As far as season finales go, this season of Attack on Titan’s finale was rather tame. Given that the entirety of the second half of this season has been almost nonstop action though, it was refreshing to see our remaining characters wrap some things up as they look forward to the future.
As always, SPOILERS AHEAD.
Everything has been laid bare, and the end of season 3 signifies a drastic change of pace for the series. Up to this point, or at least until a few episodes ago, the characters in the show, as well as the viewers, have been looking at the world through a very small lens. It’s been all about this “last civilization” locked away behind giant walls trying to survive while there are things beyond the wall that want to eat you. Even though there has been enough conflict within this setting, we now know (with absolute certainty) that there is a MUCH bigger world out there that neither us, nor the characters in this show know anything about.
One of the best things about this finale was everyone’s decision to share all of this news with the rest of the population. By revealing the truth to everyone, there really is no going back, you know, unless they use the power of the Coordinate to wipe everyone’s minds again, but I doubt it. It will be exciting to see how everyone begins to change their views on the world now that they know the truth. Sadly, Eren carries the heaviest burden of all, and by the end of this episode, his character has changed in a noticeable, drastic way. It’s commendable to the show that they convey this “loss of light in his eyes” in such a way that it needs no explanation. You can just tell by the vacant, distant look on his face; Eren won’t ever be the same.
You can’t blame him really, the constant flashes of Grisha’s memories have him preparing to face a harsh, grim reality that life is violent and dismal beyond the walls for ANYONE that is a Subject of Ymir. This is excellently conveyed as he’s trying to cheer up Armin only to stop dead in his tracks as a glimpse of Grisha’s sister pops into his head. It’s a fleeting but morbid scene that had me rewinding it just to confirm that I actually saw a small chewed up girl, lying face down in a puddle surrounded by the very hounds that put her there. It’s a bleak but sadly true, realization that the fighting is just getting started, or that it’s never actually stopped.
After the news is released to the masses, the show makes a year time jump in which they quickly inform us that all of the Titans within wall Maria have been taken care of. It’s here that the show also shows us a more mature group of Scouts. Each character has subtle changes to their silhouette that leave them looking noticeably older, Eren and Armin especially. These aren’t kids anymore, they’re young adults that have a very different outlook on the world they live in now.
So, it’s been a year, most of the Titan’s on the island have been taken care of, apparently, but the Beast Titan Zeke is still out there. With him is the Armored Titan, the Jaw Titan, and Cart Titan as well, and those are just the ones we know about. Surely we’ll learn what he has been plotting for a year, and it’ll be exciting to see how Eren handles him. Will Zeke be another victim of Eren’s rage or will he be able to convert Zeke to the Eldian cause like their father, Grisha, failed to do?
Even in the end, when the Scouts reach the ocean, it’s a bittersweet moment. Yes, we finally see Mikasa force a smile, but the sacrifices it took to get here and knowing what battles still lie ahead of us, makes it a more somber beat. Eren ends the episode by posing the question, “If we kill every last one of our enemies out there, will we finally be free then?” It leaves the rest of the group, and the viewers, second-guessing their brief moment of respite. Yes, the Shiganshina district has been reclaimed, most of the Titans on Paradis Island are gone, but the major conflict still looms off in the distance.
We’ve had three increasingly intense seasons, all building towards this moment. In a way, this coming (and final) season will be the climax the first three have built towards, which is odd to think about considering the second half of this season certainly felt pretty climactic in itself. One thing is certain, I can’t wait for Fall 2020 to see where all of these revelations take us.