Data Squad Episode 16: Falcomon: Friend or Foe?!

In this episode, Marcus and Falcomon learn that even though they're on different sides, neither are assholes enough to let their respective ally die of a nasty virus.

One of the things Digimon has never quite gotten down is the episode that is neither substantially eventful or informative nor an excuse to showcase a new evolution, yet can't be dismissed as meaningless filler. Good episodes generally involve seismic happenings with several plot twists, or at least draw out the most emotion from characters. There's none of that to be found here, as the main problem of Yoshi's illness is resolved and everybody keeps their cool to the extent that a cast including Marcus and Keenan can. Still, it's one of the rare times that such an episode reaches its full potential in its role as a chapter of the full story.

Nobody's going to put down Yoshi collapsing as the franchise's greatest cliffhanger, which is a great sign. Usually cliffhangers are only reserved for major plot developments, and stuff like this is entirely contained within its own episode. The end of last episode and the beginning of this one both involve wandering aimlessly through the desert, so beginning this episode's primary concern in the last one creates some appreciated continuity and makes it feel like a bigger deal than it actually was. It's not a random occurrence, as it suggests that the stress and intensity of the encounter with MetalPhantomon left Yoshi susceptible to the virus. Furthermore, Yoshi questioning why only she fell victim to it becomes important next time. It'll never go down as a pivotal moment in the series, but that's three episodes of only marginal importance that can be linked together to create momentum.

Mind you, when we say marginal importance, that's still old thinking, where nothing of note will happen until they reach Merukimon's base. There's actually a lot going on here, to the point where Yoshi catching a virus and nearly dying is the least significant. Think about that, especially when you consider that illness hasn't really come up since Kari in season one and it's equally nasty when it takes down the oldest adventurer and when it took down one of the youngest.

In truth, it's the insight into Falcomon that carries the day. Keenan's still pretty simplistic, hellbent on defeating the hu-mons to the point where he'll ambush a bedridden girl. As a result, he catches the bug, and Falcomon has to be responsible and take care of his partner. It's rare for us to be introduced to a new human/Digimon partnership through the Digimon first, but the roles are pretty much reversed. In many ways, Falcomon is raising Keenan. It stems from Frigimon, who cared for Keenan despite his frailty and told Falcomon where to go to find the cure to this disease. It's a dangerous place and Falcomon is willing to put his hatred aside for his partner's sake, feeling that he'd be safer accompanied by humans and additional reinforcements. It's a strong statement that he'd be willing to do this, and afterward he seems far more tolerant of the Data Squad than Keenan.

This tenuous alliance develops nicely in a short time. Everybody keeps a wary eye on the other, slotting into a proper team by necessity. Marcus is likely the one most interested in the contents of the computer, but Thomas is the only one with the know-how to hack into it. Blossomon wants to attack Falcomon, but Marcus and Agumon are the better match. And nobody could consciously trust anybody else with the vaccine, but Falcomon's the only one capable of making a quick getaway with it. By the time this all goes down, they've gotten comfortable enough with each other to permit such an arrangement, and everybody does their part. Excuse the term, but the adventure allows both parties to better humanize their opponents.

You want more? Add to it all the mystery over why a human virus would perpetuate the Digital World, why a single vaccine would be available in what appears to be manmade infrastructure, and the contents of that destroyed computer. Falcomon also probably has a lot to think about how his enemies were quick to team up with him and how his friends were quick to turn on him.

My Grade: A-

Loose Data:
  • The presentation of the virus, with the specs of data coursing over their bodies, was a nice touch.
  • Best hidden power ever- Lalamon can take someone's temperature within one degree of accuracy just by touching their forehead.
  • Another nice touch was the sea of random letters that they walk past with no comment.
  • More unasked questions would be who developed a vaccine for this disease (which presumably only exists in the Digital World), why there was only one syringe on a tray that once held several, and how Falcomon and Lalamon managed to use a single syringe to administer the cure to both Yoshi and Keenan.

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