In this episode, come for the epic Matt/Tai showdown, stay for the massive info dump that spawns as many questions as it answers.
There are three pretty compelling episodes all rolled into one here. We have Tai and Matt squaring off and threatening to take everybody out with them. We have a possessed Kari explaining how they were selected as digidestined. We have the band going on hiatus so Matt and Mimi can pursue solo careers. All three are big deals. Shame they don't all fit in the same episode.
The execution on the first two is a bit suspect as well. When we last left, Matt was cold and hostile, intimidating Tai, who's just plain confused. Now there's suddenly a lot more jawing going on between the two. Matt's gone full asshole, insulting not only Tai but the entire team as well. One of the reasons Matt's doing this is because he questions Tai's leadership and can't stand to stay in his shadow. Now he claims to have no interest in running a team full of losers. I'd make a joke about him suddenly turning into Koji, but at least Koji's tactful.
As the drama escalates, everybody starts to get snippy with each other. Gomamon and Gatomon argue about whether to intervene, which Tentomon is quick to diffuse. While breaking up WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon isn't happening, nobody bothers to separate Tai and Matt. This would have been another good moment for a slap to the face, but Sora's busy being angry that Mimi, who's hiding in a corner, hoping this will go away.
Luckily, it does! The delightful little mess stops abruptly when Kari starts talking to some stray data floating in the air. Suddenly, she's possessed and launches into a massive wall of exposition that could have came out of a Dan Brown novel. The episode crashes into the wall head-on and comes to an immediate halt.
She's nice enough to explain how she is able to manipulate data to present this series of flashbacks more visually. She's not nice enough to explain what she actually is, merely that she is a random array of data temporarily borrowing Kari to get this message across. The message, unfortunately, doesn't achieve much. We already know that these eight kids were chosen because they witnessed the Highton View Terrace incident. We only learn that their data was analyzed and their Digimon programmed to respond to each child's strongest trait. Joe needles Matt about the whole friendship thing, one of the few reminders of what went down just ten minutes ago.
This part only leads to more questions. We learn that a younger, handsome Gennai was one of the cloaked figures facilitating this, but who are the rest? The Dark Masters attempt to infiltrate the operation... why were they dormant while the baby Digimon were developing? Couldn't they have swept through and finished the job? And what the hell's up with that black ball Piedmon inserted into Gennai? That damn thing isn't referred to again until one of the audio dramas, and even then nobody explains what it is!
The shinies release Kari and deposit the group back in the forest, having learned everything and nothing at the same time. They don't even know what the Dark Masters are plotting (although my guess would be world domination). Despite the extended interruption, nothing has actually changed. Matt and Tai have calmed down, but Matt recognizes that he's still frustrated with the whole operation, and himself. When he wants to distance himself for the time being, Tai finds the notion silly, but it's Sora who supports the idea. She even reassures TK that he's still in good company.
What really ties this moment together is when Mimi realizes that she needs a breather of her own. She's been a wreck since they got back to the Digital World and rather than let herself break down constantly and hurt the team, she too needs some personal time. Joe offers to look after her and the once-unified group is now split into three... which is completely antithetical to what zombie Kari was preaching.
My Grade: B
- Tai claims that the team doesn't need a “hothead with attitude.” Of course, that pretty much describes every other gogglehead from here on out...
- Possessed Kari starts out discussing how light and darkness must remain in balance, and that the digidestined being summoned is a product of the light fighting back. This provides a nice parallel with the ending of season two, where TK emphasizes that the darkness will always fight back too.
- Even though Piedmon is the only one of the Dark Masters who appears in the flashback, judging from the Guardramon and Mekanorimon that attack, it's clear that Machinedramon provided the muscle.
- Gatomon frets when she sees Gennai drop her egg, which caused her path to start differently than the others. Biyomon is quick to cheer her up. Apparently spontaneous Gatomon angst is forbidden, but spontaneous Sora angst is free to cause havoc at any time.