Part II: The Chapters of Unova

For the anniversary of the release of Pokémon Black and White, we continue our tribute to the games. Part II focuses on the main storyline and its synthesis of narrative and gameplay.

The Veil Begins to Lift

Team Plasma has already been hard at work in Driftveil, stealing some Trainers’ Pokémon. And while the Gym Leader Clay had them apprehended, they managed to escape while he was distracted lowering the drawbridge. Clay bluntly suggests Cheren and the player help him look for them.

“Tell ya what… If ya find Team Plasma, I’ll let ya challenge my Gym! Life’s all about give and take!” Clay certainly knows how to drive a hard bargain—appropriate, considering he’s a businessman—but it is reasonable, as the threat of Team Plasma is too great to ignore. The emphasis the Gym Leaders place on apprehending them enhances the stakes.

Further south is the Cold Storage, a heavily used facility in Driftveil. In spite of his disdain for cold places, Cheren follows you inside to help you search for Team Plasma. Eventually the last place to look is in a large, opened container near the back of the warehouse. Inside is a new sage, Zinzolin, who’s so distraught from the cold that he has commanded all his grunts to huddle close around him. Although a part of Team Plasma, and therefore in direct opposition to Cheren, they both have hatred of the cold in common—a very small but notable detail that could have brought them closer together had they met under different circumstances.

Cheren offers to show them the way outside where it’s warmer—and where they can finally be apprehended. Zinzolin commands the grunts to drive the player and Cheren away. Thankfully, Clay and some Workers arrive just as you and Cheren finish defeating the onslaught of grunts. Whether due to the sheer cold or out of spite, Zinzolin leaves without a word as he and his grunts are escorted out by the Workers.

You head north towards the Gym and, surprisingly, Cheren is standing outside. As you approach, you see something’s wrong. It seems Ghetsis has come to pick up his missing sage and grunts. Ghetsis’s words are cordial and polite, even going so far as to say that those he’s coming to pick up are in Clay’s “care,” but something about him makes it all seem like a front. Clay tells Ghetsis not to thank him for holding onto these Team Plasma members because they were attempting to steal Pokémon.

Ghetsis feigns ignorance. “What’s this? It seems as if there has been some misunderstanding. We only free Pokémon from wicked people.” Clay says what Ghetsis is saying would be great so long as it were actually true. Clay’s words may not be “purty,” but he calls himself an honest man. Ghetsis, on the other hand, “talk[s] real nice,” but what he says “kinda sounds like lyin’.” Clay is catching onto Ghetsis’s sneaky use of words and demands he speak plainly.

But Ghetsis, of course, does not. He skirts around the question entirely, just as he had ignored Burgh’s question back in Castelia. He lays down a subtle threat, saying Team Plasma is “interested” in Driftveil and that there are many, many more Team Plasma members besides the seven grunts he brought behind him. Clay can’t take a chance on whether or not Ghetsis is lying and concedes without a fight, as he’s already at a disadvantage even with the player and Cheren nearby. Clay begrudgingly releases the detained Team Plasma members back into Ghetsis’s custody. Ghetsis takes the opportunity to mockingly butter him up, praising Clay’s decision and his “grasp of the situation.” He then takes his leave with the rest of Team Plasma in tow.

Clay regrets having to let Team Plasma all go after everyone worked so hard to round them up, but it was inevitable. Even Cheren agrees it was for the best to avoid a large-scale fight in the middle of the city. “Still,” he says, “I can’t help but think Ghetsis isn’t just an ordinary person.” At this Cheren leaves to go train his Pokémon further so that he can defeat “that Clay guy … in a flawless victory.” Hints of Cheren’s feelings towards Clay from before, when Clay dragged them into the search for Team Plasma, still linger, as does Cheren’s determination to grow ever stronger after Alder’s discussion. As for you, you can now finally face the Miner King himself and earn another Gym Badge.