I’ve said it before on here and i will say it again. This is why things should end… Stories should pick a point to end and stay there, as rarely what comes after the end is as good as what came before.
Reboot Season Three was a great ending, a fulfilling and satisfying conclusion to three seasons of build up. Arcs were carried out until the most logical ends, Megabyte was defeated, and Mainframe was restored to its brightest day yet. But as a child i didn’t care about that, i wanted more. I wanted, no needed to know who or what Daemon was, i needed to know what happened after the end. I couldn’t be satisfied by what i know was the truth; that it didn’t matter what happened next. It didn’t matter because Bob, Dot, and Enzo were reunited and together they would overcome anything.
But i got my wish, more came and while i can’t say what we got was bad thing, it certainly is unsatisfying in many ways…
Season Four is more serialised than ever before (They were made as two movies that were chopped up), and as a result it’s difficult to give an episode by episode summary so i will have to sum up the two individual arcs. The best arc that Season Four’s eight episodes have to offer comes straight away, as Daemon is revealed to be a super virus channeled through a french saint. It is certainly not what i expected, and is a welcome change from Megabyte’s megalomania and Hex’s psychosis. It also has the benefit of picking up right in the middle of the action, and sparing us the build up.
The biggest boon that Daemon’s arc adds to the series is some very welcome back story. We see what caused the explosion that destroyed Mainframe’s twin city, that was previously only hinted at. We see Bob, Megabyte, and Hexadecimal’s first arrival to Mainframe and how it was marred in tragedy. We finally find out why Megabyte was allowed to continue his existence, instead of just being captured and deleted, and the reason adds some good subtext and motivation for Bob to have come to and stayed in Mainframe in the first place. All of this antecedent information is nicely integrated into current events, and once again is a very welcome addition.
However there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and with that we come to Hexadecimal. I love Hexadecimal, i find she is one of the most interesting and oddly charming characters to have graced television. But here in Daemon Rising Hex starts to come off as a little annoying. She was more likable when she was crazy, as her quirks weren’t overly cutesy and her changing masks added to her character.
Now with her sanity and a real face, she just isn’t as interesting, also her crush on Bob was better when it wasn’t as clear. After all how could she say: “I’ve always loved you Bob…” when she helped Megabyte throw him into the web? Again, i blame this on how satisfying a conclusion Season Three had offered to Bob and Hex’s relationship.
In Showdown Hex’s romantic feelings are shown to be laced with a good deal of her insanity, and Bob being the good guy that he is helps her by mending her broken mask. This has unintended and frankly shocking results of Hexadecimal being granted a face; this gives her a sense of sanity and solidifies Hex’s feelings for Bob (in that moment, not for all the time that had passed before then. After all why would she betray someone she loved?). It’s a lovely scene, and its a culmination and conclusion of Hex’s character and Bob’s desire to help people out no matter the cost to him.
Daemon Rising, continues on showing that Hex is hopelessly in love with Bob, and competing with Dot for his affections. However it just doesn’t work as a love triangle because the entire series has been building up to Dot and Bob getting together, it muddles the waters and ruins the ending that we had in Season Three by stalling what should be happening (Dot and Bob being together). Bob also has to contend with a childish and immensely powerful stalker, he’s not conflicted by his feelings he wants to be with Dot, and that isn’t a good foundation for a love triangle either. Lastly while she is given a decent send off the unfortunate fact is that she has the fate of being scattered across the web, and i don’t much like that.
Other characters suffer, as their concluding arcs are either thrown away or the characters themselves turn into unlikable and unrecognisable people. Matrix is the former, where is the sprite that had the courage not to kill Megabyte? After all that Megabyte had done, Matrix showed that he was the better man by staying his hand, here in Daemon Rising he hates everyone and everything again. He turns into the cardboard caricature that he was always in danger of becoming, and with that goes my sympathies. When i had said that innocence was lost in Season Three, and people had to change for better or worse to survive we see the fruits of it in Dot. The Dot in seasons one, two, and three would never have sent young Enzo into the games in hopes of becoming a bitter self hating renegade, she couldn’t even send Bob into the core when their lives depended on it. Now in Season Four she considers her brother a strategic asset, and sends him to his doom…
In the end Daemon Rising would at the very least have satisfied as a flawed but still ok epilogue to Season Three’s dramatic closure had it just ended with the defeat of Daemon. But it doesn’t…
It goes straight into My Two Bobs, and that’s when things really start to unravel. Season Four’s second arc tries to bring things back to the shiny care free days of Season One. The gang plays games and afterwards goes to Dot’s Diner for an energy shake. The show returns to some of its earlier quirky humour, there are no major system spanning threats to deal with, and Dot and company can spend their time planning a simple wedding just like they had with Enzo’s first birthday. It almost succeeds, but the problem is that the people in Season Four aren’t the same ones they were in Season One.
