The Planeteers hurry to stop Verminous Skumm using an abandoned factory to create an acid-rain storm. However, Ma-Ti is battling new self-esteem issues and he remains behind in the geo-cruiser, leaving the other Planeteers to tackle the problem without him. When they run into trouble, only Ma-Ti can save the day...
The episode begins with shots of a drab city. Everything appears delapidated and in need of repair. Rats run through the streets.
Suddenly, a surveillance camera on a periscope-like pole emerges from the ground. Verminous Skumm is overheard talking to one of his many minions, pleased that the nearby factory is deserted. He makes a comment about it being shut down by environmentalists because it polluted too much. He demands that they then surface, and one of his henchmen obeys, driving the large drilling machine upwards. Skumm tells his friends it's time to start the factory up again and continue the pollution it used to produce.
The factory is soon up and running. Skumm is burning coal, ensuring huge clouds of thick smoke are being sent into the air. He then demands that a special rain-making chemical he has developed be added to the mix. He then says that the coal smoke will turn the resulting rain to acid.
On Hope Island, the Planeteers are running an obstacle course. Everyone appears to be enjoying themselves except Ma-Ti, who grows increasingly frustrated due to his small size hindering his ability to finish.
As Wheeler admires Linka's skills on the uneven bars, Kwame and Gi are having a friendly race. Both are cheating - Gi uses her ring to create a mud-puddle, causing Kwame to fall behind. He then creates an earthquake which knocks her from the top of the climbing wall - he catches her before she hits the ground. She quickly challenges him again, and they race over the wall, laughing and ribbing one another good-naturedly. Linka, and then Wheeler, both achieve the climbing wall. Ma-Ti is the only one left. He manages to jump the mud-trap, but almost over-balances. The other Planeteers stand by and cheer him on and encourage him. However, Ma-Ti falls from the top of the wall and, unlike Gi, is not lucky enough to be caught by Kwame. He lands in the mud-trap, causing the other Planeteers to laugh. He fails to see the joke, however, instead feeling embarrassed and upset.
Gaia arrives, and the Planeteers realise they must have a new mission. However, when Linka offers to help Ma-Tiup, he refuses, mournfully stating that he is always needing help because he is so small. He runs away towards the beach, leaving the others to go to The Crystal Chamber without him.
Ma-Ti comes in as Gaia is showing images of Verminous Skumm to the other Planeteers on the Crystal Vision. She says he was born and raised in toxic waste, and thrives in filth and slime. She informs the Planeteers that Skumm is nesting in an abandoned factory, burning coal. When Wheeler asks what's so bad about burning coal, Gaia tells him that the clouds can create acid rain. She tells the Planeteers that Skumm is designing a certain cloud, and that it could destroy an entire city if he isn't stopped.
The Planeteers hurry to find Skumm. Linka is flying the geo-cruiser, stating they will be arriving in two minutes. Meanwhile, Ma-Ti is sitting silently, still thinking about how helpless he feels. He believes that everyone always has to help him, and that the Planeteers would be better off without him.
As Linka lands the geo-cruiser, the Planeteers started do disembark, excited about a new mission. When Wheeler says to Ma-Ti it's time to go, Ma-Ti says he won't be going with them. Dismayed, the other Planeteers ask why not, and he tells them it is because he feels he will only get in there way. He says he does not have what it takes to be a Planeteer, before he removes his Planteer ring. Wheeler tries to encourage him to come with them, but Ma-Ti is adamant, and asks the others to leave him alone.
Outside the geo-cruiser, the four older Planeteers wonder how they can make Ma-Ti feel better. Kwame wants to try and convince him they cannot do the job without him, but Wheeler points out that there isn't time. The giant acid cloud above them looks as though it could start pouring rain at any moment. Linka says she has an idea, and begins to explain it to the others as the camera pans away and returns to Skumm's factory.
Inside, Skumm is laughing, as his plan is almost complete. Chemicals and smoke are continuing to drift up into the sky, and he knows it will start raining acid at any moment.
Suddenly, the building begins to shake. Skumm and his men are startled and confused.
Outside, Kwame is standing with Gi and Wheeler, using his ring to tremble the ground and shake the building. Skumm emerges from the building, quietly furious that people have come to stop him. He orders his henchmen to spray the Planeteers with toxic waste. They scatter hastily, and only just in time. The waste is strong enough to melt concrete.
When Wheeler tries to retaliate by using his ring, it only creates more toxic smoke, adding to the already-polluted skies above. Kwame quietly urges Wheeler to remember the plan, and he, Wheeler and Gi all run around the side of the building. When Skumm and his rats chase them, Linka sneaks inside the factory.
