WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 18 of Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld, Part 2, “Memories,” now streaming on Crunchyroll.
As he wakes up in an empty classroom in Sword Art Online‘s latest episode, Kirito questions where he is before sluggishly heading out of the school. On his way home, Kiritio passes by Alice and doesn’t notice Eugeo sitting on the train. He passes by a screen showing an ad for SAO, but fails to notice it. As he walks, he comes across the Moonlit Black Cats guild members being slaughtered, and once again witnesses Sachi die. This triggers him to remember a myriad of other traumatizing events from the pas, such as the assault on Laughing Coffin, Asuna’s captivity and Eugeo’s death. The rush of trauma leaves Kirito in a hysteric state.
PoH continues to manipulate the red army into killing one another, with the few that aren’t under his control realizing who he is. Asuna asks PoH why he’s tormenting Kirito, and he responds by saying that it’s out of love. He grew infatuated with Kirito while watching him in SAO, and plans on causing as much suffering is needed to bring him out of his coma.
PoH reveals that he plans on absorbing the lives of those who fell on the battlefield in order to destroy every artificial Fluctlight in Underworld. Asuna, tired and unable to move, looks on helplessly until Yuuki calls out to her. Hearing her friend’s voice gives Asuna the resolve to fight, and she takes PoH on after receiving an angel-winged power up. As those around her cheer her on, Asuna begins pushing PoH back. Though he gives her some trouble, Asuna eventually manages to land a devastating blow on him. Having helped her friend, Yuuki once again disappears.
PoH manages to use his sword to absorb sacred resources that give him a significant power-up. He uses his newfound power to turn his army on the remaining forces, who charge the remaining Japanese players and AI. Asuna falls to the floor as the red players stampede the remaining forces. She notices Kirito reaching out to her as the two are overwhelmed.
As he recalls all the deaths that he’s been responsible for or witnessed, Kirito has a breakdown. Asuna, Sinon and Leafa’s Fluctlights appear in front of him with words of encouragement, but Kirito states that he’s lost the will to fight. As things seem their worst, Kirito hears Eugeo’s voice call out to him once more. After a brief conversation with Eugeo, Kirito’s Fluctlight reactivates.
Back on the battlefield, a soldier corners Asuna and gets ready to strike her down. As she closes her eyes, she recognizes the smell of roses. She looks over to see Kiorito has come out of his coma just in time, having activated his enhance armament, he freezes the entirety of the enemy army, including PoH. However, the attack isn’t enough, and PoH easily breaks out of captivity, setting up a massive battle between the two.
“Memories” finally brings Kirito back into the fold, after many setbacks and losses for both the human and Underworld armies. Yuuki’s return was a surprise, and allowed for Asuna to have her most memorable moment in a long time. The fight against PoH has been teased for a while now. Though Subtilizer continues to pursue Alice, Kirito will first have to confront the ghosts of his past before he can think of helping his friend.
Source of: ComicBookResources