Once again, I’m ready to delve back into the world of titans and terror – while in the safety of my own home – for what I hope will be another exciting episode of Attack On Titan! The preview from the first episode of this riveting new series left me at the edge of my seat, anticipating this very moment. It seemed to be focusing on Sasha, who is well-deserving of an episode revolving around her story in order to give her character some more depth. So, I can only hope that we get to see more of her in this episode and make some progress story-wise about her!
Last week’s episode consisted of an introduction to the Beast Titan; a talking, walking, living and breathing titan, and honestly I’m still reeling over the prospect of it existing. Suddenly this series has gotten much more complicated, and I can’t wait for the mystery behind the titans to unravel slowly but surely. Miche’s brutal death was gruesome, terrifying and made it crystal clear that the animation this year will not care for censoring gory scenes, and the unpredictability of who may be next to – very literally – bite the dust is exhilarating! Will Eren and his friends on the Survey Corps survive? Let’s watch and see!
3:05 After an intense recap of the previous episode and an exhilarating succession of opening credits, their action is greatly contrasted with a seemingly peaceful birds eye look at the district of Trost. It cuts to Pyxis’ office, where various stationary guards seem to be congregating. A member of the team enters the scene frantically, informing Pyxis of the titans that have breached Wall Rose. In the Stohess district, Eren is also reacting negatively to the Survey Corp’s grim reality. Following on from this, Armin questions the nature of the walls in which humanity seek solace in, posing the terrifying idea of their structure being hardened titan skin. It seems everyone is desperately trying to find answers to the mystery of the titans, including viewers such as myself!
4:18 Transitioning into a new scene, we see Hanji inspecting a foreign object under her microscope while her accomplice flounders, stating they have to leave in 5 minutes. She replies calmly, emphasising how she needs to confirm something before stopping short, shock framing her features. She’s brought back into reality from her unknown revelation by Levi, and what exactly shocked Hanji so much is still left a mystery to viewers.
4:50 As the scouting legion wait for orders, Mikasa fumbles with Eren’s jacket while the both of them and Armin sit patiently. Hanji arrives fashionably late, but she’s not alone; with her is Levi, and surprisingly, Pastor Nick. He sits down on the carriage silently, surprising the trio who seem unsure how to react to his presence. Hanji jokes about how the whole squad’s formation makes very little sense, but Levi counters her opinion by stating that Erwin chose Mikasa, Eren and Armin for a reason.
5:30 Then suddenly, the gate opens and Erwin is barking commands to his troops. The action begins, and the survey corps are on the move. Armin’s narrative brings to light how ironic the walls are, as titans have been protecting mankind from titans this whole time, unbeknownst to anyone – but Pastor Nick, of course. The only human knowing of the titans in the walls has decided to wordlessly subsist – much to the chagrin of all of the scouting legion that find it dire to understand why the phenomenon of wall titans exists. Hanji doesn’t fail to challenge this newfound silence, rhetorically questioning if he will have the heart to stay silent after witnessing the horror caused by titans. Eren predictably loses his cool, stating quite aggressively that mankind’s survival is more important. However, after a humorous attempt at creating a wager – which ultimately fails – from Levi, Hanji terrifyingly voices her own thoughts. She ponders over the chilling prospect of the information the priest has about the titans in the wall being more important than the survival of humanity, and the scene changes on that dark note.
7:42 Here we see Sasha riding her horse, and the setting has suddenly changed to an open field in the daytime. It seems we’re back to where episode 1 left off after Miche’s gruesome death, and Sasha is making her way towards her village. She states determinedly that she’ll go to the village herself, and once she parts ways with her companion we’re thrown into a flashback to uncover the mystery of Sasha’s back story.
8:10 It cuts to Sasha violently biting into a piece of meat, and her habit of constantly eating from season 1 suddenly makes sense. Her parental figure struggles to get her away from the meat, but she lunges for it even when it’s fallen to the forest floor, never wavering in her determination to savour the morsel. Her father sits down defeated, then prepares to give Sasha a lecture. With quite profound words, he tries to help Sasha see reason, and accept that all of humanity is equal so she can become an open-minded individual. In the end, when she refutes to his words, he poses a deeply rooted question; is she willing to die for her beliefs? The whole encounter is very impressionable, and it’s clear how it helped shape Sasha to become the person she is now.
11:40 Now, we’re back to Sasha in real-time, who’s galloping away at her horse. Suddenly, she notices a titan’s footprint, and her shock reflects through my own as a viewer. It seems an altercation between Sasha and a titan is looming over us. She then comes into contact with what seems to be a new village, highlighting how long it’s been since she’s returned to her hometown.
12:15 Here we’re posed with one of the most chilling sights so far. A little girl is sitting, absolutely terrified, while her mother is being devoured by a titan to her side. The ominous vocals which grow in volume add to the sheer terror of this scene, and are countered by Sasha’s loud cry of anger as she wields an axe, ready to strike. She cuts at the nape of his neck violently, but fails to get through, the axe flying out of her hands to get stuck in the wooden ceiling. Noticing the child, she decides to leave the titan and escape.
14:15 While trying to console the child, who seems so despondent it’s almost scary, Sasha’s horse flees. This leaves her and the child alone, with the titan joining them in search of a new meal. We’re then given more insight into the tragic story of the little girl and how her mother had bad legs, but was left behind by her fellow community. Sasha runs, holding the girl’s hand and then props her up a drawbridge that the titan thankfully gets stuck on.
15:44 Once again, we’re thrown into the past, Ymir’s condescending comments welcoming us. She states the irritation she feels from Sasha’s joyful pretense, then makes quite an offensive assumption about Sasha’s past. However, she counters this seemingly rude comments but saying she should stop caring what others think, and be herself. Sasha thanks Ymir, understanding the true intention of her words. It’s heartwarming to see Krista and Ymir interactions with Sasha, and with one another, followed by Sasha’s uplifting laugh. It all gets quite nostalgic before cutting back to Sasha running through the woods with the little girl once again.
17:25 Sasha questions her own thoughts flitting back to days of her past, before encouraging her little companion to continue running. She suddenly stops in her wake, turning swiftly to face the titan and pulling her bow and arrow. She shoots numerous times while taking salvage on a hill, but misses. Finally, she shoots one of the titan’s eyes, but realises she’s down to her last arrow – if she misses this next shot, she’s ultimately titan food. The suspense continues to build, and in an epic turn of events, Sasha decides to grab the arrow with her own two hands and stab the titan’s eyes herself. The titan tries to squeeze Sasha in his grip, but she slips out thanks to his blood. While running, she suddenly sees a group of men on horses above her – it’s her village, and her father. They have a heartwarming reunion, and all is well.
20:40 Following on, we’re back to Connie and the rest of the 104 squad, who are galloping through plain fields, seemingly heading towards Connie’s old village. Connie rides ahead of everyone, losing all semblances of rational thinking as he tries to find his family. The town itself is in ruins, most houses destroyed, and Connie calls out for his family with no reply. He falters before determinedly changing course to his house. However, he falls short, instead met by a titan. Reiner shouts for Connie to get back, and suddenly the scouts realise that the titan can’t move. So, how exactly did it get there?
Though this episode wasn’t heavy on action regarding Sasha’s fight, it was still an enthralling watch. The constant flashbacks added substance to what was occurring and made the situation much more paramount for the viewer, so this episode really did a successful job of playing on heartstrings. Seeing more of Sasha’s back story helped deepen her character, and the fact that she was reunited with her father was heartwarming. This contrasted with the terrible fate of Connie’s town, showing the stark reality of a titan infested world.
So far, this series is living up to and exceeding expectations, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!