This episode opens up with showing us what happened right at the end of the previous episode: Alice releasing a big ball of energy and wiping out quite a few of the Dark Forces that are in the area.
After this, there is a break in the battle. Alice and Eldrie (her disciple) start talking. He berates himself for not being able to protect the camp, and laments that it was Renly that defeated the leader of the ogres and not him. In his thoughts, the audience gets to hear that Eldrie is in love with Alice and feels that his performance on the battlefield is not worthy of her love. Alice tells him that he did well and that she still needs his strength for the battle. They are interrupted by the chief of the ogres, who is still kind of hanging in there after Alice’s attack. They find out that the Dark Forces believe that Alice is the Priestess of Light, and that Emperor Vecta wants her. The leader of the ogres believes that if he brings her back, the war will be over and his people can return to their homeland. Alice dashes his hopes, though, by slicing him in half. Alice takes this information to the commanders of their forces, and they come up with a strategy. Alice believes she can use this strategy to achieve the goal of getting herself to the World’s End Altar, which she overheard Kirito being instructed to do at the end of the previous season.
Meanwhile, with the Dark Forces, the head of the Dark Mages is confronting Lord Vecta to explain how her forces had been defeated. After she gives an explanation how how her magic works to cast the major spell she wants to cast, Vecta orders that 3,000 of the orcs be sacrificed. The leader of the orcs doesn’t want to do it, but a female leader (who appears to be a love interest of the main leader) volunteers herself and her troops. I felt so bad for the leader of the orcs as he watched his people be sacrificed. It’s a rather bloody affair, so warning for any readers who may be sensitive to that sort of thing. But we can see at the end of this scene that the leader of the orcs is very angry with humans. I’m pretty sure this event is going to have an affect on him going forward, but how exactly that affect will be manifested remains to be seen.
The last bit of the episode sees Alice and some of the others executing their plan. At the same time, the leader of the Dark Mages is casting her major spell, which should destroy everyone in its path. Eldrie, however, violates his orders to stay behind and unleashes the power of his weapon. Even though the spell that was cast should have eliminated him, he defies the odds in a major way and ends up making a major sacrifice. In his dying words, we hear that he has realized some things that hadn’t been apparent to him earlier in the episode. I like the sentiment here, but I wish we hadn’t gone from him beating himself up and being selfish at the beginning of the episode to this epiphany within 20 minutes of screen time. I wish there could have been a little more of a buildup to this.
After this, Alice becomes so angry that she unleashes the power of herself, her dragon, and Eldrie’s dragon. The leader of the Dark Mages, who is obviously going insane with delusions of grandeur, is starting to do something right at the end of the episode. I’m guessing this is going to be some kind of power up, and that she and Alice will be battling head-to-head. It will be interesting to see whether I’m right or not.
And, alas, still no indication of Asuna’s whereabouts or what she’s doing. I wonder how much longer this mystery is going to be drawn out. Sigh. Hopefully, we’ll have an answer to this burning question by the end of this cour.