There are two things I want to stress going into this review.
- Armin is a goddamn hero and I adore everything about him.
- I have never loved Levi more than I did in this episode.
The charge against the Beast Titan is a success, in the way that it kept him distracted as it allowed Levi to approach without being noticed. “You’re telling me that I need to look out for one soldier?” was a question that the Beast Titan asked to Reiner and Bertholdt as they warned him about Levi. However, I don’t think any warning could truly prepare someone for Levi not only when he is fighting at his best but when he is fighting with a purpose and a promise in his heart. He cuts down the Beast Titan with almost frightening ease, ripping the person from his nape.
His only mistake was holding off on killing the Beast Titan in the chance that there was someone alive from the scouting regiment who could take the Titan injection and feast upon the Beast Titan to inherit it’s power. This allowed to the four legged create Titan enough time to come over and grab the Beast Titan from Levi to escape.
Meanwhile, inside the wall. Armin finally constructs a plan to take down the Colossal Titan. It involves himself and Eren, he commands the others to go deal with Reiner. So Armin dives to the wall and wakes Eren from being passed out. While the others go and face the armored Titan. The plan there is to take their three remaining thunder spears and kill Reiner. Jean acts as a distraction as Sasha and Connie launch their under spears into the side of the Armored Titan’s jaw and then Misaka fires one right in his open mouth and drive Reiner out of the nape.
This, however, does not go to plan. Sasha gets injured and is unable to deploy her Thunder Spear properly. Connie’s lands it’s mark, but it’s not enough to open the jaw. Mikasa is about to take a risk, knowing they have to end it here or it’s likely the end for all of them. Though, she doesn’t have too as Hange flies in and deploys her Thunder Spear and finishes opening the jaw for Mikasa to land her target.
It lands true and he is ripped from the nape of the armored Titan.
Meanwhile, Armin and Eren engage in a gamble. A moment where Armin risks his life to cause a distraction and to trick Bertholdt into thinking there are no enemies nearby. I’m going to level with you, I know what happens here. I do have some manga spoilers for this part of the show. It was still absolute suffering to watch animated, to watch the steam and heat burn Armin alive. All the while, thinking about how he might not achieve his dream. It’s almost a parallel to Erwin’s sacrifice, both of them are willing to lay down their lives and die for the greater good before they can see the completion of their dream. Before Armin can see the ocean, before Erwin can reach the basement.
The worst part was even after seeing Bertholdt ripped from the colossal Titan, even after seeing the giant Titan fall, I could feel no happiness. I could only feel cold and empty as I saw how burnt Armin was. It hurts to look at and despite a few small victories, I feel like they were hallow victories at least right now.
We’ve won…but at what cost?