Joe is the oldest member of the team. He offered to stay behind with Mimi to make sure she's safe. He's more grounded than her, stays rational and, let's face it, has a more powerful Digimon. None of this matters as we quickly realize that Mimi's the one in charge here. When she wants to stop and rest, it doesn't matter how many times they've already done so. They're stopping to rest.
It's a rough opening scene for Joe. They've magically recruited Frigimon and Meramon into Team Twilight, but they too are at the mercy of the almighty Mimi. Despite Joe's impatience with her, Gekomon, Otamamon and Frigimon set out in search of a meal to appease the princess. Once her bitching ceases and she's all smiles, Gomamon tries to goad Joe into admitting that he finds her charming. He goes into full denial while blushing, which pleases her. She thus declares that all shall feast tonight!
In all honesty, it's been a long time since Joe's really been the butt of the jokes. In episode 40, a seismic shift almost made him fall to his death, but nobody was really laughing at him about that. After a rough start and that whole diner business, he's actually been quite stable. Yet he questions his role on the team, believing that he's perceived as the bumbling comic relief rather than the reliable rock he wants to be.
Sometimes someone has a legitimate problem. Tai and Mimi have overcome theirs already. Matt's still working on his. Joe's problem is legitimate only in that he doesn't see the truth. His role is to be the reliable one that can always be depended on. He may not get his moment to excel the way Tai does, but he is specially suited to undertake jobs like protecting Mimi. Joe wants this, yet doesn't realize that he's already viewed this way. When he and Mimi find a clue to Matt's whereabouts and Joe takes it upon himself to find him, Mimi's first inclination is to go with him. If she thought of him as useless or undependable, she wouldn't care so much. It takes an impassioned speech and a reassurance that she's in good company before she relents and lets him leave. He certainly has her respect, along with everybody else's. He just has to see it for himself.
But enough of that, LadyDevimon and Angewomon are fighting!
All jokes aside, it really is one of the hallmark battles of season one. Beyond their fighting style, it's a standout moment for Tai. He's viewing the big picture, much like he did in the final assault against Etemon. Realizing that Piedmon's coming up quickly, he uses as little might as possible in order to keep Agumon fresh for the final round. He also sends Sora and TK out to find the others, realizing that everybody will need to be together. This leaves only Angewomon and MegaKabuterimon for this fight, which makes things more interesting.
When I say interesting, of course, I mean fantastic to watch. LadyDevimon's taunts are a hoot, and traditional attacks are abandoned in favor of hair pulling and slapping. The normally stoic Angewomon ends up royally pissed and fights back with just as much raw energy. While Tai, Agumon and Izzy are left completely stunned (and kinda turned on), Kari's cheering like she's at a wrestling match. By the way, this is the same girl who turned into a serene goddess and was worshiped as such last episode. Just a friendly reminder.
My Grade: A-
- For those wondering if the bottle Gekomon retrieved for the feast wasn't actually “root beer” in the Japanese version, you are absolutely correct! The label clearly identifies it as Cola. Can't have Mimi drinking that, can we?
- When entering the bleak and dead Primary Village, Joe specifically refers to The Twilight Zone in describing it. Given how Tai danced around an Epcot Center reference two episodes ago, it's weird to have such a specific name drop.
- Sora and Kari's reaction shot after LadyDevimon graces the scene is just epic. They're clearly thinking about something else with the kind of bad vibes they're generating here.