Sword Art Online: Alicization - 1.18 The Legendary Hero
Almost the entire run of The Legendary Hero is devoted to the duel between Eugeo and the Integrity Knight he's encountered on the 90th floor of the Cathedral (so much so that this episode skips a cold open and plays the opening credits immediately). It turns out that this Knight is someone we've heard of before: he is none other than Bercouli, the legendary hero introduced at the beginning of the series who encountered the dragon in the End Mountains and is the original owner of Eugeo's Blue Rose Sword.
On his own without Kirito to back him up, Eugeo proves himself to be more than capable in a fight (against the leader of the Integrity Knights no less!) Despite Bercouli's sword being able to cut through time itself (making close quarters combat almost impossible), Eugeo is able to use the full power of his sword to drive Bercouli into near-submission. For some reason, seeing what Bercouli has become makes Eugeo beyond angry. After all, this is a legendary hero he's spent his entire life hearing about. Discovering someone you've idolized is part of the organization that took the person you love away from you must be a devastating blow. There's a scene where Eugeo all but screams the truth, that Bercouli is an ordinary human just like him, and it's simply bursting with raw emotion. I think that even more than Kirito, Eugeo desperately wants to break the system apart, because to him it represents everything wrong with the world.
Then Eugeo takes things a step farther by using the ultimate power of his sword to leech both of their lives away, betting that Bercouli's life will run out first. When I first watched the episode, I immediately thought that Kirito had rubbed off on Eugeo. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that isn't quite true. In the past, Kirito has only killed when he had absolutely no other choice. I'm not sure even Kirito would gamble with lives like Eugeo is doing, nor am I sure that Eugeo would have gone this route if Kirito had been present. It's a little disturbing to see the lengths Eugeo will go to on his own.
The one thing I was not expecting was for the story to be turned upside down with the sudden arrival of Prime Senator Chudelkin. The senator has been mentioned in passing by several characters, but has never been seen until now. Visually, he looks like no other character in the series (in fact, to be honest he looks like he came straight out of another story, not Sword Art Online). Considering he's dressed like a court jester, despite his title, I originally thought he was going to merely chide Bercouli for not finishing Eugeo off (which he indeed does). But then, when the Knight tells the senator to get lost, Chudelkin, to my shock, freezes the Integrity Knight just like that! This is a reminder to never let appearances deceive you. Chudelkin may look like a pudgy fool, but he must have some insane level of power to immobilize the leader of the Integrity Knights without breaking a sweat. Just when I thought Quinella was our heroes biggest threat in the Underworld, the show proves me wrong.
I feel like a plot twist is imminent. Kirito has no way of knowing that Eugeo has been taking captive by Chudelkin. And I couldn't help but notice the way the senator referred to Eugeo as a new "pawn." Is Eugeo going to be turned into an Integrity Knight and pitted against Kirito? I don't know what's going to happen but the story is definitely taking an interesting turn. I should've known something like this would happen, Kirito and Eugeo were climbing the Cathedral far too rapidly, it makes sense that something would happen to sidetrack them.