While the previous ban may have been a bit silly since they could've easily edited a couple of scenes out and aired it from the start (yet the airtime for the episode was shorter than it should be), it's a bit justifiable for the time. It being a filler that no one would really miss doesn't hurt (the ending of this episode would make a small callback to the previous episode, but it's easy to handwave). This episode, however, was banned not at first, but shortly after 9/11 for a few years. The reason was because of the destruction of a town that was going on in this episode. I understand the thought of keeping the sensitivity of the tragedy in check to prevent opening wounds, but personally, I don't see how there was a good reason why the episode was temporarily banned. Remember episode 17 where Ekans said there's no such thing as a bad Pokémon—the only reason Tentacool and Tentacruel did what they did was because they were angry at the destruction of their home. The violence was justified, albeit rather harsh; but that helps get the point across, sort of. This was an environmental message, more-or-less, in being courteous of a specific habitat, or you're going to hurt both the inhabitants living there and yourself. If someone wants to build a hotel in the ocean, fine, they just shouldn't destroy a habitat that's currently living there and find a way to make it co-exist.
Isn't that most of the message of Pokémon, in that it is possible for humans and Pokémon to co-exist peacefully?
So the episode picks up where we left Ash and the gang, and they missed a boat off the island. While they're waiting, an injured Horsea shows up to warn them about the impending doom, but the boat explodes before they could decipher the message. The sailors onboard where paralyzed by the Tentacool stings, which was probably a warning by the Tentacool to the humans, mostly Nastina. She lives up to her name to a “T”. Compared to her cousin who was just being a bitch to the old man and taunting him about his rent, she is actually trying to kill Pokémon just because they were interfering with the construction of the hotel situated in the ocean. (I personally have to question how it is 4KIDS never seemed to care that Nastina is surrounded by bishounen males in speedos. Very creepy, if you ask me.) She doesn't seem to have any vendetta against the Tentacool outside of the fact that “they're disgusting”, “inedible”, and “hurting her profits”.
In the meantime, Misty goes out of her way to show she loves Water Pokémon (though she fears Gyarados, but that wasn't explicitly stated until Chronicles) by fawning over Horsea and saying that Tentacool are “cute”. I get where she's coming from, but my reactions are similar to Ash and Brock's when she says that. So this is the episode where we get a bit of character development from Misty—I say “a bit” because the only character development she gets is catching a new team member and realizing she's not that great of a Water Pokémon trainer as she would've liked. How that ties in to her climbing a tall tower to speak to Tentacruel, I don't know.
Speaking of, how does the stun spore make a Tentacool evolve into a giant Tentacruel? Yeah, it's been a while since we had a Pokémon evolve, but still, that's got to be some radioactive stuff. Unless it's a reference to how some real-life jellyfish (notably the lion's mane) can be larger than normal, and even have tentacles a hundred feet-or-so long? Hard to say, but it was that kind of plot convenience (gee, that happens a lot) that allows it to go berserk and destroy the town that would make a Gyarados proud. Or envious. The one thing that confuses me a bit is how they were able to use Meowth to talk to everyone, let alone know he was able to speak the human language. This episode made me think for a while that Tentacool and Tentacruel might have been Psychic, especially since they were shooting laser beams from their jewels which far as I know never happens again in later encounters.
Though according to Bulbapedia, it was reminiscent of a scene from Independence Day where an alien speaks to the humans using a scientist—buuuuut I haven't seen the movie, so I can't say this with great certainty. But also according to Bulbapedia (and I believe a couple other people here), the episode's script was rewritten a bit because of the skip of the previous episode, so in actuality, this episode does indeed reference back to the previous episode. But oh well, what was done here still worked fine anyway. It wasn't like anything important to the actual show's plot itself was removed or changed in the process.
I have to talk about Horsea for a quick moment. It didn't really do much besides try to tell Ash, Misty and Brock about the Tentacool. Guess the only reason Tentacruel smacked it was because it took the side of humans. (Gee, this would sound a bit familiar in the future...) I don't see how Horsea should've been apologized to and thanked for being a hero. Had it actually tried to warn on a bigger scale except shooting ink into the water once in front of Ash and the others, maybe it would've made sense, but otherwise, all it did was just yell at Tentacruel to knock it off. Pikachu and the others were doing more than it.
Oh well, someone has to be the token cute character of the day.
Nastina should've gotten a bit more than what happened to her especially since she was still attacking Tentacruel after it turns it back on the town, but oh well. We never see her again anyway, so we can at least assume she doesn't get her hotel built.
So it's not a bad episode, but it wasn't great, either. It had a nice message and all, but it wasn't full of “oomph”. The destruction of the city was the highlight of the episode to keep it from being nearly forgettable/dull like the previous episode, and that was it. Next episode, however, has a bit more to it that I remember being enjoyable while having a consistent story (for a filler episode), but also mysteriously beautiful.
Though perhaps it's best not to question a few things to keep it that way. Some things just were never explained and probably never will be.