayor of Castelia City comes and tells Ash that the Venipede need to get cleared out, and that battling them is the only way. But, Burgh suggests that they somehow get all the Venipede into the central part of the city so that they can find out why the Venipede are in the city. Ash, Cilan, and Iris all insist on this idea and Burgh says that they could find the Venipede leader and have it follow them. The Mayor agrees to this idea, and Burgh has Cilan stay at the Pokémon Center to go get Nurse Joy and her Audino. Burgh, Ash and Iris head off to find the Venipede leader as Trip ponders about the Venipede's leader. Back at Professor Juniper's lab, the data from the EXA Satellite is received, as one of Juniper's assistants asks why they need it to diagnose the Venipede's actions. Professor Juniper hypothesizes that since Venipede usually nest underground, a reaction within the ground has caused the Venipede to move into Castelia City.
Back in Castelia, Burgh, Ash, and Iris run through the streets as Ash asks how they'll find the leader of the Venipede. Burgh replies that since wild Pokémon stand side by side in times of danger, they will find a lot of Venipede crowded around one Venipede that's the leader. He also says that the leader will be at a certain place where they can monitor their way with the swarm. Iris spots a larger Venipede on top of a building, which has a bunch of other Venipede around it, making itself the leader, and it jumps down onto the street to challenge them. Burgh advises the leader that lingering in the city will place them in danger, and says to follow him. The leader responds with a Sludge Bomb which Burgh dodges. Suddenly, Trip appears on the scene and tells his Lampent to attack the Venipede leader with Flamethrower. Ash tells Trip to stop, but Trip says that if the leader were to be defeated, the swarm would fall apart. Trip has his Lampent use Shadow Ball on the leader, but Ash jumps in the way and takes the hit instead. Then, the Venipede that was stuck in the sewer pipe from before appears and crawls towards Ash. Ash tells Trip that the Venipede can be gentle Pokémon if they don't attack them. Burgh supports Ash's statement by saying that their hearts have yet to reach them. Cilan then returns along with Nurse Joy and her Audino. Trip recalls his Lampent and agrees to stay out of their way in their plan and walks off. Burgh tells Nurse Joy's Audino to use Heal Pulse on the Venipede, and Burgh pulls out a Bug Flute. He plays it, and all the Venipede start to follow him. Ash and friends are awed by this and Burgh tells them to go round up the remaining separated Venipede.
Ash runs towards an alley and calls out Pidove and has her use Gust to get the individual Venipede with the others. Iris heads towards some Venipede on the roof of a building and tells Axew to use Dragon Rage. Axew fails at Dragon Rage yet again, but it scares the Venipede into joining the herd. Cilan has Pansage help with Bullet Seed as well. However, one of the Venipede uses Sludge Bomb on Ash's Pidove! However, Trip has his Tranquill save Ash's Pidove from the attack as he decides to help the Venipede as well. Through these series of events, Ash's Pidove starts to evolve! Ash's newly evolved Tranquill works with Trip's Tranquill to get the last of the Venipede reunited with the swarm. Back at Professor Juniper's lab, a strange energy signal is received, and she traces it to the Desert Resort, as two unknown energies begin to fuse. Meanwhile on a plane, Giovanni is informed by a Team Rocket Grunt that they'll be arriving shortly in the Unova Region. Giovanni exclaims that with the Meteonite's power, Team Rocket will achieve power and glory. Night has now fallen on Castelia City, as all the Venipede have gathered in the central plaza. The Mayor of Castelia City thanks Burgh, Ash, and the others for their help. Trip starts to walk off saying that his Gym challenge probably won't come any time soon, and that he's headed to the next city for his Badge. Professor Juniper then arrives and tells Ash and friends that she's discovered a strange energy flow that leads to the Desert Resort. Burgh says that the energy disturbed the Venipede, and caused them to flee towards Castelia in fear. Officer Jenny volunteers to come with Professor Juniper to investigate the Desert Resort. Burgh has to stay in Castelia City in order to keep the Venipede swarm in safe condition. With that, Juniper journeys to the Desert Resort on a helicopter, while Ash is looking forward to his next Gymbattle.
Because of the postponing, retconning, and later banning of the nexttwo episodes, this episode marks the final appearance of Pierce. It is also the first and — due to the skipping of the next two episodes, only — time his unique Team Rocket uniform is seen in the anime, albeit only from the back.
Right after Burgh puts the bandage on a Venipede, the gold buckles on Cilan's shoes are missing.
While Cilan and Nurse Joy are running to Burgh, one of the Venipede climbing the lamp post in the background falls off. As it does, the shadow beneath its feet is shown while in midair.
Burgh's white undershirt in the scene where they confront the Venipede leader is missing.
When Trip commands his Tranquill to use Air Cutter, he is shown with six fingers on his right hand. This error was fixed on Japanese DVD releases.
To maintain consistency of the planned BW023 and BW024 being skipped, the scene where Ash, Iris, and Cilan insist to accompany Professor Juniper to the Desert Resort has been removed. The narrator's lines are also changed to say that Ash looks forward to his next Gymbattle rather than saying that he and his friends would accompany Professor Juniper to the Desert Resort.
As of Team Plasma's Pokémon Power Plot!, it appears that the dubbed edit is true as the skipped episodes are retconned out of continuity, although it creates a plot hole in the dub of what happened to Professor Juniper's research for what caused the strange energy signals that angered the Venipede, what happened to the Meteonite, what happened to Pierce, why Team Rocket went back to their white uniforms, and why Giovanni was suddenly away and busy after being seen arriving in Unova with the intent of claiming the Meteonite.
However, since the original ending is still kept in re-broadcasts of this episode in Japan and the following episode preview is retained, it is possible that the events of the deleted scene and the removed episodes that followed are still to be viewed as canon despite being retconned later on.
In the first edition of the rental DVD containing this episode, the preview for the postponed episode was replaced with the preview for the actual following episode. However, subsequent printings of the DVD have restored the original preview for an unclear reason. The original ending to the episode itself remains unaltered in all printings.