As with the last episode, I’ll skip the recap and dive right into commentary. There was a lot going in this season finale and not all of it makes complete sense yet. But damn if it wasn’t a wild spectacle.
Let’s start with Eren. There’s a lot of Eren in Scream but first, let’s address him being Humanity’s Last Hope as Erwin has dubbed him. For the most part, Eren’s useless in this mission, a fact that he himself acknowledges. The whole mission is in fact for rescuing him and the scouts lose most of their veteran fighters in the process. Erwin even loses an arm and well know they’re doomed without that guy. Yet, Erwin deems that Eren is their priority and that without him, the people in the walls will not have a future.
This might seem like an exaggeration but I think this episodes shows exactly why that sentiment is more or less true. We see the human soldiers fighting against the titans, including the intelligent titan shifters, and losing spectacularly. It’s crystal clear that if it weren’t for Eren’s mysterious coordinate powers at the end, they would all have died gory deaths. Even Mikasa, who’s arguably the strongest after Levi, is out of the running due to an injury. Hell, Levi himself is staying behind because of an injury. They’re all people, breakable people, and their enemies are gigantic, regenerating monsters that are very hard to kill. That would be bad enough without the likes of the Armored, Colossal and Beast titans thrown into the mix.
Having Eren on the side of humanity isn’t a guaranteed win. He also has his limits as we’ve seen. But he’s still their best bet. Even without the newfound power to control titans (which comes with its own complications that we’ve yet to see), Eren is at the forefront of their strategy for plugging up Wall Maria and combating the other shifters. Plus imagine the blow to the people’s and soldiers’ morale if the only titan humanity has on their side is killed or kidnapped. It’d be a mess. They’re already screwed in many ways but Eren is a ray of hope and I think it’s wise that Erwin prioritizes him.
Moving on, we have more Eren. And also some Mikasa and Hannes. One of the important scenes this episode is Hannes fighting the titan that ate Carla in order to avenge her and also protect Mikasa and Eren. However, he’s not quite a match for it and towards the end, it becomes clear that he’ll be eaten. It’s at this point that we see Eren try desperately and violently to take his titan form because another person he cares for is about to die in front of him to the same thing that took his mother from him. He cries and screams and makes a literal mess of himself. Nothing works.
In most other shows, it’d be reasonable to expect a last minute transformation where Eren shifts from sheer willpower. But no, Attack on Titan’s been stomping on its characters willpower since its conception and it does so again. Eren’s will alone doesn’t overcome his body’s limitations. He can’t do anything but watch, just like with Carla, as Hannes is eaten. It’s a sobering scene and adds a measure of authenticity to the finality of the moment that follows when Mikasa takes the time to console and thank Eren. Of course, I doubt any of us were fooled into thinking that either of them would actually die but it was a nice moment nonetheless.
Alright, that’s all the Eren talk I’ve got for today.
Ymir and Historia also have some screentime this episode. Actually, they’ve been quite important this whole season and present a rather heartwarming, if slightly screwed up, relationship. So of course it ends in separation. Eren’s coordinate ability convinces Ymir that the people in the walls might have a future after all and that Historia might be safe with them. But rather than join the scouts as they retreat to the walls, Ymir bids Historia a tender goodbye and joins Reiner and Bertolt.
It’s clear that she’s not happy about it. Hell, she’s crying about it. And Historia is most certainly not happy, especially since she says mere minutes before their impromptu parting that she’s not scared to face the world as long as Ymir is with her. Well, Ymir ain’t with her anymore. For the record, I’m not happy either but I can appreciate why the narrative chose to go in this direction. At multiple points this season, Ymir has stated her desire to live just for herself, only to end up doing this for other people’s sake every single time. Until now, it’s been Historia. This last time, it’s for Reiner and Bertolt. I guess it counts as character growth.
In non-character related news, the titans are people.
Wow, it’s like I’m watching Hannibal all over again.
But, yeah, Hange presents Levi, Erwin and Pixis with the not-yet-proved-but-pretty-solid theory that the titans used to be actual people and that the titans that appeared inside Wall Rose were the people of Connie’s village. That would explain a lot like why there’s no blood, why the houses are ruined, why the horses are unharmed and how the titan on Connie’s house got there even though its limbs can’t support it. Plus we’ve already seen that it’s possible to turn people into titans as with Ymir.
We, the audience, aren’t too shocked by this revelation but the same can’t be said for the characters themselves. Levi, stoic badass extraordinaire, seems quite affected by the knowledge that, all this time, he’s been chopping up actual people and not mindless monsters. I wonder what he’ll think if he ever finds out that the people who are titans have some measure of awareness. Ymir described it as being trapped in an endless nightmare. So maybe it’s a kindness to kill them. Who knows?
As for Erwin, his response is a really creepy smile that unsettles even Levi. He seems more concerned with how this news is a step towards the truth that will set humanity free. Levi rightly points out that at this rate, they’ll be out of people by the time they get to the full truth. But Erwin still sees it as progress. It’s pretty cold but that’s what gotten the scouts this far so it’s clear that Erwin’s doing something right.
All in all, this is an okay season finale. It’s impressive in many ways but we’re still left with a hell of a lot of unanswered questions. But hey, looks like there won’t be another long wait. Season 3 has been announced for 2018 and from the video, it looks like it’ll be adapting a lot of manga material. If that’s so, there will be plenty on answers in it. I just hope they won’t condense any of the material – that would be a mess.
Don’t forget to tell me what you think of this final episode. Are you happy with things or are you unsatisfied?