In this episode, Takuya's newfound self-awareness apparently makes him the goddamn Avatar.
Following such an introspective and self-reassuring moment, it's only natural for Takuya to come out swinging and kick some major ass. Picking yourself off the floor with strengthened resolve and more determination is practically tradition. Takato did it about a hundred times. Ain't nothing wrong with that. At some point during this episode, however, Agunimon's thorough smackdown on Mercurymon and Ranamon goes from inspiring to completely ridiculous. What should be a thrilling rescue episode instead loses direction several times, sacrificing cohesion for moments that seem pretty badass but don't hold up in the big picture.
Like Takuya suddenly being able to predict and control the weather. Where the hell did that come from? Takuya thinks it's because he fully understands what it means to be a Digimon, suggesting some sort of harmony with nature. That's a fine idea if it's limited to his primary element, or even invokes an animal's instinctual ability to sense changes in the weather. But Takuya's calling forth thunder-snow all of a sudden and it doesn't make any sense! Ranamon and Mercurymon are both actual Digimon and certainly don't feel a storm coming.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this rescue is that lost in all of Takuya's sorcery is that he still learned nothing from Koji two episodes ago. The whole point of Koji's speech was that Takuya takes winning for granted, relying on the false assumption that being a good guy automatically means he'll win. Takuya even recognizes that a good plan would be necessary to rescue Tommy, JP and Zoe. So what does he do? Charge in like an idiot and start firing! He believes that the storm will disrupt Mercurymon and Ranamon, which has no rational basis. If the thunder-snow was nature's way of helping Takuya out of a pinch, then guess what: he just won automatically because he's a good guy.
Along the way, there's all sorts of moments that are probably supposed to be construed as cute but just make it harder for us to take what should be a serious episode seriously. While it makes some sense that Mercurymon and Ranamon would be able to capture Tommy, JP and Zoe, we never actually see this operation. It feels like we missed an episode, especially since there's no explanation to how a wounded Koji got away. This is pretty important because those events determine whether or not we should be calling Ranamon a moron for thinking the kidnapped trio would know where Takuya and Koji were.
Either way, Ranamon and Mercurymon are both morons for keeping the three alive. The stated reason is to get information on Takuya and Koji's whereabouts and potentially lure them out. That implies that the bad guys are worried that Takuya and Koji, on their own and with no additional spirits, have the potential to be stronger than the five of them combined are now. While Takuya and Koji eventually do get exponentially more powerful than the others, they need the other spirits for that to happen. Spirits that Ranamon and Mercurymon are trying to extract from Tommy, JP and Zoe. Their lack of success should tell them that there's only one way to do that, and it doesn't involve some Datamon with screwdrivers. Mercurymon, ruthless as he's been portrayed so far, makes a serious miscalculation here in not killing those three, giving up an easy seven spirits and three fewer good guys in pursuit of an unlikely instant win.
Along the way, there's also tickle torture, a poorly timed lesson about friendship and a surprising lack KendoGarurumon or BurningGreymon considering what's going on. For a situation that wraps up a good string of episodes, it's downright shameful that the run of quality has come to an abrupt halt.
My Grade: C+
- It's curious how Mercurymon came to the conclusion that the Datamon would be capable of extracting the spirits from the D-Tectors. There hasn't been any sign that such an operation would actually work, and the only time we've seen an interaction with a D-Tector permit a spirit to be transferred was with Tommy's beast spirit, and I doubt Arbormon bothered to report that.
- Ranamon's tickle torture seemed to be a strange combination of comedy and awkward fanservice. What made it even more uncomfortable was that Ranamon and Mercurymon should be capable of far, far worse. We're in a dark arc; we should expect dark things to happen.
- On that same note, JP's fantasy seemed like time filler more than anything. And what the hell does Ranamon's Dark Vapor attack actually do?
- If it's all right with everybody, let's just pretend the Sepikmon bit never happened.