Sword Art Online: Alicization - 1.19 The Seal of the Right Eye

After a short break to recap the story, Sword Art Online: Alicization returns with The Seal of the Right Eye. The title refers to the red "System Alert" image that has appeared several times in Eugeo's right eye, though its full significance has yet to be revealed.

Compared to the most recent episodes, The Seal of the Right Eye is relatively weak because once again the show has gone back to an exposition heavy format, where we're given a lot of information, but overall there's not much story progression. In fact, the bulk of the episode is devoted to Kirito talking with Alice about her past, which ultimately leads to the Integrity Knight renouncing her profession and joining Kirito in his cause. It's a welcome plot development, if somewhat predictable. It's information Alice needs to hear, but I feel like it could have been handled so much better than it was.

The only real development comes in the closing minutes of the episode, when Eugeo awakens at the very top of the Cathedral, only to find himself in front of Quinella herself. Unfortunately this scene isn't as tense as it should be. When Eugeo belatedly remembers he has a dagger that can immobilize Quinella, there's no real sense that he's going to even try to use it; from the start of the scene it feels like he's already lost, which effectively kills most of the tension.

However, things do improve slightly by the end of the scene, when Eugeo's memories are slowly blocked off by Quinella. It certainly looks like Eugeo is going to become the newest Integrity Knight (if the final moments of the episode are any indication), which will make Kirito's next encounter with Eugeo very interesting. Particularly since Quinella tried to manipulate Eugeo by creating the impression that, as children, Alice actually loved Kirito instead.

Once again I'm hoping that Sword Art Online: Alicization moves away from information dumping and back to the action, since that's when the series really thrives. There were some interesting plot developments to be sure, but it could have been handled in a much more interesting way.

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