Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season Episode 8
Ahhhhhhhhh….. I knew this moment was coming. But it didn’t make the moment any less painful. I have been dreading this part because when I first read it in the manga, I was LIVID and thus where my hatred of Gabi started. HOWEVER, upon revisiting this scene again, some of my feelings have changed quite a bit. Whether it’s because I’m older since reading this part in the manga or it’s because I know where this ultimately goes is debatable. Maybe a bit of the two, who knows. I sure don’t lol.
Anyways, I’m sure people were pretty hyped into thinking that Eren and Reiner were going to have yet another epic brawl, but because of Reiner’s mental and emotional state, the guy could just barely put together a functioning titan. And as an Armored Titan, this titan was hardly covering as much as it used to and one punch from Eren knocked him out. Though he was successful in saving Porco from getting eaten, which is probably the only thing Reiner was aiming. Luck was again on Reiner’s side as 3 consecutive transformations took its toll on Eren finally left his tank pretty close to empty and considering Eren got what he had hoped for, peaced out along with the scouts.
But man… that scene where Armin reached out his hand to Eren had SO much different feelings. For one, the two haven’t seen each other for who knows how long. And then there’s the thing of Eren always reaching down to help Armin back up in the past. Now, it’s the other way around but I’m sure this isn’t how Armin wanted it to be with both of them having killed so many innocent people. I was literally screaming at how deep this scene was and just all the context this simple gesture had.
As someone who hated Gabi on my first read through, I can safely say I do not hate her upon watching the anime. Now, I don’t particularly like Gabi all that much, but I can understand where she’s coming from and why she thinks the way that she does. The first several episodes of this season dedicated time to really get to know what this kids had to experience and just how similar they are to Eren and company. And I couldn’t help but see that Gabi is essentially another Eren with how small her view on the world is. While Eren was confined to the walls in Paradis, Gabi is confined to the small confinement zone. Again, it’s all just a viscous cycle. However, what I do not like about Gabi is how closed off her views are. While Falco seems to be slowly realizing after the conversation Eren had with Reiner that they may not be so different to the Eldians on Paradis. (Though it does make me wonder why exactly Falco doesn’t seem as brainwashed as the rest) However, Gabi just brushes off Falco’s theories since she “did not see it happen.” It’s so frustrating to see someone willingly look the other way so that nothing challenges what they believe.
Which leads us into the scene that has everyone up in arms, in universe and out of universe. I was SHOCKED that they killed Sasha like that and I remember being incredibly angry because at the time, it felt like a shock factor death. Though, taking a step back, I do see that there was intention behind this death as this was the outcome of Eren’s selfish actions and something that happens later in the story. We are mad because Sasha was a beloved character and a source of levity in this dark series. However, the situation feels so much more complicated than simply hating on Gabi as they all are victims of circumstance and I can’t really fault her for how brainwashed she is. In Gabi’s eyes, this happened to be the person that shot the two guards that were protecting her. And boy, if I were in her and Falco’s position when all the scouts were coming at them with murderous intent, they looked absolutely terrifying. It’s just a terrible situation all around. And after some looking around, apparently Sasha was supposed to die in her highlight episode back in season 2 but the manga’s editor somehow convinced Ishiyama to keep her alive. But it looks like she couldn’t escape death forever. It’s basically Neji all over again.
I felt so bad for everyone who was close to Sasha, especially Connie and Jean. They were basically the dumb trio that were constantly doing dumb things in the background together. They were a very cute trio and it must have been so crushing to see someone they cared about so much die in front of them when they thought the battle was over. They thought they were all safe and in the clear and Connie even just got done saying how much he was relieved he, Sasha and Jean all made it out alive again. And despite it all, Jean still couldn’t bring himself to immediately throw Gabi and Falco off the airship because he knew if he did, that would only spark more outrage towards them. He knows that doing that would continue the cycle, even though in the heat of the moment, he did not hesitate to shoot to kill Gabi if not for Falco. (He should count his blessings to Falco as well because if he hadn’t shoved Gabi out of the way, both Gabi and Jean would have died) Not to mention that Colt knew Gabi and Falco went up onto the airship and if he had found their bodies crumbled on the ground somewhere, they would have created another revenge-seeking monster. And I know I’m like a broken record, but, continue the cycle.
