This Attack on Titan review contains spoilers.
Attack on Titan Season 2, Episode 11
We picked up from where episode 10 left off last week, with the Survey scouts and the Military Police in collaboration to rescue Eren and Ymir from Reiner and Bertolt, and this week’s episode did not fail to play out the conflicts that have been mounting for the past few episodes. “Charge” saw Ymir and Historia wrangling over their individual intentions and options in the middle of a dangerous terrain, Erwin’s borderline miniacal ruthlessness on full display, and how Armin may just be the most terrifying one of the Eren-Mikasa-Armin trio.
Ymir Is Confusing
One of the storylines I’ve personally been having trouble following is the Ymir-Historia one, partly because the plot feels so fragmented in the grand scheme of the season, despite being the focus of multiple episodes, and a lot of the logic behind Ymir’s actions are hard to follow.
So far, we have more questions than we do answers; mainly, why is Historia and her family so important and what is the true value of that importance? The fact that we don’t have these answers yet is making the kidnapping, and Ymir’s deal with Bertolt and Reiner, feel convoluted. I get that Historia is somehow playing a huge role in the nature that is Attack on Titan‘s bizarre, unexplored political/social world, but we don’t know to what extent. So because we don’t actually know just how much leverage Ymir would actually gain by taking Historia has made it uncertain whether the audience should be rooting for the kidnapping or not.
Ymir isn’t making it easier as one of the hardest characters to read in the show. You would think when someone threatens the only person you care for, you’d want said person to be as far away from said someone as possible, but Ymir instead chose to kidnap Historia last episode, and followed up in this episode with some truly bizarre reasoning: “I’m working for Reiner and Bertolt now because life outside the Walls will be better than inside in them”, and when Bertolt intervened, insisting that Ymir’s actually the one calling the shots in their little escape, she went with, “I’m only kidnapping you to save myself. This act is purely selfish. So save me.” What?
The best explanation I can come up with is Ymir is torn between wanting to keep Historia safe and being with her, so she compromised and went with “Historia is the safest if she’s with me, even though my circumstance is making me the least safe person to be around.” I don’t know.
The 104th Training Corps to the Rescue
Any scene with Mikasa swinging blades is a highlight scene, and this episode is no exception. Her dialogue with Historia is especially chilling, and rings so true with the reality she lives in; nobody in Attack on Titancan be bothered with caring about too many people.
I especially love the moment when the 104th training corps were all hanging around the Armored Titan’s neck, trying to take cracks in Bertolt guilty conscience and get him to give Eren up. Each of their dialogue speaks so much about their personality, from Jean joking about how they can kick Eren’s ass outside the safety of the Armored Titan’s hands, to Mikasa straight up threatening to kill a bitch, to Connie reminding Bertolt of the good o’ days, and was any of it real or just an act? Best of all was Bertolt’s breakdown following all of it—we see he’s as much of a person as any of them, just fighting for the other side, whatever that other side is.
The blood-chiller of this episode goes to Armin, however, because holy crap was what Armin said about Annie manipulative and cruel. The only thing I could think of while watching him talk Bertolt into making the biggest mistake he could make was that one detail from Silence of the Lambimplying that Hannibal Lecter talked his cell-neighbor Miggs into killing himself. Good going, Armin, I’m proud of you.
I can’t not talk about Erwin, who’s one hell of a battle commander.
First of all, how the hell did he get in front of the Armored Titan? I hope that whole tactic is mapped out online somewhere.
Second of all, can anyone get more badass than still yelling for their troops to charge while danging from a Titan’s mouth by the arm? (I really hope he lives, but that prospect’s pretty grim.)
On a serious note, for all the shit the other military branches give to the Survey Corps, I’m pleased to see them eating their own words this episode, and the last, now that they got an actual idea of the terror the scouts had to deal with.
– “Sorry for eating you like that.” – Ymir to Historia. Historia has the tolerance of a saint. I can’t imagine forgiving someone who nearly ate me.
– The titan who ate Eren’s mom reminds me of Jack Nicholson’s Joker from 1989’s Batman.
– Next week’s the last episode, guys!