In this episode, the team enters the Digital World, only to discover that they need to use an Ultimate to stop their biggest foe yet- falling rocks.
It's not quite as monumental as the previous episodes, but it does achieve the rare feat of maintaining quality through the massive explosion of the previous two episodes and the many characters and plot points introduced in this one. The only other time it was done so fluidly was the tamers entering the Digital World following the Vikaralamon battle. Both cover the same ground and hit many of the same notes, but even with many differences the two seasons do it equally well.
One thing Data Squad does not get is the luxury of an episode to say goodbye. Tamers did, and turned it into one of the most touching episodes of all time. Data Squad doesn't need one as there's no struggle to find a way in. All the emotion of explaining this to family is covered very quickly, but capturing all the needed sentiment in very short moments. Yoshi is alone in her apartment having to break the news to her mother over the phone, knowing that she may never see her again. Thomas doesn't even get that, eating alone with no family present. That has to sting even harder now.
Marcus, of course, has more going on as he learns that his father was part of the first expedition to the Digital World and, due to brave deeds surely in step with The Marcus Code, was stranded there. Sarah has the hardest part of any, as not only does she have to explain why she had withheld this information from her son, but she also has to watch him follow in his father's footsteps. She realizes there's a very real chance of losing Marcus the same way she lost Spencer, but has no choice but to let it happen.
Unlike Tamers, there's no doubt about the security of the actual trip and plenty to support the team taking the plunge. Rather than a surprise gift of a communications device, the Data Squad has a full-blown Q branch. Data relay! Cattle prods! Beacons for retrieval! An Aston Martin with built-in missile launcher! Even with all the warnings that the Digital World is a dangerous place that they know very little about, the mission feels more organized and not a bunch of kids jumping into the beyond. So naturally they're going to run into trouble the moment they arrive.
While the tamers ran into a harsh Digital World that promptly kicked their asses, Marcus, Thomas and Yoshi have an actual opponent attacking them before they're ready. It has to be said that Keenan has a lot of things working against him. His “grammatically challenged” speech pattern makes no sense as he was raised by Digimon that speak perfect English, including Falcomon who even has a British accent. This is not the dub's fault. He's also named Keenan, which doesn't come close to resembling the name of anyone raised in the wild. This is totally the dub's fault, and is easily the worst new name since Yolei... pending final confirmation on what they're going to call Zenjirou.
At the same time, who doesn't want to know more about this kid? Keenan hates all hu-mons, partners with a known assailant, and attacks with more flair and teamwork with Falcomon than even the Marcus/Agumon tandem. He swears that Merukimon is a protector. He also has and uses a digivice. In a season about the rift between man and mon, this is a real twist. It's also a pretty dire situation if it takes Gaogamon, Sunflowmon and even RizeGreymon to stop what on paper looks like a paltry combo of Keenan/Peckmon and Gotsumon/Yanmamon. Add to it Cherrymon's utter shock that humans would try to protect some innocent babies and it's an overwhelming welcome.
My Grade: A-
- Do we ever figure out what was up with all the “mysterious disappearances” that prompt the first expedition. Or is “mysterious disappearances” code for “Keenan” in spite of the plural?
- The first expedition was ten years ago. That means that Kristy's at least ten years old. As much as we're inclined to put her in the youngster category with TK and Tommy, she could very well be older than Mimi and Izzy.
- Thomas chides Marcus for bringing the lunchboxes, prompting Agumon to call dibs on Thomas's and Gaomon's. Gaomon sheepishly trying to claim to his is the cutest thing he's done so far.
- Boy, that supply crate turned to dust in a hurry! Who knew boomerangs could do that kind of damage?