In this episode, BanchoLeomon dies. In the most incredible, manly and ultimately ineffective way possible.
You have to wonder if the audience knew BanchoLeomon's death was inevitable during the first go-round of this series. After all, for all the jokes about Leomon dying every season, it's hard to say it was a surefire pattern until now. The deaths in Adventure and Tamers were big deals, but the one in X-Evolution was instantaneous. Did people consider Loweemon (or even IceLeomon) part of the trend by this point? Not only that, but Data Squad had already axed SaberLeomon, so the quota had been met. Regardless, two things become clear- that BanchoLeomon's death was at least predictable from a story standpoint, and that the whole “Leomon dies every season” thing sure as hell has legs now.
As obvious as it was that BanchoLeomon would die, the circumstances of how it happened are twisted in a lovely way, not only by the revelation that he is Marcus's father, but in how Marcus is forced to pull the trigger. Absorbing a blow meant for the heroes is so old hat, you know. Instead, he holds King Drasil in one spot and demands that Marcus destroy both of them. In one moment, the spotlight is on Marcus to do the one thing he's struggled and failed at all season- surpass his father.
Before BanchoLeomon gives Marcus the opportunity to take out King Drasil, the flashback fills in a lot of blanks and explains things about as well as could be expected given how insane the premise is. Really, the “King Drasil owns the body, BanchoLeomon owns the spirit” is as convoluted a twist as they come (at least outside of Zero Two), but the explanation is pure Data Squad: it only makes sense when viewed in the context of The Marcus Code.
Spencer and BanchoLeomon's first meeting is the same as Marcus and Agumon's, becoming BFFs after a totally unnecessary fist fight. When they meet a pissed off King Drasil, Spencer vouches for humanity and BanchoLeomon, in turn, vouches for him. This was a bad idea as Kurata still technically maintained his standing in humanity and his recent invasion didn't represent them well. The angst over BanchoLeomon forcing Spencer to own up to his race's crime is so perfect for this series, as is his preventing King Drasil from having the satisfaction of eliminating one innocent human in retribution. Even though they royally screw themselves over through the whole affair, they take the man's path.
King Drasil, on the other hand, is not as dignified. Rather than use his immense power to actually stop Kurata, he takes it out on Spencer. When BanchoLeomon takes that away, he's petty and feels the need to save face by taking Spencer's, just to say he got some semblance of vengeance. It achieved nothing other than forcing BanchoLeomon to keep his identity a secret from Marcus. But instead of a cheap way to keep Marcus in the dark until the right moment, it's the ultimate dick move.
So now that we know the full range of Spencer's triumphs, it's up to Marcus to top that by destroying both his father's body and his mind. For such a moment, there's a surprising lack of angst on Marcus's part. That's because he had steeled himself for this moment. Over the last couple episodes, he accepted the possibility of attacking his father. And he's been wanting to prove himself to BanchoLeomon for a long time. Marcus is so resolute he doesn't even need to punch something to get his DNA Charge going. He evolves Agumon, the attack is launched, BanchoLeomon is sacrificed and King Drasil...
...well, King Drasil's not dead because he's the final villain and therefore has multiple forms.
My Grade: A
- Craniumon's acknowledgment that he had always doubted King Drasil somehow makes all of the Royal Knights look even worse. Being subservient automatons is bad enough, but to hear that they are actually thinking and forming opinions, but then ignoring the ones that contradict orders is awful.
- The fight between Spencer and BanchoLeomon may have been meant to parallel Marcus and Agumon's but episode one did not have a volcanic eruption punctuating the first time fists locked.
- BanchoLeomon not being certain that King Drasil even existed was such a great little extra, as it goes to show just how negligible his influence actually is. Another good line was Spencer's anger at Sampson and Yushima for allowing Kurata to attack the Digital World again... followed by BanchoLeomon making sure he stopped pointing fingers and took his punishment like a man.
- Thomas suggests that by taking Spencer's body, perhaps King Drasil wanted to experience a human perspective. Empathy, my ass. Yoshi can't shoot him down fast enough.
- It's usually pretty trite when humans talk about their love for Digimon or vice-versa, but Agumon's sacrilegious testimony against King Drasil's rule breaks through that. It's less about sticking up for humans and more about decrying a tyrant who doesn't know what his subjects actually want.
- Marcus orders an attack that kills both BanchoLeomon and his own father. Remember last season when Takuya and Koji refused to kill Nefertimon even though it could have easily deterred Lucemon's revival. Those guys look ten times worse now.