And so, the lull before the storm culminates in a showdown between some of humanity’s best and two of the greatest threats to their continued existence. While I’m still of the opinion that the build-up leading to this wasn’t the greatest, the fact is we’ve gotten back to the general formula that allowed Shingeki no Kyojin to hold its own many years ago, and we’re all the better off for it.
I mean, the sheer amount of action-packed goodness—mostly in the form of classic fisticuffs no less—is something that not only makes the wait worth it, but also shows off just how strong the Colossal and Armored Titans are individually. The former’s size and steam defenses make it literally untouchable, the latter’s armor makes it just as strong, and suddenly we’re put into a perspective where we realize how powerless the typical human truly is in the grand scheme of things. Even with Eren in his Titan form using Annie’s techniques—the irony!—what we get is only the near defeat of one, and at the cost of many injured and a great deal of pain. With the epic toss over the side on part of Bertholdt though, it seems like even that result won’t hold, and—assuming the fight ends in a stalemate and both sides retreat—things look more grim than ever before.
After all, both Reiner and Bertholdt have nothing to lose, meaning they could just decide to try and finish off humanity sooner rather than later. At the same time, there’s still the threat of the Beast Titan looming, and suddenly there’s three potential threats just roaming around that can both bypass and/or destroy any of the walls shielding humanity’s last bastion. The question is—and of course there’s more than ever before—why exactly Reiner and Bertholdt decided to halt their annihilation of humanity in the first place, and while it’s easy to point to the influence of their experiences in the Survey Corps, it doesn’t explain what happens between their initial attack years prior and their joining of the Survey Corps. At the same time, we’re still unsure about the origins of their power in the first place, although the fact that all the human Titans so far (aside from Eren) have come from around the same area does seem like a big plot point that’ll be investigated in the future.
In the meanwhile, this week was also refreshing in the sense that Eren manages to show a cool head despite his obvious (and understandable) anger, and it was certainly a nice change of pace seeing him utilize lessons learnt previously, listen to orders, and do everything in his power to shield his teammates at the same time. There’s a steady growth in his capabilities and mindset as the series has gone on, and it’s certainly a welcome addition to a series that hasn’t always put that aspect of its characters on the forefront. That and the emotional highs from seeing him fight people he considered comrades (and even learned from previously) made this the best episode of the season by far, and it’ll be interesting to see the mental and physical toll this takes on everyone next week once it’s all said and done.
Author’s Note: Once again, please refrain from spoilers of the source material past what’s been covered so far. Use spoiler tags if you absolutely need to mention something that wasn’t explicitly shown/covered, as there is a zero tolerance policy in effect and comments with spoilers will be immediately deleted and bans handed out where necessary.