They fought the law and the law won.
While watching over Kirito’s body in the real world, Asuna is shown the prototypes for the bodies the chosen Fluctlight AIs will be using when they are taken from Underworld.
Meanwhile, IN Underworld, Kirito and Eugeo meet the Integrity Knight who has arrived to retrieve and execute them, Alice Synthesis Thirty, who Eugeo swears is the Alice he saw be taken away years ago. Despite this, she acts like a totally different person now who doesn’t even recognize Eugeo. Before they leave, Ronye and Tiese give them their swords. Kirito and Eugeo are soon incarcerated, where Kirito theorizes that Alice might have had her memories tampered with. He also suggests checking the durability of their prison chains, which gives him the idea for the two of them to use the chains as weapons against each other to break them apart. And after a couple of clashes, they break and allow them to escape, though Eugeo gives his commitment to their goal one more time to assure Kirito that he’s all in.
They manage to make it to the top of the tower they’re in pretty quickly, realizing they’ve arrived at the Central Cathedral, even if this wasn’t the way they expected. But they soon find themselves facing another Integrity Knight in their path: Eldrie Synthesis Thirty-One, who was stationed there because Alice predicted their escape.
Well, this episode contained no sexual assault as a plot device, so that’s definitely a step up from last week.
But in all honesty, this was a return to things I’ve actually quite enjoyed about this season, as well as having a rather important returning character. Given that Alice’s capture is the defining moment of Eugeo’s character arc and journey, her re-entering the story was less a matter of if and more a matter of when and how. In a way, she arrives in the form of a twisted reward for Eugeo making his decision to potentially throw away his efforts to find her. Now, in a tragically ironic twist, she appears as his jailer and executioner who doesn’t even recognize him. This sets us up for the next stage of the story as we peel back the curtain on the Integrity Knights and what the church does to make them like this.
Though Kirito also shows he’s not just there to be a catalyst for Eugeo’s development as he shows off his growing knowledge of how to work around the system. Since we’ve established that things like food, plants, and weapons have their own HP bars, it would also make sense for things like chains meant for detaining prisoners would too, naturally with a high level that most couldn’t make use of. Kirito’s often shown himself to be a fast learner in these types of situations, though this is one of the times where he feels pretty clever. That said, with students as strong as Kirito and Eugeo, leaving them with chains lower than their levels would be just asking for trouble, which is why it seems that was just a ploy that they walked right into. It’ll be interesting to see if Alice is actually capable of outsmarting Kirito.
Last week as most definitely a low bar for the season and the series as a whole, but it looks like we’re moving past it (for better or worse) in order to get back to the more important things in the story which I actually like. Which is probably for the best, since I could argue the problems with that up and down all day and it wouldn’t get me anywhere, so I’d love nothing better for us to just carry on. I obviously can’t expect it to be completely flawless from here on out, but I can at least hope that it won’t get that bad again.