I know I said I didn’t hate Gabi anymore… but she sure is making it hard for me to keep that mindset. That poor guard didn’t deserve what happened to him. Though I will admit that people really need to stop underestimating her because this is literally the third time this has happened. But he was legitimately worried for her and she didn’t even care. Killed him in cold blood. However, it’s still understandable where she’s coming from. As dislikeable as Gabi is, she feels very REAL. All of her actions have a reason and I feel like she is a great example of someone who has been indoctrinated all of their life. Not to mention she’s still just a kid and just went through quite the trauma. Her friends were killed in front of her, the person she looked up to turned out to be a traitor to Marley… So she’s directing her pain and frustration at the people she was told were the enemies. It all makes sense, but it’s also frustrating and hard to watch sometimes.
Gabi and Falco try and make their escape from their confinement and stumble upon lo and behold, Sasha’s family. The family of the person Gabi freaking murdered. As if things didn’t hurt enough already. THE IRONY. But wow, the mood they set up at the breakfast scene was AMAZING… and UNCOMFORTABLE. But it was definitely done on purpose. You could see how Gabi’s mood was affecting the others around her and it put everyone on edge. And Falco trying his best to ease the tension just made it all the more awkward. While it seemed like Gabi had to be forced to eat, I feel that first bite basically symbolized that this was her first step in the right direction, even if it was forced and hard to swallow at first. But it’s also a callback to Eren’s conversation with Reiner about how he “slept under the same roof, ate the same food, I’m the same as you” to which Gabi ended up doing the exact same thing. While she has yet to come to terms with the fact that she IS the same as everyone on the island, it’ll take some time to undo YEARS of brainwashing.
We see Gabi slowly becoming undone especially since she’s already hit rock bottom. While yes it is frustrating watching her and I’m sure everyone cheered when that horse bit her head and then proceeded to get pelted with a water bucket (I had a good laugh from that), her perspective is so important. She’s a very tragic character as she went from this peppy girl to someone who is just charging in hap-hazardously without a plan and everything she knew is being turned on its head. And it’s honestly sad how she loses it when Falco takes her armband off. Being a warrior candidate and a “good Eldian” was Gabi’s entire identity. Without it, she feels like she’d be just the same as the ones on the island or at least can’t be distinguished. She wants to separate herself from the Eldians on Paradis, despite being the same race. Not only that, but she just downright refuses to admit that there could be a possibility that she’s wrong and almost seems afraid of the truth since it would be admitting that her whole life she’s just been living basically in a cage. It’s not an easy pill to swallow and stuff like this takes time to accept. If Falco wasn’t there, she’d definitely be dead ten times over. Like if she actually drove that pitch fork into Kaya, there were literally two guys not too far away that would have most likely pulverized her.
Also UGH, I LOVE this conversation between Gabi and Kaya. While Gabi is screaming hatred at her because of what their ancestors did, she always asked what did THEY themselves do to deserve hate. She broke down Gabi’s arguments so easily with why, WHY did her mom have to die like that and WHY did she deserve it. And after all that, Gabi couldn’t even refute any longer. I remember when reading the manga, this is a moment I had been waiting for a moment like this and seeing it again in animated form felt just as satisfying. Because now, Gabi’s view of Paradis is being officially challenged and she doesn’t even have a proper come back after all is said and done. Not only was this just a long time coming for Gabi’s character, but it also mirrors Eren and Reiner’s conversation (again) with Kaya asking why her mom had to die and Falco essentially parrots Reiner’s answer to that it was Marley’s attack on Paradis that caused this to happen. And man, it’s hard not to feel for Kaya. And then it hits you even harder when you realize that she’s the girl that Sasha saved all the way back in season 2. And then when you’re already on the floor reeling from the pain, the show kicks you while you’re down when Kaya states how she wants to become someone like Sasha. Thanks Attack on Titan, I didn’t need my heart anyway.
