In this episode, Rika's elusive, Henry's prophetic and Guilmon's almost deleted by a rampaging Lovecraft reference.
Guilmon disappears and Takato finds him. At the end of the day, that's all that really happens. There are no evolution sequences, no card slashes and not even an enemy Digimon to destroy. In the grand scheme of things, nothing about this incident is all that important: neither the digital field that swallows up Guilmon nor the program Yamaki uses to destroy it makes much of a dent in the series. No, the real significance of this episode is in the character building, where almost everybody has some sort of noteworthy development. The amount of subtlety in this episode bashes you over the head.
All of the characters not named Takato show off a bit of their wisdom as far as Digimon and the Digital World are concerned. Between Henry, Rika, Yamaki and even Calumon, they certainly aren't drawing the same conclusions, but all of them think they have a beat on things. Henry is particularly on his game, unsurprised that something may be trying to send Guilmon back to the Digital World and making comments about nothing lasting forever and Digimon being flushed out of the world like a virus. It's eerie enough on its own, but downright prophetic given the final arc of the series.
After Guilmon is goaded into another attack with Renamon, Takato turns the table and gets Rika's thoughts on things. She's unhelpful, sticking to her “just data” creed and implying that data is prone to just float away. As caustic, annoyed and disagreeable as Rika is, however, she still grants him an audience at her house, still follows him when he and Henry show up looking for help, and still offers support when looking for Guilmon in the creepy drainage tunnel. She may still believe Digimon are just data, but at least she is recognizing the attachment tamers may have to that data.
This is also the first time we get a closer look at Yamaki and this Hypnos organization. We get a proper mission statement, seeking and eliminating unusual data in the internet's digital field, and a feel for the pressure from management to succeed at this. Even the higher powers running Hypnos recognize just how sinister this organization could be, particularly with such easy access to personal data. Yamaki has to deal with this, and his overall failure at taking care of Wild Ones.
His new weapon is Yuggoth, a more powerful data eradication device and totally a Lovecraft reference. Yuggoth is a testament to Yamaki's increasing desperation. As his efforts become more and more risky and less and less effective, this desperation will lead to even more powerful methods and even more Lovecraft references.
Yuggoth is successful at wiping out the anomaly that nearly took out Guilmon, but Riley intimates that using the custom program was a violation of protocol and threatened to disrupt the network. Let's pause here to recognize the first acknowledgment that Riley will actually have a character and not be relegated to “Hypnos Girl A” for the duration of the show. She raises serious objections to implementing Yuggoth, more than your typical bridge bunny and enough to make us realize that we should keep our eyes on her, and potentially even Hypnos Girl B.
So where does this leave Takato? While everybody else thinks they know the situation, Takato is openly clueless. All he knows is that something is pulling away Guilmon and that's terrible. This is the beauty of Takato's brand of stupidity in comparison to previous goggleheads. Tai and Davis pretended to know or didn't care. Takato certainly cares: he knows Guilmon is too precious and too vulnerable for mistakes. But he has no idea what's going on and he is aware of that. While Takato appears to be at a disadvantage for now, he has one big thing going for him: he has no false pretenses.
My Grade: A-
- Not to get too Philip K. Dick on things, but Takato does raise an interesting question about a Digimon's capacity to dream. How would that kind of neurological data work? Whether or not his visions of his impending prison count, if anybody can do it, it would probably be Guilmon.
- It was hard to tell whether Takato was merely thinking or mumbling out loud. How is it that Jeri overheard him, but not anybody else in the class?
- Given the hubbub about online privacy, the concern about Hypnos handling private information is almost as prophetic as Henry this episode. Google and Facebook are watching you!
- It's not a terribly significant addition to the overall story, but a grandmother in a traditional Japanese house being computer-savvy is such a great juxtaposition it shouldn't be ignored.
- In a cute parallel to a line about Takato being Guilmon's mother, Takato's parents also become troubled by their son's disappearance and set out in search of him. To see them go from not worried to terrified was a nice touch.
- So what exactly was it that nabbed Guilmon, and what generated that red light that led them to safety once he was freed?