The episode opens with Tagoma boasting that he can take all 5 fighters at once. Jaco seems sure that it’s not the case, but Tagoma proves to be a viable threat in his own right. He effortlessly pummels Piccolo and rips off his arm when the Namek challenges him. Gohan does come to his rescue, but his attack proves ineffective. It seems that training with Frieza has not only made Tagoma stronger and more ruthless, but has made him more resilient to the point where he is impervious to most attacks.
Fortunately, Gotenks arrives and is able to find one weak spot on Tagoma’s anatomy. Where energy blasts fail, a head butt to the crotch succeeds at downing the enemy, albeit temporarily. It would’ve been cool to see Gotenks really get in on the fight, but alas, the fusion time runs out before he can do anything.
Strangely enough, the two retreat and go hide with Bulma. The fact that both are Super Saiyans themselves goes completely ignored. Gohan insists that they can’t fight these guys, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to hold their own along with the others.
It was nice to see Frieza not only acknowledge Gotenks’ resemblance to Goku, but notice the similarity between Trunks and the older version that killed him before. It only adds to Frieza’s brewing anger and resentment towards Earth’s heroes.
The fight does take an interesting turn as a frog ventures out into the battle field. Said frog approaches Tagoma and manages to write out the word “change” with one of his feet. Sure enough, said frog was Captain Ginyu from way back when they were on Namek. Ginyu recounts to Frieza how he ended up in the frog’s body and Piccolo deduces that he was transported along with everyone else when Porunga teleported everyone on Namek back to Earth.
While Ginyu has endured hardships, he is still loyal to Frieza and offers to finish the job. You wouldn’t think that Ginyu would present much of a challenge, but in Tagoma’s body, he shows that he’s capable of downing all 5 fighters with little trouble. It is only when Gohan goes Super Saiyan that the good guys are able to turn the tide in their favor. Gohan notes that his lack of training means he can’t hold the form for long. It does beg the question as to why he wouldn’t let Goten and Trunks join the fight when he’s barely able to keep up, but from the look of it, they may get their chance soon enough.
Ginyu was downed, but Frieza doesn’t surrender so easily. After a few surprise pot shots that catch the Saiyan off guard, Frieza begins torturing Gohan in earnest with maiming blasts and vicious taunts. It was surprisingly chilling. If you as the viewer still had the impression that Frieza was going to be some joke villain, this scene obliterates that completely. He’s cold, ruthless, and bent on extracting every ounce of revenge he can get. It’s actually quite amazing to watch.
The episode ends on an even grimmer note as Piccolo jumps in the way just as Frieza is about to deliver the killing blast. That is sort of Piccolo’s thing. Unlike other instances, Piccolo didn’t have the time to just grab Gohan and get out of the way. Also, due to the injuries he sustained, Gohan was physically incapable of dodging the attack. The episode ends with the impression that Piccolo has died, though it is safe to surmise that he’ll get out of it.
This episode was actually a blast to watch. It’s tense and the villains really got a chance to shine. Ginyu’s return was fun and all of the callbacks to the previous series were a nice touch as well. Even the hyperbolic time chamber gets a callback as Goku and Vegeta find themselves in a realm not dissimilar to the aforementioned area. Really, the only fault lay in the sidelining of Goten and Trunks (also Gotenks by extension). Everything else worked really well. This story line is proving to be much stronger than the last. Hopefully, it can keep the momentum going.