In this episode, Thomas's father will do whatever it takes to get Relena to safety, even if kills her.
Here we all thought Marcus was having problems with his father. Spencer abandoned his family for a quixotic quest in another world and might just be ordering the destruction of his species. Halfway through this episode, you'd still rather have him as a dad over Franz Norstein. Talk about a stubborn dick. Everything he does here, and throughout the entire series, makes two things very clear. He is of a class that refuses to accept anything less than what they want... and that he has more love in his heart than anybody can possibly realize.
One thing this season has excelled at is offering a world where absolutely nobody is an asshole just for the sake of being an asshole. King Drasil is doing something evil because he believes it's the most expedient and just way to solve the problem. The Royal Knights are doing something evil because most of them forfeited their spines when they enlisted. Kurata acted out of fear that gave way to greed. The Digimon before him were reacting with the horrors of their past on their minds, or in response to human emotions that were usually legitimate wishes taken too far.
This ultimately applies to Franz as well. For as much trouble as he causes trying to get a plane off the ground during a period of constant bombardment, he really does just want to get Relena out of Dodge. It's a terrible idea, of course, but that seems to be the way he rolls. His love for Relena is clear, and his running after her into the danger makes that clear. That act shouldn't have been necessary, as his entire timeline is littered with cases of terrible, destructive acts done in the name of love.
Working backwards, it's the easiest way to explain his dealings with Kurata. He wanted Relena cured, and he made a deal with the devil promising to make that happen. Franz couldn't have liked the thought of his daughter as a Bio-Hybrid, but hated the thought of her suffering even more. Keep going and you'll realize that he let his fourteen-year-old son (and de facto heir to the Norstein name thanks to Relena's illness) live alone thousands of miles away because they struggle to co-exist under the same roof. And don't forget that this whole mess started because he was so in love that he married below his station.
He's not winning Father of the Year anytime soon, but you begin to see the portrait of a desperate man trying to bring some sort of sanity into a disaster of a family. He gets grief from Thomas because he has no idea what to do with an estranged reminder of his dead wife with unfathomable brilliance. Franz also gets it from his mother, who deems both Thomas and Relena unacceptable and henpecks her son to preserve the family name with whichever one becomes most salvageable. In only a few flashbacks, Frau Norstein quickly becomes almost as unlikable as Kurata, and even she has (slim) justification.
It's hard to say whether or not Thomas figures any of this out before Relena forced the issue. What is clear is that his bond with Relena made his relationship with his father moot. Thomas initially acts to protect her and her alone. Which would be great against someone who isn't a Royal Knight. Consider how long it took Takuya and Koji to finally beat Crusadermon and you can bet that Thomas seriously struggles against her gay male counterpart LoadKnightmon.
After the first beatdown, he realizes that he can't just defend Relena. He's getting everything that comes with the Norstein tag- father, Frau and the whole world looking up at him. Thomas is going to make the Norstein family proud, whether they want him to or not.
My Grade: A
- The complex family structure of Austrian nobility has to be lost on the average Disney Channel audience. Rejecting Thomas because his mother was a Japanese peasant and Relena because of her illness, Franz's shame in being their father, Frau's suggestion of arranging a marriage for Thomas... something tells me this isn't the sort of thing that shows up on Dog With A Blog.
- From the context of this episode, anyone else think that Relena's illness could be a subtle jab at the old European elite's habit of inbreeding?
- When Thomas apologizes to Yushima about Franz's behavior, Yushima is confused because it's not Thomas's fault he's his father's son. After all this time, even accidentally, Yushima still pops out the occasional nugget of trite truth.
- This rendition of male LoadKnightmon is a sure sign that the gender switch in Frontier wasn't the problem with Crusadermon. I don't think I could handle that voice for multple episodes.
- Funny how Thomas uses old attack patterns despite the new capabilities of MirageGaogamon Burst Mode and they work perfectly.