In this episode, with all the chaos and nudity going around, we finally get the two things we were missing- a suicide attempt and evil tentacles.
Can we really still call this a kid's show? We've got Beelzemon nearly plummeting to his death, tentacle-like cables tying up Jeri and Calumon, the ungodly mass that is Mother D-Reaper, an uncomfortable discussion on gender identity, a puppet-assisted suicide attempt, crucifixion, and the hope for humanity boiling down to quantum physics. Oh yeah, and the bio-merge kids are still naked.
The one bright side following the failed rescue is that Jeri is finally awake and she wants out. This is what brings the cables. D-Reaper wants its subjects to sit still. If you needed any more evidence that Jeri is being tortured to a mind-disrupting extent, here you go. Not that D-Reaper wasn't exhibiting extreme cruelty before, but it's even more graphic now. She's being tied up, as is Calumon as he continues to offer help and encouragement, and Jeri-Type stops by to taunt her further. And here's the worst part: she stays tied up for a whole week.
This is because D-Reaper's final form is so crazy that it scares Hypnos to the point where retreat becomes the smart move. D-Reaper's original presence is simply unsettling. Mother D-Reaper multiplies that feeling and adds in a physically imposing centerpiece, rising taller than the Shinjuku skyline. Hell, including parts of the Shinjuku skyline! All those buildings jutting out of it is a reminder of its destructive power, the biggest pieces of debris in the world. Furthermore, the Monster Makers realize D-Reaper's brilliant end game- by networking with its associated versions around the world and rising in temperature, it can generate enough heat to burn off the human race.
While the Monster Makers work on a solution, Jeri realizes one of her own: if her negative energy is feeding D-Reaper, eliminating herself from the equation would help starve it out. We've seen some pretty bold moves before- Digimon taking a bullet for the team or rushing into overwhelming odds to give the good guys a chance. Twice, with BlackWargreymon and Dobermon, the act of dying in and of itself helped turn the tide (or at least it was supposed to). This is the first time one of the children has been forced into this position, and nothing will ever get as dark as the sight of Jeri attempting to strangle herself. Even if it's not physically possible to kill yourself that way, and even if D-Reaper has gotten so strong that it wouldn't have made a difference (Jeri-Type seemed to think so), it's one of the most jarring sights in the franchise.
The short break in the action also sets up the final battle as the three tamers march into it one last time. Kai from the movie makes a surprise appearance. While it's confounding story-wise since the movies are only sort of canon, he does get Takato to open up about his feelings for Jeri, even using the word “love” to describe it. It's a very simple scene, but one that's never attempted anywhere else. This is the one clear case where the boy like likes the girl and will do absolutely anything to save her. While this has already been obvious for a long time, the confirmation and Takato's new resolve, especially as he senses her in even more pain, stands out.
Henry and Rika's moments aren't as significant, but remain noteworthy. As Henry rushes into battle, Janyuu has a forlorn look on his face that foreshadows the Monster Makers' final move. The look is particularly directed at Terriermon. Rika's call to action comes from Henry slashing Shibumi's red card, a nice way to signal that no matter how much she's grown and how closer she is to her family, it's the call of the cards that still propels her forward.
My Grade: A
- Oh, what a lovely misdirection! We're so used to the military charging in and bungling things up, this time charging in with stealth bombers. Rather than going nuclear (and certainly somebody must have thought about it), they launch devices in an attempt to jam D-Reaper's signal. It doesn't work, but it looks so much better than dropping bombs on it.
- Here's... Johnny! Boy, this guy's immersed into the picture so quickly it makes Ryo look like Takato. Everybody knows him! Everybody loves him! Nobody bothers to explain who the hell he is or why the Monster Makers know this guy.
- Kai says he loves the view of the ocean from wherever it is the Matsuki family is hiding. Dude lives in Okinawa! All they have is a beautiful ocean view!
- So... yeah... according to Renamon, Digimon aren't divided by gender. That's obviously not true, as Digimon use gender-based pronouns all the time and are commonly considered masculine or feminine (Rumiko comments on Renamon's feminine style, albeit in the most offensive way possible). Renamon more than likely meant that Digimon aren't divided by sex, as they don't reproduce sexually (at least in this season). For her own sake, Renamon would do well to tell that to the folks on Tumblr.
- Yes, the plan for stopping D-Reaper is initiating a miniature Big Bang and sucking it into a black hole. And the Monster Makers say it like it's a piece of cake with no inherent risk.
- This is, what, the fourth or fifth time Takato and his mother have a sad farewell? It's seriously getting a little bit old. Too bad it works every damn time.