As shown last episode, Vegeta enters the fray after Goku is injured from Sorbet’s sneak attack. The Saiyan prince vows that Goku won’t die. Where as back during the Android saga, he protected Goku so that he could defeat Goku himself; here, he says that he needs Goku alive because he helps Vegeta get stronger. It’s a small moment, but it does show how Vegeta has grown and changed over the years.
Credit to Freeza, he points out that he’s not going to just stand there and let Goku get saved. His effort proves futile, though, as Vegeta is able to kick Goku’s body to safety and deflect Freeza’s blast. Not only is the blast deflected, but Vegeta manages to use it to take down Sorbet. It’s often brought up that Vegeta is a more tactical fighter, but this is one of the few moments where it gets to show.
Things aren’t looking good for the alien tyrant, but they only get worse when Vegeta transforms into the Super Saiyan Blue form himself. The transformation itself is underwhelming considering Vegeta tends to have the more dramatic transformations, but the scenes make up for it in other ways.
The look on Goku’s face is kind of priceless. He really does seem legitimately proud that Vegeta has gotten as powerful as he has. Goku even goes so far as to point out that, while he needed the help of other Saiyans to reach the god forms, Vegeta did it all on his own.
It only gets better when the fight begins and Vegeta utterly owns it. Yes, Freeza’s out of power, but it’s still a blast to watch. Where Goku often goes out of his way to ensure a fair fight, Vegeta just continues to pummel Freeza without giving it a second thought.
Vegeta doesn’t fall victim to his own pride as he has before, however, he waits just a few seconds too long to deliver the killing blow, allowing Freeza to blow up the planet. It’s very quick and Vegeta barely has time to react before it all happens.
That’s not to say that the episode doesn’t milk it a bit. We get cuts to the other characters as they go on about their days as things erupt around them. It makes for a rather powerful montage as the heroes’ loved ones are killed with no knowledge of what’s happening.
Fortunately, Beerus has Whis erect a force field around the group to protect them from the blast. While Gohan mourns the loss of his family, Goku regrets not finishing Freeza when he had the chance. Even Beerus reinforces this, saying that Goku’s kind heart got in the way.
It’s suggested that Freeza survived the blast, but it never gets addressed directly as Whis informs them that he can rewind time. It was hinted at in an earlier scene and as these are divine beings, you can let it slide. It is also much quicker than having them embark on a quest for dragon balls to undo things. There are limits, however. Whis can only wind time back 3 minutes and it takes an awful lot of energy, meaning that he won’t be able to do it again. Gods having limits seems odd at first, but from a writing standpoint, it was essential if there was to be any tension in future stories.
Vegeta isn’t completely robbed of his moment of glory, but Goku has to take on the role of kill stealing punk. He leaps in and kills Freeza with a last second kamehameha wave. Goku doesn’t have as much time to build up the charge as he usually does, meaning it isn’t his most dramatic blast, but it gets the job done.
Credit to Vegeta, he takes it in fairly good stride. Sure, he’s confused and slightly miffed, but he doesn’t invoke the Saiyan code of honorable combat as much as you’d think he would.
With the day won, Bulma throws a party. It acts as both a celebration and a gesture of gratitude to Whis for giving them a mulligan. It gives us some great moments. Gohan’s reunion with his family was rather heartwarming, but we also get some development as he later asks Piccolo to train him again so that he can do a better job protecting them.
The bit where Trunks vows to slice Freeza in half should he ever return was also rather amusing. Even Goku and Piccolo do a double take when they hear that. The poor kid has no idea why they find it funny, but it is.
This was a strong episode. Freeza’s defeat is a tad anti-climactic, but it makes up for that. As noted, Vegeta’s beat down is glorious and the happy ending is particularly effective. At this point, we move past the material seen in the movies and go into original story material. It should, hopefully, add an extra element of excitement as we won’t know what’s going to happen next.