Well what do you know? Kari's the eighth child!
This is an episode that works much better in synopsis form than actually played out. Gatomon struggles with her duty to kill Kari! Loyal friend Wizardmon reveals that Gatomon is actually Kari's partner! Wizardmon entrusts Kari's digivice to Tai and seeks out Kari's crest! Gatomon turns on Myotismon and is held captive to draw Kari out! Sounds like an A to me.
The problem is that some of these plot developments were telegraphed and not all that surprising, while others just pop in out of nowhere. Part of the problem with this eighth child hunt is that the audience has known it's Kari the entire time, which doesn't make for a gripping hunt. Especially on the digidestined end, which involves Joe working the phones and Tai digging around the house for his old address book. Finally outing Kari is more of a welcome closure than a big revelation.
As for Gatomon and Wizardmon, there was far too much backstory to digest at once, denying us the maximum impact. Wizardmon really needed to get his proper introduction in an earlier episode, particularly the part where he does Myotismon's bidding because Gatomon tells him to. Gatomon's story, at least her cruel reprogramming at Myotismon's hands, also could have been covered earlier, before any suggestion that she was starting to fall for Kari's charms. The “I don't know who I was before” bit is far more effective when we're given a couple episodes to ponder, speculate or even gain the impression that it doesn't matter. Prior to this episode, there wasn't any indication that Gatomon was anything but a nasty bitch Digimon and explaining that behavior earlier would have done much to plant some clues, rather than having her turn on a dime like this.
Don't get me wrong: Gatomon's backstory is golden. First, there's the agonizing bit where she knows she's supposed to find someone, but doesn't know who. This eats at her and makes her feel lonely and restless, finally falling in with Myotismon just to get some sort of company and sense of belonging. With that in place, she feels a strong bond with Wizardmon only because they are both two lonely travelers just looking for a break. Wizardmon feels something stronger in Gatomon, because he seems pretty good at picking up inner torment. As the stories in Digimon are often defined by the human characters, this could the most interesting story solely between individual Digimon in any season, at least until Cherubimon's corruption in Frontier.
The net result is that Gatomon includes Wizardmon in the invading army even though he's not particularly disposed to evil. When he finds the eighth digivice, everything unravels. He's quick to unite Gatomon with Kari, and the connection brings it all back. Tai finds the turn a bit too abrupt as well and Agumon attacks. In one quick, neat moment, Kari and Gatomon each try to take the bullet for the other... which pretty much convinces Tai that this is all square.
Leaving the digivice with Tai (and not Kari for her safety), Wizardmon and Gatomon set out to find Kari's crest... an immensely crazy move that gives their betrayal away immediately. Oh look! Myotismon tries to kill them with goddamn bats! No talk of condemning them to a dungeon this time. Myotismon defeats them easily, keeping Gatomon alive long enough for her to give a strong speech about keeping dreams alive in the face of adversity (which, again, I would have liked to see more of beforehand). It also gives Greymon time to charge in and... well, he gets his ass kicked too. Considering they're right next to Myotismon's home base, he doesn't give much of a reason for flying off without finishing MetalGreymon off. But he does fly off with Gatomon, so she's still got a bit of adversity in store for her.
My Grade: B
- It's probably some sort of alcoholic beverage that Wizardmon finds, but describing it as chili sauce and giving it to Demidevimon to make a taco run is a good cover. Better than soda at least.
- On the news coverage of the Shibuya incident, we finally get an explicit reference to this taking place in Tokyo.
- When describing the Shibuya incident to Tai, Matt says Myotismon “took care of” Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon. In the wake of a bad dubbing move last episode (and some less-than-stellar voice work in this one), it's a nice language choice that merits recognition.
- With Myotismon disliking Salamon/Gatomon's business eyes, the animators really back it up. The bright-eyed kitty has a glare you don't want to mess with.