Data Squad Episode 40: The Royal Knights Assemble

In this episode, everybody's back for the big final arc! Omnimon! Magnamon! Gallantmon! Spencer's dad! Gotsumon! Guess which one's not evil.


At what point in this episode do you realize that the writers made a horrible, horrible mistake in dragging the Royal Knights into this? Is it when Marcus points out their hypocrisy? Is it the shudder you felt when Dynasmon and LoadKnightmon show up in the roster? Is it when Gallantmon attacks the good guys? Pick a spot; the whole thing is all sorts of awkward.

The notion that the higher ups in the Digital World should want humanity to pay for Kurata's crimes is a good one. It's the next logical step in the season's message about conflict, and reminds us that painting humans as the bad guys and Digimon as the good guys (which often felt like the case in the Kurata arc) is just as flawed as believing the opposite. Flipping the script felt like a necessary escalation. The issue is the who and the why.

The who part should be obvious. Part of the roster includes some major badasses from the first three seasons. Hell, throw in one of Veemon's other forms while you're at it. They're playing bad guys. No matter how many of them turn at the end, it's still a bad look. Then throw in the two clowns that were central to the worst arc in the franchise thus far. It's not fair to blame Dynasmon and Crusadermon (as LoadKnightmon was known before the surgery) for that arc, at least not Crusadermon, but we didn't need the reminder. Add in the questions about where they were while Kurata was invading and it's a distracting mess. Why not introduce another group, like that Olympus Twelve that Merukimon was apparently part of? Maybe digitize some Norse gods to capitalize off the mythological roots of King Drasil (Yggdrasil, if you've been living under a rock).

What's wrong with the why? Even though it's totally hypocritical and a bad deal for mankind, the dimensional issues validate King Drasil's actions. Destroying the human world may not be ethical, but it's his solution to a new problem rather than a response to Kurata's invasion. It's also better than what DATS came up with, which was “ask King Drasil.” If this attempt at eradicating humanity was an act of revenge, a strategic decision borne from fear of a different race or even using such justifications as excuses to rule both worlds... that we can play with. This is too convenient a reason to commit a horrible atrocity.

Speaking of horrible atrocities, Gotsumon's back for some reason. In another season (like maybe the next one), it might be fun to play with the concept of a killed Digimon regenerating into a neutral or an ally. In this one, it felt like they wanted to throw it out there, but didn't have anything productive to do with it. It's awkward and a little silly as the Data Squad aren't interested in either trusting him or even liking him, but it doesn't lead anywhere. Other that Marcus seriously getting on Craniumon's case for attacking Gotsumon, the guy's practically forgotten once things heat up.

For all of the missteps going on here, King Drasil appearing to be Spencer certainly salvages a lot. It's an enjoyable, though telegraphed, twist that damn near breaks Marcus. It's one last twist in this saga that explores what it means to be a human and a Digimon and what difference it makes. No explanations are given, not that we need them yet, so it just leaves Marcus confused and humbled by the sight of his father ordering his death. Everybody else reacts just as appropriately, shocked at seeing Spencer but more worried about being squashed like bugs. They're cowered down, fearing for their lives like never before, and thankful for one last plot twist to save their asses.

My Grade: B

Loose Data:
  • When Rosemon drops Yoshi, everybody screams to go after her as if it would take a team effort. They all fall anyway.
  • Despite all their information saying that Digimon almost always lose their memories after death, Thomas quotes BanchoLeomon as if it's an infrequent side effect that happened to strike Gotsumon.
  • While scaling the narrow ridge, Yoshi suggests evolving their Digimon and flying away. Thomas explains why that's a bad idea. Still waiting for the explanation on why they didn't think of that to fly over the gorge in episode 15.
  • Craniumon said “none shall pass,” fully mimicking the Black Knight. He does not lose any limbs, however, which will be important later.
  • Keenan is now fully capable of sending Falcomon to Mega, but he still appears to have an old digivice. Shouldn't that thing have been either upgraded or broken by now?

2 comments:

  1. It's not that the Royal Knights are bad guys (though some of them are much more morally questionable than others, as you'll soon cover, I'm sure), it's that they're following orders. Their world is in danger, Drasil's giving them the orders to follow to save their world by destroying the one that produced a monster who destroyed countless innocent Digimon (which in one sense, you can't blame them for.), and the Knights are following orders because they have no reason to question their god. They trust him to lead them in the correct way, and well, that leads them into opposition with the humans.

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    1. They're anti-villains to be sure, in the sense that they have a laudable ultimate goal (to protect the Digital World), but that doesn't stop their actions from becoming villainous. Their disinclination to question their master's motives doesn't let them off the hook, given the stakes, given that they are definitely blaming a whole species for the actions of one man, and especially given the questionable actions they are planning. Even if they are sympathetic, they are still bad guys.

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