This episode gives us our first major action set piece as Satan confronts Lucifer. It’s a scenario that you wouldn’t expect for several reasons, but it works rather well.
While the fact that Lucifer is in this world at all is a shock in its own right, Emi is even more perplexed given that she killed him in battle back on Ente Isla.
It’s revealed that Olba, a member of Emilia’s own church made a deal with Lucifer to take her out as they feared the power that she possessed; in return, Lucifer would be allowed to return to Heaven.
Admittedly, the betrayal is somewhat undercut by the fact that we haven’t seen these two characters all that much, but the episode still gives the scene the emotional weight it needs to grab the viewer’s attention.
Between the incredibly effective score and the great line delivery, the scene does a great job building up tension.
Of course, this show is still a comedy, so there is quite a bit of humor peppered throughout the episode. The shift from serious to silly is quick, but somehow it just works. You’d expect mood whiplash or the presence of one to undermine the other, but neither proves to be the case.
It helps that the humor actually works, as opposed to being the clumsy, forced humor that can often occur when writers try to insert comic relief. Sadao shows a genre savvy side as he pokes fun at the villain monologue and both he and Alciel seem to put more priority on their mundane problems over the more epic struggle involving their home world. As packed as the episode is, it also manages to make time so that Sadao and Emi can bicker in between rounds in the fight.
The aforementioned pair start off on the losing end of said fight, and Sadao appears to get hurt pretty seriously, but the two do start to show shades of their former selves as the episode progresses. It was actually quite cool to see the two show just why they are the big deals that they are. Emilia gets to shine in battle and Satan gets to remind his underling why he’s in charge.
It was a little unclear what the magic barrier was supposed to do. At first it seems like they are in a pocket dimension where they can fight without doing any real damage, but than Satan has to take time to undo the damage anyway. It may have kept the populace safe, though all we see is them going to sleep. Considering it’s established that demons gain power from negative emotions, the plan could have backfired, but seeing as it all worked out in the end, it’s probably a moot point.
All in all, this was a rather fun episode. It balanced the action, comedy, and drama surprisingly effectively. It also managed to work a lot into the seemingly brief 20 minute run time. While it’s too early to deem it the best in the series, it is certainly one of the strongest episodes to date and sets a rather high bar for other episodes to reach.