This episode was a rollercoaster. I was pretty excited for this episode for obvious Annie reasons, but then this episode goes and rips out my heart several times and makes me want to just punch a character in the fac. This episode had a lot to say the least lol. But that’s probably one of the strengths of this series with just how much it has to say while tying all the circumstances together in one form or another. Anyways, there were so many character moments this episode that seems to be building up to something as a lot of their paths are going to start converging. As such I have quite a lot to say.
I can’t help but admire how far Hitch has come. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I really enjoy how she went from this lazy slacker who actually does her job and tries to help others. While she complains about how much work she has, she never slacks on it and does it to the best of her ability. It’s hard to say what could have inspired her to turn over a new leaf since we haven’t spent that much time with her through out the series, but if I could garner a guess, she probably must have been influenced by Marlow and Annie. Marlow was always a pretty stand up guy despite him having a very by the books mentality and we know that Hitch developed a bit of a crush on him. While we didn’t get to see them interact that much, I’m sure his death had affected her deeply and possibly inspiring her to put more effort into her work.
Her relationship with Annie is also a bit hard to really decipher since we only had one episode and an OVA to see their relationship. From the OVA, it seems like Hitch did care for Annie to an extent despite how cold she was and most likely had some rather conflicting feelings towards her when she found out she was the Female Titan. However, despite all that, she still came to talk to Annie over the four years of her being trapped in the crystal. Despite Hitch being a side character, there’s definitely a lot more to her and even went through some pretty rough development. I do wish we got to see her more, but I can understand that it is difficult to showcase every character.
And then there’s Annie who I was waiting for FOREVER while reading the manga. I do wish we got Annie’s backstory earlier since it feels extremely late in the game. Which is why her being trapped in crystal for that long felt like a bit of a waste. Annie is such an interesting character, I wish we got more time with her. Especially with how hardened she was growing up and it seemed that being in the 104th cadets softened her to a degree. She stated that no life mattered to her, but she was so reluctant to kill Marco and was in tears upon his death. That’s actually quite the jump from how she was portrayed as a kid. And having Armin and Hitch come talk to her every so often must have meant a lot to her since she would have spent her days in complete silence if not for them. Which sounds absolutely dreadful.
The relationship with her dad was super unhealthy. Especially when it started out with him just seeing her as his ticket to a better life within Marley. Even going as far as to praise her for breaking his leg. However, despite the toxicity of their relationship, it seems as if he had genuinely come to care for her as an actual daughter in the end. However, from the limited time we got to see of them, we only really got to see the negatives of their relationship and almost none of the positives in the flashback and I just wasn’t convinced of it. After everything he put her through, that one breakdown was supposed to be the thing to turn their relationship around. Sorry, but I’m going to need a bit more than that. We know that Annie’s whole thing was just to return home, but due to not being able to see her father acting like a father towards her until the end, it mostly just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. He raised her to be a monster that didn’t care about life. I feel like there needed to be a bit more than that to really justify his turnaround of how he viewed Annie. Though I do admit that I feel for her in her want for a parental figure and someone to go back to. Especially when they pass by that father holding his child.
I also want to give a shout out to Shadis because man, he is the real one. Despite how he comes off, he truly cares about the cadets he trains. Even going as far as to let them beat him up if it meant protecting them from the Yeagerists. And I’m glad that the cadets he ended up saving from the titans are now seeing him in a different light and really wanted to help him escape from the Yeagerists despite them initially turning their backs on him. And even then, he still wants them to think of themselves and their own survival. I also love the advice he gives them by essentially telling them to “live in the world but not of the world” in a sense.
Armin has always been a vital character through out the series, however, it seems as if he’s hit a wall. So much is happening around him that it doesn’t seem like he can handle the stress of it all. And like he said, he hasn’t slept for days and is probably running on fumes. It also didn’t help that Mikasa is STILL only thinking about Eren when a million other things are happening. I don’t blame him for blowing up at Mikasa, but I also understand how helpless Mikasa must feel and that she probably still needs someone to help guide her and I’m sure Armin is the only one she feels like she can turn to right now. Unfortunately there is only so much Armin can handle right now and the weight of the situation is most likely crushing him. It absolutely BROKE my heart to hear Armin say that he was the wrong person to save all the way back in season 3. We don’t know what Erwin would have done but I do feel like Erwin’s drive would have faded once he knew the truth of it all. I don’t think there was a right or wrong choice in who to bring back since both were assets in their own way. But in the end, Armin was chosen and I’m sure the weight of Erwin’s death was always haunting Armin. q_q
Despite all the downers this episode brought with the chaos happening all around, we were treated to at least some levity in the case between Gabi and Kaya. I’ve been saying this like a broken record, but I just absolutely love Gabi’s story. She was indoctrinated so hard that she killed people just to get praise and even committed war crimes with a huge smile on her face. This girl was a MONSTER, however, slowly over time she came to realize that her world was incredibly small and when she was finally forced to see reality, she realized that she was a “devil.” So when Gabi and Kaya hugged I literally had to pause because this episode was just breaking my heart too many times. Both of them have come incredibly far to get to that point. Especially when both had wanted to kill each other at different points in time. To finally reach an understanding and actually care for each other, that’s incredibly beautiful. Their relationship is like hope in this tragic world that it is possible to see from another’s perspective and learn from it.
