Going into these two episodes I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. The first five episodes of the season were an emotional and violent ride that bitch-slapped me in the face with both shock and admiration for it kicking the game into the next level. After chatting with fellow bloggers, I knew that a desperate decision would have to be made and that the story wouldn’t be able to move forward without the Scouts heading into the fucking basement. Luckily for me, both of these things actually happened in the last two weeks worth of content. One episode had me impressed and moved to tears with, while the other left me shaking my head with disappointment.
This episode revolved around making the hardest decisions possible when it comes to surviving a war, and it made me cry in ways I wasn’t expecting (i.e.: sobbing by the end).
When we left the previous episode there were two deaths that we knew would be the focus this time around, and thus having to decide whom the better candidate is in terms of saving humanity: Erwin and Armin. While many people called out who would ultimately get the shot of titan-potion, the progression towards that was not an easy one. I felt it in my bones and by seeing the expressions of everyone involved. How do you make a decision of that calibre? I certainly don’t envy those who are placed in such a position.
You know I was doing fine until Mikasa lost it. Seeing her display a heavy load of emotions has been extremely rare (if non-existent) since the serial’s start. The only display of consideration she has shown has been situations involving Eren and they usually involve possessiveness and protectiveness that is laced with anger and vengeance. To see her completely fall apart because of Armin broke my strength.
The build-up of tension, regardless of being able to predict the outcome, was outstanding. It was excruciatingly intense and evocative, like being wound up so tightly that it makes you bleed, especially if you have a vested interested in the characters. The dialogue and the arguments that were made for both parties were also exceptionally done. These twenty-some-odd minutes illustrated to us what being human means: placing value on a person that surpasses another. We as human do this shit all the time. This person is better because they are rich or White, or this person is better because they are educated and pretty. However, in times of war and survival that value is concentrated on other aspects, things made go beyond the superficiality of existence, and when you have two men who are super hard-working and devoted to the cause, that value can seem meaningless while still being a wholly necessary source of scrutiny. It was brilliant.
If I had to choose one thing I hated about this segment, it’s Reiner. That motherfucker really needs to die already. He is so passed his goddamn expiration date. Dragging on his existence seems utterly pointless to me, yet I suppose only time shall tell whether I’m being a brat for the sake of being brat, or if my frustrations are warranted.
They finally go the fricking basement. That’s it, that’s the whole episode. Literally them going to the basement, being in the basement for a handful of minutes, and discovering something important in the most anti-climactic way possible.
I don’t know what I was expecting with this episode. I’ve been waiting for it for the past 61 years, and in a way, it felt like a let-down. My assumption is that the reason it felt so unsatisfying is because of how much it had been hyped; the end all and be all of humanity. Combine that with the significantly long waiting-period, it was probably bound to be a bit of downer in one way or another. The most exciting part of that whole endeavour was watching Levi kick the door open.
The discovery made in the basement, at least what’s been shown of it thus far, does create a lot of questions about humanity, their origins, and finally more curiosities involving the titans. Grisha’s past is far more intriguing to me now. My hope is that his past will reveal some level of mindfuckery to bring that unpredictability back into the series that it had during the first season and for the first half of this one. Man, I miss that so much.
One of the better elements of this episode consisted of Eren and Mikasa walking down familiar streets of a familiar city that they haven’t been in since the tragic day of Mrs Jaeger’s death. The influx of memories and grief that came with it was bittersweet—sad yet quite lovely. It complemented the events of the previous episode and all of the emotional turmoil that took place there. Even though these reminisces took up the bulk of the episode (and leaving less time in the basement), I appreciated it. The wonder as to what it would feel like to return to such a haunting place for these kids is another component that I’ve been awaiting eagerly. That part didn’t disappoint.
Three more episodes to go until the season ends and the series changes studios. I know that Grisha’s past is coming up in the next episode, but will it wow us or woe us in the end?