"Darkness Dawns", known as "Despair from Darkness" in the original version is the sixty-first episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime. It aired in Japan on July 25, 2018. It aired on Decmber 15, 2019 on Teletoon.
Having received some new info from Kolter, Playmaker and Soulburner head for a new gate that has recently appeared. However, it turns out that The Shepherd has set up a trap there. After capturing Soulburner, Shepherd searches through his memories...
Emma Bessho contacts Skye Zaizen at sunset. Skye, who is in her apartment, is informed of the trap set up to lure Playmaker. Skye replies that they need to do something to help. Emma, also at her home, is not impressed that Skye called her "Ghost Gal", and says that she personally knows who she suspects to have set up the trap.
Meanwhile, Playmaker contacts Kolter to inform him that The Shepherd created the fake portal meant to lure him. Ai responds that Soulburner and Flame took the bait for them. Kolter agrees they need to get Soulburner out quickly, and Playmaker asks if Kolter's picked up anything. Kolter says there's a lot to get through but he's working on it. Ai wonders how long they'll have to wait, because guests have arrived to entertain them. Playmaker recognizes them as bounty hunters, and asks Kolter to be quick.
Inside the portal, Soulburner continues to be trapped in his own mind. Shepherd isn't happy that he's caught Soulburner instead of Playmaker, but at least Soulburner has an Ignis. Shepherd decides to scan Soulburner's memories. In one memory, Theodore woke up at the harbor of his grandparents' home at the prompt of Kiku, a friend of his. Kiku wasn't happy that Theodore had been skipping school so close to exam time. Theodore claimed he was ready, but Kiku responded that Theodore's grandparents weren't sure, and were worried about him as well. Suddenly, Theodore held his head as something flashed in his memory. When prompted by Kiku, Theodore ignored and started to leave the harbor. At a tunnel, a gang rounded up on an innocent victim, who claimed he had no money to pay the tolls. Before the gang could do any more, Theodore and Kiku showed up. Theodore stared evilly at the yellow-haired ringleader. The green-haired gangster came to his leader's rescue, only for the leader to let go of the victim and storm off. The green-haired gangster made a comment before catching up to the rest of the gang, calling the leader Taz. Taz said he wasn't scared of Theodore.
The victim thanked Theodore and Kiku, only for Theodore to walk away from both of them. Kiku smiled sheepishly and caught up to Theodore, only for the latter to hear a voice in his head. Theodore looked to the appliance store on his right. Upon being asked by Kiku why he's acting strange, Theodore tried to say it was a ghost. Kiku laughed, saying Theodore shouldn't worry about them until night-time. Theodore got fed up and walked on. Theodore returned to his grandparents later that night. His grandmother said Theodore was late, and grandfather was expecting him in the dojo. Theodore then lost a judo bout to said grandfather, who warned him that he will not allow Theodore to surrender. After still failing to win in judo, Theodore went outside to wash his face, and remembered his grandfather's words. He slammed his fists in frustration. Meanwhile, Theodore's grandparents disagreed on the way they were treating their grandson. Grandmother reminded her husband that Theodore's parents did not raise him like her husband did. Grandfather looked on at pictures of Theodore's clearly deceased parents, and grandmother stated that Theodore's parents would not have wanted Theodore to get injured by judo. Theodore himself has returned to his bedroom just as his grandparents continued to talk between them. Theodore then saw his own television flash and a voice call out to him. When the television cut out, Theodore crouched in front of it and talked to it, before realizing what he was doing.
The next day, Theodore went out to the same shopping tunnel as before. He saw the green-haired gangster from before talk with his friend about Playmaker. Having heard this, Theodore towered over the gangster and asked for what he knew about Playmaker. The gangster eventually calmed down and told Theodore all he knew. He said Playmaker logged out and vanished after saving LINK VRAINS, never to be seen again. Just then, the rest of the gang hurried towards the green-haired gangster's rescue, including Taz. Theodore walked away without a fight, while the green-haired gangster cried on Taz's shoulder. Taz decided they should do something about it, and the green-haired gangster agreed. At the harbor, Kiku looked on her tablet to see a news feed on Playmaker saving LINK VRAINS, meaning that what Theodore heard from the gangster was true. Theodore borrowed the tablet to see, and asked how he was supposed to see the rest of the article. Kiku swiped up for Theodore, who was then able to read about the Knights of Hanoi, and how he wasn't alone. Just when Kiku picked up a call on her phone, Theodore started seeing the same illusion from the television, on Kiku's tablet, and slipped the tablet out of his hands by surprise. By then, Kiku had hung up and managed to catch her tablet, before irritably shouting at Theodore. Theodore whimpered that her tablet talked, and Kiku said it would because it had speakers, although they were on mute all this time.
That night, at his grandparents' home, Theodore maintained that he wasn't seeing or hearing things, and went into his storeroom to retrieve his Duel Disk. This brought back memories of the Lost Incident, and the resulting loss of his parents after being freed. The Duel Disk started talking to Theodore, who, in a state of panic, threw the Duel Disk on his bed. He then pointed to the Duel Disk, calling it a ghost. When the Duel Disk continued to talk, a panicked Theodore tried to destroy it with his briefcase, only for the Duel Disk to mention the Lost Incident. Theodore calmed down and started talking naturally, learning that the program in his Duel Disk was an Ignis based off of himself. The Ignis confirmed, saying that he wasn't the only test subject. Playmaker and several others were too. Therefore, the Ignis asked if Theodore would be willing to help him find the other Ignis. The Ignis also observed that Theodore was talking with his back against the Duel Disk which he threw back in the storeroom, which the Ignis found rude. The Ignis had to repeat his query once more, which Theodore then replied that their only lead was Playmaker and LINK VRAINS, and that he would have to duel if he entered LINK VRAINS. The Ignis asked what problem he had with it.
