Compared to the last six episodes, Close Combat is very straightforward. Eren and Reiner face off in their titan bodies and it seems to be going well until it all goes to hell in typical AoT fashion. It’s glorious.
There are a few flashbacks as well and we get one right at the beginning when Eren remembers Reiner and Bertolt during their training days and how they’d seemed so genuine. As seen last episode, his grief quickly turns to rage and he shifts to fight the Armored Titan. Meanwhile, Mikasa laments not beheading either of them when she had the chance and wonders why she failed.
Back on top of the wall, Bertolt as the Colossal Titan eats Ymir and another scout. Well, he puts them in his mouth but from what we know so far, the titan shifters have no need to eat humans. Hange and the scouts attack him and while his huge but slow body seems to give them an advantage at first, that’s soon nullified by a massive burst of scathing steam from his body. Because of it, attacking him is impossible and the scouts just hang around and wait while Eren and Reiner fight.
Reiner’s armor protects him against both Mikasa’s blades and Eren’s fists so Eren gets his ass kicked in spectacular fashion. As in, he literally goes flying and just lies there thinking about how he used to see Reiner as a stand up guy who put his comrades above himself while the Reiner of the present approaches him in slow motion.
In Reiner’s defense, he can’t really move fast while fully armored.
Mikasa desperately and uselessly tries to make a dent in Reiner with a half of her last blade – which is a stupid move since he could squash her like a bug if he were so inclined – and Eren uses that time to use his tried and true method of reliving his bloody past in order to fire himself up. This time, we get to see his hometown’s destruction and his mother’s death both of which are direct consequences of Reiner’s and Bertolt’s actions.
It works enough to get him back on his feet just in time for Reiner to send him flying again.
This allows for more flashback, this time about Annie. I won’t lie, I am very happy to see more of her. We get one of Eren’s close combat spars with Annie which mostly involves her laying him on his ass by using his own strength against him. She offers to – more like insists on – teach him her style but it also comes across as lowkey flirting. Since Mikasa can apparently smell that kinda thing around Eren from a mile away, she interferes and challenges Annie. The two of them face off and Eren returns to the present.
There is more of a point to that last flashback than showing us a possible love triangle that would have been a beautiful disaster. It reminds Eren of Annie’s techniques which he promptly uses on Reiner to great success. He even says(to himself) that their greatest mistake was teaching him how to fight.
It’s a full on fight from this point onwards. Eren is in full control of himself for once and collaborating with the scouts (we get to see Hange have a ‘moment’ over this fact – bless them). Not even Reiner boosting his speed and agility is enough to beat Eren, especially not when Mikasa also assists. He gets Reiner in a headlock and seems to be making great progress at tearing off his head and putting an end to the Armored Titan.
Hope spots, people. Attack on Titan loves its hope spots.
Reiner drags himself and Eren to directly below where Bertolt is on the wall and what we see next is the Colossal Titan, in all his oversized glory, plummeting towards them.
Ow. Here’s hoping Eren won’t be a particularly bloody sandwich by next episode.
Also, can I just say that I loved Eren this episode? He was his usual angry, growly self but he was also in full control of his titan form and he used his head to fight. The combination, as Reiner found out the hard way, is spectacularly deadly.