WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 115 of Dragon Ball Super, "Goku vs. Kefla! Super Saiyan Blue Beaten?" which debuted Saturday on Adult Swim.
For years, Goku and the Z Fighters have relied on fusion, a technique that combines fighters into hybrid individuals significantly stronger than the sum of their parts. This last resort is usually done to turn the tide of battle against considerably stronger opponents. Achieved either through a ritualistic dance or Potara earrings from the Supreme Kai, fusion returned in a major way during Dragon Ball Super, allowing Goku and Vegeta to fuse together to fight the evil god, Zamasu, earlier in the series.
As the Tournament of Power storyline in the series intensifies, Goku finds himself the tables have turned on him, as he becomes the target of two fused Saiyans. The fate of his universe hangs in the balance.
Picking up from the cliffhanger ending of the previous episode, Universe 6 champions, Caulifa and Kale, have used their own set of Potara earrings to merge into the new Saiyan warrior Kefla. Despite her relatively unassuming appearance, it quickly becomes clear that the alternate reality's most powerful fighter has officially entered the fray and she has Goku right in her sights.
Maintaining his form at Super Saiyan God, Goku and Kefla begin their battle with the entire arena quickly becoming engulfed by their epic confrontation. While Goku is at a noticeably higher transformation state than his new opponent, Kefla more than holds her own even while fighting in her base, untransformed stage.
The legality of being able to use Potara during the martial arts competition is called into question due to the earrings being outside objects. Ultimately, Grand Zeno and his alternate future double presiding over the contest decides that the powerful fusion earrings from the Kai are permitted for use, mainly as the two judges find the use of Potara fun and exciting, which is the reason why the two organized the tournament across the Dragon Ball Multiverse in the first place.
Now with expressly given permission, other universes contemplate giving their own fighters a pair of Potara but the powerful Kefla shatters them with her raw energy, rendering the possibility of future fused fighters entering the battle, including Goku and Vegeta's Vegito, a moot point.
While Goku had been exhausted for the past several episodes after his inconclusive bout against the Universe 11 champion, Jiren, the battle against Kefla reawakens his own fighting spirit. Goku is able to power up to his highest, controllable form in Super Saiyan Blue. Boasting a noticeable upgrade from Super Saiyan God at the expense of heightened energy consumption, Goku then uses the Kaio Ken technique to further boost his abilities above his natural limitations.
Goku had previously used this strategy to defeat the Universe 6 champion, Hit, in the Tournament of Destruction to great effect, and the power increase similarly appears to turn the tide against Kefla even after she transforms into a Super Saiyan herself.
However, the advantageous change in momentum for Goku proves to be fleeting as Kefla is able to knock the Universe 7 hero out of both Kaio Ken and Super Saiyan Blue with a mighty attack of her own, leaving Goku at her mercy.
Just as Kefla is about to eliminate Universe 7's most powerful fighter and seal its fate, Goku shocks everyone by suddenly transforming into his newly attained Ultra Instinct state, avoiding his final defeat and keeping his battle with Kefla going. The new form had briefly been used by Goku to fight relatively evenly against Jiren. Then, maintaining the form completely exhausted Goku, pushing him far above his normal physical capacity.
At the start of their battle, it looked like Goku's most tried and true, last-ditch technique to save the day -- fusion -- had been used against him to potentially eliminate Universe 7 from the Tournament of Power. With Caulifa and Kale merging together to form the virtually unstoppable Kefla, not even Goku's most powerful moves and abilities could stop the Universe 6 warrior.
However, with Ultra Instinct resurfacing, it appears Goku may have been saved in the nick of time by his latest, unmastered form once again for a new battle of the ages.
Newly translated episodes of Dragon Ball Super air on Saturdays at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Adult Swim.