Sword Art Online: Alicization - 1.17 Truce
As expected, Kirito and Alice are revealed to have not fallen to their deaths at the end of the previous episode, but only just. With only Kirito's sword holding himself and Alice up, Kirito convinces the Integrity Knight to agree to a temporary truce until they can get safely back inside. Trapped 80 floors up, the pair have three options: climb up, climb down, or chisel their way in. Alice tells Kirito about a place they can use to enter on the 95th floor, so they begin to climb.
I enjoyed the dynamic between Kirito and Alice in this episode. Initially, Alice is indignant that her life has been saved by a criminal (which prompts to Kirito to call Alice an idiot many times over). After the truce is called, Alice is more cooperative, but she still takes the time to remind Kirito several times that she will kill him the moment they get back inside (though given they have a long time to go I could see Alice changing her mind by the time they reach the 95th floor).
The story gained a twist when Alice and Kirito approach a ledge that holds a group of statues. These ugly figures are actually monsters from the Dark Territory that begin to attack the pair. This is a very interesting development, because as Kirito points out "How can evil monsters be sitting near the top of the most holy building in the Human Empire?" Even Alice is visibly unsettled by what this might mean. Kirito didn't say that Quinella was responsible for the monsters being on the cathedral ledge, but the implication is definitely there. If it could be proven that the pontifex let monsters into the Human Empire, that could shatter any control she has over the Integrity Knights (in theory).
Surprisingly, the episode takes a brief moment to check in on Asuna in the real world. It's such a short moment, I can't help but wonder why they would bother to break from the story, since nothing essential seems to happen. We see Asuna eating with Dr. Koujiro before she notes that the ship escorting the Ocean Turtle is pulling away, apparently far earlier than scheduled. Is the ship pulling away to investigate someone trying to sneak up on the facility? No answers are given, but the fact that the ship leaving is considered abnormal definitely makes you wonder about what's going to happen in the real world.
And finally the episode does check in with Eugeo, who has continued his journey up the stairs, finally reaching the 90th floor. I mentioned this last week but Eugeo himself comments on how this is really his first time on his own and he's about to be put to the test. Because on the 90th floor he encounters an Integrity Knight, one that looks strangely familiar. I could be wrong, but this Knight bears a resemblance to the one Lady Fanatio alluded to during her fight with Kirito. It will be interesting to learn who this Knight is and to see how Eugeo fares dueling alone for the first time.
Most of the episode focused on Kirito and Alice's climb, so it wasn't as action-filled as recent episodes. However, given how this episode ended, I'm certain next week will see Eugeo's duel with the mysterious Integrity Knight, which is sure to be exciting.