Solo Leveling – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

If I Had One More Chance

Episode 2 of Solo Leveling starts with Song approaching and praising Sung for his observation skills. Song asks Sung to tend to his wound because he knows Joohee doesn’t handle intense scenarios well. Song reflects on his experiences with B-Rank dungeons and believes the giant statue that shot the laser beam is an A or S-Rank-level foe. Song recites the lines from the scripture he read in episode one. Sung wonders if the God from its text happens to be the giant statue figure.

We shift perspective to Sung’s sister Jinah. She discusses Sung’s occupation with a classmate for a bit. We return to Sung and his allies in the second dungeon. Song tells everyone it’d be best to create a solid strategy. One party member disagrees and tries to rely on his speed feats to escape. Unfortunately, he perishes to the giant statue’s laser beam attack. Sung questions the statue’s murderous intentions. He asks Song to reiterate the ancient scripture’s first commandment.

Afterwards, Sung bows before the statue since the first commandment requires folks to “revere” God. The statue halts its attack, signaling to Sung that the statue is the god the scripture is referring to. Sung informs the others to do the same and they manage to escape death (for now). Then, the God statue rises from its chair and approaches the hunters. Song asks Sung what they should do next. Sung remembers the second commandment’s words about praising God. 

A male hunter approaches the God statue and prays to it. However, the God statue murders the individual. Sung believes it’s because the gentleman’s words don’t apply to the God statue. The God statue murders a female hunter, causing our heroes to flee. Park tries running far away from the God statue but gets murdered by one of the statue’s allies. Sung notices a few statues with instruments nearby and tells the others to head toward them.

Song and another ally head near these statues. These statues don’t show murderous intent. However, Sung and Joohee flee to one statue. Sung leaves Joohee in its protection because he’s unsure if this statue will protect them both. Before Sung perishes at the God statue’s feet, he reaches a nearby instrument-carrying statue in time, which saves his life. The God statue returns to its seat. Sung realizes this is the correct way to praise it. Joohee rushes over to Sung and realizes he’s lost one of his legs.

As Joohee heals Sung’s wound, Kim scolds Song for his poor leadership and decision. Suddenly, the God statue causes the floor to rupture beneath our hunters’ feet and summons an altar. Sung relays intel about altars and their history in addition to the third commandment’s wording about people needing to prove their faith in God. Kim tells Song that he should sacrifice himself. Song approaches the altar and Sung feels guilty about Song taking the fall for all this. 

Suddenly, flames start sprouting around the altar. Sung asks two hunters to take him to the altar so he can observe it. At the altar, Sung and Song discuss if it’d be a good idea to wait here for help to arrive. Sung informs the audience about the “dungeon break” phenomenon that occurs when a gate opens up “all the way” after seven days pass. During this event, monsters can cross over to the real world.

Additionally, he highlights why it’s important for hunters to defeat a dungeon’s boss and seal the gate up before the seven-day limit. Sung fears if they can’t find a way to stop the God statue, it’ll likely leave its dungeon and cause a ruckus in the real world. Sung asks Kim and Joohee to enter the alter’s domain. Suddenly, several statues approach our hunters. Sung tells everyone to keep their eyes on the statues. A female hunter breaks from the pressure and flees somewhere.

One of the hunters thinks she made it out okay, leaving Sung mildly confused and contemplating what’s going on. Another hunter succumbs to pressure, drops Sung on the ground, and flees in the same direction the woman did. Kim attempts to flee next, but Sung tells him and the others to keep their eyes on the statue. He believes blue flames surrounding them act as a timer and once they’re extinguished, they’ll be free to go. 

Kim praises Sung for his guidance but chooses to leave. Song tells Joohee to escape with Sung and leave him be. Joohee tries to leave but realizes she can’t move her legs. Song wonders if it’s because she used too much power during her attempt to heal Sung’s wound. Sung tells Song to escape the place with Joohee. Joohee refuses to leave him behind, so Song knocks her out and leaves Sung alone.  Sung’s glad he’ll be the one to suffer the dungeon’s statues wrath.

Sung tries retaliating but gets manhandled by the statues. During this brutal beatdown, Sung reflects on his life experiences. Before the final flame extinguishes and one of the statues attacks Sung, a log appears in front of him. This log informs Sung that he’s qualified to become a “Player.” It tells him he has two seconds to accept the offer, otherwise, he’ll die. The episode closes with Sung accepting the offer. 


The Episode Review

Where the previous chapter gave fans a great deal of world-building, this one aimed to amaze them with strong tension and action. That said, if there was a series that could’ve benefitted from a 40-minute-long premiere episode, Solo Leveling is one of them. Nonetheless, this chapter’s cliffhanger will certainly get fans pumped for what’s to come down the pipeline. 

As for episode 2 itself, it gives fans a wonderful taste of what Sung’s capable of. From his clever strategies to his kindred spirit, he has enough likable qualities to warrant viewers’ respect. However, it’s a bit jarring the higher-ranked hunters couldn’t develop brilliant strategies on par with Sung’s. Yet, it goes to show that ranks may not hold as much weight in this universe as we’d expect. 

I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the anime will continue exploring that idea more. Additionally, the bits involving Sung’s sister Jinah were unneeded and could’ve been replaced with more significant scenarios. Besides those gripes, this was a marvelous episode to sit through. A-1 Pictures is a great studio that doesn’t get much praise these days. Hopefully, Solo Leveling will bring more attention to the studio like other popular anime projects did for Doga Kobo, Mappa, and Madhouse. 

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You can read our Season 1 Review of Solo Leveling here!

 

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4.5

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