How can an episode so corny and hackneyed be so compelling?
Almost all the drama in the episode is manufactured by this prophecy that Gennai happens to unearth moments after Myotismon's death. Though written long ago, it's incredibly specific and manages to come to full fruition in a single day... with Izzy's help decoding the last part.
I have to call foul on that. It's lazy storytelling to introduce an ancient prophecy and carry it out completely in a single episode. Prophecies work best when they are introduced earlier and interpreted as gibberish until future events carry themselves out in an eerily similar way, whether the heroes try to avoid them or not. This one reads like a checklist.
While they wait for the first parts of the prophecy to develop, they are determined to get some things done. After all, they know something's going down soon. In the interim, we're treated to two great family moments involving Joe and Izzy. We've heard murmurs about Joe being pressured to become a doctor, and we finally get more information from his brother Jim (who escaped the Bakemon by hiding in a closet). Impressively, it's kept mostly light-hearted as Jim encourages Joe to do what he wants and Gomamon completely gets the wrong idea: Joe's challenge lies not with his smarts, but with his fear of blood.
As for Izzy... prep the waterworks. After returning home for his parents and getting them to the convention center, Izzy finally hears the truth about how his parents died in a car accident. We also learn that the Izumis lost their child at about the same time, prompting them to adopt Izzy. The scene paints a nice picture of Izzy in a nutshell- eternally polite and grateful, yet as the news isolates him, he became increasingly withdrawn into his computer. His parents picked up on all of this and very quietly massaged the situation to still get a damn good son and a damn strong bond with him. Despite their stumbles, they still have to be considered among the top family units in the franchise.
Except, of course, for Hiroaki Ishida, who continues to bring the awesome. When Izzy brings his parents to safety, Hiroaki volunteers to explain the whole situation, despite being the least knowledgeable about it (I bet he does a damn fine job anyway). Then he takes his sons out on a tiny raft to try to get through the fog... and maybe get some fishing in. It's a failed effort, but he does beat off a swarm of Gizamon in the process. He also figures out that the “hour of the beast” bit in the prophecy refers to 666, and does so with incredible dramatic flair. Actually, he ends up piecing most of the prophecy together, with Izzy only needing to do the hard part of figuring out what they actually need to do.
Long story short, VenomMyotismon returns, absorbing energy from fallen Digimon, mindless chants from the sleeping populace and poor fool Demidevimon to gain incredible strength. Still think it was a bit dramatic to poorly feign death like that. Anyway, he's big, buff and invincible... as good final bosses usually are. After MetalGreymon and WereGarurumon fall, Angemon and Angewomon hold him off until Izzy can solve the final bit of the prophecy: the angels must shoot arrows at their partners' loved ones. Namely Tai and Matt.
It's a good scene, especially TK and Kari having to suck it up and give the order to shoot their brothers. We also have Tai and Matt's posturing, trying to convince each other that they aren't scared witless before ultimately holding hands as they go through it. While it's ridiculously bromantic, it clearly helps them overcome such a vulnerable moment, showing needed bravery in front of each other and their little siblings.
I'm still going to mock them mercilessly for it.
My Grade: B+
- After the last battle, Agumon, Gabumon, Patamon and Gatomon stayed at Rookie level while everybody else devolved to In-Training, only to sprout back up to Rookie at a moment's notice to fight off the Bakemon here. What was the point in that?
- The number of the beast allusion is fine and all (and a little risque in a dub concerned about religious imagery), but does it really work if it's 6:06 PM? I figured that kind of thing worked on military time.
- On that note, they beat Myotismon in the morning and he returned in the early evening? Did this episode's activities really kill an entire afternoon?
- The “Hey Digimon” song, usually reserved for the good guys finishing the job, played right before MetalGreymon and WereGarurumon got their asses handed to them. And it's not like we didn't see it coming.
- Gatomon says only Patamon needs to go with her into battle, implying that she knows the prophecy. Even though she clearly doesn't. If she did, a head's up would have been nice.
- As the arrows fire, Tai and Matt have pretty stoic (or should that be broic?) looks on their faces. Then they're actually hit and the look changes to “Oh my God, I just got shot in the back with a freaking arrow!!” It's a nice touch.