In this episode, a massive attack on the human world gets so ugly that Miki and Megumi join the front lines. And they're gonna milk it for all it's worth!
This is a series defined by escalation. When there's a bad situation, a worse one is just around the corner. When the humans do something wrong, the Digimon do something terrible, and the human response becomes downright evil. Even though Data Squad is already nearing its halfway mark, this episode makes everything before this point feel like nothing more than an introduction. This moment is the proper start of the war, the first glimpse of some of the trump cards the humans hold, and the rare feeling that the good guys are truly helpless to stop the horrors that are about to happen.
What's crazy is that until Gotsumon's army dropped in, it didn't feel like any of that. Part of that has to do with Merukimon. Sometimes he feels like a very standard major villain- big, burly, but ultimately beatable. Other times, his measured approach reduces the scope of the battles. He's not the type of leader who's going to throw thousands of troops into a battlefield because he doesn't know what their chances of winning are or how the enemy will respond. So you end up with the Data Squad taking on single monsters leading up to Merukimon himself, whom they probably could have beaten if they weren't so concerned with getting the hell out of there. After that, Marcus, Yoshi and Keenan's run-ins with Hashima are positive plot developments, but still don't suggest just how nasty things are about to get.
There isn't even a chance to properly wrap up Keenan hiding from Hashima. After an awesome escape, Sampson is right- taking him back to base was really stupid. That decision has to stem from Yoshi, who cares enough to not want to see Keenan arrested but unwilling to go completely on the lam for his sake. It's refreshing to see someone have an ethical conflict without turning it into a big production the way Cody and Henry did, but her ultimate action means nobody wins.
The rift within DATS makes it impossible for Keenan to stay put. He's not a Digimon, but nobody but his mother treats him as human. Yoshi, Thomas and Sampson seem to think of him as some sort of living MacGuffin that they need to keep possession of until they can figure out the best way to use him. Even Marcus, who's done so much to support him, is only determined to protect him until he can properly assess him as a friend or foe. The only ones with any solid conclusion about the boy are Falcomon (who sees him as a close friend no matter the species), Hashima (who sees him as a danger that needs to be in captivity) and Gotsumon (who sees him as a pest to be exterminated).
Despite seeming more like Demidevimon than any major villain, Gotsumon's attack manages to make a lot of primary villains look bad. His direct approach avoids the pitfall that doomed the likes of Devimon and Mercurymon. He will never be accused of getting too cute by rounding up a horde of strong Digimon and terrorizing the whole damn city. Hell, Myotismon wasn't even this effective! It overwhelms the Data Squad, to the point where they've got to bust out reserve fighters like the PawnChessmon. Miki and Megumi might have the most entertaining transformation sequence this side of Suzie's card slash.
So where does Gotsumon screw up? He shows mercy. Rather than just annihilate the city like he probably wants to and probably has the monpower for, he gives an ultimatum- surrender Keenan and destroy all the connections to the Digital World. The hell? Terminating the connection is an oddly peaceful resolution for him and getting Keenan back would be nothing more than a trophy. It's almost poetic that Gotsumon is stopped by somebody who's even more psychotic.
My Grade: B+
- For somebody who's a bit wishy-washy on her capacity to run afoul of DATS, Yoshi does some amazing driving in this episode.
- Merukimon only wants to punish those who were responsible for the original attack on the Digital World while SaberLeomon presumably wants to strike back with equivalent force. This is why Gotsumon's terms are so confusing: they don't necessitate the city being engulfed in flames.
- Last episode, DATS picked up Hagurumon from a hundred miles away. Now it can't pick up Falcomon in the city.
- The stat screen says Boarmon is unstoppable once it's charging. Lilamon stops several while they're charging.
- Everything Miki and Megumi do, from their positioning on a tall rooftop to their choreography, suggests that they've spent a lot of time in the break room rehearsing this moment, hoping it comes up someday. Apparently they watched a lot of Sailor Moon growing up. Interestingly, Miki is associated with the color black but has a primarily white digivice while Megumi's is black despite being associated with white.
- I know the show can't play all of its cards in one episode, but the whole city's getting blasted to smithereens. Kudamon had to have at least been thinking about it, right?
- You know who acts completely rationally despite being portrayed as a total asshole in this episode? Hashima. You're damn right he should want to take Gotsumon's deal, especially if he really believes Keenan was the one fiddling with the gate in the Criers' basement. If it's really possible to cease all connection to the Digital World, both sides might be better off.