An excellently constructed episode delivers action, suspense, character, and drama as the new set of games get properly underway.
This recap of Alice in Borderland season 2, episode 2 contains spoilers.
The name of the game is Osmosis, so-called after the basic scientific principle. The King of Clubs, who we met at the end of the premiere episode, lays out the particulars. These games take place against fellow citizens. The aim of this one is to collect points. The five players divide an initial total of 10,000 points between them (not necessarily evenly), and this is a key element of strategy. You’ll see why.
Alice in Borderland season 2, episode 2 recap
This is quite a complex game, and you can tell because Kyuma has to explain everything in detail with test examples just so everyone gets it. There are three ways to earn points: Battle, Item, and Base. A battle is initiated when players touch and the player with the least points loses, giving another 500 points to the other player. Players can also hold hands to battle with their combined points total. Obviously, the hook of all this is that nobody knows how many points anyone else has, so it’s a gamble.
Items are comparatively simple. There are six hidden around the huge playing area, and touching them gives the team a fixed number of points. And finally, there are bases. Each team has one. When a player is touching it, they have infinite points. If you manage to touch the opposing team’s base, it’s worth 10,000 points, so someone always needs to remain behind to defend it. Managing to touch the base for 10,000 points can turn the tide of the game, but if the opposition’s “goalie” touches the attacking player, they lose 10,000 points. If a player’s points value decreases below zero, they’re shot down dead.
Oh, and after touching another player or a base, a player is temporarily out of commission. Touching a player who is “immune” results in an electric shock from the bracelet strong enough to knock the player out. Touching their own base enables an out-of-commission player to resume the game.
Once the game is underway, Arisu works things out. The player at the base gets the least amount of points possible. Faster runners get fewer points, slower runners get more, and a slower runner is paired up with a faster runner. They go out together. If they see anyone, they hold hands to combine their points total. It’s a pretty smart approach.
I obviously won’t describe everything that happens during the game, because virtually all of the fun of the episode is in seeing it play out for yourself. But I will highlight some things. For instance, try and keep track of how many creative shots are used to obscure Kyuma’s junk. I also quickly noticed and quite enjoyed how the game is fundamentally psychological rather than physical, and how that element is manipulated throughout. The character dynamics — especially those based around the lack of trust in Niragi and some of what Usagi shared about her father in the previous episode — all play into this.
What’s also cool is that there are clear efforts made to humanize Kyuma’s team, a former band who’re all extremely close friends in very much the same boat rather than faceless villains.
The orchestration of the game is honestly fantastic here, building great moments of suspense, action, character, and drama. One thing that is worth pointing out is Niragi, who spends the whole time coughing up blood and becoming more and more disillusioned by his worsening condition, leading to a last-minute heel-turn just as there are a mere 500 points deciding the outcome. This is where we leave things in this episode, making for a great cliffhanger after a superbly constructed second episode.
You can stream Alice in Borderland season 2, episode 2 exclusively on Netflix.