I was always planning to watch this season as it aired but the decision to blog it is largely thanks to a certain someone who kept nagging me to watch seasonal shows. Thanks for that.
Now on to episode 26.
You would think that after an epic fight between two titans inside the walls that results in monumental casualties and property damage, they would all get a much deserved break. But nope. Instead, there’s trouble on two fronts – Hange and team finds that there are titans inside Wall Sina. Live titans and the only person who may know of it, Pastor Nick of the Wall Cult, refuses to explain anything even upon pain of death.
Elsewhere, there are titans in Wall Rose territory and the other members of the 104th (the group of trainees Eren, Mikasa and Armin belong to) are stuck right in the middle of it without any gear. What’s more, Connie’s and Sasha’s villages are nearby, meaning that their families are in danger from the new titans.
It gets worse. Mike goes to take on a group of nine titans, distracting them so that the others can get away. He deals with five and is then royally fucked over by the eponymous Beast Titan – a huge monster covered in fur that can talk quite fluently and is also clearly intelligent – that kills Mike’s horse, takes his gear and leaves him being to be brutally ripped apart and eaten by the remaining normal titans. What a way to go.
I spent a good deal of this episode fawning over Hange. That scene with Nick is one of my favorites and it was great to see the animated version of Hange losing their shit in a way that’s markedly different from the usual. What we’ve seen of them until this point is mostly the mad scientist side, the side that sees a titan and runs squealing to its side, all deranged grins and unrestrained babbling. But the discovery of the titan in the wall and Nick’s ensuing silence clearly tips Hange over to a more serious persona, one that’s terrifying to boot. Who just casually dangles a man over a wall while delivering an impassioned speech about duty and sacrifice? Hange fucking Zoe, that’s who.
Is my inner fanboy showing yet?
Moving on, I like Mike’s final moments just as much but for wholly different reasons. There’s a stark contrast between the guy who coolly proclaims that they will not lose unless they stop fighting and the terrified wreck of a man that’s torn apart at the end. He’s not weak for it either. Mike’s good – he did take out five titans by himself. But when caught unawares by a monster that’s outside of his widest imaginings and left helpless at the mercy of creeyass giants who’d like nothing more than to gobble him up like a bloody dessert, it’s understandable that his earlier bravado would desert him.
Attack on Titan has always made a point of vividly presenting how fear affects humans in the face of an impossibly intimidating enemy and this is yet another example of it. The only character we’ve seen who didn’t become a ball of petrified terror when being eaten is Eren and well, as much as I love the guy, I can admit that he’s a little screwed in the head when it comes to titans.
All in all, this was an excellent first episode for the new season that feels like an organic continuation of the first. I am disappointed by the opening and ending themes though.