Sword Art Online: Alicization - 2.10 Stacia, the Goddess of Creation
At long last, Asuna is finally brought into the Underworld to join the ongoing story, and the entire episode is more or less devoted to making this happen. This isn't a bad thing, since it's been so long (in terms of episodes) since we actually saw Asuna prepare to enter the Underworld. The episode picks up where the previous entry left off, with Asuna making her epic arrival in the form of Stacia, the Goddess of Creation.
Right away we learn that Asuna's powers do in fact have limits. As cool as her earth-shaking powers are, she can only use them a limited number of times due to the strain they place on her body. It actually makes sense to have this be an issue since, as I pointed out last week, if Asuna were able to do these feats without limit the battle would be over in minutes. I's refreshing to see that Asuna's godlike powers are severely limited, though they will surely come into play at least one more time later on.
The reunion between Kirito and Asuna is as heart wrenching as you think it is. Curiously, Asuna isn't making any attempt to revive Kirito just yet, and I'm not sure what to think about that. The implication earlier in the season seemed to be that the very first thing Asuna would do is use the "power of love" to bring Kirito back from the brink. Perhaps she wants to make sure the battle is safely won first. I will say that it is very telling that Kirito reacted to Asuna the way he did. There is a conscious part of Kirito somewhere in there after all, and it all but confirms that he is coming back eventually.
The first meeting between Asuna and Alice is extremely interesting to watch, because here we have two women who have individually devoted themselves to taking care of Kirito (in different ways of course) and now they're finding out about each other. When they briefly fought, I was afraid that this was going to devolve into an awkward feud where each of them "claims" Kirito for themselves. Luckily the story went in a different direction entirely and that appears to be a non-issue.
As satisfying as this episode is overall, there's one plot point that continues to bug me, and that is how readily everyone accepts Asuna's explanation of the real reason for why Vecta/Gabriel and the Dark Territory forces are attacking. Considering how world-shaking Asuna's revelations are, I thought it would take longer for the Underworld characters to accept the fact that there's an entire world outside of theirs. I was prepared for disbelief, protracted arguments, even assertions that Asuna was crazy. But after a brief discussion, it's accepted as fact and the story moves on. It's almost too readily settled to be believable, but this is a fantasy story after all, so I won't nitpick too much; I would have preferred it to take a little while longer to convince the others of the truth of Asuna's statements.
It's still not entirely clear to me if Asuna killed Gabriel's second in command during her attack. Considering he recognized her on sight as Asuna from the original SAO game in season one, it's almost certain that Gabriel will know her as well from the same place. Even if he doesn't know her, it will be interesting to see how Gabriel reacts once he learns that Asuna has joined the battle.
Now that Asuna has finally joined the story, it will be fun to see where things go from here. It surely won't be too much longer before Kirito returns, and it will be exciting to see what happens when he does.