After some intense episodes, it’s time to hit the brakes and focus on the plots surrounding Eren Yeager’s plan. In “Attack on Titan” (“Shingeki no Kyojin”) the end of the world is just beginning, but before knowing the effects of “Rumble” it is necessary to visit certain characters whose stories put the destruction in context.
SPOILERS for “Attack on Titan” 81, “Thaw” below:
The circle is complete
In the previous episode, Eren Yeager took control of the Founding Titan and starts the “Rumble”, whereby everyone outside of Paradise Island will be crushed. But inside there is also trouble, as titans created by Zeke Yeager’s spinal fluid cause trouble in the Shiganshina district. In the midst of the chaos Mikasa, Armin, Jean and other characters have to defeat the enemy as in the first seasons, this is with cuts on the back of the neck.
While these scenes are action-packed, they’re not where the most interesting part of the episode happens. That privilege goes to Gabi Braun, the soldier candidate who has progressively discovered that the Eldians are not like Marley, with her machinery of persuasion and manipulation, led her to believe. After putting the badly wounded Reiner in a safe place (his armor shattered next to the walls), he takes his rifle and goes in search of Falco; who is missing after having obtained the powers of the Jaw Titan.
In her search, Gabi finds Kaya Blaus, who is about to die at the hands of a titan. She saves her, a situation similar to that experienced by Sasha years ago, who also defended the girl. The next thing is that the Blaus defend Gabi, because Eldia’s soldiers suspect that she is an infiltrator of Marley and they are correct. It is one of those ironies so common to this narrative, where Sasha’s murderer has to be protected by relatives. Although the message is clear, “Attack on Titan” prefers not to leave this matter to the viewer and puts in the mouths of its characters, Kaya and Gabi, the double revelation: on both sides of the battlefield there are people, not monsters.
Revenge or justice?
While Gabi’s plot is solid, it flirts dangerously with the truths of Perogrullo. Does this affect the episode? No, because like everything in this series, nothing is as easy as it seems. Gabi can say that there are no monsters, but they do exist. There is Eren, determined to commit genocide, and also Jean; whose doubts about Eren’s plan show that he is not convinced that it is wrong to wipe out millions of peopleyes And Armin, who has been in Eren’s favor all his life, knows that his friend’s decision is too radical to be the right one.
For her part Connie Springer, who has been one of the most heroic soldiers of Eldia, wants to commit a crime: take Falco hostage so that his mother eats him and thus leaves the titan form to which she was subjected by the work of Zeke Yeager. She was innocent and, in a way, so is Falco; who never raised a finger against the Eldians and is among those who have lost the most in the entire war.
A similar situation is experienced inside the fortress when Floch, one of the most radical Yeagerists, reveals his intentions to punish “Marley’s volunteers” like Yelena and Onyankopon. With these scenes in mind, the words of Niccolo, the prisoner of Eldia, resonate: inside each person there is a demon and that explains the war.
Back with Gabi, she summons Mikasa and Armin to find Falco so they can go to a safe place, in case something like this still exists in the world. They break the news to him that the boy has been kidnapped by Connie to revive her mother. Gabi takes advantage and begs Armin to somehow contact Eren to heal Falco’s mother; the same way she destroyed Reiner’s armor. A detail that seemed minor, but that, in the ears of Mikasa and Armin, only means one thing: Annie, who has been protected by a crystal for years, is free.
- The way the plot goes, Gabi seems to have reached her peak in terms of character development. She was the girl who was brainwashed and, out of fear of dying, she sacrificed all of her for her people.
- This episode also marks the last appearance of Commander Dot Pixis, albeit in Titan form.
- Gabi and Kaya’s reunion, a great moment, happens by chance. How likely was it that the two would cross paths when Shiganshina is in chaos?
- Something that the episode did well: the parallelism not only between Gabi and Sasha, but between Gabi and Eren; where both represent the combatant who is a hero on one side of the field and a villain on the other. With their differences, of course, because Gabi does not trigger a genocide.
- For a moment, a titan similar to Bob Odenkirk, a leading actor in the series “Better Call Saul” and a supporting actor in “Breaking Bad,” appears on the screen. The resemblance is even greater in the manga.
- This episode also showed the limits of TV compared to comics, where the latter can offer impactful vertical panels that, when adapted, do not always offer positive results. That is the case of the titan that Mikasa kills in front of the window and that, by the way, looks like the actor Liev Schreiber.
- Although Annie reappeared as memories, the character had not been seen outside the glass, in the “present” time of the narrative, since September 29, 2013; day the season one finale aired; Eight years and four months ago.
- This episode only adapted one chapter of the manga, which is understandable given the sheer number of things that happen in it. Usually, the series adapts two manga chapters per week.
- Reiner is convinced that it is impossible to stop Eren, since he has control over Ymir’s subjects. But if so, why did he start the “Rumble” instead of removing the power of the titans?
- The next episode promises to show more chaos within the walls, this time not by the titans, but by Floch; who seems to have the power in practice.
4 stars out of 5
You can watch new episodes of “Attack on Titan” every Sunday on Crunchyroll.