This Attack on Titan review contains spoilers.
Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 6
“Did you remember? Your father’s sin?”
Well those were some freaking answers, people!
“Sin” is an episode that crams in a lot and then watches in delight as characters struggle to process these revelations. There’s a lot to unpack in this installment, but the major bombshell that “Sin” oh so casually drops is that different sects of humanity have different supernatural powers.
The Titan ability is merely one of these fantastical skills. It’s kind of amazing that there are so many anime or science fiction series that would begin this show with the introduction of allof these different powers, but it positions Titans as the most powerful. What’s truly special about Attack on Titan is that they focus solely on the Titans and play such a long game here. It’s three seasons in, but this news has a lot more impact as a result because it dramatically changes the type of world that these characters live in. This has transformed from a series about giant monsters that attack humans to a show where various groups with supernatural skills vie for control over society. It’s a seismic discovery and it’s kind of ridiculous that “Sin’s” cold open provides more answers than the bulk of the show’s second season.
Eren is still in the captivity of the Reisses in their eerie, makeshift Fortress of Solitude. At this point, Eren’s been bound and gag so often in this show that he’s probably close to getting his next one for free. The Reiss family turns out to be one of these specially skilled groups of people. They possess the valuable ability to alter or take people’s memories, which is the explanation for Eren’s blackout on his horrendous childhood.
It might be long overdue at this point, but the Reisses restore Eren’s memory, warts and all, and boy is it heavy on the warts side. Eren remembers that his father committed the ultimate betrayal and turned him into own of his science experiments. He remembers that his father is responsible for turning him into a Titan, as well as the vicious way in which he returned the favor.
Eren gets his memory restored, but it appears that there are also certain noble families who are not susceptible to the Reisses’ memory trickery. It’s also possible to infer that the reason that most of the Reiss bloodline was wiped out—by Eren’s father, no less—was an effort to reduce the number of memory hackers that are out there. In addition to their memory skills, Rod Reiss seems to imply that the Reisses were also the original Titans. All of Rod’s children possessed Titan powers until Grisha started hacking away at them for himself. Not only does Grisha gain access to their skills, but he also consumes Frieda Reiss, who was in possession of the Titans’ most powerful skill (presumably, Coordinate/Scream).
This news definitely paints Eren’s father as the wicked, megalomaniacal figure that many people hypothesized that he may be. The description of how he brutally disposes of Rod’s young children is just awful, especially since Eren is just forced to listen. Grisha’s bid for supreme power however gets cut short when his arrogance gets the better of him. His latest experiment, his own son, gets out of control and eats him.
Eren is absolutely gutted over the news that he’s responsible for his father’s death, but this information also explains why Eren has his various Titan skills. When he ate Grisha, he gained both his and Frieda’s abilities. Unfortunately, this consolation prize doesn’t do much to soften the blow that’s hit Eren. It does however provide a little more context for why some other individual wants to eat Eren. He wants to piggyback on this daisy chain of Titan powers that’s been in motion since Frieda Reiss.
“Sin” features so much momentous news that the characters don’t really get a chance to properly process everything that goes on here. Shock is the predominant feeling that courses through the entry, but the episode still finds some time for genuine sorrow and more tender moments, like when Historia longs to thank Frieda for everything that she did for her, only to quickly learn that she’s now long dead.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the installment also contains some seriously disturbing material when it comes to Zachary’s torture methods. The infamous “machine” is particularly morbid and gruesome, even by this show’s standards, and many people were skeptical that it would even make it into the anime. Thankfully the people at WIT Studio are just that deranged.
The episode’s second half doesn’t carry as much gravitas as what comes before it, but it succeeds in maintaining its tense tempo. The focus shifts over to Levi and the Scouts and even though they don’t make any significant headway in this installment, their adventure still comes with its own set of surprises. “Sin” proceeds to fill in some blanks on the Ackermann family and it’s confirmed that not only are Levi and Kenny related in some sense (and by extension, Mikasa, too), but that their family used to be the King’s personal bodyguards and execution force. This tracks pretty well with what the show has currently presented with Levi and Kenny. On that note, the Ackermann family also appears to be apart of some special bloodline that if they’re not also Titan bearers, then they have the potential for something else. Kenny, Levi, and Mikasa all talk about experiencing a surge of power that felt like a gateway to something more significant. Honestly, this show may soon reach the point where if everyone in its cast isn’t a Titan, then they’re definitely the majority.
Even though “Sin” is a delight to take in, it’s still somewhat clunky in nature since technically the bulk of the episode is just set in a room as Rod provides a massive info dump to both Eren and his daughter. The material still works because the answers are so satisfying and the episode is still smart enough to present Rod’s stories in an interesting manner rather than have him simply talk for the entire installment. However, it’s also kind of clichéd that Rod just decides to suddenly give all of these answers over to Eren, but the episode at least directly addresses this as a response to how confident the Reisses are that they’ll get to eat Eren. It’s still not the most natural way to reveal all of this history, but it lights a fire under the Scouts to speed up their rescue mission because they know that Eren’s time is almost out if all of these secrets are public. What’s important is that the truth is finally out there.
“Sin” is a staggering episode of Attack on Titan Season 3 biggest asset is all of the questions that it answers. However, in some ways this entry leaves even more questions waiting for resolution. Rod makes a point to address that all of his children with Titans of varying ability, so does this mean that Historia is also a Titan that’s just waiting to be awoken? Is Annie’s hardening ability yet another supernatural technique that some people possess and is it connected to the city’s walls in anyway? It’s gratifying to finally see the series get less protective over all of its big secrets and it continues to use these revelations to drive the show forward in a powerful way. The more that this show reveals about its world, the more exciting it becomes.