In this episode, angst! Tons and tons of angst! We got your Matt angst! We got your Sora angst! We got every kind of angst! On sale today!
This episode goes hand-in-hand with the last one, tying up loose ends for any characters that still have them. Last time, Joe was the focus and we see the fruits of his short vision quest here. The emphasis this week is on Matt and Sora. Matt, of course, has been wandering around trying to find himself for awhile. Sora's been pretty stable lately, but when it comes to suppressed angst, she always keeps some on hand, just in case an opportune moment arises.
As far as character moments, we haven't heard much from the Digimon lately. By now, everybody has a close bond with their partner and there aren't any major disagreements. The Digimon have more or less become an extension of their partner. We see Gomamon trying to get Joe to be positive when they find Matt's boat, but generally they've been towing the line and doing their jobs. Their relative silence makes Gabumon really stand out in this episode. He uses every trick in the psychoanalyst's handbook (which, oddly enough, includes biting someone's arm) to singlehandedly lure Matt off the ledge. He's the best Digimon partner in season one, hand's down.
Matt's angst isn't anything new, although it's a little more clear why it's so damn important for him to be TK's guardian. By honing in on that role, it creates something he, and the team, can focus on. When it's clear that it's not necessary (not only is TK capable of fending for himself, anybody on the team will step up when he can't), Matt's exposed and uncomfortable. It all ties in with how his family's divorce left him simultaneously afraid of getting too close to someone and afraid of being alone. When his contribution to the group revolves around himself and not TK, it's too much for him. Gabumon somehow sifts through all that and explains that he's doing just fine and everybody's counting on him to show up to the battle just being Matt.
Sora, as it turns out, has the exact opposite problem. Her role as the team mom hasn't been all that relevant lately. With Matt gone, there's not much fighting (with her around at least) and there's no room for holding anyone back as the endgame approaches. As a result, she's been fairly quiet with no real specialty. She steps in when necessary so it's not like she's coasting, but she doesn't mind staying out of the spotlight. So naturally, she receives a task of the utmost importance and totally caves under the pressure. With Matt, it's realizing his self-defined role wasn't all that important. With Sora, it's realizing that the role she received means everything.
Her job is to scour the world and find Matt, Joe and Mimi. And try to hurry because WarGreymon's getting his ass kicked. It's a lofty mission and it's all on her. The real moment in her saga is when TK is looking to her for reassurance and she just can't offer it. The stakes are getting too high for her and she gets sucked into the darkness as well. For all the business with Matt's crest healing WarGreymon at the end of the episode, Matt's big moment of redemption is the way he coaches Sora out of her funk. While Joe never faced anything as symbolic as this cave of darkness, he was in a similar boat as Matt and proves to be of great help as well. What it boils down to is that regardless of who's doing what, they are the digidestined and they have to do whatever it takes. Don't think about it so much.
Tai's exemplifying this philosophy, which is great in that it's buying time. It's not so great in that Piedmon is thoroughly pummeling WarGreymon. Tai is seemingly feeling the blows as well, while Izzy's ready to revolt and throw Tentomon in the fight, no matter how tired. The cavalry arrives just in time, Matt makes his peace with Tai and we've got two Megas rarin' to go. Let's do this!
My Grade: B+
- While the whole cave of darkness conceit is pretty much a venue for Matt and Sora to get their problems out, I wonder if the “darkness” is the same sort of thing as the light that took over Kari. When inhabited, the light causes one to explode with goodness, while the darkness causes one to implode with turmoil. The reactions are polar opposites, which makes me think they're connected.
- In the middle of a deep psychological character moment, did the dub sneak in a Sally Field “they really like me” reference?
- It's a bit obvious, but easy to gloss over in an episode primarily about Matt and Sora's issues- Joe wanted to prove himself and made it a personal mission to find Matt. He succeeded.
- For all the praise heaped on Gabumon for the way he helped Matt in this episode, did anyone notice that Biyomon was completely useless when it came time to help Sora? She may be the worst Digimon partner in season one, hand's down.