In this episode, Marcus and Thomas are stranded and weakened in the Digital World and forced to work together. We're gonna need a montage!
In Tamers, it wasn't until halfway through the series that the characters entered the Digital World. It's awfully clever to get a one-episode sneak peek of it in this go 'round. Thomas and Marcus, in a moment of unrivaled stupidity, dive in to atone for their previous failure. As a result, even though the obligatory mission that finally helps them respect each other is as pointless as anything they would have done in the real world, at least the setting's nice.
It really is too! This season's Digital World does the best job emphasizing the “digital,” with rivers that move at a certain bitrate instead of flowing smoothly, mountains with imperfectly textured skins, and random stuff like monitor flowers to add color. It's an extension of efforts by previous seasons, such as the data streams in Tamers and the capacity for the entire landscape in Frontier to be compressed into tiny .zip files.
This digital dive also gives us an early reference point about the perception of the Digital World and the attitude towards entering it. This aspect strikes a nice balance between Zero Two's unrestricted frolicking between the two worlds and the massive undertaking in Tamers where getting the kids home felt like the Apollo 11 mission. Getting Thomas and Marcus there and back is never viewed as impossible, but it's considered dangerous. Yoshi spends a good deal of time trying to monitor their location, and fretting when their signals vanish. Furthermore, while the Digital World doesn't appear all that hostile, DATS treats it like parachuting into enemy territory, with fingers crossed that troops can be airlifted back home. A bit extreme, perhaps, but certainly consistent.
A fresh view of the Digital World only does so much to mask that the actual adventure in it is trite and forced. Marcus, dismayed that Thomas beat him to the punch, uses violent extortion to convince Yoshi to let him in too. Once there, he chases Drimogemon and falls right into his trap right alongside Thomas. It's an impressive trap, but these guys seem so surprised that a Digimon would have defensive tactics designed to optimize its natural weapons in its natural territory. You'd think Thomas would be smart enough to watch out for that, but it's another case of DATS not giving Digimon enough credit.
Their moment of understanding and friendship is borne out of the rather bland revelations that Marcus is not a total dick and Thomas is not totally invincible. For the sake of our entertainment, I would certainly hope so. Thomas injuring himself falling into the trap is a bit of a shock, and Marcus takes plenty of glee out of it, but the fact that he may run into problems or be caught off guard shouldn't be. Thomas, meanwhile, seems genuinely moved that Marcus won't leave him to die injured at the bottom of a cave. Is it really so earth-shattering that Marcus would help someone out of a pinch, even someone he detests? Just because it's more an example of The Mikey Code doesn't mean it's incompatible with The Marcus Code.
The mutual respect in the opposing methods develop because they each catch a lucky break. Thomas marvels at Marcus's bold move to jump on Drimogemon's back and ride him to the surface, gaining the impression that this was Marcus's intent all along. It wasn't. Marcus admits that he didn't really know what he was doing. Thomas doesn't seem to care. Likewise, Marcus is happy to try the double tech move against Digmon, despite GeoGreymon and Gaogamon's attacks canceling each other out last episode. It was a risky move that doesn't reflect Thomas's methods, yet Marcus seems to have a better appreciation for cold strategy. Makes it hard to justify a statement as strong as a bro-fist.
My Grade: B-
- Would it kill DATS to maybe not give lowly field agents like Marcus and Thomas keys to the front door? Their keycards can let them in during normal business hours only, but forcing night duty on poor Yoshi seems like a waste of resources.
- I wonder if there's actually a voice command element that requires someone (in this case Lalamon) to say “digi gate open” or if they all just want to do their best Yolei impersonations.
- Everybody get the whack-a-mole allusions with Drimogemon popping in and out of random holes? Good.
- What's up with the montage and weepy music as Marcus helps Thomas through the cave? Yaoi undertones are a time-tested Digimon tradition, but this is something else entirely.
- Were we really supposed to be afraid of Digmon? He's Digmon. I'm not worried about GeoGreymon or Gaogamon in a fight against Digmon.