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)
This episode starts with a flashback to the planning of the ambush mission, which is nice because I found that scene a bit confusing the first time I watched it. Armin has already figured everything out, and he relays his suspicions to Erwin, who sets up the actual attack. If this plan fails, Eren will be trapped deep within Wall Sina and humanity’s fate will basically be sealed.
Still, Eren doesn’t want to believe what he’s hearing. Armin and Mikasa already seem to have made up their mind about Annie, even though they don’t have any concrete proof. Frankly, I’d consider Marco’s maneuver gear to be more than enough, but Eren isn’t satisfied. His denial carries through to the mission itself, where it prevents him from transforming to fight against Annie. The episode switches back and forth between these scenes to show the build up of Eren’s mental turmoil.
Annie has the three of them trapped in the tunnel they originally tried to lure her into. Even though Eren has actually seen her become the Female Titan, he still can’t grasp the truth emotionally. There’s one cute part while Mikasa is interrogating him where she wonders aloud if Eren has feelings for Annie, to which he predictably replies, “Huh?!” (For the record, I’m pretty sure he just sees Annie as a friend.)
Armin and Mikasa eventually decide to split up and exit through opposite ends of the tunnel, reasoning that Annie can only chase one of them. Instead, she stomps through the middle of the tunnel and squashes Eren. He remains trapped under debris for most of the episode while the Survey Corps. fight Annie in the increasingly smashed up Stohess District. Armin calls Jean over to help him rescue Eren, but he eventually realizes that Eren’s injuries are already too severe. The only way he can survive now is by transforming himself.
Eren’s search for motivation ends up being a venue for reliving key moments from earlier in the season (which is a great idea, since this is the second-last episode). Music, scenes and quotations with strong emotional tie-ins are all reused throughout this episode. Thankfully, this is done in a way that doesn’t usurp any of the new content, so it ends up being a nice way to refresh our memories before the final battle actually takes place.
Mikasa reminds Eren of the most important lesson he taught her: “This world is cruel.” Armin tells him that, “To defeat monsters, you have to be willing to throw aside your humanity.” The sum of their advice is that, regardless of how much he might want to take the morally righteous path, his only option right now is bloody violence. It all comes down to the one choice in that “What They Say” section that Crunchyroll keeps forgetting to update: Kill, or be devoured.
Eren remembers all the people who are close to him that have been killed by the Titans. Images flash before his eyes: Eldo, Oluo, Petra…but it’s the memory of a Titan sinking its teeth into his mother that finally makes him snap. His rage overpowers his wounds and his massive blood loss. The next thing we see is a giant fist connecting with Annie’s cheek.
Flashbacks illustrate the planning of the surprise ambush mission. Eren is hesitant to transform because he doesn’t want to fight against his former friend. This episode relives some of the most emotional moments from the season as Eren tries to find the will to fight. In the end, it’s the image of a Titan biting into his mother that makes his anger boil over. The second-last episode of the season concludes as Eren punches Annie clean through a building.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Insignia 1080p TV, PS3 with Crunchyroll App; Occasionally 17” Toshiba Satellite Laptop, 2.13 GHz Core i3, 4GB RAM, Windows 7