In this episode, Apollomon dies. And so does Damemon. And Mikey's innocence. And Ewan's sanity. It doesn't tie up loose ends so much as it hacks them off entirely.
The return to the surface of Bright Land and the elimination of the final Dark General doesn't come with any real surprises. Mikey sucks it up and takes down Apollomon, Damemon's suffering ends, the road to Bagramon's castle opens up... everything we would have expected to happen. After the crazy Underworld trip, one that seemed to have a shocking turn every five minutes, it might be a little disappointing, anti-climactic even. But nothing in the episode had any major flaws, and the only real development both added to the drama and helped aid the big fight at the end.
This big development, of course, is that the Whispered program has not completely overwritten the good half of Apollomon. While Mikey's hesitance to kill Apollomon was a big reason they ended up in Underworld in the first place, the Dark General's dual nature wasn't a factor in the last three episodes. Whispered was clearly in charge and Mikey was never in a position to fight him. With so much else going on, this was for the best. Now that Ewan's back at base and Beelzemon and Laylamon took each other down, it's a safe angle to revisit. It turns an otherwise routine boss fight into something a little more excruciating.
It's fitting that Mikey is forced to take out Apollomon before advancing to Bagramon. Think of it as the one last test to prove that he's really out to win. It's one thing to take out bad guys one at a time until reaching the final boss. Now there's a moral dilemma as Apollomon still has his good side and Mikey has no choice but to finish him off. It shows that he's willing to play hard ball and do whatever it takes to save the world. Just as Canyon Land showed Christopher that a harsh and soulless show of force has its limitations, Bright Land shows Mikey the flaw of being too nice. It's not a lesson that comes up all that often, and for it to hit Mikey of all people is impressive.
While Apollomon the Lionheart teases Mikey's conscience, there's something to be said about Apollomon Whispered's intentions. The other six Dark Generals willingly agreed to the job, happy to ply their trades as evil bastards in service to their lord. Whispered was a program Bagramon installed to make sure Apollomon was an evil bastard as well. How ironic is it that the one general Bagramon had to manually influence is the one who plots against him? It makes sense if you consider that Whispered was designed to make Apollomon evil, ignoring the sense of loyalty that was seemingly natural to the other generals. With Apollomon Whispered happy at the way Underworld took out Bagramon's underlings as well as the Fusion Fighters, it might be something Bagramon should consider next time.
AxeKnightmon's loyalty has quickly shifted away from Ewan. For someone so determined to get Ewan out of Underworld alive, and owing him quite a debt in developing the Darkness Loader, AxeKnightmon sees the obvious: Ewan is no longer useful. Mikey's words and the entire Underworld experience were traumatic enough for the boy. He also has to wrestle with the logical belief that Mikey is dead, and that it's for good.
Damemon can no longer fake his fate, and so he's no longer playing along with the illusion (fittingly, Tyutyumon leaves his helm for the first time). For all the Digimon who have ever sacrificed themselves, there's something about Damemon's death that rivals the best of them. Ultimately, he goes down as a coward who thought keeping Ewan in the dark was the best way to protect him. In his dying hours, he regrets his actions and desperately tries to seek forgiveness. Truth is, his death is what makes the truth evident and ultimately sets Ewan on the path to redemption, for it finally and truly breaks him.
My Grade: A-
- What a pretty little scene of Shoutmon consoling Mervamon. True to his name, he doesn't get many quiet moments, so it really stands out. It shows that the grieving over Beelzemon hasn't stopped just because the team has more to do. It also shows that while Mervamon embodies most of that grief, she isn't alone. Finally, it's a rare moment of Shoutmon actually being regal in ways other than combat, an important step if we're to take him seriously as a king.
- We've already seen how AxeKnightmon perpetuates the illusion that this is a game, but it's interesting to see how far he goes. Not only does his original pitch to Ewan describe the world as his creation, Ewan's bedroom is elaborate and filled with toys and stuffed animals.
- Yay, another chance for Dracomon to use his awesome special ability at finding weak points! If you remember, Crusadermon did the exact same thing in Frontier. Sorry to make you remember those episodes, but we're trying to be fair here.
- It's hard to tell if it contributed a whole lot, but all the citizens of Bright Land cheering on Shoutmon X7 is a bit of light foreshadowing of the grand finale.
- One more injustice Mikey observes and has no choice but to swallow- said citizens of Bright Land will only ever know Apollomon as a tyrant, and the Fusion Fighters have neither the time nor incentive to convince them that he was ever good.
Hey kids! This Saturday is Odaiba Day and with a Digimon Festival happening in Japan, we’re expecting more information about Tri. I’ll be doing a livestream starting at 12:00 pm Eastern Time, where we’ll break down what we learn, answer questions, show clips on request, and anything else related to Digimon that you want to discuss! Check it out!