Shingeki no Kyojin – 22
「敗者達 ―第57回壁外調査⑥―」 (Haisha Tachi ―Dai 57 Kai Kabe Gai Chosa (6)―)
“The Defeated ―57th Expedition Beyond the Walls (6)―”
As the 57th Expedition comes to an end, let’s just say it’s a lot of the same: more suffering. Because even as Levi and Mikasa successfully manage to rescue Eren, it doesn’t change the fact that their plan failed far beyond what was ever expected. Not only that, but even what was supposed to be a straight forward retreat ends up contributing more to the suffering, and it really is an example of Murphy’s Law if I’ve ever seen it. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong in this universe especially, and there just aren’t enough words to describe the harsh reality the soldiers face here.
Indeed, it’s just not enough to risk one’s life fighting Titans. Because once the fighting ends, the suffering just continues as you deal with the bodies of your fallen comrades and consider your own mortality. As Jean puts it so well:
“How many of my friends will die?
How am I going to die?
It’s all you can think about.”
And it’s true. It’s horrible enough fighting on the battlefield, but it’s just as bad (or worse) when you’ve managed to get off it. The stronger soldiers will be able to stomach it on the conscious realization that you can’t fight otherwise (and you’d be spitting on the sacrifice of your comrades while you’re at it too), but it’s something that will easily rip the average soldier’s mind apart—assuming there’s anything left to be torn in the first place. Assuming you manage to get through all that, you then have to deal with the scorn of a city filled with those who think your effort is meaningless, and it’s enough to make anyone go bonkers at that point. Still more are the inevitable soldiers’ family members that will approach you too—as Petra’s father does to Levi—and really, it’s surprising there are any sane guys left. Though even then, the sane guys left might not even be sane by the normal definition anymore.
Ultimately, this week’s episode isn’t so much a resolution of the 57th Expedition arc as it is a summary of all the ways life can screw you over in the Shingeki universe. Gosh darn it, all Dieter wanted to do was retrieve his friend’s body for crying out loud. But not only does he end up failing to do so, his other friend dies in the process, and the Titans they end up attracting require them to dump the rest of the bodies too—all in the span of a minute long scene that I surely won’t forget for a long, long time. Thinking back to it just gives me chills—especially seeing Petra’s body, Levi’s reaction, and Petra’s father later—and I gotta say, it’s hard to be a blogger at times like this, because you’re sitting here trying to sort through the caps you take, and I ended up having to re-visit that scene way more times than I would’ve liked.
With that said, it does have to be noted that there are some positives to take from this loss though, and one such thing includes the inspiration of a new generation of future soldiers with the same view point that Eren had previously. Another such thing is the obvious maturation of Eren in the process too, as his ability to hold back against the scorn of the city’s critics demonstrate at least some meaningful growth from this experience. It’s another story altogether whether or not humanity even survives for that new generation to blossom though, and it has to be noted that Eren too may not be given another chance to implement what he’s learned for a while. The handing over of Eren to the authorities just hammers in another huge thing that this fight held in the balance. And while I’d say he’ll likely be back sooner rather than later… it definitely looks like it’ll be anything but straight forward, and it’s likely we may not even see him in action for the rest of this season while we’re at it.
Suffice to say, there’s a lot of elements here setting up for a really big cliffhanger, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it at all. At the very least though, we’ll be getting a wide variety of Shingeki merchandise in the near future—for those of you into figures and the like—and it’ll be something that’ll let some of us bide our time till the inevitable next season. Before then though, let’s savor this season’s last arc while we can, shall we? As much as we can given the suffering anyway.
Author’s Notes: Preview