Well if you aren’t surprised I’d say you’re either not trying, or you’re a manga reader in hiding, because oh boy did we go places this week. For an episode of inaction it was certainly all action as SnK’s old guard made way for the new and one character in particular made the hardest choice of them all. I don’t expect many saw the results this week coming, but the aftermath is something I expect will see some vigorous debate for the foreseeable future.
As mentioned last episode with Levi’s comment on Titan powers and the one syringe to rule them all, it was only a matter of time until Titan powers became the key to saving lives, and this week fulfilled the prophecy. Armin and Erwin: two lives on the verge of death, two lives worth saving, yet only one who would see the next sunrise. Pretty obvious something like this was coming, but to have it over the biggest minds of SnK’s protagonists? Yeah, that hits hard. There’s arguments for why both should have been saved, but the interesting bit is the thought which went into the decision Levi ultimately made. He frankly would have saved Erwin outright due to the same emotional attachment Eren and Mikasa felt for Armin (and there’s no denying it), yet through sheer circumstance, willpower, or both wound up making his choice because of what the little blondie offered for the future. Erwin’s purpose, his reason to be was to discover the truth; once he had that in his hands, well, his purpose (in his mind) was done. Armin however had a vision of something more. Truth, understanding? It gets you part of the way, but it can never provide a reason to keep on going. For Armin it’s about finding a place in the world after learning one’s position in it. No matter how vague and ambiguous such a dream may be, it’s something worth fighting for after the truth is discovered, and for a people so philosophically listless, that’s reason enough to keep on going. Mind you there were some other factors influencing that decision (looking at you age gap), but in the end, this choice was inherently impartial.
With Levi’s choice now made however, the fun becomes in what happens next. Reiner after all is still going strong thanks to a little timely intervention, while our big monkey is still, well, doing big monkey things. Armin may be saved, but the good guys are still as close to victory as they were when Erwin launched his suicidal charge. It’s going to take something more to see this standoff shift in any noticeable way, and someone likely will have to pay a serious price to make it occur. The question of course is who that will be (and what the price is), but when you consider who’s left standing, the calculus becomes that little bit simpler.
The world of SnK is standing on a precipice, and once the secret of the world is finally (finally) revealed for all to see, the real fun and games are set to begin.