This episode kind of represents my two only faults with the show. 1) Ash being given the badges. I get Brock and Misty. You can't have Ash being flat out better than them if they're gonna follow him around everywhere, but everyone else he should be able to beat. 2) Team Rocket wrecking everything. I like Team Rocket, but we're in the middle of a gym battle, which is always fresh and exiting and you get to see new Pokémon for the first time in the show, then Team Rocket comes out and it's some scheme we've already seen before.
Probably why Electric Shock Showdown is one of my favorites. Ash beats Surge fair and square, and Team Rocket stays out of it.