There’s been a heap of heroic moments from loads of different characters throughout this series. However, today’s MVP was the nameless scout who used his CSI skills to conclude that the upside down titan is indeed Conny’s mother, a fact that was pretty obvious from the moment Conny laid eyes on her.
While it might seem like an odd way to introduce the episode, considering the events of the previous, opening with this was an interesting way to foreshadow the larger topic revealed as the story progressed. And while I’d love to give this episode a bunch of brownie points for its creative handling of said topic, there are some other things that need to be addressed before I start drawing on the scoreboard.
Attack on Titan is rapidly approaching Kingdom Hearts levels of convolution. Not so much in the narrative but in the decision to start focusing on other characters via flashbacks and stretching monologues that are clearly supposed to invoke an emotional reaction from the audience. This is the show’s equivalent of giving everyone a Key Blade, although I guess it could be argued the series already accomplished that when characters who were not called Eren began to reveal themselves as titans.
We need to remember what transpired last week and the week prior. Reiner and Bert revealed themselves to be the destroyers of lives, then kidnapped the main character, increasing their altitude on the douche-chart. So why is it that before we can even escape the whirlwind caused by their actions, we have one telling the other to man up and talk to Annie when they get home instead of staring at her ass from the shadows? Why are we shown more footage of their buddy getting chocolate bar-ed by Ymir? It’s obvious that it’s being done to get us to care more about them but my concern is circled around why that is and if it’s execution was effective enough to get the desired result.
It’s obvious that it’s being done to get us to care more about them but my concern is circled around why that is and if it’s execution was effective enough to get the desired result. The trouble is, in most good stories, the audience knows who the hero is. They know the identity of the person or the team that they should be cheering for. I fear that AoT is getting to a point where it’s becoming difficult to determine who that team or person is by making everyone important in both backstory and screen time.
One could argue that they’re trying to do the whole “it’s a matter of perspective” thing by showing us all these flashbacks and extended conversations between characters who weren’t that important in season 1. And that may be true. But I’ve found that lately, I’ll be watching an episode and trying to remind myself why I’m supposed to care about the character who just spoke for 5 minutes without interruption. Ymir is definitely one of my targets for this critique but there were some positives to come out from this.
The last time we took a trip into Ymir’s past was quite forgettable, and I was ready to say the same again until I noticed that they basically revealed a little bit of the how some titans became titans and who was responsible. I have no idea what actually happened. I know she was taken from one shitty situation into another, then became a worshipped idol before some soldiers reminiscent of WWII Japan swooped in and changed everything.
But I love how in the midst of all this, Ymir and her companions were clearly injected with some serum but her narration did nothing to highlight this important plot point. It just played out on screen while she described what was important to her. If there’s any aspect of this episode that deserves admiration, it’s easily this. The pace increase at the end with Ymir snatching Christa up in a moment of surprise gets a shout out too. Also, watching the scouts shoot their wires and fly off their horses mid-run is such a cool visual.
Even though I’ve voiced my concerns regarding the methods the series is using to create sympathy for certain characters, I have no shame in admitting the possibility that all this could lead to some amazing moment in the show that only could have occurred by planting the seeds the way they have been planted. But it’s my personal goal to do the best I can to express how something made me feel in the moment, then describe how and why it worked or didn’t work for me.
Overall, this was an interesting episode, simply by how it decided to handle the teasing of the information surrounding the origins of titans. I just hope that I can be just as enthusiastic about the motivations of the characters who are always enthusiastically sharing their motivations.