In this episode, the key to finally defeating Tactimon proves to be the same power that most characters figure out right at the beginning.
Being back in the human world never gets old. After an extended stay in the Digital World, being thrust back into reality is always a jarring experience. As was the case in Adventure and Tamers, there's a ton of emotion in reuniting with family while understanding that the job isn't finished. There's a massive battle and a new power unleashed, but emotion is what propels the episode. It should be no surprise, then, that while Mikey is still front and center, it's Angie and Jeremy that carry the day.
That's not to say that Mikey's character doesn't carry any emotional weight. This just isn't his scene, and he knows it. For all the danger he's stood up to, he has never been so far off his game as he is when he's trying to talk to his mother or spending one last day with his friends. Mikey can't sell the concept of Digimon to Mom, nor can he hide his intentions of leaving from Angie or Jeremy. That's two failures in one episode, which feels like more than he's had all season. Fact is, he's preoccupied with the idea that he has work left to do in the Digital World, and no amount of fake cheer will help him get anything done until he goes back.
That's why Angie and Jeremy are the pivotal characters. In the Digital World, they served to keep Mikey grounded. Here, tethered to the ground like never before, this episode is really about them. It's no shock that Angie is the only one of the three to get an emotional reunion with her family. She was the only one who openly missed them and worried about their concern for her. This is played perfectly when she breaks down and balls in her mother's arms while Mom just looks confused. For contrast, compare it to Tai breaking down in front of his parents under identical circumstances. It's very awkward by comparison, misses the mark, and isn't talked about all that much.
Their attitudes about being home are noticeably different than Mikey's, but that changes once Mikey announces his return. Only then does the sense of obligation kick in, and only then do we see the sense of ownership the two have in the Fusion Fighters. While they both chipped in from time to time, they spent so much of the season in the background not being very helpful that we can dismiss them as dead weight being dropped. From their perspective, however, they've been a part of everything. As happy as they are to be home, they must feel that the team would be incomplete without them, and that their absence will make Mikey's job that much harder.
The logic behind Tactimon being suddenly ginormous is pretty flimsy (there's no reason he should get bigger while Shoutmon gets smaller) and his appearance is obligatory. Mikey needs some sort of victory to end the arc on, and Tactimon happens to be in town. It's a cheap way for a good villain to go down. The collateral damage caused in their battle feels more dramatic just because it's in the human world, but we've discussed this plenty of times and there's nothing new to add. Still, Shoutmon is terribly mismatched, and the power of the team becomes really evident when he's flying solo.
So it's only appropriate that the only present members of the Fusion Fighters contribute to Mikey and Shoutmon's victory. Flying in the face of every other season, where the bond between a human and his or her partner is the key to evolution, this time it's Angie and Jeremy that forge OmniShoutmon. It was the least the show could do for two under-utilized characters being left at home for the second arc. In a way, their lack of any special Digital World powers made Jeremy's acts of courage and Angie's acts of friendship all the more impressive. If Omnimon's presence is any suggestion, and we all should hope it was deliberate, Tai and Matt would be proud of them.
My Grade: A-
- Angie's mom is really unsympathetic when her daughter runs in and collapses in tears. She may not believe what Angie's saying, but the feelings are clearly real and she should be more reassuring either way.
- Since it'll be a while before we see them again, can I just say how interesting the relationship between Angie and Jeremy is? They weren't friends beforehand, they don't even necessarily like each other, there's definitely no romantic attraction, and yet they're in lockstep almost all of the time. Even in the Digital World, Jeremy's first priority was often making sure Angie stayed safe whenever Mikey forgot about them (which happened a lot). The way they interacted, especially here, was really refreshing. Granted, someone needs to explain how Angie's little sister knew who Jeremy was.
- A dub changing Japanese food to something western audiences might be familiar with happens frequently enough. Most of the time there's no sense yelling about it. However, Akari had such a fixation with squid ink pasta that Taiki's determination to treat her to it before he leaves is an important character note. The fact that this never came up in the early episodes and that Angie and Jeremy aren't at all enthused by Mikey's choice of “chocolate-covered” pasta turns it into yet another case of Mikey being a bigger dick to Angie than Taiki is to Akari. At least give them points for consistency!
- Omnimon makes reference to him being part of an order of knights... but they aren't the Royal Knights. That's a different order of knights. Which Omnimon's also part of.
- Is the word “omega” somehow naughty? They changed it in Adventure, and while I have no objection to sticking with that change for Fusion, why does it have to carry over to OmniShoutmon? Especially since there were omega symbols flying all over the place in that transformation sequence.
- Angie breaking down when she says goodbye to Mikey is heart-breaking. The tears, the hug, the patronizing pat on the head that reminds us how he really doesn't deserve a girl like that. Where was all this hugging in the first season? It adds a proper punch to a lot of scenes.