Nobody knows what it’s like…to be the bad man…to be the sad man…
Kirito explains what he knows about Alice’s past, including her family and old village, as well as the truth behind the story of the Integrity Knights and how she became one (oddly leaving any mention of Eugeo out of any of it). They also discuss the incoming invasion of the Dark Territory armies, which can only be stopped if they overthrow the Pontifex, then arm and train the people to be just as powerful as the knights. Alice agrees to this, but only on the condition that she’ll be reunited with her family. But as she disavows her rank as a knight, the System Alert message appears in her right eye, just as it did with Eugeo. Still, she defiantly vows to fight any who blocks her true thoughts, and so her eye explodes.
Meanwhile, Eugeo awakens in what he thinks is his home, meeting with Quinella pretending to be his mother. He soon breaks out of that illusion, but he still finds himself trapped by her. She manipulates him along the idea that he has been fighting for love, but the love he sought was always stolen from him by others. His mother’s love was divided amongst his brothers, he fought to save Tiese’s love after she was taken by the nobles, and Alice’s love was also taken by Kirito (his memories of their youth together somewhat restored to make this point). He tries to fight against this, being reminded by thoughts of his friends that love is not something you fight to gain, but his thoughts become blocked off one by one until he is right within Quinella’s grasp to turn into the next Integrity Knight.
After the previous episode being so action packed, this one is a bit of a lull, but it serves mainly as set up for the next plot point, and it does this by showing a major shift for two characters. As Alice finds her way back into the light of truth through another’s embrace, so too does Eugeo end up swallowed in lies through the same method. Alice finds out more about her family and former life, much like the other Integrity Knights did before her, but she plans to take direct action and reclaim her identity as Alice Zuberg, but Eugeo is forced to think that his life before finding Quinella was only based on failure, giving him reason to leave it behind and trust her entirely. And with her losing a BUNCH of Integrity Knights over the course of one afternoon, she’s probably really desperate for new additions. Maybe it’s time for a membership drive?
Though I do really have to question Kirito not bringing up Eugeo ONCE in him telling Alice about her past. Not that I’m of the mind that one can “earn” affection, but the dude deserves a HELL of a lot of credit for coming this far, and if Selka is going to ring some bells then surely saying HIS name is going to shake something loose! Guess it’s no surprise that Eugeo was so easy to convince that nobody loves him if his dang wingman isn’t willing to bring up that he came out all this way just to save the girl said wingman is talking to! That’s gotta be a violation of the bro code, Kirito.
That said, I wonder if this means the three of them will finally uncover the blocked memories of their childhood together. Alice is dead set on getting her memories restored and Eugeo just got a bunch of them sealed, but one used to get him to this point was during their time as kids, so clearly those times are SOMEWHERE in there. And we’re coming up on the end of this half of the season, so I can’t imagine there won’t be some sort of payoff regarding all that.
Other than those points, there’s not a ton else that I haven’t talked about at length already, such as the progression up the tower and the ever deteriorating integrity of the knights that are named for integrity. I imagine I’ll have more to talk about next time when the current adapted book finishes, but this wasn’t a bad transition.