What They Say:
Many years ago, the last remnants of humanity were forced to retreat behind the towering walls of a fortified city to escape the massive, man-eating Titans that roamed the land outside their fortress. Only the heroic members of the Scouting Legion dared to stray beyond the safety of the walls – but even those brave warriors seldom returned alive. Those within the city clung to the illusion of a peaceful existence until the day that dream was shattered, and their slim chance at survival was reduced to one horrifying choice: kill – or be devoured!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Episode 17 jumps right into the first mission of the new and improved survey corps. The tactical plan shown on that map in the previous episode was actually Erwin’s “radar” formation. Basically, the survey corps. will fan out across a field and use colour-coded smoke signals to relay information to Erwin, who will direct the entire team to avoid stray Titans. Most Titans are morons, so this sort of coordinated movement is excellent for evading them, but aberrant (read: weird and unpredictable) ones must be killed for safety’s sake.
We get to see this tactic put into action immediately. Sasha Blause encounters a Titan which chases her in a sort of crab-walk on all fours, but it stupidly rams its face into a tree before anyone gets hurt. The group also runs into an aberrant, then defeats it by cutting out its Achilles tendon and slashing it routinely in the back of the neck. The expedition seems to be going smoothly so far.
Then, far in the distance, they spot a female Titan charging toward them at high speed. Sinister music slowly fades in. One guy tries to use his maneuver gear to attack her neck, but she grabs the wire and slams him into the ground. When she catches up to Armin, she gently raises his hood, looks at his face, then runs off in the other direction. There’s a vivid contrast between the simplistic nature of the first two Titans and this one’s sophisticated behaviour. It’s clear that this is a highly intelligent Titan, and it’s searching for someone in particular.
Reiner and Jean meet up with Armin. The female Titan appears to be leading a large group of them which has already eliminated most of the formation’s right flank. Realizing that the survey corps. have taken on heavy casualties, the three decide to distract the female Titan to give their comrades time to retreat. Armin tells the others to cover the heads so that she won’t be able to tell who they are.
Here’s where it gets weird: Armin’s hood is knocked off as he’s hit to the ground, and the Titan again leaves him alone. He starts to insult her, saying she killed his closest friends (which she didn’t), and she kneels down and stops moving. It’s unclear what’s going on in her head, but she obviously has some sort of connection to Armin. Why did it even occur to him to try heckling the Titan?
The last part of their encounter is unexpected, and, well, pretty badass. The female Titan starts to ignore them and runs off again, but Armin notices that she’s headed straight for the rear center of the formation. That’s the best protected area, and thus the most likely location of both commander Erwin and the only confirmed human Titan…
Armin talks throughout the episode about how he thinks the female Titan is really a human with the same ability as Eren (and the same goes for the colossal and armored Titans). It’s a rational assumption: there are four known intelligent Titans, and he already knows that one of them is a transformed human, so the best available explanation for the other three is an equivalent power. And if he’s right, then it’s more interesting for the show as a narrative if the special Titans are people we’ve already met or heard about. Which leaves us with the question: who is she?
The new recruits’ first mission starts out according to plan but quickly falls apart when an intelligent female Titan appears. Her leadership of the other Titans decimates much of the survey corps., and Reiner, Jean and Armin need to distract it to give the others time to escape. At one point she lifts up Armin’s hood, stares at his face, then leaves him and heads off in the other direction; she’s clearly looking for a specific person. Armin theorizes that the female Titan, along with the colossal and armored ones, is really a human with the same power as Eren. That might explain why she ends the episode by running directly toward Eren’s spot in the formation.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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