Meanwhile, Ma-Ti waits alone in the geo-cruiser. He still has not put his ring back on, but he uses the Planet Vision screens in the geo-cruiser to check his friends' progress. He is worried when he sees Gi, Kwame and Wheeler being chased.
Realising they are trapped, the Planeteers decide to start fighting back. Gi uses her ring to release a torrent of water from a water-tower, knocking many of the villains away. Wheeler scatters more of them by setting some crates alight, and Kwame knocks the rest down by creating an earthquake.
Wheeler congratulates his friends, stating they got rid of them all - but turning around, the three of them are confronted by yet more of Skumm's rats. They are forced to surrender.
Just as Linka is about to shut down the factory, Skumm's drilling machine crashes through the wall. He demands that she give herself up.
Ma-Ti watches from the geo-cruiser, knowing that he has to help his friends, but worried that he is unable to.
Skumm locks the other four Planeteers up in a building that is still full of drums of toxic chemicals. Many of them are leaking fumes, and in the enclosed space, the Planeteers know they won't survive for long. Wheeler suggests burning their way out with his ring, but Linka stops him, telling him that the chemicals could ignite.
Kwame suggests using his ring to crack the foundations of the building so they can escape, but Gi points out the chemicals could spill and then seep into the ground.
Worried about contaminating the surrounding area with the chemicals they are trapped with, the Planeteers realise they cannot use their rings to escape. They realise they need to contact Ma-Ti and get him to help them.
Ma-Ti is concerned that he cannot see his friends anymore. He is suddenly drawn to his ring, which is glowing and humming nearby. Putting his ring on, he immediately senses their fear and panic. Deciding he doesn't care how dangerous it is, Ma-Ti runs to help them.
He sneaks between the buildings of Skumm's factory, avoiding the guards by hiding inside of empty barrels as they march past him. He realises that he has discovered an advantage to being small.
Ma-Ti locates the Planeteers, but is unable to get through the door of the building, as it is locked. Using his ring to communicate with them, he asks if there is another way in. Wheeler spots a window in the roof, and they urge Ma-Ti to get to the top and break it open. They are sounding increasingly desperate, as it is growing difficult for them to breathe.
Ma-Ti runs to the side of the building and discovers the brick-work has made a ladder-like appearance. He is able to climb up, though he doubts he can make it to the top. Halfway up, he slips and nearly falls. He despairs, believing he can go no further.
Suddenly, Gaia appears as an image above him. She encourages him, telling him that the only thing that can stop him is his fear. She knows he can do it - he just needs to look into his heart and believe it.
Ma-Ti feel strengthed after Gaia disappears, and realises his friends are still depending on him to rescue them.
Inside, the Planeteers are choking violently, apparently about to lapse into unconsciousness. Suddenly, Ma-Ti breaks the window above them, lowering a fire hose through so his friends can escape.
Skumm finishes burning his supply of coal. Up on the roof, the Planeteers are thanking Ma-Ti for saving them, stating that he was very brave to get to them. Overhead, thunder and lightning are frequent. Ma-Ti points out that it will rain at any moment. They realise the cloud is blowing towards an enormous city.
The Planeteers hurry to summon Captain Planet.
Skumm and his henchmen escape in their drilling machine as the acid rain starts. They watch on in delight as forests and grassland melt away.
Captain Planet hurries to blow the cloud away from the city by creating a controlled tornado. The Planeteers cheer him on. Away from the city, Captain Planet dives underground and emerges with a large mineral deposit to neutralise the acid in the cloud. He smashes it into powder and it neutralises the effects of Skumm's acid plan.
Captain Planet then flies after Skumm, who is still in his drilling machine. Skumm attempts to hit Captain Planet with cannon-shots of toxic waste, but Cap dodges them all and destroys Skumm's cannon. Skumm escapes, but the acid rain cloud has been destroyed.
Captain Planet congratulates Ma-Ti, saying that without his bravery, they all would have failed. Captain Planet returns the Planeteers' powers. Linka tells Ma-Ti it is nice to have him back on the team again.
Back on Hope Island, Ma-Ti completes the obstacle course, cheered on by his friends.
Wheeler: It's acid rain, Cap! Those factories burning coal and polluting the air are a real menace.
Ma-Ti: When the air pollution mixes with the clouds and then rains, it can destroy forests.
Gi: As well as leak into drinking water and kill fish and other wildlife.
