Team Rocket with all of their Pokémon in the original series (minus Wobbuffet
The Team Rocket trio first appeared in Pokémon Emergency, in which they took over the Viridian Pokémon Center. After their first defeat at the hands of Ash's Pikachu convinced them of his extraordinary power, the trio made their main goal to capture Pikachu.
The trio's general incompetence usually makes them incapable of helping Team Rocket with their significant plans.
In Electric Shock Showdown, after hearing that Pikachu would fight to defend his own honor and Ash's, the trio were inspired to cheer on Pikachu before his rematch against Vermilion Gym Leader Lt. Surge's Raichu.
In Battle Aboard the St. Anne, they led the invasion of the St. Anne, where they and dozens of Team Rocket Grunts stole numerous Pokémon and Poké Balls from the passengers with special mechas. However, the passengers retaliated, led by Ash and his friends, and they defeated the grunts and took back their Pokémon. Later, the ship sailed into a violent storm, was overcome by waves, and sank into the sea.
In The Battle of the Badge, Giovanni, the boss of Team Rocket and the Viridian Gym Leader, temporarily left the trio in charge of the Viridian Gym. He even gave them some of his Pokémon. Jessie battled Ash, but refused to hand him an Earth Badge upon Ash's victory. When Togepi set off an explosion by triggering Meowth's remote control, Team Rocket blasted off and Jessie dropped the Badge for Ash to retrieve.
In Showdown at the Po-ké Corral, the trio arrived at Team Rocket HQ, expecting Giovanni to fire them for their failures. They saw Mewtwo destroy the headquarters and fly away just as they were about to turn away and quit first. When Giovanni told them to just do their job, they took it as a vote of confidence in them and continued to try and steal Pokémon.
In A Scare in the Air, Giovanni assigned the trio to the "Blimp Brigade", where they crewed a rickety blimp that Giovanni only kept the insurance for. Damage caused by a storm as well as a battle with Brock caused the blimp to crash-land on Valencia Island in the Orange Islands. After being repaired, the blimp crashed on Tangelo Island during its return trip in The Lost Lapras. Afterwards, Team Rocket continued to follow Ash and Pikachu throughout the Orange Islands.
In The Trouble with Snubbull, Team Rocket first tried using Meowth as bait for a newly-evolved Granbull, which had been persistently following Meowth, so they could collect a reward from the Granbull's owner, Madame Muchmoney. This failed, and they subsequently used a Meowth-shaped mecha for their next attempt. Through a misunderstanding over Meowth trying to release Granbull from the mecha's tail, Team Rocket were mistakenly assumed to have tricked Madame Muchmoney. When Team Rocket was blasted off following a battle between the mecha and Granbull, Granbull returned home and no longer followed Meowth.
In Dues and Don'ts, they discovered that their membership in Team Rocket had lapsed, although they were able to rejoin due to labor shortages, provided that they pay their debts.
In Hoenn Alone!, Team Rocket followed Ash and Pikachu to the Hoenn region by stowing away on the stern of a boat.
The trio intervened in Pokémon poacher Rico's plan to capture and sell a group of wild Ekans and Koffing in A Poached Ego!. Jessie and James released Arbok and Weezing and sent them off into Petalburg Forest to protect the Ekans and Koffing.
While suffering from amnesia, Ash's Pikachu temporarily joined the trio in A Scare to Remember!.
In Saved by the Beldum, they were selling snacks to League spectators for the Ever Grande Conference.
After being blasted off once again, the trio exchanged insults and decided to go their separate ways in The Ole' Berate and Switch. Jessie and James eventually found themselves at the site of Butch and Cassidy's latest scheme, a one-day-only Pokémon Tournament in Sable City. Cassidy roped James into forming a trio with her and Butch, but Jessie soon paired up with Butch. Meowth proved to be far more attached to Jessie and James, and used a biscuit to reflect on the group's close bond even in tough times. The trio reunited and returned to goal of capturing Ash's Pikachu.
The trio re-encountered Butch and Cassidy in Sleight of Sand!. The two Team Rocket groups quickly began to battle with their robots, and this eventually erupted into a Pokémon battle. The intense confrontation was interrupted after a Hippopotas whipped up a Sandstorm and sent both groups blasting off. The two groups subsequently vowed revenge the next time they met.
In The Thief That Keeps on Thieving!, Giovanni did not even remember who they were.
Team Rocket attended the Pokémon Summer Academy, with Jessie disguised as Jessilinda, while James and Meowth posed as janitors from Camping it Up! to One Team, Two Team, Red Team, Blue Team!.
In Frozen on Their Tracks!, Team Rocket befriended Looker after sharing boxed lunches with him, coming to call him "Boxed-Lunch Guy" or "Mr. Lunchbox". Later in the Diamond & Pearl series, after discovering that Looker was a member of the International Police, they assisted him in taking down Team Galactic.
