Episode 13 continues the exposition about Administrator and Cardinal that began in Episode 12. Unfortunately, this was another episode that, even though it provided important information, it was kind of boring because of how the information was presented. More time was spent on conversations between characters than on action.
But I will give credit for one flashback sequence, which shows how Administrator created Cardinal. There was an exciting battle between the two of them, as well as the action of Cardinal occupying the Central Library and sealing it off from the rest of the world. There was also a sweet scene between Kirito and Cardinal that I liked in this episode.
But, sadly, this episode suffers from the same issues that Episode 12 did. Both episodes were heavy on exposition, but light on action sequences. I’m really hoping the ratio between exposition and action will start titling a little more toward the action side as the second cour gets underway. I’m suspecting that the point of this first cour was to establish the world and the story, but I wish it didn’t take 13 episodes in order to get this done. Perhaps this is the same pacing as the original source material, but I can’t say one way or the other since I’m not familiar with it.
With the way the episode ended, with the ending credits and music going while the last scene was on the screen, tells me that Episode 13 was meant to be the last episode of the first cour of Sword Art Online: Alicization.
Right near the end of the episode, Cardinal gives Kirito and Eugeo a task to undertake, and I suspect that this will be the driving force for the second cour of the series. All I know is that something needs to happen to start shaking this series up, because I had to keep from falling asleep while watching this episode.