There is a lot of meaty stuff in this episode. Izzy poses some interesting theories about the Digital World, making the team question the reality they are presented with in different ways. A third party enters the battle and betrays both the good guys and the bad guys. One of the kids is kidnapped and another totally locks up in the heat of the moment. This is fantastic stuff, people!
It's just a shame that lackluster animation and several weird dubbing errors make it very difficult to give high marks to such an ambitious episode. I normally don't make too much out of production problems, but they're hard to ignore here. Several lines seemed to be delivered by the wrong character or at the wrong time or very oddly. It's not the director's finest moment when one of Tai's lines is coming from a girl... and I'm not entirely sure who that girl is. Sora? Biyomon? Lain? This isn't even squarely on the shoulders of the dub as the art seemed off as well: dimensions were askew, eyes were too far apart and some corners were cut. It clearly wasn't the A-team's day to draw.
But we're not here to note every single mistake in the series. There was a lot in this episode to dissect. After Izzy gets an e-mail from a mysterious captive of Etemon's, TK's crest leads the team into another digicode hallway where Izzy can have his data crunching fun time. This time, thankfully, the round of techno-babble leads to the crucial theory that the Digital World is an embodiment of the world's computer networks, and that everything in it is a representation of real world data. They are all walking, talking and living in the Wired.
This leads to some really intriguing questions. What does that make the Digimon? Where are their real world bodies? Are they impacted by what happens in the Digital World? While Biyomon frets over the first question, Tai takes the lack of an answer to the third as a sign that his real world self can't be touched.
At least Izzy was able to apply his theory and use the e-mail's IP address to take them to the pyramid where Datamon is held captive. With Etemon there as well, they hide out for the night to formulate a plan, leading to a nice little scene that uses the power of spontaneous Sora angst as a positive. She doesn't want to risk confronting Etemon just for her crest; Tai (correctly) points out that she would do so if it were someone else's. He also points out that even if they are just some sort of avatar, they have to behave as though their actions and battles in the Digital World make a difference, just in case.
Now Tai, if that's the case... why the hell do you act as though getting your ass killed doesn't mean anything?! As he leads the away team into the pyramid, he takes unnecessary risks, taunts Etemon and some Gazimon and pisses off Sora to no end. It's very inconsistent and seems to be thrown in solely to bitchslap him at the end of the episode. Several episodes in this arc end with Tai getting bitchslapped, and that's not a bad thing.
Datamon is a wonderful addition to this arc- a chaotic neutral in this battle of good and evil. He hates serving under Etemon, but has no loyalty to the digidestined and uses them solely to gain his freedom. That done, he turns on both sides, fighting them and running off with Sora and Biyomon as his prizes when he realizes he won't win. In the ensuing chase, Izzy tells Tai not to get himself killed... moments before Tai was about to get himself killed. Tai completely locks up, Datamon gets away and it's a pretty damn suspenseful way to end an episode. Imagine what it would have been with competent animation and ADR direction.
My Grade: B
- Much as I appreciated Matt and Izzy getting a chance to talk last episode, wouldn't it have made more sense for Izzy to find his crest here and TK's to be hiding alongside his brother's? It would have been awesome to see Matt and TK find their crests together, and the cave of digicode would have practically had Izzy's name on it!
- Nice reference to Etemon wanting a fried banana sandwich. You can't half-ass being the King.
- Speaking of which, Etemon can kick some ass! He makes quick work out of four Champion-level Digimon and is genuinely evil when it comes to imprisoning Datamon. He's again looking pretty credible for a villain with no claim to credibility.
- Matt absolutely destroy Tai at the end of this episode, dragging his frozen ass out of the pyramid and lashing out at him for not going after Sora. Joe's more supportive but everybody looks extremely disappointed. It's a great thing to see right before an arc wraps up.