In this episode, as the situation grows more dire, you can count on the digidestined to let emotion get the better of them and allow everything to get so much worse.
Well... that escalated... no, it's episode 10. “Quickly” isn't the right word. It escalated suddenly. That's better.
The emotional turmoil the digidestined face through the rest of the movie is unprecedented. We've had kids lose partners, argue with their partners, forget their partners, and fight partners corrupted by darkness. Confession throws everything at them at once with devastating impact. As the looming spectre and eventual reality of infection hits everybody, and an ominous warning worries the entire population, the pressure mounts. No matter how much everyone thinks they have a foothold, at some point human/Digimon nature takes over and every character glides into troubling mistakes.
Perhaps what's so agonizing about Takeru's situation is how obvious the right decision is. Patamon is clearly infected. He took a huge chunk out of his partner's arm while Joe was in the room. If Joe notices, Patamon is restrained, someone pokes Koushiro with a stick and they work things out from there with much tears and consoling. Instead, Takeru runs out with him, struggling to accept the reality of what's happening. It's irresponsible. It's dangerous. It puts Patamon in the situation of, once realizing he's sick, having to face a scary and possibly inevitable fate alone.
And yet... we get it. Takeru already lost Patamon once. He doesn't want to lose him again, and the right decision may lead to that. It's an understandable reaction, no matter how much worse it makes everything. He hides it from all of the other digidestined besides Meiko, who likewise is too ashamed to explain what she knows about Meicoomon. This, too, is an understandable mistake. She's the new kid in a group that accepted her with such warmth, only for her partner to make a mess of everything. They're both doing the wrong thing, but their reasons—denial, fear, shame, embarrassment—make them easier to forgive and all the more heartbreaking.
While Takeru and Meiko are the poster children for bad decisions this movie, everyone lets emotions get the better of them, compromising their stability. We've pointed out that Koushiro has become de facto team leader. This is him not leading. His obsession with finding answers and inability to care for himself knocks him out in critical moments. Everybody following Takeru's lead and taking their Digimon home is risky. Yamato even observes this. But Koushiro is too exhausted to participate in the team meeting and explain why, unable to muster a forceful counter-argument once everyone decides to go this way, and can't even focus enough to keep the Digimon in his office when they are under his watch. Taichi's recovering from his earlier hiccups, but still hasn't taken the reins back.
Everybody else is guilty of their own smaller mistakes. Regardless of Koushiro's terrible approach in questioning Meiko, he still needs to know what she knows. Mimi clings to Meiko and insists this isn't necessary. Joe fails to pick up on Patamon going berserk and can't stop Takeru from leaving with him. Both Yamato and Hikari sense something wrong with Takeru, but Yamato can't get through his obvious smokescreen and Hikari doesn't even try. Sora does all right worrying about everyone's welfare, but Piyomon wants her to worry about herself too. We all know where this is going to lead. Piyomon says she'll look out for her partner, but guess who won't be around at the start of the next movie!
Whatever the source of the ominous message warning about Digimon being released and a prelude to catastrophe, things are getting serious. Electrical disruptions and blackouts are leading to public panic, more of the partners are showing symptoms of infection, and now Hikari's getting possessed by mysterious entities again. While it doesn't spell out what is going to happen or what they can do to stop it, the digidestined are in a tense situation and will need to be on guard and ready for anything that happens. These mistakes both make them more vulnerable and suggest that they are not in a good position to react. This is a team of terribly flawed heroes. That's why we love them.
My Grade: A
- Takeru must have done a masterful job concealing those giant bite marks from Joe. At the same time, those were exposed while he was walking outside in the rain. He better be careful or Patamon's not the only one getting infected!
- For all of the lackluster ways the series chooses to preserve its mysteries, it found a good one with Meiko's secrets. While there's no doubt that she has more information, her insistence that it's her fault doesn't tell us much. Yes, this all really could be her fault. But she also has the kind of personality where she'd blame herself for something she had little control over.
- Between Agumon's eating habits and Takeru dodging his problems, Gabumon is just done with everything throughout this episode. Meanwhile, Tailmon's frustration with Agumon is only beginning.
- While Sora has often been given the label of team mom, it's a little odd to see her so openly embracing it, and may even be a bit of self-fulfulling prophecy as she works overtime to check up on everyone. Previous “mom” moments have been far more spontaneous and organic. At the same time, this is a character who struggled with her role and purpose on the team towards the end of Adventure, so when it's thrown in front of her so blatantly, she may just be taking the job and flying with it.