The trio set up their own Sinnoh Pokémon Hustle course in a bid to steal competitors' Pokémon and scout for new Team Rocket members in Beating the Bustle and Hustle!.
In Where No Togepi Has Gone Before!, Team Rocket had built a secret base with the money they earned during the Twinleaf Festival. While the trio managed to lure Ash and his friends onto their base, which was actually a rocket, an evil Togepi also wandered in and ruined Team Rocket's plans. The rocket eventually crash-landed, leaving only debris.
In The Fleeing Tower of Sunyshore!, Team Rocket managed to steal Sunyshore Tower as Ash and Volkner prepared to have their Gym battle. Though Ash and his newly evolved Torterra defeated Team Rocket, the Gym and Tower were significantly damaged in the process, and Ash's Gym battle was postponed.
The trio in their black uniforms
At his secretary's recommendation, Giovanni promoted them as part of his plans in the Unova region. After their promotion, they changed from their original white uniforms to black uniforms. In the Best Wishes series, they acted in a more serious manner, focusing more on completing specific assignments, often using gadgets such as jetpacks to retreat instead of blasting off.
In Battling For The Love of Bug-Types!, after Giovanni's secretary informed them that they wouldn't be needed for any more missions, they worried Giovanni had lost faith in them and returned to their white uniforms. They returned to planning their own schemes, although often in a more competent manner and with the assistance of Dr. Zager. They participated in Operation Tempest, Team Rocket's mission to capture Meloetta and harness the power of the Forces of Nature.
Due to the failure of Operation Tempest, starting in New Places... Familiar Faces! they reverted to their traditional comedic personalities, using their original motto, and travelling in their Meowth balloon (with enhancements); however, their newfound competence was not completely lost, with the trio still occasionally retreating using jetpacks instead of blasting off.
After Meowth, Colress and Team Rivalry!, the trio decided to head for the White Ruins, where they would spy on Team Plasma's movements for a time while plotting to steal the Light Stone. However, when their friend Looker spotted them and asked for their help, the trio helped Ash and his friends defeat the rival organization. After helping defeat Team Plasma in Farewell, Unova! Setting Sail for New Adventures!, the trio returned completely to their previous role as comic relief, retaining only their upgraded technology and slight competence.
In A Battle of Aerial Mobility!, Giovanni approved the trio's plan to steal as many rare and powerful Pokémon as they could in the Kalos region.
In An Explosive Operation!, Giovanni assigned the trio to investigate Team Flare's plans and to catch the Zygarde known as Squishy before Team Flare could do so. They ran into another Zygarde Core, nicknamed Z2, that was on the run from Team Flare. The trio escaped with Z2 after Jessie's Gourgeist used Seed Bomb against some Team Flare Grunts, but they later lost in battle to them. Team Rocket tried taking the weakened Z2 when Mable was about to capture it, but Aliana's Druddigon and Mable's Weavile made them blast off.
During the Lumiose Conference, they assisted Malva with filming the conference whilst plotting to steal the competitor's Pokémon only for Malva's tight schedule to disrupt their plans leaving them unable to steal any Pokémon. During the Team Flare crisis, they continued filming and help assist by piloting the helicopter to help deal with the Giant Rock. They later edited the footage shot to show to Giovanni that they alone defeated Team Flare.
Following their adventures in Kalos, they returned to Team Rocket HQ in Till We Compete Again!.
Later, in Loading the Dex!, the trio arrived in the Alola region to obtain some rare Alolan Pokémon for Giovanni, as well as Ash's Pikachu, which they were surprised to find on Melemele Island. They allied with a Mimikyu which hated Pikachu, but at the end of the episode, a wild Bewear kidnapped Jessie and James. In First Catch in Alola, Ketchum-Style!, the Bewear looked after the trio, giving them food and shelter at its den.
They completed their new base in Bewear's den during A Seasoned Search! despite disruptions caused by Rowlet and Popplio crashing into their antenna during They Might Not Be Giants!.
They are often seen on Melemele Island in disguise as part-timers at a malasada shop, mostly as food truck attendants. In Now You See Them, Now You Don't!, Team Rocket took notice of a Cosmog that was accompanying Ash while the trio was selling malasadas near the Pokémon School. James wrongly guessed that the Cosmog, Nebby, was a pre-evolved Koffing, and Team Rocket tried and failed to capture it. In Deceiving Appearances! it was revealed they were scouted by Faba to work at the Aether Foundation as his assistants, but quit in Mission: Total Recall! after discovering his intent to use his Hypno's Hypnosis to tamper with Lillie's memory, finding such underhanded evil below them. They eventually abandoned chasing after Nebby after James was proven wrong about it being the pre-evolved form of Koffing in Revealing the Stuff of Legend!.
