As the episode opens, Frieza’s army is unleashed. They say it’s 1,000 warriors, but it looks like a lot more. It’s a very impressive force that the heroes are up against. With only 5 warriors, Roshi estimates that they’ll each have to take 170 of them if they are going to win the day.
It was noted before that Goten and Trunks were absent. It turns out this was intentional on Gohan’s part as he says they’re reckless. First of all, you could use the numbers. Second of all, they’re both Super Saiyans. Third, they can fuse into Gotenks and go Super Saiyan 3. Gohan is supposed to be smart and none of these obvious facts occur to him. Majin Buu is another asset wasted, but Gohan notes that the creature was sleeping and shouldn’t be disturbed.
It turns out to be moot as they are more than capable of taking out the troops with no trouble. It’s a mix of awesome and anti-climactic. Even the fact that Krillin is sitting it out doesn’t seem to do much to turn the tide.
Krillin’s fear was an interesting character turn. Considering Frieza killed him in their last encounter (something Frieza is more than happy to remind him about), he’s understandably rattled and freezes up.
It leads to a great “oh crap” moment when Frieza decides to turn the army’s attention to him specifically. The alien tyrant offers whoever kills him their own planet, something that entices every troop on the field.
It also leads to some development for Krillin as he unintentionally realizes that he’s more than capable of beating these guys. Roshi reminds him that he’s seen Cell, Buu, and Beerus in battle; as such, the movement of Frieza’s soldiers is slow and easy for him to dodge. Considering Krillin’s reputation as butt monkey, it was nice to see him get that moment of victory.
As the mooks aren’t making any progress, Sorbet orders Shisami, an elite soldier, to take on Gohan. The episode builds up some hype for the guy, but all he can do is get Gohan in a bear hug before Tagoma shoots him. As a result, Gohan is wounded, but Frieza’s officer is killed.
Sorbet’s shock and anger at this turn is understandable, but it did allow Tagoma to shine as he reveals that his time spent training with Frieza has had a profound impact on him. It was a great way to display both his and Frieza’s ruthlessness as they don’t even seem to care that they shot themselves in the foot. Tagoma offers to take the fighters out himself and the episode ends as Frieza offers him a planet of his own if he can succeed.
The episode really was quite a lot of fun. The music was used to great effect and they brought back the ominous chanting. If that’s Frieza’s theme, than it’s a fantastic one. The action was also well done as all 5 heroes got a chance to shine. There were also a few character moments to add weight to things.
That being said, there are some flaws. It’s disappointing to see that even after all this time, the team’s strategy is still to stall until Goku and Vegeta arrive. You’d think that they’d be more than capable of defending the planet, especially considering Tagoma’s big boast centers on claiming that he’s more powerful than Ginyu. So what? The Z-fighters have moved far beyond that at this point.
Also, Goku and Vegeta keep training. The implication is that they aren’t aware of what’s happening on Earth, but when Frieza was revived we clearly saw them stop and react as if they sensed something. They could have at least established that Goku has enough faith in his friends to think that they are up to the task, but not to have any mention of it is just weird. While they only appear in a quick scene, their story does advance as Whis decides to take them someplace else to train. Whis isn’t sure they’re ready for it, but Beerus implies that the Saiyans have overstayed their welcome. As Goku notes that they aren’t up to the task of fighting the god just yet, relocation probably was the best bet.
Flaws notwithstanding, this was a strong episode. The good far outweighs the bad. Even though Frieza has yet to really do anything and you could argue whether they should even view him as a threat, it’s a lot of fun to have him back. He’s a great villain and the show is putting him to good use.