In a Rei-centric episode, Free! Eternal Summer focuses on growth and the importance of friendship.
There are a few running trends in Eternal Summer that I’d like to mention. First of all, there are a ton of parallels to the first season in every episode so far. For example, episode 3 of season 1 was focused on Nagisa, Makoto, and Haruka trying to convince Rei to join the swim club; this episode (episode 3 of season 2) is focused on the gang assuming Rei wants to leave the swim club (which, obviously, isn’t true). There are plenty of minute details that serve as parallels between the previous season and this one, but rather than taking the space to point all of them out here, I’ll instead suggest that you just keep your eye out for them as Free! Eternal Summer continues.
Another running trend I’ve noticed is the show teasing possible angst and/or conflict and, more often than not, such scenes ending up being anything but. The previews of this episode made it seem as though it would be incredibly angsty, that Rei might leave the swim team, etc. etc. However, this episode is honestly anything but angst. It’s full of dorkiness and fun and misunderstandings, all pulled together at the end of the episode with intense friendship and happiness. I get the feeling that this sort of thing will continue to happen throughout the season. Of course, for the sake of plot, there will have to be some sort of conflict (likely surrounding Sousuke and Haruka), but on the whole I think Free! Eternal Summer will continue to be light and angst-free for the most part.
Even though this episode focuses a lot on Rei, I would personally like to see another episode that explores his backstory a bit more. Aside from the Samezuka boys, Rei is the one we know the least about. (This is especially true if you read High Speed, the novels Free! is based on.) I think it would be helpful to have some more focus on Rei’s background, as well as specific focus on Nagisa’s background, too (as we know little about Nagisa compared to Makoto and Haru, as well).