Ashiya hospitalised; Chiho and Emi kidnapped; very little in the way of magical power to call his own. Yep, I think it's fair to say that Maou and his friends are in a tight spot as Olba and Sariel weave their malevolent plan.
Of particular interest to Sariel is Emi's sword, which he's determined to tease from his captive by any means possible even if it seems that she simply can't produce said sword in his presence. Although it seems inevitable that she can only hold out for so long in the face of his torture, this distraction at least buys Maou enough time to reach their location. Here he finds himself faced by Suzuno, who has been tasked with bringing the underpowered overlord down - something that she's already conflicted about doing and ultimately gives up on in the face of Sariel's behaviour.
Thus, we're all set for a face-off between Maou and Sariel, although with the latter powered by the light of the full moon and the former... well, only wearing his pants... this seems like a mismatched fight. However, Olba's decision to use magic to intensify the moon's power also creates more than enough fear and anguish from the populace to also power Maou up to his full strength, and as a result there's no contest as to who is the strongest here. The day is saved, as are Chiho and Emi, and all before Ashiya even has time to put on his cloak - unfortunately, once again the collateral damage is going to take all of Maou's powers to repair.
At times I have to admit I've despaired at little at moments where Hataraku Maou-sama gets serious given how spot on its comedy is, but this week's episode is a perfect example of how to blend the two elements - Sariel made for a great creepy baddie, the episode's action scenes were superb, and the entire instalment managed to seamlessly blend in its unique vein of laugh out loud humour by making full use of the show's characters and setting to deliver perfectly timed quips, one-liners and comedy moments. If there's one criticism to be made here, it's the plot's decision to lean on exactly the same factors as the previous major story arc - bad guys attack, create terror, Maou uses this fear to replenish magic, Maou wins - so it's hardly innovative stuff... but who cares when its so damn funny? One thing is for sure, I'm going to miss this series once it finishes next week.