Zero Two Episode 16: 20,000 Digi-Leagues Under the Sea

In this episode, Cody faces challenges to his moral code. He can either lie, or he can let his friends suffocate. He'd rather take the latter.

For a series that's supposedly about a bunch of children learning valuable life lessons and improving themselves, there aren't a whole ton of straight-up morality episodes. You know, the ones where a child exhibits a flawed behavior, then has to fix it under threat of mortal peril, does, then gives an “I learned something today” speech. Usually, the lessons are far more subtle than that.

When we do get a morality episode, they usually aren't any good. The format doesn't lend itself well to an action serial. The last one was episode 11, and most of that one was spent wishing TK would punch Davis harder. It's rare to see a good morality tale from Digimon, but this one does pretty well.

For starters, it drops us in at an unusual point: the kids are trapped in a damaged undersea oil rig with air running out, MegaSeadramon patrolling them and Cody getting claustrophobic. It sells the scenario before explaining how they got in this predicament, which is relevant only in that they were tracking a digiegg. The details don't matter; what's important is that they're all going to die.

Well, all except one, as Patamon finds an emergency escape pod that holds a single person. Since Cody's freaking the hell out, they all agree to let him use it (granted Kari has to charm Davis again to make sure he abides). Cody refuses, since it's against his nature to accept such sympathy. He agrees to drawing lots, but it's rigged in his favor and again he pitches a fit. Finally, TK and Davis throw his ass in the pod and slam the door shut.

We've seen little bits and pieces of Cody's stubborn side, but it's out in full force here. He hasn't been all that interesting up to this point, and it's been hard to figure out where this character is going. Now we have an answer. Cody has a strict moral compass, honed from his father and grandfather, and their lessons don't always jive when the job occasionally requires playing a little dirty.

The notion of the moral compass negatively impacting one's role as a digidestined doesn't come up often. With such clearly defined lines between good and evil, why should it? Other than Henry in Tamers (who's more pacifist than moralist), it's a unique dilemma for Cody. While he's never the most exciting character, there something intriguing about somebody who will stand by his ethics even at the detriment of the mission or his friends' lives.

Not only does he put up a fight against escaping, he also struggles to tell a white lie even when the rescue depends on it. First his mother asks him to run some errands. He says he can't do them, but can't say why. His grandfather lets it slide, framing the next problem by explaining how nothing is worse than lying. With this fresh on Cody's mind, he heads to Joe's school, where an administrator refuses to pull Joe out of a test unless it was an emergency. Cody hesitates for a long time and immediately regrets making up an emergency to free Joe. This ends up being vital to saving the others, as Ikkakumon and Whamon arrive just as the air supply starts to thin. Cody's distraught about it anyway, to the point where he considers his shiny new digiegg ill-gotten and refuses to accept it. The others make him take it anyway, since they put so much into unearthing it in the first place.

There's some interesting side stuff in here too. Davis and Yolei get serious cabin fever and end up at each other's throats. TK insists on doing something productive to kill time (even though the effort to dig up the digiegg is intense and would consume more oxygen). As a distraction from their impending deaths, everybody tries to speculate what Armadillomon's new form will be. It ends up being Submarimon, which has a hatch for Cody to lay in. Just what somebody who gets claustrophobic underwater needs- a chance to lie prone in a digital lifeform as it explores the deep ocean.

My Grade: B

Loose Data
That's some lazy-ass episode titling they got here. It's bad enough to slap “digi” in place of or in front of any random word, but at least have it make sense. What the hell's a digi-league and what's the conversion rate to a standard league?
MegaSeadramon appears to have the same voice as MetalSeadramon in season one. I'm not too fond of that. MetalSeadramon was a major and (theoretically) iconic villain in season one and shouldn't be duplicated here, especially since MegaSeadramon is an unimportant one-shot enemy... just like he was last time.
More harsh treatment of Davis as everybody assumes he'd want the escape pod to himself. He did explain that he offered himself up as a sacrifice in episode 8, right?
Better continuity is Cody's grandfather still sucking on prune juice nonstop.
Funny how Davis's image of Armadillomon's new evolution bears a passing resemblance to Ankylomon.
We've seen Digimon that the kids are able to ride and we all know bio-merges are coming next season, but what the hell is up with a Digimon that Cody can hop in and pilot? Does he actually need to? And if not, why on Earth would he want to?

1 comment:

  1. Cody having issues with the Digi-Egg has a bit more significance in the original where Reliability is "Seijitsu", which has a number of meanings, among them Honesty.