Normally one would have their jaws firmly planted on the floor when it comes to the weekly events and cliffhangers of SnK, but really, did anyone not see this coming? From the outright teasers to the slightly more obtuse death flags, it was a calm before the storm moment this week as we more or less arranged the pieces for that big battle everyone is obviously waiting for. Slightly annoying? Sure, but with what’s to come and the hints towards a game changing end for several key characters, a little breather never hurts.
Much like Erwin’s ominous backstory flashback of yester-week, Reiner in all his cliffhanger induced audience hair pulling, plot armoured glory received similar treatment this episode. Filling in the blanks regarding Marco for example pretty much ties atonement to the top of Reiner’s things to do in the near future, while the recurring memory lapse (which still isn’t any less annoying than the first time) solidifies some very painful confrontations and warranted redemption to come for our titan boy. Reiner may have essentially got off scot-free for a second time, but it’ll take some serious plot magic for him to get a third time charm considering his current physical situation and the presence of tools needed to see to his permanent liquidation. Anything is possible at this stage mind you, but whether it sees Reiner continue to live is anyone’s guess.
The thing arguably not up for question though is the matter of Bertholdt. After this little scene anyone suspecting a miraculous return to good should probably check things over again because burning all your bridges typically never ends well. While undeniably true finding your goal and sticking with it brings a satisfying sense of joy and freedom (seriously, you’ll never realize how wound up you are until you think that the important things are going right), in Bertholdt’s case the lofty happiness and sense of power obtained by rejecting the necessary may be short-lived thanks to a few Scout survivors and their grim determination. No matter how much Hange and the rest may be alive (because until confirmed dead they very much are alive, praise be to SnK shenanigans), in Eren’s and friends’ eyes they alone are the only thing standing between life and the death of millions, and in such a state men (and women) have a tendency to do their utmost to avoid any unwanted fate. Things may be currently looking down for our heroes of the moment with victory far from a sure thing, but with the success seen so far and the consequences of failure plain as day, you can bet the forthcoming fight won’t be as one-sided as one big monkey may wish it to be.
There’s a storm brewing in the ruins of Shinganshima, and the victor will prove to be the one best able to take advantage of the rapidly changing situation. After all, in war the winner is never the smartest, but rather the one who can leverage the mistakes of one’s opponent’s first.