In this episode, sometimes the swirly vortex of doom can be your friend. And sometimes you have to defeat a giant Cable Reaper if you want to play with it.
As different as each of the three penultimate episodes have been, there are common elements in each of them. Of course, they all initiate the final battle, advancing to a suspenseful stopping point. They also all include one last moment of reflection where each of the kids comes to realize how far they've come on this journey. Some seasons do this better than others. Tamers adds two more developments to the proceedings- Jeri and the Monster Makers. This is what makes the episode click.
Much like episode 53 of Adventure, we come out of this one confident that the good guys have this one in the bag. Not that we expected evil to triumph in Zero Two, but MaloMyotismon appeared to have the upper hand in that one. But in Adventure, it only takes the faces of the digidestined to convince you that Apocalymon's going down. Here it's more complicated as the tamers aren't as confident. Determined, certainly, but there's plenty of fear there that Tai and company had already overcome. While Gallantmon: Crimson Mode has us pretty well convinced that he'll at least get to Jeri (in whatever condition she's in), the stalemate against Cable Reaper leaves enough uncertainty there.
What leaves us certain of D-Reaper's defeat is the tension underlying the breakthroughs elsewhere. Jeri's not thrilled about being tied up, but what ends up driving her is D-Reaper's treatment of poor Calumon. Jeri could have treated this as another soul suffering because of her, sinking back into depression over another losing another loved one. Instead, she takes the opposite perspective: Calumon's only crime was showing concern for her, and what right does D-Reaper have to be doing all this to him? Suddenly, she's pissed! Now she's giving D-Reaper some serious lip about what it's doing. In the process, she comes to display the lion's heart that Leomon kept referring to. She's not so sure she's all that special, but she recognizes a right to exist, and a right to stand up for the people she cares about.
Unlike the tamers, the Monster Makers are looking really damn confident, Yamaki making the ultimate declaration of making a miracle. They're all working the computers, gathering various solutions for the hell they're about to unleash. This is where we feel like the battle's as good as won. Not because they're confident, but because there's a twinge of guilt for what they're about to do. Whatever this Operation: Doodlebug is, it's serious business and likely involves something devastating. Doubly so as it involves releasing the Juggernaut program, which is what started all this mess in the first place.
There isn't a twinge of guilt on Janyuu's face; he's already sick to his stomach over what he's about to oversee. While the full details don't come out until the finale, trying to figure out what he did is fun, and solidifies D-Reaper's doom. We know it's going down, because we know that it will involve some sort of sacrifice that Janyuu has orchestrated.
Grani does not need to be forced into a sacrifice. After crashing early in the battle with Optimizer, Grani comes to life once again, allowing Gallantmon to absorb its powers. With this gesture, Grani deserves consideration as a character in its own right, even as it was created as a vessel. It's very appropriate that Grani's gift is what allows Gallantmon to rescue Jeri, as it's a good antithesis to D-Reaper. Designed to execute its programming just as D-Reaper was, Grani instead listens to its operators when they talk to it, overriding its system when in their best interests. It's the ultimate slap in the face to D-Reaper- a piece of machinery that ultimately gives itself up to help humanity. Only by dying does Grani prove that it really was alive.
My Grade: A-
- While Ryo jokes about the others forgetting about him, it does raise an interesting question about whether he, always a rogue figure, has been in communication with the main group or not. If so, it really did look like the tamers had forgotten about him. If not, it's awesome that the red card would know to call for him along with Rika and Takato.
- Mother D-Reaper appeared outside the chaos last episode, but is inside it here. It's entirely possible that the chaos has gotten that big in a week's time, and the effect is cool enough to let slide, but it's a bit confusing.
- Shibumi makes reference to a HiggsField, a quantum mechanics concept that relates heavily to the Higgs Boson. The Higgs Boson is that “god particle” thingy you may have read about that was supposedly discovered using the Large Hadron Collider just last year. This show aired more than ten years ago.
- Kazu questions Kenta's ability to understand MarineAngemon's clipped speech patterns, which is a poorly adapted take on Hirokazu questioning how Kenta can understand MarineAngemon's gibberish in the Japanese version. And then they're apparently arrested. Silly dub.
- The brief moment of reflection the tamers get as they march to battle is kept light thanks to the occasional ribbing, but it all boils down to a “more you change, the more you stay the same” deal. It's a departure from previous seasons where the kids act like they come out of the experience completely different people. The truth has always been somewhere in between.
- Poor Lopmon. All the other Digimon, even Guardromon and MarineAngemon to some extent, are able to contribute to the battle, but Lopmon is stuck back at the base, feeling like there's nothing she can do (presumably even as Antylamon). That's gotta be a helpless feeling.
- ...and Giant Jeri Face is going to give me nightmares. It doesn't even put up a fight against Gallantmon: Crimson Mode. It's just there to be terrifying.