Starting right off from last week’s amazing episode, Kirito climbs the Cathedral with Alice chained to his back. Now once again, this isn’t really as impossible as the spinning flips he did on the bars while they were still climbing, but it’s still pretty damn impossible. Nevertheless, Kirito succeeds in carrying the armored and unconscious Alice. Rather than being grateful, Alice’s tsundere side appears and complains about Kirito sweating on her outfit, which I found rather hilarious. The two are strong a pair as ever, and it’ll probably only get better as Alice has now fully shifted over to Kirito’s side.

They happen upon the battleground between Bercouli and Eugeo, which is a frozen wasteland thanks to Eugeo’s weapon art. Alice seems to have a mentor/mentee, or in her words uncle/niece relationship with Bercouli, and is extremely distraught at Bercouli being under the deep freeze. Thankfully to the power of anime, Bercouli straight up breaks his face out of the stone, and speaks to Alice with a heartfelt message. It’s sorta a tribute to how badass the guy is that he could get through the deep freeze sacred art by willpower alone. Now with the added motivation of saving Bercouli from the sacred art, Alice is reinvigorated with motivation to put an end to all this nonsense. Furthermore, Kirito picking up the Blue Rose Sword is lowkey one of the most hype moments for me so far. Dual Wielding has always been his thing, something to get him out of his toughest corners in the most spectacular fashion. It sadly gets yoinked away by Eugeo towards the end, but I have hope we’ll see it yet.

What follows is one of the most sobering scenes in the series, which reveals the nature of the senate. Rather than being a body of officials as I expected, it’s instead a massive chamber with people constantly reciting sacred arts to conduct surveillance across the Human Empire. It’s not something I really expected from Sword Art Online, and I can honestly say that it would’ve probably never have made it into earlier works. It’s creepy, dystopian in a way, and once again highlights how the Pontifex is manipulating the world for her own security. Kirito mentions how talented sacred art users are probably forced into this life, stripping them of their humanity and instead making them identical dummies eating out of a tube.

Chudelkin is sitting in a nearby playroom, watching through a crystal ball everything going on between Eugeo and Quinella from the previous episode. It’s honestly sorta creepy and I think that’s the point, this guy is literally just an evil minion that enjoys being cruel. The fact that he tells Alice about enjoying the sight of her tears and her cries is honestly disgusting, and I am most definitely going to love it when he finally dies. I was half hoping Kirito would just cut the dude’s head off before he finished his story, but Alice does it anyway, leading them on a goose hunt.

The episodes on the twist we were all expecting ever since the memory manipulation was introduced. Eugeo has succumbed to Quinella’s words, and has chosen to block out everything from his part, including both Kirito and Alice. He calls upon his sword using an ancient art, which raises questions as to how he learned such a technique, perhaps this will be relevant in the near future. I’m pretty confident Kirito would win this fight, since he is in fact the one who taught Eugeo everything, but I’m concerned as to how Eugeo’s new “powers” will influence the outcome. If he learned one ancient art in such a short time span, I wouldn’t be surprised if had learned twenty more. We’re in for quite the treat next episode!