In this episode, while everything builds to a boil in the real world, Mysterious Man throws Taichi and Daigo into a spontaneous morality game with no good outcomes. Live or die- it’s your choice.
The deathtrap Taichi and Daigo fell into didn’t have to be some contrived morality game conceived by Mysterious Man. Apparently dropping some Nietzsche and teaching them lessons about human helplessness and fatalism is more fun than straight killing them (he’s not wrong). But there was a cleaner way to turn that bunker into a bomb. C’mon, Taichi’s bad with computers, that’s something you can run with. What we end up with is Mysterious Man throwing these two into this deadly situation as ironic punishment for their past mistakes- Daigo for turning a blind eye to Maki’s madness and Taichi for being too engrossed with his own problems to realize old teammates needed help. Sounds like a great premise for a Saw movie, but for Digimon it’s a stretch.
In part due to the characters’ roles and in part due to Daigo wearing All The Blood, you knew how this was going to end. The whole sequence feels like it’s on a rail, but doesn’t diminish the impact of Daigo’s final moments. Daigo’s team was cast aside as failures by the entity that chose it. He allowed his friend’s grief to drive her down a dark path devastating two groups of successors, endangering the world she was chosen to save, and losing her sanity and possibly her life. But he refused to be defined by all that, and ended up doing everything he could to keep hope alive among the current digidestined. He dies not only saving Taichi, Gennai, and the 02 kids, but also commanding them to fight for the future they want to see, independent of what Homeostasis or Yggdrasil or even the real world expects out of them.
Back home, after a brief reminder that Yamato is aware that Daisuke’s team exists and a tease that somebody in the Digital World got them home, it’s time to replace the outpouring of emotion over Daigo’s death with the heightened tension of preparing for the next skirmish with Ordinemon. It’s a bit of a dry spot in the movie, and that and the evolution sequences take up too much of the episode, but the feeling of helplessness lingers among the team’s fighters, a scary sensation this close to the climax. They know they can’t touch Ordinemon, and they now recognize the effects of this second reboot also means failure. But unless Hikari or Meiko can reach their partners they have no options, and initially sit out until recognizing they can at least shield the defense forces from Ordinemon’s attacks. Doubtful it helps smooth over any relations with humanity, but it shows they aren’t packing it in.
Meiko isn’t sold on her role in the fight. She’s there to draw Ordinemon away from land, and while she does it, she’s not convinced it will work. All the times Meicoomon has failed to respond to her has taken its toll, but rather than mope about it, she confronts the being who insisted their bond was important. Given how hard a shake she was given, she asks strong questions to Hackmon, and he concedes more than he ever had in the past. He acknowledges the burden Homeostasis placed on her, and laments the need for another reboot. Hollow words this late in the game, but just getting to that point and recognizing Homeostasis as fallible is progress.
More importantly, Hackmon notes that even if Meiko can’t sense that she’s reaching her partner now, the infinite possibilities within that bond makes such a thing feasible. Not only does this leave a door open for true salvation and a sliver of hope, it also speaks to the core belief Homeostasis must have to bother pulling in children in the first place: the potential power of the digidestined is stronger than any other force in the world. Given how much Homeostasis and Yggdrasil jerk everybody around in this series, we need to hear that.
Hikari, meanwhile, is still in a dark place, ready to give up after the losses she suffered and the disaster she helped create. Takeru is there with the plea for her to open up and let some hope in, but it’s the same words he’s used on her before and it all feels so futile. This isn’t her first dip in the darkness, and if the last times were any indicator, she has to take her own journey through it before she’ll let anybody in. That proves to be the case when Mysterious Man twists the screws more and sends her mind somewhere else entirely. Other than maybe Tailmon, nobody is going to reach her in this state until she lets them. The closest anyone ever came needed to slap her across the face, and Takeru’s not about that... although Patamon covered his eyes just in case.
My Grade: B+
- It was important that after getting all of Mysterious Man’s silly parameters, Taichi still hunted for a way to get everybody home in one piece. Not only do we need to see him rejecting this nonsense, it’s a reminder of the idealism that they’ll be forced to reject. Dire as the Meicoomon situation is, if Daigo hadn’t already resigned himself to his fate it’s totally fair to suspect they would have worked something out.
- In a way, the Digimon talking about the situation stings more than Yamato and company. The Digimon are among the first to bring up that Tailmon’s in there too, carrying a certain sense of dread over if she can be saved or what they may have to do.
- Sure, go ahead and wonder how Taichi got everybody to the hospital. If he flagged down some emergency assistance (totally reasonable), the better question becomes if Gennai went too, and what sort of stir there was at the hospital first time someone checked his vitals.
- Mysterious Man goes all in trolling Hikari for her role in Ordinemon, saying she “refused the prophecy.” If it’s referring to that prophecy from Determination, it’s the first time it’s come up in a while, suggests that Mysterious Man knows about it, and works out in the sense of Hikari seeking the darkness and planting her flag right there instead of taking the next step.
- At this point, summoning Devimon to fight Takeru is such manipulative dirty pool it almost doesn’t bear mentioning. Takeru still has a nice look of horror when he knocks HolyAngemon to the pavement.