In this episode, Mercurymon finally tries the direct approach, failing only because he has no concept of how to follow the direct approach.
All this time, Mercurymon's biggest problem has been his inability to fully capitalize on the advantageous situations he keeps putting himself in. As far as plotting goes, he's up there with Myotismon- meticulously crafting plans that put him on top, allowing inferior mooks to handle (and usually fail at) the stuff that doesn't really matter, and having backup options ready in case of an unfortunate twist of fate. Where Mercurymon falls short, however, is his end game. Great a chessmaster as he is, at some point he needs to figure out how to actually declare checkmate.
Each of the five kids are isolated in individual spheres within Sakkakumon, with each sphere guarded by a beast Mercurymon put in there. Some of these bosses were pathetic. Volcamon, Parrotmon and Cherrymon all proved to be laughable opponents. If stronger guardians aren't available, he presumably has some control over the design of each sphere, so where are all the deadly traps? I bet Zoe would have had far more trouble with the Water Area had the entire sphere actually been underwater. He's zero for eight in stopping one single kid, which is pathetic when you've got Tommy and Zoe involved.
Mercurymon fell victim to the classic mistake of trying to get too cute. He preys upon insecurities of kids that aren't all that fazed by their own faults. Rather than giving them a true nightmare in a zone full of danger, he's tying them to an easily escapable platform slowly descending into a pool of seabass. Despite all the failure (Takuya is still inside only by choice), Mercurymon's still confident when Takuya reaches the head. He finally gets serious and starts wailing on Takuya directly, using the environment to his advantage in the kind of dominating battle he should have been capable of all this time.
Then, unsatisfied with simply kicking a bewildered Agunimon's ass, Mercurymon flees to the Light Area. He sacrifices his terrain advantage and all of his momentum just to scare Agunimon with a creepy church. Mercurymon uses Seraphimon's data to become ShadowSeraphimon, a monster capable of dealing even more damage, even to BurningGreymon once Takuya finally gets around to slide evolving. It's certainly demoralizing, both to Takuya and to the spectators outside, and it's certainly definitive, but what else does it accomplish? Demoralizing Takuya isn't as effective as just plain killing him, and one does not lead to the other, especially when dealing with a goggleboy. Demoralizing the others would be just as easily accomplished by Takuya's death, and doing so beforehand only runs the risk of angering a digiegg that already has a taste of delivering surprise victories (fitting that he hatches into a Patamon).
Mercurymon's tactics and the environments he creates are totally badass. The land of mirrors, the creepy church, clutching Takuya by the face with intent to slam him into a coffin... this is my kind of guy! But it's all too cute, more focused on the spectacle of his victory than seeking out the most certain path to it. It's showing off, plain and simple, and if this was what he was planning all along for Seraphimon's data, there's no way Cherubimon would have allowed it. The egg comes through again, Aldamon overpowers ShadowSeraphimon, takes back Seraphimon's data and forces Mercurymon to return to Steel Area, only to defeat him there as well. Mercurymon ends up going from a brilliant underling with an eye on promotion to just another bad guy who gloated a little too much. He was so promising... such a waste.
My Grade: B
- Better Know A Sephira! Surprise, surprise! The Metal Area is the head. Keter. The Crown. Not only is it the obvious home for Mercurymon, the many mirrors strewn about and the tough time Agunimon had finding his bearings works well in a world symbolizing things beyond man's comprehension. The creepy church is Chokhmah, symbolizing divine wisdom, intuitiveness and insight. The church and Seraphimon's presence fit into this picture.
- Remember Takuya's ability to control the weather and how that seemed totally confusing? Mercurymon emphasizes that when he talks about how Takuya has only had days to get accustomed to his Digimon form while he's had a lifetime.
- Fighting in a church and Mercurymon throws a “revelation” at us? Add that to the Kabbalah stuff and this is getting borderline edgy.
- I was going to remark on the shock of seeing Takuya's goggles break until realizing that Davis and Tagiru break theirs too. Theirs aren't self-healing though.
- For the record all the optimism and world still didn't get JP, Tommy and Zoe back into Sakkakumon. At least they didn't fall on their faces this time.