In this episode, communication's enhanced, Grani has a new gun, agents are falling and Beelzemon's hellbent on rescuing Jeri. Just one teensy problem with that...
Well, that was a suckerpunch. The good guys are overcoming adversity left and right- agents are getting wiped clean by the likes of Guardromon and Antylamon, the Monster Makers are setting up satellite communications and adding giant guns to Grani, Beelzemon gets free and helps Gallantmon bust up the Kernal Sphere. All that's left to do is grab Jeri and go, right?
Hoo boy, where to start with this one? There's such a fine line here between whether this is intense trauma undoing so much work or whether Jeri's just being a sissy. It's great drama either way, but there's no getting around the fact that she was one outstretched hand away from getting out of there and froze in the moment instead.
This moment is the reason Jeri is such a polarizing character, as there are two and only two reactions to it. You will either say “Oh you poor thing, they were so close! They'll get you out eventually!” or “Why didn't you grab his goddamn hand you stupid bitch?!” There is no middle ground here! What's worse, neither reaction is incorrect. For all the immense buildup that made this rescue possible, to end like this is incredibly frustrating. And there's no denying that Jeri could have chosen now to get past her trauma and take Beelzemon's hand in a moment of cosmic balance.
So why didn't she? For starters, you have to realize that Jeri had already made incredible progress in this episode. Prior to this, she wasn't moving, was barely speaking, and barely registered as conscious. That's even worse than her condition when she was in the Digital World, where she'd throw in the occasional outburst and constantly mumbled stuff about Leomon. Any criticism of her must consider our information gap: we don't know what D-Reaper did to her between her kidnapping in episode 40 and being located in the Kernal Sphere in episode 46. For her to degrade that much, it must have been pretty bad.
Here at least she hears Takato's voice, registers Beelzemon's presence and even stands up. With help from Takato and Calumon, she snaps out of her funk momentarily, approaching Beelzemon and even pleading to be rescued. That's progress! Although Beelzemon resorts to Leomon's attack, a visualization that crashes Jeri's system again, at least she's awake. That's more than can be said about her an episode ago. In all, her symptoms suggest a psychological condition called acute stress disorder, which can easily cause somebody to lock down at the sight of a killer using his victim's attack in front of them.
On the other side of that, Beelzemon's determination is not only inspiring, it's another layer to Impmon's story. After realizing that seeking power for the sake of having power was fruitless, it was nice and all that Impmon was able to reconcile with Ai, Mako and the other tamers. The twist of him putting everything on the line to rescue Jeri adds the final missing ingredient- a true purpose. That's what he (along with several of the Digimon this season) have really been searching for all along. They all want to know why they're here, and after all this time and all those mistakes, Beelzemon finally has an answer.
My Grade: A
- Better Know An Agent! The ninth agent is actually a combination of the big shield surrounding Kernal Sphere (called D-Reaper Ball) and the ring around it (called Gatekeeper). It's strange that it's considered one agent, but does not have a collective name.
- Hypnos and the Monster Makers are treated to a bevy of horrors all episode. First they discover that D-Reaper's attacking all over the world, targeting communications networks. Then they tap Grani's memory banks to find that the Digital World has been completely ravaged. Then they tap D-Reaper's signal to peel away at the bio-merged Digimon and discover that the children are actually in there fighting.
- It's bad enough that they learn that Takato, Henry, Rika and Ryo have merged with their Digimon, but do they really need to broadcast them in all their nakedness to everybody in Japan? Sure it's awesome that Miss Asaji ran out to cheer them on, but Ayaka and Miki must be watching naked Takato thinking “I really didn't need to see that.”
- Still, it was a nice touch to show the relocated makeshift school Takato's class was using.
- Even though she only does it once, Suzie gets a stock modify card sequence. Why? Because it's so damn cute.
- Early on the series, the accidental hexagram that Calumon chalked on the school grounds was censored out, but here Beelzemon's attack forms a blatant inverted pentagram. Once the kids started getting naked, you get the feeling demonic imagery was the last of the network's concerns.
- Tally, in her lone moment of awesome this series, shouts “Bingo!” after using a satellite to connect Yamaki with Gallantmon. In the Japanese version, this may or may not have been a throwback to Miyako, who used that as a catchphrase in Zero Two. In the dub, Yolei used “Perfecto,” so it loses some of its power. Besides, it's wasted in the dub if it's not Riley, who shares a voice actress with Yolei.
- Remember those two nasty Lovecraft-monickered programs Yamaki used back when he was a dick? It's awesome that both of them are re-utilized in order to help the team. The Yuggoth Blaster Grani has equipped is named after Yamaki's first attempt at playing god back in episode 7.