Well, I guess that’s the end of the first major arc for this show. I feel like I really should have realized that Heathcliff was actually Kayaba, but I guess I thought the show was going somewhere else and I didn’t really consider it. Clearly, this can’t be the end of the game…the game is destroyed, but Kayaba isn’t dead. In fact, because he said something like “I don’t remember why I did it”, I almost wonder if there’s someone else orchestrating everything. It could even be an AI…Cardinal, perhaps?
The biggest cliffhanger for this episode is Asuna. We see that Kirito doesn’t actually die, but he’s already been proven to be the Chosen One, so it says nothing about her. Logically, it makes sense that she’s still alive, but why don’t they show it to us? That suggests that something’s wrong. I really hope I didn’t commit her to death with my death flag predictions. Also, next episode’s title is Return, so it’s pretty obvious Kirito is going to be drawn back in again. Will he continue being the Chosen One? I guess he has to be. Kayaba also has the chance of returning as an ally if my corruption analysis of his character is correct. Yui might be back too!