In this episode, daring rescues! Emotional reunions! Exploding cars! Miki and Megumi in tight jumpsuits! Bring in Vin Diesel and we're all set!
Wow, talk about a productive episode. Seasons that didn't have as much ground to cover would have turned this into three episodes, and all three would have had plenty to discuss. There's the ramifications of DATS blowing up and Kurata's inevitable invasion. There's the rescue of Kevin and Michelle Crier, their reunion with Keenan and their reluctant agreement to help send him away. There's the full debut of the Bio-Hybrids, which can go off in a few dozen directions. All this content makes it difficult for each of these significant moments to sink in long enough for us to fully appreciate them, but at least we can be assured that they're not goofing around.
It's insane that DATS headquarters blowing the hell up gets so little attention. It's strategically important for Kurata to monopolize access to the Digital World, but he can't be unhappy about the symbolism it creates. The one organization dedicated to preserving peace between the two worlds is now up in smoke. Its members are left demoralized and disorganized while Kurata is free to romp.
Commander Sampson picks an excellent time to drop in and start kicking ass. Perhaps managing from a desk wasn't his strong point, because he's great pulling strings in the field. Kudamon had stated that national security was holding him. The assumption was that they were getting information from him. Turns out that was a two-way street as he knew exactly where the Criers were being held, why they needed to be rescued and how the Data Squad could best accomplish that. They're getting heat from the feds while escaping? Boom! Reppamon! Between that and his ability to overcome an exploded car to still help the Data Squad evade the Bio-Hybrids, he got badass in a hurry.
One of the recurring heartstring tuggers in both Adventure and Tamers was the need for parents to accept their children's responsibility to risk their lives to save the world. The emotional impact never subsides, as evidenced by Sarah suppressing her fears to encourage Marcus to re-enter the fray. It still hits you, but it doesn't offer anything new. But that only sets up the mess going on with the Crier family. It's the same scenario here... oh, and they had just been reunited after ten years. Oh yeah, and he's trying to return where he had originally been stranded. Oh yeah, and Dad's the only one who can activate the gate to send him there. Oh yeah, and they had just been detained by the government and want nothing more than to completely disassociate themselves with all this Digital World business. It's a little more complicated... all I'm saying. After both the events revealed in episode 20 and his behavior during it, Kevin is climbing out of a far deeper hole than Commander Sampson, but he too starts to redeem himself by recognizing his son’s passion for saving the Digital World and helping him along.
As if there wasn't enough to worry about, the Bio-Hybrids are the new weapons in Kurata's arsenal. They're a multipurpose lot- a new set of enemies so the Data Squad can fight more than Gizumon, an amusing set of oddball characters to challenge/entertain us, and another thematic treat in a season that's already blurred the human/Digimon divide with Keenan. Kurata's already engineered soulless Digimon... why not manipulate the DNA of three humans to let them turn into obedient monsters? It will inevitably raise questions of whether they're human or Digimon, and the significance of the fact that the question even needs to be asked. Overall, they're a strong addition to the cast. Between them and Gotsumon, the henchmen in this series really represent themselves well.
My Grade: A-
- As it was strategically important, Kurata wanted to blow up DATS HQ. This is totally sensible in an insane villain sort of way. But he had also locked Keenan, Miki, Megumi and all the Digimon in there. Did he plan on eliminating them too? Kurata might be a bad guy.
- Miki and Megumi have ditched the uniforms and are now wearing these sexy jumpsuits. The only explanation for this change would be that this is their casual wear. Miki and Megumi are awesome!
- How smooth was Sampson in this episode? Reppamon saves the day without a stat screen, evolution sequence or any indicator as to what his name actually is. It's the only time in the series he appears in this form.
- Sampson also jumped out of a crashing vehicle, which bursts into flames for no reason other than coolness. Seriously, explosions like that are the stuff manufacturer recalls are made of.
- When confronting Miki and Megumi, Ivan says he prefers the brunette. Miki's a bluenette, bub.
- So... they can battle inside the void between the two worlds now? The trip had been pretty much instantaneous this season, and now the trip takes an entire act.