There are moments during each series that you just salivate waiting for because you know they’re going to be epic. The fall of an arc’s villain. A team finally coming together for a big united battle. The unleashing of a promised new power. When you’re looking at a show that’s entirely driven by story and action, the payoffs for these moments have to click. As much as this season lacks, it has pulled some of these off. DoneDevimon’s defeat may have been narratively awkward but you can’t say it wasn’t big or memorable. And the big united team wins over Gorimon and Eyesmon remain epic highlights. So there’s decent odds that Angemon’s triumphant return is going to blow us away, right? Time to be let down again…
Beyond the bland interactions and the traditional act of Joe making a fool of himself, the priority shifts instead to Koshiro somehow managing to upgrade the Digimon analyzer in the spare time he didn’t have, and watching the Zurumon they left behind continue to unleash havoc on the real world. Real world implications have always added to the pressure of what our heroes are trying to do, but unless the trouble is nearby, there’s a ceiling where it just becomes a generic “the world is in trouble.” As dramatic as the sight of a NASA rocket exploding at launch is, it’s all detached from the reality the kids are in. Much like the tanker crisis, they’re watching everything through a computer screen, and none of them have a personal stake in anything. As far as they’re concerned, everything happening now is a step down from Tokyo nearly getting nuked in the first three episodes.
It’s one of those episodes that would have worked better had we just been able to write it off as more filler and move on to something hopefully meaningful. But its attempt at significance drags it down even more with a tacked-on appearance by DarkKnightmon. His presence on the new continent is totally predictable (as evidenced by us predicting it two episodes ago!); the only surprise is that they’d waste his debut at the end of a throwaway episode like this, all out of desperation for some sort of cliffhanger.
Compounding the problem is that they wasted yet another big moment: Angemon’s big return. There’s no warning for it, no big moment of personal growth. The show forgets Takeru exists half the time and we have no idea who he is beyond brother to Yamato and puppet to the Holy Digimon. But suddenly here comes Angemon, a tidy seven episodes after his initial death. Without the emotional buildup, what should be a triumphant moment is met with a shrug. Especially because Takeru and Patamon just watched the rest of their team get their asses kicked by Groundramon for twenty minutes. They didn’t consider maybe jumping in and helping out during all that?
My Grade: C
- Sora checking with Yamato that Takeru was “the brother” sounded less like actual interest in Yamato’s family and more confirming that Yamato’s story was actually true. With that tone she could have asked for ID.
- Farewell Team Leomon. Rest assured we’d rather follow you guys, wherever you ended up. We’re even going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you survived that storm. With this series, that takes a lot of trust!
- If you want a perfect example of how lazy the show is about showing character, look at Koshiro’s lack of reaction to Taichi throwing Hikari into his care. Any sort of discomfort about suddenly being responsible for his friend’s little sister could offer clues about Koshiro’s family situation, or his surprise at the degree Taichi trusts him. In episode 36 of the original series, Yamato really struggled when Taichi left Hikari in his care and it was beautiful. That’s also the same episode Joe got an new evolution over his determination to protect Takeru.
- The level of acrobatics Taichi continuously has to perform to jump and land on Greymon is getting borderline ridiculous. Of course, his insistence on always riding Greymon already is.
- Sadly, the best character interaction of the episode was Greymon teasing Garurumon before their fight with the Tortamon. And even that doesn’t give us anything new!
- Mimi freaks out atop Birdramon but is absolutely fine once she lands, even saying that it was a fun trip. We appreciate that Mimi’s doing her best to be interesting, even joining us in complaining about DarkKnightmon’s gratuitous appearance!
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