Adventure: (2020) Episode 57: Contact From the Catastrophe

In this episode, Algomon forces Agumon to identify the true Taichi based on his unique personality traits. Yeah, even Agumon isn’t going to figure that out.

Even if they don’t know what they mean yet, we’ve got two kids now with lit crests. It’s slow progress, and the lack of any sign of what this upcoming threat is has dragged down any sense of momentum the arc is trying to build. Throwing Algomon back into the picture answers that nicely. Even without revealing the actual villain, bringing the original bad guy back creates the impression that everything is tied together and that we truly are building up to something big. Everything’s a little too simple to be truly convincing or compelling, but it’s still effective at kickstarting the story. It’s a good framework to build around, even if the actual action in the episode is a sad joke.

Despite the lack of sense that anything’s been accomplished, the episode plays a neat trick to convince us otherwise. The degree of bustle going on between all the different parties suggests that a lot is happening. Taichi is being airlifted to an unsaid destination. Joe has taken over the hot spring and Tailmon is his best customer. Patamon is apparently over his inability to evolve that was secretly the most interesting thing about episode 51. Yamato is chiming in from the post-Zanbamon rebuild. Mimi is helping out Babamon’s school. Koshiro is ready to move on from the research center. Sora… still exists. By capitalizing on everyone’s various positions, the current situation feels a lot busier than it really is.

Instead of the reality of the show spinning its wheels, this tone makes Algomon’s sudden intervention feel like it’s genuinely interrupting something. Either way, it’s very welcome. Early on, Algomon was a force we sensed would be a recurring element. The swarm only reappeared during the tanker crisis and just sort of vanished once other more direct guardians took hold. It returns here in impressively intimidating form, swarming around Taichi and Algomon before unveiling its central form, one strangely cordial and eerily polite. Another neat vibe, adding just enough intrigue before it inevitably reveals its true nature and locks the pair into a fiendish trap.

Mind you, when we say “fiendish” we mean a psychological test that would give normal, competently written heroes serious pause. Identify and rescue the genuine partner, with each incorrect guess violently punishing you! This entire piece fails on two critical fundamentals. One is that this incarnation of Taichi has enough personality to be identifiable. Even if many of the fakes are instantly recognizable for being too fearful, too complacent, or too angry, it’s just no fun trying to figure out the real thing. Even when Agumon actually has a think and spotlights Taichi’s boundless optimism and determination, the real Taichi does absolutely nothing to demonstrate this while he’s tied up, letting the fakes do all the emoting. Honestly, Agumon’s only clue would be that the real Taichi is the one that didn’t show any personality!

Thankfully, the second failure is that Agumon actually cares about the penalty following a wrong answer. He doesn’t stop to consider how Taichi would respond in order to identify him. No, he considers it to realize that Taichi would just set off all the explosions, ignore the damage posing as a deterrent, and then free whichever one’s left. It’s authentic to their characters while also indicative of just how pathetic their characters are. WarGreymon’s ensuing curbstomp is an afterthought that makes us wonder why anyone should be threatened by Algomon anymore.

Once that nonsense is over, it’s back to the same foreboding tone setting that made the episode promising. Algomon’s mission was to confirm what they’re up against. It’s unclear how much intel it can gather from only one partnership, but it leaves satisfied with its findings. It remains cordial, telling Taichi that the end is coming to make the world vanish, because giving the greatest obstacle more information is always a good idea. Koshiro connects the dots and reasons that Algomon is the operation’s scouting unit. Not sure how consistent that is after it came off as the main troublemaker in two prior incidents, but the net result is the kids discovering relevant information and growing increasingly concerned about how powerful and organized the threat is. Paired with some ominous shots of Algomon and the great dark eyeball, it’s enough to propel us forward, which can be appreciated no matter how clumsy the actual content was.

My Grade: C+

Loose Data:

  • Patamon says the hot spring cured him right up. This is already the season of unrealized potential, but if that’s really all it took and it wasn’t some cosmic punishment for forcing an alternate evolution under the most desperate of circumstances, it might set a new low for a series already infamous for failing to capitalize on his best ideas. Patamon and Tailmon weren’t even factors in that hot spring episode!
  • To give you an idea just how well the episode hid the fact that the show hadn’t been spinning its wheels, there’s no indication of where Taichi’s actually going, just that there’s a research crew giving him a lift there.
  • Taichi is surprised that Algomon are present in the Digital World, even though it’s still clearly a Digimon and plenty of others have bridged the gap before.
  • Remember last episode when we said the extended evolutions lent themselves well to the pace of the action? This is the opposite of that. Agumon laying waste to everything was quick and dirty and the evolution sequences should have reflected that.

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  1. I can't say I would have been terribly bothered if Agumon ended up going off with one of the fake Taichi.

  2. Agumon flexing his digital brain meat pretty well. Kinda wish Algomon Perfect/Ultimate replaced DarkKnightmon sooner; would've made the Entmon PIS more bearable.

    Do wish Taichi was less bland though.

  3. You compared this series to Frontier way back, when talking about the celestial war, and now you mentioned it, I think there are more and more parallels between these two series (good and bad).

    There's the largely thin characterization of the leads (with a couple of exceptions, in this case Patamon and Gatomon), the multitude of side characters who feel like they're in more interesting stories than the main one, a celestial war in the backstory, alternate evolutions popping up for different advantages, a story that keeps tonally shifting and feels like it was improvised as it went along (actually, shades of Adventure Zero Two in those last two points), the increased focus on the two male leads, and the subplot way back of reviving an ancient evil involved in a previous war, using gathered data (in this case courtesy of the Vademon). Tell me you don't see a bit of Takuya in this season's Taichi?

    Although... I have to admit I don't know how Algomon fits into the pattern. Maybe he's this season's Lucemon? Mentioned/Appeared early in the series, forgotten about for a while, comes back to be the final boss?

    Algomon would make sense as a final boss, in a Come Full Circle kind of way. I'm just wondering if there's going to be some major twist when we get there - like Algomon was secretly behind everything or serves an even bigger final boss - or if it'll be a pretty straightforward endgame like Millenniummon. Here's hoping he puts up more of a fight, at least.