As has happened so often in the Wano arc, 1050 is one of those episodes cursed to follow an absolute animation peak like 1049, so on some level it was set up to fail. That said, the Toei team deserves a break, and this episode nevertheless does a good job of leaning into flashbacks and building up the emotional stakes for a big finale.
Momonosuke is a character I have mixed feelings on. I don’t really care for him much on an individual level and most of his joke bits fall flat for me. That said, he means a lot to characters I really enjoy (like Kinemon) and I like his role in the story as the inheritor of Oden’s legacy. It’s interesting juxtaposing him with the Akazaya Nine in particular – whereas they chose to follow Oden in life and even after his death, Momo has been thrust into this against his will. He never chose any of this, so his reluctance/fear to live up to his father’s towering legacy is understandable; how hard is it to not only be your own person, but escape the shadow of a parent who has become a legend in his own lifetime? That’s a lot to ask of a small child.
The actual fight doesn’t look all that incredible visually, but the emotional pop from everyone in Onigashima sells it. The tears in his eyes, the strain to break Kaido’s scales, the great pacing. The added triumph of Luffy’s survival adding a big double-whammy boost to the freedom fighters’ morale makes the ending of the episode feel like we’re building to even more excitement for next week. 1050 certainly does a lot with a little.