In this episode, Mikey believes the final Dark General is trying to help them defeat Bagramon. Christopher believes he's luring them into a trap. Turns out they're both right!
So far in this adventure, Mikey's gotten off fairly easy. Not that he hasn't had to overcome his share of hardship and loss, of course, but nothing so far has been able to rattle his mind. Physical danger and watching his Digimon risk their lives is one thing. It's another to have his morals and philosophies challenged in such a way that there is no magical option where everybody wins. Every main character at some point has to go through with this, some like Davis and Takato very early on. As we hit the final Robot Master, it becomes very clear that Mikey's finally going to have to get his hands dirty.
The sight of a field of Digimon, all still alive and all in agony and all pinned down by spikes, makes it clear that there will be no easy way out this time. The Fusion Fighters could have rescued them; Shoutmon DX proved that those spikes aren't indestructible. But they realize that this was the symptom, and that they couldn't waste resources attacking it instead of the disease. They fight Apollomon's lieutenants, but the general stops the battle quickly, declaring Shoutmon DX the winner and granting them an audience. Apollomon is honorable, respectful, honest, and claims to be a good guy that's only torturing everybody in town as cover.
The three generals all disagree about whether to believe Apollomon. None of the reactions are all that surprising. Mikey believes Apollomon, but then again he also trusted Lucemon and look how that turned out. Nene likes Apollomon's plan but is just too skeptical to take a chance. Christopher flat out doesn't trust him. Cementing their decision is Shoutmon, who disagrees with Mikey- something that should have received more emphasis. Mikey's voted down and the attack is on.
There's nothing wrong with Christopher's logic. While having Apollomon as an ally in the final battle would make things easier, killing him gets the team to Bagramon just as easily. That means that even though Apollomon's refusal to fight makes his allegiance clear and turns Shoutmon around, Mikey's the one out of line when he violently tries to stop the fight. Christopher and Nene were just as likely to see what Apollomon was doing, and the injuries he refuses to heal until he can heal those down below. Mikey's fighting puts him in direct danger and while Apollomon saves him and finally sways his doubters, by acting in this manner Mikey shows a lack of respect for his fellow generals.
Still, there's actually a lot of maturity in this story by having a disagreement between them so soon after the big moment of unification and understanding. It would be easy to rush into the final general and overcome a challenge as one and go to the end on a high note as a tight unit. Instead, even though they've reached common ground, they still disagree on the best course of action. It doesn't mean they aren't looking out for each other (Christopher's look of horror after he accidentally throws Mikey into the blast proves that), but they each have their own opinions and are determined to express them in a tricky situation like this.
It gets trickier when the decision becomes less about strategy and more about ethics. Just as they reach a breakthrough with Apollomon, Ewan comes in with the bombshell. In an impressive display of common sense and foresight, it turns out Bagramon and AxeKnightmon were suspicious of Apollomon since the beginning and implanted a way to corrupt him if he ever rebelled. Now even Apollomon is begging to be killed, and now Mikey's unwillingness to do so hurts the team big. The choice is apparent and he's still not able to overcome his mindset and pull the trigger. The evolution to X7 fails, they're dragged into Underworld, and they're stuck playing Ewan's game. Good work, hero.
My Grade: A-
- Much like Data Squad, Fusion's been pretty underwhelming with its episode titles, so getting a title this badass was a pleasant surprise.
- How about that welcoming image of all the Digimon impaled with spikes, yet still alive? Between that and Gravimon's core in Mikey's arm, the dub is apparently fine with leaving in the really gruesome stuff as long as it doesn't involve death or boobs.
- It is, however, oddly literal about calling Apollomon's lieutenant Marusumon rather than going with Marsmon like everybody assumes. It's not wrong, just sort of surprising that they didn't take a perfectly acceptable opportunity to simplify it. Merukimon was understandable given the already-established Mercurymon, but this... anyway, how about those pictures of Puruuto that NASA just released?
- The other lieutenant, Sethmon, is fine, but there's something really jarring about the giant crest of love on his forehead. Fusion loves to throw Armor types everywhere and those often include crests in their designs. This is just an odd side effect.
- Sparrowmon says a force field kept her from flying to the top... as she's flying to the top. She also has the audacity to tell the others the climb wasn't so bad.
- There's something a bit creepy about Apollomon refusing to heal his injuries while he's inflicting pain on others. It's played as a noble show of sacrifice, but it's more like self-harm and disturbingly unhealthy physically and mentally.