In this episode, a mythical respite for Digimon greets our weary heroes exactly the way they should- by throwing them into the Rancor pit.
Judged only within the confines of the events of this episode, it's a bit of a letdown. They're getting a bit testy wondering if the directions to the city were accur... never mind, there it is. They're tied up in a gladiator ring and forced to fight a Cerber... never mind, they owe Spencer a favor and recognized his son. Multiple Gizumon XT are invad... wow, the new Mega forms tear through those guys. Oh no! Sneak att... nope, Keenan's got it. Every time it looks like there's going to be some drama, it's cut short immediately.
Yet as bad as this episode is at providing its own drama, it serves as a launchpad that positions everything perfectly for the rest of the arc. The sacred city atop Eldradimon pulls off several feats in one concept. Based off of several legends, it has instant mythological credibility. Its mystery and mobility justifies such a large population of Digimon that have evaded Kurata's forces thus far. The size of the sucker makes for an impressive fortress to stage a last stand against the enemy, and its previous narrow escape foreshadows one of the tactics against it.
Finally, we have our first indication as to how the Data Squad plans to engage Kurata. As effective as the Mega forms are against a few Gizumon XT, there's no way they can expect to rid the whole world of them with any reliability. They require tactics different than the usual “find and kill archvillain” method we've seen every other season. It was a bit of an accident, but securing Eldradimon and making Kurata and Kouki want to squash Marcus flat sets up one of the only winnable scenarios.
The denizens of Eldradimon provide an important reminder of the secondary effect of Kurata's devastation. Even outside militaristic defenders like Merukimon, common folks that may not be aware of ten years ago have come to hate humans to the point where any one that shows up gets fed to Cerberusmon. It's only the legend of Spencer that makes everyone allies. While Marcus, Matador Yoshi and their Digimon could have no doubt handled Cerberusmon, it's peace with the residents, a fortress to defend and a proper supporting army that they really need.
Spencer being awesome and befriending every Digimon in the world is an awfully convenient asset, and a little bit cheap. What makes up for this is Thomas's resentment at how amazing Marcus's father is. Thomas has always envied Marcus's family, but the emphasis had been on the tight relationship Marcus has with his mother and sister. Now that extends to his father, and sets up a future dilemma. Thomas and Marcus are polar opposites. Marcus reminds so many people of his legendary father. Where does that leave Thomas?
The other big set ups involve the bad guys. After getting thoroughly humiliated by the new Mega forms, the Bio-Hybrids recuperate in their test tube saunas. Kouki volunteers the group for a DNA-replacement procedure that sounds really nasty but will make the three stronger. Ivan wants absolutely no part in it, but wants to be a good soldier so (thinks he) keeps his mouth shut. Ivan's a one-joke character, but that joke is so awkwardly funny that he's automatically my favorite of the three.
Along with directing all of his troops to Eldradimon for the final showdown, Kurata also gives us a sneak peek at the next phase in his master plan. Between the monster he has in a tube and all the emphasis on the Gizumon collecting energy from expired Digimon, everything's primed on that end as well. Guess if you're not going to resolve anything, might as well set up as much as you can.
My Grade: B
- That weird circular pan as everybody reacts in astonishment to Eldradimon is capped so perfectly by Gaomon's terribly subdued “whoa.”
- The Bio-Hybrids are awfully nude in those test tube saunas, and there's some extra steam in the dub to hide their shame even more. That makes it harder to notice the way Nanami hunches down awkwardly to cover her chest. In contrast, Ivan puts himself on display proudly while Kouki's too busy being angry at Marcus to care.
- Kurata says he wants to exact revenge on “Marcus Damon, Spencer Damon's son.” It's awkward, silly and terribly written... but only seems egregious coming out of Kurata.
- Pretty sure that was a Sepikmon doing the drumming in the gladiator arena. Not sure if we were ready to see him again after Frontier.
- And wouldn't you know it, two episodes after we compared to BanchoLeomon to Piximon, we see a wave of Piximon being absolutely useless against Gizumon XT. Yup yup.
- It's also the return of Yushima! Apparently the city's executions are held en masse. More importantly, it's also the return of Kamemon, who should be everybody's favorite after this episode.
- Keenan interpreted the need for more power as the need for more friends. So he got more friends. Everybody should be paying a lot closer attention to Keenan because he's just nailing it.