The episode opens six months after Kirito fought Administrator. Kirito is now in a wheelchair, mute and without emotions, and is living with Alice in a cabin outside of Ruild (Alice and Eugeo’s home village). It’s also established that if Kirito is taken out of the cabin, he will use gestures to indicate that he wants to take both his and Eugeo’s swords with him. This becomes an important plot point later in the episode.
Alice has a flashback to what happened at the end of the battle with Administrator, as well as some of the events that lead up to where we are now in the story. We see Alice take Kirito to Ruild, as she feels that’s the only safe place for him (especially with the Integrity Knights talking behind her back about the idea that Kirito needs to be executed for what he’s done). We see Alice return to Ruild, but she’s not welcome back with open arms. We can see how painful it is for her father, the village elder, to send her away. But since the people in Underworld have a strict adherence to their laws, he feels obligated to turn both her and Kirito away. Since Alice doesn’t know if she’s been absolved of her crime from when she was a child, and with Kirito branded a criminal, he has no choice but to turn them away.
Even though they’re not allowed to live in the village, the villagers have no qualms about using Alice to get tasks done. There’s a scene where she is asked to cut down a large tree, one that several strong men have been working on all day and have hardly made a dent in. With her abilities, and getting permission from Kirito to use his sword, she cuts it down. But while she’s doing that, some of the men grab Eugeo’s sword away from Kirito, knocking him down in the process. We can see Kirito desperately reaching out for the sword as the men taunt him. Alice, of course, is pissed, and gets the sword back. It’s not surprising that this moment makes Alice question why they went through what they did to save these people.
Near the end of the episode, Alice receives a surprise visitor… the Integrity Knight that she had mentored. He reveals important information about the movements of the Dark Territory, and we also see that he holds the same beliefs about Kirito as the other Integrity Knights. He implores Alice to come back to the Integrity Knights, but Alice declines by telling a lie that she no longer has the same abilities for swordfighting that she used to.
The episode ends with another cliffhanger, as it appears that the Dark Territory has begun its moves. This is first brought to Alice’s attention by Kirito suddenly reacting to something in the middle of the night.
While this episode may not have had much in the way of action, it didn’t really need to. The purpose of this episode was to establish what had happened after the defeat of Administrator, as well to set up where the story will go in the Underworld portion of the story. We’ll obviously have to have story taking place in the real world, too, especially after what happened to Kirito at the Cathedral that turned him into the state that he’s in. We know Asuna’s not going to take this lying down, it’s just not knowing what she can or is able to do. As the audience, it would also be nice to know what Kirito’s state is like in the real world. If he’s as bad off as he is in Underworld, I suspect he’s worse off in the real world. I’m really hoping that this season, we will start seeing more of what’s going on in the real world, especially in comparison with what we saw in Sword Art Online: Alicization.
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