After snooping on Ash’s class as they learn about Z-Crystals, Team Rocket just has to have one! Thanks to James’s research, they spy a Dark-type Z-Crystal embedded in a rock high above—guarded by a towering Totem Pokémon, Alolan Raticate. Team Skull is on the scene, too, and the rivalry begins in earnest!
Tupp, the blue-haired leader of the three Team Skull Grunts, is the first one to reach the Z-Crystal. He manages to pry the crystal out of the rock—but it goes flying and hits Meowth in the head! Now that Team Rocket has the Z-Crystal, they just have to figure out how to use it...
Professor Kukui is teaching the class about Z-Move and Ash and Kiawe are showing it to them. Team Rocket are watching from the balcony and wondering what a Z-Move is. Pikachu and Turtonator manage to pull off Gigavolt Havoc and Inferno Overdrive respectively. Team Rocket are impressed. Back at their hideout, James explains his findings on Z-Move, and that they need to find a Z-Crystal and a Z-Ring to perform Z-Moves. Meowth visualizes himself blasting Ash and Pikachu off with his Z-Move. James pulls out a Dowsing Machine, which he has modified to locate Z-Crystals. Immediately after activation, it picks up the trace of a Z-Crystal. Team Rocket set off to find the Z-Crystal.
Back in class, Professor Kukui asks the class if they know the other Z-Crystals, excluding Ash's and Kiawe's. He shows the students replicas of all the Z-Crystals and Rotom names their types. The class are impressed with Rotom. Meanwhile, Team Rocket have found a Darkinium Z embedded on the top of a rock formation. As they rush towards it, they are stopped by hordes of Alolan Rattata, Raticate and a Totem Raticate. The Totem Raticate attacks Team Rocket and destroys James's device. Team Rocket retreats. Tupp, Zipp and Rapp are wandering in the forest, looking for candies when they heard a loud noise. Team Rocket runs past them with Totem Raticate behind. It attacks Team Skull with a Hyper Beam, sending them running to the bushes. They plot to capture the Totem Raticate.
In the classroom, Kukui explains that Z-Moves are dependent on the type of the moves instead of the Pokémon's types. He gives an example of Pikachu being able to use a Steelium Z Z-Crystal with Iron Tail. Lana asks about the pose for Water-type Z-Move. Team Rocket and Team Skull are sneaking around Totem Raticate's nest. Rapp spots the Darkinium Z, and Tupp decides to grab the Z-Crystal instead. The two teams climb both sides of the rock where they meet face to face. The Totem Raticate senses their appearance. Team Rocket recites their motto to an unimpressed Team Skull. Rapp gushes over Meowth, much to Jessie's annoyance. Team Skull asks Team Rocket where they came from and Jessie replies that they are from Kanto, although Team Skull don't appear to know that Kanto is a region. As they argue, the Rattata and Raticate attack the two teams and Totem Raticate sends the two teams blasting off with its tail. In school, the students are practicing the different poses for Z-Move, while Ash jokes on learning a new Z-Move and Kiawe comments on it.
The two teams land on the ground and resume bickering. The two teams decide to compete for the Z-Crystal. The losers will have to work for the winners. Team Rocket set up a trap for the Rattata and Raticate using berries, a cage, and berry stench. All but the Totem Raticate fall for it. Team Rocket goes to find the Totem. Tupp sends Zipp and Rapp to distract the Totem so he can grab the Z-Crystal. James has his Mareanie use Spike Cannon on the Totem Raticate. It hits but it does not do much. It strikes back with its tail, sending Team Rocket flying. Zipp commands his Garbodor to use Venoshock and Rapp has her Zubat use Supersonic. None of the attacks faze Raticate who uses Tackle to send them flying, allowing Team Rocket to return to the battle. They spot Tupp climbing the rock with his Salandit, heading towards the Z-Crystal. Focusing on Tupp, they are surprised by the Totem Raticate. Jessie sends out her Mimikyu. Together with Mareanie and Meowth, they face off against Raticate while Jessie and James head for Tupp. Mimikyu's and Mareanie's attacks prove to be useless, and Raticate strikes back with its own attacks, sending Mimikyu flying to the bushes and Mareanie and Meowth at Rapp's feet. Upon realizing Meowth is in danger, Jessie and James decide to abort the pursuit for the Z-Crystal and rush to their friend's aid. Tupp tugs at the Darkinium Z. Just when all seems lost, Mimikyu jumps in and attacks the Raticate until it faints. When Tupp looks over his shoulder, he finds himself surrounded by the escaped Rattata and Raticate. They attack with Bite, sending him and the Z-Crystal flying. The Darkinium Z lands on Meowth's head. He quickly grabs it and claims ownership. Initially angry, Zipp and Rapp tiptoe away at the sight of Bewear behind Team Rocket. Team Rocket laugh in victory as Bewear scoops them up and takes them away.
Released from school, Ash says goodbye to his classmates. He and Lana stop for a while to practice their Z-Move poses. At their hideout, Meowth is posing with a homemade Z-Ring. As the Z-Move does not work, Team Rocket tries many different poses while Bewear sleeps happily.