So! Lotta questions this week. Eren’s back, and was either controlling or actually became the fabulous-haired Titan. He’s apparently regenerated, as well. Where are they going with this?
Well, we certainly have clues – in particular, the foreshadowing from the first couple episodes is looking to finally become relevant. That shot of the syringe, his father talking about showing Eren whatever craziness goes on in their basement… obviously they didn’t include those moments for shits and giggles. Some crazy science has been done to Eren, and I’m guessing in the semi-near future that will likely be investigated. I can’t remember if we know what happened to Eren’s father, either – as I recall, he was last reported missing, right? So that and the basement itself are two valid threads to follow, and the idea of our squad performing a stealth investigative mission deep into Titan-controlled territory sounds pretty awesome.
But first our heroes should probably deal with all those fucking Titans wobbling around. Let’s get to it!
2:57 – Another flashback? Jeez.
It must be tough figuring out how to balance a show with this much exposition – one full episode of backstory, Titan attack. Two full episodes of training and character-introducing, Titan attack. Etc. I’m not sure this show (or manga, I guess, depending on how loyal they’re being to the source) has quite gotten the balance right yet – I’d like to see more of the information we receive portrayed in a more organic way, and not through direct monologues or flashbacks
3:14 – I guess we’ve found Sasha’s big sister?
4:26 – Haha, damn, this guy gets his own theme song? Looks like we got a badass here
6:00 – Man, this episode’s like an AMV of itself
7:15 – Damn! I mean, doing spinning flips and killing titans to J-rock is cool and all, but that was an actually nice little “you did good, soldier” speech he whipped out! I might actually like this character
8:25 – Now here’s the flashback we’ve been waiting for…
8:48 – That’s pretty brutal – any soldier who gets swallowed whole gets to die in digestive fluids, surrounded by dead friends serving as reminders of how hopeless their fight is. Cheery!
9:19 – The mystical flashback within a flashback. We need to go deeper
10:06 – “I’ll kill them with my own hands!” With your own hand, Eren. Let’s not lose sight of the important things, like dismemberment
11:35 – So it seems like he is pretty berserky in Titan mode. Probably for the best, story-wise
Also, is it just me, or is this Armin’s default expression? Your face is gonna get stuck like that, Armin
12:49 – Again, that exposition pacing… I like how the end of the flashback immediately jumps to the next relevant moment in the story, but, I mean, how valuable was that Eren flashback in the first place? We learned Eren became a titan. Which we already knew. I guess we learned that he still kinda consciously controls it? That doesn’t seem worth a full flashback for, though. Most of the flashback was dedicated to Eren’s despair in the titan – maybe that’s key because him becoming a titan is dependent on an incredibly desperate emotional state, or something? I guess that could justify it…
14:50 – I guess I might also be misinterpreting the pacing of this episode because I assumed the last episode wasn’t actually the all-clear sign for the battle of Trost… but yeah, actually, the only conflict propelling the last couple episodes was the need for fuel to retreat to safety, so I guess they figured this cooldown phase is the best time to both introduce characters and get flashbacks/exposition out of the way. It still feels kinda uneven to me
15:12 – Man, you don’t have to tell us the balance between Mikasa, Eren, and Armin. Give the audience a littlecredit here
16:08 – “Don’t understand the question? That’s just what a titan would say!” Fuckin’ bureaucracy man
17:58 – It’s nice that someone actually acknowledges picking fights with Mikasa probably won’t end well for humanity in general
19:18 – “ARE YOU AN EOTEN.” Come on, Eren, you KNOW this one!
20:17 – Bam, there we go. Basement mission established
Whew! What a finale! Man, that whole episode I was pretty lukewarm on the pacing and heavy exposition, and then that last scene combines a high-tension action scene with a critical flashback that furthers the central mystery of the show and the journey of the main character at once, as if to prove to me the show just didn’t feel like being fast-paced earlier.
Eren displayed some pretty crazy control over his titanification at the end there, basically making just enough of a titan to be a shield for Armin/Mikasa. Once again, I’ll be interested to see how well they can maintain stakes now that Eren essentially has a superpower, and what limits they might impose to keep up the tension. Next week should be pretty interesting.