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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Thomas' family issues, hinted at several times in the past, see their
culmination here, giving us an introduction for MirageGaogamon's burst
mode that hearkens back to the formula set by the original series.
While this episode still suffers from the main hindrance of the
previous one, namely a belated recollection of character background,
the matter is overall handled more poignantly.
The revelation that Thomas was shunned and belittled by his, for all intents and purposes, prejudiced grandmother is shocking, definitely the harshest secret any of these guys harbors. I must say, for all the character and story issues I've perceived in "Data Squad", I've been pleasantly surprised at how interesting Thomas has been. If I had to choose, I would still say that Matt has a slight advantage as a character. His behavior was actually framed by his background, his personal issues highlighted his weaknesses and drove him to make mistakes. Thomas definitely has hardships that are interesting to explore, but these more describe than affect him as a person. The exception to this is his feelings of isolation and underappreciation due to his intellect, but any consequence from this was reduced to a facade. Even so, one has to consider that while Matt believed that his family didn't want him, Thomas comes from a family that ACTUALLY didn't want him; that counts for something. Furthermore, his relationship with Relena is given an additional layer, as we learn that she has been the only one that treated him like family.
One thing that is quite disappointing is that no further detail is given on Thomas' mother, which denies "The Gorge of Deception" of the weight, meaning and context that it needs. As is, it's just a prolonged flashback that, with empty shocks, explains why Thomas ended up with people that demean him.
The action sequence at the end suffers from the portrayals of both combatants. MirageGaogamon, despite his decent monster design, is clearly the runt of the group. He has lost too many fights to be taken seriously, and his bust mode isn't too distinct aside from that immense flail he carries. LordKnightmon's cartoonish effeminate male voice is laughable, making me wish that the dub went the same route as "Frontier" and just portrayed this one as a female. Nonetheless, Thomas' part brings enough emotional heft to keep us invested in the outcome.
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