In this episode, everybody comes to the gradual conclusion that Kurata's kind of an ass... just in time to watch him take charge of stopping an inter-dimensional war.
For all of the uncertainty DATS had with Kurata in the last episode, it seems to have gone away in a hurry. That's not to say that they aren't still suspicious of him. Quite the opposite, actually. It's that the uncertainty has been removed. Last time, they were tolerating Kurata while remaining leery about him. Now they all seem to be fully convinced that this guy's up to something, and they have few alternatives but to ride it out and deal with whatever it is. It's an unwelcome development that highlights a disappointing episode.
None of what happens here deviates from the script. Kurata talks Hashima into leading a team into the Digital World to negotiate peace, Data Squad jumps on board, token resistance is answered with extreme prejudice... Keenan plays us out. It's a good direction to take, and it's easy to understand why Hashima would prefer this to waiting for the next attack. With SaberLeomon out of the picture it's hard to imagine one actually coming, but there's no way Hashima's going to know that. By acting like a peacemaker and promising a ceasefire, Kurata looks like gold compared to Sampson, who's been far too reactive to all this and remains terrible at his job.
Kurata remains one of the great evil masterminds in the show, but this phase of his plan isn't all that complicated. He's recognized very early that the actual members of DATS matter very little. If he can get Hashima under his thumb, he's good to go. So rather than ingratiate himself to Sampson, Thomas and Marcus, he goes straight to the top, promising Hashima a simple end to all of the problems. Hashima, concerned more about keeping the public out of the loop, is easily swayed by the prospect of taking the fight back to the Digital World. Furthermore, Hashima is more politician than Digimon expert, so he's more likely to put someone who isn't a seasoned professional in charge.
While Thomas smells a rat from the beginning, Marcus's simple-mindedness does more harm than good. Kurata's plan sounds great in theory: negotiate peace with Merukimon, sign a new treaty and oversee a new era of humans and Digimon frolicking hand in hand in the land of duckies and bunnies. Everyone pretty well knows that there's no chance of that actually happening, but Marcus's desire to go fist to fist with Merukimon is so ridiculous that Kurata's plan becomes the only choice. Secretly, Marcus's plan is more honorable, as it takes care of the hostilities with two combatants acting like men rather than escalating to mutually assured destruction. But good luck selling anybody on that.
So everybody goes along with Kurata's plan, even though everybody had instantly decided to distrust him. Merukimon and Gotsumon's response is pedestrian, going with the old single-monster approach rather than using actual tactics like an ambush. Merukimon also says that the mere act of being punched by Marcus is shaking his beliefs about humanity. Look, I'm down with The Marcus Code and everything, but that's stretching it.
Keenan's identity crisis is important to show, but the sight of him staring blankly in assorted rooms of the Damon household doesn't add a whole lot. The added complication of having to pick a side in the fight is legitimate, as is Sarah's suggestion that since he feels like both a human and a Digimon, he's in a unique position to broker peace. It's all necessary, all of this is, but it feels like we're barreling through it to get to the good part.
My Grade: B-
- Thomas stalls the mission by calling for a day to finish calibrating the digital dive. Kurata recognizes this and is impressed. This is two rams showing off their horns in order to intimidate each other.
- Love the nod to Jerry Lewis on the television show Kristy and Keenan were watching.
- The battle was a bit disjointed, but boy, has there ever been a henchman death more satisfying than Gotsumon's?