This episode had some… interesting… directorial decisions.
After the battle at the end of last episode to beat the first floor boss, suddenly we’re in the mid-twenties. And after Kirito has vowed to do it alone from now on, he proceeds to join a guild. Great.
After he hangs out with these people for a couple minutes, the girl in the group asks to elope with him. They sleep together. Then they all die.
Next, Kirito fights a renegade goblin Santa Clause. A magical bauble apparates in front of Kirito which lets him hear the girl’s conveniently recorded final thoughts.
So, again, this episode’s direction was all over the place. Kirito’s decision to join the guild seems to come out of the blue, especially since the rest of the group isn’t even half his level. We barely get to know the guild members at all, and hence feel little remorse for their deaths. The Santa Clause monster was just plain dumb. There’s also something going on with Kirito and the friend he made on the first day, but we have no idea what. They’re going way to fast and skipping over too many details for me to get much of anything out of this.
One final thought, which came to me after the rumor regarding the Santa Clause’s treasure. We have nothing to prove that people actually die in real life from a game over aside from the word of the developer. And why should we trust him? The players are completely incommunicado with the outside world. I have to wonder if he’s lying.