Abra and the Psychic Showdown (Japanese: ケーシィ！ちょうのうりょくたいけつ！Casey! Psychic Showdown!) is the 22nd episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on August 26, 1997 and in the United States on October 6, 1998.
The party finally arrives in Saffron City where a young girl manages a gym of Pokémon using her psychic powers. If Ash defeats this particular Gym Leader, Ash can earn a gold badge. Gathering all their strength, Ash and Pikachu challenge her. She happily accepts, but adds the strange condition that if Ash loses, they must become her friend. The official gym battle begins, but Pikachu is helpless against the young girl's Pokémon, Abra. To make matters worse, Abra evolves in the middle of the match, turning into the more powerful, Kadabra. Employing even stronger psychic powers against Pikachu, Saffron City's Gym Leader defeats Ash. As this strange story unravels, Ash encounters a mysterious man who seems to be the key to solving the puzzle to this young girl's disturbing power.
A woman holding a little girl sees Ash and his friends making their way towards Saffron City. However, the group appears to be lost and Ash gets into an argument with Misty over her lack of direction. They stop arguing when they spot a young girl playing with a ball and giggling nearby. Ash pursues her, though the forest suddenly gives way to a sheer cliff. As Ash begins to fall, he calls out Bulbasaur, who pulls him up to safety with its Vine Whip. The group then notices that the girl has disappeared. However, they also spot Saffron City in the distance and Ash is excited for his upcoming Gymbattle.
As they enter the city, Jessie and James, disguised as Hawaiian women, kiss Ash and put leis on him. They welcome Ash and his friends as the one-millionth, one-millionth and first, one-millionth and second, and one-millionth and third visitors to Saffron City and take them to a building to receive their prizes. Upon arrival, James grabs Pikachu with rubber gloves and Jessie pushes the three onto a warp tile, sending them to an isolated room with no exit. A television screen drops down and Team Rocket remove their disguises, revealing that the prize-winning welcome was a part of a ploy. Team Rocket recites their motto, but Ash and his friends ignore Team Rocket. Ash orders Pikachu's return before the monitor cuts out, though Team Rocket did not cut the link. As Jessie and James work to fix it, Meowth points to a little girl, the same one Ash saw earlier. She emits a blue aura and stops Jessie and James from moving. The girl takes Pikachu and teleports into the same room with Ash to return Pikachu. Ash thanks her, but the girl glows again and points to Ash and his friends, teleporting them.
When Ash and his friends reappear, they find themselves in front of the Saffron Gym. A man runs up behind them and suggests that they avoid the Gym and runs off. Ash ignores the warning and heads inside, intent on winning the Marsh Badge. They go inside, finding it empty at first. They run into a door and look inside, finding several people in the room practicing telekinesis. A man confronts them and Ash asks for a match against Sabrina. When Misty asks what the people in the room were doing, he demonstrates his telekinetic abilities by bending a spoon. The man leads them to the arena and bows down in front of a gate, asking Sabrina to come out. The little girl appears, her eyes glowing red, using telekinetic force to send the man running. Ash asks for his official match from Sabrina and the little girl agrees on one condition: if he loses, he and his friends must play with her. Unaware of the young girl's intentions, and despite Misty's concern, Ash agrees. The gate opens and the little girl is revealed to be sitting on the real Sabrina's lap. The doors close, sealing them in.
Sabrina and the little girl move over telekinetically as the arena lights up. The little girl tosses a Poké Ball, sending out Abra while Ash sends Pikachu. Pikachu bounces around, though he notices that Abra is sleeping. Ash checks his Pokédex and it says that Abra sleeps eighteen hours a day but can employ telekinesis while asleep. Pikachu fires off a Thunder Shock, but Abra wakes up and uses Teleport to dodge and get behind Pikachu. Abra suddenly evolves into Kadabra. Ash checks his Pokédex again. He thinks that it is unfair due to it being a one-on-one match, but Misty informs him that evolving during the match is within the rules. Ash orders Pikachu to fill the stadium with lightning to negate Kadabra's teleportation. Pikachu launches several bolts of electricity at the ceiling, pooling it into a massive vortex. However, Kadabra uses Confusion to control the attack. The individual lightning bolts combine to form a dragon, and the attack quickly catches up to Pikachu, causing serious damage. It uses Psychic to control Pikachu's body, forcing him to dance. Ash is initially amused by Pikachu's routine, though Misty corrects Ash before Kadabra slams Pikachu into the ceiling and back down, repeating the Psychic attack several times. Ash intervenes, rushing to Pikachu's side, and decides to forfeit the match.
Since he lost, he has to fulfill the request of being the little girl's friend. She employs telekinesis to teleport them to a deserted town. They check a nearby house and find it empty. However, there is a set table complete with tea and cake. Ash looks around as Brock samples the cake, though it turns out to be a plastic fake. Ash enters the bathroom and sees a woman in the bathtub. He turns away, but Pikachu points to the mirror, noticing that the figure is really a doll. Misty and Brock soon realize that they are in a dollhouse. The place rumbles as the roof comes away, showing a giant Sabrina and the little girl towering above them. She slams her hand into the dollhouse as they run away. Brock concludes that they were shrunk by telekinesis and are in a toy box. The little girl laughs uncontrollably as Ash and his friends run into a picture frame, showing the little girl and her parents. With nowhere to run, the little girl approaches, dribbling a ball before rolling it towards Ash and his friends. The man they ran into earlier appears and uses teleportation to get them out.
Ash and his friends reappear in Saffron City. The man orders them to leave, mentioning that Sabrina is very dangerous. Ash is not willing to leave without the Badge and thinks that he just needs to attack faster to beat Sabrina. The man's eyes glow red as he employs telekinesis on Ash, dropping his pants and forcing him to dance. Ash pulls up his pants, charges forward, and asks to be taught telekinesis, but the man pushes him back, mentioning that a person is usually born with it. Ash continues to be forced to the ground by the man's telekinesis, so he resorts to crawling. His determination convinces the man to reveal that Ghost Pokémon, found in Lavender Town, can beat Sabrina. He then teleports away. Misty and Brock rush to Ash's side and help him up. As suggested, Ash decides to go to Lavender Town. The man reappears on a tree overlooking Ash and his friends, and expresses his belief that Ash may be able to help Sabrina.
As Ash and his friends press on to Lavender Town, Meowth drags Jessie and James by ropes, still frozen, as they follow.
During this episode, it is stated that Ghost types are strong against Psychic types, when, during Generation I, the generation of this episode's airing, Psychic types were actually immune to Ghost-type moves.
This was more likely a mistake of the game than the anime, however, as the official Nintendo strategy guide states that Psychic-type Pokémon take extra damage from Ghost-type Pokémon, and in Pokémon Red and Blue, a Trainer in the Saffron Gym mentions that Psychic-type Pokémon "only fear Bugs and Ghosts". (Pokémon Yellow amends this dialogue to say they "only fear Bugs.")
This is the first episode in which Ash challenges a Gym Leader and doesn't get the GymBadge later in the same episode.
In the Japanese version, when Jessie and James are disguised as Hawaiian girls and they lead Ash and his friends to the skyscraper, Jessie claims that she is taking them to a party to commemorate Ash and his friends being the millionth visitors to Saffron City. In the dub, this is changed to Jessie supposedly directing them to a "grand prize room."
The scene where Team Rocket is acting as if they are presenting the "Prepare For Trouble Make It Double Show", as well as the scene where Ash and his friends comment about said show getting cancelled soon, was only in the dub. In the Japanese version, Ash and his friends are simply bored by hearing Team Rocket say their motto again.