In this episode, JP finds his beast spirit and defeats Grumblemon. If that's not enough to get him laid, nothing is.
There's something sad about the fact that this is as good as it's going to get for JP. Barely past the quarter pole and he achieves his highest level of evolution. He also takes out Grumblemon, gets Zoe her spirit back and looks pretty brave against some serious adversity. It's a legitimately good moment for him, and he can look back on this with pride. It's a shame that the reason he's forced to step up is because everybody else is lazy, and that he made it look much easier than it should have been.
After a long, harrowing and awesome ride on Trailmon ends in a dead-end cavern with no apparent exit, JP's suggestion of just getting it over with and attacking Grumblemon is starting to sound more sensible. It's totally irresponsible, especially with three other Legendary Warriors to contend with and a digiegg that must be protected. But his passion for it seems to go beyond trying to score points with Zoe, which is a big deal. One of the arguments diffusing the whole Tai/Sora thing was that Tai would have had the same reaction no matter who was trapped in the pyramid. It's hard to say that's the case with JP's reaction to Zoe losing her spirit, but now at least it seems to be more about the principle of it than about winning her affections.
The downside to ending up in a dead-end cavern is that the bad guys will catch up eventually, especially when one's an earthbender. Not only does Grumblemon show up, but he brings along Arbormon. Arbormon has a limited personality and no discernible brain power, but he has an odd speech pattern, is plenty good at what he does and fills his role nicely. He also completely owns Takuya and Koji because they thought that they wouldn't need their beast spirits to take out a horde of Golemon. That's a sloppy effort out of those two, and really the only reason JP's services are even necessary.
It's hard to figure out whether JP was outstanding or just good in the face of mediocrity, and that's the episode's biggest problem. Whamon's appearance generates a huge blast of water that knocks over Tommy and JP, and it's hard to tell just how much it affects them. Unfortunately, the extent of their injuries are the most crucial part of the episode's narrative. Normally both of these two are perfectly capable of fighting off the Golemon, especially in a battle where Takuya and Koji couldn't be bothered to break out their beast spirits. Their injuries were clearly meant to suggest that they were inhibited, and they very well could have been, but after surviving the blast they didn't appear to be all that hurt other than the wear and tear on their faces and clothes. It needed to be sold better for drama's sake: some broken bones or the inability to walk would have been a good start. It doesn't help that they're perfectly fine once they evolve.
Whamon spitting out JP's beast spirit was a nasty combination of predictable and nonsensical. It was obvious that the glowing thingy in the ocean plant life that Whamon swallows was a spirit, and that it would come out somehow. But all these spirits thrown around the ocean floor with no regard to reverence or elemental theme is shoddy work. Why would the Spirit of Thunder be underwater? It's downright disrespectful.
On the plus side, at least we've finally seen the last of Grumblemon.
My Grade: C+
- It's not quite luxury conditions, but there appears to be plenty of room in the Trailmon for everybody. Why do Takuya and Koji insist on riding outside, especially given how fast it goes?
- The Trailmon ramps over a gap in the track. How does it get back up?
- Last time the group met Golemon (a whole three episodes ago), it took the combined efforts from Agunimon, Beetlemon and Kumamon to take out one. Here Agunimon and Lobomon each blast through three of them like nothing. They just don't make 'em like they used to.
- They practically wave off the whole “inability to control the beast spirit” thing, even though it's probably the most interesting thing we've seen so far. MetalKabuterimon shoots up the whole damn cavern over the first couple minutes, but then he's just fine and dandy.