This was a good episode to show the complexity, danger and nature of Heathcliff, a chance for Asuna and Kirito to get closer and sadly the reveal of a once more pretty obvious villain. It was an entertaining episode though and I like where it takes the story.
The episode picks up where we left off with Heathcliff duling Kirito so he will join their guild. He defeats him and on Kirito’s first mission a member of the guild is shown to have a hidden agenda and takes his revenge against Kirito.
The Pros: The Duel – The Duel is very cool as we have a very defensive player (Heathcliff) versus a very offensive player (Kirito). Kirito nearly wins too until Heathcliff pulls off an impossible move that shows there is more to him than meets the eye.
Heathcliff – Heathcliff wins the duel and is actually shown to be pretty reasonable as after Kuradeel’s assassination attempt he lets Kirito and Asuna live their dream of getting married and buying a house together.
Kirito – Kirito finally opens up in this! After he loses he tells Asuna about the guild he was a part of who he lied about his level too who ended dying and how he blames himself. It’s a great moment and we see how Kirito losing has advanced him as a character and he is open about his feelings towards Asuna.
Asuna – Asuna has also changed as we see her voicing her concern for Kirito and in the end saves him from Kuradeel. She is willing to leave the guild too and wants to have a life with him and find him the real world. It’s really touching that she has found a way to live in the game and I really like seeing her in action.
The Cons: Kuradeel – This guy was obviously evil (how he’s drawn gives him a slightly demonic look) so his betrayal came as no surprise. He was way too overpowered too as we see him nearly kill both Kirito and Asuna when they are out level him. The only good thing about this character is that it lets Kirito and Asuna get away from the Guild.
This episode was fun though Kuradeel brought it down. He wasn’t compelling as a villain and his betrayal could be seen from miles away. For me the best parts of the episode were the love story and the duel, which made it worth watching.
Final Score: 8 / 10