One of Team Rocket's goals in Alola has been to harness the power of Z-Moves for themselves. In A Team-on-Team Tussle!, they obtained a Darkinium Z, which some Team Skull Grunts also tried to obtain from a nest of Alolan Rattata and Raticate, led by a Totem Raticate. The same Z-Crystal reappeared in Acting True to Form!, where Jessie and James believed that they could use it with the Alolan Meowth they had just met. However, they were dismayed upon being informed that they would also need a Z-Ring to do so.
In Why Not Give Me a Z-Ring Sometime?, at the advice of Giovanni, they traveled to Ula'ula Island to get a Z-Ring from Nanu. There, their Darkinium Z was stolen by the "Greedy Rapooh", a Gengar they had accidentally unsealed. After taking back their Z-Crystal, Nanu gave them a Z-Power Ring so James's Mareanie could use Black Hole Eclipse, rescuing Acerola in the process. The trio was allowed to keep the ring as a token of appreciation, and Jessie received a Mimikium Z for her Mimikyu from Acerola's Mimikyu, nicknamed Mimikins.
The Team Rocket trio blasting off again
Since making their debut in the second episode of the anime, they appeared in almost every single episode until the Best Wishes series, in which they appeared less frequently. As such, they are the most prominent representation of Team Rocket as a whole in the anime. Prior to Rematch at the Nacrene Gym!, the very first episode was the only single regular episode (excluding the clip show AG120) in which Team Rocket trio was completely absent.
In most of their appearances, they attempt to capture Ash's Pikachu, or any other Pokémon to give to Team Rocket's boss, Giovanni. However, they usually get defeated and are blasted off with their iconic catchphrase "Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again!", or variants such as "Team Rocket's blasting off again!" or "We're blasting off again!" In the Sun & Moon series, a Bewear whisks them away as they say their catchphrase "We're off with a new blast!", either following a defeat or when Bewear interrupts a battle. Typically, right after making a capture, they will recite their motto, although on some occasions they are unable to finish. This has been parodied by protagonists and even other Team Rocket members, such as Butch and Cassidy.
Since witnessing his power, the trio has been obsessed with capturing Ash's Pikachu, relentlessly pursuing Ash and his friends across the various regions of the Pokémon world to do so. Although they often succeed in capturing Pikachu, they never manage to hold on to him for long. They frequently develop or purchase various kinds of shockproof gadgets and machinery (mechas, rubber suits, etc.) to aid in his capture, but these gadgets are often circumvented by non-Electric attacks and abilities (which the trio constantly forget to account for) or simply backfire.
Even though they usually only cause trouble for the main characters, they have sometimes helped them. When they have a common enemy, they will often ally with Ash and his friends, as shown in The Power of One and later against Team Aqua and Team Magma. They also played a key part in the fight against Team Galactic, teaming up with Looker. They occasionally put their differences aside for personal reasons, only to later return to their thieving ways. One of the more common moments of truce is during Pokémon Contests, which Jessie had a fondness for participating in under aliases.
On several occasions, Jessie, James and Meowth have shown that they are not all evil and even have affection for Ash and his friends. The trio heroically sacrificed themselves to what they thought was certain death in The Power of One in order to allow Ash's escape on Lugia. They also saved him from a fall in the next movie, Spell of the Unown: Entei. Their justification was that in the case of the world being destroyed or Ash's death, they would be out of show business, but it is implied that this is just bluster to cover the fact that they are not bad people. In Charizard's Burning Ambition, Team Rocket kept Ash's Charizard awake as it lay in the lake, and then built a huge mecha and attacked the Charicific Valley for the sole purpose of allowing Charizard to defeat them and gain acceptance in the valley.
The Team Rocket trio appeared in I Choose You!, which is set in a different continuity from the main series. They first appeared in disguise in a Pokémon Center, and were wanted for stealing Pokémon. When a Pokémon Trainer who had just battled an Entei hurried inside the Center, Team Rocket eavesdropped on the conversation and decided to hunt for Entei themselves. While looking for Entei in the forest, they were blasted off by a raging Onix.
Once they heard that Ash and his friends were heading to Mount Tensei to meet Ho-Oh, they decided to follow them, hoping to catch the Legendary Pokémon. They eventually came across a pack of sleeping Primeape. They saw it as an opportunity to catch some, but the Primeape woke up and started tossing them in the air, blasting them off once again.
Later on in the movie, the trio nearly caught up to the gang as they headed closer towards Mount Tensei. They were seen climbing Mount Tensei, tired and hungry. They eventually see Ho-Oh and stare on in amazement. Meowth became excited to the point where he accidentally let go and fell on James and Jessie, causing all three of them to fall off the mountain.
They appeared once more in the film's ending credits, following Ash and Pikachu in their Meowth Balloon. During that time, Wobbuffet was revealed to have somehow been added to their team.
Team Rocket reappeared in The Power of Us.