Juggernaut (Digimon Tamers: Episode 13)
The episode opens to Guilmon in half-hearted combat with DarkLizardmon (a variant of Flarerizamon) who seemingly only wants to defeat Guilmon so that Takato will be her Tamer and she can Digivolve to the next level, which seems particularly difficult for Digimon in the Tamers Universe as none have moved beyond the Champion-level thus far. Guilmon takes her down with a Modify Ability called ‘MetalGarurumon Blast’: an ice attack that freezes the fire-based dark Digimon in her tracks. But before Takato and Guilmon can administer the coup de grace, Hypnos’ helicopters appear, drop units into the car garage compound, fill the space with smoke bombs, grab and restrain DarkLizardmon, and begin their retreat back to HQ. Yamaki, before leaving with his troops, alerts Takato to the danger of Digimon, and tells him that they should be contained as they are lethal beasts.
Over the course of the rest of the episode, Takato seems to develop an insecurity about Guilmon Digivolving again. He doesn’t want Guilmon to change and become another person in the process, and irrational fear consumes him despite the better rational side of himself knowing that Guilmon remained himself in the past when he changed into Growlmon, and that therefore, it is more likely than not that Guilmon will remain himself once again the next time that he Digivolves. The only way I can figure it is that as a kid, Takato’s personality and thoughts drift constantly into irrational spaces, and the changes he experiences physically and mentally, which are quite rapid at this age, cause a total personal instability of sorts. Guilmon seems just as confused as viewers at Takato’s fears and will later explain to Takato that he didn’t change in the past and won’t do so in the future, which seems to dispel Takato’s worries, for the time being.
At Hypnos, Calumon somehow infiltrates the organization and confuses Riley and her tracker co-worker who register the wild signal within the base, but cannot locate it. DarkLizardmon is being held within a large water tank where her data is being analyzed, though the scientists working on the process detail to Yamaki the possibility of the Digimon subject being destroyed if a total analysis is performed. Yamaki urges them onward, reminding them of his naturalness bias against constructed beings like Digimon: ‘A worm is more of a lifeform than this thing. They’re [Digimon are] just data.’ The scientists go forward with the research and inevitably, DarkLizardmon is destroyed in the process. However, the fate of her data, whose survival could lead to her eventual resurrection, is left unknown.
Terriermon plays around with a computer program on Henry’s home computer and opens a program, which keeps popping up new browsers of Digimon in silhouette. Before he can figure out how to turn it off, Susie enters the room and begins playing her ‘doll’ Terriermon, which prevents him from solving the issue at hand, whatever it may be. Kazu and Kenta are still disillusioned with the prospect of playing with Takato anymore, and even against the Digimon Card Game itself, which they have currently abandoned interest toward.
Back at Hypnos, Yamaki gets chewed out for doing such a bad job at preventing Digimon from bio-emerging. They compare Hypnos to mere dog-catchers who stop the problem only after it has caused damage. Some of his superiors seem willfully ignorant about Digimon, while others show a deep understanding of the issues at hand, revealing the very nature of Digimon (in the Tamers Universe) itself: ‘Years ago scientists created artificial life forms also known as Digimon.’ They are called advanced forms of intelligence so smart that even the scientists who created them could not control them.
Yamaki continues the explanation, revealing that the Digimon program was shut down and converted into a mere children’s game. Somehow the Digimon developed the ability to ‘synthesize proteins to take form here in the real world. He explains the danger insofar as Digimon are capable of nearly unlimited power and ‘indefinite lifespans’, which make them a threat to community safety and possibly even national security or an existential threat the human race. His plan is to find a way to eliminate them all, both in the real world and in the Digital World, and it’s called ‘Juggernaut.’ Throughout the rest of the episode we watch as the machine is assembled within Hypnos, and the mechanism is a thing of beauty, but if it works out like his last few plans, the Digital World and the Tamer children’s partners are probably in no real danger.
A man in black visits Mr. Wong, Henry’s father, and reveals himself as a ‘ghost from his past, when tour reckless friends thought you could do anything. Like creating digital lifeforms on the net.’ He tells Mr. Wong that these lifeforms are now out of control and warns that someone will have to pay the price. He requests his help in finding his old friend, a specific friend ‘who refuses to grow up, who is working on the project right now.’ Mr. Wong begins to get angry and presses the man about his identity and who has sent him, but Mr. Wong’s outburst is upset as soon as he turns in the hall to face the man and instead finds his son Henry standing there. This man is certainly not from Hypnos, or else his methods would be more obvious. No, the man in black seems not even to be of this world, as if he is projected by some Digital force of which the series has hitherto not been forthright in introducing or even foretelling.
Yamaki constructs a composite Digital being with which to bait his Juggernaut system, and as the mechanism goes online, an earthquake is felt throughout the town. Guilmon, seeming to know what is happening instinctively, responds: ‘It’s coming.’ His eyes begin to glow in the manner of his primal form. Meanwhile, Henry is at home with his siblings, his mother, and his father, eating dinner. He has some questions of his own for his father, about his time working as a programmer on Digimon coding. Mr. Wong promises to tell him all about it in due time, after dinner. And the episode ends. And for the first time on cliff hanger we are bound to really care about as events are finally beginning to move in the direction of story, of narrative, of plot, away from particularity toward the universal conflict at the core of Tamers. Something that took about five or six episodes too long to arrive in my estimation.
The Digidestined Cody