And then we have the complete opposite end of the spectrum with Floch being the most frustrating character in this series. Like yes, he is an interesting character and I have no qualms with people who like him because of that, but I absolutely detest him to the core. He is the literal epitome of continuing the cycle of hatred. I hate how he has this “you’re either with us or against us” mentality and just cannot be reasoned with. Not to mention resorting to violence is his go to and is essentially acting like the Marleyans he claims to hate. Even saying to the representatives that if they comply they can be “official Eldians.” He even basically tells Jean to backtrack on all of his character development and be the person he was at the start of season 1. I’ve honestly had quite enough of him.
Floch makes everything sound so simple, but he’s only thinking short term. At the start of the episode, there is already division amongst the people of Paradis. We have one group who is appalled by what Eren has done and have suffered from his acts by having their homes and families destroyed. And then we have the other group who are siding with what Eren is doing. On one hand, I understand why they have such hatred towards people outside the walls since all they want is to kill them. But then on the other hand, I still don’t agree with wiping out your enemies, including innocent people to find “freedom.” They’re just continuing to support the cycle of hatred and if you feed into it, nothing will change. It’s honestly terrifying how people can believe that killing off everyone else will solve their problems when it just creates more fear and hatred. Doing this would just cause yet another war down the line over the same things. It’s not going to end like this.
Thinking about it, he and Gabi are two sides of the same coin. Both of them felt they were “superior” Eldians and hated a group of people. They both went through a traumatic experience where they witnessed everyone around them get slaughtered and chose violence as their preferred method towards those who they deemed were against them. However, Gabi eventually came to realize that what she did only added to the cycle of hatred while Floch either doesn’t realize (or care) that he is feeding into it and doesn’t change. They were very similar but ended up going down completely different paths. And I like how the creator always shows us the differently similar people can become depending on who they interacted with. Since Gabi was influenced greatly by Sasha’s family and put her in a positive direction while it doesn’t seem like Floch really interacted with anyone besides Eren who most likely is just using him for part of his plan.
And then there’s Connie. Oh Connie…I understand why he’s doing this, but like a lot of people in Paradis, he’s only thinking short term and not the big picture. On one hand I totally understand the desperation to want and save your mom, especially when she’s literally the last bit of happiness he most likely can scrounge out after everyone he cared about was ripped away from him. However, just as Armin said earlier in the episode, the fight for the 9 titans isn’t going to end, which would put his mom in a dangerous position if she were to become the new Jaw Titan. The yeagerists would most likely come for her and feed her to someone that is on their side so they could gain more leverage. She’s not a fighter and most likely wouldn’t be able to last her 13 more years to live as a titan shifter. Armin and the others NEED as many people on their side as possible. If they can use Gabi and Falco to get Reiner and Pieck on their side, that would be the best outcome in their situation. And I think it says a lot that the ending “Child of Evil” is playing in the background as Connie lies to Falco as he brings him to his village. There is “devil” in everyone, just as Nicolo said.
Though if I had to say there was any other silver lining to this bleak situation, it would be that both Hanji and Levi are still around. It was kind of entertaining watching people writhe in agony over whether Levi was still alive. Why would Hanji risk her life to save a dead body? Because lo and behold, Levi was still alive if not barely. I won’t get more into it since they’ll expand more on what happened in the next episode.
This episode was absolutely fantastic in allowing us to understand where all the characters are mentally and emotionally while everything is burning around them. Attack on Titan is great for it’s action and hype, but I do really appreciate the episodes where we get to slow down and see what everyone is thinking and feeling. And despite the absolute MESS the state of the world is right now, there are still some sparks of hope. Not everything is lost despite the bleak situation. Lots of characters are on the move and most likely their paths will converge which is exciting since there are a lot of character combos and interactions we normally don’t get happening.