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The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 23: Favorites

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 23 – Quick Summary

In The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 episode 23, “Of two evils choose the less.,” Philomela finally asked for help. But Lizbeth “May She Rot In Hell” Sargant was not about to give up and play nice – as she showed when she became the book’s next host. Can Chise, Elias, and their allies stand up to the combined fury and might of an insane sorceress – and an equally insane god from the book? And what secret did Alcyone withhold from Elias?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 23

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 23: Lucy had no patience for fruitless self-sacrifice

There’s no doubt how Lucy feels about Philomela’s suggestion. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

After Elias yanked Chise and Philomela into the safety of his interior, the two of them started trying to figure out how to get the book back. Morrígan gave them the hint: while that god could keep the other busy, a human would have to be the one to actually send it back.

Chise figured out they would have to do it; Philomela realized they’d have to use the book. The same book that the god/monster/thing had swallowed along with Lizbeth “May She Rot In Hell” Sargant. Trouble was, even touching the thing burned away flesh – and more.

Philomela realized that she had touched it, and she hadn’t burned away. Reasoning the book must still recognize her as its user, she said (18:16), “So I might be able to get the book back.”

That’s pretty brave, especially after what she’s just been through. But smart? Lucy weighed in on that question. But first she punched her fist onto the top of Philomela’s head.

“Absolutely not!” Lucy said (18:24). Elias had just let Lucy and Isaac in, and they had heard everything. Did Lucy act from her desire to get more information out of Philomela? Or a desire to help the situation overall? 

My money’s on both!

Favorite Moment from The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 23

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 23: Philomela realized a terrible truth about Alcyone's memories

It was only after Alcyone vanished that Philomela made her heart-breaking discovery. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Courageous Story-Telling

I sometimes wonder: were the old stories, like the ones in Grimms’ Fairy Tales, more courageous than the stories we tell now? Were they more brave in that they looked a grim reality in the face, saw it for what it was, and reported back?

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, with its emphasis on the mythos of the old magics, is the latest story to make me think about that question. My favorite moment embodies it, in fact. And before I share it with you, I should mention that this is one of those times when “favorite” is a recognition of the moment’s emotional impact. Because it’s not fun at all, and it could easily have come from Grimm’s stories.

Seems like Adam really loved his daughter, because in Alcyone he left not only a protector, but an avenger – and a treasure trove of memories. We learned the latter was that Alcyone hid from Elias. That secret coming to life hurt. A lot.

There was a long line of people in this episode who wanted to take Evil Granny down. Quite the testament to her “good works” (if you reverse polarity on the first word). The werewolf mother that Zoe had freed from Granny’s evil spell attacked, and Granny would have killed her. But Alcyone hurled herself in front of the assault – and took the full force of it.

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 23: Alcyone protected the werewolf mother

Alcyone protected the werewolf mother. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The attack loosed what Alcyone held inside – as Adam knew it would. It was part of Adam’s plan. As Alcyone lay dying, the curse/shade form of Adam told her she’d done well. Yet, she didn’t think she had done well at all. Philomela had been captured and abused, after all. Philomela rushed to Alcyone’s side. What I felt in that moment is what reminded me of the old stories. I hoped that Alcyone would be okay. But I knew that wasn’t going to happen. This isn’t that kind of story. Alcyone herself made that clear when she said (06:52), “I must be leaving now.”

Delivery: Philomela’s Realization

Philomela couldn’t understand why Alcyone had done that. But the artificial fairy explained she had remembered what she had been created for: for Philomela. Philomela was to be Alycone’s purpose. Apologizing for her failure to protect her charge, she said (07:34), “Please have my memories as reparation… I hope it is of use to you.” 

And with that, she handed over all of her recordings and memories to Philomela. She could now see her father and mother’s faces. She saw herself as a laughing, happy child. That should have been my favorite moment. I wish it had been. Seeing Philomela gain what had so long eluded her was a tragically joyous moment.

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Part 2 Episode 23: Alcyone gave her memories to Philomela

Alcyone gave her memories to Philomela. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

But it’s not that kind of story. 

After Alcyone dissolved into a cloud of floating blue feathers, Philomela, wracked by sobs, said (08:39), “But since they’re your records… You’re not in them…”

I said that I wondered if the old stories were more courageous, because I don’t often see their like. But my favorite moment is such an example. It’s that kind of brave, coincident story-telling that I enjoy, even if – or because – it’s painful. It’s one of the things that attracts me to this series. I’m glad Philomela has her memories, or a third-party copy of them. And I mourn for Alycone, who paid the price to keep those memories safe across all those years. I think the duality there makes the moment more special, don’t you?

What did you think of Fabio Zaccheroni interacting with Zoe (and what was that about)? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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