In this episode, it turns out that Christopher's tactical approach of firing everything he's got at everything he sees has a few minor flaws when integrating teammates.
As move on to Robot Master #2, it becomes clear that the show runs the risk of falling into a routine. The first few generals all go down in two-episode arcs, first putting the kids into inescapable danger, followed by them escaping it and winning. Other than a new evolution, a character death or an update on whatever's going on with Ewan, the only real plot advancement is ticking another of the seven off the list. Therefore, each land lives and dies on its individual scenario. In other words, we're pretty much back in early episode hell, albeit with a new form of Myotismon to keep us company. I'm sure you're thrilled to hear that.
You can tell it's early episode hell because the team still has a problem with basic communication and cooperation. Of course, by team we mean Christopher. Mikey and Nene are still in midseason form, crafting clever solutions and fusing their Digimon together and being all functional and stuff. So barring the occasional crafty maneuver (which they thankfully do often) there isn't much going on with them.
Instead, the focus remains on Christopher, as he's still determined to be a ruthless asshole. He's going out of his way to make this point, even, veering the wrong way in the gate on purpose, not worrying about friendly fire and insisting that Mikey and Nene do the tricky infiltration work at NeoMyotismon's castle. It's too much to ask him to immediately fall in line with the Fusion Fighters, but he's even more aggravating than he was in the previous land, and with no good reason other than intentional defiance of the notion that they're supposed to be united. After digging deep to persevere against Dorbickmon, this feels like a step backward for him.
Mikey accommodates Christopher's tantrums with incredible patience, showing some impressive leadership for the second episode in a row. He recognizes that Blue Flare is best used as a weapon of blunt force, so he's willing to get out of his way in the initial LadyDevimon fight and let him attack the castle from the outside. Nene is clearly better suited to the inside work anyway. But while Mikey's patience helps the team in the short term, his refusal to instigate some good ol' leader/rival conflict leaves their relationship lacking some punch. Perhaps literally.
That punch is missing because when everything's boiled down, this Lopmon plot is quite pedestrian so far. How many times have we seen a bad guy terrorizing a village of adorable Digimon for some inscrutable purpose? And really, what's the twist being offered here? Oh, NeoMyotismon's motivation and its ironic turn is on deck next time, but for now, all we have to go on is the atmosphere, the chance for nostalgia, and Mikey and Nene's response to the problem.
None of these are bad per se, but none of them are outstanding. The creepy atmosphere of Vampire Land is nice, with graves and dead trees everywhere, along with the rivers of negative energy flowing towards the giant code crown at the center of the universe. It never hurts to see Lopmon again, although LadyDevimon's return is underwhelming as a stock minion in heavy numbers. Double that for Devimon, a horde of whom show up towards the end, which is almost insulting after serving as the first big boss of season one. And while the big plan is clever, Nene puts so little effort into the costumes that it absolutely doesn't deserve to work. If we're going to buy the threat these Dark Generals pose, the Fusion Fighters can't half-ass their way into any advantage, even the ones that ultimately lead to inescapable danger.
My Grade: B-
- What was the point of that intersection if all roads lead to Vampire Land in the end? What if somebody wanted to go to World 4 instead? I kinda want to skip to World 4; Splashmon's episodes are bananas!
- What's up with Cutemon, ChibiTortomon and Dondokomon all popping out and itching for a fight?
- Only one of those three have actually done any fighting before. It's a pretty transparent effort to get some numbers out there for reaction shots. And did they need to put up their name cards twice?
- Cutemon was worried about his Lopmon costume when he was dressed the most convincingly out of the three of them.
- NeoMyotismon's curiosity about why Mikey would help the Lopmon is terribly overwrought. Even if Mikey wasn't apt to help out, he does sorta need to kill the general anyway. Lopmon's response after retrieving the Fusion Loader (Mikey really needs a wrist strap for that thing) ventures into friendship speech territory.
- Did Christopher attempt to call something named Deckergreymon? Eh, we're due- silly dub.
- If the Darkness Loader allows a general to fuse with their opponents, why didn't Dorbickmon try it? He tried to entice OmniShoutmon to his side... he could have just forced him!