Zero Two Episode 05: Old Reliable

In this episode, Cody learns that with enough dedication and preparation, he too can be as cool as... Joe.

They didn't make any major mistakes in this episode, but it's apparent that the current team is pretty dysfunctional. There's no real leadership; major decisions are made when TK and Yolei look at each other, shrug and guess that doing something would be a good idea. Davis is too busy trying to get laid and Kari is too busy fending him off. As for Cody, he's under the impression that saving the Digital World comes second to kendo practice with his grandfather.

How bad is it? When Joe, ever mocked and ridiculed in season one, shows up as cautious and overly prepared as he was last season, he's hailed as some sort of digidestined savant. Yolei takes one look at him and wants him to give her a tonsil inspection... if you know what I mean.

It helps that Joe somehow brought a whole damn hardware store with him. He's got hand warmers, rope and fire-starting material. Just in case they end up in a frigid zone where they need to build a dogsled and a fire. The whole time, he comes up with good ideas, leads the team into the fray, keeps them calm and ultimately stays back with Cody, knowing he'll have to kick ass at some point anyway. He's right.

I have no objections to Joe suddenly being awesome. It's just that he did many of these things last season and got almost no credit for it. It's like these new kids make TK and Kari gain an appreciation for just how capable the original team was. Not only is it jarring to see Joe held in such high esteem, it's unfair to Davis, Yolei and Cody, who are still learning the ropes.

Cody, for example, is still having trouble getting his priorities in order. His grandfather realizes that Cody's mind is elsewhere during practice and, after a thorough whupping, mugs his way though a scene telling Cody to do what he feels is most important. Cody scurries back to school in time to catch the next computer into ice world.

The scenario is an ice-based palette swap of last week's episode. Just replace “Gazimon” with “Gizamon,” “Gabumon” with “Gomamon” and “Matt” with “Joe.” It is pretty awful to see Gomamon in such poor shape and nearly frozen to death, but with Joe nearby he recovers quickly. With icy plains separating the digidestined from the control spire, they decide to create a dogsled. That way, the Digimon can do all of the work and the kids can just sit back and ride into the scene. So much for a shared burden.

A line of enslaved Frigimon block their path to the spire and fire repeated ice attacks at them. You know what they say: when the going gets tough, Joe turns into a goddamn action hero! He shrugs off suggestions to fire back at the Frigimon, ignores the incoming attacks and pushes full speed ahead at the enemy line. The Frigimon are slow to respond and they sled right on through. Then the Frigimon attack a mountain, causing an avalanche that steers the sled off course, knocking Cody into a lake and giving him hypothermia. Gooooo Joe!

While the others topple the spire, Joe hangs back with Cody. He talks about being cool with staying behind since even those not on the front lines can make important contributions to the team. It's a continuation of his issues at the end of last season about his need to find a role for himself. It's confirmed when the Digimon Emperor shows up and sics a Shellmon on them. It's also nullified as the front line basically went and found him. The spire is left under-defended and is easily destroyed.

Yes, for all the talk of how every role is important to a team, the day is ultimately won on the Emperor's tactical error. Maybe Joe should give him some pointers next time.

My Grade: C

Loose Data:
  • With Cody originally playing hooky, Davis somehow got the impression that he'd be alone with Kari this time around. You'd think the team would have agreed on a minimum party size for safety reasons, but knowing the way this group's organized...
  • Two episodes ago, the dub undermined Ken's credibility with stupid jokes. This time, the animation itself did that with Cody's grandfather. Prune juice!
  • It's bad enough that the kids made the Digimon pull the sled, but they kept them in their Rookie forms. Not that the current Armor roster is suited for this kind of thing (Raidramon would be, but we haven't gotten to him yet), but that has to be torture on those little guys.
  • After the sledding debacle, Flamedramon ended up mowing through the Frigimon easily (who knew ice types were weak to fire?). Wouldn't it have made more sense to have Flamedramon engage the Frigimon from the start while the others attacked the spire? And isn't that what Davis wanted to do in the first place?

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