In this episode, even with the kids in the Digital World, Hypnos finds a way to ruin their lives.
After some scuffling, the plot suddenly has accelerated to an incredible speed and a million things are happening at once. At the start of the episode, the team is splintered and demoralized, nowhere near rescuing Calumon. At the end of the episode... well, they're still splintered and demoralized and nowhere near rescuing Calumon. But somewhere between that, they all find themselves back together, with Calumon rescuing them. They make two episodes worth of progress, then face two episodes worth of setbacks. Somehow it doesn't feel too rushed.
All in all, the only part that felt lacking was Rika's solo tour. She had just one scene last episode, and her moments here were very workmanlike, doing more to properly introduce the digi-gnomes and make contact with Calumon than any true character building. The arc hasn't exactly been rife with filler, but it's surprising that there wasn't a proper adventure for Rika and Renamon to kick some ass and have some sort of development. In fact, other than introducing Ryo and exposing more of Jeri's quirks, the Digital World arc hasn't seen much character development at all. Rika needing to be saved by Calumon was a cute departure, but we should have had more before they rejoined the party.
Once the party is back together, it unhinges quickly when Beelzemon shows up. After a murder spree to get his feet wet, Chatsuramon sends him off to do his job. The kids are all intimidated by this motorcycle punk, but Kyuubimon sniffs him out, making things extra awkward. With Calumon now in tow, Rika busts out the first Matrix Evolution of the arc, but we don't get to see the battle resolved.
We do, however, get to see what's going on back at Hypnos. With Yamaki and crew out of the picture, a government asshole (for our purposes, let's give him a random name like, oh, let's say... Kurata) is trying to reactivate Hypnos for some unspecified (though likely nefarious) purpose. This is the first time we see what happens in the Digital World when it's running. It isn't pretty: a massive windstorm nearly blows the kids away. You have to wonder if it was like this full time back when Hypnos was running at full capacity. Either way, after Guilmon finds shelter, Terriermon notices that this meddling does get the uplink back online and Takato is able to get an e-mail through to Yamaki.
Yamaki, who has spent this whole time stuck on his couch watching TV and banging Riley (the poor guy!), gets the message and realizes that he can't do squat about it stuck on his couch. He knows he needs to do something, although his agenda will presumably continue to involve banging Riley. When Kurata starts up Juggernaut again (KURATAAAA!!!), it again starts to go out of control and really screws with the Digital World. Before it can blow anything up, Yamaki struts in and he and Riley shut it down. Like. A. Boss.
Still, the damage in the Digital World is done. While the storm Juggernaut creates does well to halt the battle with Beelzemon, Chatsuramon uses the opportunity to nab Calumon. In the chaos, Takato, Henry and Terriermon get blasted into data streams, never to be heard from again.
While none of that felt rushed, and even felt tiresome during Beelzemon's Chrysalimon genocide, all that plot advancement did prevent the episode from focusing on anything with any degree of depth. Still, there's no sense lamenting the lack of soul-searching on Yamaki's part when he returned to work, Beelzemon's real thoughts on being unmasked or what the hell Kurata was actually trying to accomplish reviving Juggernaut. After all, it did advance the plot.
My Grade: B+
- I'm not sure I buy the logic that getting everybody together at the rally point would increase the odds of finding Calumon. In fact, even though Rika did return there, the suggestion was proven wrong because Calumon found Rika while she was venturing on her own.
- Leomon's ability to deadpan his way through anything, including saying an outright lie to distract Kazu and Kenta, has to be one of his most underrated features.
- Hey, Kenta shoehorned a Zero Two reference into the dub! It's been a while!
- Actually, the dub is really interesting in that a number of almost-but-not-quite violent shots were cut out (Kazu and Kenta's fighting, a closeup of Beelzemon pointing a gun at Kyuubimon), but a number of additional details (and borderline spoilers) about the digi-gnomes and Beelzemon's contract with the Devas were thrown in. I really can't complain about less violence and more information.
- Did Terriermon really make a corporal punishment joke? Public flagging? Shame the dub always insists on playing music, because that really did call for awkward silence (the tumbleweed was a nice touch though).
- Okay, Riley's way too into this whole “dating your boss” thing. The way she says “Mr. Boss Man” is far more censorship-worthy than any shot of Kazu putting Kenta in a headlock.
- Gotta love the Terriermon replacement that Suzie's holding while she and Janyuu look out the window.