We start this episode with Haru still on her task from the first episode in which she was told to find and help a Pokemon by the end of the day. She's having a hard time because she knows very little about Pokemon. She encounters what she thinks is a Metagross and Graveller fighting on the beach before she realizes they're playing. Then, in a moment that reminded me that Metagross can do this, its legs tuck into itself before it flies off like a UFO with Graveller holding on underneath happily. She also tries to stop Furrett from chasing Rattata again and just gets knocked on her butt.
Afterward, she tries to look up information on her smartphone as Alisa and Tyler watch her from afar. The two talk about the fact that it's going to take Haru some time to realize that there is zero phone reception on the island. While Haru is trying in futility to look up something on her phone she notices Psyduck watching her before disappearing back into the shrubs. This is the same Psyduck that peaked in on her repeatedly in the pilot episode.
Haru decides that she needs to talk with her coworkers for advice. First, she goes to Alisa who's currently painting patterns on a fabric tent. Alisa lets Haru paint a little on the tent next to her while they talk. Alisa explains that helping Pokemon find happiness is the same as working with people. Not that it's easier but that it's just as hard to understand as humans rarely state what would actually help them.
While explaining this to Haru, a Pidgeot swoops in and accidentally crashes through the tent where they're painting. Haru is stunned by this but Alisa walks into the tent hole calmly and pets the Pidgeot, telling the Pokemon that she understands that it's excited because it's not used to having so much space to fly about but needs to fly somewhere safer and away from things that could get damaged.
Haru then goes to Tyler who invites her to do some stretches on the bridge he tends to chill on. Tyler doesn't have a lot of advice but while Alisa is stretching she notices the Psyduck watching her again. Tyler explains that the Psyduck has been on the island for two weeks but seems to be shy and has kept to hiding in the woods instead of coming out and engaging with people. Alisa takes this as a sign and shouts "Psyduck, I choose you!" before heading off after it.
She heads into the woods of the island where she keeps finding Psyduck peeking out of plants but not letting her get any closer. Eventually, she gives up and goes to her computer to try and research Psyducks. She finds out that Psyducks suffer really bad headaches because of their incredible psychic abilities. Eventually, the Psyduck will let out the psychic energy in the form of random telekinetic phenomena.
As if on cue, her candy container and several candies float into the air above her head as the Psyduck comes running out of the plants cringing and holding its head. Psyduck runs away making objects and Pokemon it passes float in the air.
Haru gives chase on her scooter but almost crashes into Tyler, instead making him spill a giant pot of pie filling he was carrying. Haru feels bad and offers to go pick more berries to make more filling and, on the way back with the berries, spills them all down a hill. She chases them to no avail, but suddenly all the berries stop in mid-air and gently float to the ground. Psyduck has stopped them and is trying to help!
She talks to Psyduck and it finally trusts her enough to hang with her, walking with her as they return the berries. She also happens to pass Alisa who, in a moment of expert timing is trying to teach a Mudkip to water flowers. Every time the Mudkip waters the plants it fires a beam of water that flattens the plants, Alisa explains that if Mudkip just lets out a little at a time it can do it without causing damage which makes Haru realizes that Psyduck's problem is that it doesn't know how to let off steam without going nuts to everything around it. She engages in a charming training montage where she teaches Psyduck to focus its powers on small objects to take some of the pain of the headaches away.
The episode ends in this really adorable scene with Haru and Psyduck having ice cream on a balcony at night time. When it looks like Psyduck is having a headache, Haru holds up the candy container and the lid pops up. Haru thanks Psyduck and Psyduck calms, realizing it did something good with its powers. Haru then plays a game where she has Psyduck fling candy in the air while she tries to catch them in her mouth. Using its powers to play makes it really happy and in a moment that warmed my cold cold heart, the Psyduck closed its eyes and hugged Haru in appreciation. Haru returns the hug as a shooting star goes overhead and the episode ends.
So here's my thoughts on episode 2, "What's on your Mind, Psyduck?"
I think this episode was a massive improvement on the first one. While it's still one of those episodes that is supposed to set up Haru's story, it didn't move at the snail's pace that the first one did and was actually a lot more enjoyable. It didn't feel like I was in a training seminar.
The first scene that involved Metagross and Graveller on the beach was really well done. It wasn't the meatiest scene in the episode but the visual effects were really well done and somehow made Metagross and Graveller adorable which should win an award in itself.
The smartphone scene was a bit problematic for me because I thought it was interesting when Alisa and Tyler stated that it's impossible to get a signal out that way but then moments later, Haru is using Wi-fi outside which seems to nullify the story point of her being unable to look up information out and about, especially considering her laptop is the tiniest laptop I've ever seen.
The episode also seemed to heavily overdo the concept of meaningful coincidences which was a bit annoying. Pidgeot flying through the tent while Haru was being told about being understanding, Mudkip over watering the flowers while Haru was trying to figure out how to help Psyduck, Psyduck running onto the beach levitating everything just as Haru was reading about how that's how Psyduck releases its headache pressure. It was a lot.
It almost feels like the people who write this show understand Chekhov's Gun but have the itchiest trigger fingers. Like, if the gun is in the scene it needs to go off IMMEDIATELY.
At the same time, the events that happened in this episode were a bit more action-oriented than the previous episode's "meet and greet" theme, we got to see the stop-motion animators really flex. People and Pokemon floating in the air from telekinesis moved naturally and were filled with expression. The lighting in several of the scenes was incredibly natural. And, from an art department standpoint, just did a killer job.
The biggest kudos I got for the show though is the final scene in which Haru and Psyduck chill on the balcony that night. Despite it being only one human and one Pokemon, the dialogue is the most human and realistic that the show has had yet and the resolution of Psyduck hugging Haru was genuinely touching. If the show can pick this up and keep showing some real humanity like this it could be very promising.