Once the hair pulling frustration and rage of official subs being delayed for over eight hours has subsided (oh Cruchyroll you sure know how to dig yourself a hole) I think we can all agree this episode went places. Hot places. Like a phoenix from the ashes it was all slicing, dicing, and bombastic explosions from start to finish, and while more than one fan favourite looked to have met their maker, I seriously doubt the certainty of death until I literally see them die. After all, some have shown an uncanny habit of sticking it to the reaper.
While last week’s focus may have been on the differences in leadership between our two male blondies, this episode did help with getting one to rise to the challenge of a lifetime. No matter how easy it is to fault Armin’s previous decision-making there’s no denying he truly found himself here, both in decisively putting that intelligent mind to use and making one hell of a “non-Armin” move. The supposedly pusillanimous guy actually sacrificing himself so the blue team can prevail? Bet not many saw that coming. As Eren voiced however Armin has never really been a coward, he may not have the physical fortitude of our screaming transformer or the fatal danger that is Mikasa, but he has never once backed down or run away. Standing firm and refusing to back down is courage in of itself, and while one can rightfully criticise such sacrifice as simple, selfish indulgence—i.e. if you’re going to die might as well die swinging—if applied in the right situation it can make all the difference. Without Bertholdt drawing the wrong conclusions from Armin’s perceived cowardly personality and basing his decisions upon it, Eren’s success and the resulting ending may never have happened. Armin may have stood firm without a fight, but it was the best move he could have ever made.
In the aftermath of this battle 180 however, the results will likely prove to be anything but predictable. While both Bertholdt and Reiner are confirmed captured and likely up for decapitation (the former especially), Levi noticeably failed to kill our furry baddie, and with it the chance for a decisive victory. With both sides burnt out and the major pieces effectively removed from the board (with the noticeable exception of Eren and his supposed three transformation limit), it’s pretty much a stalemate with some negotiation likely set for the immediate future. Although easy to guess bloodshed won’t be off the menu for too long (because SnK things), the interesting thing to chew on is Levi’s remark about transferring the Beast Titan’s power to a fatally wounded comrade. I guarantee you this tidbit is going to flare up with a vengeance before all is said and done, because with three enemies possessing some seriously ridiculous Titan powers and quite a few good guys in need of healing, it won’t take long before others start putting two and two together. The question of course is who winds up consuming who, but I imagine we won’t have to wait long to find out.
With the major (remaining) players looking to come together for a bit of back and forth, it won’t take long before someone inevitably interrupts the lull.