Last week, Sword Art Online kicked the action up a whole bunch of notches. Dark Wind was taken out of the game by a very on-her-game Sinon. Sinon and Death Gun shot perfectly matched bullets at each other. Kirito and Death Gun began their final duel, with Death Gun revealing that Kirito had a chance to learn his true identity back in Sword Art Online, but chose not to listen.
For now, let's talk about the 10 big moments of this week's episode, the second half of Phantom Bullet (which you can watch for free on Crunchyroll right now, if you haven't seen it yet):
Three players remain in the tournament - Death Gun, Kirito, and Sinon. As the episode opens, Kirito is badly injured and getting pummeled by Death Gun, while Sinon watches from afar, her rifle scope broken. Sinon thinks to herself about Kirito's acceptance of the weight of killing - and how he's pretty much LITERALLY ACTING OUT THAT METAPHOR, with Death Gun representing the darkness of SAO that Kirito needs to deal with and overcome.
While the battling continues, poor Asuna is sitting by Kazuto's unconscious body, watching his avatar getting pummeled by a skull-faced virtual reality murderer. The nurse tells her that Kazuto is in danger of dehydration if he doesn't get out of the game soon, so things are really not looking up here. Yui (still on the phone) asks Asuna to hold Kazuto's hand and give him strength, which she does - as well as letting Yui help by putting the phone under his hand. And somehow a virtual fairy/semi-child who can use a phone is the least weird part about this episode.
While going back and forth with Death Gun (mostly back), Kirito regrets thinking he could just move past SAO and not listen to Death Gun when he tried to tell him his name. But then he thinks - red eyes...where had he seen those before? And then it hits him.
ZAZA. Second-in-command of the Laughing Coffins.
Kirito shouts his name at Death Gun, who suddenly gets reeeeeeeal quiet.
With nothing left to lose, Death Gun goes in for his final strike - when Sinon aims her laser-sight square at him. Scared, he begins to turn on his invisibility cloak - just as Kirito flies through the air towards him, and empties a clip into him, destroying his invisibility. Death Gun attacks back, but the inevitable has arrived - Kirito goes friggin' WILD with rage, and gives Death Gun the final blow - cutting him in half.
And then there's an explosion, because THIS DESERVED AN EXPLOSION.
Death Gun spouts out some final words about how this isn't over yet, but then his red eyes goes dark, and his avatar is marked "Dead."
Kirito and Sinon fistbump - they've done it! With Death Gun out of the picture, all that remains are the two of them. Kirito is pretty confident that Death Gun's real world accomplice will have left Sinon's apartment, but just in case, he says he'll stop by to check in on her. Sinon leans in real close and whispers her real name and address to him - "Asada Shino." He does the same, because these two are pretty adorable together.
But now it's time to figure out who wins the tournament - only one can be the victor. Kirito suggests a duel, but Sinon says no - he's far too weakened from his battle with Death Gun for her to take any pride in beating him right now. But there is another solution - she mentions how the first BoB tournament ended with two winners. How?
A "present grenade."
Sinon demonstrates by taking out a grenade, activating it, and hugging Kirito real hard.
And then there's an explosion, because THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS SO ADORABLE IT DESERVED AN EXPLOSION.
And there's a celebration across Japan! Yay! Everything worked out! Yet...there's still, like, more than 10 minutes left in the episode? Weird.
Or is it so empty? Sinon checks everywhere, just to make sure Death Gun's accomplice isn't still there. And everything appears to be clear - when the doorbell rings...
But don't worry! It's just her good pal, Shinkawa. He's brought some food and wants to comfort her now that she's out of GGO. He also wants her to be all his forever and ever and protect her every single day and never let her out of his sight AND OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS GUY WHAT IS HE PULLING OUT OF HIS POCKET OH NO
He presses a syringe up against Asada - a syringe that can deliver a drug that will freeze her muscles and stop her heart. He reveals that his brother was the in-game Death Gun, and that he used to control the Sterben/Death Gun avatar - but wanted to do the real world stuff this time around, since he could never allow another man to put his hands on AsadaOHGODWHATISWRONGWITHHISFACE?!?!?!
He made sure Death Gun used a Type-54 pistol to build his legend in order to honor Asada - and her traumatic past. HELP HELP HELP SOMEONE HELP
Asada can't handle this - after all the stress and tragedy of GGO, she finds herself in the real world being threatened by her suddenly psychotic/two-faced former friend, and there's nothing she can do...until her GGO avatar Sinon shows up in her mind. They've always worried about taking care of themselves - but if they don't do something, Kirito might walk in at any second and his life could be in danger. It's time to do something for someone else.
Asada kicks Crazy Shinkawa square in his crazy face, and knocks him off her. She runs for the door, but before she can get it open, he's back on top of her, his face crazier than ever and wildly ranting "ASADA-SAN!" over and over and over OH GOD DON'T LET THE EPISODE END LIKE THIS.
And then it happens. Kirito's real-world self, Kazuto, bursts in and kicks Shinkawa off of Asada and starts beating him on the ground. Asada realizes it's Kirito, and -
END OF THE EPISODE CLIFFHANGER?! DAMN YOU, SWORD ART ONLINE! DAMN YOU!
Don't forget - you can catch up with this episode and ALL of SAO I & II for free on Crunchyroll, and even watch simulcasts of SAO and tons of other anime.