In this episode, multiple villains execute their master plans at the exact same time. They don't play well with each other.
Most of the time, major villains are nice enough to wait for the previous baddie to be defeated before starting their rampage. Every once in a while, they're the ones defeating the previous villain, but let's not get bogged down by details. In this case, the bad guy has not been defeated. In fact, Arukenimon appears to be hatching her most fiendish scheme yet, kidnapping several children. But who cares? Ready or not, Daemon's here!
The end result is a million things happening at once, just after the digidestined have returned from their globetrotting. Even before everything goes down, the most sensitive among the kids are having bad premonitions. For Ken, it includes a recollection of his first trip in and taking a dark spore to the neck while protecting Ryo. As significant as the adventure with Ryo is, flashbacks are distilled into only the absolutely essential information at necessary intervals. It's very devious as we have so many questions about what's going on in those scenes, particularly who this Ryo kid is. Truth is, we don't need to know and therefore the series doesn't give it to us. To get the full story, you're stuck importing a video game.
Kari knows something bad is ahead as well, and her concern is completely different: now that they're past spire-controlled and spire-created enemies, are the new kids capable of killing a Digimon outright? She and Tai both worry about this in an appropriately dark scene and it makes for some very good angst. The easy question we should be asking is why wasn't this ethical struggle an issue in season one? The answer is that it should have been. Still, other than Devimon, season one first had a genuine kill about halfway through in the Myotismon arc. We're closing in on the final eight episodes and the new gang has been able to avoid that so far, so suddenly getting thrown into such a situation should be a bit harrowing, especially for someone with a moral compass like Cody's.
As good as the angst is, reality makes it something of a null point as the first kill is so fast and so justified that it's not until afterward that Davis and Ken realize what had happened. While the entire Daemon Corps shows up, only SkullSatamon provides legitimate opposition, completely owning everybody with his speed and paralyzing attack. Relegated to Rookie, Agumon leads the old guard in lending Azulongmon's power to Imperialdramon to give him even more power in Fighter Mode. When SkullSatamon threatens a bus full of children, Imperialdramon doesn't hesitate and wastes him in one shot.
It's a good thing that giving Imperialdramon additional power doesn't cripple the other Digimon permanently. Granting another Digimon power is a common tactic in the franchise, but usually makes the generous Digimon useless. It's a last ditch effort in Data Squad and Hunters and really drags down Frontier, so the fact that the rest of the Digimon will remain viable is worth a sigh of relief.
You do have to wonder what Arukenimon is thinking while all this is going down. She's been doing the leg work for twenty episodes now, even going so far as to set up a global crisis to gain a better foothold in Japan. Just as she's executing her plan, Daemon barges in and starts terrorizing the town. She handles it surprisingly well, waiting for the right moment to snatch away the victory. Granted, Daemon waits until after SkullSatamon is destroyed and MarineDevimon and LadyDevimon flee before making his grand entrance, which is hardly an intimidating show of power. Who's really more threatening in this situation, the commander of three Digimon who either ran away or died or the chick with an established history of evil and a truck full of hostages? Ken chooses correctly.
My Grade: A-
- If you thought Sora liking Matt came out of nowhere, his reciprocation was even more sudden. In a rare case of the previous episode recap containing new information, Matt wonders if he should be jealous of Sora's interest in Yuri, the first clear acknowledgment of their relationship. He also has an arm around her shoulder as they, Kari and Yolei rush in to help Davis and Ken.
- For some reason, both Yolei and Sora have distinctly different voices in this episode. Tonight the role of Yolei will be played by Bridgette Hoffman, who voices Jeri in Tamers, while Wendee Lee covers Sora... using her Haruhi Suzumiya voice. Have fun with that, Matt.
- I was all set to rip TK a new one for not telling his mom he was flying to France to fight monsters... but the fact that Ken didn't either is even more egregious! At least TK doesn't have a history of disappearing for long stretches without a trace.
- So who was first on the scene and reported the attacks to the digidestined? Who else but Hiroaki Ishida! Hero to you and me.
- While MarineDevimon and LadyDevimon were obviously introduced to return in future episodes, their strength isn't sold at all. Zudomon seems to beat MarineDevimon singlehandedly while LadyDevimon flees from her rematch with Angewomon the moment WereGarurumon and Garudamon show up. Weak!