This is especially so with Dot. Dot used to be somebody i liked, she was a strong character able to think decisively and care for her brother and Bob. Here in Season Four she is a judgmental, indecisive, and shallow reflection of what she used to be; so what happened? Well Season Three happened, and when you have your life destroyed one piece at a time you tend to change. Again, although the city was restored and the big bads defeated the innocence was lost. Dot says as much to Phong when she states that all she can see when she looks at Glitch Bob is the pain and suffering that she went through. This once again ruins the ending to Season Three.
Dot and Bob finally admitted their feelings for each other, and it was their ultimate reward for enduring the pain and suffering caused by Megabyte. My Two Bobs has Dot throwing it all away for a Bob that looks like he had in Season One. Is this what Dot has become? Has she suffered and fought her way through pain and horror, only to be weak willed and cowardly when the chance comes to run away? It’s clear that’s exactly who she is, as she ditches the person who fought to be by her side irregardless of the fact that he may even be the original Bob (she even states on the altar that it doesn’t matter anyway). Poor Bob, he should’ve went with Hex as at least she knew the value of sacrifice.
Then there’s the problem with Megabyte coming back, i know i’m beating a dead horse here but just say it with me: This again, ruins the ending to Season Three. Matrix doesn’t beat Megabyte with just brute strength, indeed he isn’t as physically strong as Megabyte and is beaten down again and again. Matrix beats Megabyte through the strength of his will (which he has more of), and aid of his friends (which again he has more of). Part of what makes his triumph so satisfying despite him not killing Megabyte is that it completes his character arc. He puts his past behind him, he lets go of his anger, he grows up. That sense of victory is ruined when Megabyte shows up better than ever, that sense of nuance is lost when he trades punches with Bob. There’s no subtext, no narrative weight, no nothing, it’s just a light show.
Then there’s the ending, which functions as the series finale. It’s a stop dead cliff hanger, that is less like a cliff hanger and more like a cut to commercial break. It’s horrible. It’s not an ending really, it just stops and that stains Season Four and Reboot as a whole for me. It stains it because there hasn’t been any closure since the last episode aired in November of 2001. The recent talks of a reboot to the series bring little closure, as they are not dealing with the gaping hole where they left off and are instead starting over… Frustrating is barely able to describe my feelings about the way Reboot ended, i’m just going to move on here.
Another serious issue with Season Four is how bad it looks in comparison with Season Three. I was looking forward to new episodes of Reboot as i was curious how much better it would look, as the series progressively increased in visual fidelity as it went along. If i have to say something positive, i will have to limit it to saying that it at least looks different.
Where to start really? Everyone’s faces are too… Boxy, for a lack of a better word. They almost have too many points of articulation, or the cheek muscles and bones have been made more prominent to the point where it actually looks more fake than the previous episodes. It doesn’t help that everyone’s skin looks like it was coated with acrylic paint. The lighting is so high key that it’s blinding, it washes away all atmosphere and mood, and pushes the saturation of the colours to gaudy pastel quality. As for the animation, it’s just off. I can’t really put my finger on it, it just feels really jittery and unnatural. Overall Season Four is a step back in visual quality from Season Three in every way, and is another source of disappointment for me.
Lastly the pop culture references again get completely out of hand here, particularly with a game that is just a rip off of Austin Powers. I mean how is that even a game??? Is it like Leisure Suit Larry???
Season Four isn’t a disaster, but it’s a monumental disappointment for me. Again its one of my best examples for why a story should end, as continuing story thread after it has stopped at the right moment is the same as adding to a tapestry with the spare threads. If you just cut them off you would have a better picture. Does that mean i don’t recommend Reboot Season Four? Well Season Four does capture some of the charm of the series, and is well written enough to at least be watchable. But i would say that it mostly depends on how you like your stories; if you like defined and satisfying stories that use narrative structure to build to a suitable climax and end properly, then stick with Season’s One, Two, and Three. If you just have to know what comes afterwards, and don’t mind unsatisfying sequels then hop in, but don’t say i didn’t warn you.
TOP THREE EPISODES
Man, i just can’t get a break. There’s no point in recommending one episode over the other in Season Four as it’s best moments are scattered throughout different scenes. I can say though that Daemon Rising is the best of the two arcs in Season Four, as it brings to light some important events from the past, and at the very least satisfies as an action cartoon.