A memory of the Lost Incident stood out clearly to Theodore, which was why he quit dueling. But before the Ignis can continue, Theodore's grandmother knocked on his room asking who Theodore was talking to. Theodore answered the door, and his grandmother replied that someone came to talk to him. Downstairs, a student from school told Theodore that Kiku was being held hostage at the shopping tunnel and her kidnappers demanded that he went to face them alone. To that, Theodore agreed. But the student also said the kidnappers wanted him to bring his Duel Disk. Thus, Theodore went to get his Duel Disk.
A while later, Theodore arrived at the shopping tunnel alone as requested. Taz ordered to see Theodore's Duel Disk. When Theodore complied, he was told to prepare to duel. Theodore complained that he isn't a duelist. Taz gave Theodore an ultimatum - lose, and Theodore gives up his Deck and becomes their newest lackey. Win, and they'll never bother Theodore or Kiku again. Kiku yelled that the gangsters cannot be trusted. Theodore's Ignis started to talk, to which the green-haired gangster agreed with what it said. When Theodore continued to hesitate, his opponent's patience wore thin and he counted, only for Theodore to finally accept his challenge, and tell them to let Kiku go.
Before the duel, Theodore was able to address Kiku one more time before she left, telling her not to worry because he'll be fine. Taz then revealed the identity of Theodore's green-haired challenger as Ridley, the regional duel champ for two years in a row. Looking at his Ignis, Theodore agreed that he never intended to back out of the challenge. The duel started with Ridley making the first move. Theodore's Ignis noted a strange strategy in which Ridley used the effects of his two "Plague Wolf" which would destroy them at the end of the turn, even though he wasn't allowed to attack if he went first. The Ignis got to his answer when Ridley played "Surrounded by Fallen Wolves" at the end of his turn. Theodore's turn was next, and his play involved the "Phoenix Gearblade" Spell which let his FIRE Warrior monsters attack again, to Taz's shock. But Ridley played his trap to revive his two "Plague Wolf" monsters once more, which were then destroyed by the attacks of Theodore's monsters.
During Ridley's next turn, Ridley announced the monster he would summon via "Call of the Mummy" - "Despair from the Dark", the card he knew would be Theodore's worst nightmare. Theodore's Ignis noticed him going blue. The monster from Theodore's worst memories of the Lost Incident was about to haunt him again...
Flashback Featured Duel: Theodore Hamilton vs. Ridley
This Duel is conducted as a Master Duel.
Turn 1: Ridley
Ridley activates the Continuous Spell Card "Call of the Mummy". As he controls no monsters, Ridley activates the effect of "Call of the Mummy", Special Summoning a Zombie monster from his hand. He Special Summons "Plague Wolf" (1000/1000). Ridley Normal Summons another copy of "Plague Wolf". Ridley activates the effects of both copies of "Plague Wolf", making their ATK become double their original ATK until the End Phase (Both "Plague Wolf": 1000 → 2000 ATK). Ridley Sets a card. During the End Phase, as the first effect of both copies of "Plague Wolf" were activated, their second effect activates, destroying them. Ridley activates the Quick-Play Spell Card "Surrounded by Fallen Wolves", Special Summoning two or three Zombie monsters from his GY of the same name with 1000 or less ATK that were destroyed by a card effect this turn in Defense Position with their effects negated, then Ridley draws cards equal to the number of monsters Special Summoned by this effect. He Special Summons two copies of "Plague Wolf" (1000/1000) and draws two cards.
Turn 2: Theodore
As he controls no monsters, Theodore activates the Spell Card "Majesty of Fire", Special Summoning a Level 5 or higher FIRE monster from his hand. He Special Summons the Level 8 "Phoenix Gearfried" (2800/2200). Theodore activates the Equip Spell Card "Phoenix Gearblade", equipping it to "Phoenix Gearfried". The equipped monster gains 300 ATK ("Phoenix Gearfried": 2800 → 3100 ATK). Theodore Normal Summons "Valkyrian Knight" (1900/1200). The effect of "Valkyrian Knight" prevents monsters Ridley controls from attacking face-up Warrior monsters except itself. "Valkyrian Knight" and "Phoenix Gearfried" attack and destroy both copies of "Plague Wolf". As "Phoenix Gearfried" equipped with "Phoenix Gearblade" destroyed Ridley's monster by battle, Theodore activates the effect of "Phoenix Gearblade", sending it to the GY to allow FIRE Warrior monsters he controls to make a second attack during each Battle Phase this turn ("Phoenix Gearfried": 3100 → 2800 ATK). "Valkyrian Knight" attacks Ridley directly. As Theodore's monster declared a direct attack, Ridley activates his face-down Trap Card "Howl of the Fallen Wolf", Special Summoning two Zombie monsters from his GY of the same name with 1000 or less ATK in Defense Position, then adding a Field Spell Card from his Deck to his hand. He Special Summons two copies of "Plague Wolf" (1000/1000) and adds "Edge of Darkness" to his hand. "Valkyrian Knight" and "Phoenix Gearfried" attack and destroy both copies of "Plague Wolf".
Turn 3: Ridley
Ridley activates the Field Spell Card "Edge of Darkness", and activates its effect, banishing two Zombie monsters from his GY with the same name to add a Zombie monster from his Deck or GY to his hand. He banishes two copies of "Plague Wolf" to add an unknown card from his Deck to his hand. As he controls no monsters, Ridley activates the effect of "Call of the Mummy", Special Summoning "Despair from the Dark" (2800/3000) from his hand.
The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.