Sword Art Online: Alicization - 1.24 My Hero

There have been definite ups and downs but My Hero, the end of the current arc of Sword Art Online: Alicization certainly delivered in every way. This is the fight we've been waiting over twenty episodes to see, the final showdown between Kirito and Quinella. Somehow, Kirito is able to morph into his first season look before the fight begins. It seems appropriate that Kirito would slide back into his 'Black Swordsman' attire; it shows how serious he is about ending this once and for all.

Quinella, for her part, proves to be a skilled fighter, and provides a surprise when she not only repels Kirito's attacks but responds with several of her own. It's not mentioned, but assumed that she uses sword skills from Aincrad (Asuna used rapier attacks) to try and get inside Kirito's head. What's really cool is to see Kirito wielding two swords again; it's an iconic look and something we haven't seen Kirito do in a long time. This is a good look at the old sword fighting Kirito that had to fight to stay alive in Aincrad, the Kirito who would kill to protect those he loved. There is a pretty shocking moment when Kirito loses an arm, but the blood is kept to a minimum, compared to other episodes. At the end though, Kirito wins out and fatally wounds Quinella at last. It's a very satisfying moment, since our heroes have been trying to kill her for several episodes now.

Then comes the first big twist of the episode: Quinella opens a terminal and reveals that she is planning on going to the real world where the fight will continue. But before she can leave the Underworld...Chudelkin, supposedly dead, appears out of nowhere and latches onto the pontifex, begging to go with her. His intrusion, ironically enough, destroys them both, or at least that's how it appears. There is a heartbreaking scene afterward when Eugeo finally dies. It's really sad to see him go as he's one of the best characters this series has produced.

That's nothing, however, compared to the final twist in the episode, the last before the series goes on an extended break. Using Quinella's terminal, Kirito is finally able to make contact with the outside world, something he's wanted since the day he arrived in the Underworld. The problem is, the first thing he hears on the other side is gunfire. We're jolted back to the real world to discover that the Ocean Turtle is under attack by a heavily armed force. Kikuoka is trying to give Kirito instructions but there's very little time. A panicked technician informs Kikuoka that the electrical lines are being cut, which would cause a power surge and short out the pod Kirito's body is recovering in! The last thing we see is Kirito's body flickering in and out while Asuna seemingly appears out of nowhere.

What does it all mean? It's hard to say for certain. It looks like Kirito is in real danger of dying, but what does that vision of Asuna mean? Based on that quick look, it appeared she was wearing her season one outfit. So this could simply be a figment of his imagination since he's dying. One thing is for sure, there is plenty to think about while the series is on hiatus. Hopefully, when the show returns, Kirito will somehow be alive and well.

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