Data Squad Episode 34: The Norstein Family Secret

In this episode, Kurata, not satisfied with just winning, exploits Thomas's willingness to do anything to help his little sister Nunna... er, Relena. Her name is Relena.

Kurata is way too good at villainy. If this was just a war to exterminate all the Digimon, as he's always claimed, he's already at a nearly unbeatable position. He has the Digital World on its knees, won over the human population, and the only group trying to keep the peace have been forced into hiding. While accomplishing this, he's gathered all the energy he needs to execute the next phase in his plan. He's done this with expertise in computers, mechanics and manipulating both human and Digimon biology. Now he's claiming medical expertise in order to lure Thomas over to his side.

He's been so damn efficient that it masks the fact that this whole season has been one big fail arc, not unlike Zero Two's destiny stone debacle and Frontier's Royal Knights mess. Kurata's brilliance not only allows him to succeed, but it keeps the whole season afloat. His strategy with both the expedition to fight Merukimon and the Bio-Hybrids involves making the Data Squad (and us, by extension) feel like they're accomplishing something while he's busy winning.

As he moves to his next phase, he knows he can't dodge it any longer: once he starts cooking, he's going to have both the Data Squad and all of humanity against him. That's why it was such a master stroke turning humanity against the Data Squad first. By pinning them as Digimon-sympathizing traitors, he'll be well into his world domination plans by the time everybody realizes the truth. Meanwhile, the Data Squad are holed up in a bunker and barely able to keep their Digimon fed. Even the solution to that causes Marcus grief as he doesn't want to get Sarah and Kristy involved.

It's hard to buy that one man could be an expert at both technological innovation and gross government manipulation, but hey- it's not a rule mad scientists can't also have people skills. The real hard sell is convincing us that Kurata actually needs Thomas's help with anything. But there he is, bargaining Relena's health in exchange for Thomas's cooperation, with Daddy not taking no for an answer.

It's a really rough turn for Thomas. He's so happy to see his little sister, so unhappy to see his father, and so confused that they're in Japan. Not only is he in such a bind that he pretty much has to agree to Kurata's terms, he also still has the whole thing with Nanami hanging over his head- thoughts of two geniuses remaking the world to their own liking. Sinister stuff, and he knows he's playing right into it.

Luring Thomas also doubles as a way to turn the Data Squad against each other. It's a good move strategically and drawing Marcus into a dark evolution was a neat bonus, but was it really necessary? It feels like setting up a Thomas/Marcus fight was more dramatic flourish than anything else. The sound logic behind it prevents it from being derided as Mercurymon-level showiness, but it's a bit much.

Thomas has that Matt look about him as he attacks Marcus, and the ShineGreymon/MirageGaogamon fight has a similar epic feel to it, especially in the real world with stuff like bridges that can get blown up. That's probably what it's shooting for. But while Matt was sullen because of his anger for Tai, Thomas is cold because he's doing what he's been told. There's no passion, and it makes you wonder how he had the emotion to pull off a successful DNA Charge. It's all very... Heero Yuy.

He acts like Heero, dresses like Quatre, and has a sister named Relena. Yep, Thomas H. Norstein is a Gundam Wing character.

My Grade: B+

Loose Data:
  • National Security is on a manhunt for all members of the Data Squad... and Yoshi makes a call on her cell phone? You'd think there'd be some GPS tracking and call monitoring action going on.
  • The Norstein family crest has a wolf on it. How appropriate.
  • Gaomon is at his best when he's at his most awkward. He can go after monsters all day and night, but someone asks if his coat makes him warm... yeah...
  • Kurata is right about one thing- DATS's methods sure as hell aren't working.
  • BanchoLeomon's random appearance is appropriate after Marcus was able to materialize a sword for ShineGreymon. Makes sense for him to warn Marcus of the dangers of the Burst Mode, as it sounds like some seismic Giga Slave-type stuff. Of course, him explaining it in those terms only make it obvious that Marcus is gonna use it at some point. Also, all the subtleties underlying the way Sarah and BanchoLeomon look at each other is wonderful.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog post, as usual. I know you don't get many comments on this, but rest assured we are reading and enjoying your work. Myself, I always like seeing an old favourite through the eyes of someone else.

    "BanchoLeomon's random appearance is appropriate after Marcus was able to materialize a sword for ShineGreymon."

    That's a point: how did BanchoLeomon get through to the real world? I don't remember it being explained in the series. Did he just will himself there?