Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season Episode 26
This episode was rough… After all the down time in the last couple episodes, they sure hit us where it hurt in this one. So much in this episode very much felt like a flipped version of when Reiner and Berthold revealed themselves as the titans. Except we’re seeing things from the perspective of the “traitors.” A very aptly named title of the episode I must say.
As much as I feel sorry for the Paradis group, there was absolutely no way that they would get out of this without bloodshed. I understand that they would have a lot of reservations about killing people they’ve trained and fought alongside with, but the Yeagerist group just feels so far gone that conflict with them was definitely not going to go bloodless. It’s almost a worse situation than what happened with Kenny’s group where they were forced to kill people for the first time. However, this time instead of strangers, they knew most of these people personally and had trained with them during their cadet years… sounds familiar.
I appreciate that Annie is always questioning them on what they would do in a worst case scenario. Often times than not, the Paradis group hasn’t thought too far ahead in their plans and most likely don’t want to think of the worse outcome. I feel like it’s important for them to consider the possibility and to have someone bring up that concern. Because if they’re not prepared for the worst, then the whole group will put in jeopardy. And with the wall titans most likely having reached Marley’s shores by now, they don’t have time to figure out a plan where no one dies.
Magath’s development comes to a head in this episode. Though I do admit it was a bit hard to watch him try and force Yelena to tell them where Eren was going all the while threatening to break her arm. It doesn’t matter how terrible a person is to me, I still hate seeing anyone tortured. Despite that, while I do think Magath’s turnaround came a little too fast and sudden for my liking, at least we saw what lead up to this development and I still respect the fact that he was doing his part to “keep the kids out of the forest.” Even going as far as to not want it so that Reiner, Annie and Piek don’t constantly have to take the blame for all this violence. It takes a lot, especially for someone older to admit what they did and believed was wrong. So good on Magath for finally seeing the Paradis group as people and giving them a way out of the violence if they so wished it. Not to mention wanting to pass down their history not to use it as propaganda, but to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again. And man, when the attack begins, it felt so poetic to see him in the scout jacket. To which it seems like he received from Jean.
If I wasn’t already done with Floch already, I was just so over him this episode. I just can’t with his mindset of others just submitting to his philosophy. His saying “It’s important to know one’s place” just infuriates me. He acts as if everything should just fall in line with the Yeagerists ideals. As if what he’s doing isn’t wrong and it’s sickening. As if human lives don’t even matter in the whole scheme of things. Even when Ms Kiyomi warns him that there will be an uprising no matter how small the world gets, he seems to believe that all they have to do is “nip trouble in the bud” and all will be well. So when Ms Kiyomi finally strikes out and pins him to the ground I couldn’t help but go: YEAHHHHHH!!!! FINALLY, someone taught this punk a lesson. It always feels validating when things don’t go according to his plans and he’s struggling against the odds. And boy was it so satisfying to see Reiner and Annie come out of hiding and transform directly behind him. That scene had no right to be so cool.
Despite being an enemy in the first season, I was happy to see the Female Titan again after so long. It was so nice to see her back in action… even though she’s continuing to destroy people. Maybe I just missed Annie lol. Seeing her fight alongside Reiner felt both epic and nostalgic despite not having shown fighting with him as titans before. But that is besides the point.
Though the scene that absolutely stole the episode was the confrontation with Armin, Connie, Samuel and Daz. For one, I honestly didn’t expect Daz to make it past season one with how manic he was and even willing to try and kill himself if it meant escaping the terror of the titans. So seeing him here as part of the Yeagerists was a twist I wasn’t expecting. The whole time when Armin and Connie were trying ton convince them to trust them and take the bombs off the flying ship was EXTREMELY tense and unsettling. You could tell that Samuel and Daz wanted to trust them since they were friends through out their cadet days. Even when they found out that Armin and Connie were trying to stop Eren and Samuel ended up shooting Armin, he still shot him in non-vital areas and hesitated to shoot Connie since he can’t heal like Armin. And when Daz had a a gun pointed directly to Armin’s head, he still hesitated to shoot and looked like he was about to breakdown and cry.
There were so many conflicting feelings in this part and I could feel the pain all four of them were feeling about having to fight the other. I couldn’t help but notice that the dialogue was eerily similar to what was said to Reiner and Berthold after they had betrayed them. With Samuel crying out that “weren’t they friends?” And just like the two warriors, Connie and Armin both still viewed the two as friends. While I kinda wish we got to see them interact a little more with Armin and Connie so that the moment would hit even harder, I suppose it would have been overkill if that were the situation. So I suppose that just knowing that they were friends still made the moment work because it still hurt as heck when Connie pulled the trigger on both Daz and Samuel. Especially when you remember that Samuel was the guy who Sasha saved by sending her grappling hook through his leg when Berthold kicked in the wall again. And Daz was saved by both Historia and Ymir on that snowy mountain. These people that were saved by their other friends, only to have to be killed in this moment. I teared up upon Connie’s final wail of anguish afterwards. As if Connie wasn’t already in the worst headspace already… The poor guy is going to have to live with this for the rest of his life. Knowing he had to kill two of his own friends. Connie has gone through way too much…
Both Armin and Connie were suddenly thrust into what must have been Reiner and Berthold’s positions all those years ago when they first revealed themselves as titans to the group. Now they know exactly what those two must have felt when they were forced to betray their comrades. Just like them, Armin and Connie genuinely viewed Samuel and Daz as friends but because they were on opposing sides, they were forced to come into conflict where it had to end with one side losing their lives. And it’s sad, because Armin could have reasoned with them, but because Samuel shot him in the mouth, he couldn’t speak and time was of the essence. It was such a cruel sequence of events because when Reiner and Berthold betrayed Paradis, we immediately pegged them as the bad guys. However, in this instance, while morally, the Yeagerists were the “bad guys,” in the simplest of terms, all they want to do is protect their homeland and Armin and the others are trying to put them all back into danger. It was never a matter of “good guys vs bad guys.” There’s always more to it than what’s on the surface.
Man, that last scene absolutely broke me. With everyone believing that they’re in the right, there was no way that this conflict would have ended peacefully, even with Armin’s acting skills. Seeing how this must have been the perspective of Reiner and Berthold all those seasons ago made the moment hurt even more because everyone seems to be fighting for what they believe is “saving the world.” This episode was just pain and my heart goes out to Connie.