In this episode, it's going to be an uphill battle when the only thing you can think of to validate a teammates's presence is her ability to make sandwiches.
Mikey has succumbed to over-exertion and is knocked out of the picture for a night. It's about damn time. For the first time in a while, Mikey is clearly mortal, his brave deeds propelled by some seriously unhealthy behavior. While he's out, his screentime has to be filled and the rest of the Fusion Fighters jump at the chance to look important. Not only do we get to delve into Angie's grief, but we get a long-overdue focus on Jeremy as he temporarily dons the goggles. It's hard to say we get more character out of the Digimon on the roster, but what we do get is them acting independently. The big finish cuts a few corners and ultimately reverts to form, but the different path there is an essential breath of fresh air.
For the first time, Mikey has to face the consequences of his actions, particularly his refusal to listen to Angie. She's been the one trying to keep him in check, chiding him whenever he pushes himself too hard and gets too far over his head. She's also made it no secret that she's not comfortable in the Digital World. He also doesn't pick up on her clear disdain for Beastmon's affections, especially the casual way he receives them. Mikey is just as casual in dismissing her fears. The last episode reinforced this, with his utterly suicidal rescue of Knightmon and dismissing Angie's concerns with little more than a chuckle. Now, just as Laylamon is about to go all in on her attack and a proper leader is more essential than ever, he's out of the picture. Just as crucially, Angie's flat out done with this place.
It isn't a sign of weakness that Angie can't adjust to the Digital World. She's not the first: Mimi, Tommy and even Yolei early on were quick to freak out at the world's hazards and assorted quirks. But those three all had the protection of a dedicated Digimon partner, and they all settled down once they learned to put their faith in (or become) them. Angie doesn't have the luxury of a single Digimon whose sole job is to have her back. She's forced to rely on the Fusion Fighters as a whole, and too often the team forgets that she exists.
Angie is also the only one who seems to have any concern for what's going on back home. Having so little control in a world this dangerous would make anyone homesick. As we've seen with the Adventure kids, and particularly with Takuya and Tommy in Frontier, a sense of purpose and duty overtakes that feeling over time. A clear tag-along like Angie can't escape to that. Furthermore, Frontier and the first half of Adventure were lucky in that time didn't run at the same pace in both worlds, meaning their families weren't aware of their absence. There's no way to know how that works here, and Angie ponders the impact their extended absence would have.
While Angie spirals down and allows Laylamon to manipulate her, Jeremy rises to the occasion. Aside from the fact that Mikey has the team's only Fusion Loader, Jeremy is still able to make the Fusion Fighters a very functional team in the absence of its leader. He does a very admirable job filling in and leading both the Fusion Fighters and Knightmon's troops in defending the castle from the ongoing siege. Compare it to missteps and close calls the tamers had without Takato and Henry and the way the digidestined in season one became totally lost without Tai, and there's a lot to cheer about. Especially when Jeremy, who has clearly abandoned his purported rivalry with Mikey, decisively handed back the goggles once Mikey was back on his feet.
Mikey's return restores the conventional. He and the rest of the team talk Angie off the ledge with empty claims of her significance and credibility. This works, Mikey throws a massive digifuse together and the day is saved. He's back to ignoring Angie by the end of the episode.
My Grade: B+
- Normally, I'm not a big fan of the girl character immediately getting angry/jealous at the first hint of adoration another female (no matter the age/species) shows the boy character. It's somewhat justified in this case, simply because Mikey seems to dig the attention he's getting from Beastmon, and that just ain't right. She wouldn't feel nearly as threatened if Mikey was creeped out by it (and given how Taiki was less enthusiastic about Bastemon, this may be another case where a change in the dub accidentally makes more sense).
- For an ancient monster that Laylamon has to put serious effort into reviving, the psychotic snow cone machine Daipenmon is just threatening enough to be taken seriously, but ridiculous enough to get a good laugh over it.
- It's cute and all that Mikey wakes up and stumbles to his feet at the first sense that Angie's in danger, but he's not really affected by the sudden awakening and he probably should be.
- Seriously people, Mikey's trying to justify Angie's value to the team and the only thing that comes to mind are her sandwiches. Let's just stop pretending that he has any respect for her.
- Let's just point out that while the blood was cut out, the dub left in both the threat to chop off Angie's hand and Angie slashing Laylamon with the code crown.
- So the measly addition of Starmon and Pickmon turns X3 into X4, but a massive upgrade like Knightmon and the PawnChessmon only makes him an offshoot of X4?
- Sparrowmon's big introduction, made in an effort to show that Nene has a bit of punch in her own army, is sort of ruined by its cheerful, happy voice.