So the story, for the viewers at home, is as follows. This old woman and her Machamp are visiting the grave of her husband, Machamp’s trainer. He died in a car crash that likely would have claimed Machamp’s life as well, but he had the presence of mind to recall Machamp to its Pokéball at the last moment, protecting it. Machamp subsequently threw away its own Pokéball and refused to use one again.
Anyway, yeah, this is interesting. It illustrates something about Pokéballs that doesn’t come up that often – they’re safe; you can use them to protect Pokémon from harm. But for this particular Machamp, they’re also a reminder of past trauma, the death of its trainer (also, when did Pokémon get this dark? I’m not complaining; I love how much of this $#!t Sun and Moon have in them, but wow). This is also an example of a Pokémon’s relationship with a human continuing after the loss/destruction of its Pokéball and after the death of its actual trainer, which is interesting for showing the extent to which this Machamp has come to feel like it belongs with humans rather than back in the wild. I think stories like this are great because they emphasise that our experiences aren’t universal; there are characters in this world whose lives and relationships with their Pokémon have very different foundations – and consequences.