Attack on Titan really cranked it up to 11 in this week’s episode. The action was great, the plot was advanced, and I was once again left with more questions than answers. Let’s jump right into it. Missed my review of last week’s episode? Catch it here!
This episode focused solely on the group at Utgard Castle. It was actually a nice change of pace. Rather than have action interrupted by shots of Eren’s group traveling, it was developed and executed at a nice pace. As many of the Scouts were unarmed, we also got to see some ingenuity as they took down the Titans. Not all battles are won though, and they were many casualties at Utgard Castle; Nanaba unfortunately one of them.
On top of that, the group was also trying to figure out what was happening. Krista asks the milllion dollar question: if the wall isn’t broken, then where are the Titans coming from? The group speculates, with Conny explaining that although his village was completely destroyed, there were no signs of any dead. He goes even further to say that the Titan the crushed his house reminded him of his mother – which is met with laughter and skepticism by the group. We’ll come back to Conny later as this was an important question raised by Krista. They know the wall hasn’t been broken, and we as the audience know that there are Titans in the walls. However, there are no Titan-sized holes yet discovered, which means none of the Titans in the walls have broken out. So, where are the Titans coming from?
Later on, we see Ymir and Reiner scavenging for food. As Ymir scores a prized can of herring, Reiner asks her if he can have it, only to discover that the can is written in an ancient language. How could Ymir know a dead language? The big reveal of course comes at the end of the episode. The Scouts try to come up with an attack plan before they are complete overrun by Titans, with Krista feeling especially full of bloodlust. Ymir calms Krista and tells her to remember the promise they made together on that snowy mountain, and to be sure to live a life she’s proud of, and then jumps off the tower. Krista screams in shock and horror, and watches as Ymir transforms into a Titan.
So, Ymir is also a Titan. To process this information, we also need to remember what Conny said about the Titans in his village. He said the Titan on his house reminded him of his mother. Earlier on, he also mentioned that the Titan’s legs were too weak to have carried it there. What if people are turning into Titans, and only certain people are aware and can control it? That would explain why Ymir seems unsurprised. But what about the Church of the Walls? Do they know why this phenomenon is occurring and are unwilling to share? Is this the inevitable end of the line for humanity? There are a lot of questions that can only be answered by watching more Attack on Titan.
On top of being a great plot heavy episode, there was also a lot of character development. Reiner really shines in this episode as a paradigm of a good soldier. He leads his team into battle to fend off the Titans in the castle. When Conny is nearly eaten by a Titan, Reiner is the one to make the sacrifice play, literally pushing the Titan’s mouth away, only for it to bite down on his arm. Instead of collapsing, he fireman carries it up to an open window, which Ymir then kicks the Titan out of. Through flashbacks, we learn that Reiner was in a similar situation in his childhood. A situation that ended with Reiner’s friend saving his life, but losing his own in the process. Through Bertholdt we learn that Reiner wasn’t always a soldier, and was more of a warrior, which is an interesting distinction to make.
Looking back at how some of these characters started out, they didn’t join the Scouts for each other. They wanted fame, glory, and the ability to kill Titans. They were warriors. Through the harshness of reality, they have learned how foolish those goals are, and have come to embrace comradery, strategy, and survival. They have become soldiers. It will be interesting to see how they continue to grow on their battlefield.
Next week’s episode is titled Historia. We will get to see Ymir in action as a Titan, which should be awesome. We will also learn more about the promise she and Christa made to each other on that snowy mountain so long ago.