This episode received a rating of 9.8/10 on IMDb, which I think says a lot already.
How much wronger could I have been last week, thinking that we will have a less exciting couple of episodes. This episode dropped like a hammer on me and completely changed my view of how smart and well thought through the complete construct is. Oh, how oblivious I have been…
First, let’s recap what happens before I begin swooning about this show. After the scouts and the unconscious Ymir (with deadly wounds but shape-shifters can survive this) regather atop Wall Rose, Hannes informs Hange that no breach was found in the walls, which still is very scary, meaning that the titans come from within. Historia champions Ymir’s allegiance with humanity and Hange is willing to consider it, given how invaluable an asset she would be. Reiner struggles with having almost died at Utgard and is consoled by Bertholdt with the weirdly excited reminder that they will soon return to their hometown. Then Reiner and Bertholdt tell Eren that they are the Armored and Colossal Titan respectively and that they will spare humanity if Eren agrees to follow them to their hometown. And I was like: What the heck are they talking about? What lame joke is that? And the conversion of this text’s author began… I love how in this season, the show uses very well-timed flashbacks to half a day or a day earlier to explain the characters’ behavior and their level of knowledge.
Flashback to 12 hours earlier: Eren and the other scouts learn that Reiner and Bertholdt are registered to come from the same hometown as Annie. Thinking about whether they knew about her real identity, Armin remembers about the first encounter with the Female Titan. They decided to conceal Eren’s location and both Reiner and Bertholdt had wrong information on his position in the formation. From the fact that the Female Titan attacked the formation from the wrong flank, Armin deduces that one of them may have slipped information to the Female Titan. Hange deems it possible, though this is hardly evidence for a conspiracy. Then Armin remembers the change in direction of the Female Titan after she had almost crushed Reiner.
What actually happened was that Reiner asked Armin about Eren’s location, then he got grabbed, he probably cut the message into her hand and not that miraculously was able to escape the hand of the Female Titan. WTF. It was already there in that first encounter pretty early in the series so the manga writers must have known back then.
And there was more evidence: Not only that there was no breach in the wall, Reiner’s behavior at Utgard castle now also makes more sense. When he confronted Ymir, he wasn’t surprised that she could read these weird symbols which could have been anything but Titan’s language or whatever but he was surprised that she could read the symbols he could also read. He also was strong enough to not be eaten by the titan. Moreover, the blood from his wound didn’t soak through the bandage (because we know that titans’ blood evaporates). Also, the shapeshifting titans apparently bear a resemblance to their human form. And there’s even more: In the season 2 opening credits, the “ordinary” scouts are all shown to the right, Reiner and Bertholdt more to the center and eventually Annie to the left.
Back to Eren, he tries to dismiss Reiner’s words as unlike the viewer, he knows exactly what’s going on after this flashback. It would be crazy to go with him now that he’s revealed his true identity. Reiner hated the past years “spent among idiots” and now sees his purpose as a true warrior.
As the sunlight breaks through the clouds, Reiner heals his wound and is about to transform. Mikasa, who has been skeptical and watchful the whole time, dashes to save Eren and quickly tries to decapitate the two of them.
As she shouts to Eren that he run, she wounds them but is unable to kill them as Reiner crushes her against the wall. Eren transforms into a titan and the epic fight begins.
So this makes things helluva lot more interesting. Why don’t the titans want to destroy humanity anymore as long as they have Eren. Does it maybe have to do with his father’s research or with his abilities alone? Why does the Beast Titan attack then? Don’t they belong together? Either this or Ymir’s allegiance to humanity (and mostly Christa) could explain the line from the trailer: “Titans protecting humanity from other titans.” Does Annie’s hometown recruit shapeshifting titans to infiltrate humanity or what the hell did happen there??? Questions upon questions, all of which are very interesting. AoT currently is the hottest show on television!
All images (incl. title image): © Hajime Isayama / Kodansha / “ATTACK ON TITAN” Production Committee, taken from IMDb
GIF-image created with the help of MakeAGIF, created with the opening credits ,© by Wit Studio and Production I.G.