God, this was such a good episode! I know some people might disagree and think it was boring or it dragged, but in my opinion, this episode was fantastic. The complete silence as Levi, Eren, Mikasa and Hanji walk the ruined and abandoned streets, the music, the movement between the present day and the memories and phantoms of the past haunting their memories.
I nearly started to cry as we saw Hannes.
It was a very beautifully tense and emotional scene as the group approached what we’ve all been looking forward to from the start of this series. The mystery contained in the basement, the purpose behind the key that was given to Eren by his father.
It was kind of refreshing after all the tenseness and melancholy to have that break in the tension, where the key doesn’t work to open the basement and Levi just kicks the door down. I feel like over the years I’ve heard people refer to this moment as something of a let down.
I didn’t feel that way at all, considering what the key really led to. It wasn’t a key to the basement, but instead a key to the secrets within the basement. The hidden drawer in Grisha’s desk, my goodness, the level of security this man went through to protect the knowledge contained in the books he’d hidden is absurd. A hidden drawer, with a key that he kept on his person up until the moment he was eaten by his son. The drawer having a false bottom.
They open the drawer and inside it, they find three books. In the front of one of them, they find a picture. Which is something that none of them have ever seen before, on the back of the picture is a message written by Eren’s father.
We cut to the credits immensely early, giving me a near panic attack as early credits or the lack of opening credits in an anime usually does. It either means a long ending scene in which something important will be revealed, something horrible is about to happen or someone dies. In this case, it was the first one. A flashback of Grisha as a child shows us life outside the walls.
He leaves the house with his sisters and, now I can see where all the people talking about the heavy nazi Germany imaging comes in. Having the kids wear armbands with stars as the leave the house, the ‘blimp’/airship in the air. His sister stares at the airship in the sky and wonders if one day, when she is rich. She can fly in one of those and be in the sky.
To give his sister something nice, he decides to completely ignore his mothers warning not to leave the walls. He grabs his sisters hand and runs beyond the gate, right past the guards. This is where the episode fades out.
At last we’re going to get some solid backstory on the humans beyond the walls and perhaps the truth behind the Titan shifters and their powers.
A few things I didn’t discuss above but were still important or hit me hard emotionally.
The beginning of the episode where Armin wakes up and doesn’t remember anything for a while back, after being filled in. He feels the wrong choice has been made and says that Erwin should of been chosen instead. Though he is shut down quickly by Levi. Who tells him how Mikasa and Eren begged, and how he made his own decision.
In the end, he swears never to regret his decision and that strikes true with me. I believe that Levi didn’t want Erwin to suffer any longer, not in this hell of a world and not as the devil he had become.
Also, right near the end. After the basement, the nine or so remaining scouts come to report their success, just as their arriving though. There is a group of men talking about Erwin, someone who knew him when he was a student and he would question life outside the walls.
He would always tell Erwin things like he was nitpicking details about the government or imagining things. Yet look where they are now,They say he’ll need to apologize to him and it hurts because you know. He never can.
Next episode is going to contain a lot of backstory, we’re down to three episodes for this season left and I heard season 4 is already announced. So we’ll have to see where the cut off point will be!