The episode opens with the American players spawning in and starting to slaughter anyone around there, whether they’re troops from the Human Empire or the Dark Territory. Asuna summons her power to create another chasm, but she gets a headache and it drains her. Alice and Bercouli tell her she’s done enough and to let the Integrity Knights take them on. They point out that these new forces are simply swinging their swords around without any skill, so they should be easy enough for the Integrity Knights to take on.
A lot of the emphasis in the first half of the episode is actually on the pugilists. Their leader gets pissed when he sees these new troops starting to slaughter his people, and he defies the order that binds him to his programming, in exactly the same way that Alice did in Sword Art Online: Alicization. He creates a truce with Asuna, and she uses what strength she has to build a small bridge for the pugilists to cross the other chasm in order to save their comrades.
Gabriel (aka Dark Lord Vecta) is riding his dragon around the battlefield, and when an opportunity arises to capture Alice, he takes it. With this, the pugilists say they’ll hold off the new forces from the real world so the troops from the Human Empire can pursue Vecta. However, Sheyta from the Human Empire decides to stay and fight with the pugilists. She says it’s because she doesn’t want the leader cut down by anyone else.
On Ocean Turtle, we learn that their computer expert has almost finishing gathering enough players to send another wave of forces. Gabriel’s buddy awakens and realizes that he saw Asuna as he was falling down the chasm, and insists on going back in with a “special account” (which I assume is one from when he played against Kirito and Asuna), because he believes that Kirito should also be in Underworld since Asuna is. He wants to be sent at the same time the next wave of real world troops is added to Underworld.
As Asuna and the forces from the Human Empire start pursuing Vecta, the next wave of real world troops is sent in. But as all hope seems lost, a “ray of light” appears in the way of Sinon, who starts taking out some of the real world fighters. After the ending credits, we see Gabriel’s buddy heading to the dive equipment.
I was under the impression that this section of Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld was only going to be 12 episodes, but at the end of this episode, we got a title card saying that next time would be an episode titled, “The Great Underworld War.” If there is indeed a 13th episode next week, then the next section of the series, which will launch in April 2020, will only have 10 episodes (since it’s already been said that there are 23 episodes in total). Because if that’s going to be the first episode when it comes back in April, you’d think there’d be a title card announcing the return in April instead of the “next time” title card. I guess I’ll find out next week when I check to see whether or not “The Great Underworld War” is streaming or not. But it does seem to be shaping up that the remaining episodes are going to focus on trying to get Alice back from Gabriel/Lord Vecta.
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