Though, the scene that absolutely broke me was when Connie came in and confirmed that Sasha was dead and we see both Mikasa and Armin sobbing over her. Mappa animated and directed this scene SO WELL that it just made me burst into tears. Even knowing ahead of time about this happening, the scene still made me cry. From the music, Mikasa and Armin’s expressions and just how torn up they were was just… it was such a powerful scene and it HURT LIKE HECK. I think it’s also important to mention how emotional Mikasa was over Sasha’s death and it demonstrates just how close the two had gotten since their days as cadets and it’s really sad. Especially when Sasha was probably Mikasa’s best and only girl friend. While she definitely cares very deeply about Eren and Armin, she has grown to care for the others and seeing her just so emotional over Sasha’s death broke me. Sasha was well loved by everyone (in and out of universe) and she will be dearly missed.
I also want to touch on what a lot of people have pointed out about Connie crying only from his left eye. Apparently, crying only from your right eye means it is out of happiness, while crying from only the left eye means the person is dead or about to die. Connie still had some of his usual spark left in him as right before this, he was still joking around with Jean and Sasha. But now, with one of his best friends dead, he must have just died on the inside. And that HURTS.
There are a lot of parts that have changed in Eren. Such as his lack of emotion and seems more driven to get things done, despite the consequences and sacrifices. At the start of the series, he was desperate to save everyone and prevent more people from dying, but now, he sees it as just another life lost. Which is honestly really tragic. He jumped into this ordeal knowing FULL WELL that the scouts would come and reclaim him because he is a necessary power for their side. However, because he has accepted sacrifices, he’s willing to put everyone’s lives at risk just to do what he wants or deems necessary. We did start seeing his progression to this mindset as in season 3 he stated that while he was sad for the sacrifices made to rescue him, he started viewing it as it was for the world’s sake because he is “chosen.” However, there were still some parts of him that remained intact, such as his feelings towards his friends. While he has grown colder, he still showed some attachment to them by taking Armin’s hand when offered and finally showing emotion after realizing his actions cost Sasha’s life.
When he initially started laughing when Connie told him Sasha’s final words, I’m sure a lot of people were put off by this reaction (as was I). And while, yes, it was insensitive, as shown by Levi, Jean and Hanji’s expressions while watching him, this reaction wasn’t new as he reacted the exact same way towards Hannes’ death by laughing at first before getting emotional and upset. Did you really expect people you cared about wouldn’t die because of you, Eren?
On an extra note, I’m seeing a lot of people blaming that one guy for being outside. It was literally his job to be out there to make sure that no one shot down the blimp. The only thing he did wrong was hesitate in shooting Gabi because she was a kid.
And then there’s Zeke. I didn’t mention him too much in my posts because it’d be hard to talk about him without giving anything away because SURPRISE, the guy was working with Eren on this plan. There were a lot of hints sprinkled around with Eren playing around with a baseball glove while mentioning his family was sending him stuff and Zeke being mildly suspicious in the beginning episodes of the season by not wanting to talk about things within hearing distance of the Marlyean army. Not to mention how off Zeke’s attack was in the previous episode. It didn’t show him killing anyone, even when he did the rock throwing thing he’s known for, it procured no casualties while it was just Pieck and Porco who were the ones that killed people. And it seemed like he let Levi cut him down without much of a fight, didn’t try to harden, didn’t try to cover his nape, he just stood there and let it happen. And when he “died” we didn’t see his perspective at all. It almost felt like an offscreen death. With someone as important as Zeke, there was no way he would have been offed like that. He basically wasn’t trying that hard in that fight compared to what happened in season 3.
This episode was a lot. A lot of information and a lot of feels were dropped and I feel like I needed a nap after watching this episode. Next episode is more than likely the cool-down episode (well, as much of a cool-down as AOT can be) since we’ve just had nonstop action for the past few weeks. And hopefully, we’ll get more info on everything that’s been happening. But first I got to go work off this depression this episode gave me.
Rest in peace Sasha, dearly beloved.