I must say, last week’s recap episode was quite well done as in how they fit it into the story. Using Kirito’s conversation with Alice about her past as a way to cover the entire series to this point is brilliant! Way better than an out of the blue recap episode.
Episode nineteen begins with Kirito discussing with Alice about the Pontifex, the looming threat of the Dark Territory, and memory manipulation. We’ve come a long way from the stoic Alice of few weeks past, now that the seeds of doubt have been sown into her head. She’s connecting the pieces that her experience at the Cathedral have given her with the information bombs that Kirito is dropping on her as well. This would be a different story if there weren’t dark territory minions perched on the Cathedral’s upper floors, and the Pontifex is going to bite off more than she can chew if Alice is on Kirito’s side.
I found it interesting how the first thing Alice asks is if she’ll be able to see her little sister Selka again. Her tears confirmed that one of the blurry memories that pop in and out of her head revolve around her younger sister, whom she probably had a great relationship with in the past. It’s a bit heartbreaking that Alice recognizes the name because of how often she cried out for Selka before the synthesis ritual, but it’ll make their meeting all the more rewarding. It seems like a distant future where we’ll see some closure for the two siblings, but I’ll gladly look forward to Selka and Alice reuniting!
Unfortunately for Alice Synthesis Thirty, recovering the original Alice’s memories will wipe the memories of Synthesis Thirty clean. I’m extremely conflicted about this, as I’ve grown to adore the character of Synthesis Thirty, and would rather see a quite literal “synthesis” of both Alices. But I know that’s probably too idealistic of a solution. If Alice Synthesis Thirty truly does disappear to give Alice Zuberg back her body, it’s going to be an absolute tearjerker to say goodbye.
The conversation also touched upon the forces of the dark territory, and Kirito questions how the Integrity Knights would be able to repel all the forces themselves. They simply can’t. All the knights are extremely powerful warriors in their own right, but there’s only so much a select few can do against a horde of thousands if not millions. Kirito says that raising and training an army is possible, and I can see it happening already. Hundreds of fluctlights from around the Human Empire in a training montage with black swordsman Kirito, and an incredible battle to follow. Gah, I’m so excited for the rest of the series!
Their heartfelt conversation takes a rather brutal turn as Alice is declaring her treason towards the Pontifex, triggering the system alert in her right eye. It’s something we’ve seen before with Eugeo’s eyeball exploding during the fiasco with the nobles, and I thought her eye wouldn’t explode thanks to Kirito’s quick thinking. But Alice is quite the hotheaded and motivated character, and in the fury of her anger it appears to explode, although it’s not shown. Badass as hell. Kirito cites it as a psychological barrier to prevent treasonous behaviour, and I’m curious as to how it really works. Why did one of the programmers install it? Does it appear every time you have treasonous thoughts? What’s the threshold?
We bounce back to Eugeo, who’s been thrown onto the top floor of the Cathedral next to the Pontifex herself! The memories of other characters didn’t do her character design justice, and for the first time, we get to see her “immortal” beauty in person. Furthermore, her venomous words and manipulation are apparent from the very moment she wakes up. She twists into Eugeo’s head, filling it with unpleasant memories in an attempt to sway him against Kirito and Alice. She’s in every essence a viper, offering “love” to someone who’s never felt love. Quite surprisingly, she strips off her clothes and holds out her arms for Eugeo. We get quite the beautiful scene of Alice, Tiese, and Kirito shouting at Eugeo to not fall for it. They’re yelling at him that the Pontifex is tricking him, seducing him with her words, but in quite the poetic fashion, they’re sealed away and Eugeo is left alone. Corrupted by the Pontifex and her offer of love, Eugeo is in complete checkmate, and succumbs to her. Our greatest fear since last episode has arisen, and Eugeo is indeed brainwashed.
This mean we’ll inevitably have a clash between Eugeo and Kirito and/or Alice, complicating the final showdown far beyond simply Eugeo/Kirito/Alice vs. Pontifex. I am beyond excited, the tables have turned entirely. While Eugeo is no longer with Kirito, Kirito still has Alice as an ally now. How’s everything going to play out? Thank god I haven’t been spoiled.