In this episode, lurking below Sweets Zone is the beast that may have split the zones in the first place, Cutemon's parents, and every other loose end that needs to clear up before the climax.
While Digimon Fusion has raised its game nicely heading into the first arc finale (last episode notwithstanding), there are definitely concerns about being able to wrap everything up with any sort of class. The show doesn't have a great track record for a smooth build up to the climax and Fusion looked like it was falling into the same trap as Zero Two or Frontier- too much to cover and too much wasted time. The good news is that Fusion doesn't have to cover everything; there's a second arc that will further develop Nene and Christopher's characters and deal with Ewan, among other things. The better news is that many of the things that had to be tied up all presented themselves in these digital depths and managed in a surprisingly awesome fashion.
We say surprisingly because of what all had to be addressed. There's the fight over the last code crown. There's Cutemon's parents. There's the matter of all the missing Sweets Zone villagers. There's Jeremy's effort to get any kind of respect from Nene. Spadamon's still hanging around, trying to get some sort of cool moment. All this is swirling in place, and suddenly Breakdramon is thrown in there- the guy who may have broken up the zones to begin with.
You have to admire all the different angles that are suddenly converging. For a show that never focused on anything other than Mikey and Shoutmon, there are a lot of subplots here. Many were gathered and strung along with little development, but they all came into play here, and somehow dealt with without seeming too cluttered. The key proved to be in one of the season's themes- a unified team goes forward as one, no matter how different their individual objectives may be. Shoutmon pursuing the throne, Cutemon pursuing his parents, Nene pursuing her brother... they're all Fusion Fighters in the end.
That's emphasized in the way everything came together in one battle. In the finale of Tamers, each of the three main kids had their own objective that forced them out of their element. Instead, Fusion consolidates everything into the same fight and it is amazing. Jeremy steps up to save himself and Nene, letting her get into position to contribute Sparrowmon to Shoutmon X5. When Cutemon's parents are used to heal Breakdramon, Cutemon tries to rescue them, only to stop because healing Shoutmon is more important to the mission. Recognizing the sacrifice, Mikey and Spadamon then charge in to save the parents themselves, with a critical assist from Shoutmon. No speech about friendship or teamwork will ever drill the point home as much as this display, although Nene adds one for good measure.
Earlier, if you had said that Mikey would ultimately be the one to save Cutemon's parents, I probably would have screamed something about letting someone else be the hero for once. In this context, Mikey is the one doing exactly that. While it would have been nice to have another reminder of this (it hasn't really come up since Magma Zone), Cutemon's on this journey in search of his parents. It's so huge that he ends up helping the team above completing his personal quest, and it's just as significant that Mikey rewards that loyalty by saving them himself. This suggests that Cutemon sees the Fusion Fighters as a higher calling, evidenced by the way he doesn't hesitate to stay with them after they surface.
With all this, the slate is now cleared for the big showdown in the last two episodes. There's something invigorating in all that. Now we see that the Fusion Fighters are stronger than ever, the distractions are gone, and the only thing left is the biggest thing. Bring it on.
My Grade: A-
- Nene's reactions to Jeremy are wonderful. Between her blank face when he's clutching her, the “soft and squishy” line and her surprise at his sudden burst of awesome to get away from the Raremon, it's quite fun. It's the sort of thing we wanted to see more of from Zoe. Hell, let's see that from Kari!
- The data shredder in the middle of the room is an awesome combination of thematically appropriate and absolutely terrifying. It's like the Digital World's very own Sarlacc pit.
- The big Monitamon smoke bomb rescue was cut from the dub. You know, because of the gigantic bomb and all. That's annoying, but what makes it worse is that everybody makes direct reference to it anyway, turning it into some strange noodle incident. Silly dub.
- Something about the issues they have with the squawkers makes them coming together in the end all the more satisfying. It's really little, but it's another sign of good writing.
- One of the Digimon in a stasis bag? Calumon.
- It's totally unnecessary and inconsequential, but I love the dual digifuse posing with Mikey and Nene.
- Anyone else get any GLaDOS vibes from the way Breakdramon emerges from his cage?