Linka: Write a letter to your congress-person to support our environmental laws.
Captain Planet: The power is yours!
Did You Notice?
- First appearance of Verminous Skumm.
- The Planeteers all appear to have specific work-out and exercise clothes.
- Gaia says that Skumm was born and raised in toxic waste.
- Ma-Ti visibly sweats as he stresses about his friends being captured.
- Wheeler uses his ring and ignites Skumm's toxic waste. He does not learn from this mistake, however - later on in the episode, he suggests using his ring to escape the enclosure where he and the other Planeteers are prisoners. Linka stops him.
- Even when Ma-Ti is not wearing his ring, it glows when the other Planeteers try to contact him, attracting his attention.
- When Ma-Ti puts his ring on, he notes that he can sense fear and panic from the other Planeteers.
- Despite being surrounded by dangerous toxic chemicals, the Planeteers never have any trouble with their powers in this episode.
- Gaia appears on the scene to encourage Ma-Ti, indicating she watches over the Planeteers on their missions from her station on Hope Island.
- Ma-Ti uses a fire hose lowered through the broken window to help his friends out. Wheeler is the first to climb up.
- The effects of Skumm's acid rain can be seen immediately.
- Captain Planet avoids the acid rain by flying above the clouds.
- Captain Planet destroys the cloud, but he doesn't attempt to capture or arrest Skumm.
- Ma-Ti finishes the obstacle course on Hope Island at the end of the episode.
Skumm: Come, my soliders of slime! We're going to see to it this factory resumes its dirty work, or my name ain't Verminous Skumm.
The Planeteers are training on the obstacle course on Hope Island:
Wheeler: Come on, dudes! Last one to finish has to jump in an oil spill.
Wheeler: Need any help, ruski-tuski?
Linka: Hmph! That will be the day, Yankee.
Ma-Ti has just fallen into a puddle of mud.
Gi: Hey, Ma-Ti! With a cherry and some whipped cream, you'd look just like a hot-fudge sundae!
Gaia: Verminous Skumm...
Wheeler: He's an exterminator's nightmare!
Wheeler: Come on, little buddy! Time to rock'n'roll.
Ma-Ti: I am not coming with you.
Ma-Ti: I will just get in your way. I do not have what it takes to be a Planeteer.
Wheeler: Come on, Ma-Ti. You don't really mean that. Pick up your ring and -
Ma-Ti: No, Wheeler! Just go away! Just go away.
Wheeler: Okay, little buddy. If that's how you feel...
Skumm: How dare you interrupt my work?
Wheeler: We're the Planeteers, you festering furball! It's our job to stop your evil work.
Skumm: Indeed? We'll see about that.
Wheeler, Gi and Kwame are being chased by Skumm's rats.
Gi: We just have to keep them busy, so Linka can shut down their coal-burning operation!
Wheeler: That ruski-babe gets all the easy jobs!
Kwame: We are trapped!
Wheeler: Then it's time to stop running.
Gi: I agree. It's time to show these renegade rats what Planeteers can do!
Skumm has caught Linka trying to shut his factory down and is watching her through his security cameras.
Skumm: Hold it there, my pretty little Planeteer. You look out of sight in my sights...
Skumm: Soon my acid rain cloud will begin its rain of terror! What a pity you won't be around to see it, Planeteers.
Kwame: You have not won yet! Let us go now, or you will regret it later! I am warning you...
Skumm: Save your breath! Impudent human.
Ma-Ti: Heart. I can sense fear and panic... my friends are in terrible danger! I don't care how dangerous it is! I must help them.
Kwame: It is Ma-Ti!
Linka: He may be little, but he is big in courage!
Gaia: I saw you in trouble.
Ma-Ti: I am scared, Gaia. I cannot make it!
Gaia: Yes you can, Ma-Ti. The only thing holding you back is your fear. Look into your heart, and you will find all the strength you need. With courage, you can accomplish anything. The power is yours!
Skumm is watching the results of his acid rain on the security monitors.
Skumm: Now that's entertainment!
Captain Planet is blowing Skumm's cloud away.
Skumm: Who is that guy, and what's he doing with my cloud? Hey you! Get off of my cloud!
Kwame: Thanks, Captain Planet!
Captain Planet: Don't thank me - the real hero's Ma-Ti. With brave Planeteers like you, the Earth will always be safe from harm. Remember, the power is yours.
Gaia: The feeling that one person can't make a difference is the greatest obstacle of all. Congratulations, Ma-Ti. You overcame your fears. You're a true Planeteer.