The first half of the episode focuses on what’s happening in Underworld. At the beginning, we see Alice riding on her dragon toward Ruild after seeing Kirito trying to get to his sword when he senses that the village is under attack. When she sees that the villagers aren’t trying to retreat south, she goes into the village to talk with her father and the others. He says that what they’re doing is by order of the man-at-arms, and that they can’t violate imperial law.
Well, Alice has hidden the fact that she’s an Integrity Knight from the village (hence why she’s seen wearing a plain looking robe up to this point). In order to save her family and the village, she reveals her armor and finally explains that she’s an Integrity Knight and that this was her punishment for the crime she committed as a child. The shocked looks on the villagers’ faces, especially the cocky rich guy who was using her to get work done so he could become richer, were priceless. But as an Integrity Knight, she has the authority to cancel the order of the man-at-arms. At this point, the villagers begin fleeing.
Then, Alice, along with her dragon, go to face the evil forces, head on. This is a very impressive scene, because she finally makes the resolve to protect the world that Eugeo and Kirito fought to save. As part of this resolve, she removes the eyepatch that she was wearing to cover her eye that had been affected when she violated the Taboo Index. With this, she affirms her identity as Alice, an Integrity Knight. I just loved the symbolism of this scene, and we’re starting to see that Alice could become a major badass.
After driving away the forces of evil, Alice decides to return to the Integrity Knights, and is taking Kirito with her. While her initial reason for leaving was in order to protect Kirito, I have a feeling she’s gained more confidence in her ability to be able to protect him. I hope I’m right on that.
The second half of the episode sees what’s happening at Ocean Turtle. What we see is taking place about a half hour after the raid on the facility. Asuna and the others have been able to retreat to another area of the facility, and we get a scene getting the audience up to speed on some things. We learn that they don’t know who these forces area that have attacked the facility, but it seems they start piecing some things together. Also, we learn why Kirito is in the state that he’s in at this point in Underworld. It’s also revealed that when they sent Kirito back into Underworld after he was attacked, they had tried to suppress his memories of the real world… but they weren’t suppressed. So he is in Underworld as his real self, not as his game character (which could be seen early on in Sword Art Online: Alicization when we first see him reappear in the game and his confusion and lack of memory of Eugeo and Alice). But, as his real self, he has knowledge of the game and the fact that these “people” are actually fluctlights, and this is part of the reason why he was trying to contact Ocean Turtle right at the end of the previous series.
But it’s made clear that Kirito is on the edge of the worst-case scenario for his situation. Right at the end of the episode, we see Asuna with Kirito in the room he’s in, and she seems to notice another machine like the one Kirito is one. I have a feeling that she may be getting an idea involving herself and that machine. It’s something I could see Asuna doing.
Speaking of Asuna, she has a great scene of showing how badass she is when she grabs the main researcher by the shirt and shows how angry she is about what’s happened to Kirito. She later apologizes to him for overreacting, but I was like, “Don’t apologize, girl. He had that coming. He actually kind of deserved that.”
So far, Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld is off to a good start. It’s just disappointing that it took the story this long to finally get to a point of being truly riveting viewing. The slog that was Sword Art Online: Alicization almost made me not want to continue on, but I decided to give Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld a chance, anyway. Right now, I’m glad I did. But it’s still disappointing that the lead up to this section of the story was on the weaker side.