You've already read the review for episode 18 of licensing? You can read it here.

After a week of breathing, in which we got to re-explore what has happened so far, we return to the present in a thematically anomalous episode for the series, but precisely for this interesting.

Synopsis of Alicization 19

The episode opens with the conclusion of Episode 18, with Alice listening to how much Kirito is aware of his past.

Kirito then proceeds to act as narrator for Alice, revealing her name, her hometown, her origin and her past, within the limits of what she is aware of, learned during the years of forced stay in Underworld.

Kirito also explains the reasons behind his "rebellion" against the pontiff, who in his attempt to maintain absolute authority has made the nobles indolent and actively prevented the formation of an armed force, jeopardizing the entire Empire against the imminent invasion of the evil forces of the Dark Territory, which the Integration Knights cannot certainly neutralize given the clear numerical inferiority.

But the boy claims that if Quinella were to leave the scene, the redistribution of the weapons and armor kept in the Cathedral, with the help of the Integration Knights, could be able to assemble a functioning army in a short time.

Alice seems to be convinced by Kirito's words and, with the promise of being able to visit Rulid before his memories are restored, agrees to help the young man, even in the face of the evident evidence that the pontiff is manipulating his knights, represented by the presence of the Minion on the tower.

alicization eye

Following this decision, however, we see an error message appearing in the girl's right eye, an event we had already seen more than once with Eugeo.
We discover therefore that this seal is not, as previously hypothesized, a limit imposed by Quinella, but a system block present from the beginning, by Rath, triggered when an Underworld resident is psychologically induced to disobey or rebel.

This leaves Alice with two options: free her mind from thoughts of rebellion or go all the way, letting her right eye explode as it happened in Eugeo.
The girl, furious against the pontiff and the "gods" who inflicted cruel manipulations on her, decides to face them.

At this point we find out what happened to Eugeo at the end of his brief meeting with Chudelkin: the boy wakes up on the hundredth floor of the Cathedral, in the rooms of Quinella himself and, for a short time, has the opportunity to hit the pontiff with the dagger given to him by Cardinal.

Alice's warning, the real one, however, warns him and Quinella awakens, finally finding herself face to face with Eugeo.

The woman, through her actions and, above all, her words, starts to manipulate Eugeo using her suffering, her anger and her need to be loved against him so as to make him give up mentally and start the Synthesis process, making him an Integral Knight.

Eugeo, in front of Quinella's seductive sweetness, therefore seeks comfort and lets the pontiff act freely on him by removing any barrier, despite being aware that this may not be a wise choice.

Alicization considerations 19

The exploration of the psyche of the characters has never been the strong point of Sword Art Online: the series has the tendency to excessively lengthen some thematic aspects that would like to explore or support their ideas in a superficial way.

However, there are exceptional moments, such as the confrontation between Asuna and her mother in the last stages of Sword Art Online II, in which the series manages to effectively convey moments full of emotion.

The episode 19 of Alicization offers us a middle ground, proposing for its duration purely dialogue moments, devoid of action, focusing on two different pairs of characters and, in doing so, realizes one of the best episodes of this series so far .

Both sides, represented by the Alice-Kirito and Quinella-Eugeo combination, reach a turning point in their development: on the one hand Kirito limits himself to telling the pure and raw truth to Alice, perhaps the best approach he could attempt in that situation given the stoicism and pride of Alice Synthesis Thirty, which surely would have prevented her from giving in to some form of appeal to her emotions.

Using a sincere truth, which relies on doubts already present in her since well before her meeting with Kirito, however, turns out to be the winning move that sets the hoped for example, revealing how determined Alice can be once the truth has been realized: not even the prospect of losing one's right eye is able to scratch his decision to oppose the pope.

In this regard, the element that gives the episode its name turns out to be the work of Rath and not, as previously hypothesized, an idea of ​​Quinella: in this perspective it is easy to understand why such a seal exists but, despite this, the Rath's idea is no less questionable.

The choice to make the idea of ​​"disobedience" a mere matter of Fluctlight's point of view, triggering the seal only when it is consciously and deliberately in the act of disobeying what his mind considers an inviolable rule imposes guidelines. very nebulous border on the actions of the inhabitants of Underworld, leaving us to ask if Quinella is not a sick experiment wanted by Rath rather than an unfortunate accident within an experimental technology.

Going back to Alice and Kirito, the scene is well executed from a directorial point of view: despite being full of dialogues for its entire duration, the characters move and interact physically enough to avoid static shots, effectively conveying Alice's growing doubts through his body language and actions.

The change in Alice's dynamics towards what is happening is also reinforced by the use of music, which in this episode is used masterfully in the right moments, transmitting and further concretizing the mood of the characters.

The idea that Alice Synthesis Thirty is not the real Alice and that therefore, once her memories are restored, her existence will cease is not a particularly original invention, but the way in which this episode touches the theme manages to make it well managed rather than a common cliche of souls.

And very cliché is, contentistically, the meeting between Eugeo and Quinella, which has all the trappings of the "good seduced to the dark side" to offer.

However, even in this case, the scene is managed effectively, especially considering that it is the first time that we have seen Quinella interact with a character outside of a flashback.

Until now, and Kirito's speech on how his actions have made the nobles deliberately indolent is no exception, Quinella has been portrayed as an unscrupulous tyrannical autocrat, and in a sense the description holds some validity.

However, the presentation of the woman at the head of the whole Church of Axiom is surprisingly quiet, showing us Quinella in a pure, almost innocent, at times sweet form, an image that lasts throughout the duration of her manipulation on Eugeo.

While it is true that he is distorting Eugeo's memory, filling his head with lies and using his doubts and insecurities against him, he does so in an inviting, reassuring way, in stark contrast to what is typically seen in the villains who make manipulation their primary weapon.

Furthermore, what is seductive in Quinella is not only of a sexual nature: even after having removed her clothes, despite the provocative attitude supported by the direction of the scene, the aura that emanates is that of a refuge of comfort, someone to to trust after waking up from a bad dream.

The general feeling of the character in the adaptation phase is much more impactful than its original material, and this happens thanks to the exceptional use of the visual medium and, above all, to the excellent dubbing work done on the character.

It is therefore not surprising that, gradually, Eugeo is increasingly attracted to the network cleverly hatched by the pontiff despite the voices of Alice, Tiese and Kirito in his mind trying to dissuade him.

It is however necessary to point out a deficiency on the part of the adaptation in adequately representing what Quinella used against him to seduce him, in the previous episodes: it is only thanks to the original Volumes that we discover the difficult family relationships of Eugeo with his father and his brothers, caused by his role as a woodcutter of the Demonic Tree in Rulid, and his sense of "ownership" towards Tiese who led him to attack Raios.

These aspects are two focal points used by Quinella to explain his constant need to be loved and accepted, to be seen as special, and that is why Alice's use to put him against Kirito works so well.

If all this had had a better build up, the climax represented by Quinella's manipulations would certainly have had a greater impact on the viewer.

However, this does not detract from the quality and high level of the episode, which despite the lack of action manages to maintain a constant degree of involvement throughout its duration.

At this point it is pretty sure that we will see Eugeo as an Integral Knight from the next episode onwards, making it a fundamental obstacle for the heroes, with his role and that of Alice completely reversed in this episode.

The real curiosity will be to find out how powerful Eugeo can be as a knight if as a do-it-yourself warrior he was able to face Bercouli, one of the legendary heroes of Underworld, and what Kirito will be willing to do when, inevitably, the two collide.

To find out, however, we will have to wait for the development of the series, which will continue in the episode entitled "Synthesize"