In this episode, Marcus and company prove once and for all that humanity's greatest strength is sneaking up for a combined attack on its enemies.
To nobody's surprise whatsoever, Marcus isn't getting to King Drasil without going through Craniumon first. With all apologies to Gallantmon and Magnamon, Craniumon was always positioned to be the main representative of the Royal Knights. He's the true linchpin: if he is defeated or converts, the others won't pose much of a problem. Killing LoadKnightmon and Leopardmon make it feel more plausible that Marcus can take him down. It's unfortunately necessary that Marcus is going to need the entire episode and all the help he can get.
The one problem with the Burst Mode concept is that it can't be reached instantly. Previous entities that reached this false level above Mega such as Gallantmon: Crimson Mode and Susanoomon were saved until the last couple episodes. We only saw them a couple times, so it was a big deal when it happened. The Burst Mode is six episodes old now and it feels like a regular part of Marcus's arsenal. In a major battle like this, you know it's coming out, so all this fighting with regular, boring old ShineGreymon feels like they're just dicking around. And that GeoGreySword has been awfully useless lately.
Even with Burst Mode, the Omni Shield makes it impossible to actually do any damage. Between that and the Duo Solar Spear (both of which Craniumon's very proud of, as evidenced by him mentioning them by name every five minutes), it's a battle against both an immovable object and an unstoppable force at the same time. While predictable, the intervention of Thomas, Yoshi and Keenan is a solid moment for the series. Just as the big hero is about to fall, the other three team members arrive, equally strong, and the four secure victory as one.
Their big collective speech about human potential is stirring- all that stuff about never giving up and rising above all odds to overcome. The unspoken part is the fact that they've all arrived to gang up on a single enemy with almost no communication needed. It's a fantastic speech, and easily the best shout for mankind we'll get. For all the talk we keep hearing about how great Digimon can be, it's nice for our own species to get some love. But it's impossible to accept the premise that the Omni Shield's destruction is all the proof Craniumon needed that King Drasil is wrong and that humanity is worth preserving. If anything, it's a sign that King Drasil was right and that mankind needs to be destroyed immediately.
King Drasil's whole argument was not that humanity is an insignificant sacrifice in order to preserve the Digital World. It's that humanity is a threat almost as dangerous as the two worlds colliding, and destroying the human world kills two birds with one stone. What Marcus and company did was demonstrate the amazing power humans can generate. You know who else did that? Kurata. He singlehandedly brought the Digital World to its knees, and humanity cheered him on right up until Belphemon entered the picture. Shattering the Omni Shield should have been a reminder of mankind's potential for destruction, not a sign that they're innocent yet determined go-getters.
Given all the arguments the Data Squad made to Craniumon in the first encounter, and even the doubts he had before King Drasil's PowerPoint in episode 39, it's insane that this would be what makes him abandon all loyalty to his master and let them through without a fight. Craniumon promised Marcus a battle to the end. He ended up losing the faith and giving up after receiving less than a flesh wound.
My Grade: B
- It's clear that Craniumon isn't totally sold on King Drasil's position, but carries his orders out faithfully. As resolved as Marcus is in the actual battle, he's hesitant when Agumon says he's looking forward to kicking King Drasil's ass. In many ways, they're both faking their certainty about all this. As stupid as the logic is for Craniumon to give up, it makes sense that they'd understand each other following the battle. Marcus even cites The Marcus Code again after his failure to read Thomas in episode 35.
- Talk about being demoted to comic relief. Gotsumon goes from being viciously anti-human to being hilariously not committed to anything in this life.
- There's something very sincere about the way Yoshi worries about Marcus. The refreshing lack of romantic undertones between Yoshi and the guys means that we can appreciate their relationship for what it is, and how much she's come to care for him after hating his guts early on.