In this episode, Christopher is shocked when his blatant disregard for his allies and a false sense of strategic superiority is countered by Gravimon's blatant disregard for his allies and false sense of strategic superiority.
After Zamielmon's defeat, the Fusion Fighters were shocked to learn that Nene's brother is working against them. Fighting Splashmon, the Fusion Fighters were shocked when it appeared that Dorulumon had turned against them. Fighting Olegmon, the Fusion Fighters that hadn't turned against them were shocked to learn that Ballistamon had turned against them. You'll never guess what happens when they fight Gravimon!
The last three Dark Generals worked with a degree of deception. Whether it's through size disruption, water illusions or sound manipulation, there was a curtain to be pulled that required some sort of ingenuity. While they weren't always the smartest, they allowed character moments, required some thought, and offered challenges that couldn't be defeated with brute force. You know, an actual stage to battle through with interesting enemies and platform puzzles before the boss fight. Canyon Land is set up as a linear corridor with hundreds of generic bad guys and a giant gate with a big sign around it reading “come at me, bro.” It's a slog to Robot Master #6.
Mikey and Nene have always relished in complicated scenarios. Christopher sees the simplicity here and jumps all over it. After the NeoMyotismon thing went down, we were supposed to believe that he could at least pretend to be a team player for the cause. While we saw his harsh attitude in every land visited since then, we also saw an element of trust that in the end he does the right thing for the team. Suddenly, and without any warning, he's making a big speech about how his ultimate objective is proving his superiority over both Lord Bagra and Mikey. He says it's because the finish line is tantalizingly close. Somebody should tell him there are two whole Dark Generals left, plus the final boss. Even if we abandon the Mega Man jokes and assume Bagramon won't revive all seven generals (that would just be dumb, right?), they're only a little more than halfway home. Don't get cocky!
But no, cocky he gets, and boy does it feel forced. His plan is terrible- send Nene's team (of two) against hundreds of Gravimon's troops, then send half of Mikey's team (basically three) against hundreds more, send the other half (only two bother to pop out) against hundreds more, while Christopher crashes the gate and defeats a relatively unguarded Gravimon. It's selfish and puts everybody in dangerous positions. That's the point, of course, but Christopher levels up in asshole in such a short time that we can't help but roll our eyes.
It also relies on what appears to be tactical incompetence on Gravimon's part. When faced with limited and divided firepower from three sides, why send massive squadrons against all three, leaving nobody back home to defend the fort? Even if it's only a copy and you have even more massive squadrons lying in wait, it's an inefficient use of manpower on a Zapp Branigan scale. Was he afraid his ridiculous numbers advantage would be so great he wouldn't get a chance to corrupt Christopher? God forbid he kill Mikey the easy way!
When Cherrymon corrupted Matt, the warning signs were there, built up slowly but triggered decisively by one incident that made him question his worth to the team. Even then, it was hard for us to buy that he'd really turn on Tai. Christopher's always been an ass, but there was no warning sign that he would suddenly mismanage the Fusion Fighters to this extent. When Gravimon crushes him and the first part of his tragic backstory emerges, Christopher is too easily convinced that defeating Mikey will prove his power, especially with Bagra poised as such a strong adversary and their precarious position against Gravimon. If he's really out to be king of the mountain, he should at least be shrewd enough to wait until they actually start climbing before pushing his allies off.
My Grade: B-
- Christopher claims that Gravimon wasn't expecting them, despite the massive army and the fact that word about their conquests seems to get around. Judging by the look of the world, Gravimon has nothing else to do but expect them.
- Shoutmon and Nene are pretty hostile to Christopher's plan, but Mikey agrees to go along with it. Terrible as it is, given that level of opposition, something along those lines is probably the best way to go. Where Mikey goes wrong is not making adjustments (like suggesting that Christopher use some of his less essential troops to help Mikey draw out the enemy) and, most importantly, lecturing Christopher about prioritizing defeating the Bagramon army above overcoming his daddy issues.
- Lost in all the Christopher drama is that Nene pulls off some amazing moves in this episode. The midair digifuse (complete with suicide leap) is sweet.
- Given their respective situations, you can almost give Christopher a pass for attacking Nene and Dorulumon along with their opponents. But Mikey seemed to be in control of his side of things, even if it involved covering and hiding. That's proper tactics and Christopher seems to disrupt it just for the lols.
- That said, his digi-defuse to take out the pair of Anubismon might be one of the great moves of the season.