Now, when I first read Sasha’s death in the manga, I totally thought it had no purpose and was just done for shock value. But now with this part of the story, it shows that it was done to help develop Gabi’s character and show someone so steeped in her brainwashing that the people in Paradis are literally just normal people. Basically making her the same as Reiner. And while I don’t like the fact that Sasha’s death was to help a character we don’t have as much of an attachment to develop, it was still a good story telling beat.
But enough about Gabi. Let’s talk about a character that I do actually hate: Floch. I’ve heard that people either love or hate Floch, there is no inbetween. Which makes sense since he’s such an extreme character. While Gabi is a byproduct of the cycle, Floch is someone who helps continue it. He only cares about preserving Paradis and essentially gives the world a finger, not even caring about innocent people. He has such a “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” minset and I get so aggravated whenever he’s on screen. He seems to grab hold on to anyone who uses extreme means to get to an end, which is probably why he wanted to save Erwin at first and is now backing Eren. “Eren has done nothing wrong.” SIR.
Anyways, because of him and a few others spreading the word that Eren has been imprisoned despite being a “hero” to the public, it seems like it’s put Hanji in between a rock and a hard place. Poor Hanji is doing the best she can in her situation, but it seems like what that guy they tortured back in season 3’s words are coming true with the scouts slowly becoming the people they overthrew. Everything is such a vicious cycle that it’s hard to really determine what is right and what is wrong. Even I’m having trouble deciding which is really the best option. There is definitely a bit of segregation of ideals being put into place between the scouts and everyone else. First we see Hanji closing a gate behind her (essentially cutting off their trust in her in a sense) with a bunch of people, people she once got help from back in season 3. And then again when she was interrogating Floch where the camera showed the separation between them through the window. A very big foreshadowing of the division that is happening from within Paradis. Both sides want the same thing, but are choosing different methods to do it. It’s all very complicated.
Oh my gosh, all the little kids we saw the characters save are coming back… for better or worse. At first I was like: Who is this child and why is she speaking all familiar with Mikasa… Ohhhhhhhh. She’s essentially the foil to Kaya in this episode as both of them were saved by someone in the scouts but have taking two very different paths. While Kaya became determined to be someone that could help all sorts of people, Louise isn’t letting the law deter her from what she believes is right. Both were inspired by Sasha and Mikasa respectively by how they took down a titan and how they went about it. While Sasha gave Kaya hope in life by how hard she fought to save her, Mikasa though she had good intentions, became an example of someone who would threaten someone for the greater good. Even Mikasa seems to realize that she isn’t the best example for an impressionable child like Louise. It was pretty frustrating listening to Louise try to reason with Mikasa to help them free Eren, especially when Mikasa was starting to realize just how messed up Eren actually is. Mikasa KNOWS how extreme Eren can be when he believes he has to do something. And BOY, was that flashback CHILLING when they put a different tone to it. What once was a memory looked back at warmth is now becoming something terrifying. Eren hasn’t changed, he’s ALWAYS been like this.
A lot definitely happened in this episode in terms of characters. But there were also some interesting little tidbits scattered here and there such as how they made a flying boat using the fuel that powers the ODM gear. Also I just love the scenery here in Paradis. As opposed to in Marley, everything felt so dull and boring, but in Paradis, it looks so colorful and full of life. And if Yelena wasn’t shady before, she’s certainly very shady now since she may be the culprit behind Falco’s support for Eren and the one responsible for the communication between Eren and Zeke. Hahahaha… can’t wait for that one face to show up… (manga readers know what I am talking about) Not only that but Marley has also caught onto the fact that Zeke isn’t dead and is most likely a traitor. And boy howdy, the IRONY of Porco’s statement of “I can’t believe we fought along side a traitor for all this time” and then the camera pans over to Reiner. I couldn’t help but laugh at just how ironic the situation was considering Reiner essentially in Zeke’s positon back on Paradis. Ah this series is so good.